Archive for June, 2005

Be the First on Your Block….

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

….to own an official breath alcohol testing instrument!

No, we’re not talking about one of those little portable jobs you can buy down at Sharper Image.  These are the real deals, the actual law enforcement devices used at police stations – legally admissible in court.

What?  You thought the manufacturers had agreements with police agencies not to sell these things to private citizens — particularly not to defense attorneys?  Well, yes, but then we live in the era of….eBay. 

There are a half-dozen or so makes and models commonly used across the country and periodically one comes up for auction.  Where do they come from?  Who knows.  But they’re not cheap:  they can cost $1500 or more, depending upon the model — compared to new prices of $5000 and up; an Intoximeter EC/IR (ElectroChemical/InfraRed) sold on eBay a couple of days ago for $2100.  Try entering “breathalyzer”, “intoximeter”, “intoxilyzer” and/or “datamaster” in eBay’s search box.

With an hour or two of self-study, you too can calibrate and operate one of these things — just like your local police….and hopefully with more accuracy.

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Expecting a Different Result

Monday, June 6th, 2005

From WOWT-TV news in Omaha:

DUI Penalties Increase Repeat offenders targeted

Repeat drunken drivers will be subject to tougher penalties under a bill passed by Nebraska lawmakers.

The measure passed Friday will increase the maximum penalty for a second-offense DUI from 90 days in jail to up to five years in prison. The higher penalty will only apply if the repeat offender has a blood alcohol content at least twice the legal limit….

To put things in perspective, the same Class IIIA felony 5-year maximum is also imposed in Nebraska for intentional child abuse, sexual assault of a child under the age of 14, and homicide caused by willful reckless driving. These folks are targeting the right drivers — high BAC recidivists — but with the wrong medicine. Just continually increasing the punishment has never worked with severe alcoholics and never will. (See my earlier post, "Punishment vs Treatment in DUI Cases".) This latest wisdom from Nebraska’s politicians brings to mind an oft-repeated definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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