Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sweet zombie Jeebus, here we go again ...

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

-- Amendment IV, Constitution of the United States of America

One of the things I like about Texas is that it is one of the few States left in the Union that does not allow the use of DWI checkpoints.

However, since the Guiding Mandate of Government is to stick their noses as far as possible into every conceivable sodding facet of our lives, this may be changing.

The Texas Legislature is considering House Bill 169 and Senate Bill 298 to allow the use of DWI Checkpoints -- or the more innocuous-sounding "Sobriety Checkpoints" -- in the Great State of Texas.

It's always the same, isn't it? They're going to infringe our rights just a little bit -- and all for our own good. Little itty-bitty law, passed with nobly-strained faces.

Then, once it's passed, next session of Congress, they take that law, and they tack on one itty-bitty extra sentence. Next session, they add a teeny, tiny little paragraph -- and next thing you know, the whole stinking bloody camel is up under the tent.

I guaran-flaming-tee you -- my paw to Odin -- within one decade of the passage of a DWI Checkpoint law, "Sobriety Checkpoints" will be a code-word for "Revenue Generation Checkpoints That Occasionally Nab a Drunk Driver".

And don't sodding tell me any different -- I've been in law enforcement for fifteen years and I damned well know how the system works.

You want to make a dent in the DWI rate in Texas?

You really want to know?

I've got multiple people running around my county with six, seven, eight Driving While Intoxicated arrests and ONE conviction.

The first time you get arrested for DWI, you agree to attend an alcohol awareness class and the DA drops the charge.

The second time, you agree to attend a 30 or 60 day Detox -- and the DA drops the charge.

The third time, the judge defers your sentence for six months, and if you keep your nose clean, the judge dismisses the charge.

Bear in mind that since DWI is a Class 'B' misdemeanor, it is entirely -- and frequently -- possible to do each of these in multiple counties simultaneously.

The fourth time (or fifth, sixth, eleventh) time you get caught, you plea to a lesser charge. This can happen a couple of times consecutively in the same county.

Finally, sometime along in here, you come up in front of the judge enough times, and BAM! -- he gives you your first DWI conviction ... 72 hours (suspended) in jail and six months of probation.

Once that 180 days of probation is done, and you get caught -- again -- Driving While Snot-slinging Drunk -- well, we just jump midway into that cycle all over again. And next time he finally gets convicted, it's a Class 'A' Misdemeanor and you get 96 hours in the County clink (suspended) and twelve months worth of probation.

Repeat, ad infinitum.

This is the problem with the DWI rate in Texas. It's not the catching them -- it's the getting them convicted.

And this bloody "Sobriety Checkpoint" bushwa isn't going to do one single, solitary thing about convicting them.

It will, however, infringe upon every drivers Fourth Amendment rights; and it will -- sooner or later -- result in a nice chunk of change in Government coffers.

Call your Texas State Congress-critters. Raise hell.

LawDog

53 comments:

Farmgirl said...

Ahhh the lovely Fourth Amendment.

I have, once, had to explain to an officer exactly what that meant.

Of course, he was an idiot to start with, and trying to intimidate me to boot, so when he told me he was going to search my car (apropos of nothing, not even a traffic stop, he simply pulled up beside me whilst I was getting gas) I told him to take a hike.

When he argued, I politely pointed out that he could not legally search without my permission or a warrant.

The answer? "I'm a cop, I can do what I want!"

Officers like that give the rest of Law Enforcement a bad name.

And DWI checkpoints are just enabling devices for that particular kind of officer, in my opinion.

Harriet said...

Amen, brother! Preach it!
We've got those checkpoints in New Mexico, and while they look spiffy, I'd rather see convictions than empty promises and showy display.

Bluey said...

I suspect the whole getting convictions is the problem no matter what western nation you're talking about, I know that's how it seems here in Australia.

Anonymous said...

It's not about catching drunk drivers. It's about interrogating the driver and doing everything possible to get consent to search.

They'll use all of the tricks. The old safety ploy "you don't mind if I check for my safety do you?". Say no and you're not concerned with the officer's safety. You want him to be endangered. Then there is the drive by request "since you don't have anything illegal you don't mind if I check really quick do you?" Kinda reminds of the line "I'll only put it in for a little while."

