Monday, January 3, 2011

Word games

There is one other little problem with HB 189 that I neglected to address in my last post on the topic. In Texas, two prior DWI convictions can be used to enhance a DWI from a misdemeanor to a felony. Under HB 189, a deferred on a DWI case would be considered a conviction for enhancement purposes.

That would be fine if we were only talking about enhancing the punishment, but we're talking about enhancing the offence from a misdemeanor to a felony -- and that's a much bigger deal. Take a conviction on a first DWI and you're looking at a maximum of 180 days in the county jail. Take a second conviction and the stakes are upped to one year. But, go down a third time and you could be looking at up to 10 years in the state penitentiary (with little chance of making parole).

It's almost as if the bill proposes that we convict a motorist of driving while intoxicated but call it something other than a conviction. Just remember that a conviction by any other name is just as bad.

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