NMA Position On DUI/DWI - Specific Positions
Here are some more specific aspects of the NMA position on DUI/DWI laws:
- We oppose drunk-driving roadblocks on the grounds that they violate protection from warrantless search and seizure, and fail to meet probable cause standards. They have not been shown to be effective at deterring impaired driving.
- DWI penalties based on blood alcohol counts should be graduated to reflect the potential severity of impairment. The more severe penalties should be phased in at a BAC of .15 where impairment begins to directly correlate with accident involvement. Lower penalties should be adopted for less severe DWI violations.
- We support increased penalties for repeat offenders, but maintain that rehabilitation be the primary goal in all but the most severe cases.
- Any mandated BAC test must be based on clear reasonable suspicion of impairment, not an unrelated traffic violation.
- Breathalyzer tests should be used for screening purposes only. They should have no standing as actual evidence of Blood Alcohol Content. However, we support that the driver always have the right to a blood test and be notified of that right should he wish to dispute the results of the breath test.
- We are concerned with deterring impaired driving, not with regulating how a driver might become impaired. A driver is equally responsible regardless of where the drinking takes place be it at home, in a vehicle, or at a commercial establishment.
- A "technically" impaired driver should not automatically be more heavily penalized if they are involved in an accident. The penalties should be based on the severity of the accident and the extent to which the impaired driver was at fault.
- We oppose so-called "Administrative License Suspensions" since they are not an effective deterrent and violate the right to due process.
- We support the detainment of any driver arrested on an impaired driving charge until sufficient time has passed to allow the individual to safely drive, or for other transportation arrangements to be made.
- We support the right to a jury trial for all accused traffic violators, particularly defendants accused of severe offenses for which long license suspension or jail time could be imposed.
- We oppose measures that revoke or withhold a driver's license that do not directly relate to driving. As related to drinking laws, we are opposed to license suspension for non-driving related violations.
- We do not support age-based BAC standards (e.g., "zero tolerance") for persons under 21 years of age.
- We do not support reducing blood alcohol content standards to .08% for non-rebuttable conviction of DWI.
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