BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email
NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Once a person sobers up in the drunk tank they usually drive themselves home legally.
"Yeah, they have the right to drive, normally after they get out of jail," attorney Tim James said.
That's when James generally meets up with the clients he defends following DWI arrests.
"If it's a felony, the officer has the right to take you directly to the hospital and to hold you down for them to take blood," James said.
Which produces a toxicology report, the same kind Allen Shiller took last year. It came back positive for barbiturates, opiates and pcp. He was still driving legally when pulled over on Friday. A DPS trooper reported observing Shiller's slurred speech, glassy eyes, swaying and poor balance. Driving is a privilege alleged DWI offenders get all the time.
"Because he would have the temporary driving permit that's given by the officers when they take the plastic license away," James said.
A felony offender, even before conviction, is required to get an ignition interlock device within 30 days.
Ryan Grimmitt sales and installs them, but perhaps not often enough.
"You look in the paper and you see DWI's every week, but there's probably not near as many (devices) out there on the roads as there should be," Grimmitt said.
A driver's license can be yanked for up to two years. In some cases, permanently suspended.
"But it's all begun by administrative processing by DPS or by a court," James said.
Which takes time to complete. All the while, giving the alleged offender the legal right to drive.