Jul

25

Can Lindsay Lohan Buy Her Way Out of Second DUI?

By Guest Attorney

Twenty-one-year-old actress, Lindsay Lohan was arrested for her second DUI in three months. In May, she was arrested for her first DUI offense for a hit-and-run DUI. Now, she’s been arrested, not only on suspicion of DUI, but suspicion of cocaine possession.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Lohan sent an e-mail to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush saying “I am innocent. . . . did not do drugs they’re not mine.”

Police answered a 911 call from the mother of Lohan’s personal assistant who claimed Lohan was chasing her in an SUV after the assistant had quit. Police found Lohan in a heated argument with the woman.

She was given a breathalyzer which registered a blood alcohol level between 0.12 and 0.13 percent, well over the legal limit for DUI. During a pre-booking search police say they found cocaine in her pocket.

Following her May arrest, Lohan immediately checked herself into rehab. She has again checked herself into rehab. Rehab is a standard tactic for those arrested for DUI, who can afford it. A defendant who has started rehab can demonstrate to a judge that she is already straightening out and should be given a lighter sentence.

However, most of us cannot afford rehab and certainly cannot take time off from work. So, people like Lindsay have an advantage when they go to court.

Jul

23

Man Killed Trying to Stop Fiancé From DUI

By Guest Attorney

A woman in Centereach, New York killed her fiancé while he was trying to protect her from drunk driving. 

Newsday reports that a witness heard Louis Weiderer tell Jesenia Vega she was going to get arrested if she tried to drive in her condition. Weiderer was leaning in the car’s window arguing with her.

After she screamed at him to leave her alone, she slammed on the accelerator, dragging Weiderer to his death.

Vega was arrested and charged with DUI (DWI in New York). She is likely to be charged with some form of manslaughter.

Jul

17

Florida Man Not Guilty of DUI Manslaughter in Crash

By Mary Ann

An Ocala, Florida man was found not guilty of DUI manslaughter and DUI with property damage. The Ocala Star-Banner reports that David Andrew Ballinger had faced up to 31 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.

The Star-Banner earlier reported that the Florida Highway Patrol had responded, in January, to a single-vehicle crash. They found Robert Lewis Wilson pinned beneath the vehicle. Witnesses told investigators they had seen a man jump out of the truck and try to help Wilson, but that the man had run away.

Five hours after the crash, police went to Ballinger’s home and drew blood.  His blood alcohol level was 0.05 percent, five hours after the crash.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement toxicologist testified Ballinger’s BAC could have been above legal limit for DUI of 0.08 percent at the time of the crash. The Star-Banner’s article does not indicate whether Ballinger argued he had drank alcohol following the crash.

It appears that convincing juries that a driver was DUI when his measured BAC was below 0.08 percent is becoming increasing difficult.

Jul

13

Stricter DUI Penalties in Kansas

By Mary Ann

The Fort Leavenworth Lamp reports that penalties for DUI in Kansas increased on July 1st. A first DUI offender with a blood alcohol level (BAC) below 0.15%, will have his or her license suspended fort 30 days, with a work and school license only, for an additional 330 days.

A second, third, or fourth time DUI offender will suffer a one year license suspension. For a fifth DUI conviction, a driver will have his or her license permanently revoked.

A driver under 21 years of age will have her license suspended for a year for the first DUI offense.

A DUI driver, with a BAC of at least 0.15%, will have her license suspended for a year for his or her first conviction. Following the suspension, he or she will be restricted to another year of driving with an ignition interlock.

Additional 0.15 percent DUI offenses will increase the length of a driver’s license suspension. On a fifth offense, the driver’s license will be permanently revoked.

In Kansas, a third DUI conviction has been and continues to be a felony DUI.

Jul

11

NFL Star Steve McNair’s DUI Charge Dropped

By Mary Ann

NFL Quarterback Steve McNair’s DUI charge for a May 9th incident have been dropped. McNair was a passenger in a pickup truck when his brother-in-law, Jamie Cartwright, was stopped for speeding.

Cartwright refused to submit to a breathalyzer and was charged with DUI. McNair was charged with DUI because he allowed a person he should have known to be drunk to drive his vehicle.

USA Today reports that Cartwright entered a plea bargain where he serve two days in jail, pay a $350 fine, and attend DUI school.

As part of his plea agreement, Tennessee dropped Cartwright’s DUI offense and he pled guilty to reckless driving. Because Cartwright’s DUI was dismissed, McNair’s DUI charge was also dropped.

According to the Washington Post, McNair will likely, now, avoid NFL discipline as well.

Jul

9

Alabama DUI Charge for “Adventurous” 11-Year-Old Girl

By admin

Last week, an 11-year-old girl was charged with DUI after leading police on an 100 mph chase for roughly eight miles and then flipping her vehicle in Orange Beach, Ala.

An Associated Press story detailed that the chase began around 10:30 p.m. on July 3rd when a police officer saw a car speeding along a beach highway. After the officer flicked on his lights, the driver sped up and eventually clipped another car during the chase that eventually ended when the suspect’s car rolled over.

When police officers looked into the flipped car with their guns drawn, they were shocked to see the 11-year-old girl, who later said that she was picking up her sister at a concert. Slightly injured in the crash, the girl has been charged with DUI, speeding, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident.

Due to the age of the suspect, her name was not released. Police refused to release her blood alcohol level but did say that a blood test revealed it to be greater than 0.02 percent, which is the legal limit for minors in Alabama.

