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State Senator Thinks DWI is Too Damn Expensive

DWI Being able to identify with your constituents is, no doubt, the key to political longevity. Perhaps that's what motivated Texas state Sen. John Whitmire to suggest the repeal of the Driver Responsibility Program, under which the state imposes a $1,000 per year surcharge for three years on first-time DWI offenders. Whitmire, who chairs the Criminal Justice Committee, believes that, because many offenders can't pay those charges, they simply continue driving unlicensed and uninsured.

This article from The Houston Chronicle details Whitmire's concerns about the program and other aspects of the state's DWI enforcement regime, including inconsistency in prosecution protocol among counties. In Whitmire's words:

"We need a consistent DWI policy across the state of Texas," Whitmire said. "Why would the state of Texas have a criminal justice system in Houston that will completely allow you to have no record, and in the New Braunfels experience you do (have a record), and then you go to Bexar County and she don't even file on you (for) DWI the first time? You need to be selective about where you want to get caught drinking I guess."

Note to self: The "New Braunfels Experience" is apparently not a theme park ride, and should be avoided.

Does Whitmire's theory hold water? I guess we'll see how voters in his Houston district feel come election time. But at least one law student in El Paso thinks so:

"I think it's a good idea,” said Casey Williams. “You have to remember when we're thinking about those kinds of incidences, especially when you're dealing with the first instance of DWI, you really want to lower them because you are trying to rehabilitate people."

I'm sure Williams's opinion is in no way related to the fact that this is the most exciting thing on the El Paso Times calendar of events for today.


Posted by Eric Lipman on July 9, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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