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  • Judges say maybe.....DUI stuff

    HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Law enforcement agencies across Texas have been cracking down on drunk drivers, and the way they're going about it is causing a stir. It has to do with the way warrants are obtained. Some defense attorneys and even judges are now saying it might be overreaching.

    Officers and deputies will be out looking for impaired drivers this holiday weekend. A "no refusal weekend" has never been tried before in Fort Bend County. But some judges say there are certain conditions under which they will not sign paperwork forcing someone's blood to be drawn.

    Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey has identified the 18 counties of 20 around the greater Houston area that run "no refusal" weekends -- an effort usually on holiday weekends when authorities will force the blood to be drawn of a suspected drunk driver if that person refuses a breathalyzer test.

    He said, "It is an effort to get at the truth. And who doesn't want to get the truth?"

    Like other counties have done, Healey says his prosecutors will be on duty at the sheriff's office this weekend to draw up paperwork necessary for a judge to sign before such a blood draw can take place. Under his plan, Healey says the assistant DA could fax an affidavit for an evidentiary warrant to the judge. That's something that's causing concern among some judges.

    Hon. Thomas Culver, III, of the 240th District Court, said, "We want to look at the police officer eye to eye before we sign a document. I don't think the district attorney is going to argue with that."

    Judge Culver says he would never sign such paperwork if it was faxed to him. So Healey says judges will be given a choice. If a judge wants, a prosecutor and an officer will go to that judge's home in person.

    The larger issue may be criticism from defense attorneys.

    "Basically the state of Texas is asking the judges to 'join our team.' Judges are supposed to be fair and impartial all the way through," said defense attorney Ralph Gonzalez.

    Healey agrees that judges need to be fair and impartial. He also says the highest criminal court in the state sees no problem forcing a drunk driving suspect to give up a blood sample.

    "This is a perfectly valid, legal and constitutional way to gain information, again, gain the truth as to whether this person had a presumptive level of alcohol or drugs in his system," Healey explained.

    This is still a relatively new concept -- forcing a blood draw from a non-willing person. The chief deputy at Fort Bend's Sheriff's office even questions whether it is legal. The DA says the highest criminal court in the state has ruled that it is, though Chief Craig Brady wonders if a challenge to that ruling is far off.
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?se...cal&id=6355526

    what a crock!!!
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

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    • #3
      Amazing...more people trying to coddle criminals....its already constitutional to force a blood draw.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by texaschickeee View Post
        Hon. Thomas Culver, III, of the 240th District Court, said, "We want to look at the police officer eye to eye before we sign a document. I don't think the district attorney is going to argue with that."

        Judge Culver says he would never sign such paperwork if it was faxed to him. So Healey says judges will be given a choice. If a judge wants, a prosecutor and an officer will go to that judge's home in person.
        Here is an idea, the officer drops by the judges house with the suspected DWI in tow and allows the suspect to tell the judge personally why they refused a breathalyzer.
        What is Perseverance?
        -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
        -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
        -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


        BOP - BPA - ICE

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        • #5
          Wasn't there a case of an officer known for high amount of DUI arrests getting in trouble for stretching things? In one case, someone had a blood alcohol level of .01, but the officer said he lost his balance in the field sobriety test and still got a DUI.

          So what is the lowest BAC on can have and still likely get a DUI? As civilians, we all hear of "over the limit" of 0.08, but it says right on the driver license renewal that you still could get one for less than half that. That means you could drink the "just two beers" and legitimately get a DUI.Why the subjectivity?

          It would be nice to be able to have a couple beers after work and know I won't go to jail, not have that be in limbo.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bigislander72 View Post
            Wasn't there a case of an officer known for high amount of DUI arrests getting in trouble for stretching things? In one case, someone had a blood alcohol level of .01, but the officer said he lost his balance in the field sobriety test and still got a DUI.

            So what is the lowest BAC on can have and still likely get a DUI? As civilians, we all hear of "over the limit" of 0.08, but it says right on the driver license renewal that you still could get one for less than half that. That means you could drink the "just two beers" and legitimately get a DUI.Why the subjectivity?

            It would be nice to be able to have a couple beers after work and know I won't go to jail, not have that be in limbo.
            The most impaired person I ever arrested for DUI had absolutely no alcohol in her system... it was the laundry list of prescription medications that messed her up (most were prescribed to her).

            I've also had a kid I arrested for DUI who blew a .026, but he did horrible on his field sobriety because 1) he was 16 and not used to alcohol and 2) he had just finished getting stoned. Low BAC doesn't mean not impaired.

