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The sixth time's the charm

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by lust4life, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. lust4life

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    A Texas man was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for his sixth DWI. He'll begin serving the life sentence after he completes the 15 year sentence for violating his parole from his fifth DWI, so he'll e eligible for parole again in 40 years...when he's in his mid 80s. The fact that someone is able to be convicted for that many DWIs is mind-boggling. I should also mention that the sentence was handed down by a jury, not a judge.

    Focus: How should DWI sentencing work? Three strikes and your out (or in) for good? Two? How many DWIs are too many? What are the penalties where you live?

    Alt Focus: Have you been convicted for DWI? More than once? Share your experience and what, if anything, you learned from it.
     
  2. The_Native

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    I'm going through it right now. I had my first court date this morning* I was stopped in a ride program. I had about the same as two beers over the limit. It was the first time I've ever been in any kind of trouble. I was put in cuffs and taken to the station. And left till morning. I always walk or take a cab. But not this time because I didn't think I was close to the limit. I lost my job because half my job was driving the rig to the job site. I live in a small town so until my suspension is up I will probably end up flipping burgers or some lame I can walk to. That was the first and last time I will ever have more than a beer and drive.


    * I am pleading guilty (I did it time to pay for it) I will get a three month suspension (because I have no previous criminal record at all) and $1000 fine plus nine months ignition interlock in my truck
     
  3. JoeCanada

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    Hard to say, it's a line in the sand you have to draw somewhere. If it was my choice, I would say...

    1st: License taken away for three months and a big fine.
    2nd: License taken away for a year and a huge fine.
    3rd: Jail for a year.
    4th: Jail for three years and no more driver's license, ever. Fuck you.


    The unfortunate truth is, a lot of people do it at some point - I did it a few times when I was younger, and luckily I smartened up sooner rather than later. For that reason I don't think you should get too fucked over for your first time getting caught, but if you can't stop drinking and driving after you have been caught, then seriously... what the fuck.
     
  4. Kubla Kahn

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    I'll go through some old post and PM in the morning and expand on it but I flipped my friends truck and was charged with OVI (Ohio's version of a DUI/DWI). Went to trial and beat the case because of my rock solid police video and an overzealous cop. It wasn't cheap.

    My friend's suggested a scale of punishment based on blood alcohol limit. Penalties increasing the higher the blood alcohol content. As far as taking away licenses forever, my lawyer, or maybe it was the cop told me of a guy who was on his 5th, had his license revoked and had just got a 6th, driving without a license. Some alcoholics don't give a fuck.
     
  5. Crown Royal

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    I have posted this before, and it is not pleasant, but for those of you that prefer shock therepy:

    I was in a DUI accident (as a passenger) a decade ago that killed the girl that was with me that night and the driver's best friend. The car was wrapped around a tree and ripped open like a fortune cookie.

    Let's just say I abide strictly when it comes to booze before driving. Three's my limit nowadays and that rule does NOT get broken. Call getting soaked head-to-toe in other people's body tissue the ultimate wake-up call.

    Don't drink and drive, kids. One wrong move and it will be playing over and over in your head every hour of every excrutiating fucking day, and no, and it never goes away. Ever.
     
  6. StayFrosty

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    How about 1st time offenses call for summary execution on the side of the road? Or public flogging like in Starship Troopers?

    Okay, so the first is very extreme and the second will likely never happen. In all seriousness, the penalties do need to be increased. My suburb's police blotter is filled with DUIs, and a lot of them mention "this is [suspect]'s 4/5/6th DUI." I'm sure there are many people who just have a bit too much and think they're fine to drive, but I'd say the majority of OVI/DUI offenders are habitual. Just like any other crime, if you're caught doing it, there's a damn good chance this isn't your first time offending, just getting caught.

    I will also argue that the OVI laws need to be changed regarding arrest criteria. Here in Ohio, riding a bike drunk can get you an OVI. Swerving a bit while under the .08 BAC is grounds for arrest, and that's actually pretty fair. I do remember reading an article months ago (I think someone on here even linked it) that made a good argument for why BAC is a horrible standard for determining intoxication.

