Finding the right consequences for criminal acts that include drunk driving can be a delicate balance. Many people feel strongly that while first-time drunk driving offenders deserve to be penalized, a jail sentence or license suspension is not always the best solution, especially if those consequences interfere with employment, health or other responsibilities we all face. Nobody wants to take away from the serious nature of a drunk driving offense, but when alternative solutions are available to ensure the safety of the public, perhaps relying on technology can save money and lives.
The state of New Hampshire is currently considering a provision for convicted DWI offenders to continue to drive without penalty, upon approval of the court. This provision, commonly referred to as a “Cinderella License,” is increasing in popularity throughout the U.S., as it combines strict regulations and the voluntary installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
A “Cinderella License” typically allows a convicted drunk driving offender the ability to drive to and from work, to look for work, to receive medical and/or substance abuse treatment, to attend school, and for medical emergencies for family members. In exchange, the drunk driving offender is expected to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on any vehicles driven, for the duration of the “Cinderella License” provision. Because lives today are so dependent on vehicles, whether for work or family obligations, the “Cinderella License” is a compromise that keeps the streets safe while allowing a person to maintain a productive and beneficial life.
For many, the ability to continue to work and provide support to family members is vital to their rehabilitation, and the solution of a “Cinderella License” and IID can make a huge difference in a person’s choice to ever drive while intoxicated in the future. New Hampshire’s consideration of this new “Cinderella License” legislation will strengthen its drunk driving laws and perhaps allow for more laws concerning the installation of ignition interlock devices in the months and years to come.