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Getting jail time for drunk driving with suspended license? “That’s hot!”

Millions of strangers watching you have sex? “That’s hot!”

Snorting coke in a dirty bathroom at a club? “That’s hot!”

Snagging a DUI while proudly dangling a sobriety shield from your rearview mirror, only to collapse at a club the next night and check into rehab a second time at age 20? ...Priceless.

Our daughters are bombarded with images of scantily-clad celebrities, stumbling in the street, only to take a drunk-driving joy-ride around town in their $400,000 Mercedes. Celebrity gossip is thrust upon us by radio, TV, magazine covers and pop-up ads. I am sickened by the messages that pop icons are sending my daughter: that underage drinking, drugs, and driving under the influence are tolerable. These celebs and heiresses should be setting a better example.

Gone are the days when our daughters looked up to a poised Mary Tyler Moore or Jackie O. Those women valued their public image built upon morality (even if it wasn’t really the case). Once upon a time, it was embarrassing for celebrities to be caught doing something naughty. Today these wild girls have made it commonplace to misbehave. Web sites like Perezhilton.com even celebrate bad behavior. While some argue the effect of widespread exposure of bad girl antics won’t lead “ordinary” girls to mimick their behavior, I disagree. If these are the role models for our children, it’s very likely our girls will copy the celebrity behavior, especially because they are seen as the new “it” girls.

It seems that celebs are arrested for driving while intoxicated without so much as batting a false eyelash. Some of Hollywood’s most notorious bad girls — Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Britney Spears — have all recently been accused of drunk driving and/or doing drugs.

The legal blood alcohol content for driving in all states is .08. That means for a 120 pound female, legal intoxication can be reached in as few as two drinks. Need I mention that celebutantes such as Richie are estimated to weigh 85 pounds? Meaning it takes even less than two drinks to legally intoxicate her past the point of safely driving a vehicle. Furthermore, though this is the legal limit, many people experience significant impairment before the legal point of intoxication! And let’s be honest, who believes these girls are only having two drinks?

In Hollywood, overusing drugs or alcohol, followed by rehab, is commonplace and celebs do so with impunity. But unlike Hollywood-land, though real world employers are not as forgiving and many would face a chance of losing their job. Repeated rehab stints followed by a quick retreat back to bad habits have provided temporary sanctuary from retribution. But this isn’t monopoly, and rehab should not be used as a get out-of-jail free card! This sets a horrible example for our kids. Spears and Lohan went drinking days after their “rehabilitation.”

Until recently most of these girls have avoided any real consequences for drunk driving or doing drugs — thanks to their expensive lawyers. However, celebrities should not be above the law merely because they can afford clever lawyers. These Hollywood bad girls deserve punishment, not pity. If these emancipated youngsters are going to take part in adult activities then they must accept adult responsibilities. Having access to such providential lifestyles and tempting adult parties at such a young age should be considered a privilege, not a pardon for bad choices.

I’m not necessarily suggesting that hard time in prison is the best fit punishment for the crime, but whatever happened to community service? Public reprimand and apology? Something to show America that this behavior is not condoned? At the MTV Movie Awards, the pre-show host declared her deepest sympathy to Hilton for her jail sentence. That is absurd. That is what happens when you break the law Paris …you go to jail! Would anyone feel such sympathy if Paris were the town alcoholic driving around in a beat up car and terrorizing the streets by driving drunk late at night? I think not.

Authorities finally seem to be cracking down on this out of control behavior. Richie awaits her punishment after being arrested for DUI in December 2006. Hilton is in jail. Lohan was recently arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence after she crashed into the curb. Did I mention Lohan is not even of legal drinking age?

Must we remind police that these girls are not just endangering themselves but other innocent drivers and pedestrians? According to the Insurance Information Institute, there is an alcohol-related traffic fatality in the United States every 31 minutes and an alcohol-related traffic injury every two minutes.

“To whom much is given, much is expected.” (Luke 12:48) These girls are given a lot at such a young age: money, fortune and fame. With this comes the scrutiny of the public eye and a responsibility to set a good example for their young fans and stop acting like heir-heads!

Sources:

Delayed effect, if see behavior going unpunished might entertain that as an option.
CA Drunk Driving Laws
Paris’ car/Price
Positive Family TV Affects Children
Perez Hilton on Britney
Richie DUI
Paris jail time
Lindsay booked
Legal drinking limits
CA DUI penalties
CA DUI law
How DUI affects insurance
Alcohol related deaths
SC cases
Brooklyn law student
Nicole Richie Arrested on DUI Charge
Lohan Checks Herself Back Into Rehab

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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.