27 August 2003



Governor Warner is pandering to the prohibitionists by suggesting that the already draconian DUI laws be made worse. AND HE WANTS TO BRING BACK THE MOST UNJUST LAW ON THE BOOKS OF VIRGINIA - the habitual offender.

I cannot count how many times I have stood in court and watched clients who have no choice but to drive (mass transit was voted out of existence by the county I'm in and never existed in rural counties) face this unjust charge. I've had people get that mandatory, unsuspendable year for driving to pick up a kid stranded after a party, driving to get groceries, driving to get away from situations which were going to turn violent, and -time after time after time - driving to go to work so that they can support their families. Everyone who spends more than a day in trail courts, and isn't absolutely clueless, realizes how unjust the laws are which take licenses away and/or criminalize driving. We all know these people still have to drive and that eventually they will end up in jail for driving. The habitual offender statute is the king of these unjust statutes. It makes people who have no serious record have a felony - thus abrogating their citizenry rights. It takes the breadwinner out of the household - thus usually causing serious financial harm to those the man was driving to work in order to support. And worst of all, IT DOES NOT STOP THOSE WHO DRIVE DRUNK FROM DRIVING.

All I can hope for is that this is typical prohibitionist blather from the Pilot (which looks for any evil involving the demon drink and driving and magnifies it as much as possible).

Or maybe some common sense from the Legislature.


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