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View Diary: Nope. That's not a violation of civil liberties or anything. (93 comments)

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  •  Well, actually (3+ / 0-)

    The conviction would be based on the judgment of a jury.

    Most police cars are equipped with dashboard video cameras that are automatically set to activate when the overhead lights are activated.  So, at the very least, in MOST cases there will be video evidence available to confirm (or rebut, as the case may be) the officer's assertions about how the suspect was behaving.  (The "booze on the breath" thing, though, can't be confirmed.)

    Of course, that's well after the arrest.  If the officer is arresting the guy on bogus assertions, at the point at which he's requesting a breath sample, there's yet to be any sort of "neutral" intervener.

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:56:10 PM PST

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    •  I may be out of line here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrugalGranny, Johnny Nucleo

      But I genuinely believe that Field Sobriety Tests and any other subjective display of behaviour are completely unreliable for a DWI conviction.

      Many folk behave strangely when stopped by the police, and that is evidence only of stress.

      If we want to set a blood alcohol limit, then we should do so and that is the ONLY test that counts.

      Then, when required to provide a sample, you are not a suspect incriminating yourself, you are a witness, giving evidence.

      It might convict you, or might not. If it does then you probably shouldn't have been drinking and driving.

      Again ... my remarks apply only to this specific example.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:01:38 PM PST

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      •  Right. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, suesue, Johnny Nucleo

        I think the problem I see here is that people can have all sorts of reasons for refusing a breathalyzer test.

        A person who refuses a breathalyzer test could simply be drunk, knows it, and doesn't want that evidence to be used against him.  Or, he could be some ornery guy who has a basic grasp of civil liberties and is offended that the police would even accuse him of driving drunk, and doesn't think he should have to prove that he's not.  Or, he might have had a single beer, which is extraordinarily unlikely to produce a BAC over .08, but doesn't understand that.  Or he might not trust the accuracy of the breathalyzer test.

        The Occam's Razor explanation is probably the case in most instances, but you never know.  To put in a different perspective: if, on the witness stand, when asked if he had consumed any alcohol, the defendant pleads the Fifth Amendment, the jury is specifically instructed that that can't be used against him.

        28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

        by TDDVandy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:18:42 PM PST

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        •  That is why we have trials (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDDVandy, Shippo1776

          Although, if you have failed a blood test then maybe you should be pleading ... or have some strong mitigation that you can present (sometimes happens).

          I do think the whole area of civil liberties is threatened, and should be kept in sharp focus because we will lose anything we do not fight for.

          Oddly though, DWI is one area that actually has a simple way to determine the facts (the reasoning may offer relief).

          So I guess I am saying that we need, in this case, to separate out the various strands and allow the police to do their job because we need them to, while identifying that which is the real issue.

          And I do think there are serious issues with subjective opinions in this area.

          I am also not in favour of "checkpoints" because they too are open to abuse unless it is mandated that EVERY driver going through is stopped and breathalyzed.

          Otherwise, it's just too easy to single out just the poor people, or black people ... well you get the drift.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          by twigg on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:27:47 PM PST

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          •  Well, yeah. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Checkpoints actually aren't legal in Texas, and one of the requirements the Supreme Court implemented for them was that they have to have a set "pattern."  I.e., the police stop every third car, something like that -- they can't set up a checkpoint and then stop cars at random.  (Whether or not that rule is followed is a different matter -- it's kind of hard to prove that it wasn't.)

            By the way, DWI is one instance of a crime where police actually have a tendency to target the well-to-do (or at the very least not give them a free pass.)  DWI cases often have arguable evidence, so arresting somebody with the means to go out and hire a lawyer to fight it ups the odds that it will go to trial.  Cops usually get overtime pay when they're subpoenaed to testify in court.

            28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

            by TDDVandy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:40:49 PM PST

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