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  • DWI: Your personal view

    I have my own personal view on the topic of DWI and I was wondering what others of you felt about it. Doesn't really matter one way or another; just curious if you think I'm weird. (OK I know I am weird but humor me)

    Let me preface this topic by saying that ... I am not talking about REALLY drunk here. I am talking about legal limits and if there is no accident and no one is hurt. I am talking about someone telling you that someone else is DWI or you stop a guy for something else and smell alcohol on him or similar. Obviously if there is an accident, injury, or a guy weaving and driving on the shoulder or similar then he is DWI.

    I feel that it is a joke. My rule for DWI was not meters or sensors. I would pull the guy over and ask him a few questions. Who he is, what kind of car this was, where was he, where was he coming from, etc... If he answered me and seemed as alert as any other shmo on the street then he was not drunk. If he looked at me like I had three heads and told me he was Betsy Ross coming back from planet Zatar in the Nebula system then he was drunk and he went to jail.

    In my opinion DWI is like speeding; for revenue only. If we REALLY want to stop speeding we would. But we don't. We like the money it brings in for catching the occasional speeder. Ever sit in a radio car with radar on pointed at a highway? Not even one car goes by doing the actual speed limit or less. NO ONE is obeying that law. And what do we do about it? Nothing really. We give every third person going WAY over a tag. This shows me that we really don't expect anyone to go the speed limit or less. We expect them to break the law and we will simply catch an occasional violator and "tax" them. Because that is really what it is; a speeding tax not a fine. You can drive as fast as you want as long as you pay the speed tax when you get caught.

    Same with drinking and driving. There is practically no one who hasn't had a beer with a buddy and driven home. If we really wanted to seriously do something about DWI we would stop putting parking lots at bars, have LEO's stationed at bars testing people at random that came out of bars and got into cars, have meters in cars to stop the engine from starting if the driver is intox, etc...
    But we don't. Why? Because as with speeding there are just too many people breaking that law. If we really tested people at random how many senators, judges, congressmen, lawyers, doctors, etc... would get dragged in? Too many. So we grab the occasional guy that takes it too far and bang him with some fines or should I call it a drinking & driving tax

    Don't get me wrong here. I am not saying that DWI is not a bad thing. It does indeed cause many deaths each year. What I am saying is that the govt really doesn't care. If they did there are things they could do to stop it and they don't because by the standards set too many people are doing it. Much like with speeding. Example: If the speedlimit is 65 and everyone is driving 75 no one seems to care. Why? Because even though we all know that it is breaking the law it is only breaking a little bit. Little enough that we all do it really.

    Drinking same thing. If someone has a beer or two but drives "fine" then no one really cares even though he is breaking the law probably since is probably over the legal limit. Why does no one care? Because he is only breaking the law a little. So little that every one does it. It is not until someone can't say their name or hits something that it becomes a big deal.
    Last edited by Sentinel; 01-11-2004, 03:58 PM.

  • #2
    Sentinel,


    I do agree and I think in certain places a DUI collar is a big deal. There just isn't much going on in a lot of small towns where the population is made up of achievers, so the coppers feel like "they're cleaning up big crime in the burbs". There certainly are other alternatives to arrest.
    Trooperden, akman75, & azmichelle ignored

    Comment


    • #3
      it seems we're all on the same page here so far. i agree with the both of you.
      "The American public will find it refreshing to see a Republican candidate, who's not a moralistic, sexually repressed, crusading hypocrite, who cruises airport men's rooms late at night."
      William Shatner

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      • #4
        Allow me to be the first dissenting post:

        Sorry, but having one or two beers--Your words--would not get you near the "legal limit". If you stop after work and have supper, drink 2 drinks over the course of the meal, you'd probably be near a .02, if even that high.
        I work traffic, so I see drunks all the time. Some hit things/buildings/cars/people and do a lot of damage, some get caught before anything happens, and some make it home. My feeling is that if you drink enough to be impaired you have no business being behind the wheel. Impairment is not a number, but a state of being. Legal limits are a necessary evil, but my opinion of impairment is the driving factor behind my DWI arrests.

        Comment


        • #5
          I

          Comment


          • #6
            Obviously this is a real emotional issue with some people.

            Darkwulfe's post was truly emotional and heart rendering, but I don't buy it all.

            The drunks I've seen that have been in fatal wrecks are pretty hammered. They continue to lower the legal limit for drunk driving. When I worked uniform, it was .10, now I think it's .08. And that's not a good standard to judge somebody either. I've seen drunks who blew a .16 that barely showed any impairment at all. Other times I've seen people blow a .05 that could barely stand up.

            I worked child abuse for about 6 years and I could argue with the people here who say it's okay to hit your kid. We have a lot of damaged and dangerous people out there who had parents that thought they had the right to kick the ***** out of their kid when he misbehaved. From posts I've seen here, some cops think it's okay too.
            What you're doing is teaching your kid that the biggest person is always right, that's all.

