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Drunk drivers in the courts: Legal and extra-legal factors affecting pleas and sentences

Authors
Journal
Journal of Criminal Justice
0047-2352
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
25
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0047-2352(96)00058-x
Disciplines
  • Law

Abstract

Abstract To what extent are pleas and sentences of drunk drivers influenced by legal factors such as offense severity and priors versus extralegal factors such as race and gender? It was found that guilty pleas and sentences were based most heavily on offense severity. Pleas also were based on ethnicity, with Caucasians more than twice as likely to plead not guilty. Although judges often fail to impose mandatory sentences, the judges in this sample always imposed mandatory sentences on drunk drivers.

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