What Is a MADD Victim Panel?
A victim impact panel, sometimes known as a VIP, is a conference in which a defendant convicted of drunk driving is required to listen the victims of a DUI or their family members testify about how someone driving under the influence has impacted their life or the lives of their friends and family.
Usually, victim impact panels are organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and you may be ordered to attend a meeting as part of your criminal sentence. Here’s what you should know.
Why Victim Panels Are Held
A major objective of victim impact panels is to avoid blaming an offender. This does little to help in the way of rehabilitation. Instead, the goal of VIPs is to make the DUI offender aware of the potential implications of his or her conduct. A VIP provides DUI victims the opportunity to share their experiences while promoting awareness of the consequences of drunk driving.
Victims can help make DUI offenders aware of the seriousness drinking and driving and can contribute to the reduction of the number of drunk vehicle operators on the roads. VIPs also offer offenders the opportunity to learn about the impact of a DUI and how to make better choices going forward.
Is a MADD Victim Panel the Same as DUI School?
Victim impact panels are not the same as attending DUI school in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A person convicted of drinking and driving may be ordered to attend one or both. DUI school differs from a VIP in that typically, victims aren’t given a great deal of time to speak about their experiences or tell anecdotal stories. Instead, DUI school focuses on teaching drunk driving statistics, how to identify blood alcohol concentration (BAC), DUI laws, and the penalties for subsequent DUI offenses within a certain period of time.
How a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Attorney Can Help After an Arrest
If you’ve been arrested and charged with drinking and driving in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you need to take immediate action to protect your rights and potentially reduce the severity of the penalties you will face. The most effective way to do this is by working with an experienced and trustworthy criminal defense lawyer who has specific experience handling drunk driving cases.
Call Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer Jesse Adams to learn more about attending MADD DUI victim panels and how to pursue the lightest possible sentence after being convicted of drunk driving. Call now at 413.585.9200.