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Drunken-driving surcharges violate double-jeopardy clause - Lawyer

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posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 01:58 AM

Mimi Coffey wants to scrap Texas' Driver Responsibility Program.
If she doesn't accomplish the task first, the Texas Legislature appears poised to do so.

The Fort Worth defense attorney has filed a federal lawsuit asserting that the surcharges assessed through the program are unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment.

The act, established in 2003, violates the double-jeopardy clause in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits the government from imposing more than one punishment for a single offense, Coffey said.

"You can't deprive property without due process," Coffey said. "I think it's time somebody do something about this."

I saw this in my local news section. Ive never thought about surcharges and such in this way.

The article also talks about driving without insurance surcharges, not just drinking and driving. Other than the violation of the double jeoprady clause, the article also says that the current program is clogging the courts, and creates a financial hardship even though the defendant has paid their debt to society.

The article says some political figures are also in support of scrapping the current program. MADD says they are for scrapping it to, as long as the state replaces funding to trauma centers, which some of the surcharge cash goes to.

"We have seen nothing that shows the program helps deter drunken driving," said Bill Lewis, a MADD public policy liaison, who testified before the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee in October. He thinks this is so because the public seems to be unaware of it.


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