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Law enforcement officers out in force to catch drunken, impaired drivers

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010 2:00 am | Updated: 2:22 pm, Tue Jun 4, 2013.

People who believe they can get away with a simple license suspension if they refuse to submit to a police Breathalyzer test need to think again.

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        • Jlcrelia posted at 9:24 am on Sun, Jan 2, 2011.

          Jlcrelia Posts: 58

          The police, prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys are not the issue here. Responsible drivers do not drink and drive, and rational people do not justify drinking and driving as acceptable. This program is designed to be a deterrent to those whom choose to drive intoxicated over this weekend. If you do it, expect to be in contact with the Police if you get caught. Impaired drivers are the problem here, not a corrupt system or arrest hungry cops. How about throw out the mandatory blood draw and the breathalyzer, which are used merely as tools to further proof of impaired driving. The penal code allows the officer to determine a person is intoxicated merely by what is observed and or smelled. Here is the penal code section Chapter 49.01:

          "Intoxicated" means:
          (A) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or
          (B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

          People refuse the breathalyzer everyday and are still convicted of DWI. What is being missed here is that you do not have a right to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Texas; you have a privilege to drive when you are issued a DL and you have to operate a motor vehicle by the laws. Due process is the field sobriety test (on audio/camera), the breathalyzer, and the blood test. When a person is considered intoxicated by the officer they are under arrest for impaired driving and at that point and the breath test only proves they are not intoxicated of alcohol. The blood test remedies all other substance detection. The State will regulate how you operate your motor vehicle, and driving while intoxicated just so happens to be a regulatory stipulation. The key ingredient of the no refusal is to deter people from driving intoxicated, and to make it known you may be subject to a mandatory blood test. Bottom line is it is common knowledge that you cannot drive “intoxicated”, so the poor idiots that get out on the road after they have been using impairment substances are setting themselves up to be arrested. I have little sympathy for them. For those whom refuse the breath test, they are not using sound judgment if the officer can get a warrant to have their blood drawn regardless of refusal. Why put yourself through that? I bet if the girl in Shipchannels story had it to do over again she would have blew into the breathalyzer and been on her merry way. $10,000-$15,000 DWI case or $20 cab ride, or a free non judgmental ride for Driving Jacks, I’ll take the one where I do not have to drive intoxicated and go to jail or be subjected to overzealous cops whom want to arrest everyone.

        • JusticeServed posted at 11:19 pm on Sat, Jan 1, 2011.

          JusticeServed Posts: 86

          And thank you Rye :)

        • JusticeServed posted at 11:18 pm on Sat, Jan 1, 2011.

          JusticeServed Posts: 86

          If that's all you've gotten out of my posts Shipchanneltrash, then you have missed the point and there is nothing left for me to say, I've stated my position and my piece. I hope you all have had a blessed and safe New Year.

        • shipchanneltrash posted at 9:16 pm on Sat, Jan 1, 2011.

          shipchanneltrash Posts: 415

          Justice and Rye, we really should always just do whatever the police tell us to do, no matter what, because that just makes life easier. Right? Maybe the police should not stop at blood tests, maybe they should just be able to walk up to any house they want and go in and search it because if you have nothing illegal it won't take long and they'll always tidy up after themselves anyway. That would simplify having to get a warrant and would help get those doing illegal things into jail quicker. Ah, heck, lets just do away with the whole Bill of Rights. After all the government is always right anyway.

        • JusticeServed posted at 8:50 pm on Sat, Jan 1, 2011.

          JusticeServed Posts: 86

          Our job as parents is to teach our children about dangers they could face in life, and hopefully provide them a strong foundation to go out and be positively contributing members of society. Alcohol alone does not kill people, alcohol does not cause car accidents, it is alcohol not in moderation, but in over use, misuse, and abuse. It is alcohol in irresponsible or addicted hands that is the problem. My family and I abstain from drinking or cooking with any alcohol, but that is our choice, we fully intend on raising our children to know the truth, benefits, and dangers alike of alcohol. My point is, seeing it on a billboard doesn't promote unhealthy habits, if you teach your child to know better. It's everywhere, on TV, radio, magazines, and even from friends in school. So, if we teach our kids, the billboards probably won't even get much attention. But, I do agree with you that they are tacky, we hate them, and I could do without them, and I feel the same way about the stupid Victoria's Secret ads and naked women posters in malls, but the same prinicple applies, we just have to educate and empower our children with the truth and knowledge.

