Helena and Lewis & Clark County’s 24/7 Sobriety Program

by jhwygirl

An interesting news release from state Attorney General Steve Bullock, given the current discussion here in Missoula surrounding the same issue: Drinking Under the Influence.

The City of Helena and Lewis & Clark County, along with Bullock are instituting a program that will require 2nd or subsequent DUI to submit to a breathalyzer twice a day, 7 days a week. I suspect it lasts as long as the usual suspended sentences. A year?

I’m pretty sure blowing a breathalyzer twice a day would be a major pain in the ass, especially if you lost your license the second time around. Quite a dish of punishment.

I’ve personally known in my lifetime less than a handful of people that have gotten one DUI. Now – one of those had repeated DUI’s. He just was, frankly, not going to be stopped. Even after jail time. But the rest of those people? One time, and that was it.

Missoula resident Colleen McDowdall, of Worden, Thane (and also former county attorney) had an interesting comment in the very lengthy thread of discussion regarding councilperson Dave Strohmaier’s anti-DUI proposal.

The Indy covered the city’s proposal, most recently, from a civil libertarian point of view.

You can scroll down from this link and read the whole thread. I must admit, I don’t know where the proposal sits since this last story from Keila Szpaller at the Missoulian.

The Indy covered the city’s proposal, most recently, from a civil libertarian point of view.

Repeat DUI’s are clearly an issue here in Montana. 4th and 5th – even 7th DUI’s are not unheard of..and I dare say you won’t go a week in this state without some front page story regarding some DUI related accident or some multiple DUI charge.

I will say, aside from the reminders all around me about not drinking and driving – and my one repeat-offender friend in particular – I really would be unhappy with myself to have to spend my hard earned cash hiring an attorney and all that over stuff.

McDowdall is right about a change in thinking needing to occur – and the Boise example that she uses is probably the toughest example of punishment/deterrent from an 1st time DUI that I’ve ever heard. I guarantee that one or two people in your circle of friends (young college age or whenever) get a DUI and have to face that kind of penalty, drinking and driving practices would change for both you and most of your friends.

I laud the city’s attempt to address the issue. Should the county join together – you betcha – but also, don’t hold your breath. I’ve never seen a more skillful group of politicians able to accomplish so minuscule a number of truly policy-oriented tasks. For decades.

(Following continues into a rant that goes completely off topic from the main post)

Zoning? The Seeley Area Plan has been in hearings for what? 3 years? The County Commission had been on schedule for zoning (which they had promised to follow immediately, but now even that seems to be pulling back) for last year. Here we are a year later. But they’ve an easy scapegoat in Plum Creek. I say make the decision and let Plum Creek show how big and bad it wants to be. I doubt they’d do that, otherwise they’d have massive public outcry at every single subdivision that comes before the County Commission on any piece of what is currently Plum Creek Land. Who wants to face that when zoning give’s them a guarantee?

It’s clear – don’t expect guts from that Commission to make a decision.

Which, BTW, is anybody going to file for County Commission? Besides Bill Carey? There’s not one person out there that doesn’t think they can do a better job? Maybe someone who thinks that they can do more to bring better economic development? Instead of the “write letters to the judge and ask them to keep it open” approach to the Smurfit Stone closure?

Candidate, candidate, where are you? Come out, come out – wherever you are. {{clicking heels three times}}


  1. slippery slope

    From the Indy: “Refusing a police officer’s request would immediately classify someone as a criminal, forcing people to prove their innocence.

    “That’s just simply wrong,” Missoula resident Jed Taylor told council members last week.”

    I agree with this. The previous laws deal with taking away a privilege, the right to drive. This time the city council is taking on “innocent until proven guilty” and the right to a fair trial, and the ability to not self incriminate. That’s a big step.

    We’ve seen too much of our civil liberty erode over drug laws, terrorists, and alcohol. But then, as I’ve pointed out many times, the authoritarianism on the left is just as prevalent as that from the right.

    It’s to protect us, like bans on guns.

  1. 1 If I Were Reaching for Something With Which to Agree… « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] couple weeks back I wrote about AG Steve Bullock’s program to reduce multiple DUI’s that he is kicking off in Lewis & Clark County. That’s one way to get tough on actual […]

  2. 2 Legislature Taking Comment on Proposed DUI Bills « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] on 2nd DUI’s and up. Failing to step down on these 2nd DUI offenders only enables recidivism. Something along the line of Attorney General Steve Bullock and Lewis & Clark County’s prog…, I think, is a great […]




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