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What is a Victim Impact Panel?

Victim Impact Panels provide a forum for victims of DWI to tell a group of offenders about the impact of the crime on their lives and on the lives of their families, friends, and neighbors.
At most panels involve offenders and victim speakers, telling their stories in a non-judgmental, non-blaming manner. While some time is usually dedicated to questions and answers, the purpose of the panel is for the victims or offenders to speak, rather than for the victims and offenders to engage in a dialogue.

Dr. Richard Roth, PhD is a Citizen Lobbyist who has developed a DWI Impact Panel that differs from the rest.
Dr. Roth has a general understanding that DWI Offenders do not have the concept of any wrong doing, so he immediately puts the audience at ease by assuring them that he does not view them as criminals who intentionally rob, rape, assault, or kill others.
Dr. Roth addresses their arrest in a non-judgmental manner and proceeds to educate them about "What is a Drink", setting up a table with mock samples of beer, wine, and liquor.
Most Drinkers do not know how much alcohol impairs their driving skills and increases the risk of injuring or killing someone. As Dr. Roth demonstrates how much of each beverage will take them to the .08 BAC and how much the crash-risk is increased, you can see that the offenders are truly giving their undivided attention to this demonstration.

Dr. Roth usually has recovering alcoholics speak to the offenders about their own experiences. Alcoholics speak first-hand about how their drinking affected their family, friends, work, and driving risks. Some of them have been injured because of their own actions, and that makes the audience relate to the fact that they can also be injured and kill themselves.

The Victims of DWI are prepared before hand to address the offenders in a non-judgmental fashion. Their main function is to relate their tragedies as examples of what could be caused by another attempt by the offenders to drink and drive.
Victims are urged to assume that the offenders have no intention of killing or injuring anyone. Victims have a close proximity to the audience so they can pass around pictures of the loved one they have lost, answer questions and even at times get a hug. Some Victims also show short videos to further illustrate their stories.

Near the end of the session, questionnaires are passed to the offenders to give them the opportunity to give anonymous feedback on the panel and to offer suggestions. The feedback from the offenders indicates that the panels are an eye-opening experiences for most attendees.

This is Margaret's story.
Her 15 year old daughter was taken by
a DWI Repeat Offender.
This is Kenny's story.
Kenny had multiple DWI offences and
shares his sobering experience.
Alcohol is an equal opportunity life destroyer!

This is Bill's story.
He was injured in a DWI crash, lost his job
and a year and a half later, still suffer injury
realated consequences.
This is Mike's story.
Mike lost his beloved father to a repeat
DWI Offender and a few years later,
he hears that knock at the door once again.

This is Juan's story.
Juan is a recovering alcoholic
and runs The Sober House in Santa Fe.
Juan has lost several siblings to alcoholism
and dedicates his life into sobering other