I have very mixed feelings about DUI enforcement: I am totally against drunk driving and want all reasonable measures taken to discourage it – whoever came up with the “designated driver” is a genius. But I also know from first-freaking-hand knowledge that much of the enforcement is arbitrary, that .08% is just too low for the average driver to be considered legally impaired, that driving behavior is a much more important indicator of impairment than an across-the-board statistical figure, and that Diana Ross was one shitfaced diva when she was busted in Arizona:
- Ross was cited Dec. 30 and faces three DUI-related charges. She has pleaded innocent.
Police said she had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 percent. The legal limit in Arizona is 0.08 percent.
Ross, wearing a black pantsuit and silver bracelets, testified for about 10 minutes.
“I felt a threatening tone from him. You know, like a command, a demand,” Ross said, referring to Tucson police Officer Scott Sullivan.
….According to the police report, officers at the scene wrote that the singer was unable to walk a straight line and fell while trying to stand on one leg and count to 10. [AP]
The system is set up where you are SUPPOSED to feel threatened into taking the test. If you don’t you, lose your license automatically for a given period of time in most states. Heads you win, tails I lose. In this particular case, the woman was clearly blitzed, shouldn’t have been anywhere near the wheel of a car, and is very lucky she didn’t kill anyone.
She and her attorney are well aware of all this, though, and are just playing the game: if you have the money to pay for a good attorney and the patience to play out the string, you have a huge advantage. Your attorney contests everything in sight, the prosecution eventually wearies and reduces the charges, which can have an enormous bearing on your insurance rates. It happened to me twice in a 16-month period in SoCal in the late ’80s. Then I quit drinking for ten years – so in the big picture I guess the system worked in my case.
I hope Diana has learned her lesson as well.