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            • #7
              No refusal weekends...we have those every day. Our full-time DUI guys always get warrants for refusals. I work Federal OT on the weekends doing DUI and I am required to get a warrant for a refusal. The warrants are a fill-in the blank 4 page form. We fill them in and present them directly to the on-duty judge at our arrestee processing center to sign off on. There is a judge on duty 22hrs a day (not the same judge of course). They made it very easy for us to get a warrant and courts have ruled the process valid. Our Implied Consent that I read to all suspects starts off "I have probable cause to believe you've operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated." That PC to offer a breath test is the exact same PC used in the warrant. PC is PC not matter what you use it for. Drunks have a hard time wrapping their mind around the concept and most just latch onto the idea that I'm getting their blood illegally...haha

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TheKansan View Post
                Here is an idea, the officer drops by the judges house with the suspected DWI in tow and allows the suspect to tell the judge personally why they refused a breathalyzer.
                I like it! I think it might move this Judge to anew place in the process.....
                ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
                Oscar Wilde

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by StudChris View Post
                  The most impaired person I ever arrested for DUI had absolutely no alcohol in her system... it was the laundry list of prescription medications that messed her up (most were prescribed to her).

                  I've also had a kid I arrested for DUI who blew a .026, but he did horrible on his field sobriety because 1) he was 16 and not used to alcohol and 2) he had just finished getting stoned. Low BAC doesn't mean not impaired.
                  What you are describing is drugged driving and of course it warrants a DUI arrest. Being under 21 puts the limit at .01 in most states, correct? I meant what is the lower limit when alcohol is the only thing in the persons system and the person is over 21?
                  Last edited by bigislander72; 08-29-2008, 11:17 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bigislander72 View Post
                    I meant what is the lower limit when alcohol is the only thing in the persons system and the person is over 21?
                    As I understand there isn't one. They can blow lower than the legal limit and if the officer believes they are impaired they will get a DUI.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      By CA state law, we can do forced blood draws on any DUI, no warrant needed......BUT, under my department policy, we will only do them in cases of felony DUI (Death or serious bodily injury)

                      The other problem we ran in to, was that two of the local hospitals would not do the blood draw unless the 'patient' signed the consent form....felony or not......they consider it a 'violation of basic human rights' to perform medical procedures without consent.......
                      The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

                      "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CathyGo View Post
                        As I understand there isn't one. They can blow lower than the legal limit and if the officer believes they are impaired they will get a DUI.
                        Why even bother with having a legal limit in that case? Why not any detectable alcohol in system=DUI?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bigislander72 View Post
                          Why even bother with having a legal limit in that case? Why not any detectable alcohol in system=DUI?
                          Indiana law has 2 separate charges just for that reason.
                          1 Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
                          2 Operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a BAC .08-.14
                          3 Operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a BAC .15 and above
                          DUI's always get the 1st and we add the appropriate charge of the BAC depending on the results of the test. They are separate charges in and of themselves. If I get a refusal I charge only with the OWI. If I get blood the prosecutor will add the proper BAC charge when the results are determined. If I arrest a driver with a BAC below .08 then I better have good impairment...driving behavior. It is entirely possible to have a person that is below .08 but have signs of intoxication and dangerous driving behavior. The BAC ups the charge and a person above a .08 is legally presumed to be impaired. Below that you have to work to prove impairment. But ALL DUI arrests will have the OWI (1) charge regardless of amount of alcohol or drugs in the system.
                          Last edited by MCSD241; 08-30-2008, 04:43 AM.

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                          • #14
                            i only agree with forced blood draws on accidents.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MCSD241 View Post
                              Indiana law has 2 separate charges just for that reason.
                              1 Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
                              2 Operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a BAC .08-.14
                              3 Operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a BAC .15 and above
                              DUI's always get the 1st and we add the appropriate charge of the BAC depending on the results of the test. They are separate charges in and of themselves. If I get a refusal I charge only with the OWI. If I get blood the prosecutor will add the proper BAC charge when the results are determined. If I arrest a driver with a BAC below .08 then I better have good impairment...driving behavior. It is entirely possible to have a person that is below .08 but have signs of intoxication and dangerous driving behavior. The BAC ups the charge and a person above a .08 is legally presumed to be impaired. Below that you have to work to prove impairment. But ALL DUI arrests will have the OWI (1) charge regardless of amount of alcohol or drugs in the system.
                              In that case, could a person get a DUI for no detectable alcohol or drugs in system, but exhibiting impairment or can't do the sobriety test, in other words "must be on something, just didn't do the right test" type scenario? This would suck for someone with a slight handicap, (someone who can't walk a straight line due to physical impairment for example) but is sober.
                              Last edited by bigislander72; 08-31-2008, 05:01 AM.

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