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Abolish drunk driving laws

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Abolish drunk driving laws Empty Abolish drunk driving laws

Post  Anti Federalist on Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:40 pm

Was going to post this in the NH/Pot/Justin Bieber thread, but figured it needed its own.





Abolish Drunk Driving Laws

If lawmakers are serious about saving lives, they should focus on impairment, not alcohol.

http://reason.com/archives/2010/10/11/abolish-drunk-driving-laws

Radley Balko | October 11, 2010

"People sometimes focus on how many drinks they can have before they'll go to jail," Acevedo told the Austin-American Statesman. "It varies….A person may be intoxicated at 0.05, and you don't want them out driving." Acevedo wants to be able to arrest people with BAC levels as low as 0.05 percent, and he may have support for that idea in the state legislature. John Whitmire (D-Houston), chairman of the state Senate's Criminal Justice Committee, told the Statesman Acevedo's plan "might be one way to go," adding, "Some people shouldn't be driving after one drink—probably below the 0.08 limit—and this could address that."

Bill Lewis, head of the Texas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, agreed. "I don't see how it would hurt," he told the paper. "The level of 0.08 is where we know most people are good and drunk...and there are people who are driving at less than the limit who probably should not be. It might keep some people from driving [drunk] again."

Acevedo, Whitmore, and Lewis are right, although probably not in the way they intended. People do react to alcohol differently. For many people one drink may well be too many, while experienced drinkers can function relatively normally with a BAC at or above the legal threshold for presuming intoxication. A person's impairment may also depend on variables such as the medications he is taking and the amount of sleep he got the night before. Acevedo et al.'s objections to the legal definition of intoxication highlight the absurdity of drawing an arbitrary, breathalyzer-based line between sobriety and criminal intoxication.

The right solution, however, is not to push the artificial line back farther. Instead we should get rid of it entirely by repealing drunk driving laws.

Consider the 2000 federal law that pressured states to lower their BAC standards to 0.08 from 0.10. At the time, the average BAC in alcohol-related fatal accidents was 0.17, and two-thirds of such accidents involved drivers with BACs of 0.14 or higher. In fact, drivers with BACs between 0.01 and 0.03 were involved in more fatal accidents than drivers with BACs between 0.08 and 0.10. (The federal government classifies a fatal accident as "alcohol-related" if it involved a driver, a biker, or a pedestrian with a BAC of 0.01 or more, whether or not drinking actually contributed to the accident.) In 1995 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studied traffic data in 30 safety categories from the first five states to adopt the new DWI standard. In 21 of the 30 categories, those states were either no different from or less safe than the rest of the country.

Once the 0.08 standard took effect nationwide in 2000, a curious thing happened: Alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased, following a 20-year decline. Critics of the 0.08 standard predicted this would happen. The problem is that most people with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.10 don't drive erratically enough to be noticed by police officers in patrol cars. So police began setting up roadblocks to catch them. But every cop manning a roadblock aimed at catching motorists violating the new law is a cop not on the highways looking for more seriously impaired motorists. By 2004 alcohol-related fatalities went down again, but only because the decrease in states that don't use roadblocks compensated for a slight but continuing increase in the states that use them.

The roadblocks are also constitutionally problematic. In the 1990 decision Michigan v. Sitz ,the Supreme Court acknowledged that stops at sobriety checkpoints constitute "seizures" under the Fourth Amendment but ruled that the public safety threat posed by drunk driving made them "reasonable." In the years since, the checkpoints have become little more than revenue generators for local governments. When local newspapers inquire about specific roadblocks after the fact, they inevitably find lots of citations for seat belt offenses, broken headlights, driving with an expired license, and other minor infractions. But the checkpoints rarely catch seriously impaired drivers. In 2009, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, 1,600 sobriety checkpoints in California generated $40 million in fines, $30 million in overtime pay for cops, 24,000 vehicle confiscations, and just 3,200 arrests for drunk driving. A typical checkpoint would consist of 20 or more cops, yield a dozen or more vehicle confiscations, but around three drunk driving arrests.

Checkpoints are only the beginning of what California DWI attorney Lawrence Taylor calls "the drunk driving exception to the Constitution." The Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination has been turned upside down by state laws that instantly suspend the licenses of drivers who refuse to take roadside breath tests. Those breath tests are also fraught with problems. Most manufacturers of breath test machines have refused to turn over their source code, meaning DWI defendants can't assess the machines' margin of error, which can be a significant factor in a case where the difference between 0.80 and 0.79 for a first offense can be $1,000 or more in fines, mandatory alcohol awareness classes, and loss of driving privileges for up to a year.

