Key Findings & Observations
The Court Monitoring Program is part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® , started in 2006, to support law enforcement efforts to protect the public from drunk driving. Observing courtroom proceedings is a longstanding traditionofMADD. InDecember 2018, MADDreached 100,000casesmonitoredaspart of theNational CourtMonitoring Program that began in 2015. Many people who have lost a loved one to drunk and drugged driving experience the justice system for the first time, and they are often surprised at how their cases are handled. That’s what drove the creation of MADD over 40 years ago and what drives the Court Monitoring Program today. Impaired driving is still the #1 killer on our nation’s roadways. In 2019 alone, 10,142 lives were lost due to alcohol related impaired driving, which was 28% of all traffic related deaths on U.S. roadways. 2 Based on a reviewof themonitored cases across the United States in 2020, MADDobserved that 63%of drunk driving charges resulted in a guilty conviction. In addition, 18% of the adjudicated cases were dismissed. The conviction rate is slightly higher than in 2019, when MADD’s court monitors noted an average 59% conviction rate with an additional 20% of cases ending with a verdict of either deferred prosecution, amended charge or plea deal. Almost one thirdof impaireddrivingoffenderswerewithin the21-29-year age rangewithmaledefendants representing 73%of impaired driving cases monitored. Lastly, roughly 23%of those arrested on an impaired driving charge had been convicted of at least one previous offense and of cases monitored, 61% of defendants had a BAC of .15 or higher. The accompanying tables featuredwithin this report contain information that elaborate on the key observations above and align with MADD’s mission and key program goals.
Impaired Driving Average Case Disposition
Disposition Sealed / Unable To Determine Disposition Not Guilty Guilty / No Contest Deferred Prosecution Dismissed / Nolle Prosequi / Failure To Prosecute Amended / Plea Deal Bound Over To Circuit Court
Based on cases monitored in 2020, 63% of cases adjudicated were guilty. Of cases monitored, 18% of adjudicated cases were dismissed. Dismissals can occur for many reasons; such as lack of discovery, an officer failing to appear in court or at a hearing, or completion of a deferred program. Deferred prosecution includes a version of informal probation; and upon certain completion of terms, the charge may be expunged from the defendant’s record. MADD monitors dismissals closely and reports findings to local judicial members to address any concerns. MADD aims to promote accountability and believes a guilty charge, rather than an amended charge or deferred prosecution, is the best course of action for the dangerous crime of impaired driving.
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