May

31

Supreme Court Justice’s Daughter Gets Probation for Illinois DUI

By Mary Ann

The daughter of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was sentenced, in a Wheaton, Ill. court, to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to DUI.

Ann S. Banaszewski accepted a plea deal under which prosecutors dropped four other charges including a failure to secure a child younger than age eight in a child restraint system.

Along with probation, she was given 140 hours of public service and was ordering to attend counseling sessions.

Banaszewski was arrested driving away from a fast-food restaurant with three of her children after someone called police to report a drunk driver.

Justice Scalia has long been known as a law and order hawk who continually rules to increase criminal sentences and decrease defendant’s rights. Should his daughter have taken a jail sentence as an example to others?

May

30

Ohio Judges Issuing Warrants for Blood Testing DUI Suspects

By Mary Ann

Two Wayne County, Ohio judges are issuing search warrants for drivers suspected of DUI who refuse to submit to breath tests.

Municipal Judge Stuart Miller said the warrants are aimed at repeat DUI offenders because first time offenders typically consent to a breathalyzer test. Miller said he wants to cut down on the number of jury trials required for people who refuse a breath test.

Ohio is one of the leading states for excessive repeat DUI offenders, with over 38,000 drivers with five or more convictions for DUI. Ohio has criminals with more than 20 DUI convictions.

Judges can order blood drawn from drivers because Ohio is an implied-consent state, meaning that all drivers consent to a search of their blood, breath or urine when they apply for a drivers license.

May

29

Arizona Holiday DUI Task Force Arrests Hundreds

By Mary Ann

The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety released results from its Memorial Day crackdown on DUI showing hundreds of arrests for drunk driving.

From Friday through Monday, police officers stopped 4,737 drivers. They arrested 320 on suspicion of DUI.

Of those, 94 were charged with Extreme DUI, driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of at least 0.15 percent. The legal BAC limit for DUI in Arizona is only 0.08 percent.

Officials said the average BAC was 0.144 percent.

May

28

DUI Driver Sent to Hospital by DUI Driver

By Mary Ann

A California driver suspected of DUI was struck by another driver, also suspected of DUI.

Pedro Martinez was driving in Costa Mesa, Calif., when his car was broadsided by a vehicle driven by Michael Escobedo. Martinez was hospitalized in critical, but stable condition. His passenger was treated for minor injuries.

Escobedo is being held on bond, under suspicion of DUI. It is unknown whether Martinez will be charged with a DUI offense.

Please take this tale as a warning. You may be driving ever so perfect, but if you’re over the blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent for DUI and you’re struck by another vehicle, you could be arrested and charged with DUI.

May

27

Lindsay Lohan Charged With DUI and Cocaine Possession

By Mary Ann

Actress Lindsay Lohan was arrested in Beverly Hills, Calif., and was charged with DUI and possession of cocaine.

After Lohan’s car struck a curb, she was taken in another car to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Police received a 911 call about the accident and arrested Lohan at the hospital.

Officers said they found in her car a “usable amount” of a drug they’ve tentatively identified as cocaine.

This was the 20-year old girl’s third accident in about two years. Her publicist said, last December, that Lohan was attending AA meetings. She had checked herself into a rehab center for substance abuse in January.

May

27

Illinois Latest to Propose Ignition Interlocks for All Drivers Convicted of DUI

By Mary Ann

The Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation requiring first time DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

Several states have proposed universal interlocks Arizona and New Mexico have already signed bills into law requiring interlocks for all drivers convicted of DUI.

An ignition interlock prevents a driver from starting or continuing to operate a vehicle if a breath test registers a preset blood alcohol level (BAC).

Under the Illinois bill a convicted DUI offender who fails to install an interlock would be charged with a Class-4 felony, mandating a minimum 30 days in jail.

May

26

Houston Texas Judges On-Call for Warrants Ordering Blood Alcohol DUI Tests

By Mary Ann

Houston, Texas judges will be on-call this weekend to provide police officers with court-ordered warrants to take blood draws from suspected DUI drivers who refuse to submit to breathalyzer tests.

A police officer can call the judge and get a warrant signed almost immediately. Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said officers should be able to get a warrant and have blood drawn within 10 to 15 minutes of stopping a driver suspected of DUI.

Along with the on-call judges, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is paying for nurses to take blood from suspected DUI drivers.

Rosenthal said this blood draw program is important because “Juries have a difficult time convicting on cases where we don’t have any scientific evidence.”

May

24

Dead Cardinals Pitcher’s Family Sues Bar for Overserving Alcohol

By Mary Ann

The father of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock filed suit against a Missouri restaurant claiming the bar continued to serve him even though he was obviously intoxicated on the night he died in an accident.

Many states have laws on the books allowing recovery for serving an intoxicated patron.

The owner and manager of Mike Shannon’s Restaurant are named as defendants in the lawsuit. Other named defendants include Eddie’s Towing, whose flatbed truck was allegedly parked in the highway when Hancock struck it, the tow truck driver, and the owner of the vehicle the driver was assisting.

Neither Major League Baseball nor the Cardinals Baseball Club have been included in the suit.

Hancock had a blood alcohol level (BAC) nearly twice the legal limit for DUI. The lawsuit alleges Hancock was given drinks the entire time he was in the restaurant, that the tow truck was improperly in the highway, and that the driver of the automobile had negligently allowed it to stall on the highway.

