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…)
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…)
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…)
A California family lawyer has been sentenced to two (2) years in Federal prison for illegal eavesdropping, tax evasion, and her role in the Contra Costa County “Dirty DUI” scandal. Mary Nolan, 62 was charged with illegally wiretapping cars belonging to her client’s spouses and using the information she acquired against the spouses in divorce court. Nolan pled guilty to these charges and was sentenced by a Federal judge in San Francisco on February 3, 2014. In addition to the two-year prison sentence, Nolan has been ordered to pay $469,000 in back taxes. She has already relinquished her license to practice law.
As part of her plea deal, Nolan pled guilty to one (1) specific act of wiretapping her client’s husband. According to court documents, Nolan hired a private investigator to wiretap the husband’s car and to trap the man in a DUI arrest. Nolan’s scam began with her private investigator, Christopher Butler, wiretapping vehicles. Butler installed illegal listening devices in the victim’s car. Then Butler’s female employees would entice the men into drinking with them and later driving away to meet at another location. Through the wiretap device, Butler would know when the men entered their vehicles while impaired, and Butler would then alert local police. The police would arrest and charge the husbands for DUIs that would in turn be used against them by Nolan in family court proceedings.
Butler also pled guilty for his part in the so-called “Dirty DUI” scandal, and is scheduled to testify against other defendants.
Former Contra Costa County Deputy Stephen Tanabe was also recently found guilty for his role in the scandal. Tanabe would wait outside the bars where the victim husbands were drinking with Butler’s employees. Once the men got into their vehicles, it was Tanabe who was waiting to arrest the men. For his role in booking these men for DUIs, Tanabe was given a pistol by Butler. Tanabe was also charged with accepting cocaine as payment for his role in the scheme but a jury acquitted him of that charge. Tanabe has yet to be sentenced for his conviction. (more…)
Many people expect that a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction would lead to serious consequences such as fines, driver’s license suspension, or even jail time. But what if a conviction would also lead to some very public humiliation? Is public humiliation an effective deterrent to driving while intoxicated or impaired? Some states and cities think so, and that trend appears to be growing.
In 2006, the Albuquerque, NM City Council passed a law requiring that the mug shots of convicted DUI offenders be published in city newspapers. The idea behind this law was to shame the offenders so much that they would not repeat their crimes, and that others would not be tempted to drive while intoxicated or under the influence. If that law seems a bit excessive, check out the Ohio law that requires special license plates for some DUI offenders. Any Ohio driver that is convicted of a DUI can be required to install DUI-specific license plates on their vehicle. These bright yellow and red plates alert other motorists (and police officers) that the driver has been convicted of a DUI at least once.
Minnesota has a similar law that can require convicted offenders to utilize a “whiskey plate.” Minnesota whiskey plates feature a prominent letter “W” on the license plate preceding other letters and numbers. Like the Ohio and Albuquerque laws, this whiskey plate law is intended to shame drivers with DUI convictions and serves as very public warnings not to drink and drive. In 2013, one Minnesota police department took the DWI shaming tactic to Twitter. The department posted the names of every driver arrested for DWI, even though those drivers had not been convicted of the crime. (more…)
With the most lax marijuana laws in the nation, Colorado has been making headlines for some time now. Starting January 1, 2014 Colorado residents can legally purchase marijuana for recreational purposes. Until the law change, Colorado had only allowed residents to use the drug for medicinal purposes. Now, dispensaries can legally sell to anyone over the age of 21. With a great deal of regulation and certainly some skepticism, the legal weed market in Colorado appears to be booming. The first week of 2014 saw dispensaries and shops making approximately $5 million in sales. State officials expect to make roughly $70 million in tax revenue based on the 25% tax rate applied to all sales.
While the financial consequences certainly appear to benefit Colorado’s treasury and dispensary owners, what are the legal ramifications for high residents? First and foremost, only those over the age of 21 can buy the drug, and can only use it on private property. Even with those restrictions, some recreational users will find themselves on the wrong side of law if they smoke or ingest marijuana and drive. Due to the change in the drug law, the state legislature saw the need to revise DUI laws to account for the potential uptick of drivers under the influence of marijuana. (more…)
David Cassidy, of The Partridge Family fame, was arrested again for drunk driving on January 11th, 2014. The former star was reportedly travelling to the Los Angeles Airport when he was stopped by officers who noticed his erratic driving. An in-field blood alcohol leave breath test was administered by the arresting officer, and detected Cassidy’s BAC at 0.19 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent. Cassidy has now been charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated), a charge that can carry hefty fines and even imprisonment if a conviction is made.
This is not the first time Cassidy has been charged with driving under the influence. Infamously, in August 2013 he was charged with a DWI in New York, after being pulled over for failing to dim his vehicle’s lights at a Schodack police checkpoint. During that incident, Cassidy’s in-field breath test revealed a BAC level of 0.10 percent, over the New York state legal limit. The New York charge was not even Cassidy’s first offense; in 2010 he was arrested for drunk driving in Florida. Because he was a first time offender following his Florida charge, Cassidy did not receive jail time, instead being sentenced to mandatory community service, a $500 fine, a six-month license suspension, and a one-year probation.
Cassidy is not the only celebrity fighting recent drunk driving charges. Dina Lohan, mother to another former child star Lindsay Lohan, was charged with a DWI in September 2013 following an arrest in Hempstead, NY. Lohan reportedly was driving with a BAC of 0.20 percent, more than double New York’s legal limit. Though Lohan was only ordered to complete community service and undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the penalty could have been much more severe. (more…)
The Village of Monticello is in the news again, with recent updates to Mayor Gordon Jenkins’s DWI case. On November 16th, 2013, Jenkins was pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated. Jenkins has since pled not guilty to the charges, but the situation has become quite a scandal in Monticello. According to the arresting officers, Jenkins was pulled over in the evening of November 16th, but refused to submit to an in-field breathalyzer test. According to the officers and police reports, Jenkins’s behavior indicated that he was intoxicated, and was subsequently arrested after refusing the breathalyzer. After his arrest, Jenkins was taken to Catskill Regional Medical Center for a blood test to show his blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Reports indicate that his BAC was nearly twice the legal limit at 0.13 percent.
