I don't really have a distinct angle on this story, I just find it fascinating. It has ties to white collar crime, the internet, New Zealand, copyright, the Department of Justice and FBI, the film and music industries, Hong Kong, Kim Kardashian, Bob Bennett, Kanye West, and on and on... but that's what makes it so good. What also makes it compelling is the darkness of it, a perfect study in what it's like when the Feds decide you are worth pursuing and put their weight behind getting you.
Aaaaaah, you should get up in the morning and take a deep breath of that FREEDOM that the Supremes just dished out today!! It's hard to recall the last time that this Court (the same one that says corporations are "people") ruled unanimously in favor of civil liberty instead of some institution, in this case, law enforcement. That's right, all NINE of them. Of course they didn't all agree for the same reason, but they dovetailed into unison where it counted. My married readers will understand.
This is actually old news, but I've started seeing some of these lately so it's relevant. Back in September the legislature passed a new law affecting DWI's, for enhancement purposes. As things were, all regular DWI first offenses were class B misdemeanors, which carried a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail and up to a $2000 fine. In their wisdom, the legislature decided that if a DWI breath test is done (or blood) and the result is .15 or over, the charge will now be a class A misdemeanor, which doubles the max penalties from a class B. So your new exposure is a year in jail and $4000 fine.
And from the outset here, I want to clarify that I'm talking about without a warrant- no probable cause at all, just wanna see what you're up to. So if you've got nothing to hide then why would you care? Seriously, it's not even on the inside, you'll never even know it was there...
Fortunately it DIDN'T happen in Austin, at least not yet. This only slightly stale news story comes to us from Wyoming, a shade more conservative than Austin by most accounts. I apologize in advance for not disclosing in the title that this incident did not actually occur in Texas, but it's a hot enough issue so it's bound to come up.
I'm sad that the Statesman beat me to the punch, but glad to see I wasn't the only one annoyed by the Austin Police Chief's involvement in the dismissal of radio host Jeff Ward's DWI. According to a Statesman article last night, it looks like now the Austin Police Union is a bit irritated as well. Let's review: high profile radio host is stopped for DWI, but he knows Chief Acevedo, who is a frequent guest on his show. Host has his fiancee call the Chief on cell phone from the scene of the stop, and then the Chief accepts a call from him at the jail. Chief reviews Ward's case with police brass, then personally calls the County Attorney's office to point out problems with the case. Ward was arrested Thursday night, and County Attorney declines to prosecute the case by Monday morning. Case closed.
Recently in Austin, a local radio personality was stopped for speeding and subsequently arrested for DWI. Jeff Ward was pulled over Thursday evening after emceeing an event at the downtown Austin Hilton. He admitted to having one beer at the event, and was asked to perform a Field Sobriety Test to determine if he was driving while intoxicated. After performing the tests, he was asked to take a DWI breath test, which he refused (these Austin criminal defense lawyers advise you to do the same). Based on the officer's observations and judgment, the Austin Police Officer arrested Mr. Ward for DWI and took him to jail. Again, this is Thursday evening.
Summer is here, and it's time for the motorcycles to come rolling into Austin again for the ROT Rally! For those new to town, the Republic of Texas Biker rally brings some 40,000 extra folks (and their bikes) for some cruising and good times in the ATX. Not that it's that far out of the norm, but South Congress will be covered in motorcycles, tattoos, leather, and some good live music. These Austin criminal defense lawyers are here to tell you it's not all fun and games, because DWI enforcement is something else in Austin.
Once again, the Austin Police Department raised the ante on drunk drivers by initiating TWO no refusal nights over this Mardi Gras week. As announced in the Blotter on March 3, police stationed a magistrate at the DWI processing BATBUS from 9 pm to 5 am on Saturday night, March 5.