Most people are familiar with “The Scarlet Letter” and the themes that the story entails. Well, one of the themes from this story has been applied in the real world when it comes to drunk drivers. The idea from “The Scarlet Letter” is that by marking a person with a red “A,” it will shame them for their transgressions.
The way this is being applied today to drunk drivers is that those who are accused of a DUI (usually those who commit multiple offenses) must use special plates that identify them as a DUI offender. Here in the state of Minnesota, the way this works is that if someone gets at least two DUIs in a 10-year period, they must have a plain white license plate to signify their status as a repeat DUI offender.
It’s certainly an interesting concept, though whether or not this truly embarrasses the individual is unknowable. What is of greater importance is whether these license plates actually deter people from driving drunk. That is also unknown, though it seems clear that the police will be far more alert when near a “Scarlet Letter” license plate. That could make someone an unfair target.
We bring this topic up just as a warning to those out there with DUIs on their record. A specialty plate like this can be embarrassing, and it certainly can draw the attention of law enforcement. You need to fight for your rights after you have been charged with a DUI, regardless of your past. The stakes are simply too high to do anything else.
Source: Lancaster Online, “‘Scarlet letter’ license plates mark repeat DUI offenders,” Gil Smart, May 14, 2015