There is a troubling trend in society with the acceptance of pre-crime laws. These are laws that punish individuals for what they might do, not for what they have done. Libertarians should be opposed to all pre-crime legislation. The anti-pre-crime stance is consistent with the non-aggression axiom. If there is no aggression – defined as the use or threat of physical violence against an individual or their property – then there is no crime.
DWI/DUI laws, in which an individual is arrested and charged based upon the trace amounts of alcohol found in their blood or detected by a breathalyzer test, are almost universality accepted as necessary pre-crime laws to deter intoxicated driving.
The recent arrest and accompanying felony DWI charge against celebrity David Cassidy highlights the ineffectiveness and immorality of pre-crime laws. Newsday reports on the singer-actor’s arrest.
The former teen idol from the 1970s musical sitcom “The Partridge Family” was charged with felony driving while intoxicated and failure to dim headlights after being stopped at a DWI checkpoint shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, according to The Record, of Troy, N.Y. He had been visiting area friends with his fiancee and had just exited Interstate 90 near Schodack, about 15 miles southeast of Albany, when he was stopped after failing to lower the high beams of his rental car.
Police said a field sobriety test showed Cassidy had a 0.10 blood-alcohol concentration. The limit for non-commercial drivers in New York State is 0.08. He was arraigned at the Schodack Justice Court and taken to Rensselaer County Jail, where he posted $2,500 bail.
Cassidy was charged with a felony DWI due to a previous DUI charge in Florida. If I had to guess this problem wasn’t his first time drinking and driving since his Florida arrest. In this instance, the law has not deterred Cassidy from operating a vehicle when his blood alcohol content is above the arbitrary amount of .08.
The details noted in the article of the arrest are a bit contradictory. They first claim that he was stopped at a DWI checkpoint, but later state he was stopped because he failed to lower his high beams. Either way the reason for stopping Cassidy’s does not appear to mesh with the non-aggression principle.
Not all drivers are created equal. That is not a debatable point. People naturally have different strengths and weaknesses that contribute to their driving ability. Why on earth would everyone be held to the same standard regarding alcohol consumption? From the start the system is flawed.
The intention of DWI/DUI laws, to make roads safer and save lives, is worthwhile. However, the effectiveness of the laws must be examined, when you consider that more than 10,000 people die every year in drinking and driving related accidents.
The problem of drinking and driving is exacerbated by a lack of private property rights in roads, and the market being completely removed as a remedy to make roads safer. In a more free society, the private operators of roads could set rules on alcohol consumption and road safety, and the market would determine if these rules were effective and/or appropriate.
Libertarians should be opposed to all pre-crime legislation. This is not to say that libertarians should encourage reckless behavior, but an arbitrary blood alcohol limit and charging individuals with victim-less crimes are not the most effective or a moral ways to influence behavior in order to encourage people not to drink and drive.
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