Oct

14

Tempe DUI Cases Likely to be Dismissed After Officer’s Death

By Mary Ann

A Tempe, Arizona police officer’s September 28th death in a motorcycle accident will likely lead to dismissal of 106 pending DUI cases. The officer, Kevin Weeks, is said to have been one of the most prolific DUI enforcement officers in Tempe, and was responsible for about 10% of DUI arrests in 2005.

Oct

13

DUI Suspect Seeks Political Asylum in Ireland

By Mary Ann

A man charged with three DUI deaths in Washington state is seeking political asylum in Ireland. 27-year-old Frederick Russell was arrested in October, 2005, and the Irish Supreme Court entered an order of extradition. However, Russell’s attorney is using new political asylum provisions to attempt to keep him in the country.
The new Irish asylum statutes provide a broad category for people who do not fit the traditional definition of a refugee, but face a risk of serious harm if returned to their own countries.
Russell’s attorney claims that he will face inhuman and degrading treatment in an American prison, and that he will be subject to a harsher sentence than would be imposed in Ireland.

Oct

13

Kentucky Considering Ban on Alcohol Vaporizers

By Mary Ann

Kentucky may soon become the 18th state to ban alcohol vaporizers. The devices, marketed as “AWOL” (Alcohol Without Liquid), vaporize liquor so that the user can inhale the intoxicating fumes. When inhaled directly into the lungs, alcohol is drawn into the blood supply more quickly and the intoxicating effect sets in faster.
A representative of the company marketing the devices calls this “just a new way for adults to enjoy alcohol in a different manner”, but the head of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy says the devices have “no purpose other than to get you drunk”, and considers banning them a matter of public safety.

Oct

12

Florida Official Admits Intoxilyzer May be Unreliable

By Mary Ann

WFTV in Orlando, Florida is reporting that a Florida Department of Law Enforcement inspector admitted in a state hearing yesterday that the state’s new breathalyzer machines may be inaccurate. According to the report, the Intoxilyzer 8000 print-outs sometimes fail to disclose that an inadequate breath sample was captured.

Oct

12

West Virginia DMV Must Provide Hearings on DUI “No Contest” Plea License Suspensions

By Mary Ann

Until last year, the West Virginia DMV conducted hearings to determine whether a driver’s license should be suspended after a “no contest” plea to DUI charges. Then, in July 2005, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that “no contest” pleas could be treated like guilty pleas. In March of 2006, the legislature acted to correct that practice after courts became backlogged with DUI cases–without the ability to avoid the automatic license suspension, DUI defendants had no incentive to enter pleas.
DMV officials initially claimed that they weren’t required to follow the new provisions and continued to automatically suspend the driver’s licenses of drivers who entered “no contest” pleas. After consulting with legislators, the DMV has determined that it will enforce the rule change retroactively, providing hearings to drivers whose licenses were automatically suspended after the May 15 effective date of the rule change.
The DMV estimates that fewer than 60 drivers were impacted state-wide.

Oct

12

California Adopts Zero Tolerance for Underage Drivers

By Mary Ann

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law lats ewek that makes it a crime for a driver under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .01 or greater. Currently, underage drivers with alcohol in their systems are reported to the DMV and have their vehicles briefly impounded. Under the new zero tolerance law, effective January 1, these drivers will face criminal charges.

Oct

11

California DUI a Costly Experience

By Mary Ann

California AAA estimates the cost of a first-offense DUI in California at $12,000–and more than $7,000 of that DUI cost comes in increased automobile insurance premiums.

Oct

11

Pennsylvania DUI Suspect Arrested Twice in 2 Hours

By Mary Ann

A 20-year-old man was arrested for DUI early on Tuesday morning. He was released and his car impounded. Police say that just half an hour after being released, the same Pennsylvania DUI suspect was arrested again–this time driving a different car.
Police say they noticed the second car because it was being operated without headlights, and when the officer approached the vehicle, he recognized the driver.
In some areas, DUI suspects are not released until their blood alcohol content readings have reached acceptable levels.

Oct

11

Georgia Woman Gets DUI on a Horse

By Mary Ann

A 22-year-old Georgia woman is facing drunk driving charges after she rode a horse into a lane of traffic on the highway. The rider was involved in a collision with an automobile, and is hospitalized in fair condition.

Oct

10

John Michael Montgomery DUI Officer Facing Administrative Charges

By Mary Ann

The Lexington police officer who arrested singer John Michael Montgomery for a DUI earlier this year is facing new administrative charges. The officer was one of six reprimanded for inappropriate postings on MySpace.com after he included a doctored photograph of Montgomery on his blog.
Montgomery entered a plea in August, but police radio traffic obtained by his attorneys indicated that the officer had been in the same bar as Montgomery earlier in the evening, and witnesses stated that he had introduced himself to the singer. He is still employed by the Lexington police, but has been relieved of “sworn duties” and required to turn in his weapons and police vehicle.

Oct

10

Indiana Family Sues City After DUI Suspect Dies

By Mary Ann

In late August, police approached a 39-year-old Indiana man sitting in his car at a scrap yard. Police assumed that the “dazed” man was drunk driving, but paramedics called to the scene to treat the suspect after police pepper sprayed him and struck him noticed that he was suffering from a diabetic attack. The suspect went into cardiac arrest at the scene and lapsed into a coma. He died 16 days later without regaining consciousness.

And internal investigation determined that there was “nothing improper” in the arrest, and none of the officers involved will face sanctions.

Oct

10

MythBusters Take On “Beating the Breath Test”

By Mary Ann

The Mythbusters attempted to “beath the breathalyzer”, and failed. Popular methods tested included the use of breath mints, eating an onion, denture cream, secretion of pennies or a battery in the mouth, and mouthwash. Only the mouthwash had an impact on the breathalyzer reading, and its effect was to produce two wildly disparate readings.

However, there may be ways to challenge the breath test evidence collected against you during your DUI trial. If you’ve been charged, speak with a DUI attorney about your options.

Oct

9

County Commissioner’s DUI Raises Questions about Field Sobriety Tests

By Mary Ann

A Florida County Commissioner’s arrest for DUI has raised questions about DUI arrest procedures and the validity of field sobriety tests. The Commissioner was arrested for driving under the influence while posting campaign signs late at night, although his breathalyzer test reading was 0.00.
An investigation following his arrest showed that at least three others in the county had been arrested for DUI after breathalyzer tests that showed no trace of alcohol.

Oct

9

Japanese Firms Using Breathalyzer Cell Phones

By Mary Ann

Transport firms in Japan are increasingly using a mobile phone with a built-in breathalyzer to conduct checks on their employees. The devices use a combination of video-call and breath test analysis to ensure that the driver is the one providing the breath sample. The devices aren’t cheap–about $2,290 U.S. dollars–but provide firms with a means of keeping tabs on long-distance drivers who can’t be tested using conventional means.

Oct

9

Nissan Considering Cars that Won’t Start for Drunk Drivers

By Mary Ann

The growing attention to drunk driving in Japan may soon impact U.S. drivers. Japanese automaker Nissan is reportedly exploring mechanisms for anti-drunk-driving equipped vehicles. It appears that only the form of the device is in question; Nissan adopted a policy of developing vehicles that cannot be operated while intoxicated earlier this fall.
Two options currently under consideration are ignition interlock devices and complicated pin numbers that would be required to start the vehicle. Although Nissan is the first manufacturer to announce plans, the idea isn’t new. The New York legislature considered a proposal last year to require ignition interlock devices on all new vehicles sold within the state.