Oh, wait, I'm not being clear: DWI has not been stopped in Austin, oh no, it's alive and well in our fair city. But it has been eradicated from my docket of cases.
You see, I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and he was asking about the kinds of mischief kids get up to. I told him there's a lot of vehicle burglaries, some home burglaries, and a whole heck of a lot of pot smoking.
And that got me thinking about the kinds of crimes I used to handle in adult court, that I don't see much here. You would expect there to be less rape, robbery, and murder simply because kids don't get into that stuff as much, and so it is. But the biggest change is DWI. Now, you may think that this would be normal - after all, kids can't even get licenses until they are, what, fifteen? But consider:
- most kids we see are aged fifteen and older
- juvenile delinquents just loooove getting their hands on (and in) other people cars
- most of the kids we see drink, and many are there for substance abuse
So in the nine months I've been in juvie, how many have I had? One. Not even one conviction, just one kid charged with it. There was no conviction in that case because the blood test came back a big fat zero for alcohol, and while he was found with MJ on his person, there was no way to prove he was intoxicated while driving.
Care to explain this to me? (Although don't get me wrong, I'm delighted we seem to have very few intoxicated children driving on our roads.) Could it even be the one area where kids are more sensible, more mature, than adults/ Doesn't seem likely, but who knows. . .
And while we're on the subject, I came across an article about the different penalties for DWI across the world. South Africa gets the award for cracking down hardest:
- In South Africa, drinking and driving results in a ten-year prison sentence or the equivalent of a $10,000 fine and, in some cases, both. (Compare to Texas, where this is the potential penalty for a third DWI conviction, and even then prison time is rare.)
- Finland and Sweden automatically sentence drunk drivers to one-year jail sentences including hard labor. In Norway, a drunk driver is jailed for three weeks with hard labor and loses their license for a year. If they do it again, they lose their license forever.
- Turkey: punishes drunk drivers by taking them 20 miles from their town and making them walk back with a police escort.
- Poland: drunk drivers are subject to jail, fine, mandatory attendance at political lectures. (Evil bastards.)
- Malaya: if a man is caught driving drunk he is jailed. If he is married, his wife is jailed, too.