Posted by Jim Yeargan in Atlanta DUI Law on February 23, 2015
Judges in the Metro Atlanta area have been sentencing more and more people convicted of DUI’s, drug and alcohol offenses, and even Possession of Marijuana to a MADD Victim Impact Panel. 10 years ago, when I was a prosecutor, MADD Panels were just being introduced to the courts.
Today, many courts have taken to these panels, and are quickly sentencing people to attend them.
What Is A MADD Victim Impact Panel?
A MADD Victim Impact Panel is a 2-hour lecture put on by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Attendees meet in a large meeting room or auditorium. The MADD Victim Impact Panel usually brings in 150 to 200 people depending on the panel’s location. The attendee sits in the auditorium and listens to a panel discussion.
The panel consists of people whose lives have been affected by drinking and driving. Many panelists have lost loved ones to drunk driving while others have been permanently injured from accidents caused by drunk driving. The attendee is not required to participate in the panel. The attendees’ main function is to sit quietly and listen.
When And Where Are The Panels?
MADD keeps an updated list of times and locations for the MADD Victim Impact Panels. Most locations only have a panel once a month so it is important to plan in advance as these panels fill up quickly. A list of MADD Victim Impact Panel times and locations is available here.
How Much Is The MADD Victim Impact Panel?
Most MADD panels are $50. You should bring a money order, or certified bank check. Be sure to show up one hour early for pre-registration.
You cannot register ahead of time for most of the panels. Some of the panels will breathalyze attendees before the panel begins. There is a separate $15 testing fee if you are selected for testing.
Do Not Show Up Drunk!
I’m not being funny. As I just mentioned some of the MADD panels will randomly test attendees for the presence of alcohol.
If you show up to the panel and test positive for alcohol, you could be arrested for being drunk in public. Further, if you are already on probation you are not supposed to consume alcohol.
How Do I Prove I Attended The Panel?
Once you complete the panel MADD will issue you a certificate stating you attended. You may use this certificate as proof of your attendance.
Does The Panel Have To Be Sponsored By MADD?
Whether or not the panel has to be sponsored by MADD depends on the judge. Some judges require people to attend MADD Victim Impact Panels. Other judges allow people to attend victim impact panels. Many of these victim impact panels are sponsored by defensive driving and DUI schools.
This blog focuses on MADD panels and does not pertain to victim impact panels presented by other companies or organizations.
If you have questions about a MADD Victim Impact Panel or anything at all, please do not hesitate to contact us.