MADD Influence on DUI in Los Angeles

  • May 26, 2017

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD, is a nationwide organization that has had a major impact on laws pertaining to driving under the influence. MADD had impacted DUI cases in Los Angeles.

    The History of MADD

    MADD was founded by Cindy Lightner in 1980. She started the organization after her daughter was killed by driver operating a car under the influence of alcohol.

    One of the first steps the founder of MADD took was to lobby California Governor Jerry Brown to create a task force. She desired a task force to look into the dangers of driving under the influence

    As a result of the MADD founder’s effort to establish the California task force, the state was the first in the nation to enforce a minimum fine for DUI offenders as well as to require mandatory jail time for repeat offenders. This occurred in 1981.

    Within a short period of time, other states followed and stiffened their own DUI law. At the same time, local law enforcement authorities, like those in Los Angeles, began to more aggressively address the matter of driving under the influence.

    In the aftermath of the California task force, President Ronald Reagan appointed Lightner to serve on the National Commission of Drunk Driving. The Commission made recommendations that were adopted nationwide. These included increasing the minimum drinking age to 21 and imposing a mandatory license suspension upon being arrested for DUI.

    President Reagan aggressively worked to gain adoption of these recommendations across the country. President Reagan reduced federal highway funding to those states that did not initially adopt the increase of the minimum drinking age to 21.

    As an aside, President Reagan himself was a former Governor of California and a Los Angeles resident. He had an immediate, special interest in MADD and the work of Cynthia Lightner because of the California connection.

    MADD is not immune from criticism. Indeed, the founder of MADD has left the organization. She indicated that she is concerned that MADD has fallen away from its initial mission and has become something akin to a temperance organization today.

    One area in which MADD is garnering negative press is in regard to its recent position that the driver’s license of alcoholics should be suspended, whether or not they have a DUI conviction. In addition, MADD is criticized for attacking judges in public who the organization feels have not handed down stiff enough punishments in DUI cases.

    Impact of MADD on Los Angeles Today

    The impact of Mothers Against Drunk Driving continues today in Los Angeles. In recent times, MADD has focused its energy on Ignition Interlock Devices or IIDs. The organization is vigorously working to broaden the use of IIDs in regard to DUI cases.

    Los Angeles is one of a handful of counties in California that requires any person convicted of DUI to install and maintain an IID in their vehicle for a prescribed period of time. The failure to properly maintain an IID after a DUI conviction can result in further sanctions.

    Consult a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

    A person facing the prospect of a DUI prosecution can obtain vital information by consulting with a Los Angeles DUI attorney. This includes learning more about how Los Angeles addresses DUI arrests, investigations, and prosecutions. A lawyer can explain how organizations like MADD have been successful in strengthening DUI laws and practices, including in Los Angeles.

    During an initial consultation, an attorney provides an evaluation of a DUI case. This includes a discussion of possible defenses available in a particular case of driving under the influence. As a matter of practice, there is no charge for an initial consultation with a Los Angeles DUI attorney.

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