As a Libertarian/criminal defense lawyer I am often torn between my financial self interests and my political beliefs. The reality of criminal defense practice is that the more authoritarian unjust and idiotic our state’s criminal justice system is, the more we defense lawyers make. We are pump jacks over a sea of tyrannical crude, black gold, Texas tea.
Whenever a pol proposes a new “tuff” on crime law, my immediate reaction is to cringe at the inanity and mourn the potential loss of the few scraps of freedom and liberty that remain. Last week, State Senator Jane (R- Flower Mound) announced she was drafting legislation requiring a lifetime driver’s license suspension for anyone convicted of DWI 2nd.
What is wrong with this idea? First, a lifetime ban driving for DWI 2nd convicts assumes that people can’t change. A lot of Texans get a DWI or 2 and go on to live productive lives as adults.
Second, the standards for DWI in Texas are subjective (ie bullshit). “Intoxication” is still just an opinion. Violating this make believe standard twice should not lead to a lifetime ban on driving.
Third, I’ve said this before so I’ll be succinct. The same politicians who claim to be shocked by our state’s DWI problem passed the laws that led to our suburban commuting no public transportation culture. If you are serious about reducing drunk driving fatalities you should look at why Texans have to drive everywhere in the first place.
Fourth, this seems a little disproportionate. Why not a lifetime driving ban for murderers, or crooked cops and prosecutors who steal money from black motorists?
Fifth, it won’t work. People will drive with a license, or without. It’s inevitable. You can’t function in Texas today without a car. Stupid laws (eg marijuana prohibition) are often ignored.
Of course if this law does pass it will be gravy for the criminal defense bar. We will be diving into pools of money like Scrooge McDuck. Every DWI will require a jury trial. No one will ever plead to DWI 2nd, and most people won’t even plead to DWI 1st.
But just like defending marijuana cases I’d rather not have it. I’d rather take more divorces and credit card debt cases than give the police state any more ground in Texas.