DUI Patrols to Increase Nationwide for Super Bowl

By Mary Ann

On Sunday, millions of people across the country will watch the Super Bowl. The event has evolved into more than just a football game, it’s a shared pop culture event.

There are also parties. Lots of Super Bowl parties. Bars and business, friends and family alike will be hosting and attending Super Bowl parties.

The police are well aware of this, and there are news reports from across the country – from Colorado to Pennsylvania – about local law enforcement units increasing DUI patrols around the Super Bowl.

In fact, many police departments increased DUI patrols around the NFL playoffs. So you can be sure they’ll be watching for drunk drivers this Sunday.

What can you do?

1. Plan ahead. Your Super Bowl party plans should include more than where you’re going and how much you’ll be eating. Make sure you have a safe ride to and from your party. Any safe ride will do: Designated driver, cab, public transportation.

2. Know your state DUI laws. There’s a lot on the line if you drink and drive. Many states now require ignition interlock devices for first offenders. If you refuse a breathalyzer test you may face immediate license suspension.

3. If you are arrested for DUI, contact a DUI lawyer immediately. A lawyer will know the DUI laws in your state, and answer any questions you have about the long-term impact of a DUI.

Be safe this weekend and enjoy the big game!

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Breathalyzer Rulings Updates and Analysis

By Mary Ann

We’ve been closely following how courts handle DUI cases involving the Intoxilyzer 5000 and Intoxilyzer 8000, two breathalyzers manufactured in Kentucky and used nationwide.

Early, we told you about a judge in Florida that threw out hundreds of DUI cases because the manufacturer of the breathalyzers wouldn’t release the source code.

If you’re interested in reading more about this story, check out Houston DUI attorney Paul Kennedy’s blog. He does a good job of bringing together some analysis from attorneys across the country.

For more info on how breathalyzers work, Georgia DUI blog points us to a helpful explanation.

All these posts bring up a few points:

1. DUI law is complex. Just because you’ve been charged with a DUI doesn’t mean you will automatically be convicted.

2. DUI lawyers follow not only the law, but the technology and the trends behind DUI arrests.

So if you’ve been arrested for a DUI, with so many factors at play and so much at stake, you may want to speak with a DUI lawyer. To find an attorney near you, simply fill out this free case evaluation.



New State DUI Laws On the Table Across the US

By Mary Ann

The new year is barely a month old, and already states across the union are already considering tightening their existing DUI laws. Some of these bills are moving so fast that the news is having a hard time keeping up.

In a flurry of DUI news, Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Jersey and Wyoming are all considering new DUI rules.

The state legislatures in Wyoming, New Jersey and Mississippi are considering ignition interlock devices for a first DUI offense.

In Wyoming, the devices would be mandatory for first-time offenders with a BAC above. 15. The laws being considered in New Jersey and Mississippi are similar. Both states currently require ignitinon interlock devices for for offenders with multiple DUIs, and the new laws would require them for all first-time offenders.

Oklahoma is considering mandatory vehicle forfeiture for felony DUI convictions.

Utah is the rare state in which legislators are debating loosening alcohol regulations. Although DUI regulations would remain as-is, Utah’s “quirky” alcohol rules – such as you must be a “member” of a pub to enter – may be changed to accommodate more tourist-friendly businesses.

We will keep you posted if any of these bills becomes official state law.



The Complexities of a DUI case

By Mary Ann

Over at the New Jersey DWI & Criminal Defense Blog, Thomas Martin weights in on a recent state supreme court case with potential ramifications for anyone asked to take a breathalyzer test during a police stop. From the blog:

“The battle being fought between the defense and the State in Spell was whether or not law enforcement had to read the last paragraph of the required refusal form (referred to as the second paragraph) in every DWI case.”

His post, and the New Jersey Supreme Court case, are a good reminder of how DUI charges are full of intricacies and minute details that can have a big impact on the outcome of your case. This is one reason why so many people arrested for DUI turn to DUI attorneys for help.



Disputes Over Breathalyzer Use Continue

By Mary Ann

As police departments continue to use Intoxilyzer 5000 and Intoxilyzer 8000 to analyze drivers’ blood alcohol level the courts continue to struggle with the admissibility of the results.

The Intoxilyzer machines are made by Kentucky-based CMI, and the company is very protective of their source code, which details how the machines operate.

Many DUI lawyers are arguing that if their clients are to receive a fair trial then they should be allowed to examine the source code to ensure the breathalyzer machines are operating accurately and properly.

The result? In Florida, a judge dismissed more than 100 DUI cases because the source code couldn’t be reviewed. In Arizona, a judge tried but was unable to order CMI to release the code.

For a good summary on the debate, check out Lawrence Taylor’s DUI Blog, which mentions that issues have arisen in Minnesota as well.



Record-Setting DUI Case

By Mary Ann

A woman in Oregon set a terrible new DUI record recently.

A 42-year-old woman was found by paramedics passed out at the wheel of her car, which had been driven into a snow bank. The car’s engine was still on and paramedics broke a window to get the driver out.

