05.03.08

DWI In Williamson County

Posted in Commentary, Williamson County at 12:12 am by wcnews

Grits for Breakfast points out a some interesting tidbits concerning DWI and Williamson County, Breathalyzers for thee but not for me.

For years Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley has been on the warpath regarding drivers stopped for DWI who refuse breath tests, even though most criminal defense lawyers will tell you the technology is unreliable and not worth risking your liberty over. (Even police officers routinely refuse breathalyzer tests when stopped for DWI.)

So I wonder what will happen now that Williamson County State Rep. Mike Krusee was arrested for DWI and refused a breathalyzer test?

Krusee is a Republican, but this isn’t really a partisan matter. I recall Rep. Harold Dutton also refused a breathalyzer test when he was arrested for DWI in Austin last year. If the folks writing the laws, and enforcing them, won’t take these tests, how with a straight face can they penalize others for making the same decision?

But, as they say, there’s more. Bradley is also a proponent of getting judges to issue search warrants to draw the blood of those who refuse to give a breath test. In another thread he has this to say about a judge in San Antonio that was recently arrested for DWI and refused a breath test, Another public official refuses BT.

The judge violated the law. Do you expect that from a judge?

And, I’m not talking about drinking and driving. I’m talking about refusing to follow the law for collecting a specimen for testing.

Sec. 724.011 of the Transportation Code says, “If a person is arrested for [an intoxication offense], the person is deemed to have consented, subject to this chapter, to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person’s breath or blood for analysis…”

Recognizing that a person may physically refuse to cooperate, despite the earlier consent, Sec. 724.013, says, “a specimen may not be taken if a person refuses to submit to the taking of a specimen designated by a peace officer.”

Over time, our understanding of these laws has been eroded by the repeated refrain that people have a “right” to refuse. That is not an accurate statement, and, students of law should be even more careful in their study and description of that conclusion.

So, no, it is not acceptable for a judge, who knows the law far better than the average citizen, to refuse to provide a sample. That judge has very knowingly tampered with the availability of evidence of his intoxication. Of course, the law also punishes his refusal by taking away his driver’s license. But, the same circular law gives him an occupational DL.

Weak.

Without that tampered evidence it’s much more likely that the accused will get off or get a lighter sentence. Or as another comment in the thread put it:

No surprise here, as a judge he knows the law. It is the people who don’t know any better who are often fooled into giving evidence against themselves, be it a breath test or an oral admission. Given the current law, there really isn’t much reason to submit to the test.

A few years back I recall reading about a study which showed that law enforcement pulled over for DWI refused breath tests at a much higher rate than the general public. I would imagine it is the same for lawyers.

It’s quite the conundrum for DA Bradley

1 Comment »

  1. stand4character said,

    May 3, 2008 at 1:14 am

    This will all soon be forgotten. Gone. Done Away With. Never to be mentioned again. And “why” you ask? Because here in WilCo punishment for ANY offense is determined by one or more of the following: 1) who you are; 2) who you know; 3) how much $$$ you have.

    It is truly time for EQUAL justice. I’m not even asking that these folks be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. Just hold them to the same standard.

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