Officers Arrested for Altering DWI Charges

By Mary Ann

ABC 11 in North Carolina reported that six police officers were arrested on charges related to changing DWI records and charges.

Each of the officers faces multiple felony charges. One officer is facing 65 felong counts!

So what does this mean for your DUI trial?

It means that there may be challenge to the evidence in your DUI case. There are strict procedures that poilce must follow during a DUI stop and during collection of evidence.

If these procedures aren’t followed – accidentally or purposefully – you may be able to challenge your case.

First, know your state’s DUI laws. Then, you may want to ask follow-up questions to a local attorney who can offer advice on the some of your options.

Above all, stay on your toes. You never know who was writing your ticket.



DUI Repeat Offenders: A DUI Arrest Every Day

By Mary Ann

Some people are slow learners. Cases in point: This week we have two examples of people being arrested for DUI on consecutive days.

In Brownsville, Texas a man ran  a vehicle off the road at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday. He was arrested, charged with his first DUI and released about 11:20 a.m. on $3,000 bond.

A mere six hours later he was picked up again after he hit another vehicle. He was charged, once again, with DUI – and a host of other vehicular charges – and placed in prison under $40,000 bond.

Two days, two DUIs.

But in Wisconsin, a woman topped the Texas mark, picking up three DUI arrests in three days. Her first arrest came as she tried to drive out of a ditch near a state park. She was wearing only one shoe and registered a BAC of .21.

Not 24-hours later her car was stuck in a snow bank and she was arrested for DUI again.

“I am still finishing up the box of wine in my car from yesterday,” authorities reported she told the officer.

She spent 12 hours in jail, but was picked up not long after her release. She was reported to be driving erratically and was found, once again, with a box of wine in her car. She will now spend 30 days in jail.



Drunk but Not Driving DUI Arrest

By Mary Ann

We’ve mentioned many times that you can get a DUI offense in vehicles other than cars. This includes drunk driving of snow mobiles, scooters, riding lawnmowers, etc.

But, could face a DUI arrest even if you aren’t driving.

How’s that? The Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled in the case of a man who started his car in a parking lot, sat in the driver’s seat while drunk but did not drive anywhere.

The court ruled that merely starting a vehicle is considered operating a vehicle. So the DUI conviction, which a lower court had overturned, was reinstated.

There are other examples in the DUI world of people being arrested even though they weren’t “driving” at the time. There are cases where a drunk driver got on the road, realized he was drunk and pulled over to rest or “sleep it off.” In these cases, you may be arrested for DUI even if you aren’t “driving” when police arrive.



Changes on the way for DUI Laws in Oregon and Rhode Island?

By Mary Ann

There could be some big changes in the DUI laws in Oregon and Rhode Island. The legislatures in both states are considering amendments to the current laws, and, though nothing has been passed yet, you should be aware of the potential changes.

In Oregon, current DUI law makes it difficult to remove a DUI offense from your record, even if the charges were later dropped, lessened or acquitted.

The new law would make it easier to clear your DUI records if you aren’t convicted of the crime.

In Rhode Island, the new law would give police greater power to request and obtain search warrants in order to draw blood from DUI suspects in order to perform a DUI blood alcohol content test.

The law would only apply to DUI cases where an auto accident is involved.



You Don’t Need Luck to Avoid a DUI

By Mary Ann

St. Patrick’s Day is officially Tuesday, but the big celebrations will take place this weekend.

As they often do for big events, many law enforcement agencies across the country are stepping up their DUI patrols.

So many people may be crossing their fingers and hoping that Irish eyes will be smiling on them as they hope to avoid a DUI. But the truth is, the luck of the Irish has nothing to do with it. Here’s what you can do to avoid a DUI on this green weekend:

1. Avoid drunk driving. This one’s easy. Make your plans in advance and make plans to have a designated driver. Or take a cab. Or take public transportation.

2. If you get pulled over know your rights during a DUI arrest. For example, you may refuse a breath test. Now, you may face penalties for refusing a breath test, but you can refuse.

3. If you are arrested, act quickly. After your arrest, there may be deadlines for taking certain actions to defend your charges. A DUI lawyer can help you hit these deadlines and avoid costly mistakes. But if you wait to contact a lawyer, you may miss opportunities. Remembr: DUI charges don’t guarantee convictions.



Update: Chicago Cop Trumps Up More DUI Cases

By Mary Ann

The Chicago Sun-Times has more reports that Officer Joe Parker, formerly honored as one of the top DUI cops in the city, exaggerated DUI arrest reports.

The paper’s Web site has some great video from a 2008 arrest of Raymond Bell.

The video shows Bell performing a number of field sobriety tests, including walk-and-turn test, the one-legged stand and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.

