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Drinking and Driving in the District


FunnyJohn
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This issue surfaced about 18 months ago in the Wash Times, but I hadn't heard it discussed til this in today's Post

Anyone been caught up in this one-of-a-kind let's ignore the letter of the law and go ahead and haul everyone off to jail policy? A word to the wise, don't even admit to a sip of wine with a meal if you get pulled over in the District.

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driving around DC at 12:30 in the morning without her headlights on is definitely impaired in some way
Happens all of the time. People pull out of lit parking garages, onto lit (albeit dimly) city streets. Many new cars have dashboards with a light sensor, so your dashboard lights come on, and you are none the wiser. That is, until you get pulled over or turn down a really dark street.

I am all for penalizing the drunk drivers, but this is absurd. Surely our judicial system has more pressing things to consider.

Edited by B.A.R.
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I also have a problem with automatic lights in my new-fangled auto. I go regularly to a place where the valet parkers turn my lights ON when they enter the garage. (If they'd wait a second, it would come on without any assistance.) Thus I am unaware of the power drainage during the day, and on two occasions have had to call the auto club to power me up. So I wrote a poem that I recite to the parkers, and it seems to have done the trick:

Por gracia jesús,

¡No toque la luz!

It's got to the point now where they shout it when they see me coming. Great poetry can move men to action (or inaction).

Edited by StephenB
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I'm going to plant my foot firmly on the 3rd rail of the impaired driving issue...

There are plenty of completely sober people driving who are FAR more impaired whilst behind the wheel than those who have had 1, 2 or even 3 drinks over the course of a meal. Shall I say it? What about people of a certain age who can't even see beyond their own hood ornament driving along at 45 mph on the freakin beltway?

I was with a friend of mine who had 2 glasses of wine during a long and large dinner in Dupont Circle. He admitted to having imbibed when pulled over for putting his seatbelt on as we pulled away from valet parking. He promptly got the third degree and was nearly arrested. I couldn't believe what they put him through when he was clearly in full control of his senses.

Sorry, pet peave of mine. People who have had a drink or two with dinner are the last damn problem on the highways and streets of DC unless they're an oblivious driver to begin with.

F you DC! How bout you fight the drug dealers on 15th and C SE 24/7 as reported in the Post a few days ago. Fuckers...

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Technically, according to the D.C. Code, the District of Columbia has

a zero tolerance for driving under the influence. If a person 21 years

of age or older has a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent [to]

.04 percent and extremely bad driving, this person can be placed under

arrest for Driving Under the Influence of an alcoholic beverage.

So, is the obvious answer here that if are going to have a something to drink before you get behind the wheel make sure that you can blow between a .05 and .07? :lol:

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How much would you register on a B.A.C. monitor if you'd just gargled with Listerine or other alcohol-containing mouthwash?

0.01 is ridiculously low - what if you ate a piece of rum cake, or brandied cherries yet imbibed no alcoholic beverages?

Lunacy. The law is really overstepping here.

I could just have easily been nailed for that myself a couple of years ago, but instead they nailed me for speeding instead (which I was). I was lucky in that respect. I had the SAME OFFICER that was in the article. I remember, because he told me that he was the one who got Marlene Cook that time.

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rant.gif

What I find most objectionable about this policy is it's contrariness to the "Basic Rule of Law." That is where the duly legislated and enacted law/policy is ignored and some other basis, apparently arbitrarily applied, for determining when someone is too intoxicated to operate a vehicle and then subject to arrest is applied instead. This is fundamentally UN-AMERICAN! Can the Gulag be far behind!

alc.gif

Edited by FunnyJohn
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Another article in the Post this morning (I'll link to it later) about how officials are concerned that this is a waste of resources.  Duh.

Talking about a waste of resources- What's going to happen to DC when someone eventually successfully sues for false arrest: Anyone want to take one for the team and line their pockets?

Edited to add: I'd volunteer myself, but I rarely stop at just one glass and would therefore be likely to have crossed the actual legal limit. One reason why I don't drive. :lol:

Edited by FunnyJohn
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A wise friend of mine (who moonlights as a barman) gave me the following advice after I sent him this article:

always ask to be taken to the hospital for an accurate blood test. if ya' ain't drunk, the blood test will tell. sure it takes some 2- 6 hrs out of your day, but it beats the heck out of everything else you may have to go through. and if you are drunk, the blood alcohol level will be accurate for whatever charge they may throw at you. oh, remember one other thing, if pulled over for a possible dui- note the time the officer pulled you over.

My rule for myself is one cocktail, beer or glass of wine if I have my car, because the older I get, the more of a lightweight I become. Still, if this article is the real story, that one-drink allowance too may have to change.

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Why?

I would imagine the following ...

Blood test comes back at .04.

Cop says "Well I pulled you over 3 hours ago so you must have been really drunk when I pulled you over"

Detainee (having noted the actual time) says "No Officer, it was 1 hour ago, I wrote it down. So I couldn't have been drunk when you pulled me over"

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I heard that the police officer who made the arrest here is responible for 1/3 of all DWI arrests in DC and he has the G'twn beat. Moral of story, chances of getting pulled over for DWI rise with proximity to G'twn and this police office and decline further away from G'twn. H'mm, I wonder if Firfly is within this guy's penumbra.

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This is lunacy. All of these people could have been charged with reckless driving, but the cases would probably been thrown out. The addition of the alcohol test lamely validates the officers opinion, and adds barely plausible cause to his decision. However, it costs the person "charged" a bloody fortune in legal fees, classes, insurance, etc.

Even the director of MADD, quoted yesterday, thinks this is stupid. I'm glad to see the Post highlighting this. They need to change this, and soon. I have a drink or two at Happy Hour all of the time, and then drive home. Now that I know some asshole cop with a boner for a promotion can make my life a living hell if my turn signal light blows out, I'm not drinking in DC.

It may sound paranoid, but I've gotten a DUI once before. I deserved it. It totally sucked and cost a fortune (relative to my 21 year old earnings). I haven't put myself in that position again, and if two drinks and a shitty light filament can cost me 12 months of driving in the District and $1000's of dollars, fuck 'em. I'll spend my money elsewhere.

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I just heard on the news that DC Council is meeting on Tuesday to most likely repeal this law. I agree with Al Dente on this! All the same, I wish we had metro to the suburbs.

Does Metro no longer stop in Virginia or Maryland? :lol:

I'm all for responsible consumption, but this oversteps, big time. I'm sure the DC Council will either repeal the law or raise the limit a bit over fear of lost revenues. Time will tell...

Well said re: 15th and C, Al... ditto 14th and D NE.

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This may be old, but does everyone know about the alcohol "sniffing" flashlight that law enforcement has

been using for years? It can measure minute amounts of alcohol in the air of a car - Washingtonian had an article on this a few years ago, I'm not sure of it's admissability in court, but it suggests that if you're in DC, you may not want to crack the window when talking to a cop, maybe it's better to just open the door and get out? Here's the link: http://www.sniffalcohol.com/304.htm.

2nd Point: I think more people get pulled over in VA then DC for minor infractions, at least that's how it has been for me (I said minor infractions, not DUI!)...and it seems whenever I'm driving in DC, cops barely pay attention to other drivers, they're usually in a hurry getting to a crime scene - kind a makes sense, I mean the homicide rate in DC is 10 times hire than NoVA...

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