Oklahoma's Oldest DUI Defense Firm

Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

What to expect at a victim impact panel

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | DUI - Drunk Driving |

Oklahoma law accounts for multiple types of drunk driving that encompass various punishment levels. They include:

  • DUI – Driving under the influence
  • DWI – Driving while impaired
  • APC – Actual physical control
  • DUI with a child in the vehicle
  • Felony DUI if the arrest occurred within ten years of the first DUI
  • Manslaughter

Regardless of the type of drunk driving conviction, mandatory attendance at a meeting of those victimized by drunk driving is another punitive measure that can make a difference.

A tragic gathering

Victim impact panels encompass a group of people impacted in one way or the other by drunk driving. Gathering together, they tell the tale of the death or injury of loved ones. Pictures are shared as they reveal the impact on their lives and those of family members.

In some cases, a previously convicted individual will be involved in the proceedings. Countless states, including Oklahoma, mandate that those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol attend the meeting to offer both perspectives.

If you are an offender required to attend these meetings, your attendance is not about public shaming. Finger-pointing and harassment are not what happens at these meetings. The goal is for the victims to relay their tragedies to deter a first-time offender from repeating their mistake that may have or did have a significant impact on a family.

Victim impact panels are but one tool that exists to combat drunk driving. Ignition interlocks exist not even to provide the option of driving drunk. Yet, the stories that victims tell paint a clear picture of the post-accident trauma that forces perpetrators to understand the damage done.

An arrest for DUI does not mean that a conviction is imminent. Having a skilled and experienced attorney with comprehensive knowledge of the law can mean the difference between acquittal and conviction, not to mention the consequences that come with a guilty verdict.