No alcohol was found in the vehicle, and it is believed that the girl drank prior to driving the vehicle, which belonged to relatives.

Who would have thunk it? On the night before the Fourth of July, you would expect an 11-year-old kid to be more interested in getting his or her hands on fireworks than a car. Luckily, this girl was not seriously injured and did not hurt anyone else during this most dangerous joy ride.

Jul

9

US Airways Cleared In Drunk Passenger Death

By Mary Ann

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cleared US Airways of wrongdoing in its DUI investigation into whether the airline served an already-intoxicated passenger. Dana Papst died while driving home from the Albuquerque, New Mexico airport.

The Aero-News Network reports that after Papst was served alcohol on a flight to Albuquerque, he turned the wrong way in I-25 near Santa Fe and struck a vehicle, killing himself and five others in a head-on collision. His blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit for DUI in New Mexico.

The FAA determined Papst had stopped in Bernadillo, New Mexico and bought beer at a convenience store. The accident occurred three hours after the flight had landed.

US Airways was banned from serving alcohol on flights going to New Mexico until the airline received a state liquor license.  Obtaining a liquor license in New Mexico includes training servers to identify alcohol impaired or intoxicated passengers.

Jul

7

Driving While Distracted Citations Go Beyond DUI

By Mary Ann

Many have argued that DUI should be just one reason to cite a driver for driving when he shouldn’t be. Over-the-road truck driving have long been required to get enough sleep.

Now, states are considering laws against using technology while driving.

According to USA Today, states across the country are passing bills banning the use of technology, such as fax machines, DVD players, and video games, while driving. Most bills mandate a fine between $50 and $600.

In California, 3,200 drivers have been pulled over for watching DVDs and TVs since 2003.

Washington recently banned texting while driving. “TWD” carries a $101 fine. Several months ago, in Colorado, a bicyclist was killed by a driver who was texting. Strangely enough, the Colorado legislature has not passed a no texting bill.

Jul

6

Bears’ Tank Johnson Not Charged in DUI

By Mary Ann

Tank Johnson, the troubled Chicago Bears player, will not be charged following his DUI arrest in Gilbert, Ariz. A blood test showed Johnson to have a blood alcohol level of 0.072 percent, slightly below Arizona’s presumptive BAC level of 0.08 percent.

Johnson had been suspended for the first eight games of the upcoming NFL season. The Bears waived him following his DUI arrest. Johnson could still have been charged with DUI, regardless of a BAC below the presumptive level.

Arizona’s DUI law states that is unlawful for someone to drive “if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.” ARS 28-1381(A)(1).

The Associated Press reported that Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Duncan declined to elaborate on the reason for not charging Johnson in the matter.

Jul

4

Man Accused of DUI Freed After Seven Months Without Trial

By Mary Ann

John D. Goodale sat in the Oswego County, New York jail for seven months following his fifth DUI arrest. The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that he was finally released because no action had been taken in his case.

Goodale had waived his right to a speedy trial while his attorney negotiated to get Goodale into Oswego County Drug Court. When Goodale was not allowed into Drug Court, he revoked his waiver of speedy DUI trial.

The Post-Standard says the District Attorney complained that the judge seemed to think Goodale’s was the only case the District Attorney’s Office had. Due to limited resources, the DA simply had not been able to bring the case to trial.

The U.S Constitution demands a speedy trial for all accused of a crime, period. Lacking resources is not an excuse for the DA to deprive a defendant of his constitutional rights.

Jul

3

Chicago Tribune Headline: “Tank Johnson wasn’t legally drunk”

By Mary Ann

The Chicago Tribune’s Headline that former Bears’ player “Tank Johnson wasn’t legally drunk” when he was arrested for DUI in Gilbert Arizona isn’t quite right. Johnson was waived by the Bears following his arrest. He has already served time in jail on gun charges and was suspended by the NFL for the first eight games of the upcoming season.

The Tribune reports that Johnson’s blood alcohol level was 0.072 percent, below the presumptive level of 0.08 percent. Charges have yet to be filed in the matter.

It is a common misunderstanding that a driver is only DUI if his BAC is at least 0.08 percent. This is untrue. Johnson was charged under Arizona’s DUI law which states that is unlawful for someone to drive “if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.” ARS 28-1381(A)(1).

Every state has a presumptive BAC of 0.08 percent. When a driver has a BAC above the presumptive level, the burden of proof switches from the government to the accused.

A judge or jury, in a DUI case, is instructed to take a BAC above 0.08 percent as proof that a driver was DUI. The defendant must prove something was wrong with the breath or blood test.

For the Tribune, and other media outlets, to indicate that Johnson was not DUI aids to the common misconception. If Johnson is not charged with DUI, it will be because the prosecutor believes the testimony of the arresting officer will not be enough, without a presumptive BAC, to convince a jury Johnson was DUI.

Jul

1

Driver Arrested for DUI at Scene of Two Accidents

By Mary Ann

A Connecticut driver was arrested in Westchester County, New York for DUI when he happened upon a police investigation into two auto accidents. According to the Journal News, police officers were investigating an accident where Matthew Siden had lost control of his car and crashed, ejecting his passenger.

While Siden was checking on his passenger, an Audi plowed into his car. Siden was charged with DUI and released. The driver of the Audi was not arrested.

Meanwhile, here comes Claudio O. Tacuri-Arpi. Tacuri-Arpi was arrested and charged with DUI, driving without a license and failing to obey a traffic device.

This was his second DUI-related arrest in less than 60 days.