A victim impact panel is a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for a person who was convicted of a DUI offense. This requirement is required by Nevada law in NRS Chapter 484C and must be completed. As a mandatory requirement, a sentencing judge must order that the person convicted of DUI complete this class, and has no discretion to not order the attendance at the victim impact panel, commonly referred to as “VIP.” In some cases, the Victim Impact Panel may have to be attended as part of a negotiation to reduce the original charge of DUI to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving. In other cases, a DUI charge may be dismissed following the completion of requirements such as the VIP.
Many people are confused about what the Victim Impact Panel entails. The panel is typically made up of three (3) people whose lives have been impacted by DUI such as a person whose life has been impacted by DUI, a first responder, and another person convicted of DUI. Victim Impact Panels are often put on by the organization MADD, also known as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or by Court approved counseling service providers.
The person whose life has been impacted by DUI may be a person who was hit by a drunk driver, or the loved one of a person who was killed by a drunk driver. The victim will talk about how his or her life has been changed since then. The victim may be disabled, or disfigured, as a result of the DUI. This portion of a Victim Impact Panel is often a very emotional component and can be difficult to see and/or hear. However, this is the point of the program, to force an individual accused of drunk driving to consider the harsh and permanent consequences of driving impaired.
The first responder can be a paramedic, police officer, or a firefighter. He or she will discuss a DUI call that the individual actually worked on. In a non-confrontational setting, the first responder will discuss how being called to this DUI affected him or her, and will discuss what they witnessed.
The next person on the panel is a DUI Offender. This person may have hit another person and killed him or her, may have caused a serious car accident, or may have just been arrested for a first offense. The fellow DUI offender will discuss how the DUI has made it difficult for him or her following their offense, including the criminal sentencing requirements or the difficulty in returning to daily life with a conviction. The speaker may discuss how he or she would go back and make the decision not to drink and drive.
The Victim Impact Panel has a unique benefit because it has heightened victim sensitivity and awareness, which allows the Defendant to hear the long-term effects of his or her crime. The Defendant is never condemned for his or her choices, but instead is shown how the choices he or she makes can have a serious impact on the lives of others.
The Victim Impact Panel is very serious presentation, but can also be very effective as a deterrent to impaired driving for someone who has been arrested. If you have a DUI case, it is important to remember that hiring an experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney fighting for you will almost always help you dramatically. If you hire Attorney Josh Tomsheck in the early stages of your case, it may be possible to get your charges reduced or dismissed so that you never have to attend a Victim Impact Panel or it may be possible to use the attendance at a victim impact panel to assist in resolving your case in a fashion that is in your best interest. Mr. Tomsheck has handled hundreds, if not thousands, of DUI cases. Past clients who have retained him have had their DUI charges reduced to lesser offenses and in many cases, complete dismissals of all charges. Contact him here for a free consultation.