Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DWI is big business

According to this article in the Illinois News-Tribune, the fines paid by motorists convicted of driving while intoxicated are used to purchase new breath test machines and patrol cars. In other words, if you are convicted of DWI in Illinois, you will be paying the state for the equipment they need to prosecute you.

In LaSalle County, for instance, the fine for a first-time DWI is $1,255, $500 of which goes to the state to purchase new breath test machines. Through November of this year, more than $300,000 in equipment fees have been collected.

So, just as the Texas Department of Public Safety has a vested interest in suspending motorists' drivers licenses and in obtaining DWI convictions (reinstatement fees and surcharges), so too do law enforcement agencies in Illinois.

What do you suppose is the tipping point on a marginal case? The presumption that the driver is innocent or the need to fill the state's coffers?

1 comment:

Thomas Hobbes said...

For me, the tipping point is when it's clear (e.g., the Houston Municipal Courts) that fines and court costs are (or have been) considered as anticipated revenue in budget discussions and decisions.