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Search Warrant for your blood is APDs latest tool for DWIs

The Austin American Statesman ran a nice story on APD’s new tool for getting evidence against folks suspected of DWI.

If you are stopped for DWI, and you have a prior conviction within the last 5 years, are in an accident, have two or more prior convictions, had a child in the car, or suspect if you fail the attitude test, the officer can now go to a Magistrate and request a search warrant for your blood. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the frame around your license plate illegal? Probably so

If you unintentionally cover even a small portion of your car’s license plate you can be stopped by police, ticketed and perhaps arrested for the offense, the state’s highest criminal court ruled Wednesday. Further, if someone else (a car dealership) covered a portion of the plate, you subject yourself to the same consequences.

The 8-1 decision in Craig Hill Johnson v. State of Texas left three Court of Criminal Appeals judges shaking their heads — stating that the statute was “uncommonly bad,” but they still held that the letter of the law prohibits drivers from encasing their license plate in a frame that obscures the state name, state nickname or even portions of the artwork. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will talking Urinal Cakes prevent DWIs? New Mexico is betting it will.

From the state that brought us mandatory Ignition Interlock on the first DWI, New Mexico has decided to invest heavily into putting talking urinal cakes in men’s restrooms. The state has ordered 500 talking urinal cakes that will deliver a recorded anti-DWI message to bar and restaurant customers. I guess they will try anything once.

The state has ordered 500 talking urinal cakes that will deliver a recorded anti-DWI message to bar and restaurant patrons who make one last pit stop before getting behind the wheel.

“Hey there, big guy. Having a few drinks?” a female voice says a few seconds after an approaching male sets off a motion sensor in the device. “It’s time to call a cab or ask a sober friend for a ride home.”

These urinal cakes are being purcahsed from the Wizmark company. The devices, were invented by Richard Deutsch.

“The idea is based on the concept that there is no more captive audience than a guy standing at a urinal,” Deutsch said. “You can’t look right and you can’t look left; you’ve got to look at the ad.”

If New Mexico is using it, can Texas be too far behind? My guess is no.

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Sobriety (DWI) Checkpoints are illegal, but is there a local agency ignoring that?

The Williamson County Attorney’s office is investigating a complaint of an illegal sobriety checkpoint near Interstate 35 last month.

A woman said people appearing to be police officers stopped her at about 11 p.m. Jan. 20 along on the westbound access road of FM 1431 at I-35 in Round Rock, County Attorney Jana Duty said.

While the County Attorney is treating this as a fake sobriety checkpoint, merely because the relevant agencies are denying that they did it, I am not so sure.

The men, claiming to be police officers, pulled over several cars Jan. 20 at I-35 and 1431, near the new Ikea store in Round Rock.

It was about 11 p.m. on Jan. 20 when at least one woman was pulled over by two men claiming to be police officers.

The witness reported that two police cars, one with lights on top and one unmarked, had closed a lane of traffic on FM 1431 and had stopped three to four cars. A man who said he was a police officer approached the woman’s car and told her the stop was a checkpoint to search for drunk drivers. Read the rest of this entry »

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MADD’s Double Standard

Mothers Against Drunk Driving praised Ocean City Police on Jan. 11 for officers’ handling of the Oct. 29 traffic stop and non-arrest of Delaware State Rep. John C. Atkins. MADD representatives were particularly quick to support decisions made by Officer Douglas A. Smith, OCPD’s toughest DUI enforcement officer, who along with trainee Natalie R. Smolko, performed the stop.

OCPD came under fire when news broke that Smith and Smolko stopped Atkins, who was swerving in his car and blew a .14 in his preliminary breath test, but decided against making a DUI arrest. “We feel very confident that the officers followed the proper procedures and protocols,” said Caroline Cash, executive director for the Chesapeake Region of MADD.

The decision to not arrest was made based on Atkins speaking clearly and not fumbling when retrieving his license and stepping out of his vehicle. The fact that he blew a .14 was irrelevant in Smith’s decision not to arrest since PBT readings are not admissible in court, Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Austin Police releases list of bars with most DWIs

Every time a person is arrested for drinking and driving, they’re asked where they were drinking. In the last year, two bars moved to the top of the list, and both of them are on 4th Street.

In 2006, two bars, Rain and Cedar Street, tied for the most DWI arrests, according to data from the Austin Police Department. Both are located in the Warehouse District, and they’re right across the street from each other.

Other bars on the list include the Blind Pig, the Yellow Rose, Club Carnaval, the Library, Oil Can Harry’s, Club Rodeo, Spill, and Sherlock’s.

The DWI Task Force has been extremely busy since doubling its manpower in March 2006.

“We’re doing what the TABC and APD asks of us,” said the owner of Rain in a statement to KVUE. “We put our employees through TABC certification. We offer vouchers for free rides. We give away plenty of water. We are doing everything we are capable of but apparently we are going to ramp that up a little bit.”

What is deceiving about this list is that, more often than not, a person when asked where they have been drinking, only lists the last place they drink. They don’t list all the other places they went before going to the last bar. In most cases, the police officer merely asks the person “where have you been drinking?” Then, the person names the last bar from which they just left, leaving out the name of all the other bars they visited. Consequently, as with all statistics, the devil is in the details.

Further, there statistics don’t address how many of the people arrested for drunk driving were actually convicted of DWI.

Be warned, the APD DWI Task Force will be out in full force on Super Bowl weekend.

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One cities high tech approach to fighting DWI….can Austin be too far behind?

Police in Fresno, California are throwing up roadblocks, conducting stakeouts and using night-vision goggles, satellite tracking devices and video cameras in an extraordinary crackdown aimed not at terrorists or drug lords, but at drunken drivers.

The muscular tactics have made Fresno one of the toughest cities in America for those who dare to get behind the wheel after drinking. Read the rest of this entry »

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University of Texas Police are making more DWI arrests

In my opinion, the University of Texas Police are losing sight of their main purpose of protecting UT property and UT students. When I attended UT, you never heard of UT police making DWI arrests. Now, UT police are making a large number of arrests…and more and more each year.

To most folk’s surpirise, more and more of these arrests are not being made on campus. Most folks don’t realize that UT police have jurisdiction to make arrests in any county that the University owns property. What that means is that a UT police officer basically has statewide jurisdiction. Read the rest of this entry »

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MADD wants us to return to Prohibition

MADD is using bogus statistics to push its agenda of prohibition. It first tried to make people register beer kegs like guns. Now it wants all first-time DWI offenders to be required to have ignition interlock devices.

The group’s intermediate goal is to have all new cars equipped with devices from the factory. Ultimately, MADD would have us repeat the failed social experiment called Prohibition.

Don’t believe the hype. MADD falsely claims that there are 13,000 yearly “drunk driving” deaths. MADD uses statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recorded over 13,000 “alcohol-related traffic fatalities,” not drunken-driving deaths.

An “alcohol-related traffic fatality” includes drunken drivers, drunken pedestrians run over by sober drivers, and traffic fatalities with any measurable amount of alcohol in the deceased’s system. A measurable amount is 0.002 percent, which is one sip of light beer for a 175-pound man. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another bad apple at Austin Police Department fired for use of force

An Austin police officer accused of using excessive force against a man with mental retardation in July was fired on Thursday.

Also, three of Officer Gary Griffin’s supervisors were disciplined for the way they reviewed the July 1 incident. Austin police Cmdr. Michael Nyert and Lt. Deborah Sawyer were suspended for one day, while Cpl. Andy Haynes was suspended for three days. Read the rest of this entry »

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