After reviewing the video, and the contradicting police reports by Officer Parker, prosecutors have dropped all charges against Bell.

Now, prosecutors are looking into pressing charges against Officer Bell.

And they’re considering filing criminal charges against the 59-year-old Parker, who is one of three Chicago cops whose prolific DUI-busting has now come under scrutiny. Dozens of DUI arrests by Parker alone are under review, sources say.

“There is an ongoing investigation, but we are not going to comment in further detail,” said Sally Daly, spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

These tapes became public, and the charges were dropped, thanks to actions taken by Bell’s DUI lawyer, who subpoenaed the police department for arrest records and videos of the arrest.



Utah’s “Quirky” DUI Laws About to Change

By Mary Ann

Utah has some of the most unique liquor laws in the country. The state required bars and pubs to operate as “clubs.” They could only admit members and had to charge at least $12 a year in membership fees.

Even at restaurants alcoholic drinks would sometimes have to be prepared behind glass partitions or closed doors.

But that is changing in the name of tourism after the state legislature and the governor agreed to work together on Senate Bill 187.

The bill would allow for bars to operate as they do in the rest of the country. In return, bars will scan the IDs of all patrons and store that data for one week as part of efforts to keep track of drunk drivers.

Critics say the new laws will make it easier for Utah residents and visitors to drink, which may lead to more DUI offenses. Most groups – from tourists to the Church of Latter Day Saints – support the measure. From the AP story:

“I think it’s great that it essentially says to tourists, to travelers, that you are welcome here and that we’re excited to host you and Utah’s a normal place,” said Utah Travel Industry Coalition executive director Danny Richardson.

Get the latest updates on DUI laws across the country.



DUI Round-Up: School Bus Drivers, NASCAR and Elected Officials

By Mary Ann

A round-up of DUI news from this week, which includes people behind the wheel of NASCARs and school buses.

School bus driver DUI

In Franklin, Ind., elementary school students came home reporting a scary ride on the bus that included swerving and running over a mail box. The driver of the bus was found slumped over the wheel, according to report, where he was arrested and charged with DUI with children in the vehicle.


Billy Ballew, a NASCAR team owner, has worked with some of the top drivers in the world, guys like Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Geoffrey Bodine, John Andretti and Kyle Busch. But Ballew was recently charged with a DUI at the Atlanta Motor Speedway when security officers pulled him over and found a  mixed drink in his car.

Judges not immune from DUI

Police officers and judges can get a DWI just like anyone else. In Houston, a Montgomery Co. judge was arrested on suspicion of DUI. From KHOU TV news story:

“This proves that no one is immune from going through this process, and I totally respect it,” (Alan) Sadler told 11 News.

The judge refused a breathalyzer test, police report. They then had to get another judge to sign a warrant for a blood alcohol sample.

And then down the road in Denison, Texas, a Fanin Co. tax asses assessor was arrested for DWI, KTEN reports.

This proves that anyone can be charged with a DUI. If you are charged, make sure you know you rights.



Louisana Gov. Jindal Proposes Harsh New DUI Laws

By Mary Ann

Already in the news for his response to President Obama’s first congressional address, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is making headlines again, this time for his proposed changes to state DUI laws.

Gov. Jindal’s proposal would not only increase the penalties for drivers who refuses a breathalyzer test, but punish them as if they failed the test.

That’s right: A driver could be punished as if he or she were convicted of a DWI without ever being convicted.

Another proposal would also allow written statements from police to be used in court. Currently, the arresting police officer must appear in court to testify. If the officer does not, the charges are often dismissed.

The proposed changes have critics, many of whom question the constitutionality of the proposed law.

Former special prosecutor Julie Tizzard is quoted in a story by WWLTV:

“I likened it to the police officer is coming to my door and knocking on the door and saying I’d like to come in and search your house, and if you don’t let me in, I’m going to charge with you this criminal violation,” said Tizzard.  “It’s the same thing.”

The state legislature has yet to officially consider the new DUI penalties.



DUI for Crossdressing State Trooper

By Mary Ann

An off-duty South Carolina state trooper was arrested on a DUI offense while in drag.

WCBD out of Charleston has the report. From the story:

A high-ranking official who wished to remain anonymous tells News Channel 7 he saw Hoover brought into the jail “wearing a red dress”. He says Hoover was also wearing a bra and was seen “adjusting his bra” while he waited to be processed. And he says the shamed trooper had a pair of thong panties “in his possession”.

The trooped was pulled over after a motorist called 911 to report a dangerous driver. From the call:

I think it’s an Isuzu or a Rodeo, and she – I think it’s a she – is weaving all over the road

Authorities responded and brought the trooper in and charged with DUI. He was off duty at the time and later released after appearing before a magistrate.