Actually preventing DUI is the goal, right?

I’ll be intently following the political future of Randall Scannell in Green Bay. I know zero about his political beliefs or party affiliation. What I do know about the man, though, I like.

He’s all for eliminating parking tickets for drunks.  “What?????? He’s going to REWARD people for getting drunk?” You heard it right- no tickets for drunks. He’s not “rewarding” anybody, though.

Actual Effects Are More Important Than Theoretical Debates

Law and politics are, sadly, too much like Philosophy- lots of people with strong opinions sitting around in a room talking about what should (or will) happen in the “out there” world if everybody in the world acted (or was forced to act by passage of law) in the way they wanted. “Cut taxes and nobody will starve.” Or, “raise minimum wage and nobody will s Continue reading “Actually preventing DUI is the goal, right?”

Here’s Your Zero Tolerance on DUI: The Zamboni Guy Is In Jail. Happy now?

The Good Old Hockey Game. Its the Best Game You Can Play.

I’m going to let a little secret out here: I play hockey. It’s not a very exciting secret, I know. It probably shouldn’t even be a secret.  It is, though. You know why?  Because I play hockey poorly. Like, really bad.  I’m at the bottom of the talent ladder on a hockey team that’s at the bottom tier of a bottom league at the rink.  We’ve got some good skaters, too.  We still don’t win.  It’s not their fault. Know what I’m saying? Continue reading “Here’s Your Zero Tolerance on DUI: The Zamboni Guy Is In Jail. Happy now?”

Why Do Cops Let People Drive Drunk?

You know how drunk drivers are a danger?  They cause accidents?  You know how they kill people?  You know how we can’t tolerate having impaired drivers on the road?  You know how we are so gung-ho on punishing DUI that we won’t even tolerate a drunk driver pulling off the road to “sleep it off”?

Maybe none of that is true. Maybe it’s ok to let a drunk drive for a little bit. Or maybe keeping drunks off the road isn’t really as important as letting drunks on the road so we can then take them off the road and look like we’re doing some sort of good work.  I don’t know.

I do know that last week I was watching a hearing on a DUI case up in good, old Woodstock, Illinois, McHenry County, U.S.A.  From what I gathered (I missed a part), a cop was outside a bar late one night watching patrons as they leave. Nothing illegal about that- it seems that that’s the sort of place drunk drivers might be coming from.  Good policing there.

Our hero watched a man leave the bar and cross the street. Apparently the man stumbled or fell… his movement was so obviously impaired by what was likely alcohol that the officer moved his car around to get a better view of where the guy was going.  From the second spot, the officer watched the man get in the car and start it all up.

Then the officer did exactly what you’d expect him to do… Nothing.  Once the man started the car and drove away, the officer followed.  Of course, the man who couldn’t walk couldn’t drive either and, after watching him swerve all over the road the officer pulled him over and ended up arresting him for DUI.

Good police work you say?  I don’t know.

Can’t a drunk driver kill somebody in a blink of an eye? Isn’t no distance the acceptable distance for an impaired driver to drive?  Or, is there some magic rule that a drunk driver can’t plow into an innocent family as long as a cop is watching?  Shouldn’t DUI prevention actually mean prevention regardless of who is watching?  Safety is safety, right?

I know what you’re saying- this is America and a cop can’t tell the dude he’s not allowed to drive.  I agree with that. But, this is also America and a cop can walk up to a drunk man, tell him that if he drives he’s going to get pulled over before he gets out of the parking lot, and strongly suggest the man call a friend or a cab.  If cops can talk people into confessing to murder (even murders they never commit) can’t they talk people out of driving?  Maybe my way is just silly.

My way doesn’t risk a drunk man on the street possibly killing somebody, though.  My way doesn’t leave open the possibility of a high-speed pursuit with a drunk man at the wheel. My way also doesn’t net anybody an arrest or another smiley face on the record from AAIM.

My way keeps the streets safer, though.  Isn’t that really what’s most important?

DUI and McHenry. Is the extra spending worth it?

It’s getting weird in the DUI world.  If you haven’t been paying attention, DUI arrests are on a sharp decline.  They were way down a few years ago, and they are currently down from even those numbers.  You’d think that would be a good thing, right?  You’d think police departments would beating their chests and issuing press releases touting how their cutting edge enforcement efforts have finally worked. Or talking about how the smoking ban in bars has cut down on DUI. Or telling us how great this brutal winter was at keeping drunks off the road.

Apparently, they’re not.  Some of them are doing quite the opposite… they’re telling us how they need to change the way they do things. They’re telling us how they need to spend more money.  They’re telling us, loud and proud, in this article today: Continue reading “DUI and McHenry. Is the extra spending worth it?”

Driver sober AND get pulled over.

Nothing warms my jaded, criminal defense attorney heart more than when law enforcement comes up with cute catch phrases.  I’ve always loved it when Illinois State Troopers talk about the “Fatal 4”.  I especially love “click it or ticket” because the Illinois law really only lived up to a “watered down” version of the phrase until the decidedly “big government” Bush administration tied changes in the law to eligibility for federal funding:

SENATE BILL 50: Primary Seat belt Legislation
The new law changes the Illinois Vehicle Code’s seat belt law from a “secondary” violation to a “primary” violation. Formerly, law enforcement officials could not stop a motor vehicle solely on the basis of a violation of the seat belt law. This law removes that exception, enabling law enforcement officials to stop vehicles solely on the basis of seat belt violations. The law provides that a law enforcement officer may not search or inspect a motor vehicle, its contents, the driver or a passenger solely because of a violation of this law. The law took effect immediately upon signing by the governor. Illinois is the first state this year to enact primary safety belt legislation and the 19th state across the country.

No discussion of cute-catch-phrases-tied-to-federal-funding would be complete without “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over” though.  As I explained back in December, that propaganda (and, more accurately, the funding behind it), is why you start seeing news of all the “checkpoints” that pop up everywhere around the holidays (I really should go back to see exactly how many St. Charles DUI arrests were made as a result of that weekend… and then check that number against the number of DUI arrests made on a “normal” weekend to see if the the money and resources spent were actually justified).

Nevertheless, I’m very saddened to read today that not everywhere lives by “drive sober or get pulled over.”  In fact, in Wisconsin, it looks like they’ve bought into quite the opposite- drive sober and get pulled over:

Tanya Weyker was hurt so badly, she couldn’t blow into a breath-testing device or perform field sobriety tests. But a Sheriff’s deputy arrested her for drunk driving anyway. And the County hung those charges over her head for nearly a year, even long after blood tests proved she was perfectly sober.

Wait. She was just driving down the road and got a DUI?  Nothing is that simple. Obviously, there’s a catch.  That catch is that you’ve got to let the cop run into you, first (and lie about it, second):

A Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy rolls through a stop sign and causes a violent crash. So why was the victim placed under arrest?
A FOX6 Investigation finds that a deputy’s changing story may have changed one woman’s life forever.
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Continue reading “Driver sober AND get pulled over.”