More Drunk Drivers Seeking Help in Kent County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

More Drunk Drivers Seeking Help in Kent County

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DOVER, Del.- Delaware Rep. Brad Bennett of the 32nd District has a new home at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington.

"We all have to pay for what we do," said Dorothy May of Dover.

Starting Wednesday, Bennett began serving 60 days in jail after being convicted of drunken driving.

It's something May said could have been avoided.

"Brad admitted his mistake, which I respect, but at the same time he could have been seriously injured or he could have injured someone else's loved one," said May.

Bennett will also have to attend a substance abuse program upon release.

Counselor Maggie Lester with ARB Counseling Services in Dover said Bennett is not alone.

The number of clients needing substance abuse treatment are increasing.

"The programs don't help the people. The people help themselves," Lester said. "If you get someone in front of you that doesn't want to stop drinking, or doesn't want to stop smoking or getting high on the pills, you have a window of time to work with them. Either they're going to get it or they're not going to get it. There's no magic answer.

"You do the best you can as a counselor," she continued. "The bottom line is what does that person take when they leave your office?"

Attorney Alexander Funk said more people are flooding his law office seeking defense counsel in DUI cases.

"I'm noticing potential clients who are everywhere from 18 years of age all the way up to seniors needing our help," said Funk, who is with the law firm Curley, Rodriguez & Benton in Dover.

Funk said he is also noticing harsher punishments for those who break the law.

"I do understand the view in general to be strict with individuals who break the law, but we are entitled to the presumption of innocence. It's something we take very seriously here," said Funk.

Lester said those who are come to her office for help have to want to help themselves.

"No one can make you do anything," she said. "Change comes from within your heart. You have to want to change. You have to want better for your life. I've had clients in here that reality struck when they were on their last breath. All of these traumatic things that could possibly happen to them now all of a sudden they say,  'Well, maybe I should stop now.'"

May, who was mentioned earlier, said people should know not to drink and drive because of the potentially deadly consequences.

"If you don't think about yourself, think about your family and the other families that you could cause so much stress on," May said.

Funk said there is a social stigma when it comes to a DUI.

"This happens to people. It may happen to a friend of yours. It may happen to a loved one. Just because you've been alleged to have operated a vehicle under the influence doesn't make you a bad person," Funk said.

As for Bennett, he will have to pay a $750 fine, serve one year probation and have his license suspended for two years.

Bennett announced he will not seek re-election. 

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