Presumption of Innocence? Not For Some Texas Legislators...

From today’s Austin American Statesman article about an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the presumption of innocence for DWI cases in Texas:

A third proposal would have simplified the method used for determining a person's blood-alcohol content at the time he or she was driving.

The proposal, House Bill 915, by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, would have specified that if a driver's blood-alcohol content is higher than the legal limit of 0.08 within 90 minutes of being pulled over, the driver would be considered intoxicated.

"Right now, the problem is you have to prove they were intoxicated while driving," Aycock said. [Emphasis Mine]

So it’s a problem that the State has to meet their burden of proving guilt beyond all reasonable doubt? A problem that can be fixed with some legislation?

Fortunately, this bill was voted down by the House Law Enforcement Committee. I’ve written previously about the “Rising BAC defense” that is available to some DWI defendants in Texas. Being over .08 at the time of the breath test does not necessarily mean you were over .08 at the time of driving.

But some lawmakers objected to “forcing” the State to prove their case, so they attempted to create a presumption that any breath test within 90 minutes of driving would automatically do the trick.

David Gonzalez, counsel for TCDLA and also a local Austin DWI lawyer hit the nail on the head when he…

…said the bill would create a presumption of guilt.

"What that really means is, we need to make it easy for convictions, and when science and other things get in the way, let's disregard them," Gonzalez said.

Politicians can’t change the science of breath or blood alcohol testing…and Texans should continue to object to illogical manipulations of DWI statutes.

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Stephen Gustitis - June 5, 2007 12:00 PM

Another great job of revealing the legislature's attempt to chip away at our client's right to put the State to their burden of proof. Thanks for the research, Jamie.

gail - July 14, 2008 12:16 PM

THE PRISON ARE FULL BECAUSE TEXAS DWI LAW ARE WAY OUT OF HAND. I THINK THESE LAWS SHOULD APPLY TO SOMEONE IF AN ACCIDENT HAPPENED AND AN INNOCENT GOT HURT. I'M NOT FOR DRINK/DRIVIN, BUT SO MANY SENT TO PRISON FOR DWI WERE PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS AND MADE MISTAKES, NO ONE HURT, AND THESE PEOPLE AND LOTS OF KID COME OUT PRISON UNPRODUCTIVE, NO SELF ESTEEM, AND NO LONGER AN ASSET TO SOCIETY. AND ONE OTHER COMMENT IF TEXAS THINKS THEY ARE GOING TO STOP PEOPLE FROM DRINKING IS TOTALLY CRAZY. I THINK THE DWI LAWS ARE TO HARSH. PS: I'VE NEVER HAD ONE, THANK GOD

Jen - September 1, 2012 11:07 PM

Dear Adam "I didn't say that" Keller,So Geert Wilders has [quote] "blundered in to interfere in the ptcioils of my country", you say?Few sentences further down the drain, you immediately commit the very same sin of blundering, you accuse GW of:[quote] "More relevant for this discussion in this blog, I strongly object to Wilders' activities in Holland".I mean, I wouldn't mind taking you serious for the sake of argument, but you're not exactly helping here, are you?There is probably no way to describe the choking feeling that the dense emptiness of your rethoric causes me. Might be akin to getting caught by and buried underneath an avelange. Luckily I saw this one coming and chose to step aside. I think that, as a learning experience - you, the archetypal pangaeic humanist, engaged in a honourable fight with that substantial part of humanity that still "doesn't get it" - this socalled exchange has been a mere exercise in futility. In quite an unexpected way though, this thread has been very useful for me as a showcase of that typical progressivist mindset at work. I was a bit rash in my judgement, condemning as "propaganda tsunami" the quasi argumentative waves you caused, that had so many strawmen, begged bottled questions, red herrings, empty words and just plain old lies, washed up on these shores here at GoV.Now I realize that my critique was unwarranted. After having read most of this thread, I no longer think you're just a mere agitpropper for some kind of global socialism. You really are a true believer, and a fanatic at that.I applaud the ones who - unlike me - had the stamina to politely deconstruct your beliefsystem and who kindly responded as if you actually would value intelligent discussion, LAW Wells, Hesperado, Zenster, goethechosemercy, Anne Kit, Dymphna and of course the Baron himself.You probably will keep spreading dangerous and hateful libels against chosen MP's who put their lives at stake, just for speaking out against Islamic supremacist doctrine. And I guess you will persist in playing the guilt by association game, by putting most if not all counterjihadists squarely in the camp of those neo-"conservative" (that is big gov, neo-Progressive/Wilsonian, Islam = peace elitist) foes you love to hate so dearly.In spite of all that, you and your wife are still welcome in Amsterdam, as Geert Wilders should have been welcomed by your uncivil and misguided friends holding up plates before their heads in Tel Aviv.Kind regs from Amsterdam,Sag.(posted without preview which seems defunct on Firefox)

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