These are the musings, ramblings, rantings and observations of Houston DWI Attorney Paul B. Kennedy on DWI defense, general criminal defense, philosophy and whatever else tickles his fancy.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
What's good for the goose...
According to a review of public records conducted by the Austin American-Statesman, public officials were almost unanimous in their refusal to submit breath or blood samples when arrested for driving while intoxicated. At the same time, about half of the general public likewise declined the tests.
Among those public officials who refused were State Rep. Mike Krusee of Williamson County, the legislator responsible for the DPS surcharge program. The Williamson County Attorney later dismissed the DWI charge against Rep. Krusee.
"I'd always heard from attorneys that you should refuse," Krusee said recently when asked about his arrest.
Tarrant County District Judge Elizabeth Berry also refused a breath test after her November arrest for driving while intoxicated. In that case the police obtained a warrant for a forced blood draw. Just last month a judge suppressed the results of the blood test due to a faulty warrant. Her case was dismissed.
In 2001, State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, who lobbied for increasing the length of suspension for drivers who refused to submit to breath or blood tests, was arrested for DWI. Not surprisingly, Sen. Barrientos refused to blow.
Also among those arrested was Houston's own State Rep. Harold Dutton. Rep. Hutton refused comment as his case was still pending.
Without chemical proof of drunken driving, prosecutors must make a case solely on a police officer's observations — the driver's breath smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred, he could not walk a straight line — that are readily disputed in court. And thanks to TV shows like "CSI," juries tend to expect forensic evidence of intoxication. -- Clay Abbott (TCDAA)
The Texas County and District Attorneys Association, surprisingly enough, would like to see mandatory blood draws in the event a driver declines to blow into the breath test machine. Of course the TCDAA would also like to declare open season on the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to eliminate those pesky little "technicalities" such as the prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure, the right to remain silent and the right to counsel.
If the politicians responsible for this war on our rights and liberties are smart enough to refuse the breath test, shouldn't you?