It's not about drunks. It's about asset forfeiture, seizure numbers, Byrne Grants etc.

Of course in the end it is about desensitizing people to the feel of the jackboot on their neck. It's becoming more and more clear that George Orwell was prophetic when he wrote:
"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

When it is bad enough that individual law abiding citizens are outfitting their vehicles with carefully hidden audio and video equipment so as to record independent evidence during interaction with local constabularies then there is a serious problem with the way things are being done lately. Just ask Lester Eugene Siler the value of hidden recording devices.

Strings said...

When you get Hell raised, remember to set a brick under it: makes it easier to keep it raised.

That's the REAL key: KEEPING Hell raised. Most of the officers here KNOW that they can't push me: if they catch me at something, they're golden. But trying to push things, that'll cause... problems...

So don't forget the brick...

argonel said...

Perhaps you can get a friendly legislator make a counter proposal similar to the law here in MN. It might need to be a two part law though to stop the DA from inappropriatly dropping the charges. In MN your first 2 DUI offenses are misdameanors. On your third offense you are assumed to have not learned anything and it becomes a felony offense.

I think there is also a hidden assumption that people who are caught driving drunk, drive drunk a lot more than they are caught. However I think it is safe to assume that the people who are drunk driving on a regular basis will be caught without any need for sobriety checkpoints.

Anonymous said...

First, there was MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Then, there was SADD - Students Against Drunk Driving.

Now it appears that we need another group, a more effective group. This group won't be touchy-feely, "we love you too much to let you drive drunk for the umpteenth time" crap.

EGADD guarantees there will be no repeat offenders. Yessir, Enraged Gunmen Against Drunk Driving will have a 100% success rate.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, nature tends to prevent the 11th or 20th or... arrest for drunk driving without meaningful punishment by moving a tree or a bridge pier - or an innocent motorist or pedestrian - into the path of the drunk driver.

EGADD - now that I like!

Jon said...

Texas tried this years ago. The result, in my situation, was an arrest for suspicion, being released because I wasn't intoxicated and the loss of my brand new $35 dollar Puma pocket knife by the Bridge City, Texas police department. Nobody knew what happened to my knife, which led me to wish a severe cut on the thief the first time he used my knife.

While $35 seems trivial, I was only making a little over minimum wage at the time, and at my 1981 wages, it meant a few hard hours of pouring concrete.

Eric said...

As soon as the first 3 or 4 drunk drivers are convicted of attempted manslaughter (driving a one ton missile while impared) or of premediated murder when they kill someone else (they knew they were drunk when they got behind the wheel), I be it'll stop...

Da Curly Wolf said...

I got a better Idea. 4th time rolls around your license is revoked for 6 months, with a few weeks in a cell for..contemplation and reflection. 'but I need it to get back and forth from my job' oops too bad so sad..should have thought of that when you were drinking dipstick. After the 6months is up you go on probation for 12-18months with one of those breathalyzers attached to your ignition. You make it thru that your free and clear once more. However, if you get nailed doing the DUI dance again...do not pass go, do not do anything except go straight to prison for ohhh 2 yrs and your license is permantly revoked.
As for the checkpoints...obviously its time to go apply a verbal clue by four to my reps.

zeeke42 said...

Here in MA, the DUI/OUI penalties are far more severe. The max penalty is 2.5 years in jail. This is big enough to make it a felony in the eyes of the feds, which means bye bye gun rights forever. Even the minimum (which most first time offenders get) is $2500 in fines, 16 week class, 45 day license suspension, and 1 year probation.

Aubrey Turner said...

I'd always wondered why when a drunk driver finally killed someone that he or she usually had anywhere from 5 to 15 previous arrests. From what you're saying I can now see the problem. It sounds like we need to do something to stop the "release" part of the catch-and-release cycle.

As for the checkpoint crap, I saw this coming back in December when we started seeing MADD and its allies preparing the media battle space with friendly articles touting how this would "protect" us from drunk drivers.

In looking at the information about these programs I found that even the proponents admit that checkpoints don't catch very many drunks. The real purpose of these programs is to "raise awareness" and to "educate" the public. Frankly, my awareness is pretty high and I don't need any more education to know that driving drunk is stupid. You'd have to have been living under a rock for the last 20 years not to have gotten the message. It seems like a pretty wasteful use of police resources to have a bunch of officers tied up in one place just to "educate" people.

