From the DWI Files


A few DWI-related stories from the past few weeks…

• As more and more states are now allowing police officers to forcibly extract blood of DWI suspects, the New Jersey State Supreme Court recently took the practice a step further. The court ruled that not only may police forcibly draw blood, they may use extreme force in doing so, including force that inflicts permanent physical damage on the suspect.

• The California Highway Patrol was recently forced to turn over the largely pre-written police reports officers use in DWI cases. The templates come already completed with boilerplate language like, "As I spoke with the driver I smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his/her breath. I noticed that the driver had red watery eyes, as well as slow and slurred speech," and "eyes showed lack of smooth pursuit, distinct nystagmus at the extremes and an onset prior to 45 degrees."

Last spring, the U.S. Marine Corps commandant announced that marines on base who were over 18 would be permitted to consume alcohol on special occasions, such as upon returning from an overseas deployment. You can probably guess who objected.

When James Bludsworth began to have a diabetic episode while driving, he pulled his truck over to the side of the road, and passed out behind the wheel. Police in Ozark, Alabama were called to the scene and, when Bludsworth didn't respond to orders to get out of the car, they used a Taser on him. They then arrested him and threw him in a jail cell on charges of resisting arrest and driving under the influence. Though Bludsworth blew 0.0 on a breath test and had no prior criminal record, those charges against him remain. The arresting officer will not be disciplined.