        • Concerned momma posted at 4:35 pm on Sat, Jan 1, 2011.

          Concerned momma Posts: 1

          I am a concerned mom who is all for the police patrolling and keeping our roads safe!! However, I have a big problem with our society drive down University Dr. and look at all the billboards that are advertising beer, and then we as parents are trying to tell our kiddos to stay away from alcohol... Really?? Then all the promoting alcohol that goes on in our city??? We don't stand a chance!

        • ryewhiskey posted at 10:53 am on Sat, Jan 1, 2011.

          ryewhiskey Posts: 84

          "JusticeServed"......excellent post. I couldn't agree more.

        • JusticeServed posted at 2:23 am on Sat, Jan 1, 2011.

          JusticeServed Posts: 86

          Maybe, instead of trying to make a point, lay down your pride and take the dang breathalyzer...if you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing. You end up in bad situations by trying to make a point sometimes. She probably could have saved herself a lot of heartache and money had she just taken the breathalyzer. Yes, I get the whole principal of it, but you can be right and save yourself some time and go through the standard procedures, or you can be right and lose a lot in the process, me, I'd rather just save myself money and time, then if I'm prosecuted wrongly that's a different story. When I was younger, late teens early twenty, I refused a breathalyzer although I had no liquor at all in my system, I ended up in a terrible situation that could have been avoided had not been trying to prove a point. Knowledge is knowing your rights, wisdom is knowing when to force exercise of them IMHO.

        • shipchanneltrash posted at 11:58 pm on Fri, Dec 31, 2010.

          shipchanneltrash Posts: 415

          There are alot of horror stories out there involving over zealous cops and the no refusal process. Just one here:

          A 23-year-old Windcrest woman who was forced to have her blood drawn agrees. She was driving an intoxicated friend home from a bar on Labor Day weekend last year when she was forced to pull to the side of Interstate 35 to avoid a crash.

          Police who arrived on the scene minutes later asked her to do a breathalyzer test, which she refused. Her car was impounded, her driver's license was taken away, and she was transported to the Bexar County magistrate's office, despite pleading with officers that she was merely shaken by her near-wreck, not drunk.

          After spending the night in a holding cell, she underwent a mandatory blood draw that came back negative months later.

          “When I was in that holding cell, there were girls who had fallen asleep at the wheel and passed out while they were driving,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. “I hadn't even been pulled over!”

          Her case eventually was dropped, but not before she paid more than $11,000 in legal fees and spent six months with a suspended driver's license. At one point, as she waited months for a court date, she had to get a probation officer's approval to leave the state.

          “It was awful and humiliating,” she said. “I'm angry, because this is not a situation I would normally have gotten myself into.”

          Read more:

          Guess she really agrees that she was 'lucky' to have the opportunity to 'prove' her innocence.

          In the study mentioned in the story cited above one in ten who were forced to have blood tests were found to have no alcohol or were below the .08 presumptive limit.

          There are positives and negatives to a program like this but I'm not always willing to trust the cops and prosecutors to safeguard the integrity of the program enough to leave it to them.

          If the process included an opportunity to have a defense attorney available when the Judge considered the due process aspect and a mandamus if warranted to appeal the warrant then the safeguards might be enough.

          Of course that will never be acceptable to law enforcement because they never do anything wrong. No matter how bad it gets.

        • ryewhiskey posted at 8:58 am on Fri, Dec 31, 2010.

          ryewhiskey Posts: 84

          Although they may have been misquoted or a misprint from Erin McKeon, there have been reported incidences of people having high blood alcohol levels like that mentioned in the story, so anything is possible. But yes, most people would be dead from those levels.

        • Jlcrelia posted at 8:54 am on Fri, Dec 31, 2010.

          Jlcrelia Posts: 58

          What does red light cameras have to do with this topic, other than supporting your claim the police are money hungry corrupt agencies. That is a whole other argument involving a camera making judgment of a law violation and not a human being observing a law violation. If cameras were photographing red light runners or those who cross the line in the intersections and then charging the owner of those cars with DWI; then we would have a problem, but it would still not apply to the no refusal argument. Stick to the subject Shipchannel.

        • Jlcrelia posted at 8:47 am on Fri, Dec 31, 2010.

