Friday, October 02, 2009

EPD Charging Drunks For Accidents Now

The Eureka Police Department has joined others around the state and jumped on the revenue bandwagon. They'll be charging suspected drunk drivers a fee of $350.00 if they're involved in an accident requiring emergency services.

(The story appeared on the top of the A2 section of today's Times- Standard but strangely isn't featured on their web site. You have to wonder: Is that by accident, or design?)

I certainly find such policies troublesome. Hey, I'm not condoning drunk driving, but this just seems like another case of kicking someone when they're down- something I definitely don't approve of. Someone suspected of drunk driving already has a major life problem on his hands and, if convicted, will likely be paying all kinds of fines and possibly facing imprisonment, anyway.

And this fee is due even before the suspect goes to trial- within 2 weeks of the incident. There also doesn't seem to be any recourse, as of yet, for the suspect to get their money back should they be found innocent of the drunk driving charge.

City Attorney, Cheryl Staffner, doesn't see that as much of a concern. She's quoted in the article as saying because these fees are a civil matter, "Civil consequences are generally money, it's not going to cost you your liberty.". Gee, I feel so much better about this now.

I'll have to say that Ms. Staffner's cavalier attitude about individual liberty sounds akin to Larry Glass'.

The bottom line is, this is likely here to stay and gives EPD additional incentive to push the envelope when it comes to evaluating possible drunken driving cases as they make money for the city whether the suspect is guilty, or not. You can bet this won't be the last we've seen of such fund raising gimmicks and they'll be dragging more and varied groups people down with such efforts. They're just starting with drunk drivers because most of us don't mind kicking someone when they're down.

I've suggested it before and I'll do so again: Maybe it's we take our various law enforcement agencies out from under the purview of the Justice Department and place them under the Franchise Tax Board?

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.
-Martin Niemoller


At 11:59 AM, Blogger lisa_drown said...

I know what you mean. I was in a pretty bad accident, I was at fault, had tons of bills to pay already, and of course felt really bad about what happened... Then they smacked me with a ticket for not being able to control my car! I wasn't drinking, did nothing wrong, just didn't break on time. You do get a lot of fees from drunk driving already, and it really is a bad thing to do. Its so dangerous driving behind the wheel as it is, adding alcohol makes it that much more dangerous.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For crying out loud this has nothing to do with kicking someone when they are down. If you make the conscious decision to drive while intoxicated, and crash, thereby endangering your life as well as that of others, including those who have to drive emergency equipment to get there, you deserve to pay for that extra response. It doesn't depend on a conviction for DUI, just the mere fact that you crashed is good enough. Don't do the crime if you can't pay the fine. These responses tie up a lot of resources for a long time.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I don't think the vast majority of drunk drivers made a conscious decision to drive while they were drunk. A few might well have, but not most.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Oh...keep in mind that the "fees" being applied here apply whether the driver gets convicted, or not.

At 11:09 PM, Blogger capdiamont said...

I'm sorry Fred, but if you go out drinking, with no other plan to go home, other than your own driving, you are planning on DUI.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger professorlock'n'load said...

This is America, everything is free.....even driving drunk, causing an accident and shucking the cost of the investigation off on the law abiding public. Fee for service? What a concept!

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred is Right. Most drunk drivers are already so drunk by the time they get behind the wheel, they are not capable of making a conscious decision to drive drunk. So get off their backs, already!

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

noooo Im with capdiamont if you go drinking after driving to a bar or a party you were aware when you left the house you might be impaired-its up to you to make another plan in case. Like walk home, call a cab, hand over the keys. Idiots who don't think about consequences should definitely pay their share!


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