Defense lawyers are not big fans of MADD, or any pro police state organization for that matter. However, one thing I will say is that their public policy liason, Bill Lewis, is an honest guy. DMN ran a round up of the various DWI bills this session. Most died sine die, however the lege did pass one new Tuff on DWI enchancement that will leave first time DWI offenders open to a greater range of punishement if they have a bac over .15 (yet another reason to NEVER take a breath test).
Won’t longer sentences stop people from drinking and driving? Shouldn’t we all celebrate this life saving measure from the lege? Not so much says MADD. From DMN-
The… act is not a bad bill, Lewis said, “but as for stopping drunk driving, the bill is just not going to do that much.”
Exactly the point DWI observers in Texas have been making for years now. We are well past the point of diminishing returns with enforcement. I can’t think of what other freedom, liberty, or privacy that is left to sacrifice to the DWI police state. We need a systemic change in the way Texans get to the places they drink, not longer sentences for first time offenders.
This story just keeps on giving. One of the State’s leading DWI prosecutors, Richard Alpert, was asked about the death of the DWI “deferred” bill. The “deferred” bill would have most likely led to more plea bargains, but less DWI convictions overall.
The bill, which was supported by prosecutors, defense attorneys and MADD, “had a lot of momentum,” Alpert said, but the possible loss of money for the state from surcharges that accompany convictions may have doomed it. “This wasn’t the year to be cutting into sources of revenue,” he said.
Intoxicated drivers are just another revenue source, and the State has made themselves financially dependent upon same defendants they supposedly loathe. The State has little incentive to stop all drinking and driving. In fact, all the incentives are for the State to maximize intoxicated driving (which they are doing a great job of through suburban sprawl/zoning and a fierce opposition to public transporation).
DPS has their misleading “Drink. Drive. Go To Jail” billboards. When will the Comptroller begin a “Please Drink And Drive, Texas Needs The Cash” campaign?