She was taken to the hospital where tests revealed a blood alcohol level of .72%.

A quick breakdown of BAC levels and some of the health risks.

  • .08 Legal limit
  • .16 Very pronounced alcohol effects, dangerous health risks
  • .20 A person may be able to injure themselves and not feel the pain. Walking may be very difficult
  • .25 Increased risk of asphyxiation.
  • .30 Death possible
  • .35 As if the person were under surgical anesthesia
  • .40 Comatose likely, high risk of respiratory arrest and death

These risks don’t include the dangers of drinking and driving, such as the high auto accident death rates.



Watch What You Drive: You Can Get a DUI on Most Vehicles

By Mary Ann

Several recent news stories highlight a DUI fact that often gets overlooked: You don’t have to be driving a car to get a DUI.

In fact, if you are in control of any motorized vehicle – even briefly – and under the influence of alcohol or drugs you could be charged with a DUI.

Also, in most states, the DUI penalties are the same regardless of what you were driving, be it a car, motorcycle, tractor or something else entirely.

Take the man in Minnesota who was recently arrested for DUI on his snowmobile. Police responded to reports of a stranded snowmobile, but found the snowmobile and its drunk driver were still running along a few of the thousands of miles of snowmobile trails in Minnesota.

Then, there is a report from Great Britain about a woman who was pulled over while taking her mobility scooter home from the grocery store. Yes, she was charged with DUI on a motorized wheel chair.

Also in Minnesota, a woman was charged with drunk driving after, as a passenger in the car, grabbed the wheel and ran the car into a ditch. The driver of the car was also charged with DUI.

The bottom line: You can get a DUI in any vehicle.



Lasting Impact of DUI Arrest

By Mary Ann

Both driver and passenger were charged with DUI in Lanesboro, Minn., recently.

According to the Winona Daily News, the passenger of the vehicle grabbed the wheel of the car, causing the vehicle to careen into a ditch. When officers arrived, they found both the driver and the wheel-grabbing passenger had been drinking.

Even though the passenger was only in control of the vehicle briefly, she was still charged with a DWI. That drunk driving charge may stay with her for the rest of her life. The consequences could long outlive any jail time or fines she might face.

The long-lasting consequences are well-illustrated by a story out of Canada (via Paul Kennedy). When a man applied for appointment to a judicial seat in Grand Falls-Windsor he “forgot” to list a DUI conviction from 18 years ago. When background checks discovered this fact, he was forced to resign in what he calls “the worst day of my life.”

And speaking of Canada, Marina Sedai, of MCRea & Associates points out on Twitter that a DUI may be make someone “criminally inadmissible”  from visiting or immigrating to Canada.

Add these stories together and you’ll see why so many people choose to seek the help of a DUI lawyer when fighting their DUI charge.



Can you get a DUI if your BAC is below .08?

By Mary Ann

The Maryland DUI Lawyer Blog brings up some interesting points about about the charges that can be brought against a driver even when their blood alcohol level is below the legal limit.

Let’s say you get pulled, the police administer a breathalyzer test and it turns up .06. That’s below the legal limit. But in Maryland, you can still be arrested for “driving while impaired.”

Do you need a DUI lawyer if you have been charged with driving while impaired? Maryland DUI Lawyer Blog author Bruce Robinson says yes, and he has worked on many such cases.

Also, if you are under 21-years-old, you may be impacted by “zero tolerance” laws in your state. These laws carry strict penalties for anyone under 21 found to be driving with even low amounts of alcohol in their blood.

To protect yourself, make sure you know your state DUI laws. If you’ve been arrested, for DUI or a lesser alcohol-related charge, you may want to speak with a DUI lawyer.



Ride-Along With Minnesota DWI Arrest

By Mary Ann

The busy season for DUI arrests may be over, but police officers across the country are still keeping their eyes open for drunk drivers.

What can you expect when you get pulled over? TwinCities.com offers a great video ride-along with Minnesota State Trooper Adam Flynn, who is has led his department in DUI arrests each of the last four years.

In the video, which was shot in St. Paul, Officer Flynn talks about what he looks for when stopping drivers, and you’ll even see a full arrest, with field sobriety test, breathalyzer and booking.

Each year in Minnesota 40,000 are arrested for DUI, according to the Department of Public Safety. This winter, the state started a program to let citizens give “Designated Driver Certificates” which promise a safe ride to a friend.



A DUI Attorney’s Perspective on Sobriety Checkpoints

By Mary Ann

Gleen Neely, a DUI lawyer in Ogden, Utah, has an interesting perspective on field sobriety checkpoints.

Glen has more than 10 years experience practicing DUI law, and his current thoughts were spurred on by a user discussion on DUI checkpoints over at answerology.com.

You might have seen a few more checkpoints up as police forces around the country set up more than usual over the holidays. The effectiveness of these checkpoints in catching drunk drivers varies.

Recent holiday checkpoints produced hundreds of arrests in some counties, and almost none in others. Either way, they affect all motorists and you should know your DUI rights and what to expect if you encounter a sobriety checkpoint or field sobriety test.