Would An Attempted Murder Charge Deter Repeat Offenders?

The high-profile DUI case stemming from the crash of April 9, 2009 which took the lives of Nick Adenhart, Courtney Stewart, and Henry Pearson as well as internally decapitating(!) Jon Wilhite has come to an end with three 2nd Degree Murder convictions for Andrew Gallo.  Adenhart was a rookie pitcher for the Angels with a promising career, having pitched six scoreless innings earlier that evening.  Gallo was a repeat drunk driver with no regard for human life. 

Regardless of who the parties were, with 12,000 deaths each year, how did this admittedly brutal drunk driving crash rise to the level of 2nd degree murder?  It was actually pretty straightforward!  After his first DUI, Gallo received very specific education regarding the dangers of drunk driving.  But it wasn’t just the training.  Most convicted drunk drivers have to take these sort of classes.  Gallo also signed a court document stating that he understood he could be charged with murder if he killed somebody while driving drunk. 

One third of all drunk driving arrests are repeat offenders.  That’s one third of about a million people each year!  I don’t know how many convicted drunk drivers sign agreements like the one Gallo did, but in his case, it helped to serve justice in the end. 

Obviously, the threat of a murder charge was not enough to stop Andrew Gallo from driving drunk.  And maybe he simply didn’t take it seriously.  But you have to ask yourself, now that we have seen the ultimate potential result of such a contract, would contracts like this deter some people from repeating their offense? 

Let’s say first time DUI offenders who go through court-mandated DUI education had to sign a statement saying they understood the dangers of drunk driving and accepted that if they were arrested for drunk driving again, they could be charged with attempted murder even if there was no crash.  Knowing that ‘contracts’ like this can be fullly executed, would it lower the number of repeat offenders?  Would it be a strong enough deterrent for you?

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Allen Porter
Dedicated to teaching and inspiring the prevention of drunk driving.

5 Responses

  1. Jim james
    Jim james October 18, 2015 at 11:55 pm |

    A first DUI is attempted murder, and should be tried for, either Live inf Prison, or better yet a quick death penalty, NO ONE WILL MISS THEM!!!!. I pray often that these drunks die a painful death, which they deserve!!!!

  2. Jaimi Calfee
    Jaimi Calfee November 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm |

    We lost our 18 yr old daughter and her boyfriend to a repeat drunk driver, 9-9-11 our own 9-11, personal hell on earth. She was our everything. Drunk driving is a joke to our justice system. A complete mockery to our system. A drunk person behind the wheel of a car should be considered controlling a deadly weapon and murder charges should apply, after all she got life in a 3×6 box in the ground for life. I think all the parents of children killed by drunks should join together and march on DC. Make it a public debate and hold congress and our president accountable for the laws that are lacking. It is a publicly accepted crime that kills way more than 9-11 and the war. Hello america wake the hell up!!!!!!!

  3. Ashton's Mom
    Ashton's Mom November 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm |

    Oh, and he’s being tried for murder as well…he also signed the “contract”, called a Watson advisement, acknowledging that he could be prosecuted for murder if he drove drunk and killed. So what will it take with these hardcore repeat offenders?? What will get through to them?

  4. Ashton's Mom
    Ashton's Mom November 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm |

    I lost a 14 year old too, just this May. I said the same thing – I’ve been given a life sentence of sorrow, no chance for parole. No second chance for my daughter, or for me. Why don’t people understand – its completely preventable killing? If this drunk driver had walked into a school room or grocery store and randomly fired a weapon aiming at no one in particular it would be the same as randomly driving his lethal car down the road. He didn’t plan to kill anyone that night, but he took a chance with a potentially lethal behavior, and killed my beautiful daughter. If he had fired a gun there would be no tolerance or discussion. Same difference.

  5. Edward j Varela
    Edward j Varela July 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |


    We are on a mission to stop drunk driving.

    REPEAT—- we need to punish on the first offense. I lost a fourteen year old child to a convicted drunk driver. He was convicted of five felonies, three months in prision five hers probation. How is that right! Ya, let’s wait for the second offense. 15,000 people will die due to the drunk driver. Ya, let’s wait for the second offense. I was given a life sentence of pain, anger, anger, anger, let’s wait for the second offense

    Edward j Varela


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