Vice Squad
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Charlotte Observer Drinking and Driving Series

On Sunday Vice Squad drew (here and here) from the first part of a three-part series in the Charlotte Observer on drinking and driving. Parts 2 and 3 are now available (free registration required). Part 2 focuses on judges and courts, and includes this account of a special alcohol treatment court for repeat drunk drivers. The judge is a recovering alcoholic himself. The lead story in today's Part 3 concerns what happens when a driver refuses to take a breath test in the Carolinas. Here's a sample:
Each month in North Carolina, an average of nearly 900 DWI suspects -- or about 18 percent of those arrested -- refuse breath or blood alcohol tests, the Observer found. In South Carolina, 32 percent of those arrested on drunken driving charges refuse the tests, according to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division.

Across North Carolina, when suspects plead not guilty after declining alcohol tests, about 57 percent who go to trial are convicted. For those who agree to be tested, the conviction rate is about 62 percent.
All three parts, which together total more than 20 individual stories, are available here.

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