Blood tests are far more accurate, but by the time a driver is pulled over, questioned, taken to the nearest hospital, and had his blood drawn, his BAC may be significantly different from what it was when he was driving. Perversely, the time lapse can have the effect of protecting guiltier motorists. Imagine a driver pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint after having "one for the road," knowing his house is a short drive away and the last drink won't kick in until he's sitting on his couch. At the time he is stopped, he is under the legal limit. But his BAC is rising, and it tops 0.08 by the time his blood is drawn at the hospital. By contrast, a driver who is impaired when he's pulled over, but who stopped drinking an hour or so before, benefits from the delay, since his BAC is falling by the time he arrives at the hospital.

Many states have tried to solve this problem by claiming another invasive power: They are now allowing police to forcibly take a blood sample on the side of the road.

These ever-expanding enforcement powers miss the point: The threat posed by drunk driving comes not from drinking per se but from the impairment drinking can cause. That fact has been lost in the rush to demonize people who have even a single drink before getting behind the wheel (exemplified by the shift in the government's message from "Don't Drive Drunk" to "Don't Drink and Drive"). Several studies have found that talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, causes more driver impairment than a 0.08 BAC. A 2001 American Automobile Association study found several other in-car distractions that also caused more impairment, including eating, adjusting a radio or CD player, and having kids in the backseat (for more on such studies, see the 2005 paper I wrote on alcohol policy for the Cato Institute).

If our ultimate goals are to reduce driver impairment and maximize highway safety, we should be punishing reckless driving. It shouldn't matter if it's caused by alcohol, sleep deprivation, prescription medication, text messaging, or road rage. If lawmakers want to stick it to dangerous drivers who threaten everyone else on the road, they can dial up the civil and criminal liability for reckless driving, especially in cases that result in injury or property damage.

Doing away with the specific charge of drunk driving sounds radical at first blush, but it would put the focus back on impairment, where it belongs. It might repair some of the civil-liberties damage done by the invasive powers the government says it needs to catch and convict drunk drivers. If the offense were reckless driving rather than drunk driving, for example, repeated swerving over the median line would be enough to justify the charge. There would be no need for a cop to jam a needle in your arm alongside a busy highway.

Scrapping the DWI offense in favor of better enforcement of reckless driving laws would also bring some logical consistency to our laws, which treat a driver with a BAC of 0.08 much more harshly than, say, a driver distracted by his kids or a cell phone call, despite similar levels of impairment. The punishable act should be violating road rules or causing an accident, not the factors that led to those offenses. Singling out alcohol impairment for extra punishment isn't about making the roads safer. It's about a lingering hostility toward demon rum.
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Post  Anti Federalist on Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:53 pm

Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long. - Ron Paul
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Post  WHL on Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:47 pm

Can you imagine if we put today's society back in the old days? The days when there were almost no laws? Horses left their you know what in the streets. Maids threw the pots out the windows. All men carried guns. Just think about it for a while..
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Post  Achigan on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:05 pm

WHL wrote:Can you imagine if we put today's society back in the old days?  The days when there were almost no laws? Horses left their you know what in the streets.  Maids threw the pots out the windows.  All men carried guns.  Just think about it for a while..

"The sun is high in the blue cloudless sky as the cowboy wearing a town Sheriffs badge faces several gunmen in the dusty street. He knows he must face this gang that has terrorized the countryside. Suddenly, he sees movement, and with pistols blazing he quickly and accurately hits each man twice with bullets from his two .45 Colts, then as more bad men appear, he uses his rifle and double-barreled shotgun to scatter them, and bring justice to those that had been harmed."

Yes...lets bring back the days when you could kill someone and just put a tombstone on his grave and kiss his ass goodbye.  scratch 
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Abolish drunk driving laws Empty What Means "Infringed" to a self-described "Wise Latina"?

Post  News Hawk on Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:13 pm

Achigan wrote:"...Suddenly, he sees movement, and with pistols blazing he quickly and accurately hits each man twice with bullets from his two .45 Colts..."

Those old Colts were each engraved with "Peacemaker" for a reason.






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Post  Anti Federalist on Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:36 pm

Numerous links and video at site.

Justin Bieber and “Resisting Arrest Without Violence”

William Norman Grigg

http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/justin-bieber-and-resisting-arrest-without-violence/

Though he is adored as a minor deity in the degenerate world of pop culture, when confronted by a member of the State’s punitive priesthood Justin Bieber is just another Mundane. This explains how the alleged singer has found himself charged with the supposed crime of “resisting arrest without violence.”

