March 26, 2005
DUI, part two
I deserved the DUI that I received and I'm not going to make any excuses about it. I did not have any business driving my truck that night and the cops did both me and the world a favor when they threw me in the hoosegow and towed my truck. I was the fucking Poster Boy for what DUI laws are for.
But that's not what usually happens anymore. Thanks to MADD, GLADD, SADD and whatever other organization you can name, plus some corrupt politicians and police who recognized a gold mine when they saw it, a lot of DUI arrests are nothing more than revenue enhancement devices today.
I'm not going to mention any names, but I have THREE friends who were arrested and carted off to jail for having a bottle of wine or a couple of beers with a nice dinner. They were about as drunk as the Pope at the time. They were snagged either by a random road-block or one of those "scratch and sniff" searches cops do today if they see you driving after midnight.
All three pulled LESS than a .08 on a breathalyzer, but were arrested ANYWAY because the cop testified that they were "weaving" down the road. It was all pure bullshit, but that's what DUI laws have become today. Revenue enhancement. A good way to fuck with otherwise law-abiding citizens.
When I went to the MADD "Scare you to death" class, I spent four hours listening to people talk about drunk drivers going the wrong way down the interstate at 100 MPH, with a BAC of .4+, or some blasted asshole doing 70 MPH down a residential street with a BAC of .4+ when he ran over a child.
What I DID NOT hear were stories about how people took their wives or girlfriends out for dinner, had a bottle of wine with some steak and seafood, then ended up in jail that night WITHOUT having a wreck or killing anybody. I talked to a lot of people in that class and many of them had that story to tell. They weren't drunk. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They still had the full force of the law applied to them.
Shit. When I was arrested, I was pulled over for driving TOO SLOWLY! I think I was doing about 25 MPH in a 60 MPH zone. I couldn't see the fucking road. I couldn't find my ass with both hands. THAT'S the kind of person DUI laws should get off the road. I deserved what I got.
But I still remember the days when a cop would ask you, "Have you been drinking?" and if you replied, "Yes, but I'm not drunk," he would follow you home to make sure you got there safely. That happened to me several times back in my guitar-playing days.
But the Federal Government got involved, MADD got involved and what really is a secret temperance movement in this country got involved and changed all of that. The cops and the politicians discovered that thar was GOLD in them thar DUIs, and they jumped straight through their asses to show who was "tougher" on drunk drivers than anyone else.
In some states now, they'll confiscate your CAR if you pull a .08 on a breathalyzer. I have a dirty little secret I want to share with you--- .08 IS NOT DRUNK!!! At my weight, two beers in one hour, plus my peptic ulcer will make me blow that, and two beers in one hour DO NOT make me drunk. In fact, at a .08 BAC I probably drive better than most of the "sober" assholes I see on the road every day. At least I still remember how to use a turn signal and I'm not yakking on a cell phone.
None of that matters anymore. DUI is big business today.
I'm going to give you two pieces of free advice here that may come in handy some day, given the current political climate reguarding DUI-- #1: NEVER SUBMIT TO A "FIELD SOBRIETY TEST." Don't do it. Most people can't pass one when perfectly sober and you don't have a damn thing to gain from it. You cannot be compelled to take it, so don't. Blow the breathalyzer and if you don't like the results, ask for a blood test. In Georgia, the police MUST take you to a place of your choosing for the test. I recommend the Savannah Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, because you'll sit in there long enough before they get to you to sober up no matter how drunk you are.
#2-- Don't just take it lying down if you think you weren't drunk. Don't plead anything. Ask for a jury trial. That's your right. Two of my three friends got off scot-free by doing that. You might be surprised by the number of people who recognize bullshit when they see it. If more people did that, the cops might not be so trigger-happy with DUI arrests anymore.
As I said, I deserved mine. But a lot of people don't, and it's about time we stopped this bullshit.
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