Thursday, June 28, 2007

Albany DWI Crackdown Coming

Today's Times Union reports there will be a crackdown on DWI for 10 days around July 4th, running from Friday through July 8th.

We're already busy, getting a lot of DWI cases in the Albany area recently. Due to what we've been seeing lately, and with the latest changes in DWI laws, I added two pages to our website, one on Aggravated DWI and the other on DWAI.

We keep winning DWI cases. Just got a case dismissed, for a reason I didn't even anticipate. The officer was testifying at a suppression hearing. I was being my usual difficult self, objecting everywhere I could (and appropriately so - as it turns out). The officer was testifying about the place where they stopped our client, and the town judge began inquiring further about the specific location. Turns out they stopped our client in the village. Judge said the village had primary jurisdiction and dismissed the case. My objection had triggered this line of inquiry.

But that wasn't what I was going for. This was a low BAC case involving a checkpoint. The checkpoints are often unconstitutional, and the low BAC makes it much tougher for the prosecution to prove a DWI case. Also, our client had passed two out of three of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). I had a lot of ammo, but never got to use most of it. The location issue was related to a problem with the paperwork I was aware of - and this was why I had objected - but I was not aware that the village lines were near the stop.

Lately I've been thinking we need a slogan for our DWI practice. Hmm. Keeping Drunks on the Road Since 2003 ? Nah. Making the World Safe for Dangerous Drivers Since 2003 ?? The latter is more inclusive of the speeders, you see. But no. Still doesn't sit right. In all seriousness, I don't believe either is what we really do. Partly this is because many of our clients are actually innocent, and partly it's because I believe our traffic and DWI laws are just wrong. Speed limits are generally inappropriate on Interstate Highways, and they're certainly too low. And I do not like the "per se" DWI laws where a BAC over a certain number is illegal in and of itself. I've now seen several cases where defendants with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.12 were very clearly not intoxicated.
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