Being convicted of DUI may now carry penalties that you would have never expected. If you’ve read the news lately, it seems like breath alcohol ignition interlock devices are all the rage in terms of fighting drunk driving.
For those unsure what this device does, an ignition interlock is installed in the vehicle of a DUI offender and requires a person to blow into a breathalyzer in order for the car to start. If any or a certain amount of alcohol is detected, the car will not start. With that said, three states currently have ignition interlock legislation waiting to be signed by their respective governors.
Illinois and South Carolina have recently “turned over” ignition interlock legislation to Governors Rod Blagojevich and Mark Sanford, respectively. The Illinois legislation would require people with a first DUI offense to install an ignition interlock if they wanted to drive to work while their driver’s licenses were suspended.
A Springfield Journal Register story added that this legislation would apply to anyone who is pulled over on suspicion of DUI and fails or refuses a breath test. It is unknown whether Blagojevich will sign this legislation, but he has a little less than 60 days to do so.
Hours before the legislature adjourned for 2007, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that would require repeat DUI offenders to pay for the installation of ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
South Carolina was thinking about requiring ignition interlock devices for first-time extreme DUI offenders (with a BAC of 0.15 percent or more), but that measure garnered too much opposition.
Underage drinking would also be especially targeted in this current proposal headed to Governor Sanford’s desk. Specifically, police would be allowed to find out who bought kegs at parties where minors were drinking while minors would be allowed to buy alcohol during police stings of bars and liquor stores.
In Oregon, a bill that would require offenders with a first DUI to install ignition interlock devices for at least a year after they resumed driving is sitting on the desk of Governor Ted Kulongoski. Oregon currently requires first-time offenders to use ignition interlocks for six months after regaining their driving privileges.
In addition to this legislation, Governor Janet Napolitano signed legislation on May 18th that will now require all Arizona DUI offenders in the state to install ignition interlock devices for at least one year. A similar law was enacted in New Mexico in 2005.
This prevalence on the use of ignition interlock devices is another example of how legislators are constantly looking for new means to curb DUI and how DUI penalties nowadays are getting much more creative and far-reaching as compared to years past.
A Toronto, Ontario man was fined for drunk driving while in a motorized wheelchair.
Around the United States, courts have disagreed about what constitutes a vehicle. In the U.S.A., riding a horse drunk, on a street, can get you a DUI, but operating a Zamboni, in an ice rink, cannot.
Now, Ontario has an interesting case. Patrick Shanahan was stopped by police while operating a motorized wheelchair. He was on his way home from the pub in his mother’s wheelchair. Shanahan is a self-described alcoholic, who has a prior impaired driving conviction.
Shanahan said “I don’t need a license to operate it, I don’t need insurance and I don’t need license plates to operate it.”
I would have to believe he was convicted more because the judge was outraged at his bizarre attempt to avoid a DUI. Shanahan was order to seek counseling.
Paris Hilton was released from jail after just three days for her DUI conviction, and went home with an electronic monitoring device. Authorities have been tight-lipped about the reasons for the change in the terms of Hilton’s sentence, but confirmed that it related to a medical condition.
Hilton, who was originally sentenced to 45 days in jail, was expected to serve only 23 days under the state’s good time credit provisions. She will serve the remainder of her sentence on house arrest, without comparable day-for-day credit.
Lest you think that Paris Hilton is getting an unfair break because of her celebrity, remember that Michelle Rodriguez served only hours of her sentence, and she didn’t even have a medical condition to complain of.
Missouri’s Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has reopened its investigation into the death of St. Louis Cardinal Pitcher Josh Hancock.
Hancock’s parents have alleged that a restaurant continued to serve Hancock alcohol even though he was already drunk.
Officials determined Hancock was speeding and DUI when he crashed into a parked tow truck the night of his death.
An Anderson Township, Ohio man got a ride home from his son. Greg Greene was pulled over at about 2:30 am the other night.
It turned out Greg was only 15-years old. His passenger was his father who was drunk. Greene had been at an undisclosed bar with his son.
Rather than getting a DUI, he had his son drive home. Now he’s in even more trouble.
Greene is charged with drug possession, endangering children, possession of open flask and a misdemeanor drug abuse charge.
USA Today reports that Paris Hilton’s mug shot is hot, especially compared with those of other celebrities. Paris posed for her prison photo after she arrived to begin her stay at the Lynwood, California elite Century Regional Detention Facility.
The Simple Life ‘star’ pled guilty to DUI and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, and her life has gotten simpler. She has been assigned an unfashionable orange prison jumpsuit and a room to herself. Sorry Paris, but no cell phones allowed.
USA Today also published celebrity mug shots of James Brown, Glen Campbell, Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson, Nick Nolte, Paul Reubens (PeeWee Herman), and Nicole Richie. Paris looks awfully good by comparison.
It was a nice try to do the right thing, but an Ohio man was still arrested for DUI.
Jeremy Clary had been golfing and drinking all day, but had to get to a friend’s wedding eight miles from the golf course. Believing that he was too intoxicated to drive his truck, he borrowed a golf cart instead.
When arrested, on the way back to the golf course, he reportedly had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of more than twice the legal limit for DUI in Ohio. A video shown on television shows him almost falling down during field sobriety tests.
Clary said he thought it was safer because the cart could go no faster than 10 mph.
A 15-year-old-boy was arrested for DUI in Brewster, NY. The youth, whose name has not been released, was pulled over for driving erratically.
He has been charged with DUI and refusing to submit to a . The boy and his passenger were taken to the Brewster police station and his father was called to come pick him up.
A Brewster police sergeant said: “unfortunately it seems to be a somewhat disturbing trend that more and more juveniles are not only engaging in this misbehavior, but then furthering the danger of it by going out and driving.”
South Carolina’s new DUI law failed to pass through the state’s legislature this year. The Governor says he hopes to take it up again in January, 2008.
Among other things, the South Carolina bill would create an extreme DUI law, where a driver convicted of DUI with a high blood alcohol level (BAC) would receive stiffer DUI penalties than someone who just breaks the BAC limit of 0.08 percent.
Colorado law enforcement agencies made 625 arrests for drunken driving over the Memorial Day weekend. Across the country, states conducted well publicized DUI crackdowns over the holiday weekend.
Following the weekend, states announced crackdown arrest statistics.
Before the weekend, Colorado aired television commercials announcing its “Heat In On” campaign. Over the weekend, eight people died in traffic related accidents. According to state officials, half of the deaths were alcohol related.
Last year, there were 708 DUI arrests over the Memorial day weekend. Officials say the next Colorado Heat Is On campaign will be over the Independence Day weekend.
A Florida driver, pulled over for DUI, faces felony charges of bribery.
Mark L. Tearney offered two Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies $500 to take a breath test in his place. He has been charged with two counts of bribery, along with a misdemeanor DUI offense and a citation for speeding in an enhanced penalty zone.
The officers were watching for speeders in a construction zone when they clocked an SUV doing 106 mph.
Allegedly, during field sobriety tests, Tearney said, “I know this is a stupid question, but what if I gave you each $500 to take the test for me.”
Tearney has two previous DUI arrests.