I know my local police department gives a lot of focus to getting drunks off the road, and I also know that our local citizens have no problems with calling 911 when they see someone driving erratically. This seems to be pretty effective at catching drunks, and it keeps the officers out on the streets, where they can also stop any other offenses that they come across.

To paraphrase SayUncle, "Checkpoints are what you do instead of something."

Mikael said...

As for the DWI's... should be first time: rehab, and community service sentence, as well as loss of drivers licence for 6 months.

Second and subsequent times, felony attempted manslaughter, with mandatory jailtime.

Word verification: mormenpl

Brigid said...

My state, despite it's other recognitions of our rights, allows them.

When the state of Michigan argued for and against it, Chief Justice Rehnquist argued that an exception to the Fourth Amendment was justified because sobriety roadblocks were effective and necessary. On the other hand, dissenting Justice Stevens countered that "the findings of the trial court, based on an extensive record and affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals, indicate that the net effect of sobriety checkpoints on traffic safety is infinitesimal and possibly negative."

In one state, in one year, less than 1% of the 46,000 drivers stopped were arrested for DUI, and the conviction rate on these were abysmally less.

Anonymous said...

I am anti-MADD. Sorry about that.
I once had a job where it was necessary for me to leave my home address and telephone number at a patient's house. The daughter, frothing-at-the-mouth MADD (punny, yes?), promptly put me and my address and telephone number on a list, which resulted in a bunch of Susie Soccermommies filling my mailbox and ringing my phone, Preaching the Word in ringing, self-righteous, 'reasonable' tones day and night (while asking for money). I never heard so much "But, don't you think?" in my life.
I thought I would never get off those damned lists, even after I told the daughter that the fact that she had access to my mailing address and telephone number didn't give her the right to hand it out to every Tom, Dick, and MADDman.
If she had said, "But don't you think?" I believe I would have slugged her.
Yes, we need stronger and enforced punishments for drunk drivers. Stop apologizing for and excusing it.
We also should emphasize personal responsibility instead of Big Brother trying to shift the blame onto someone else-like the sellers of drink. One way or another, it's a matter of individual choice, and the consequences are no one else's responsibility.
Catching the drunk drivers isn't the problem. Enforcing punishment is.
Punishment for drunk driving should be swift, harsh, and irrevocable.
It should not be an infringement upon our rights and privacy.
LawMom

Mikee said...

I don't go fishing in the gutter on my street. I go fishing in the pond where the fish are.

If Texas wants to catch more drunks, may I suggest they set up their sobriety checkpoints at the exit to the parking lots of local watering holes?

If they don't, then you know it isn't about catching drunks.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but Mikee, that's entrapment. Against the drinking driver's rights.
LM

Rick R. said...

As others have, it's about an excuse to search the car, not finding drunks.

I ran into a pair of cops who didn't understand that the 4th Amendment means I don't have to allow them to search me becuase they feel bored.

I got a ride with a young kid (sailor, on his first sip) at this coffeeshop I hung out at. there's four of us in teh car, everyone else dressed dramaticaly Goth. I was ten years older and dressed in a sports shirt and Levis (I never got the "dress code" part of cool music. [chuckle])

Norfolk PD pulls the car over, claiming a burned out taillight (could be -- that car was the typical POS you'd expect a serviceman so new his duffle bag still smelled like mothballs to drive).

"Everybody out of the car." One at a time they told these kids, "Well, I have to check for my own safety, so do you mind if I search you?" getting teh expected "Uh, yeah, if you gotta,", they proceeded to do a THOROUGH frisk, including dumping out sealed bakcpacks that had been left in teh car itself.

When they got to me, I didn't even let the cop ask -- I told him, "I do not consent to ANY search. If you gotta ask, the answer is 'NO'."

This young cop sat there and dieseled for about 30 seconds -- apparantly, no one had EVER refused consent before. He finally mumbled something about "Terry" and how he HAD to check me for weapons. While I was having my pockets lightly patted, I asked his partner, "So, you do a Terry search on EVERY minor equipment stop? Along with the detailed search of the car no one was in, and thus no one had ready access to to threaten your safety? Interesting. . . "

They nailed the driver for "concealed weapons" for a closed gym bag in the back seat that had (underneath his smelly gym clothes) some flashy fantasy dagger thingie. I ended up going to his command and telling them it was a bogus charge, and JAG needed to lean on Norfolk.

