"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.