Zero-Tolerance Policy In D.C. Called ‘Absurd

Council Hastens To Revise DUI Law

What we have here is a discretionary policy, we arrest those whom we wish to. Don̢۪t worry about this new law, it is discretionary, we only arrest those we want to in our superior law enforcement hat, because we (law enforcement) are so much better than you (the proletariat).

D.C. Council members, swamped with irate calls and threats to boycott D.C. bars and restaurants, introduced emergency legislation yesterday that would override the police department’s controversial and little-known zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.

This isn’t drunken driving (I’m not going to argue the MADD driven limits, neo-prohibitionists, we are talking any alcohol to include a breath mint here) — at the discretion of the police officer — not guilty until proven innocent, rather this is you are guilty of whatever the police decide you are guilty of, should they decide you are worthy of their attention. Think I’m making this up?

D.C. police have said that District law gives them the authority to arrest drivers with blood alcohol levels above .01

0.01 — Eating bread will give you that level (natural fermentation). Therefore I demand Chief Ramsey be tested. Mayor Williams too. Let us throw everyone into jail. Including the mayor

But what forced this issue? Absolute idiocy. And what made the police decide to push this?

Schwartz said her office has also been inundated with calls, letters and e-mails since The Washington Post this week published the story of Debra Bolton, a 45-year-old energy lawyer and single mother of two who was arrested in the District and spent five months fighting a charge of driving under the influence after drinking one glass of wine with dinner. She was stopped, handcuffed and put in a jail cell for several hours after she pulled out of a parking garage in Georgetown without realizing that an attendant had turned off her automatic headlight feature. Her blood alcohol level measured .03.

OK, we have a woman who had a SINGLE glass of wine. Tar and feather her, rip her children away from her, as she is obviously an unfit mother (under DC law, this is a possibility, wish I were making this up)

The reality is that sometimes laws are stupid – and it is ok to say so and to reverse your position.

Mendelson said the council needs to act quickly. “We not only need to straighten this out,” he said, “but we need to assure the citizens that there is some fairness.”

Sorry Mr. Mendelson, I do not accept your answer. Some Fairness? How about fairness, not just some fairness? How about reality? How about looking in a mirror? Right now, blow under 0.01.

This is crazy.

Disclaimer: James asked the others with the “keys to the kingdom†to step up, however I’ve been 1000 nm SE of his location until now (Internet kiosks suck, no RSS feed).

FILED UNDER: Policing, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,
Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. DL says:

    What causes this is the same mentality that presumes to make laws to solve all of societies problems. Law by law, and regulation by regulation, freedom is being eroded, corroded and “forbodded!” People have fallen into the trap of believing that somehow anything that bothers them or upsets their comfort, requires legal solution, created by our semi-competent(I’m being nice to them here) politicians, our regulation loving bureaucrats, and our too enthusiastic enforcers, at every level and in every aspect of governance.

    Too many see minor and natural flaws in life and demand that “there ought to be a law”, which of course causes other flaws and it spirals out of control from there.

    Zero-tolerance is merely an over-reaction caused by total tolerance. Sorta like pushing a burning car off the pier to save the occupants life-so they drown!

  2. Ralph says:

    I’ve no sympathy for anyone driving a car with an “automatic headlight feature.” And that goes double for “automatic transmission” and “cruise control.” Ban them all and relegate the inepts to public transit. Leave the road to those who can shift, operate a turn signal, and chew gum at the same time. Save lives, save petroleum, and eliminate traffic jams. [Anybody know a good car pool? I’m gonna need a ride.]

  3. McGehee says:

    I wish I knew whom to credit:

    Zero Tolerance = Zero Intelligence

  4. Mile66 says:

    Let’s put it this way. It is late and it’s dark. You’re driving down Main Street, where the posted speed is 35. You see the signs but you actually feel like going 30 mph. Then it happens. You see the blue lights. You get pulled over. Officer, what’s the problem? I did not run any red light or stop sign, I have not changed lanes, and I’m driving below the posted speed limit.
    Well, it’s not that easy, Ma’am. We have this law, and it is to be enforce at the officer’s discretion. See, there’s a secret speed limit, which is 10 mph, and I’ve clocked you 20 over.
    Step out of the car, put your hands behind your back. You’re now going to jail!
    Is there any difference with the actual case?
    You bet there’s none.