Many Americans are steaming about this summer’s news regarding Phoenix Suns player, P.J. Tucker. The basketball player was pulled over by police officers on May 10 of this year for erratic driving and running a stop sign. A Breathalyzer test confirmed that he had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit. He was charged for failure to abide traffic signs, in addition to the two counts of extreme DUI.
According to police, he was obviously intoxicated, though he claimed that he was simply heading home from an uncomfortable situation and had only a beer. This was reported by Fansided in July.
The part that has really upset the public, however, is the punishment doled out for Tucker’s willingness to endanger the mass population by taking to the road in an intoxicated state.
As it turned out, the denial of his $16.5 million paycheck was the bigger punishment and that was made known to him by the Phoenix Suns. The court system seemed rather forgiving of the whole ordeal. Due to the blood alcohol level being over the .20 mark, this was considered a case of extreme DUI. He faced a 45-day jail sentence for his actions, but this was not upheld. Instead, the penalty was drastically reduced. He will be behind bars for just three days and kept under house arrest for the remainder of the two-week punishment. The question asked by millions of Americans is whether or not the same light sentence would be handed out had the perpetrator been an average American.
In truth, an average St. Petersburg citizen could be quite harshly punished. Fines of $1,000 to $2,000 would be assessed for a BAC of .15 or greater. Repeat offenders will generally pay a heftier fine for each offense. Third time offenders, with BAC of .15 or higher, for instance, would pay a minimum of $4,000. This is in addition to jail time, probation, and license revocation.
Jail time could extend for as long as nine months with up to one year of probation and a license suspended for up to 180 days. That is just for first-time offenders. The penalties can get much harsher for those who fail to learn their lesson. Fourth convictions result in the permanent revocation of a license.
The real reason for DUI laws is to protect the public. The laws have taken a strong stance on the side of the victims in recent decades. A person guilty of DUI, having caused a fatal accident, can be charged with manslaughter. That is a felony offense and could result in a jail sentence of up to 15 or 30 years depending on the facts of the case. People guilty of this crime can also be brought to personal injury court to cover the costs associated with medical care, repairs, and emotional loss.
Though Tucker did not injure anyone, he certainly could have. This is a serious crime that should not be taken lightly. If you are harmed by a drunk driver, you should contact a personal injury attorney about your rights to collect damages for the losses suffered. You shouldn’t be afraid to travel the Saint Petersburg highways.