Not having a license means that I’m oddly disconnected from this dispute, but
0.079, from a scientific point of view, shouldn’t mean shit.
Would that we all lived in jurisdictions with excellent public transport.
I definitely won’t argue that he should have been driving with a BAC of 0.079, and there is no practical difference between 0.079 and 0.081. I don’t have a good feel for how much 0.08 is, I would completely believe it is generally too high. But if you have a legal standard, it should mean something.
Who argues the case if you don’t immediately plead guilty?
Down in this part of the planet the limit is .05; it hasn’t been .08 for at least 30 years. Yet still people will clock up more than .15. Also there is none of this acrobatics by the road-side, it’s blow in the tube into the hand-held device. If you win the stupid prize, you get the big machne in the van if it’s at an RBT stop otherwise it back to the station. How simple is it to not drink alcoholic beverages if you want to drive a vehicle?
Spoken like someone with access to reliable public transit options! America lacks such amenities outside of large cities, which is why drink-driving is still a thing here.
The problem with this is that most handheld breathalyzers rely on a sensor that has to be calibrated (which will vary even at the most careful factory) and tends to drift with prolonged time and use. Moreover, even if the cop is scrupulous about replacing the tip every time, and that’s a big if (we all know how trustworthy US cops are), residue containing ethanol from exhaled aerosolized mucus can build up in the pathway over repeated uses from multiple traffic stops, elevating the reading over the course of a shift. Mouthwash containing ethanol can also significantly elevate readings. Fresh breath can land you in the drunk tank.
That’s why here in Kafka’s America cops are supposed to give arrestees for intoxicated driving what’s called an evidentiary breath test at the station using a bulkier more accurate desktop device that’s actually admissible in court. A handheld infrared spectroscope for every traffic cop might eat into their budget for surplus military gear and margarita machines (welcome to Texas where policing is for profit). But even those need periodic calibration from trained technicians.
Basically if you’ve got the money to hire an expert witness you have a decent chance of beating a borderline DWI charge based on breathalyzer evidence. Being a white man helps too.
On top of all that, the human can of Axe Body Spray and stagnant hot dog water that is Alex Jones was in fact under the legal limit according to the breathalyzer tests. But this is America so courts will admit the opinions of cops as criminal evidence even when their dubiously maintained machines contradict them. Basically the law says motoring with a blood alcohol content under 0.08% is legal, unless the cop who stopped you doesn’t want it to be.
Unless of course you’ve got money to burn on an expensive legal fight. The farcical iniquity isn’t that the charges against Jones were dropped; it’s that they were dropped because the grifter has the money to fight them. Welcome to America: how much justice can you afford?
Drunk driving is fucking stupid.
Drunk boating is fucking stupid.
Drunk shooting is fucking stupid.
In the US cops aren’t handing out stupid prizes; US cops are predators grazing on the herd to fill a quota.
I’m genuinely thrilled things are better for you Down Under where you have law enforcement instead of a legalized crime syndicate.
Perhaps it’s a difference in degree and not in kind.
Yep. I was on a jury and we let a guy go because the cop was 60 days overdue calibrating his device. His lawyer earned his billable hours.
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