Montgomery County District Attorney Bret Ligon said Warren Diepraam has been described by others as “the mad scientist of DWI detection, suppression and prosecution.”Mr. Diepraam spoke recently at a DWI seminar put on by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association that was sponsored by Annheuser-Busch. I figure that much like the tobacco companies started telling people to quit smoking, the alcoholic beverage industry will mouth the lines "don't drink and drive" in order to fend off new legislation that might affect their bottom line. After all, "here we go!"
The problem with Mr. Ligon's witch hunt is that it targets individuals who aren't even breaking the law. There is no law in the State of Texas that says it's illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage and then get behind the wheel of a car. The law says you can't drive that car if you've lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, not that you're breaking the law if you drive with the odor of an alcoholic beverage on your breath.
“Warren’s efforts are actually unique, not only in this county, but I think people are beginning to realize that we have a resource here within Montgomery County that the rest of the state is starting to grab on to,” Ligon said.Listening to Mr. Ligon and Mr. Diepraam you would think that drunk driving is the scourge that threatens to rip the very fabric of our society apart. To combat this apocalyptic threat, the crusaders want to shred the Bill of Rights. Fourth Amendment? That just gets in the way of gathering evidence. Fifth Amendment? It's much easier to convict someone if we can compel them to incriminate themselves. Sixth Amendment? Those lawyers will just tell their clients not to cooperate with the officers.
The District Attorney has put many tools in the hands of law enforcement since his election, such as a Hawk-Eye System which videos eye movements during a DWI field test. He has also implemented No-Refusal Weekends through the end of the year- hiring nurses to draw blood, which saves the time it otherwise takes officers to go to a hospital for the same process.Does it really make you feel any safer knowing that the police are forcing your fellow citizens to submit to blood draws all because an officer smelled booze on their breath?
There is no other crime for which an individual has less protection against the power of the state than driving while intoxicated. The vast majority of drivers arrested on suspicion of DWI are guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic infraction, such as failing to signal a lane change or speeding.
The more we sit back and accept this assault on our personal liberty and privacy, the more the nation's roadways will begin to resemble airport terminals -- full body scan, anyone?