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Sunday, August 14, 2005

DUI Determination Method 'Unconstitutional'?

I just read a fascinating story over at Say Anything today. A district judge in Virginia ruled that components of the state's law regarding DUI cases (more specifically, the methods that police employ to determinte Blood Alcohol Level of a driver) were unconstitutional!

He went on to state that "it presumes an individual with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher is intoxicated and denies a defendant’s right to the presumption of innocence." Meaning, the standards are set so low that anybody - no matter the tolerance they have for alcohol - could qualify as "intoxicated", even if they really were not.

I hate to disagree with Ace about it, but it makes a lot of sense. I could be completely fine at .08 whereas someone else my age could be swerving everywhere and being a general sloppy drunk. Why should I be in fear of or get nailed with the same penalties that someone who actually is under the influence? Wouldn't I actually have to demonstrate that I was drunk first, rather than be pulled over and submit to a test? A test where, in some states, you can still be arrested for declining it on suspicion on driving while intoxicated.

The standard is entirely out of whack. I'd think that there would be a graduated scale for determining "drunkeness" whilst driving - where, say, driving at .095 doesn't have as severe a penalty as driving at .10. You should only be guilty of driving under the influence if and only if it impairs your ability to operate an automobile. BAC shouldn't be the sole determinant of this, as it is extremely subjective and could be punishing people who are otherwise capable and competent drivers.

I mean, come on - have you seen the way some people drive while stone cold sober?!