It’s extremely unlikely they aren’t guilty. They can go to court and get found not guilty. Which is very unlikely.
very likely not, but there is a first time for everything, even for the person how done this a dozen times. That’s not really the issue with your suggestion. The issue is convicting someone before he/she had a chance to defend in court. I am not condoning DWI and personally believe there is no excuse for DWI, but the law is the law.
And it really gets fun when you look at the wording in some laws. In VA you don’t even have to be drunk to get a “drunk in public” conviction. As the statute states you only have to “appear to be intoxicated”. So an arrest is totally discretionary if the officer thinks you appear to be intoxicated. And no blood or breath test is required. How do you defend against that. With no blood or breath test you can not even prove you weren’t intoxicated, and they just have to say you appeared to be to prove you were. Unfortunately I can not find the specific code at the moment. But I could swear I read this in the VA Code some years back.
Kurt, good questions. I’ll answer both.
it doesn’t. If the person is acquitted, the car will be returned without charge. What it does assume is that the person failed a field sobriety test, and it emphasizes to that person what will happen if the next time he/she drinks and drives and his/her blood alcohol level is ABOVE the limit.
It’ll teach them the consequences of loaning their car to a drinker. It’ll teach the drunk the consequences of borrowing a car and driving drunk in it. Without this added penalty, drunks who lose their own cars will simply borrow cars from their buddies, and too many parents who don’t care about their kids will keep letting them use their cars even though they know their kid is trouble. I suppose a “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” conviction would be better, but that would waste a lot of the state’s time and money needlessly and would not raise money for anti-drunk driving efforts.
Bottom line: to stop drunk driving, take away access by the drunk to a car. Period.
I don’t know where you live but here in NH another states it rakes months to get a trial date. I sure as hell don’t want that drunk access to a car for several months.
Criminals can always get access to the things they want. They might borrow a car, whether the owner knows about it or not. They can buy a cheap car off of Craigslist. They can rent a Car2Go. Etc etc.
I find the “do you think this is the first time they drove drunk” argument to be unpersuasive. Every drunk driver had a first time that they drove drunk. I shouldn’t lose my vehicle because someone got drunk after borrowing it.
I’m also sure that I have friends who have less than stellar events in their past but who have decided not to share that past with people. Some of my friends could even have a DWI. I don’t know. I should not be required to run a full criminal background check every time I lend something to someone.
Now! All that said, I don’t lend my car out, period. No one cares for and about that car the way I do, and so I try to keep the number of people getting their grubby mitts on it to as few as possible. But those who are more generous than me should not be punished just because someone borrowed their property and committed a crime with it, unless they knew the person intended to commit a crime with it.
Lend your car to the drunk at the bar? Sure, the car can be confiscated. Lend it to the minister next door who drives it to the bar and gets drunk, and then gets busted? Confiscating the car is not even close to justice.
I hesitate to comment since emotions run high on the issue. I certainly don’t condone drinking and driving or drug use and driving or playing with your phone while driving, but the solutions seem to be unrealistic.
- Confiscations of money, property, vehicles, and so on have become a money grab in some jurisdictions and contrary to the AG, I think needs to be reeled back in again.
- Cars are not likely to just be returned after months of waiting for a court decision. Even if they are, the storage rates would be astronomical. Police don’t store vehicles for nothing.
- No matter how innocent anyone is, trying to prove it in court will be very costly in terms of money. Spending $10-20,000 on lawyers fees is not unusual.
So just saying, let’s not get nuts about the whole thing. The answer is not always legal or punitive.
While I am strongly in favor of making DUI a costly mistake my state has enacted laws that have given local sheriffs a license to steal. If a local druggie has a friend or relative with a highly desirable car deputies will ignore the dealer until he’s driving the car they want and then stop him. Once impounded those vehicles are driven by officers with a magnetic sign on the door bragging that it was taken in a drug bust but in a few months the vehicles are auctioned off and the officers and their friends get them. No one would bid against officers.
Driving is a privilege not a constitutional right. Where I live someone charged with DUI has their driver license automatically suspended by DMV pending the outcome of their trial. Of course that does not prevent them from driving illegally with a suspended license.
I should not be required to run a full criminal background check every time I lend something to someone. Then don’t lend them a gun in my state.
I don’t think we know. DUI laws have been so lax in this country it’s difficult to tell what will actually work. People driving around with 10+ convictions. Second offense should send the person to jail for a few years. I’m tired of these repeat offenders getting a slap on the wrist. I have no problem putting someone with 5 convictions away for life.
If we can’t acknowledge the difference between lending a device which has the sole purpose of being a deadly weapon and lending a car, then the conversation is going to grind to a halt over semantics.
They’re a bizarre mix of lax and overly harsh. The punishments are lax. The requirements for conviction are ridiculously harsh – Any situation in which you can get a DWI because you’re sleeping in the back seat of your non-running car which is parked in a bar parking lot is a situation in which the laws are insane.
The similarity was requiring a criminal background check not the very different but both potentially deadly tools.
The criminal background check comment was tongue in cheek, meant to illustrate that none of us knows exactly what all of our friends have done in the past and should not be held responsible for crimes they comment.
I’d never loan a friend a gun. And I’d never loan someone my truck who has a questionable drinking past. My father-in-law is a drinker. Never had a DUI. I’d never lend him or someone like him my truck.
I wouldn’t loan anyone a gun either. And even if I were in the habit of loaning my vehicle out, if I knew the person had a drinking problem I wouldn’t loan it to them.
However, high functioning alcoholism is a real thing. People can appear to not have any problems at all, but as soon as they’re alone, they’re a raging drunk. There have even been cases when people had no idea their spouse was an alcoholic.
You can’t punish someone for not knowing that someone has a drinking problem.
I totally agree with the sentiment but this already happens when they hold bartenders liable for serving people that don’t know when to stop.
And there are people who claim they didn’t know the person had a drinking problem, yet they’re the one who goes drinking with him every weekend.
Maybe not take away car immediately, but if it can be proven the guy knew then remove car.
If you have any assets andthe person you loaned car to gets in an accident you can be held financially responsible.
Folks really would be better off not loaning their car to anyone outside their immediate family. If a friend borrows the car and has an accident, the owner can be sued.
Here’s a lawyer’s advice:
My Son needed a car I loaned him my 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse which I was not using. 3 years later he has received one minor traffic ticket (which he paid). Of course I maintain minimum liability insurance.