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Some people who are found guilty of a DWI may be required to attend a VIP or a Victim Impact Panel. This is a special meeting where the defendant must listen to the testimony of drunk driving victims or the testimonies of their loved ones about how a choice to drive drunk changed their life or the lives of people around them.

The activist group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) usually organizes victim impact panels, and a judge may order you to attend one as part of your sentence. Here’s everything you need to know.

The Purpose of MADD Victim Panels

One of the primary goals of victim impact panels is to discourage the blame of a DUI offender. Instead, the aim is to help the person gain the awareness needed for rehabilitation. Rather, VIPs’ purpose is to help the offender understand how their actions have serious and sometimes even deadly consequences.

A VIP allows victims of drunk driving incidents or family members to tell their stories while raising awareness about the dangers of DUI. By raising awareness and helping offenders learn how to make better choices, victims of drunk driving incidents can help reduce how many intoxicated people choose to get behind the wheel, thereby reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road. VIPs also provide defendants with the chance to learn about the consequences of driving under the influence that they may not have previously understood.

Is being a VIP the Same As Attending DWI Classes?

VIPs are different from DWI classes in the state of Maryland. If a person is guilty of driving while intoxicated, it may be mandatory that they attend either DWI school or a VIP, or a judge may even order a defendant to attend both. During DWI classes, victims are often not given a lot of leeways to share their personal stories. Instead, the aim is to teach facts about drunk driving, how to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC), state DWI regulations, and the consequences for additional DWI convictions going forward.

Get Help From a Maryland DWI Defense Lawyer Today

After a DWI arrest, call Maryland DWI defense attorney Richard Brueckner for help as soon as possible. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Brueckner has the inside information needed to aggressively represent your case. Call now for a consultation by dialing 410-430-1464.