Bieber, who was reportedly drunk and uncooperative when stopped by a police officer, attempted to pull his arm away when the cop tried to take him into custody. Because of this reflex action (a healthy and predictable response to being grabbed by an armed and aggressive stranger) Bieber was hit with a charge that is remarkably commonplace in Florida.

Despite the fact that the charge is a logical anomaly, there is nothing unusual about people being arrested for resisting arrest (which is not a legitimate crime, but a long-recognized common law right). Many police officers treat filing a charge of resisting and obstructing as simply part of a well-established ritual – somewhat akin to kicking an extra point following a touchdown.

In 2006, Orlando ABC affiliate WTFV investigated more than 4,000 arrests in which the only charge was “resisting arrest.” That study documented that “prosecutors are rarely forced to prove the cases they pursue, [and] 94 percent of the time the suspects [in the cases studied] pled guilty or no contest right away.”

According to Orlando defense attorney David Bigney, it’s rare to see a case in which a resisting charge wasn’t filed.

“All these people want to know is why, what’s going on here, but the officer decides I’m just going to arrest you,” Bigney pointed out. Once they find themselves caught in the coils of the “justice” system, the victims just want “fast way out. They can’t afford a lawyer or they just want to get it over with, not realizing they potentially have a defense to the charges.”

Pressed to defend the practice of arresting people for resisting arrest Orlando Police Chief Mike McCoy regurgitated the familiar rationale that this is necessary to protect that most precious of all things – shall we say it together? — “officer safety.”

“The street’s not the place to dispute it, the courts are,” McCoy continued, offering a dim but unmistakable echo of the hideous advice once offered to rape victims (“Don’t resist – it will just make things worse”). As noted above, it is all but impossible for a Mundane living in Florida to mount a successful defense against a spurious charge of resisting arrest.

For decades, courts and police departments have insisted that an unjustified arrest is a trivial imposition.

“The law … calls upon citizens to exercise patience, if illegally arrested, because he knows he will be brought before a magistrate, and will, if improperly arrested, suffer only a temporary deprivation of his liberty,” proclaimed a 1966 ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court. Even a “temporary” abduction is a grievous crime, and a single unjustified arrest is sufficient to destroy the victim’s career prospects and social standing. Resisting arrest is dangerous, but submission can leave the victim vulnerable to sexual assault, torture, and death at the hands of people who are clothed in “qualified immunity.”

Most judicial rulings dealing with the right to resist arrest piously instruct the victim of unlawful police violence to eschew “violent self-help.” Florida’s statute is uncommonly perverse in that allows police to criminalize passive non-cooperation, or even desperate acts of non-violent “self-help” by terrified citizens on the receiving end of criminal violence by uniformed aggressors.

Miami resident Gilberto Matamoros was charged with “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest without violence” after two officers unaccountably picked him out of a crowd and began beating him without cause during a 2010 Halloween celebration. A video of the incident showed the officers repeatedly striking him in the head – a lethal force technique that qualifies as attempted murder – as the victim cowered and attempted to ward off the attack.

After being rendered unconscious, Matamoros had to be hospitalized.

The disorderly conduct charge was quickly dropped. However, prosecutors refused to dispose of the “resisting without violence” charge until several months later, thereby forcing he victim to pay and thousands of dollars in legal fees. Matamoros’s attorney, Ricardo Martinez-Cid, pointed out that his client’s supposed crime was to cover his head, rather than passively allowing the assailants to kill him.

Significantly, the behavior for which Matamoros was prosecuted in Orange County, Florida wasn’t much different from that of the late Kelly Thomas, who was murdered on the street by police officers in Orange County, California.

The killers of Kelly Thomas successfully argued in court that the victim’s pathetic attempts at non-violent self-protection justified the use of lethal force to subdue him. This enrichment of the lethal impunity enjoyed by state-licensed aggressors in California will not be lost on their comrades on the other side of the continent – and everywhere in between.
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Post  News Hawk on Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:51 pm

Anti Federalist wrote:"...The disorderly conduct charge was quickly dropped. However, prosecutors refused to dispose of the “resisting without violence” charge until several months later, thereby forcing he victim to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees.

"Smoker" Justin Bieber departed Miami in his private jet.

 Rolling Eyes 

I don't know if Attorney Roy Black has purchased a private jet, but is a far better "criminal" attorney then F. Lee Bailey—or the former "criminal" attorney who defended O. J. Simpson—who did own a private jet.

 No
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