All states penalize DUI offenders with fines, possible jail time, and license suspension. But many states also require those convicted of driving under the influence to attend a “victim impact panel” (VIP) to learn about the possible dangers and consequences of drinking and driving.
VIPs are intended to motivate DUI offenders to change by appealing to their empathy for those who have been affected by drunk drivers. In other words, the main goal of these panels is to advance public safety by reducing the probability that DUI offenders will re-offend.
Victim impact panels are generally conducted in a group setting and will include one or more speakers. (Some providers like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) host these panels both in-person and online.) The speakers talk about how they have personally been impacted by an impaired driving accident. VIPs often include speakers who have been injured by a drunk driver or lost a family member in a DUI crash.
VIPs are intended to create empathy, not to shame offenders. The process is non-confrontational. DUI offenders are generally required to attend but don’t have to participate in the discussions.
Many states require attendance at a VIP for anyone who’s convicted of a DUI or participates in a DUI diversion program. In other states, VIPs aren’t mandatory but are one of the possible consequences of a DUI.
Offenders who are court-ordered to complete a VIP generally must pay the cost of the program. VIPs typically cost from $50 to $100.