Dec

24

North Carolina Driver Charged With DUI After 90mph Chase

By Mary Ann

A Burlington North Carolina man led police on a chase that topped 90mph. He was charged with driving while impaired (DUI), speeding, reckless driving, and having an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of the car. More than three hours after the chase, he had a BAC of 0.18, more the double the legal limit. The driver served time for DUI in 2004 and 2005.

Dec

24

Palm Beach Florida Police Offer DUI Alternatives

By Mary Ann

Again, this year, Palm Beach Florida police are offering options for drivers afraid of drinking and driving. Although the Palm Beach Police Department recommends relying on a designated driver during the holidays, they’re offering help to those who overindulge and don’t want to be picked up for DUI. The Department is continuing its long standing policy of giving rides to residents who may be DUI. Palm Beach provides the service throughout the year, but promotes it more during the holidays.

Residents would receive a ride directly to their homes. Guests who live outside the community also could benefit from the service. According to a police spokeswoman, Palm Beach police will help make other arrangements, such as contacting family members or local taxi companies.

Dec

22

Gus Van Sant DUI: “Good Will Hunting” Director Arrested on Charges in Portland

By Mary Ann

The director of “Good Will Hunting,” “Drugstore Cowboy,” “My Own Private Idaho” and many other films has been recently arrested on DUI charges in Portland, Oregon.

Gus Van Sant was stopped at a stoplight early Thursday morning when Portland police noticed him driving his 2006 Porsche Cayenne without headlights on. According to Sgt. Brian Schmautz, officers quickly detected “glassy eyes, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol,” and pulled over the famed director.

The 54-year-old Van Sant failed field sobriety tests and blew a .19 breathalyzer, which is more than two times the legal 0.08 blood alcohol content limit in Oregon DUI law. A January 17th court date has been set for the misdemeanor Gus Van Sant DUI charge.

Van Sant was nominated for an Academy Award for 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Ben Affleck. Other notable actors in Van Sant films include Heather Graham, Vince Vaughn, Matt Dillon, Sean Connery, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, Anne Heche, Keanu Reeves and Viggo Mortensen.

Dec

22

Fresno California Cracks Down on DUI

By Mary Ann

Fresno California police are using roadblocks, stakeouts, night-vision goggles, satellite tracking devices, and video cameras to track and arrest drivers for DUI. Police officers are using night-vision goggles and satellite tracking devices to keep track of drivers already convicted of serious DUI offenses. The terms of parole for some drivers convicted of DUI allow police to enter their homes at any time to see if they’ve drinking and they can be arrested if police find alcohol in the home.

Fresno police say they are permitted to secretly plant GPS devices by the DUI offender’s parole agreement. The ACLU finds such secret surveillance troubling.

Dec

21

DA Drops Massachusetts DUI Against Politically Connected Socialite Citing Breathalyzer Issues

By Mary Ann

The Bristol County Massachusetts district attorney defended throwing out DUI charges against a politically connected socialite who failed four sobriety tests and two breath tests. He blamed red tape for blocking prosecutors from obtaining reports proving the accuracy of the breath test machine used in the arrest.

The DA believed the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt without the report. Although the socialite, connected to Massachusetts’ governor elect, failed two breath tests, she had no prior DUI convictions. State police refused to comment on the case

Dec

20

California Holiday DUI Crackdown Receives Funding Boost

By Mary Ann

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that California will provide nearly $4 million in funding grants to 97 law enforcement agencies for holiday DUI checkpoints throughout the state. California Highway Patrol Commissioner, Mike Brown, said “We’ll be out in full force. We’ll be doing sobriety check points. We’ll be doing saturation patrols to get that drunk driver off the road and maybe save a life.”

According to State officials, last year 1,574 people were killed and 30,810 were injured in California from alcohol related crashes. Authorities say this is nearly an eight percent increase from the number of alcohol related fatalities in 2004.

Dec

19

Student Charged with Stealing Flares From DUI Checkpoint

By Mary Ann

A Castleton State College student was charged with stealing flares from a Vermont DUI checkpoint. The student was given a citation for petit larceny and a ticket for possessing alcohol as a minor. When State police officers broke down their DUI checkpoint, they realized that two electronic flares were missing. An investigation determined that the student, who lives near the checkpoint, had taken the flares. When arrested she had a BAC of 0.173.

Dec

18

DUI Mug Shots in Albuquerque New Mexico Newspapers

By Mary Ann

Sunday’s newspapers in Albuquerque, New Mexico contained an insert showing mug shots of nearly 200 drivers convicted of DUI. The inserts in the Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque Tribune were paid for with money collected from selling cars seized from drunk drivers. Sunday’s publication was the first under a new Albuquerque shame law. Each driver’s mug shot was coupled with his name and BAC.