The State of New York defines a DWI, driving while intoxicated, based on your blood alcohol content. You will be charged with a DWI if you operate a motor vehicle and your BAC is:
The penalty for driving while intoxicated can vary based on your age, whether you were intoxicated by drugs or by alcohol (or both), whether you submitted to a breathalyzer or other BAC test, and what type of license you have. Regardless of age, your first DWI will result in your license being suspended and a hefty fine. Each subsequent DWI will cause your license to be suspended or revoked for a longer period of time, an increase in fines, and potentially jail time. In New York, refusing a breathalyzer test once you have been pulled over leads to an automatic suspension of your license for one year, and a fine of $500.
Due to his refusal to submit to a breathalyzer, Jenkins has now lost his driver’s license for one year. Jenkins claimed that the police officers violated his constitutional rights by failing to respect his right to speak with an attorney. However, a judge found that his license would be suspended for the mandatory period and a fine would be charged. That judge did not make a ruling regarding Jenkins’s allegation of not being allowed to talk to his lawyer. (more…)
If you have been charged with DUI once, you must be aware of the consequences a DUI conviction can lead to. A first time DUI offense in Arizona is a serious one and if you end up facing a second DUI charge, you can be in a lot of trouble. A repeat or second DUI/DWI charge in Arizona leads to even more serious fines, increased jail time and penalties and also has a serious impact on your personal and professional life.
The allegation of a repeat DUI arrest should not be taken lightly. You should get in touch with a skilled DUI lawyer in Arizona who will examine your arrest details and come up with a strategy to fight the charge. An experienced lawyer will review the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and will advise you on the merits of fighting the case to beat your second AZ DUI case. Defense attorneys are familiar with numerous defense and mitigation strategies which help them assist their clients in defending a second DUI arrest charge in Arizona.
Discussing your case carefully with an attorney is the first step in defending the repeat DUI charge. You must have the arrest details with you when you discuss your case with an attorney so you know what your options will be. Just like in the case of fighting a first-time DUI/DWI case, defense attorneys use specific defenses to help defendants accused of a second DUI charge. In a 2nd DUI offense, it is critical that you know your legal strategies based on your own arrest circumstances. Your lawyer will be able to find flaws in the case against you based on these circumstances.
First of all, your lawyer will check if there are any errors in your 2nd DUI ticket. You should also tell the attorney if you were asked to keep blowing in the breathalyzer repeatedly by the arresting officer. Your lawyer will also check your breathalyzer results and see if the test results can be challenged with calibration errors. Other factors such as poor weather conditions and officer behavior at the time of arrest can also be used by your attorney to find loopholes when defending your case. Your lawyer will also ask you if you felt you were pulled over for no reason or if you were read your Mirada Rights at the time of arrest or not.
Challenging all the technicalities and finding loopholes in the second DUI arrest will increase your chances of the case being completely dismissed in court. Looking at all the critical elements in detail will help the lawyer find loopholes in your case and beat your 2nd DUI charge in court. Your lawyer will also check if there is a possibility of a plea bargain as this is your 2nd DUI and he or she will strive hard to avoid any negative outcome so that you have a chance at driving again and moving forward in your life. Be involved with your lawyer at every aspect of the case to beat your 2nd DUI charge in Arizona.
This is an informational, guest article, brought to you by the AZ Criminal Law Team.
Motor vehicle crashes, many of which are alcohol related, account for a very high percentage of injuries and deaths among young people. The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) focuses much of its legislative lobbying efforts on the issue of teenage drunk driving. Prior to the mid-1980’s, the minimum drinking age from state to state varied between eighteen years to twenty-one years. Because youth between the ages of fifteen and twenty make up the largest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities, MADD lobbied for laws to raise the minimum legal drinking age to twenty-one. This legislation was signed into law in 1984 and by 1988, all fifty states had complied.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton signed legislation that encouraged states to enact “zero tolerance” laws, which made it illegal for individuals under the age of twenty-one to drive after drinking any alcohol at all. By 1998, all states had complied by passing such legislation. Under New York’s Zero Tolerance law, any person under the age of twenty-one who drives with a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or more may have their driver’s license revoked for at least six months. If the minor is convicted and is adjudicated a youthful offender for DWI, the revocation period is at least one year. If the minor has a prior DWI offense, the revocation period will be at least one year or until the minor reaches the age of twenty-one, whichever period is greater.
As of 1996, in all states it became illegal to sell alcohol to persons under the age of twenty-one. It is illegal In New York for anyone under the age of twenty-one to possess alcohol with the intent to consume it. It is also against the law for anyone under the age of twenty-one to use fake identification to purchase alcohol. Tampering with a New York State driver’s license can result in the loss of that license for 90 days.
Private individuals can be sued if they provide alcohol to anyone under the age of twenty-one and subsequently, the minor then injures others. Parents or guardians in New York can provide alcohol to their children, but only in their home. Businesses selling alcohol to people under the age of twenty-one can be sued for injuries to third persons as a result of the minor’s actions. The New York State Liquor Authority is responsible for taking action against licensees who violate the minimum drinking age law. Following an administrative hearing, the State Liquor Authority may revoke, cancel or suspend a license to sell alcoholic beverages and impose a penalty against the licensee of up to a $1,000 bond for a violation of these laws. (more…)