Somehow or another, teh case got dismissed shortly before trial. . . but the kid never saw his flashy piece of crap knife again.

Tim Covington said...

Unfortunately, my state senator (Carona) is one of the idiots pushing this felgercarb. I have contacted his office, and my state rep's office letting them know I that I oppose this legislation, and I know of at least one veteran police officer who also opposes it.

KBCraig said...

As everyone knows and has pointed out, it's not about catching drunk drivers. Even at 0200 in bar districts, such checkpoints rarely find that more than 1-2% of drivers are impaired.

But they snag a wagon load of drivers whose inspections have expired, who insurance has lapsed, whose registrations are past due, or whose window tint is a shade too dark. Easily proven violations that result in big cash for the city.

They also find plenty of reasons to conduct further searches, sometimes resulting in a drug seizure, and forfeited cars can be quite profitable for the department!

perlhaqr said...

Nothing wrong with driving drunk. Lots wrong with running into someone while drunk.

Punish people for actually harming others. And, by all means, punish them hard. Punish the ever loving hell out of them. But punishing people when they haven't actually hurt anyone is a lot like carrying a concealed firearm onto an elementary school campus.

Not that I expect to get a lot of traction on this front. People are way too comfortable with the doctrine of prior restraint these days.

Anonymous said...

Here in Hawaii we're the exception to a lot of the rules. Sometime good, frequently bad. Last DUI checkpoint I pulled through, the officer said, "Your left headlight is out, sir, and we require front license plates in Hawaii (still driving on Indiana plates at the time). Have a nice evening, and don't forget to get those taken care of." I barely slowed down, and they weren't busy at all. Thought I'd be getting a heck of a ticket, but in talking to an officer I know later, he confirmed that they play it strictly by the book; drunks only. Lawdog, do you have any brothers in Honolulu PD? If so, I think I met some of them.

Formerflyer

Sabra said...

There was a blurb on the news a day or two ago, about some formerly-promising college football player--it's always about the football here--who was paralyzed in a wreck after he climbed in a car full of drunk buddies, quite probably drunk himself. He testified up in Austin that DUI checkpoints would have prevented his accident. Which, as we all know, is balderdash. Now, what would have prevented his crippling accident--having the sense not to go joyriding with a drunken frat boy--was given no air time.

Brian Dale said...

Sifting the populace for money has a long history.

Ted said...

Here in Massachusetts, the Really Sharp People running things let a couple of dudes out on parole a year ago. Seems the dudes skipped town, and ended up killing someone in Washington state.

Not DWI, but flat out murder.

The problem that Massachusetts has with gun violence is that they let the violence out on parole. As a result, they make it really hard for normal people to get guns.

LawDog, it looks like Texas is fixin' a heapin' helpin' of Massidiocy.

Anonymous said...

LD,

Called and wrote to them - I am not sure they can read but I gave it a shot anyway.

FWIW, when I lived in Saudi for a while the DWI there was one strike and you are out - as in dead. No repeat offenders.

Great work.
Dr. Joe

Anonymous said...

Here in Missouri those so-called sobriety checkpoints are legal and just as others have described. A few weeks back there was one held near here. As is normal, the local MHP headquarters pulled in just about every trooper in the district for the checkpoint which meant no LE anywhere else in the area. Out of roughly 350 citizens harassed, er, stopped they wrote something like seven tickets--only one for suspected DUI. Most were for failure to use a seatbelt with a couple of expired license plates and/or proof of insurance tickets thrown in. These "checkpoints" are nothing but fishing expeditions that would have made the Gestapo or KGB proud.

pax said...

'Dawg ~

You remain one of my heroes.

Anonymous said...

As i understand it from a radio interview in Dallas today all this bill will alow is to search for drunks. No tickets or arrest for anything else. No illegals arrested, no uninsured cars towed, no pot arrest, no open containers.

