Columbia Basin Badger Club Hosts "DUI First Offenders: Crucify o - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Basin Badger Club Hosts "DUI First Offenders: Crucify or Coddle"

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RICHLAND, WA - The Columbia Basin Badger Club hosted a forum today called "DUI First Offenders: Crucify or Coddle."  

The question was: should all first time offenders be treated the same?

Every year, DUI laws become more harsh and for some first-time-offenders, the laws can get a bit fuzzy.

"So I have some sympathy for individuals who are being sent a mix message. And I guess in a sense that coddling was the word they used in this forum. What I would say is that there should be some sympathy applied to those individuals who are right at or around that legal limit," says Brian Roach, DUI Defense Attorney.

"There's no point in risking it. It is never worth it. A cab is always worth it. You can get hundreds of cab rides home for the same coast as your first DUI. So to me, yes its never worth it. If you even have to begin to ask yourself whether you should drive or if you feel buzzed. And I hate using that word. So many people are familiar with it. You absolutely should not drink and drive," says Diana Ruff, Deputy Prosecutor for Benton County.

The consequences of drinking and driving are arrests, property damage, injuries, and thousands of deaths each year. The U.S. Department of Transportation says nationwide three people are killed in alcohol-related highway crashes every 2 hours.

Jail time and fines for a first DUI in Washington State range from one day in jail and a $698 fine, up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.