          Jlcrelia Posts: 58

          Yes, it is very unfortunate that administrative officials and police are corrupt, like Ms. Russell in Shelby County. It is easy to make an argument that there are corrupt CJ systems in the US, and just because they were or are then this applies to Nacogdoches, especially the no refusal weekend. There are no perfect police agencies and not all cops, prosecutors, judges, or attorneys are totally legit; any idiot can see that if they read the news from time to time or run across one of these situations. It is very easy to make sarcastic and non valid statements about a law enforcement movement that has not been proven corrupt, or deviant like the implications made by Estevan. Has anyone proven that the local criminal justice system has been corrupt in this proactive criminal justice movement to keep the roads safe over this weekend or any other weekend this has been implemented? No, it has not. Assumptions about corrupt law enforcement and prosecutors in other counties bleeding over into the efforts of this county are unfounded and ignorant in this particular subject. Looking at the media coverage of the local criminal justice system for the last 10 years it is clear that not all law enforcement officials have proven to be good ones, overlooking that would be a fallacy. Is Mr. Fleming and Judge Sinz really being overzealous in implementing a no refusal weekend, in the name of raising money and violating civil rights. Not likely. Shipchannel you should be happy there will be more DWI arrest over this weekend. This will save you tax money (through fines and court costs) in the long run and then you will give you one less thing to complain about; no tax increases. If you’re driving this weekend and get stopped and you are not drunk, not arbitrarily subjected to the no refusal stipulations, and let go what his your complaint? So now you complain about the very thing that you complain for, saving tax money and police doing their jobs keeping Nacogdoches safe? It is funny this movement will also keep the streets safer and save you some money. If money was not attached to this and the officer were working volunteering their time would you complain then?
          Look at how a traffic stop works. A person is stopped or a “law violation”, which could be anything in the transportation code (very lengthy document). If they smell like alcohol or appear to be under the influence the officer will (on video/audio) follow “procedure” to determine if there is an intoxicated individual. If this person is not intoxicated then the will either be issued a warning/citation and released or they will be offered their options to prove they are not intoxicated. Not sure how innocent people will be subjected to civil rights violation. I would thing for liability purposes an officer with no evidence of intoxication will arbitrarily detain a person and take them to the hospital and force them to have blood drawn. Be realistic. The safeguard in this case is if someone is subjected to corrupt officers on traffic stops like this, it is on video and audio tape and anybody has the right to complain. I guess the counter argument for this is all police are corrupt and will cover it up? Any idiot could make that argument.
          Instead of attacking the efforts of the cj system for being corrupt, that has been unproven in this case, offer a little encouraging words and support for the effort to keep you guys safe over the weekend. If this was to turn out to be proven it was a corrupt deal, I will definitely be supportive of the corrupt argument, until that occurs be supportive. You will benefit from this in some way, even you Shipchannel.

        • JusticeServed posted at 8:01 am on Fri, Dec 31, 2010.

          JusticeServed Posts: 86

          One of my best friends at 17 had her left leg ripped off by a drunk driver. She was darn near killed and it almost took her arm too, and her ability to have children, which is still uncertain at this time. She has been pieced back together through tens of tens of surgeries and metal and plastic parts, because someone was drunk driving on the wrong side of the road. I don't care one bit what the NPD's motive is for chasing down drunk drivers, just as long as they do. If it keeps my friends, family, and loved ones safe, then I DON"T CARE how many people get their blood taken, if I'm driving suspiciously, then they can stick me, I'll willing lay out a vein, better than than my life or someone else's. It's that simple.

        • shipchanneltrash posted at 6:11 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          shipchanneltrash Posts: 415

          Our police chief was chomping at the bits a while back to get the City to enter into a contract for red light cameras in Nacogdoches. A major consideration was the revenue that could be raised and the ease of doing so without the 'complexities' of a 'trial'. And all under the pretext of 'protecting the public' from those dangerous red light runners. Thankfully common sense prevailed and it wasn't done. One doesn't have to search far to find out about the problems that have been realized in other areas with that idea. Houston just voted them out and is now involved in an expensive lawsuit with the company that installed and ran them. Think it is not about the money? Think again. It will get worse as the budget tightens and Nacogdoches won't be immune.

        • shipchanneltrash posted at 4:35 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          shipchanneltrash Posts: 415

          It's always easy and safe to post comments that praise local law enforcement and rail against the evils of 'drunk driving'. Any idiot can do that. Nobody is going to advocate for allowing 'drunks' taking over the roads.