I have alway thought if the state wanted to cut down on drunk driving re-write the freakin liquor laws. No "dry" counties, no beer and wine only sales, liquor by the drink everywhere. The drunk is going to drive anyway but wouldn't it be better to have him drive a few blocks home rather than 30 miles?

outside_of_apex said...

Once the door is opened a crack it will eventually be opened all the way.

There's one thing that's been bothering me. Can you explain the legal reasoning why (and when) law enforcement, say a swat team, can enter a house unannounced and uninvited? This seems contrary to common law; I forget what it's called but it's something like `a man's home is his castle'.

Below is an interesting video on the fifth amendment titled `Why you should never ever talk to the police'. I know it's kinda long but I found it entertaining:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8167533318153586646

Robin said...

Anon -

And all this bill will allow to enter the tent is the camel's nose, nothing else. Yeah, so... how long before the legislators revise the bill? Think about it. "Oh, but we already have these handy checkpoints... we might as well start looking for drugs/weapons/whatever at those checkpoints also." And pretty soon every car can be stopped and searched on no prior suspicion. Fourth Amendment? Whazzat?

Anyone who thinks this wouldn't happen is insufficiently cynical.

KD5NRH said...

As i understand it from a radio interview in Dallas today all this bill will alow is to search for drunks. No tickets or arrest for anything else. No illegals arrested, no uninsured cars towed, no pot arrest, no open containers.

I'll buy a drink for the first person who can document going through one nude, with no license plates, smoking a joint, with a girl tied up and gagged in the back seat without getting ticketed or arrested.

Anonymous said...

Sign me up for EGADD.

I remember when I worked in a Texas jail. We had an older guy come in for Violatin of Probation-DWI. When I saw his Criminal History.... He had 18 arrests and 7 convictions.

Yep he was driving when arrested.

Anonymous said...

Lawdog, it's refreshing to find a LEO with the courage to tell it like it is.

Seems control is to a politician as alcohol is to an alcoholic: a little bit always tastes like more.

Goatroper

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us know about this.

1. I would be happy to increase enforcement/conviction if the BAC limit was raised back to something reasonable. Most alcohol related accidents occur with much higher levels. This also might help get DA's more inclined to convict.
2. I stopped messing with DWI limits when I got my CHL and realized the penalties. Defending myself was more important than a beer or two after softball.
3. If MADD or police really wanted to help with drunk driving, they would sit outside bars and clubs and offer to check people as they leave. Maybe even charge a small fee. Not convicting people that are sitting in their car trying to sleep it off would help also.

KD5NRH said...

And again it happens; sitting here at work, listening to the scanner, I get a heads-up on a pursuit about to pass the site. Half-ton truck doing 85 down a city street, out of town and (barely) onto a county road with the PD close behind. They were in view for about three seconds.
Second pursuer called a left turn onto a little backroad known as Cattail Creek Road, and I started the mental countdown.
You see, Cattail Creek Road is familiar to anyone who's done much driving in that part of the county, as well as to any scanner listeners in the area for its roughly quarterly nighttime single-vehicle rollovers. The bad spot is about ten seconds from the end of the road they were coming from at those speeds.
County units started rolling as soon as they heard that call, knowing all too well what was going to happen.
Right on time comes the "I lost him...did you see where...10-50, 10-50, roll EMS" A few seconds later, "put air evac on standby, one trapped, one out, both injured."
Of course, the driver (drunk, license suspended for multiple DUIs) was the one who was out, and not too badly injured. He's expected to be released form the ER to the jail shortly. Air evac is landing at the scene now for the passenger.
While all this was still going on, one of the responding county FF's rolled up on a two-vehicle wreck on the other side of town; another drunk who blew a red light to ruin an innocent passerby's night. Fortunately, no significant injuries in that one.
We don't need DUI checkpoints. We need jail time - and lots of it - for anyone driving on a license suspended as a result of DUI, and for repeat offenders. If you prove that you can't be trusted to stay off the road for the duration of the suspension, you need to spend the rest of it behind bars.

Dad29 said...

Heh.

Even the Extreme LeftyWonk Governor of Wisconsin doesn't want to go to checkpoints.

Curious, though--a "conservative (R) DA running for attorney-general DID want checkpoints.

He crashed at the first turn. Broken campaign. (But we didn't shoot him.)

fuzzys dad said...