    Without going off on the specifics of that argument, I'd rather see the law err on the side of caution. First time offenders should be fined and having their driving restricted to work/school only, along with community service. Second time offenders should have their driving privileges revoked entirely for the year following their mandatory minimum of five years sentence.

    Everyone makes mistakes, and Kubla's post is a good example of the fact that some OVI "offenders" are in fact not endangering anyone. But regardless of the circumstances, getting hit with OVI twice is extremely unlikely unless you are in fact impaired, and therefore a danger to anyone around you.

    On the other side of the innocent/guilty coin, there was a recent incident here in Dayton. A high school senior and a girl who had just graduated were sitting at a red light when a drunk driver plowed into their car at nearly 100mph in a 35-40mph zone. The car was thrown onto a sign at the side of the road, and having been through that intersection myself, I can say that car was thrown a damn good distance. Passenger died en route to hospital, and driver died on impact - less than two minutes after calling her brother (who made it through the light ahead of her) and telling him she'd see him at home. Of course, the drunk driver survived with minimal injury (as they almost always do).

    My point here is that drunk driving has serious repercussions. As I said above, there should be some leeway for 1st offenders so that we don't see a bunch of innocent people locked up for OVI, but second time offenders should be incarcerated, because they have shown that they have no concern for the lives of those around them, and they need to be removed from society. The "bullet in the head" comment I made above isn't the way to do it, but that's because we're better than that, not because they deserve better.
     
  7. Dcc001

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    I'm going to catch hell for this, but here goes.

    Presently, I think Canadian laws have gone too far. I think the way DUIs are treated violates the Charter of Rights, and I think the legislation that is being pushed by the lobby groups is obscene.

    - If you get pulled over and blow over 0.08 (at least in Alberta) you lose your license automatically right there on the side of the road for three months. No trial. No jury of your peers. Nothing. Bam, you're punished for a crime you may or may not be guilty of, and you're punished whether or not proper procedure was followed on the part of the police.

    Think about that. If you were arrested for child rape, they would arraign you and then you'd live your life normally until the trial. Not so with drunk driving. Is drinking and driving worse than pedophilia? Because it gets punished more swiftly and with less chance for the person to defend themselves than an alleged pedophile would.

    - The plea process is skewed to make you plead guilty. If you plead guilty, you now have a CRIMINAL record (kiss having a passport, travelling, working in a foreign country, getting another job easily, etc). Plus, if you plead guilty your license is suspended for a year. They give you credit for the time already served, though, so it's an additional nine months. If you plead innocent and are found guilty it's a year with no credit given. They're punishing you for defending yourself. Again, think about that. Why is this crime so vilified? I'm not talking about repeat offenders, or someone who has actually caused an accident...these are just people that could have had 2.5 glasses of wine and hit 0.10 for the 15 minute car ride home.

    - The laws are getting worse. Lobby groups are pushing for a legal limit of 0.05. This despite the fact that 87% of alcohol-related accidents are caused by people well over the 0.08 mark. Should this legislation go through, it will have a devistaing impact on the service industry. Here's a good interview explaining why it's a bad idea that will not make anyone safer.

    - MADD, in my opinion, is a group of teetotalers that wants laws changed because they find drinking morally reprehensible, not because they want to make things safer. MADD suspends fundraising because of questionable policies.

    Again, I cannot stress this enough: I am all for legislation that keep alcohol out of the hands of minors, that throws the book at people who have caused an accident, and that removes hardcore, dangerous drunks from the roads. I am NOT for regular Canadians being treated like criminals for "crimes" they have not been convicted of.
     
  8. Flat_Rate

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    I have one DUI, got it reduced to impaired driving, first time offense. I haven't been anywhere near drunk and attempting to drive after all the fines and insurance BS that I went through. Jail sucks people, trust me on that.

