this space intentionally left blank

June 11, 2006

Filed under: journalism»articles

A cold shot of Justice--on the rocks!

Jessica looks innocent enough: blond, early twenties, pretty but not blindingly so. But underneath that facade is a criminal still under probation. She can't drive a car, miss work, or even leave the state without permission. Jessica (not her real name) isn't a murderer, or a thief. She's just one of the many Virginia residents who were caught drinking and driving--and under Virginia's increasingly harsh DWI laws, she's paying dearly for that mistake.

According to the Virginia State Police, almost 25 thousand drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2005, and a similar number will probably be arrested this year. Even more tellingly, Northern Virginia is a hotspot for these arrests, because it's more populated and easier to police. Fairfax County alone accounts for more than ten percent of the state's DWI arrests each year. When the flashing blue lights urge them to the side of the road, many drivers may not be prepared for the cost they'll pay--a proper cost, many would argue, since drunk drivers are a danger not only to themselves but also to others on the road. Whether the current laws are appropriate or not is out of my purview. But anyone who risks getting into a car with even the slightest amount of alcohol in their system should know what they might be facing if they get caught.

A cautionary tale, soon to be printed in Northern Virginia Magazine (although I'm not sure exactly when). And with that, I am out of freelance assignments. My next goal is to publish in Washingtonian and City Paper. If anyone has any great DC stories, let me know.

Future - Present - Past