Advocacy group calls on Chatham County’s DA to reconsider policy dealing with punishment of DUI cases

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 7:15 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - An advocacy group for those affected by drunk driving incidents is calling on Chatham County’s top prosecutor to reconsider a policy dealing with punishment for those accused of driving under the influence.

It was a concerned citizen that first tipped off Mothers Against Drunk Driving Executive Director Denise Brodsky that District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones’ office was looking to prosecute DUI cases differently.

So at the end of last month, MADD sent a letter to DA Jones, voicing their strong opposition to what they say is the proposed policy.

“We want the District Attorney’s Office to just listen to us, and consider that what this does, it just lessens the consequences for these drivers and inspires...could inspire repeat offenders,” Denise Brodsky said.

WTOC requested a copy of the rubric detailing prosecution guidelines from District Attorney Jones’ office weeks ago, and have yet to receive one.

But in the copy MADD attached to the letter to the DA, Brodsky says the proposed policy in the rubric would reduce a first time DUI offense to a lesser charge of reckless driving if the circumstances don’t reach certain thresholds.

“That allows that person to continue being unsafe, and making the same mistake over and over again. And that personal choice is really going to, what we believe, is going to create more carnage on the roads,” Brodsky said

Brodsky highlighted stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in her letter, citing drunk driving deaths increased from 2019 to 2020, going from eight to 12 deaths.

Looking at the effect of any proposed weakening on DUI prosecution from a law enforcement perspective, Brodsky believes it would be frustrating.

“Just knowing that person may end up back on the road, I think that emotionally for an officer, weighs heavy.”

So far the District Attorney’s Office hasn’t given us a comment on the letter Mothers Against Drunk Driving sent them, and at last check, had not responded to MADD’s request.

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