SWOV Catalogus


Put down that drink ! : the double jeopardy drunk driving defense is not going to save you.
962308 ST [electronic version only]
Dargatis, D.G.
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 81 (1996), No. 3 (March), p. 775-809

Samenvatting Drinking and driving don't mix. Alcohol-impaired drivers impose enormous costs on public health and safety in the United States. Recent statistics reveal the extent of this dangerous combination: alcohol-related crashes cost society over $46 billion per year and cause over 42% of all traffic fatalities--more than 16,800 deaths annually. This amounts to almost one alcohol related fatality every thirty minutes. Nearly two out of every five Americans are involved in alcohol related crashes during their lifetimes. In response to this pressing problem, the federal government passed the 1988 Drunk Driving Prevention Act (DDP Act). The DDP Act encourages states to pass strict drunk driving laws, including administrative license suspension (ALS) statutes which authorize the immediate seizure and suspension of the driver's license of a person arrested for drunk driving. Although evidence suggests that these laws have reduced drunk driving, the future of ALSs is uncertain. Nationally, drunk driving defendants are challenging the combined use of ALSs and criminal drunk driving statutes, using the so-called Double Jeopardy Drunk Driving defence (DJDD defence). According to this defence, once the state has suspended a driver's license pursuant to an ALS statute, a subsequent criminal drunk driving prosecution is unconstitutional. Since late 1994, trial courts in at least twenty-six states and one United States District Court have accepted the defence in dismissing criminal drunk driving charges, holding that such charges following ALSs are unconstitutional. Although state and federal lower courts are grappling with this issue, the Supreme Court has refused to rule on its merits. This Note discusses and criticizes the DJDD defence. Part I discusses the DDP Act's impact on typical state drunk driving laws. Part II outlines traditional Supreme Court double jeopardy doctrine. Part III discusses three recent Supreme Court decisions and two lower federal court decisions that have expanded the scope of the constitutional definition of punishment and contributed to the emergence and acceptance of the DJDD defence. Part IV analyses the DJDD defence. This Note concludes that the DJDD defence is insupportable because it is based on isolated language from Supreme Court holdings taken out of context, and because the defence expands the scope of punishment in double jeopardy jurisprudence far beyond the Court's actual holdings and intent. (A)
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