          Some people like jlc want you to believe that anything done by someone with a badge is perfectl alright and only for the public good. Yet, more mature and experienced individuals know that people are subject to mistakes and errors and this includes police and prosecutors. Sometimes police and prosecutors act with malice and illegality.

          A good example of just that is playing out ight before us in the case of the Shelby County DA and her minions who were doing exactly as Estephan says. They were lying in wait like bandits to illegally confiscate property from individuals in violation of their constitutional rights.The first poster in this article pointed out that not all that are snared in these nets are guilty and can often be simply victims of coming into contact with an overzealous officer and prosecutor.

          Of course one would hve to recognize that cops are prone to human frailities like the rest of us to acknowledge that. Probably too difficult a task for some who are making comments here.

        • Mama Dog posted at 4:33 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          Mama Dog Posts: 98

          I understand that people that drink and drive cause major problems on the roadways. I also know that cops don't need to be drunk or on drugs to cause problems when driving...they don't wear their seat belts, they don't drive the posted speed limit, they seldom if ever use turn signals and they drive in the left lane going 10-15 miles under the limit so you have to go around them on the right. All of these things would get me or you pulled over and cited..... Who's policing them??

        • bobsuruncle posted at 3:22 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          bobsuruncle Posts: 72

          The message of this article is quite simply "don't drive while alcohol or drug impaired". End of story.

        • Jlcrelia posted at 2:43 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          Jlcrelia Posts: 58

          Well said Constitutional Conservative. I would love to see Estaven make a valid arguement to support his claim as well.

        • ConstitutionalConservative posted at 2:18 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          ConstitutionalConservative Posts: 5

          Estaven, I would love for you to elaborate on your conspiracy theory. Is it that you don't believe impared drivers are a risk? Do you know a better way to protect the resposible drivers and thier families? Or maybe, this just hits a little too close to home. I guess you actually believe that officers receive some form of bonus or proceed from thier arrests. It wouldn't serve your theory well if the officer making the cases didn't profit, which they don't. CitizenVoice, those who you speak of who are not intoxicated and "just caught in the net of enforcement" shouldn't be concerned. They should be more than willing to provide a specimen, as it is evidence of thier innocence. If they don't due to some misconstrued, or lawyer represented fear, then the "no-refusal weekend" will be the best defence they could wish for.

        • Estaven posted at 11:53 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          Estaven Posts: 38

          The law and local municipalities are using public safety as an excuse for what is really taxation by penalization. Instead of protecting the public that hires them the law lies in wait like a highway bandit that just wants your money and property.

        • jas316 posted at 11:02 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          jas316 Posts: 1

          Shipch, he might not have said that. There are things called misprints. Thank you to the ones trying to keep people safe this weekend.

        • Jlcrelia posted at 10:58 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          Jlcrelia Posts: 58

          Shipchannel when I saw this article posted I knew you would have some pessimistic comment about something to do with this article. Keep up the continuing pessimism it makes for good debate. Why not be supportive of this effort to keep the roads you travel safe over this weekend, and not be sarcastic about a misquotation. Since you did not attack the effort I guess you support this proactive policing movement? I will step out of the cloak of fear I apparently live in: I am supportive of this movement on many levels, and fully support law enforcement in their efforts over this weekend. This is a necessary intrusion of the rights of those driving impaired. Thank you Judge Sinz, Mr. Fleming (and staff), and for taking time to interfere with your personal lives to keep the streets safe over this highly intoxicated weekend. Also, thank you Law Enforcement for your service. Keep up the good work.

        • shipchanneltrash posted at 8:39 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          shipchanneltrash Posts: 415

          I'm sure our intrepid 'defender of the public streets' John Fleming will say he was misqouted when he said that "...some of them are really drunk with a 1.8 or 1.2 blood alcohol level."

          Because at that level anyone would be dead. I think maybe he just doesn't know how decimal points are properly expressed in relation to BAC.

          Keep up the good work, John, defending us from all those drunks running around with 1.2 or 1.8 BAC.

        • CitizenVoice posted at 7:36 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.

          CitizenVoice Posts: 1

          But probable cause is still needed for a warrant. It's not just 'simple'. And some people pulled over are not intoxicated, not a danger, just caught in the net of enforcement.


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