Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I have a bit that I go over with every DWI or DUI that I take to jail:

Sure, you were keeping it between the lines. Nope. You weren't weaving. I agree.

Yep, you stopped at the stop sign. You didn't run it.

No, you weren't speeding.

And you didn't run into anything or anyone, and you didn't throw a beer can out the window or half a dozen other clues that say "by golly, that driver is drunk!"

But when I stopped you for the inoperative tail light or busted license plate lamp or for an expired inspection sticker and said howdy, you turned out to be drunk. Not BAD drunk, mind you-- you weren't falling all over as you stepped out. You managed not to fall down while walking heel-to-toe, and you didn't fall down, really, while doing the one-leg stand. And you surely did follow my pen.

But my tests and the totality of the circumstances have given me probable cause to believe that you have consumed enough alcohol or whatever intoxicant so as to rob you of the full use of your mental and/or motor skills. You are technically intoxicated.

But, you say, if you weren't driving bad, what's the difference? That's not what I pulled you over for.

Absolutely. When everything is going right, you're an excellent driver, even while intoxicated. Believe me-- I've met a bunch of 'em. Seriously.

But here's the thing-- what about when things don't go right?

How many times have you slammed on your brakes, and thus saved someone's life? That little old lady who just didn't look well enough before pulling out into traffic-- she probably shouldn't be driving, but does she deserve to DIE for her mistake? Or should a sober person be able to show the quick reaction time and judgement to be able to deal with her clear failure to yield right-of-way?

How many times have we all cussed that silly little 16 year old (boy or girl) who was chatting with his friends and not paying attention, and cut us off? How many times have we all wanted to smack him and tell him what we thought of his reckless driving, after having locked up our brakes and our seatbelts? But do we need to give them their just deserts, and hit them when our reflexes are just that little bit slower? How would you feel explaining that to a father that you're sorry, but you were just a little bit too TECHNICALLY drunk to keep from causing his immature but otherwise sweet daughter to die on the side of the road?

Technically drunk.

Drunk. Let's cut the crap. Drunk is drunk.

And if the emotional plea doesn't get to you (the daddy part does to me, even now), then howza bout this? If you're a drunk driver and are in a wreck for whatever reason, and the investigating officer can find ANY way that a sober person MIGHT have been able to avoid that accident, and someone gets hurt, you've just committed a felony. In Texas, it's called Intoxication Assault. Someone dies, and it's called Intoxication Manslaughter. And if we have the slightest suggestion that someone's going to die, we draw blood.

All because you blew a tire and couldn't control your car as well, perhaps, as a fully sober person. Or whatever.

It's not worth it.

Call a cab. If you're my friend, call ME.

That could be your family out there. That could be your wife driving home the kids from a night of shopping, when something goes wrong. And because you're TECHNICALLY drunk, you can't make it right.

Oh, you don't have a wife and kids? I do.

Now, will you be providing Breath or Blood, sir?

Labels: , , ,


At Sunday, December 10, 2006 7:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly outstanding.

If I had to guess, it gets through to, what, about two out of five?


At Sunday, December 10, 2006 9:26:00 AM, Blogger Flo said...

I'm wondering if JPG might be a little generous in his guess. However, "technically" wasn't even close to being part of the equation with the drunks I dealt with, so perhaps I'm too cynical.

You have more patience than I, Matt.

At Sunday, December 10, 2006 5:46:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Flo, believe it or not, I get some of them to understand. It might not be the 40% that JPG was suggesting, but I've had guys break down and cry as they thought about their daughters in the car that they might have hit.

I am NOT one of those cops who decides that they're "good enough" just because they can walk without falling down. The paperwork is a pain, and the risk of having to go to court is incredibly high. But I have to live with myself.

I submit that SOME people let it sink in, later.

At Sunday, December 10, 2006 7:03:00 PM, Blogger Crusader said...

Great post! Brought back some bad memories though. My father was the "town drunk". There were two times in my childhood when he drove drunk with us in the car that particularly terrified me. Once when he was pretty plastered, got mad at my mother while we were at ball game, and after dragging my mom down the road a bit as she tried to get in the car, he proceeded to drive at 110 mph in a 55mph zone until we were home, over half an hour away. The other time was when he was so drunk he could barely see, he pulled up to a stop sign, and began a left turn into traffic without even looking. We actually came within about three inches on both sides of being hit. My biggest thing that I tell my teens whenever they go anywhere... if you are dumb enough to drink, CALL ME FOR A RIDE! We will discuss it in the morning, to be sure.... but at least there will be a next morning!
Thanks for what you do!

At Sunday, December 10, 2006 11:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son and I had this talk: How would he feel if he had to call the parents of a friend or date to ask them to come down to the hospital - or to identify the body? I was always kidded for having no more than one drink, if that, if I were driving - and it was usually me who had the keys at the end of the evening (or early a.m.). And as to catching drunk drivers, a former neighbor was a state cop and worked the interstate. Said he'd keep an eye out for a driver in the right lane, just below the speed limit, who would keep hitting the brakes. Always turned out to be a drunk. OldeForce

At Monday, December 11, 2006 8:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post

At Tuesday, December 12, 2006 7:17:00 AM, Blogger HollyB said...

Echoing previous comments, Excellent post!
AS a P.O. I worked with my share of Drunk drivers who had been to prison. I remember 3 who had Involuntary Man. convictions for DWI/DUI. Two were totally non- repentant, but the other was so sorry for what he had done, he completely turned his life around.
I think I'll blog about them today instead of the Sex Offender I was gonna write about. Thanks for the inspiration, again.

At Wednesday, December 13, 2006 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be refering this most excellent blog to friends who have teens - along w/friends who may need a little reminder with the Holiday's gearing up. Good job, Matt.

At Thursday, December 14, 2006 6:39:00 PM, Blogger Assrot said...

Glad to hear this from a cop. My opinion as a civilian is there should be no tolerance when it comes to intoxicated drivers. I can't tell you how many times I have seen the designated driver drink 2 or 3 drinks. They think it is okay because they are not rip snorting drunk like the people they are driving around. My opinion is that even one drink is too many if you're going to be driving. Why take the chance?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Add to Technorati Favorites