    Also the laws need reform badly, ride a pedal bike drunk? Bang that's a DUI in my home state, lose your drivers license for a pedal bike infraction. I had a buddy get a DUI on a fucking lawnmower that was on private property, his second, he hasn't had a license in 3 years now because of that.
     
  9. PIMPTRESS

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    I was riding horses in the mountains when a fucking Park Ranger decided that one of our party was drunk, produced a breathalyzer and gave hum a DUI. May I stress that while we were ALL drinking, we were no where near any type of roadway, we were not littering and had planned on camping near our rigs after the ride so we could be sober in the morning. We were just glad he didn't do a thorough search, the guy who got the DUI also had a few grams of coke on him and I had a few blunts in my pocket....


    I'm not sure how, but the DUI was dropped. On the flip side, a good friend of mine has had SEVEN DUI's and only with this last one had to do any time, lose his license or have a blower. That was WAY too many times to really hurt someone...
     
  10. Binary

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    A guy once suggested to me that we do away with DUIs entirely.

    Instead, anyone who is drinking and involved in an accident where the other party is hurt, is charged with attempted murder.

    Frankly, I think it's pretty fair.

    To the above proposed four-strike system, if you've hit your fourth DUI, that's too many. I'm okay with second chances. Smarten up. License suspension and major fine the first time you get caught. If you get caught twice, your license is suspended for three years minimum. Third time will be major jail time and you can never drive again.

    There are a lot of people that say, "well, everyone does it" or "we've all done it at some point" - yes, there's validity to that, but if there were draconian laws surrounding it, that would go way down. Who here would consider getting into a car after three drinks if causing an accident at that point was going to culminate in being charged with a major felony? The cost of cab money is suddenly comparatively much cheaper.
     
  11. lust4life

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    And one would think such a penalty system would be enough of an incentive, but as has been mentioned, for some alcoholics (and drug addicts), it's not. About two years ago, a guy up in Denton County plowed into a minivan, killing the driver and her child. This was his fifth DWI, he had already served two two-year sentences on previous convicts and his license was permanently revoked (which obviously didn't stop him--he was driving his father's pick-up). He was 26 at the time of the last accident.

    He completed "treatment" programs both times in prison (that's a topic for a whole other thread), served his time, and was released. I think the issue of overcrowding in the prisons plays a role ("we need the room for violent offenders") in further complicating the problem. Drug courts are showing some improvement in outcomes, but they are few and far between.

    A person I know was convicted of DWI manslaughter and served 2.5 years. He worked for Miller, and pretty much had a job where he bar hopped from 11 am through the night. Hz plowed into a car in the shoulder on an exit ramp that was behind another car and crushed a woman between the stopped cars. While on bail and awaiting trial, he attended AA (I knew him from my drinking days, not AA), did community service (Habitat for Humanity) voluntarily, and got what I consider a pretty light sentence. When he got out, me and another guy from AA who also knew reached out to him, and his response was that he was going to "ease back into the program.". Per his son, the only thing he eased back into was a bottle.

    The only people that are going to recover are the people who want to recover. The challenge to the court system is being able to identify who really wants it and who's just paying lip service to get their ass out of a jam.
     
  12. Crown Royal

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    MADD is no better than Chris-chan fundamentalists. If I had it mt way, I would declare them an enemy of the state. Soapboxing ignoramuses, that is all they are.
     
  13. DaVoN

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    So I got arrested for a DWI, the day AFTER I was drinking.

    It was about 4-5 years ago when Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday like it is this year. The Friday before we had our office Christmas party. Most of my colleagues aren't major drinkers except for a few so of course we all haug around drinking Jagermeister and Whiskey the entire time. I leave there about midnight-1 o clock. Mind you, this had been going on since like 3 in the afternoon so I was very drunk. Got a ride home everything was good.

