FUN FACT: you can be charged for a crime that technically isn’t a crime, but technically is. What does that even mean?
Here’s an example that involves a sober person getting a DWI:
Earlier this week, two double-decker buses crashed into each other in New York City*. One bus struck another that was parked. Fourteen people were injured. The driver of the moving bus responsible for the crash was charged with “driving while ability impaired.”
Not a DUI. Not a DWI. What the hell is driving while ability impaired?
According to the linked article, “Driving while ability impaired charges usually apply to drivers who are on prescription medication, drugs or have been drinking but are not above the legal limit.” As defined by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, a DWAI involves “more than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment” (emphasis mine).
One violation of a DWAI by alcohol (as opposed to by drugs or a combination of the two) is a mandatory $300-$500 fine, up to 15 days in jail and a 90-day driver license suspension. Not as severe as a DUI or DWI, but after attorney fees it’ll put a nice dent in your wallet and probably an even bigger dent after your insurance goes up. Add the costs of not being able to drive for three months, including being fired from your job, and this is a big fucking deal.
A .08 BAC for a DUI may be arbitrary, but that is how laws are created. If the government is allowed to punish us for what is beyond the established limit upon their discretion, then why can’t we defend ourselves in much the same way when going over the limit?
I don’t condone drinking and driving, but hear me out.
The biggest argument about arbitrary limits within the law is that everyone is different and no line in the sand affects everyone the same. In the case of DUIs, a small women can be unfit to drive with a 0.04 BAC while a 7-foot, 350lb man feels slightly buzzed with a .09 BAC. A DWAI addresses the former hypothetical, but if the latter example passes every field test imaginable, he will still get slammed with the hefty DUI charge after blowing into the breathalyzer. By the way, if this hypothetical man exhibits sober behavior, why make him do tricks when you’re going to make him blow anyway? Skip the middleman and make everyone blow into the breathalyzer first.
There is no discretion in the court of law…unless it can be used to add a charge. Discretion is never used to exonerate the accused, only to prove guilt. Was the bus driver drunk or sober according to the limit we all signed off on? No? Then hand him a reckless driving ticket and move on.
New York City has a law that can punish you for just about anything you do once you step onto public property. More evidence that NYC is Shittiest City on Earth. I’ll stay in Kansas City where I can have two beers and not get brought up on charges driving to Taco Bell.
* Does anything GOOD happen in that shit city?