07/16/12 — Bill victory: Now that they have law to back them up, judges can act

View Archive

Bill victory: Now that they have law to back them up, judges can act

You never know what twists and turns justice is going to take.

It does not always serve the victim, and sometimes, it even benefits the accused.

But in the end, judges can only mete out punishments that are supported by the laws they must follow.

That's why it is a good thing that North Carolina has a new law that allows judges a little more discretion in the sentences they hand out to drunken drivers.

The idea is to allow for stiffer sentences when there is a severe outcome -- a death or serious injury to an innocent party.

And that is the right decision.

Judges will still have to apply the law -- and it might not have an immediate impact on the number of people who get behind the wheel after they have been drinking.

But if, in the future, it makes even one of them stop, think and perhaps call a cab or walk home, a life might very well be saved.

And that makes it all worth it.

Stopping crime -- and drinking and driving is a crime -- sometimes requires a very large deterrent, a penalty that makes a potential offender think twice.

It won't bring back any of the victims.

But this new law just might prevent a few more much-too-early gravestones.

Published in Editorials on July 16, 2012 10:56 AM