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Los Angeles DUI and the MADD Victim Impact Panel

  • May 25, 2017

    Drivers who end up convicted of a first-time charge of driving under the influence many times must complete certain educational requirements to instruct them on the inherent dangers of impaired driving. The idea is to deter future arrests for DUI.

    In Los Angeles County, one of the education programs DUI defendants can be required to attend is the Victim Impact Panel, or VIP. The VIP is conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, commonly referred to as MADD.

    In many cases, VIP is an important probation requirement. The failure to complete the VIP program in a timely manner can result in the issuance of a probation violation and even a revocation of probation.

    What is MADD?

    MADD is a nationwide, nonprofit organization that has had a significant impact on DUI policies and laws across the United States. MADD has lobbied effectively for increased penalties for DUI convictions. The organization has also been successful at lowering blood alcohol content, or BAC thresholds. In addition, MADD has been successful in gaining the enactment of mandatory driver’s license suspension laws.

    History of MADD

    MADD initially was established in 1980 by Cindy Lightner. She started the organization after her daughter was killed in a DUI accident. Prior to that point in time, DUI offenses were not taken particularly seriously. Penalties was not significant upon conviction. Through its efforts, MADD changed all of that in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Overview of MADD VIP Programs

    MADD VIP programs are conducted across the United States on a regular basis. No matter where a DUI defendant may live, a MADD VIP program is likely to be fairly close by.

    Part of the MADD VIP program involves presentations by victims of DUI accidents. In addition, presentations are also made by family members of people killed in DUI accidents. These victims share their stories, including the circumstances of the accident and how the collision impacted their lives.

    There is a fee associated with the MADD VIP program. The defendant is required to pay the fee. The fee for the program rarely is waved. In some cases, a defendant may be allowed to make the payment of the program fee in installments. If that is the case, the court will set a specific payment plan which must be followed. The failure to follow the court-ordered payment plan can result in a probation violation.

    When a defendant attends the MADD VIP program, he or she will receive a certificate of completion. The certificate must be filed with the court.

    MADD VIP programs tend to fill up rapidly. Therefore, a person required to attend the program should sign up as soon as possible.

    A court in Los Angeles will establish a deadline by which the MADD VIP program must be completed. If a defendant fails to complete the program within the timeframe established by the court, a judge is likely to issue an arrest warrant. A defendant faces the prospect of having his of her probation revoked.

    Initial Consultation with Los Angeles DUI Attorneys

    Upon being arrested for driving under the influence, an individual is wise to schedule an immediate initial consultation with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. As a general rule, a DUI attorney charges no fee for this preliminary appointment.

    A first-time DUI defendant can find out more about the MADD VIP program during an initial consultation. In addition, legal counsel will provide a prospective client with an evaluation of the case. This will include possible defense to a DUI charge as well as what to expect upon conviction. A person facing a DUI prosecution also has the opportunity to get answers to questions.

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