Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A License to Shame?

For the last couple weeks, there has been a car parked on our street that has a red and yellow Ohio license tag. I had no idea what this was until some guest recently informed me that it means the driver has been convicted of multiple DUI's. Apparently, these tags have been available--but rarely ordered by judges--since 1967.

So my questions are:

a) The police can see your driving record simply by running the plate number, right? So, are these tags issued to inform the general public?

b) If this is for the general public, does it actually work if most people (I assume) probably don't know why these tags exist either? (I simply thought they were specialty tags.)

c) If this is for the general public, is this for the purpose of safety? But if I am close enough to notice that their tag is issued from Ohio (and isn't merely an out of state or specialty tag), am I already in harm's way? Would this inform my driving near them in ways that observing their driving (swerving/speeding/etc) would not?

c) Is the real purpose to shame the DUI offender? If so, does this work as a deterrent?

d) Is shame ever a good deterrent? Does it matter if the person is a believer or not?


David Mohler said...

Since you wrote with question marks, I thought I would go to the text itself and use exposition to rightly divide the truth on this topic. Thanks to the Google Concordance, this took about 6 minutes.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, 4511.19, the plates are issued when the "offender’s driver’s or occupational driver’s license or permit or nonresident operating privilege is suspended" AND the court chooses to "grant limited driving privileges". The plate signifies that the driver and/or automobile is restricted to certain driving privileges. The practical application is that the driver may be allowed to go to work and the grocery, but nowhere else.

In that sense, as we now see exposited from the text itself, the court provides a measure of grace, but that grace does not lead to entire sanctification.

The Associated Press link (which may be an uninformed or false teacher) implies a rarity of these plates; anecdotally-speaking, I see these tags frequently as I drive around for my work, especially in certain communities. Now knowing the authoritative text, however, perhaps it could be argued that the more of these plates we see, the more "gracious" the judges are being.

Further exposition of the Ohio Revised Code at 4503.231 clarifies that the restricted license plates "are a different color from those regularly issued and carry a special serial number that may be readily identified by law enforcement officers."

In this text, we see that the plates are not "for the general public" and are not issued under with a concept of heaping "shame", even though that may be a side effect to some degree. The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after.

The person on your street has been convicted and judged of sin. But grace has been given to him/her to continue to live within clearly established parameters.

I'd say there are many, many yellow-and-red plates in churches today. All of us, to whom Grace has been given, bear the marks of our sin. And many of us who have received the grace of God still do not have a sense of shame for those marks, continuing in sin that grace may abound.

danny2 said...

yeah, the ??? were legit and your answers make more sense.

so they are different in color and appearance to tip off the officer, for he is to enforce that they are obeying their restrictions and not just sober.

i think you quite cleverly took this to an allegorical level i never could of, nor am i probably sharp enough to see all the parallels.

(but i'm sure a law guy like peppo ate it up!)

Brad said...

Yes, indeed.