Monday, June 27, 2011

White v. DMV (Cal. Ct. App. - June 15, 2011)

When is a choice not a choice?  Like here.

When you're suspected of drunk driving, you can choose between a blood test or a breath test.  A statute gives you that option.

Linda White gets stopped.  She chooses the blood test.  The officers take her to get her blood taken and the person on duty -- angry about it -- is totally incompetent.  Can't find a vein.  Repeatedly jams the needle all around White's arm.  Painful.  So inappropriate that even the hardened officers say "Enough."

The officers presumably could try to find someone else to take White's blood.  But instead say:  "Now you have to take the breath test."  White says:  "But I thought I had the option?"  The officers say:  "Nope.  Not any more."  She refuses, her license gets suspended, and the Court of Appeal affirms, holding that it wasn't a "plan" to deprive her of her statutory option and wasn't the "officer's" fault.  Never mind that it wasn't White's fault either, and that the fault was clearly entirely with the government.

Sorry.  No choice for you.  You'll do what we say instead.