Things rarely move quickly in the criminal justice system. But when you are the county’s top law enforcement official, like District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is to Travis County, you may get a little expeditious treatment.
Blood draws are becoming more and more common across the board in suspected drunk driving cases. Texas cops are getting in the practice of taking “no refusals”, or getting a warrant to draw your blood if you refuse a breath test. But this massive increase in blood evidence is having a serious effect on the crime labs tasked with testing it. Namely, defendants are having to wait for months to have their day in court. [Read more...]
Thousands of vials of blood sit in the Harris County crime lab’s storage refrigerators. This blood is from the thousands of alleged DWI offenders that have been forced to submit to blood testing at the time of their arrest. District Attorney Pat Lykos says the vials are taking up too much space and would like to see them gone. [Read more...]
Last year, 801 people died in alcohol related traffic fatalities in the state of Texas. This number has climbed over the past several years. In 2009, Texas had the most alcohol related fatalities of any state in the country. These numbers have pushed lawmakers to take more aggressive steps in getting drunk drivers off the road, including mandatory blood draws. [Read more...]
Two men were arrested last week in downtown Austin after parading through the streets drunk atop horses. Okay, one was actually a mule, but both men were outfitted in their finest western wear, snapping photos with passersby and garnering some serious attention. [Read more...]
The Police chief in Austin Texas has floated the idea of a Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) law, or “DWI light” as a new Texas drunk driving offense. [Read more...]
The American Statesman in conjunction with KVUE published a story this week on the practice of giving occupational licenses to people accused of drunk driving. This, they seem to suggest, is a mockery of crime and punishment. While they stop short of making an editorial about it or suggesting the procedures change, their wording conveys a sense of displeasure about the system that allows for accused drunk drivers to get behind the wheel. [Read more...]
The anti-drunk driving organization, MADD, is pushing for $60 million in federal funding to research technology that would prevent any car from starting if the driver is intoxicated. These goal of such systems standard in all cars, and possibly set at the threshold level of “any” alcohol, are prompting concerns that MADD has veered into being a neo-prohibitionist organization. [Read more...]