Monday, April 29, 2013

Why Wasn't David Bisard's Driver's License Suspended?

It's a good question people are asking after Officer David Bisard's latest DUI crash over the weekend. Why did suspended IMPD Officer David Bisard still have a driver's license following his 2010 fatal alcochol collision that caused that death of one motorcyclist and seriously injured two others? The answer lies in the legal wrangling over the original blood draw taken from him following his first accident. The Star's Jon Murray provides this explanation offered by a local DUI attorney of why he still has a driver's license.
“The first case was so poorly investigated and the blood draw was done so inappropriately that the case is still pending” nearly three years later, said John Tompkins, a veteran defense attorney in drunken-driving cases who is not connected to Bisard’s cases. “If it’d been investigated by the normal procedures, the 2010 case would have been over.
“And this offense never would have occurred.”
Indeed, the screw-ups following Bisard’s crash in August 2010 have mounted, starting with a failure by police officers to suspect at the accident scene that Bisard was under the influence of alcohol.
That led, directly or indirectly, to a judge’s ruling that Bisard could keep his driver's license; dueling decisions by two elected prosecutors over whether to pursue the drunken-driving charges; and a nearly two-year court battle over whether prosecutors could present evidence of a contested blood draw showing Bisard was legally drunk. The Court of Appeals ruled last year that the prosecution could use the blood-test results.
The article doesn't state this point, but a person's driver's license is automatically suspended following a DUI arrest for one year if the person refuses to take a portable breathalyzer test. As Tompkins points out, police didn't ask Bisard to submit to a portable alcohol test at the scene because his fellow officers didn't suspect him of driving drunk. Because there was a fatality, police were required by law to have his blood drawn from testing. A new law that had just recently taken effect over how that blood alcohol test can be administered was not followed by police in the first case, which led to the screw-up in that case. The Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office, meanwhile, will seek a court order requesting that Bisard's bond be revoked allowing him to remain free while he awaits trial on charges still stemming from the 2010 case when he is formally charged on his latest arrest over the weekend following a crash where his blood alcohol level was found to be more than twice the legal limit.

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