May

15

Man Drives Under the Influence… to the Police Station

By Topher

A Pennsylvania man was charged with two DUIs in three hours.

The second one after he drove to the police station.

To get the prescription drugs police confiscated from his car during the first DUI.

Police pulled over the 26-year-old Pittsburgh-area man at around 8:30 p.m. Friday. After he failed field-sobriety tests, police found prescription muscle relaxers in the car, according to an Associated Press article.

The prescription drugs are often used to help in opiate withdrawal.

Police took the man to his mother’s house and told him his DUI charges would me mailed to him.

At around 11:15 p.m., the same man arrive at the police station looking for the seized drugs, apparently still under the influence.

Police say the man told them he was given a ride to the station. However, the man tried to drive himself from the station and was immediately pulled over and issued his second DUI offense.

May

14

Winemakers Lobby Congress over Taxes

By Topher

California winemakers and Washington lawmakers are facing off this week over a proposed hike in alcohol tax.

Congress hopes to fund the forthcoming health care reforms by increasing the so-called “sin taxes,” including taxes from the sale of alcohol and cigarettes.

Proponents on both sides of the issue argue that increased taxes will lead to less alcohol consumption. The group of winemakers hope that they might be exempt.

“They are worried about being taxed in a major way as part of a health care bill,” Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said Wednesday, adding “I don’t think we ought to raise taxes on wine.”

The current federal tax on wine is roughly 21 cents per bottle, a rate was set in 1991. Congress argues that a raise in that amount is overdue for inflation.

“The tax rate on alcohol is well below the level that would account for the damage that drinking does to society, in particular through drunk driving,” MIT economist Jon Gruber said in a Senate Finance Committee testimony.

The wine contingency, which included executives from E&J Gallo Winery,  Bronco Wine Co. and J. Lohr Winery, among others, told Congress that any increase would affect not only their own bottom lines, but the bottom line of the state of California.

It’s an argument supported by the 250-member Congressional Wine Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa.

“It harms the industry,” Radanovich said, “and it increases the price for the consumer.”

The winemakers are also in Washington to resist cuts to a farming subsidy.

May

13

DUI Dropped over Electronic Ticket

By Topher

A Maryland judge dismissed a DUI offense this week over the electronic citation issued by the State Police.

It is believed to be the first ruling of its kind in the state, which starting using the e-citations in March, 2008.

Raphael J. Santini, the DUI lawyer in the case, argued Monday that the citation violated his client’s constitutional rights by listing multiple charges per offense.

Santini said he believes the argument could apply to other DUI cases, according to an article by the Maryland Daily Record.

“We have a constitutional right to be notified what the charges are against us,” he said.

Santini’s client was charged in February with speeding and three DUI-related charges:

  • “(driving/attempting to drive) vehicle while under the influence of alcohol”;
  • “(driving/attempting to drive) vehicle while impaired by alcohol per se”; and
  • “(driving/attempting to drive) vehicle while impaired by alcohol.”

Because each charge included the offense of both driving and attempting to drive, Santini successfully argued that the charges against him were duplicitous.

Maryland State Police say that they will redo the citation and re-file the charges against Santini’s client.

May

12

California Man Suspected of DUI in Car-Train Collision

By Topher

Here’s a sign you may be driving under the influence: You drive your car off a cliff, leave it on the train track, and watch it get hit by a train.

That’s what police suspect happened after a Union Pacific cargo-line train collided with a car outside of King City, Calif., early Monday morning, according to Central Coast newspaper The Californian.

The driver, 20-year-old Augustin Ramirez Lara of Greenfield, Calif., told police had been driving his Honda Accord at about 9 p.m. Sunday when it veered off and down a cliff, landing on the tracks.

The crash occurred about 7 hours later, at 3:55 a.m. Lara was not in his car, but he was in the vicinity, according to California Highway Patrol Officer B. Wright.

Lara was sitting on a hillside about 20 feet from the tracks when paramedics arrived, he said.

The car landed just outside of a tunnel on the tracks, leaving the train conductor little time to stop the locomotive, which was traveling at 40 mph at the time.

Wright said Lara was flown to a Bay Area hospital with a couple of broken bones. He did not know why Lara did not report the initial crash into the tracks.

Lara was cited on suspicion of DUI, and other charges might await him, Wright said.

Damage to the train was minor, and Union Pacific crews repaired about 100 feet of train track within an hour.

May

11

Checkpoint in Vista, Calif. Results in DUI Arrests and Citations

By admin

Police officers in Vista, Calif. set up a checkpoint for drivers last weekend – and they really laid down the law.

According to the North County Times, four DUI arrests were made at the checkpoint, and 25 citations were issued for various offenses.

Among the crimes cited were marijuana possession, driving without a license, child seat violations and lack of insurance.

The North County Times also reported that more than 500 cars passed through the checkpoint and about 400 of the cars were inspected. Due to lack of insurance or unlicensed driving, 17 cars were impounded.

With so many cars going through a roadside checkpoint, it’s hard to know if the officers in charge are actually following the law. You should know state DUI laws when it comes to DUI arrests.

If you are cited for a violation at a police checkpoint, make sure you know your rights before proceeding through a trial. A DUI attorney can help clarify questions specific to your case and your local laws.