Marco Muzzo and Blaine Taypotat live in different provinces but they have a lot in common. Both are drunk drivers who crashed while well over the legal limit, and both killed people in the process. Both also received similar jail sentences, with a decade for Muzzo and 9 ½ years for Taypotat.
The similarities in their cases don’t stop there: both cases incited outrage from people who didn’t feel as though the jail time for impaired driving causing death was long enough. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the sentences were appropriate, but the door should always be open for a tougher sentence if the situation calls for it.
What would MADD consider a stiffer sentence? Here are just two of the sentencing guidelines MADD recommends for someone charged with impaired driving causing death.
First impaired driving causing death offense; offender pleads not guilty
If the offender has no history of drunk driving or traffic convictions within the past ten years, they are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under .16, and they plead not guilty in a court of law, MADD feels they should receive four to five years in jail and a lifetime driving ban. The offender will be able to drive again if they install an ignition interlock for four years.
If the offender in this situation were to plead guilty, MADD recommends three to four years in jail and three years with an ignition interlock.
Repeat offender who pleads not guilty
If the offender already has an impaired driving or traffic conviction on the books and they are arrested with a BAC of .16 or lower, MADD believes the offender should receive eight to ten years in jail and a lifetime driving ban. The offender will be able to drive again once they install an ignition interlock, and they’ll have to keep it installed for eight years after they are released from prison.
If the offender made the decision to plead guilty, MADD recommends six to eight years in jail and a lifetime driving ban. The offender would be able to drive again with an ignition interlock for six years.
Although harsh, MADD’s recommended sentences seem in line with what both Muzzo and Taypotat received for their crimes of impaired driving causing death. The only real difference is the lifetime ban on driving and ignition interlock requirement. Maybe that’s something that should be considered by all provinces who really want to stop drunk drivers.