May

23

Burger, Fries and a DUI Arrest, Please

By Mary Ann

An Arkansas man was arrested for DUI at a McDonald’s drive up after he fell asleep in the drive-through lane.

A McDonald’s employee called police after waiting 15 minutes for Terrance Forte to pull up to the pick-up window after ordering a late-night snack.

Police officer William Mahon said he found Forte asleep at the wheel with the engine running and his foot on the brake. Forte tried to give Mahon $10 for his food when Mahon woke him up.

A breathalyzer test showed Forte’s blood alcohol level (BAC) was 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit for DUI in Arkansas. Forte was cited for his third drunk-driving charge and was later released.

May

22

Driver, Not Arrested for DUI, Dies After Being Ticketed

By Mary Ann

A Janesville, Wisconsin man was ticketed for unreasonable speed and driving left of center early Monday morning.

Although he had a preliminary breathalyzer test showing a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.12 percent, he was turned over to a “responsible” adult and released. Two hours later he was killed when he was ejected from his rolling vehicle.

When initially stopped, Jason L. Stacey, told a police officer he had been drinking. He submitted to a breath test which showed his BAC was above the legal limit for DUI of 0.08 percent.

Nonetheless, the officer said he did not arrest Stacey because he passed three field sobriety tests, had few or no clues of intoxication, did not smell of alcohol, did not have glassy eyes or slurred speech, and did not exhibit any other signs of intoxication.

Captain Dan Davis said bad driving and a preliminary breath test over the legal limit do not constitute probable cause for DUI. The officer still felt uncomfortable about allowing Stacey to drive.

Stacey told the officer his friend was being picked up at a bar by his pregnant wife. The officer gave him a ride to the bar where his friends were waiting for him. The woman told the officer she’d take care of Stacey.

The next time police had notice of Stacey was to collect his body.

May

21

“Driver” Arrested for DUI on Golf Cart

By Mary Ann

A Muskego, Wisconsin man was arrested on suspicion of DUI and injuring a passenger while operating a golf cart.

Around the country, states have their own rules about operating “vehicles.” We’ve talked about people operating automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, horses, and even Zambonis. Now we get to look into golf carts.

A 47-year man was driving a golf cart when his passenger was thrown from the cart and struck his head. The passenger was taken to a Janesville, Wis. hospital and treated for severe head trauma.

In the New Jersey Zamboni case, the judge ruled that driving a Zamboni while intoxicated was not DUI because a Zamboni isn’t a vehicle that can be driven on the roads. A golf cart, on the other hand, has long been considered a vehicle.

The gentleman in question will likely be charged with DUI.

May

18

Arizona Governor Signs Law Mandating Ignition Interlocks for All Drivers Convicted of DUI

By Mary Ann

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed a new DUI law requiring all drivers convicted of a DUI offense to use an ignition interlock for one year.

The law also requires any driver convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.20 to serve 45 days in jail. No jail time can be suspended by a judge.

Ignition interlocks require drivers to pass a breath test before starting their cars and periodically pass breathalyzer tests while driving. If the driver fails a breath test, his vehicle’s engine either will not start or stop running.

New Mexico is the only other state, at this time, requiring interlocks for all DUI offenders. Currently 7,000 people in Arizona are required to have ignition interlocks. Officials expect another 14,000 drivers to be subject to the interlock law.

May

17

New York Man Gets 20 Years For Seventh DUI

By Mary Ann

A Syracuse, New York man was sentence to 20 years to life in prison following his seventh DUI conviction.

Ronald Daggett was convicted, most recently, of riding a motorcycle drunk and impaired by drugs. In 1982, Daggett killed a man in a DUI incident.

After his sixth DUI conviction in 1999, Onondaga Judge Joseph Fahey warned Daggett that he could face a life sentence if he got into trouble again. He then sent Daggett to prison for two to six years for a DUI offense and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Daggett was released in 2003. The Judge also suggested whoever issued Daggett a license following his release from prison should be standing in court alongside Daggett.

May

16

Baltimore Ravens Player Acquitted of DUI

By Mary Ann

Baltimore Ravens player BJ Sams was acquitted of DUI and negligent driving charges in a Baltimore, Maryland court. The judge cited a lack of evidence presented by State.

Sams, who was arrested last October, was convicted of a lane violation which carries a fine of $90 and one point on his driving record.

Judge Nancy Purpura said the State lacked evidence because Sams was not offered a breathalyzer exam and the police officer had not fully captured Sams’ field sobriety tests on his dashboard video. She said she was not persuaded that Sams had driven while alcohol impaired.

May

15

Repeat Drunk Driver Faces Life Sentence

By Mary Ann

A New York driver convicted of repeat DUI offenses faces a life sentence. Ronald Daggett Jr. will be sentenced tomorrow as a persistent felony offender for his most recent DUI (DWI in New York) conviction.

Onondaga County Judge Joseph Fahey wrote, in his decision, that Daggett’s history of DUI over the past twenty-five years “manifests a lethal disregard for the safety of others.”

Daggett could be sentenced from 15 years to life in prison. He has five previous felony convictions, four of which are for felony DUI. In 1982, he was convicted of killing another driver in a DUI crash.