1. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Crime and Punishment

    Discussion in 'Research' started by deadrats, Sep 7, 2016.

    I'm working on a prison story and I want the crimes of my characters and their punishments to be realistic. I also want to keep the location somewhat ambiguous and I know some laws change state to state. How much time could you get for vehicular manslaughter? What kind of deal could you get if you wanted to avoid a trial? What if the driver was drunk? I assume that could make things much worse. And now I am wondering if drunk driving is too cliche. One of the other characters has been in and out of jail for much of his life. What are some interesting petty crimes that could result in that? And then I have a character who is locked up for a year or two. I want it to be a somewhat milder crime, maybe something that you wouldn't think had the potential of landing you in jail. The story is already written, but I'm rethinking my crimes and punishments. I'm not really trusting myself and my googling research. It would be great if you guys want to help me out with this one.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It varies depending on several factors. Was the person drunk? If so, then it could mean decades in prison. In some states, it's five years.

    A lot of repeat offenders are there for drug-related crimes. Possession with intent to distribute could land you two years depending on amount and the type of drug.

    Assault is another one that could land someone in jail for a couple of years. Those are some common ones that come to mind.
     
  3. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    In my first draft he wasn't drunk. I was thinking of maybe making him drunk to give him more jail time, but hasn't drunk driving been done a million times? I'm so unoriginal sometimes. I kind of think that about drug crimes and lifestyles, too. Plenty of people have already done that. And I didn't want any junkies in this story. I was trying to think of crimes that were maybe a little less typical. I know. I know. I'm the writer. But I like talking to you guys on here and thought maybe you would share some ideas, at least as a springboard that might get me thinking a little differently.

    Thanks for your help, thirdwind. Let me know if you come up with anything else.
     
  4. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Maybe canabis ? Driving while high is a coming thing in terms of vehicular offences and smoking a lot og herb is as least as hard on your reflexes as alcohol, or for that matter Cocaine /speed - uppers are a bugger for complicated tasks like driving safely because although they make you more alert, they also vastly boost your self confidence making you take risky chances and drive aggressively.

    I'm not american but i'd amagine that as the charge is DUI driving while intoxicated , it wouldnt matter what you were intoxicated with when the offence occured
     
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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  6. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Thanks for commenting. I think using pot instead of alcohol would be more interesting, but I just really didn't want drugs in this story. I feel like it's hard enough to pull of a prison story. I just don't want to include things that might come across as cliche or the obvious choice or something that's been done to death. I'm not even sure if the manslaughter charge is a good one or not. I wanted this character to have done it (or something), but he didn't mean to hurt anyone. Does that make sense? If this character was doing drugs, then he was already taking part in criminal activity (though I think pot should be legal). It just really doesn't fit with the character I created. And in the draft I have, he was not drinking. It just felt like there needed to be another element to it.

    Maybe vehicular manslaughter isn't the write crime. What other crimes can you commit without meaning to hurt anyone but you still do?

    Then I have the other two criminals. They have place-saver crimes in the story right now. And I think this story has the potential to be one of my best, but right now it doesn't feel as fresh or unique of a story, and I think that is because I haven't really thought through the crimes or come up with ones that fit. I don't know. Does anyone steel cars anymore?
     
  7. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I know you can google anything. That really wasn't the point, but thanks for implying I was too lazy to look into anything on my own before posting here.
     
  8. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Hit someone in self defense and they fall and hit their head on the kerb and die of a brain hemorrhage ( I dunno that would be man slaughter in the UK , US law might be more lenient on self defense) , Shoot some accidentally whilst thinking they were an intruder (like Oscar Pistorius allegedly did), some sort of culpable negligence ... fixed someones car cocked it up and they died.

    Also on the vehicular homicide thing could he be texting while driving , or looking at the internet (posting on a writers forum :D )

    On your latter point Twocking (from take without consent written as twoc on the charge sheet) is stll a thing in the UK - that is stealing cars to race and joyride rather than for profit. I don't know about the US
     

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