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Intoxicated Man Claims Dog Was Driving

A drunken Georgia man was recently pulled over and arrested for a DUI. This is certainly not an uncommon occurrence, but the story made headlines because of the driver’s excuse for his apparent intoxication. According to police, the driver claimed his dog was actually the one driving the vehicle. News stories have featured bizarre driver excuses for alleged intoxication before, including the man who claimed he was driving drunk just to sober up. However, this Georgian’s excuse definitely surprised many reporters and law enforcement officials, especially the local responders.

The Dog Did It

Deputies of Oconee County, Georgia were responding to calls about a dog locked in a vehicle when they discovered the allegedly drunk driver. When the dog’s owner was spotted by the store where the car was parked, officials immediately suspected he was intoxicated. When confronted, the man claimed his dog drove him to the store to buy produce.  This tale heightened officers’ suspicion about the driver’s sobriety, and they eventually arrested him. In addition to the DUI charge, the driver faces a charge of animal cruelty for leaving the dog in his parked car. Witnesses stated that the temperature was 99 degrees at the time, and officers measured the vehicle’s internal heat at over 120 degrees. When approaching the vehicle, officers also found a gasoline can inside with the animal. Gas fumes can be dangerous to people and animals alike, and the dog was quickly seized by animal control officers.  (more…)

Ohio Man Arrested for Warning Driver of DUI Check

An Ohio man was arrested for an unusual act – warning other drivers of a DUI checkpoint. The man made a sign warning drivers that police were conducting a drunk driving checkpoint further down the road. The sign read, “Check point ahead! Turn now!” Police informed the man that he had to remove the portion advising drivers to turn around. The man refused to alter the sign and was subsequently arrested. He has been cited for obstructing official business. The man is fighting the citation, claiming the police violated his First Amendment right to free speech.

This man has warned drivers of DUI checkpoints before. Previous similar actions had led to a prior arrest on charges including obstructing official business, though the charge was later dropped. In fact, he says warning other drivers of these checkpoints is his mission, stating, “[I’ll go] anywhere I’m called, anywhere I’m needed, anywhere I see injustice happening.” During the night the checkpoint was conducted, the man claims he was standing on the sidewalk, out of the traffic. His attorney, John Gold, believes that because the man was on the sidewalk and not directly interfering with the police, the citation was wrongfully issued. Regarding the case, Gold stated, “The problem here is not the sign in general. It’s the part of the sign that instructed drivers to turn that the officers had an issue with…but I think regardless it’s protected speech under the First Amendment.” (more…)

NY Medical Marijuana Bill May Impact Future Drivers

The New York Senate Health Committee recently approved a bill for medical marijuana use that would allow sufferers of certain medical conditions to legally use marijuana as pain relief. The bill now advances to the Senate’s Finance Committee. If passed by the Finance Committee, the entire Senate may be allowed to vote on the bill. Though the medical marijuana proposal is in its early stages, proponents are cautiously hopeful the bill will become law. However, some medical marijuana advocates highlights loopholes in New York’s current laws that could potentially lead to serious consequences for those who light up legally in the future.

Current New York law allows for charges against drivers who are impaired while operating a motor vehicle. What many states term DUI (Drugs), New York defines as DWAI: Drugs. Driving while ability impaired by the use of a drug means that a driver was operating a motor vehicle while their ability to do so was impaired by the use of a drug (other than alcohol). Upon conviction, even first-time offenders can face fees, driver’s license revocation, probation, and/or jail time. New York is known for its tough impaired and intoxication driving laws, and this charge is no exception. A driver can face a DWAI: Drug even if the drug was legal to possess, illegal to possess or ingest, and whether or not the drug was prescribed to the motorist.  For this reason in particular New York’s DWAI:Drugs law is concerning to medical marijuana activists. (more…)

How Does a DUI Charge Affect Your Family?

Getting a DUI charge doesn’t just affect you; it causes a serious strain on your family. Many of the consequences of getting a DUI or DWI result in increased stress on your loved ones, which ultimately leads to a breakdown of marriage or other important family relationships. Additionally, the financial consequences of getting a DUI or DWI charge costs your family dearly. These are the most common family law issues when you get a DUI charge:

Drivers License Revocation is a Serious Strain

Many types of DUI charges result in having your driver’s license revoked for anywhere from 90 days to 1 year – or more, in some cases. Having your driver’s license suspended or revoked is a serious strain on your family. Your spouse or significant other has to drive you everywhere, or you must make arrangements with friends and family to get rides to work or to run errands.

Additionally, if you have children, your spouse is left with the sole responsibility of transporting your child to and from school and after school activities. This can cause scheduling headaches, resentment from your significant other, stress on your family – and could ultimately cause you to lose your job if you’re not able to make it to work consistently. 

Background Checks Cause Stress on Your Relationship

Once you have a DUI charge, background checks seriously compromise your housing and employment opportunities. When you rent or lease a house, for example, it’s common for landlords to conduct background checks, and they may not want to rent to you once they discover you have a DUI charge. Alternately, many employers conduct background checks when you start a new job or get promoted to a management position, and a DUI can seriously compromise your employment opportunities. All of these factors cause a serious strain on a relationship, and can ultimately cost you financially in missed employment opportunities or high rents.

