Pubdate: Mon, 16 Aug 2004
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 2004 The Capital Times
Author: Jim Allard


A recent letter writer questioned the debate over Wisconsin's
zero-tolerance drugged driving law. If illicit drugs are detected in a
driver's system, she argued, then we know for a fact that the driver
has broken the law. So why not charge that person with drugged
driving? Why does it matter when the drugs were consumed, or what
level of drugs were detected?

The issue is that, under the zero-tolerance law, the crime committed
and the crime charged are not the same crime. Detecting drugs in a
driver's system proves the driver is guilty of using drugs. It does
not indicate that drug use impaired his driving.

As a matter of justice, it is crucial to distinguish between an
impaired driver and a drug user. Yes, both have broken the law, but
choosing to drive while impaired is a far more serious offense than
smoking a joint (or having a drink) before bed.

Thus the debate is over the injustice of equating the commission of
one crime with that of another, more serious, crime.

Jim Allard

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