            Like Sentinel posted in another thread, if you really want to do away with DUI, make laws eliminating parking lots around bars and taverns.

            Yeah, drunk drivers kill people, but so do speeders and I don't see any camp that wants speeders drawn and quartered. I'm not defending drunk driving either, but stop the violins.
            "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne

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            • #7
              DUI

              I am surprised to see some of the lax views on Dwi. I have only been in law enforcement for two years, But in those two yrs I have been to way to many 10-50s that are alcohol related.(many more as a vol.firefighter) Why does this happen? Because someone wanted to go out and have a good time. Sounds pretty selfish to me. How anyone thinks its no big deal or its a tax...well that blows my mind. Everyone I find driving impaired goes to jail without fail and sadly there is no shortage of them.
              "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

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              • #8
                If you look at the posts so far on this thread I have seen a interesting split. Those that did not or do not work much traffic have a higher lets say tolerance for DWI, those who work primarily traffic (like troopers) POUND DWIs in the ground. I will not hesiatte to arrest some one over the legal limit, especially with so many things recorded now days. You stop a someone you think yeah this person has been drinking but seems ok I won't FST them. You let them go and ten minutes later blam they run into a school bus full of nuns. The next words you hear coming out of your mouth is "well chief its like this...."
                I will give you an example that happened to me. I was in the USAF working as a SP. Wne tot the main gate just as the SP at the gate starts doing a DWI stop. He looks at me and says..gee I don't know what to do here I am calling the shift sup. Ok I say I stand by and help you out. Shift sup arrives says well this guy (the DK) is just going to billetting a block away lets just let him go. I look at the shift sup a little dubiously and say well sarge if thats what you want, and its YOUR call we can do that. The shift sgt looks at me ponders that for a few and says nah...run him if he has priors hook'm and book'm. Anyhow the dk did have priors he did get tagged and book and then released to his first sgt. I found out the next day that command had found out that the shift sgt wanted to let the guy go free...whoa big time fall out. I learned then and there not to fool around with DWIs In my opinion it is a serious crime and it needs to be dealt with as such.
                Happy to be here proud to serve

                "Well it appears this lock does not accept american express."

                Never trust fire fighters to point out a suspect.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As I said in my original post ... I am not advocating driving drunk. I am saying that it is very hit and miss which is very unfair and punishes all for something done by a few.

                  Example:
                  I saw an accident once where a guy I knew had a few at a restaurant with a few friends. Left and was fine. Coherent and more competent than most sober people I arrested. He is stopped at a red light and a kid in a hot rod speeding down the street slammed into him from the rear. LEO arrives, tests him and arrests him for DWI. Give me a break. He was stopped. I don't know the end result of the test but it was above a limit. I don't remember weather it was impaired or higher but it was not high, I do remember that.

                  I guess what I am trying to say is that we are, as a society, in a backhanded way, reintroducing prohibition. How do we expect people to get home from restaurants and bars that serve alcohol? Now if you say designated drivers or taxi's reexamine that answer and think realistically. That just is not feasible and logical. No, we expect them to drive. We know they are going to drive. Why don't we stop them? Because truly stopping them would involve highly controlling it. This would cut severely into the profits of restaurants and beer and liquor companies. These restaurant and bar owners and beer and liquor companies pay alot of taxes AND more importantly, donate to a lot of politicians.

                  Also it would severely curtail the average persons ability to drink socially with others. Think about it. Realistically you can only drink at home if you want to be sure not to get locked up for DWI. What fun is that? You want to be around friends so you go out. DWI would drop like a stone if we outlawed bars and taverns and restaurants that sold booze. Only supermarkets could sell booze. DWI would practically stop because now the only place to drink would be at home and then why drive? You are already home!

                  But it would never happen. Why? Because who wants to be the politician that comes up with the true answer to DWI? No way. He would lose tremendous contributions from booze companies and Establishments that sell it. Nope, I think it will stay like it is. Like speeding. Put a governor in car that will top out at 70 to ensure that no one speeds? No way. What politician would do that? You would never get voted for. Just keep it the way it is. Let people do what they want, have minimal enforcement of it to make a nice show for the public, and every year a few get caught and they pay.

                  Again, I am not talking about the completely inebriated. I am talking about the other 95% at a bar that go home with no problems. A bar/nightclub filled to capacity, parking lot full and you think all those people are taking a cab home? Naive.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why is it so hard not to drink if you know you are going to have to "get home?" Are we a society of alcoholics? I don't understand it. I like to have a beer with dinner as much as the next guy, but nobody exceeds the legal limit having a beer with dinner. If I have more than one drink per hour, my wife drives. If we both have wine or something, one is the limit. God forbid you might have to switch to iced tea or soda after one or two drinks when you know you have to drive. Why do people make it out to be so difficult. It's just a matter of taking responsibility for yourself and planning ahead. If you are planning on going to a bar to "have a few" you need to have a designated driver. Period. I personally slam anyone I catch DWI and I only wish the penalties were tougher. It makes me sick when I catch someone and it is their third or fourth offense. Those people should be in jail where they won't be a danger to society.
                    C. Davis

                    "Let us not forget those who gave their tomorrows for our todays"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DUI

                      Originally posted by j706
                      I am surprised to see some of the lax views on Dwi. I have only been in law enforcement for two years, But in those two yrs I have been to way to many 10-50s that are alcohol related.(many more as a vol.firefighter) Why does this happen? Because someone wanted to go out and have a good time. Sounds pretty selfish to me. How anyone thinks its no big deal or its a tax...well that blows my mind. Everyone I find driving impaired goes to jail without fail and sadly there is no shortage of them.
                      I didn't say it was no big deal, I said it's not always the crime of the century.

