I agree - most people who engage in this type of illegal activity think that they won't get caught (otherwise, why do it?). This thinking tends to lessen the risk versus reward analysis from real consideration, at least at the beginnig. And once involved, I'm sure it's hard to stop - if you've already taken the risk, one wants to further the reward.
I think the two examples are different and mutually exclusive. Driving under the influence affects regular citizens who make bad decisions and sometimes have to be "hit over the head" so to speak in order to avoid fines, penalties and possibly Jail. Dealing in counterfeit military products, is an entirely different element. People that are doing this aren't just making bad decisions but they are consciously and coherently making illegal transactions. The higher fines won't affect the problem since I assume the trade results in hefty rewards. Perhaps the higher penalty of Jail would deter some, but most likely not all.
Motivations for behavior are sometimes more complex than we would think. I've also seen the studies that it took increased fines to get drivers to comply with the laws-- even for seat belts and not holding cell phones while driving. Usually the harsher penalties were put in place after advertising campaigns alone proved to have little impact. But more severe punishments do not always deter crime, and murders still take place in states that do have the death penalty.
@Daniel, I totally agree with you that fines alone will not reduce the crime. But higher penalty will definitely force people to think before they violate any laws. But the most important point is how effectively those laws are implemented.
Although I agree with the core of your thought that harder punishment and bigger fines do not solve the problem, I dont think it is the same the example with alcohol and the problem with the counterfeits. Before starting to say that 20 years is a lot of years in prison or not for an offense like counterfeiting, we must see the profile of the people that doing the offense.
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