Is DUI Prosecution Influenced by Politics?
There is a certain group of people, whether they are members of law enforcement or other government players, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), etc., that in essence want to see prohibition again, where it is illegal to drink alcohol, period. The reality is, even during prohibition in the United States (1920–1933) it was not illegal to drink alcohol. It was only illegal under federal law to manufacture, transport, and sell alcohol. The events that led up to prohibition are an interesting read. The bottom line is the prohibition of alcohol was a failure as it lead to organized crime and other problems. Nevertheless, there are those today with the agenda to outlaw alcohol. Now I am not saying that excessive consumption of alcohol and driving is a good thing – it is not. People are needlessly killed on the roadways by drunk drivers, but it doesn’t happen as much as the government would like you to believe. The government’s statistics are not completely honest, but that’s the subject of another article. The point is, many persons arrested for DUI are not ?drunk drivers and are not ?impaired. Most persons arrested for DUI went out to dinner and had a couple drinks (beer, wine, etc.), and then on their way home from the restaurant they are stopped by a cop for some basic driving error (i.e., speed, rolling a stop sign, not using turn signal, etc.) and it goes downhill from there. Wanting to cooperate, the unsuspecting citizen admits to the cop that they drank a glass or two of wine with dinner. The cop then has the person perform field sobriety tests that are designed to fail. Then the cop may have the person blow into a preliminary alcohol screen device, which will overstate the results because the person just finished drinking. Then the person is arrested for DUI. What the public doesn’t realize is that law enforcement agencies get grant money for every DUI arrest they make (it’s practically a bounty) and it has become a mechanism for funding. For every DUI conviction, the courts, the DMV, the crime lab, and the law enforcement agency all get cut of the fine paid to the court. All of these governmental agencies have a vested interest in seeing that the accused person is convicted. The politics are that DUI arrests and convictions are money makers for the state agencies.