Kiefer Sutherland Takes D.U.I. Deal for 48 Days in Jail

Actor Kiefer Sutherland has pleaded "no contest" to his latest D.U.I. arrest and will likely serve 48 days in jail. It's his 4th alcohol-related driving offense.

The Los Angeles city attorney's office, as part of a plea deal with Sutherland, recommended that he be sentenced to 48 days in jail. The sentence would reflect 30 days for the misdemeanor charge and 18 days for violating probation on a separate 2004 DUI case.

But Sutherland could be sentenced to as much as a year if the judge who took over the case Tuesday, Stuart M. Rice, rejects the plea deal.....Under the plea deal, a related misdemeanor charge, driving under the influence, was dropped.

The story of his latest arrest is here.

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    Well, (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Oct 10, 2007 at 12:36:42 PM EST
      you previously remarked about the lightning speed with which Sutherland and his lawyers resolve his legal troubles. Rightly or wrongly, stepping up and agreeing promptly to plead guilty without causing the State and the court to expend time and resources does often result in a better outcome.

    Should include some (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 04:01:14 PM EST
    waterboarding in the first 24 hrs to see if he knows the location of any other DUI drivers.

    They'll never hold him. The prison hasn't been .. (none / 0) (#1)
    by jerry on Wed Oct 10, 2007 at 12:09:19 PM EST
    built yet.

    I think he'll be out by the third act (maybe the third episode.)

    All that said, I am agnostic towards his drinking, his partying, or even his showing up in a sex tape.

    But if there is a god, we won't see his junk exposed when he steps out of his car.

    I want to retain some good thoughts towards his roles.

    (He was such a great bully and vampire (none / 0) (#2)
    by jerry on Wed Oct 10, 2007 at 12:10:37 PM EST
    in Stand By Me and The Lost Boys.

    But I am dating myself....)


    Kiefer's sentence vs. Paris Hilton's (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 10, 2007 at 12:28:08 PM EST
    One thought: The same city attorney handled Paris Hilton's case. He's only asking for 18 days on Kiefer's probation violation (which involves an alcohol related driving offense) while he wanted 45 days for Paris' violation (which was for driving with a suspended license with no subesequent alcohol related driving offense.)

    Personal and societal responsibilities (none / 0) (#5)
    by Aaron on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 02:55:20 AM EST
    I have no sympathy for Kiefer Sutherland, a man who makes tens of millions of dollars every year starring in a show that is little more than a propaganda arm of the right wing, disguised as entertainment. Here's a guy who has made his living helping to convince Americans and our young developing children of the belief that in some instances torture is necessary and justifiable. A social regression that in my view is utterly reprehensible and must be condemned. But that's another discussion.

    This actor and celebrity can easily afford to take a car service or a limo everywhere he needs to go for the rest of his life, yet he insists on drinking and driving, no doubt using the defense that his judgment was impaired when he decided to get behind the wheel of his car.  Or, I have a drinking problem that I can't be held responsible for.  At least working class people can make an insufficient resources claim when it comes to calling a cab and leaving their car somewhere, but Sutherland and other wealthy individuals can't even make those pathetic excuses, which the law rightly gives very little if any weight to anyhow.

    I've long thought that offenses like this should be tied to an individual's income.  You get busted for the fourth time in a given period,  and the judge has the discretion to make you cough up 10% of your income, based on your tax returns.  That way someone who makes $10,000 a year will have to fork over, at most, a grand to the court, but someone who makes 10 million a year could be made to come up with a million in cash.

    Now that's the kind of fine that will motivate a wealthy celebrity to hire a driver for $40,000 a year plus benefits, to look after them, and stop them from getting behind the wheel of a car when they're inebriated.  It will also prevent the state from raising fines to levels that are unfair to the poor and middle-class.

    As to jail sentences,  I love these lawyerly discussions about how many days a person should spend in jail after they've been busted for the fourth or fifth time drinking and driving.  These offenses are like speeding or running lights, you know the people that are committing them, like Paris Hilton, are doing it all the time, and maybe get caught 1% to 3% of the time.

    Perhaps throwing people in jail for longer sentences is not the route we want to go, instead we sentence Sutherland and others who commit multiple offenses of this sort, to a year or two of community service, working at a nursing home, cleaning up soiled sheets, bedpans and vomit from people who have been brain damaged or are quadriplegic and bedridden as a result of drunk drivers.  Let Sutherland spend every weekend of his life for a few years helping to take care of these people, so he will come to understand the consequences of dismissing his personal responsibility to the society he lives in.

    Anyone who decides that it's OK to operate heavy machinery (cars) while they are even slightly impaired as a result of your own choices, needs a wake-up call.  

    As those of you who've read my comments in the past on this issue know, I've lost a number of people who were close to me to drunk drivers, and some of those were chronic offenders who went on to kill others before they finally got prison time.  They went on for years without being held accountable, not only by the system, but by their friends and family who were well aware of what they were doing, but chose to overlook their behavior. I count my own family members among the ranks of such people.

    Just the other night I was at a get together for people from a blog we all know and visit, at a local bar and eatery, and someone I was talking to was obviously under the influence and significantly impaired. I asked them if they were driving.  "Of course, I don't live very far away" they responded.  I didn't say anything because I didn't know this person and was reluctant to embarrass them or impose myself in what polite society tells me is their business, perhaps I should have though because I have no doubt that there obvious impairment increased the risk to themselves and everyone else on the roadways when they got behind the wheel.  So I guess that makes me something of a hypocrite.  And herein lies the problem, the strong inhibitions that seem to be deeply embedded in us all when it comes to addressing this issue in social situations.