    I woke up at 11am the next morning and immediately knew I was late. I had late Christmas shopping to do, so I hop in the shower quick as hell and fly out the door. I'm only about 2 miles from my house at this point when I go to CVS for something. Now the driveway to get out of it is an intersection with a huge hill coming down from the right. I look left, look right, NOTHING. So I go to cross the intersection when a car comes flying down the hill, smashes into my back end and spins me out. Not much damage, I'm okay, the lady is okay. She insists on calling the police, which I understood. I'm a young guy, I might not have insurance and whatnot. Then we start going through the whole process with the cop. I'm not thinking anything is out of the normal. Second cop car shows up and he immediately makes a beeline for me telling me to stand up straight and not to lean on the car (My car, btw). I kind of give him a look of WTF? but do as he says. They go talk to the lady for a minute then come over to me and ask me to come by their car. And THEN I get the field sobriety test. I don't feel drunk, I'm not drunk, the accident was just that, an accident.

    So I do the alphabet fine, walk the line fine, and then they shine the light in your eyes and make you follow it. Not 2 tries going left and right and they tell him to turn around, i'm getting arrested for DWI. Now I'm pissed, I'm not exactly being nice but I'm not being downright rude to them. Telling them they are wrong and we will go to the station and do a breathalyzer. Get carted down to the station where I take the test.

    Now, I can't remember if it was .002 or even .02 but it wasn't any higher than that. So I look at the police office and ask if that means I'm free to go now. He goes, "No young man. Buzzed driving IS drunk driving. We are placing you under arrest." *

    So I don't agree with it at all, I try to battle in court but after 2-3 times in court all I was doing was missing out on work and not getting anywhere. I ended up pleading out and they had me take 15 classes with my license suspended for 3 months.
    I still haven't gotten my license back (it was expiring within that 3 month time) and I really don't plan on it. I can get anywhere I need by walking or getting a ride, but I'm also a lot more careful about who's driving and what they've had to drink. Apparently even having one sip of beer can get you.

    *I realize a lot of it had to do with me getting into an accident while I had any traces of alcohol in me, but like I said, it was just that. An accident. We could've just traded insurance information and gone our seperate ways.
     
  14. rei

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    So what you're advocating is actually getting a lawyer.
     
  15. DaVoN

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    At the time I was 22-23 years old and had never really been in trouble with the law so it's not like I had one on retainer. It was stupid and I probably should've, but I thought I could just go in with the information and be cleared. Apparently not.
     
  16. dewercs

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    I got a DUI in Wisconsin in 2002, I had been at a bar drinking my face off, I never worried about DUI's before as long as I felt I could function I would drive. That night I decided to see how fast my new work truck would go and driving down a country road it did about 108. I saw lights coming the other way and slowed down but it was to late, the trooper had her lights on already. I was given a field sobriety test and failed all of the tests and blew .015. I was hauled to the county jail at which I was the only inmate, charged with OUI and excessive speeding and held until I was under .008 and released. I walked about 6 miles home as I did not know anyones phone number and my cell was not working.
    I hired an attorney and wrote him a check for $1500.00 and said "Do what you can, I fucked up." I was in the process of moving back to AZ and this made me move faster, I got back to AZ and got a drivers license before Wisconsin suspended my license. I did not have to appear in court, the attorney agreed to a guilty plea in exchange for dropping the speeding ticket and a license suspension of a year, to go along with $800 in fines and an alchohol assessment test with 16 hours of classes.
    I promptly paid the fines but did nothing with the testing and classes until 2 years later when I got a letter form AZ saying my license was suspended in another state, and I had 30 days to remedy the situation which I did.

    In the last few years AZ has gotten some very strict DUI laws, and I have seen first hand the cost and problems that can result from one as a few of my acquaintances have been through the system. The lady who owns the bar I work at is the most recent participant, her BAC was .020 and is going to serve 10 days in jail, has a suspended license for a year due to refusing to give blood to test her BAC (they give the cops a warrant and it is taken by force if your refuse), will have an ignition interlock device for 18 months and attend numerous classes in addition to her fines. A cab ride from the bar to her house is less than $5 bucks.

    Did I learn anything from my DUI? At the time, yes, don't drive over the speed limit when you are drunk. Since then, I have got a better view how doing stupid shit can have an impact on what you want to do in the future.
     
