One of the fallacies about drunk driving is that people who are caught for this offense are terrible people who deserve the penalties they are about to receive. To the contrary, many people who are accused or arrested for driving under the influence are actually good people. They may be your neighbor, your teacher, your boss or even a family member or loved one. These people just made a mistake — one mistake — when they were driving, and they paid for it (and continue to, given the perception we are describing here).

However, the man in the following story absolutely ruins the point we are trying to make. A 38-year-old was recently arrested for his 10th intoxicated driving offense, resulting in serious penalties that bar him from entering an establishment that provides alcohol by the drink and forcing him to check in with a testing facility every day to make sure that he is sober.

We bring this up because these types of stories, though uncommon, portray drunk driving in an even worse light than it already inherently resides in.

Stories like this, where a drunk driver does something silly or racks up an enormous number of DUI charges over a lifetime, add nothing to the conversation about helping people with their drinking problem or altering DUI rules to ensure justice is done while also preserving the accused person’s life. Instead, it just mocks them and reduces the drunk driving suspect to something less than human.

People who drive while drunk have committed an offense, there is no doubt about this. But they have rights, and they are still people. Most people learn from their mistakes and do everything they can to be a better person.

Source: Sawyer County Record, “Man charged with 10th offense drunk driving,” Sept. 11, 2014