                      Also, the legal limit is bull*****. I busted a woman once who was on her butt, she could barely walk, much less walk a straight line. She blew a .05. I still arrested her and she was convicted, but the legal limit meant nothing. Another time my partner and I busted this old man who was kinda drunk. Not falling down, talked clearly, etc. but obviously impaired. We talked about it before the test and wondered if he would go over the .15, which is another charge in Oregon. He blew a .43. No kidding! I thought someone who was that drunk would be dead, but he wasn't all that bad.

                      As far as throwing the book at them, Oregon has a great system that allows for diversion if there isn't an accident with injuries involved. The person goes to sort of a mini treatment program and the conviction is removed from the record. That's a one time deal though. A lot of people make mistakes and don't realize they're impaired as they are. And a good many only get one DUI in their whole life, they learn their lesson.

                      If any of you want to talk about all the dead bodies you've seen, I'll be glad to play that game, I think I'd probably beat most of you. Yeah, it's tough telling a parent their child was killed by a drunk driver. Try holding a 8 month old baby that's been scalded to death and then get back to me about how hard it is to talk to that parent. Save the emotional speeches for the PTA. All of us have had to do nasty ***** on this job.

                      Yeah, obviously impaired drivers should be arrested, but I've seen our traffic guys arrest people who were seemed just fine except for a slight smell of alcohol. The person hits the magic .08 and off they go to jail. If they'd blown .07, they would have been kicked loose because they couldn't have otherwise proven impairment. Those are the ones I'm talking about.

                      Yeah, if I was a state trooper or my only job was working traffic enforcement, I'd probably be death on DUI's too. But some of us have been exposed to a lot more police work than that and put DUI's more in perspective.
                      "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wish I could have put it better myself, but I can't so I will just have to say ... what he said. Kudos retdetsgt.

                        So then to those that want to clean up the streets of drinkers why don't we have DWI units parked outside of wedding halls? Because I mean 90% of the people pulling out of a catering hall have had a few. Probably enough to make them over or very close to the limit.

                        How about having undercover officers in bars/restaurants watching to see who is imbibing and then follow them out to the parking lot. Once they get in and turn the car on bam! You got 'em.

                        How much detective work is involved with a DWI unit? I mean park outside the bar and as ANYONE comes out and gets in a car grab him. I mean what was he doing in there? Playing darts? He was drinking right?

                        My point is not that DWI is not bad. It's that we seem to have a double sided view of it. If we want to stop it then why don't we? Why do we just lock up the occasional unfortunate schmo that just happens to be unlucky enough to drive past a radio car on his way home and the officer recognizes that car as one that he saw in the bar parking lot earlier.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sentinel
                          I wish I could have put it better myself, but I can't so I will just have to say ... what he said. Kudos retdetsgt.

                          So then to those that want to clean up the streets of drinkers why don't we have DWI units parked outside of wedding halls? Because I mean 90% of the people pulling out of a catering hall have had a few. Probably enough to make them over or very close to the limit.

                          How about having undercover officers in bars/restaurants watching to see who is imbibing and then follow them out to the parking lot. Once they get in and turn the car on bam! You got 'em.

                          Hey Sentinel I've got it, I'll let you in on the ground floor along with RDS. All vehicles manufactured should have BAC interlock's as standard equipment. That would do a much better job of curtailing DUI than the best super trooper DUI expert. Just make retina scanning equipment standard also to verify who is blowing into the interlock. Whether you drink or not you have to do it to start your car...big brother is watching
                          Trooperden, akman75, & azmichelle ignored

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 6233108
                            Hey Sentinel I've got it, I'll let you in on the ground floor along with RDS. All vehicles manufactured should have BAC interlock's as standard equipment. That would do a much better job of curtailing DUI than the best super trooper DUI expert. Just make retina scanning equipment standard also to verify who is blowing into the interlock. Whether you drink or not you have to do it to start your car...big brother is watching
                            And don't forget the governors on all cars so no one can go over 55 MPH.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think the hubub and media attention concern DUI's are vastly overated.

                              I would have also taken his keys, gave him a ride home. If he wants to owe me one, fine. I would do this because I hope if I'm ever in that situation, the officer would do the same for me.
                              Brutality is when we hit back.
                              -Unknown Officer

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