Great point Dog.I agree there needs to be actual punishment for the crime.

Jon said...

I think the most suitable punishment for a first time offense is four weekends with a mop in the emergency department of hospitals and the holding tank in the county lockup. The experience is sure to be sobering for most. For those that this doesn't help, a gauntlet of the family members that lost loved ones is the next punishment.

Windy Wilson said...

If the problem is lack of convictions, the recent "solution" in California of reducing the legal limit from .1 to .08 is mere nuisance, particularly as one said before me, the drunks in accidents all seem to have BAC of twice (now three times :) ) the legal limit.

And Farmgirl, one thing to remember, is had you been a man the discussion about the Fourth Amendment and Probable Cause would have ended with you thrown over your trunk and cuffed, with a resisting arrest charge, and testimony that you were glassy eyed, etc.

Stormgren said...

Oh joy.

Sorry to hear that the MADDites have gotten their favorite Gestapo tactic into the TX legislature.

Luckily, in MI, checkpoints were nuked by the MI Supreme Court back in the 80s. Unluckily for the nation, the same court decision made it to the SCOTUS, where it was ruled almost as an exception to the 4th amendment.

Interesting case, really. After the decision was struck down and send back to the MI SC, the judges there felt strongly enough about it to rule that while it'd been ruled legal to the US constitution, it *still* violated the MI state constitution, and struck it down again.

So, one of the major decisions by the SCOTUS opening the door to these damned checkpoints also gets locally overridden out of the state it originated in.

Michigan State Police vs Sitz, it's interesting reading, if anyone is so inclined.

GatorUSMC said...

Third or more is a felony, not a misdemeanor. It sounds more like a problem with your county's DA and/or Judges. Yea, SAFP can be some bs but how many people who are fuck-ups do you personally know that have made it through a lengthy probation?

Of course there will be more people flagged for warrants, no/invalid dl, reg, ins, insp simply because there is more of that out there. Too damn bad. Pay your shit, you're not special. I could care less about more illegals getting brought in either and we're probably sitting at close to 15-20% in county now with 1-2 Ice Chains a week.


Please tell me with that lack of common sense you don't carry Perlhaqr.

Let me guess, the person that equates a traffic stop/ticket to "Gestapo or KGB" also thinks his Che shirt is cool?

As for Anonymous, I see me and you have two different outlooks during a traffic stop. Last thing I want when I get pulled over is for that Officer to feel "endangered".

I swear, some of you bring it down on yourself and don't even see it.

GatorUSMC said...

Excellent video outside_of_apex.

Anonymous said...

So because I won't surrender my 4th Amendment rights an armed and body armored peace officer feels endangered? If I just let him rummage through my personal belongings it will make him feel better?

And yes it does feel like I'm being interrogated by the gestapo when I'm threatened with arrest, imprisonment and rape because I refuse to answer questions unrelated to the stop like where I'm going, where I've been and what I did there and because I won't give a consent to search.

When a man from the state with a German Shepherd attack dog demands to see your papers it begins to feel suspiciously like Nazi Germany or or an encounter with the NKVD behind the iron curtain. Heck, even the uniforms are beginning to look alike.

Yes we bring it on ourselves. Uppity Americans thinking they live in a Free Republic. What is wrong with us.

Rick R. said...

Gator,

In most of these cases, the ONLY reason the officer would be endangered is if he chooses to be. If he's afraid the subjects have something concealed in the car, SEPERATE THEM FROM THE CAR until the stop is over.

This bogus notion that a Terry search is an excuse to detail search the car is nothing more than out of control cops to do without those pesky things like warrants or "probable cause".

Frankly, given the ACTUAL incident rates, the officer is endangering himself MORE by trying to do a through search without any probable cause. His inattention to his surroundings while he's rummaging through the car and the subject's belongings put him at greater risk from either a subject who really is a bad guy, or simply getting taken out by another drunk driver who swerves over to see the pretty lights.

If you're frightened of the subject, control the subject and remove him from his environment. If need be, he can sit in the cage in the back of the cruiser with you outside, looming over him and ready to boot him in the teeth if he gets squirrelly and jumps out.

then it doesn't matter what toys he has in the car -- HE NO LONGER HAS ACCESS TO THEM. The hypothetical gun or knife isn't going to leap out of the Honda, run back to the cruiser, and attack the cop on it's own.