Insurance Rate Hikes Cause Financial Conflict

When insurers find out you have a DUI or DWI charge, expect a serious rate increase. You’re much more of a liability for insurers once you’ve gotten a DUI charge, which translates to a much higher monthly premium for your family. As money is the single biggest cause of conflict in a relationship, dealing with increased insurance costs puts a serious strain on your family.

Emotional Fallout from DUI Charges

Finally, don’t underestimate the emotional fallout from getting a DUI charge. Your significant other or family members experience a wide range of emotions when you get a DWI, including: anger, resentment, and embarrassment. You may feel that your family is judging you, and you may experience your own emotional fallout, such as shame, resentment toward family members’ “prying,” or anger about limitations imposed by a DUI charge. This emotional trauma can poison your relationships, causing conflict with family members or even breakdown of your marriage.

A DUI or DWI charge has a serious impact on your family’s well-being. It’s extremely important to work with an experienced law firm to mitigate the consequences of a DUI charge, or to get the charge removed entirely, for the sake of your family. If you are looking for an experienced attorney in San Antonio, contact Wilson Brown PLLC.

 

Strict South Carolina DUI Law Passes State House

South Carolina drivers may soon be facing one of the strictest DUI laws in the nation. Emma’s Law, a recently proposed DUI law, unanimously passed the State’s House and is expected to become law.  After a hard-fought and lengthy battle, the bill’s proponents are celebrating a bittersweet victory in light of the bill’s namesake.

Named after Emma Longstreet, Emma’s Law has been backed by Karen and David Longstreet following the death of their daughter.  In 2012, the Longstreet family car was struck by a drunk driver, killing Emma, aged 6.  The drunk driver was a repeat offender, something that the Longstreets kept in mind while lobbying for the bill.  After the tragedy, the Longstreet family contacted state lawmakers, beginning the journey for Emma’s Law.

The proposed law focuses on first time DUI offenders with the hope of preventing those drivers from becoming repeat offenders. Many states have repeat offender laws that increase penalties with each conviction subsequent to first.  Unlike these repeat offender laws, Emma’s Law would create a harsh penalty for first time offenders.

Under the proposal, an offender with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.15% or more would face the requirement to install and use an ignition interlock on their vehicle for six months after regaining their driver’s license. An ignition interlock device works like a breathalyzer, and is designed to prevent the driver from operating the vehicle while impaired or intoxicated. Legally speaking, “impairment” and “intoxication” are terms that relate to how high a person’s BAC is. An ignition interlock device prevents impaired or intoxicated driving by requiring the driver to blow into it before being able to start the engine. If the device detects any level of alcohol in the driver’s breath (not just what would legally be considering impairing for DUI purposes) the vehicle’s engine will not start. (more…)

South Dakota Man Challenges State DUI Practices

A DUI case in South Dakota has gone from routine to potentially altering police practice in that state.  A South Dakota man convicted of driving under the influence in 2008 is appealing that decision to the state’s highest court, claiming that police acted unconstitutionally when they collected blood evidence.  It is common practice in South Dakota for arresting officers to draw blood from suspected intoxicated drivers in order to test the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Police take a blood sample at the time of the arrest before the alcohol can dissipate in the bloodstream.  This practice is designed to ensure a more accurate BAC at the time of the arrest.  A driver’s BAC level reveals whether they have reached the legal limit to drive, which is 0.08%.

Donovan Siers was arrested and charged with a DUI in 2008.  Following the arrest, police asked Siers for a blood sample, which he refused.  Siers alleges that police then restrained him in a chair and forcibly took a blood sample for BAC testing. According to the blood test, Siers’ BAC level was nearly three times the legal limit. He was subsequently charged and convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Siers has been serving time in prison since his trial, his third DUI related conviction. (more…)

CO Driving While High Ads

On January 1, 2014, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use. Since Colorado voters passed the legalization measure in 2012, state lawmakers have been busy trying to ensure proper regulations are put into place to protect public safety while honoring the voters’ decision. Among taxes and business zoning issues, the state has had a particular focus on the new law’s effect on DUI (driving under the influence) charges. Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal in Colorado, but the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is concerned this has become muddled in the sudden sweeping changes brought by pot legalization. Specifically, CDOT and law enforcement officials are concerned that as marijuana use increases, so will DUIs linked to marijuana use. Given the concern that marijuana-related DUIs will increase, CDOT has launched an education campaign intended to spread awareness about driving under the influence.