The head of Albuquerque’s DWI Resource Center said “For those who want to know, employers, friends or family, it’s a quick reference point. Pull that out, see if you recognize anyone.” The mug shots include drivers with no more than a 0.08 BAC.

Dec

15

A DUI Arrest Could Cost You $10,000

By Mary Ann

MSN Money reports that the total cost of a DUI could run into five figures. Your fine is just the beginning. Costs for a DUI may include: Bail ($150 – $2,500), Towing ($100 – $1,200), High-risk insurance ($4,500 or more), Legal fees ($2,000 – $25,000), Fines ($300 – $1,200), Alcohol evaluation ($181 in Colorado for example), Alcohol evaluation and treatment ($250 – $2,000 for basic treatment), License reinstatement fee ($60 – $250), Miscellaneous fees ($200 and up). You may also suffer penalties outside of the legal system, like losing your job.

Legal fees reported by MSN Money represent fighting your DUI charge. Simply pleading guilty can cost as little as $500 in attorney fees. Pleading guilty, however, may not save you from bail, towing, fines, and alcohol evaluation and treatment costs. If a conviction would amount to a repeat DUI offense, hiring an experienced DUI lawyer may be important.

Dec

14

Missouri Proposes Adding Drugs to DUI Laws

By Mary Ann

Existing Missouri DUI (DWI) laws limit the amount of alcohol in a driver’s blood stream. Now, Missouri is proposing adding controlled substances to its DWI laws. As proposed, driving with any amount of a controlled substance in your system would be DUI. If passed into law, first-time offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of six months jail in and a $500 fine.

Some states exempt marijuana as a prohibited controlled substance due to the length of time it can stay in one’s system. As drafted, Missouri’s law would include marijuana on the grounds that it is illegal to use at all.

Dec

13

Governor Puts Money Into New Mexico DUI Enforcement

By Mary Ann

The Governor of New Mexico, and potential presidential candidate, announced funding for fighting New Mexico DUI. The governor’s funding includes money for increasing State Patrol presence by 25 percent on weekends, adding officers to Albuquerque’s DUI task force,  monitoring DUI courts, a project to encourage employers to identify alcohol problems and adopt zero tolerance policies, and signs encouraging drivers and deplaning airline passengers to call police about possible drunk drivers. The Governor will also ask cell phone companies to program DUI hotline numbers into their phones.

Dec

12

Ignition Interlocks Help Stop DUI in New Mexico

By Mary Ann

In the second of two perspectives published in Business Week magazine, the President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving defended Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) to reduce DUI. In the first perspective, a former prosecutor pointed to a California Motor Vehicle Department study’s assessment that ignition interlock devices failed to decrease deaths from DUI and that the risk of an accident was higher for drivers using an interlock compared with drivers without the device. MADD points out that the 2005 California study also states that the failure of ignition interlocks to prevent DUI deaths in California was not due to any problems with the devices, but a failure to enforce court orders for DUI offenders to have the devices installed. Since New Mexico began requiring IIDs in 1995, deaths from DUI in New Mexico have fallen by 12 percent.

Dec

11

Cleveland Browns Player Acquitted of Ohio DUI

By Mary Ann

Cleveland Brown’s running back, Reuben Droughns, was acquitted of DUI by a ten person-jury in Medina, Ohio Municipal Court. He had been arrested for DUI and performed a breath test showing a BAC of 0.08. He and his wife disputed a trooper’s testimony that Droughns was weaving and Droughns testified he was unfamiliar with the speed limit in the area.  Droughns said he drank three cocktails at a Halloween party that night. Of course, Droughns is a large man, and having an experienced DUI attorney helps.

Dec

11

Nicole Richie DUI Arrest

By Mary Ann

Nicole Richie, daughter of singer Lionel Richie, was arrested for DUI in the early hours of this morning.  Richie’s SUV was reportedly traveling in the wrong direction on a Burbank freeway.  Law enforcement officers reportedly stated that Nicole had admitted to taking Vicodin and smoking marijuana. 

A preliminary BAC screening indicated that Nicole Richie was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of her arrest.  This isn’t Richie’s first scrape with the law relating to substance abuse issues:  In 2003 she pled guilty to heroin possession.

Dec

11

World’s Most Famous DUI Case Solved

By Mary Ann

Princess Diana’s driver was drunk at the time of her death in 1997. DUI has long been suspected in the crash, along with numerous conspiracy theories. The official British report will say that Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, had a BAC three times the legal limit in France when he crashed her car into a tunnel support. Diana was not wearing her seatbelt.

Original post-mortem blood samples from Paul have been tested for his BAC. One conspiracy theory holds that someone else’s blood sample, who was drunk, was substituted for Paul’s and that Paul was not drunk. This DUI conspiracy theory is part of a theory that Diana was pregnant with Dodi Fayed’s baby, so she was murdered to keep the pregnancy a secret.