This is especially true since I see and read about (usually accounts from the officers in question) cops conducting a relatively minor traffic stop using the Terry search excuse to search a car where no actual suspicion -- much less probable cause -- exists. They do it in case they get lucky and find something.

The other excuse, "Well, you never know who you're pulling over," doesn't apply, either. I don't care if you've inadvertently pulled over Machinegun Kelly and Osama bin Laden. If the dudes are over HERE, and the weapons are over THERE, you've automatically secured your safety, even if you don't know the weapons are there.

Using SCOTUS's Terry exception to avoid that pesky warrant thing is wrong. It's not just a despicable method of getting away with violating the Constitutional rights of people viewed by the officer as peasants, but it is actually MORE dangerous to the officer. (Pretty ironic, considering that "Terry" is only a permissable exception to general 4th Amendment protections in order to improve officer safety.)

Checkphrase -- "madesea". Sounds like the urination of the gods.

Da Curly Wolf said...

I've come back to this post again and reread it again, and all I can think is..."jesus f'in H...my DOG is more intelligent than many of our representatives"

Mad Jack said...

Thanks for putting this up, LawDog. Your a good old Dawg and I'd be grateful for the opportunity to buy you a brew anytime at all.

The whole DUI issue is getting away from the real problem, which is the lack of skill these same people display when they drive stone cold sober. They drive like idiots. Taking away their license doesn't seem to work, as they drive anyway - without license or insurance. Maybe I'm missing this point a little, but it seems like anytime a DUI hits the news it involves a driver whose license has been 'suspended' for some time and who is driving anyway.

GUmby said...

Like many here I fail to see the effectiveness of DUI/DWI Checkpoints, the manpower required to man one could be used to "Educate" far more effectively.

I live in MD where the situation is similar to TX in convictions and it not having an impact, but a few miles away is good ol Virginny - 60 day jail (usually 55 suspended), 1 year ban, education and BIG fines for first offence, second you will be serving a minimum of 20 days and third is one year having been elevated to a felony.

The Stats say 30% of first offenders will recommit, and 70% of those with two or more.

The answers are easy enough, there will be a few bars in any area with a reputation for large amounts of late night drinking, if a car (and many do) leave those places at 0200 the driver is tanked, almost without exception, so target them. Or if you wish to go for education put a Patrol car in the parking lot who suggests patrons might like to call a taxi.

I've never driven through a checkpoint nude, I have however been through one (stone cold sober) dressed as a 6 feet tall green Teletubbie...and yes they had me out of the car to do the walk of shame - gits ;-)

Motomom said...

I don't know if it's still the case, but when I lived in Norway (a socialist government with a representative Parliament and a monarch !! ) there were nearly NO instances of drunk driving in the whole country. ONE instance was a newsworthy event.

First of all, the government controlled alcohol sales (the socialist bit). Secondly, their punishment for those caught drunk driving was draconian: first offense, 30 days in jail beginning directly after being apprehended. Conviction and sentences that very hour. From the side of the road, straight to jail. Whew! In addition, the first offender surrendered their license for one year (or was it 6 months? I misremember) and attended mandatory alcohol counseling sessions for a certain amount of time.

That loss of license was a biggie, too. You couldn't get a license there until you were 21, and had undergone extensive, documented training and passed several different types of tests. Personally, I think making a license harder to get would affect the number of people choosing to drive drunk.

I think the attitude there - draconian punishment or otherwise - is that you have to be mentally unstable to drive under the influence, so you needed help and constraints immediate for your own good and the community's good.

KD5NRH said...

Motomom: what was the penalty there for driving with a revoked license? IMO, the lack of effective punishment for that here contributes a lot to our problems.

andrew said...

Want to make a dent in DUI? How about zoning some neighborhood bars within walking distance like they have up in the northern states?

Jake said...

these are the days I appreciate Sweden.

you cannot get pulled over for much ... overt display of moronic driving comes to mind.

but, oh Heaven forbid you should come up drunk. Blow a 0.02? that's one beer... ain't much. You get six months in jail. And you lose your license.

Forever.

And good for Sweden.

Your freedom ends where my body begins. Don't you damn crash into me while being an intoxicated idiot.