The “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign began March 10, 2014 as a way to educate the general public about marijuana DUIs. The TV ads have gained popularity both in Colorado and across the country. The intentionally humorous advertisements feature individuals doing normal, everyday activities while high. Grilling, playing sports, and installing a TV while high are all featured. The advertisements remind viewers that while it is now legal to do these tasks under the influence, it is still illegal to drive while high. Bob Ticer, the chairman of Colorado’s Interagency Task Force on Drunk Driving has said of the campaign, “Enforcement is very important when it comes to impaired driving, but education is equally important.” In addition to the TV airings, CDOT has released radio ads and other campaign materials to get the word out to a broader audience. CDOT has also partnered with the marijuana industry to educate users about the law and the effect of impaired driving. (more…)

Sober Man Arrested for DWI

Every state has various drunk driving charges relating to how impaired a driver is. One of the most common charges is a DWI (driving while intoxicated). Driving while intoxicated means that a driver has a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) level of at least 0.08%, which is the legal limit for in every state. The legal limit is the maximum level of alcohol impairment for a driver while operating a motor vehicle. Thus, when a driver has been charged with a DWI, there must be proof that they were, in fact, legally intoxicated when they drove. Recently, the law turned against one Texas man who was wrongfully charged with a DWI, even though he was sober at the time.

On January 1, 2013, Larry Davis was driving through Austin, Texas when he was pulled over. At first, Davis was told he was stopped for illegally running through an intersection. The situation quickly escalated, however, when officers asked Davis to step out of his car. According to police reports, the officers believed that Davis was drunk and began following DWI arrest procedures. After informing the officers he had only consumed one drink earlier that night, Davis was still forced to submit to multiple sobriety tests and chemical tests to reveal his BAC level.

Multiple sobriety tests are not uncommon, and are even standard procedure in most places. Police often rely upon chemical tests to determine if a driver is intoxicated, and then use sobriety tests as a way of establishing or “double-checking” a driver’s impairment. Breath tests, or breathalyzers, are one of the most relied upon methods to determine BAC. Therefore, it seems logical that if a breathalyzer test showed no impairment whatsoever, the driver would not be arrested for a DWI. (more…)

Actress Amanda Bynes Resolves DUI Case

After two years of legal troubles, actress Amanda Bynes has reached a plea deal in her Los Angeles DUI case. The plea deal ensures that Bynes will not see any jail time, which was a potential penalty if she was convicted of the DUI charge. Bynes pled no contest to the DUI charge and was sentenced to three years probation. The judge also ordered that Bynes undergo alcohol education classes for three months. For the DUI charge to be fully dismissed, Bynes must also pay court fees and fines.

In April 2012 Bynes was allegedly driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both, when she struck a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s cruiser. According to police reports, Bynes struck the police cruiser with her BMW around 3:00 a.m. on April 4, 2012 and was immediately arrested. The actress quickly posted the $5,000 bail and was formally charged with DUI in June of 2012.

Since being formally charged, Bynes had vehemently denied driving under the influence. The penalty for a first time DUI conviction in California can result in multiple criminal penalties, including a driver’s license suspension, up to six (6) months in jail, fines, requirement to attend alcohol education programs, and a requirement to install an ignition interlock device. After trying to fight the DUI charge for nearly two years, Bynes and her legal team pled no contest, specifically to avoid jail time. (more…)

More Bizarre Drunk Driving Reports: Parrots and Snow Plows

Just a few weeks into 2014, more bizarre drunk driving news stories have been reported. One such story comes from the capital of Mexico, Mexico City. A Mexico City man was arrested in early January for drunk driving after his pet parrot tattled on him during a traffic stop. Mexico City police officers stopped Guillermo Reyes at a routine alcohol checkpoint. When the officers approached Reyes, they overheard what they thought was a passenger repeating the phrase “he’s drunk.” The officers were partially right; the “passenger” was Reyes’ parrot, who kept repeating the condemning phrase. Though the parrot was obviously willing to turn on Reyes, the officers followed procedure and administered field sobriety tests. Reyes subsequently failed these tests, and was arrested for drunk driving. Given the parrot’s betrayal, one may think Reyes would no longer be interested in keeping his pet; however, Reyes did not hold the bird’s words against him. Reports show that the bird was allowed to accompany Reyes to jail for fear that the parrot would become overly anxious during a separation.

The next bizarre drunk driving report comes out of West Virginia. West Virginia was one of many states plagued by severe winter storms in January, and when the West Virginia Department of Transportation sent out its snow plows, the drivers should have been ready to roll. One driver, however, was unable to complete his plowing after being arrested for driving under the influence. Thomas Keith Henderson was driving the West Virginia DOT snow plow in Keystone, when a passing officer noticed a missing headlight. After pulling Henderson over, Deputy R. L. Jones noticed some tell-tale signs of alcohol consumption, including an alcohol odor and Henderson’s bloodshot eyes. Deputy Jones administered a breathalyzer test, which revealed that Henderson’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level was 0.09%. Not only was Henderson’s BAC over the base legal limit, it was double the limit for commercial drivers. In West Virginia, like in many states, non-commercial drivers can be charged with drunk driving if their BAC is at 0.08% or more. In many states, commercial drivers like Henderson can be charged for operating a commercial vehicle with a much lower BAC. West Virginia’s legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%. Following the arrest, Henderson was charged with a DUI. (more…)