New Mexico DUI Program Announced: Is it Trial by Social Media?
New Mexico will soon be rolling out a new DUI initiative that some critics are saying is similar to the Nathaniel Hawthorne “Scarlett Letter” days of branding people in public.
As reported by KRQE News 13, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico announced a program that places volunteer “monitors” in courtrooms to attend hearings on DUI cases and report how the court is handling the cases on social media. These monitors will also pass along information to officials, who will then post the names of the offenders on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
This program is led by Mothers Against Drunk Driving—the organization is also providing the monitors—and is part of the governor’s mission to combat DUIs in the state. MADD has been given an $800,000 grant and a two-year contract with the state to place monitors in courtrooms, including in McKinley, San Juan and Dona Ana Counties.
While Governor Martinez is saying this program is a way to hold judges and offenders accountable for lenient DUI sentences, others are concerned that it is an intimidation tactic and fear that allowing social media to act in any way in the sentencing process raises questions of constitutionality and fairness.
According to Fox News, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is currently reviewing the program in response to these criticisms, and some legal professionals in the state also believe the program takes the focus away from DUI prevention and shifts the blame to prosecutors and judges instead.
The “Name and Shame” in Illinois
While Illinois has not yet gone to the length that New Mexico has, MyStateLine reported that officials in District 16 started posting a list of people who were charged with DUI in April, and they will continue to do so each month indefinitely. The list also includes the ages and locations of each person charged. Illinois has used this tactic in the past, and while there is no cost to taxpayers, there is a question as to whether publicly naming people charged with DUI is effective at all when it comes to prevention.
What to Do if You’ve Been Charged
Being charged with DUI in Illinois, even if you’ve never been charged before, can come with a penalty that includes fines and jail time. You’ll also end up with a criminal record that will follow you around for years and interfere with employment and other opportunities. Now, newer DUI tactics being used in the state could result in your name being broadcasted across the Internet. With such serious potential consequences, you need to have someone on your side for your day in court. Contact a seasoned DUI lawyer in Springfield Illinois today to discuss your case and all your options.