Get Outta Jail In Georgia

Monthly archive for January 2016

Feds Lowering Blood Alcohol Content Level?

Here is an interesting story we recently came across for a push to lower the legal blood alcohol content from .08 to .05. It seems they seem to think that by doing this they will be able to reduce the number of fatalities from drunk driving. Really? We seem to think that it will only punish responsible adults for enjoying a drink with their meal and not do anything for lowering fatalities. In fact we think that the only thing this will do is punish responsible people and lead to more arrests, more people having to spend more for legal fees and of course the need for more bail bonding services, and not make a difference at all of fatalities involving alcohol.

A recent post by  Keith Laing from TheHill.com points out that over the past 15 years the number of fatalities where alcohol is a factor has remained the same –

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Image Credit: Getty Images

The American Beverage Institute (ABI) is criticizing the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) call for lowering the legal alcohol limit for drivers.

The NTSB included a proposal of lowering the legal alcohol limit for U.S. drivers from .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .05 percent in its annual “Most Wanted” list that was released on Wednesday.

The beverage institute, which represents restaurants that serve alcohol, said Thursday the proposal to lower the alcohol limit is “ridiculous” and will not stop drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.”

“Instead of targeting the heavily intoxicated drivers who cause most fatal drunk driving crashes, the NTSB wants to penalize responsible adults who enjoy one or two drinks with dinner,” ABI Managing Director Sarah Longwell said in a statement that was provided to The Hill.

“More than a decade ago, we lowered the legal limit from 0.1 percent to 0.08 after groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving promised a huge drop in fatalities,” she continued. “Yet the proportion of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers has remained the same for the past 15 years. Why would moving to .05 suddenly stop truly drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel? The fact is, it won’t.”

Continue reading the article here

Along with lowering the BAC, there is also a push to outlaw all cell phone use while driving! Really? It should be that all states should mandate hands free devices while driving so both hands can be on the wheel and of course no texting while driving. Elizabeth Harrington from the FreeBeacon.com reports this –

The National Transportation Safety Board wants to decrease the legal driving limit to one drink, lowering the legal limit on blood-alcohol content to 0.05 “or even lower.”

The agency released its “most wanted list” on Wednesday, a laundry list of policies it would like implemented nationally. The list includes recommendations to reduce the current 0.08 blood alcohol content limit and outlaw all cell phone use while driving, even hands-free technology.

“When it comes to alcohol use, we know that impairment begins before a person’s BAC reaches 0.08 percent, the current legal limit in the United States,” the agency said. “In fact, by the time it reaches that level, the risk of a fatal crash has more than doubled. That is why states should lower BAC levels to 0.05— or even lower.”

The agency issued the recommendation while admitting that “the amount consumed and crash risk is not well understood.”

“We need more and better data to understand the scope of the problem and the effectiveness of countermeasures,” they said.

“The NTSB has advocated that people should not drive impaired, whether that’s from alcohol, over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications or illicit drugs,” a representative from the board said. “We’ve pushed for states to reduce the threshold for DWI/DUI to 0.05 BAC or lower because research clearly shows that most people are impaired by the time they reach 0.05.”

A 0.05 BAC level would reduce the number of drinks an average-weight man of 180 pounds could have to two, according to Blood Alcohol Calculator.

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Some ideas are good, while others seem that they will only continue to clog up an already busy and overburdened legal system throughout the United States. Clearly as stated in the last article, more data and surveys need to be conducted to insure that any mandated laws will end up with less fatalities and accidents and not only lead to more people in the legal system.

Abolish Bail Bonds?

There has been a lot of controversy about the bail bonds service industry over the last few years. Many argue that that there is a double standard, a system for the rich and a system for the poor. But what really is the case? Here is our take on it and what we believe.

If you are arrested for a crime and taken to jail you can either sit there and wait for your trial, which can take up to several months. In the mean time you loose your job, your apartment or house if you own one, cars and maybe even your significant other. But if you use a bondsman, then you can get out of jail right away by paying a fee.

Abolish Bail Bonds

Here is where a lot of people are mislead. EVERYONE pays the fee when they employ a bondsman. Not just the poor. Now if you don’t have the 10% to get someone released the bondsman may also charge additional interest on the loan. This is not a practice that we are fond of. If the bondsman doesn’t want to make the bail and allow payments for the regular amount, they they shouldn’t make the bond.

