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