  17. Kubla Kahn

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    Not to advocate drinking and driving but people should really be aware of the state laws regarding DUIs, particularly filed sobriety test. In Ohio there is no penalty for refusing the field test (walk and turn, ABCs, eye test, etc), there is for refusing the breath test. The field test are a joke and you could fail stone cold sober. It is just terrible evidence that will be used against you.


    But just not doing it in the first fucking place is the best. Usually now if I am out watching a football game at a wings bar Ill have a single pint at the beginning of the game and stop. If it is a night out I have a twenty in the back of my wallet for cab fare or be in walking distance of the place Im crashing. Christ the amount of cab fare I could have had instead of getting a DUI.
     
  18. GTE

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    Guess I'll post up my story.



    I use to drink and drive a lot. I had a GF that was a bartender and it was pretty routine to go hang out with her, have a bunch of free beer and then drive the 2 miles to my house. It got to be where it seemed no big deal to kick a few beersteins back and head home. One night I went out with my buddies to a bar that was about 20 miles from home. Had a fun time and drank quite a bit but I felt I was pretty coherent so I didn't think much of it. Hopped in my buddies Mustang and headed out (he was puking so there was no way he was driving) Ended up getting a flat tire and while limping to a gas station to change it, a cop saw us, followed us in and did a "wellness check" Seeing my buddy passed out in the drivers seat and the car reeking of alcohol, I think he pretty much knew what the story was.
    Had me do all the road side tests which I did 50/50 on and then the breathalyzer. .019. Ouch. I really didn't think I was that bad. Was taken down town and put in the drunk tank until 11pm the NEXT night.

    Hired a lawyer for $1200, which looking back, was a complete waste. The laws in CA are so air tight that you aren't getting out of anything, so basically I hired a $1200 paralegal to file the paperwork for me. Did my 2 days of work project and paid ~$2500 is total fines.

    But the absolute worst part for was the 3 years probation. If you have ANY alcohol in your system and you get pulled over, you're fucked for #2. .001? Bend over buddy. You're probably thinking so biggie, just have a DD or crash at your friends house for 3 years, but if you really take it to the house, you're still over .000 the next morning.

    All in all, I'm glad I caught my DUI the way I did. At the way I was going, I wasn't going to stop anytime soon and no one was hurt and I didn't wreck any cars.
     
  19. shimmered

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    It's interesting, how remarkable the differences in DUI punishments within Texas really are.
    2ndHusband (2H) plead guilty to DUI - he paid a $1200 fine, spent a night in jail, had his license immediately revoked when he was arrested, and spent 2 years on probation. BTW, that's 1 year longer than he spent on probation for pulling a shotgun on me in the kitchen. We faced an insurance conundrum - he had to have full coverage on his car because he was paying on it, but the state of Texas doesn't allow full coverage on a driver who's got a DUI for some period of time (as it was explained to us...). THEN the state had him do a $1000 a year license renewal for three years. And it didn't matter...if you waited 8 years to renew your license, the first three years you were paying a grand to renew.
    Anyway, he didn't pay it all at once and instead did the monthly fee...the company that the Texas uses for this merchant service is all jacked up and couldn't keep track of the payments, so his license was mistakenly suspended three times. Each time, he had to show DPS and the merchant service his confirmation and where the money actually came out of his account.
    Even so, he was arrested once for driving on a mistakenly suspended license.

    The Guy was arrested for DWI, NOT convicted because there was not enough evidence TO convict (he passed all sobriety tests and didn't blow), and he's still dealing with the repercussions of that incident.


    In some ways the laws are no more than a revenue generator, and really good people (like The Guy) can be screwed over pretty badly. In other ways, the laws could be more stringent, particularly for repeat offenders.
     
  20. DaVoN

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    This is the third post where someone had a low BAC. .019? I mean, obviously I got arrested for having a .02 but I got into an accident. Isn't the legal limit .08%? I searched and that's what I keep coming up with. Where are you guys from that you get arrested for that low BAC without getting into an accident?