Justice and Semantics

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on January 18th, 2008

The latest weapon in MADD’s politically correct War on Drunk Driving:

New Law Strengthens DUI Penalties

San Jose, CA.  ABC News  –  Each year, an estimated 17,000 people are killed in drunk driving crashes.

In October the governor signed a bill that got by-partisan support to strengthen the law against first time DUI offenders.

The bill requires everyone getting a driver’s license to sign a statement indicating they know that driving under the influence is dangerous and could result in death. The statement goes on to read that if they choose to drive impaired and kill a person, they understand they can be charged with murder.

The bill had backing from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, AAA and the CHP…


Well…It’s all a word game.  You see, a death resulting from drunk driving is punishable as manslaughter (vehicular or involuntary manslaughter).   But a death that is intentional, or involves the mental state of malice, is punishable as murder.  So what is "malice"?  Well, the courts have said it is a wanton and  reckless indifference to human life.  Hmmm…ok, so what is that?

Well, in a drunk driving case, the California courts have said it is driving a vehicle while under the influence (or with .08% blood-alcohol) — if you know that doing so is dangerous to human life.  Hmmm…doesn’t everyone know that?  I mean, duh?

Well, maybe.  If the person was drunk enough and truly knew that he was dangerous.  But what if he didn’t think he was that drunk or dangerous? 

Yes, but what if that person signed a piece of paper saying that all DUI or driving with .08% is dangerous?  Then everyone can be charged with murder — and the manslaughter statutes, which intended for DUI homicides, can be ignored and the .08% driver can be put away for life…just as if he intended to murder someone.

Manslaughter becomes murder…for signing a piece of paper.

  • Nelson Donnell

    Perhaps the governor should also recommend that a bill be enacted that requires everyone getting a driver’s license to sign a statement indicating they know that driving at high rates of speed or talking on their cell-phone while operating a motor vehicle is dangerous and could result in death.

    The statement should also go on to read that if they choose to drive at high speeds or talk on a cell-phone while operating a motor vehicle and kill a person, they understand they can be charged with murder.

    What’s fit for the goose should be fit for the gander.

  • n7uqa91

    In the ‘not too distant future’, I predict MADD will force the passage of laws where police can come to your house, and force you to submit to a ’security check’. You will be searched, and given a sobriety check because the officer suspected you were drinking a beer while watching TV. You will then FAIL the test and be issued a DUI, arrested and prosecuted for something you ‘could’ of done.

    Mr Taylor, I love you site, you have just about the most well informed site I have ever seen on the perils of DUI law. However, I have a question. Why hasn’t the DUI defense community been challenging these laws? Why just sit by and let these laws get passed and then deal with the collateral damage they cause. How can the DOL force me to sign my right away to DUE PROCESS? What if I tell them I don’t understand why I should sign my rights away to get a drivers license. Does that mean they WON’T issue my license unless I sign a piece of paper I don’t understand?

    As someone who has been a victim (yes, I said victim) of a rubber stamp DUI prosecution, it seems one would suffer less consequences getting caught with a controlled substance than drinking. Look at Lindsay Lohan, spending time in a morgue and a ER room, wow, that’s really tough.

  • Havvy

    Uh, wow. That is an excellent article to present to my Business Law class on Tuesday.

    I recognized the problem instantly. Me thinks there should be a third state for homicide.

    1. Manslaughter
    2. Murder
    3. Influenced Homicide

    You can guess what the last one means. How it compares to the other two, I’ll leave that up to the state and public to decide. Generally keeping it around the level of manslaughter would be best.

  • standup

    Perhaps anyone who joins or donates to MADD should sign a statement that they understand that MADD has been trampling the Bill of Rights, and is trying to overthrow the Constitution of the United States of America. And by doing so, they can be charged with Treason ?

  • RIDL_Prez

    What would happen if you signed it, but said that you were being made to sign it under duress?

  • klmitche

    My hematocrit was 28.9 a few days after my supposedly .248 BAC. I want to be able to calculate what it would have actually been and I’m not getting the sample provided (.11 X 45/54) to work using .248, a woman’s average and my actual. Please help! This was my first, only, but the punishment is more harsh once you hit the .20 mark. Thanks for any help possible!