A Port Orchard man was arrested for his 13th DUI last week, leading some to call for harsher DUI punishments in Seattle. Police report Charles Thomas Sorensen was charged with suspicion of driving under the influence for the 13th time after he was stopped by police for crashing his vehicle into a ditch. In addition to finding an intoxicated Sorensen, police also found an open bottle of vodka and a beer in the car. He will face felony DUI charges as well as a charge for attempting to elude police.
Many people are wondering how a man with this many prior DUI charges could have still been allowed to operate a vehicle. One local radio talk show host, Dori Monson, has some ideas about how to handle what he refers to as the “DUI plague in Washington state”. His ideas include making every second DUI a felony charge that include three to five years in jail and then make every third DUI arrest a life sentence in jail. He believes that this will cause any driver with one DUI conviction to abstain from every drinking and driving again and, if they do, then they are dangerous criminals and should be treated as such.
What Mr. Monson and others like him do not take into account is that some repeat DUI offenders have addition problems. Though this still makes them dangerous to others on the road, getting them treatment would be better for the overall good of society rather them lock them away. A lifetime jail sentence for a non-violent offender is extremely harsh, not to mention, the increased costs citizens will need to be taxed for if prisons become full of repeat DUI offenders. If DUI sentences truly were to become more serious, license revocation or mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) would be much more reasonable punishments. Just because a person has made a few bad judgment calls does not mean they are no longer capable of contributing anything positive to society.