DWI Red Tape: Find Out Why It Takes 6 Hours To Book One DWI Suspect
POSTED: Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 3:54pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 26, 2011 - 4:39pm
EL PASO- We've reported so many drunk driving stories lately that we're paying special attention to what seems to be a big problem in El Paso.
Tonight, we go straight to the front lines---to a sheriff’s deputy who's out there making DWI arrests every night.
NewsChannel 9's Dan O’Rourke rode with him on the overnight shift- and records the deputy's frustration when it takes almost seven hours to book only one suspect.
It’s 11:00 p.m. and the action is just starting for Sheriff's Deputies like Chris Rojas. Deputy Rojas is a native El Pasoan who calls drunk driving an epidemic in our city. He says it’s an accepted part of the culture, right up until DWI becomes a very personal crime.
He stops a car with a bad headlight, a car that stopped in the pedestrian crosswalk at the last red light. His suspect is a 24-year-old woman. In the deputy's opinion she fails the eye test and definitely fails to walk a straight line.
Because he could not get a breath test Deputy Rojas must bring the suspect all the way Downtown, the only place he might find a judge to sign a warrant for her blood. He temporarily locks her at the police jail, where officers tell us privately that the legal system is lenient and full of loopholes when it fails to send repeat DWI offenders to jail. This suspect is being charged for the first time.
There is frustration at the Municipal Court building. The judge should to be here. Finally, he gets his search warrant and leads his DWI suspect to where a nurse is waiting to draw her blood.
But then, another obstacle. The county lockup is so full of DWI suspects tonight that Deputy Rojas must type his report and wait two and a half hours to bring his suspect upstairs.
It's taken more than six hours to book her. One night, one deputy, one suspect. It counts for something, but it's hardly enough to stop the epidemic we hear about of drunk drivers on El Paso’s roads.