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Alaska Misdemeanor Sentences, 1981: Special Report on Driving While Intoxicated Sentences

NCJ Number
Date Published
33 pages
Court data for 1981 cover offender profiles, case processing, and sentencing for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Alaska, compared to similar data for other misdemeanors.
Although DWI defendants comprised only 28.7 percent of all defendants studied, they accounted for two-thirds of the jury trials, 35.8 percent of the jail days sentenced, and 54.6 percent of the fines imposed. Seventy-five percent of the DWI jail days and 25 percent of all misdemeanor jury trials involved DWI recidivists, who constituted just 7.5 percent of the total misdemeanor sample. DWI defendants tended to be older, more likely to be employed, and more likely to be caucasian than other misdemeanants. DWI defendants were also more likely to be released on their own recognizance, more likely to be represented by an attorney, and had a greater likelihood of a jury trial. DWI sentences were consistent throughout the State and reflected statutory sentencing mandates. New laws effective on October 17, 1983, impose stiffer penalties for DWI than those mandated in 1981. Based on the 1981 data, this study projects that the 1983 laws will increase jail time for first offenders, increase fines for recidivists, produce a larger number of recidivists, and yield more convictions on related charges, such as driving with an invalid license. 20 tables. (Author summary modified)