Bail bondsman also help with making sure that people show up for their court dates and take this burden off of tax payers. If people are released on their own recognizance and don’t show up for court and run, who is going to bring them to justice and face the court, and more over, who is going to pay for it? It will either be the police to recover the jumper or a special group employed by the government to wrangle in these fugitives. And with there being a shortage of police officers they don’t have the time to do this. And we as tax payers will end up footing the bill.

Recently there was a new law suit filed in California to abolish the bonds system. While we don’t totally agree with the bondsman’s ethics, many states will be watching to see what happens. An article written by PAUL ELIAS for WRAL.com told it like this –

Crystal Patterson didn’t have the cash or assets to post $150,000 bail and get out of jail after her arrest for assault in October.

So Patterson, 39, promised to pay a bail bonds company $15,000 plus interest to put up the $150,000 bail for her, allowing to go home and care for her invalid grandmother.

The day after her release, the district attorney decided not to pursue charges. But Patterson still owes the bail bonds company. Criminal justice reformers and lawyers at a nonprofit Washington, D.C., legal clinic say that is unconstitutionally unfair.

The lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Patterson, Rianna Buffin and other jail inmates who argue that San Francisco and California’s bail system unconstitutionally treats poor and wealthy suspects differently.

Wealthy suspects can put up their houses or other valuable assets — or simply write a check — to post bail and stay out of jail until their cases are resolved. Poorer suspects aren’t so lucky. Many remain behind bars or pay nonrefundable fees to bail bonds companies.

San Francisco public defender Chesa Boudin says some of his clients who can’t afford to post bail plead guilty to minor charges for crimes they didn’t commit so they can leave jail.

Boudin represented Buffin, 19, after her arrest for grand theft in October. Buffin couldn’t afford to post the $30,000 bail or pay a bond company a $3,000 fee and so contemplated pleading guilty in exchange for a quick release from jail even though she says her only crime was being with the “wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

 
But what if we do as a country remove the bail bonds system? What will happen then? What about the cost of bring in people that don’t show up for court? What will happen if there is no consequences for not showing up for your court date?
 
Michelle Esquenazi answered a few of these questions and more in an article done by NDTV.com.
Here is an excerpt from the article –

Michelle Esquenazi tosses her mane of flaming red curls, kicks her feet clad in five-inch stilettos onto her desk and hollers for her assistant.

Meet the Bail Bond Queen, a New York mother of four with a “Master’s degree from the streets of Brooklyn” who worked her way up from being a paralegal student on welfare to company’s CEO.

She is the woman who can get you out of jail and calm your tearful mother — for a price — and she’s the one who is going to put you back behind bars if you do a runner.

“I always say I’m a b*****, but I’m not a stupid b*****,” Esquenazi tells AFP in Hempstead, a town on Long Island about an hour’s train ride east of New York.

Her company, Empire Bail Bonds, is the largest in New York state that helps thousands of clients navigate the US legal system when they get arrested.

The Justice Policy Institute estimates there are 15,000 bail bond agents in the United States, writing bonds for about $14 billion a year in a private industry unmatched anywhere but the Philippines.

Critics complain they take billions from low-income people, with no return on investment in terms of public safety.

Esquenazi says she’s doing society a favour.

“We do what governments don’t have the resources to do. We do everything at no taxpayers’ expense,” she explains, sipping milky coffee.

Bone Harvester

Anyone arrested in New York state must appear in court within 24 hours when the judge sets bail. Defendants can either pay cash or purchase a bond to secure their release.

Those who can afford to pay bail get all their money back if they keep all their court dates, even if they are eventually found guilty.

But for those of limited means, bonds are the only option. They pay Esquenazi a non-refundable fee to cover bail for them.

So if they do a runner, she sends her bounty hunters — Hollywood, Mr T and Jizo — to haul them back into jail.

We think that abolishing the bail bonds system will only leave more people in jail longer, there for leading to more unemployement as well as putting more of a strain on our legal system. We do believe that there is room for improvement with our current system and may need to be more regulated and watched more closely.