    If we as a society allows people to get away with this kind of behavior, and people die as a result, before you know it distraught grieving relatives of those who have been killed or maimed for life, will start taking the law into their own hands, and I need not go into where that leads.

    Most everyone who drinks or imbibes in some kind of drug, is guilty of operating some kind of motor vehicle while they were impaired to some degree, myself included, so we have a tendency to dismiss the danger of someone just having a few drinks and getting behind the wheel of a car. But driving is serious business, which often proves fatal to even the most skilled, alert and sober driver.  

    This is why the courts must show very little tolerance for those who willingly impair themselves.  When we choose to do this, we as individuals must be prepared to shoulder a much larger degree of the burden of responsibility for the danger we all share on the streets and highways, since we are responsible for increasing that danger when we drink and drive.

    I don't know about this bit..... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 09:01:31 AM EST
    I've long thought that offenses like this should be tied to an individual's income.  You get busted for the fourth time in a given period,  and the judge has the discretion to make you cough up 10% of your income, based on your tax returns.  That way someone who makes $10,000 a year will have to fork over, at most, a grand to the court, but someone who makes 10 million a year could be made to come up with a million in cash.

    Do that and no millionaire would be safe from constant harassment on the roadways.  Give the state the ability to collect 100k fines and you'd see random checkpoints up the wazoo in every wealthy neighborhood.

    Selfishly, I'd like that because it would get the cops out of my neighborhood, but it sure ain't just.

    As for the reason behind a reduction in DUI fatalities, I am not convinced that tougher penalties are the reason.  I think education is a more likely reason, more people today realize the dangers of impaired driving than years ago.  Similar to the decline of crack use since the mid-80's, it ain't the enforcement of prohibition laws, it's people wising up that being a crackhead isn't cool.  Same with DUI's, people are wising up to the danger.


    You know me narius.... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 11:59:52 AM EST
    I'm more of the forgiving sort.  

    It takes more than a .09.... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 02:08:19 PM EST
    to convince me of mortal danger.

    Driving is inherently dangerous....all the draconian measures in the world won't change that.


    You make some very good points (none / 0) (#7)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 08:06:14 AM EST
      DUI is perhaps the only crime presenting a high risk of serious injury which is committed by a huge number of people across all social strata. "There but for the grace of God go I" rings true for a lot more people--including cops, prosecutors and judges (not to mention legislators) than with other types of crime.

      When I was young attitudes were very different. when I was in high school DUI basically described a dateless Friday or Saturday night. We didn't just drive home intoxicated; The car was the venue for most of our drinking. the concept of the designated driver did not exist.

      It was illegal but not only were the laws somewhat more lenient, enforcement was often very much more lenient. I was either a driver or passenger several times in cars that were pulled over and no one was ever arrested. I lived in a small town and the cops generally just made you stop driving and if you were young called your parents to come get you.

      At one time significantly more people were killed in alcohol related car accidents than were murdered in this country. Today the number of alcohol related deaths from car accidents is roughly the same as the number of murders. This is due pretty much entirely to the reduction in the number of alcohol related accidents causing death (although the numbers haveleveled off after a rather large drop between the early 80s and mid 90s) and not an increase in the murder rate (although the larger population means more murders in absolute terms-- but that also means the rate of DUI deaths has dropped even more significantly than the absolute numbers suggest).

      It's hard to posit a cause for the decrease in alcohol related traffic fatalities other than tougher laws and more vigilant enforcement beyond the indirect consequnce of those factors causing fewer people to drive drunk.

      However, there is often-- and the stats suggest there is in this area-- a law of diminishing returns. The marginal reduction in behavior modification will likely lessen if we continually set harsher penalties and ramp up enforcement. Also, as with all laws we much balance competing interests. Obviously nothing weighs more in any balancing test than death but numbers and other costs still matter. Are we going to accept the costs of extremely harsh penalties which cost society  a lot of money and damage the lives of many  offenders and their families very severely in order to reduce the number of deaths further? How great a reduction in deaths (and injuries)  compel what level of greater penalties?

      Have we reached the "acceptable balance" with approximately 15,000 deaths under the current regime? Would we consider mandatory lengthy incarceration and permanent revocation of driving privileges for 1st offenders if it would cut the number by 50%? 75? 99?



    A fair price (none / 0) (#6)
    by DUI lawyer on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 03:38:12 AM EST
    I'm not familiar with all of the specifics of Keifer's case but in this instance it seems to be a very intelligent move on his and his attorneys' part by cooperating.  DUI related offenses have been getting a tremendous amount of airtime among celebrity's these days which puts even more pressure on the elected officers of the courts to come down with heavier punishments.

    When a celebrity cooperates and accepts a plea bargain they're basically 'going quietly' and allowing the courts to retain their image.  This keeps voters happy.

    I will say this though... a 4th DUI (not sure what his priors were; they could have been reductions and not actual drunk driving convictions) is a very serious offense w/ some very serious consequences.  If he were to fight it and lose the penalties would be much worse.  From user: dui lawyer.