Feb

12

Latest Tool to Curb DUI in New Mexico: Talking Urinal Cakes

By Mary Ann

The state of New Mexico has introduced talking urinal cakes designed to prevent DUI. The State has purchased 500 talking “Wizmark” devices. Officials are installing them in bars and restaurants throughout Albuquerque, Farmington, Gallup, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.

The cakes subject urinal users to a female voice saying “Hey there, big guy. Having a few drinks? Listen up. Think that you’ve had a few too many? Then it’s time to call a cab or ask a sober friend for a ride home. It sure is safer and a hell of a lot cheaper than a DWI [DUI]. Make the smart choice tonight. Don’t drink and drive. Remember, your future is in your hand.”

The inventor of the device said “the idea is based on the concept that there is no more captive audience than a guy standing at a urinal. You can’t look right and you can’t look left; you’ve got to look at the ad.”

Feb

9

Nicole Richie Terrified She’ll Go to Jail for California DUI

By Mary Ann

Nicole Richie recently told Paris Hilton she was scared to death about going to jail for a California DUI arrest from last December. Richie had confessed to officers that she was taking the pain killer Vicodin and had smoked marijuana. The former heroin addict has a previous DUI conviction from 2002. If she is convicted of a repeat DUI offense, she could face a mandatory jail sentence of five days.

Paris Hilton recently pled guilty to reckless driving in a plea bargain for her own DUI. Hilton’s lawyer is also representing Richie.

Feb

8

Booze Bracelet Monitors DUI Offenders

By Mary Ann

A Seattle Washington judge, among others, is using an alcohol detecting ankle bracelet to monitor defendants charged with DUI and other alcohol related crimes. The SCRAM ankle bracelet, “secure continuous remote alcohol monitor,” measures alcohol in a person’s sweat. The bracelet tests for alcohol and sends a report every hour of every day. If the defendant has been ordered to refrain from alcohol, but has been drinking, a judge gets an email and issues an arrest warrant.

A Bowie County Texas judge said that the SCRAM has advantages over Antabuse, a drug which will make a person vomit if alcohol is consumed.

Feb

7

Houston Mayor’s Daughter Not Guilty of Texas DUI

By Mary Ann

Jurors deliberated for less than an hour before finding Elena White, the daughter of Houston Texas Mayor Bill White, not guilty of DUI. A constable, who had been on the force for about two months when he arrested White, testified she smelled of alcohol, slurred her speech, stumbled, and failed sobriety tests. White refused to take a breathalyzer test.

The constable testified that he had made mistakes when he recorded the DUI sobriety tests, filled out his arrest report, and administered initial field sobriety tests. He testified that he did not give properly give White the standard eye movement test. While prosecutors admitted that mistakes were made, they still pushed the argument that White smelled of alcohol and was intoxicated.

If found guilty of DUI, White had faced up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.

Feb

6

California DUI Offenders Busted for Driving Away From the Courthouse

By Mary Ann

Fresno California police ticketed eight people for driving away from their DUI hearings. Eighteen drivers, just convicted of DUI, were followed by the Fresno Eliminate Alcohol Re-Offender Team after having their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked. Ten had rides waiting for them or got on the bus, eight got in their cars and drove away. The eight were cited for driving on a suspended or revoked license following a DUI conviction and their cars were impounded.

The Eliminate Alcohol Re-Offender Team was created in 2004 to hunt down “the worst of the worst serial DUI offenders.”

Feb

5

Daughter of Houston Mayor Goes to Trial for Texas DUI

By Mary Ann

Houston Mayor Bill White’s daughter Elena went on trial today on misdemeanor DUI charges. The 17 year old was arrested for DUI in Harris County Texas after a constable observed her driving with her headlights off and weaving in traffic. Authorities say she refused to take a breathalyzer test.

The girl’s mother said she viewed police videotapes of her daughter after she was stopped and did not believe she appeared intoxicated. Her father said her arrest was a misunderstanding. He has said Elena is not a party animal and her grades and conduct outside of school show that.

Feb

2

New Mexico Drivers Plead Guilty to 9th and 11th DUIs

By Mary Ann

Two New Mexico drivers pled guilty to their 9th and 11th DUIs. The first driver was stopped for DUI after crossing a center line and driving onto a curb. He refused all sobriety tests and ran from police. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

The second driver pled guilty to his 11th DUI. He had wrecked his motorcycle, but was able to remount and drive away. Police found him later at a liquor store buying more alcohol. He had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.21 percent, almost three times the legal limit for DUI in New Mexico.

Feb

1

Court Warns Police to Get Warrants for Blood Draws in Utah DUI Cases

By Mary Ann

The Utah Supreme Court upheld a woman’s automobile homicide conviction in a DUI case from 2001, but warned Utah police about drawing blood without a search warrant. The woman turned her vehicle in front of a school and her passenger died from injuries sustained in the accident. Police reasoned that because the passenger was expected to die from her injuries, they didn’t need a search warrant to draw the driver’s blood.

The Utah Court ruled that circumstances surrounding the accident made it reasonable for the police to draw the woman’s blood without a warrant. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Bates said that Utah drivers are presumed to consent to certain tests – including breath and blood analysis. “But if they refuse, then the Fourth Amendment kicks in,” he said. Police officers can then declare that “exigent circumstances” exist where the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches still allows them to “just take it.”

The Court, in it’s statement, noted that modern technology, including cell phones, and the ability to contact a bench judge at any time greatly improves an officer’s ability to quickly get a warrant.

The woman, most likely, could have been convicted without any BAC evidence. At the time of the blood draw she had a BAC of 0.39 percent, nearly five times the legal limit for DUI in Utah. She pled guilty to third-degree felony automobile homicide and served 14 months in jail.