Aug

31

New DUI Laws for South Carolina Mean Tougher Penalties

By admin

One of the more heavy handed aspects to the new South Carolina DUI laws is that the state now counts DUIs (or similar convictions) from other states as previous convictions under South Carolina law- as long as they happened within 10 years of the current DUI offense.

Also, under the new South Carolina DUI laws, DUI charges are now determined by a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC).  This new provision may seem elementary to others around the country that live in more progressive states that have historical relied on blood alcohol level in determining DUI charges and impose penalties and fines for lesser violations of drunk driving.

With this, the new laws carry higher fines and lengthier jail sentences. In fact judges are now required to impose a mandatory minimum sentence for even first time offenders.

South Carolina law also now requires both first time and subsequent offenders to complete a substance abuse counseling program as part of their sentence.

The program may be an education program, treatment program or combination of both, depending on the individual’s needs. Each DUI offender is required to pay for their own program, which may cost as much as $2500

First DUI Offense

If a person is facing a DUI charge and had a BAC of .08 to .09%, he or she may face up to 30 days in jail or 48 hours of community service. There is also a $400 fine.

For a first DUI offense with a blood alcohol level of .1 to .15%, the offender may face up to 30 days in jail, or 72 hours of community service, and a $500 fine.

If a first DUI offender has a BAC of .16% or higher, he or she will face 30 to 60 days in jail or 30 days of community service. The fine increases to $1000.

Subsequent DUI Offenses

In addition to the following penalties, second and subsequent DUI offenders also may be required to surrender the registration and license plates of any vehicles they own.

A person convicted of their second DUI may be required to spend a minimum of 5 to 30 days in jail, depending on the driver’s BAC. In strengthening DUI penalties, the State’s legislature removed the possibility of substituting community service hours for jail time for subsequent offenders.

Subsequent DUI offenders with a BAC of .08 to .09% will face a mandatory minimum 5 days in jail and may receive up to 1 year in jail. The fine will range between $2100 to $5100.

If the offender has a BAC of .1 to .15% with a subsequent DUI offense, he or she will face a mandatory minimum 30 day jail sentence and may be sentenced up to 2 years in jail. The fine will jump to $2500 to $5500.

With a BAC of .16% or higher, a subsequent DUI offender will be facing a mandatory minimum 90 days in jail and may be sentenced up to 3 years. The fine will increase to in between $3500 and $6500.

Please keep in mind that this list of penalties is for informational purposes only and is by no means all-inclusive. DUI penalties will vary according to the specific situation.

But just this brief glimpse at the many changes to South Carolina DUI laws proves that the state is no longer a refuge for underage drinkers, and those who see a crack in the system allowing for minimum consequences for maximum negligence when it comes to their decision to drink and drive.

Hopefully, this will breed a more responsible era for South Carolina and make the highways and byways safer.

Aug

26

DUIs with Star Status

By admin

Living above the crowd, when privilege supersedes hindrance, and abundance is as common as the rising sun, it’s no wonder that Hollywood’s enrolled often find themselves against the common grain of law and regulation. It could be the grandeur of stardom or the void of economic distress which breeds impaired judgment.

In either event, even the veil of stardom can’t hide the indiscretion of stars such as the star of the USA Network’s Burn Notice Jeffrey Donavan.

Donavan was arrested in Miami for a DUI offense while presumably there shooting his widely popular spy series. Maybe his new notice should be less about being burnt and more about responsible alcohol consumption.

Then there is the similar negligence by Joyce DeWitt who proved three’s a company, but it can be taken too far when drinks are poured at the Regal Beagle.

According to police documents, DeWitt drove right passed a police barricade, and when cops pulled her over, they say she smelled like alcohol. Unfortunately for Joyce she then failed a sobriety test.

Donavan, DeWitt and many other stars and starlets who are arrested for a DUI offense almost on a weekly basis, certainly it could be thought that many believe their personal “star status” will keep them from having to serve jail time or pay hefty fines for their offenses.

The reality is though, police stations in Hollywood, New York and Miami have strong records of treating big screen heroes like average Joes when it comes to drinking and driving.

Even for those premier athletes who take to their city streets in celebration. They too are not above the law. Just ask Brian Bosworth, Michael Phelps and Charles Barkley.

While the nation as a whole might place our entertainment and sports stars on pedestals, which often times blind us to their moral uncertainty, or shade our view from their societal indiscretions, it seems as though they are not released from the laws of responsibility when it comes to DUI.

Aug

19

Montana Man Pleads Guilty to 11th DUI

By admin

On Tuesday, August 18, James Dean Lessard pleaded guilty to his 11th DUI offense.

The man from Billings, Mont. has 10 previous DUI convictions in Wyoming and Montana, with his first DUI in 1990 and most recent DUI offense in 2001. Currently, a plea agreement would sentence Lessard to 10 years in prison as a persistent felony offender.

If Lessard is classified as a persistent felony offender, future DUI offenses could mean an additional  prison sentence of 100 years.

Lessard admitted before District Judge Russell Fagg that he was under the influence while he was driving on April 8. His car car hit another car in a grocery store’s parking lot.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 26.

Source: Billings Gazette

Aug

18

University Requires Class in Alcohol Education

By admin

Kansas University will be adding another requirement this year for some students. New students under the age of 22 will be required to take a two hour course on the affects and dangers of alcohol.

The class is part of the initiatives the University is taking after two students died in unrelated alcohol incidents last spring from underage binge drinking.

University officials believe the course is realistic because it assumes that most students do drink, regardless of age. The class teaches students about the affects alcohol consumption has on the body and decision-making abilities.

“It’s not, if you will, a message of abstinence, because, I think we are realistic that telling students not to drink at all probably isn’t as helpful as saying this is how you can be safe,” Marlesa Roney, vice provost for student success, told the press. “By providing detailed information on the effects of alcohol in an easily accessible, interactive format, we hope to help students make wise choices while in school and throughout their lifetimes.”

The University also plans to notify parents about drug and alcohol violations by  students 21 or younger.  Alcohol amnesty will be offered for students who call for medical assistance concerned about alcohol poisoning whether the incident involves themselves or a friend.

The changes in the University’s policy comes after the deaths of Jason Wren and Dalton Eli Hawkins. Wren, 19, was found dead at his Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on March 8. His blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit. In April, Hawkins fell off the roof of a dorm and died after drinking.

Source: Lawrence Journal World and KARE 11

Aug

15

NY Governor Wants Stricter Penalties for DWIs with Kids

By admin

On August 13, New York Governor David Paterson submitted legislation to increase penalties for drivers convicted of DWI with children in the car.

The Child Passenger Protection Act would make drinking and driving a felony if there were passengers under the age of 16 in the car, according to a statement released by the Governor’s office.

Right now, New York DUI law treats the offense as a misdemeanor or traffic infraction. There are 35 states that have child endangerment laws, imposing higher DUI penalties for offenders who put a child at risk while drinking and driving.

The Governor’s proposed legislation is as follows:

  • A DUI offender driving with a passenger under the age of 16 who is killed can be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and receive five to 25 years in prison if convicted. The charge will be considered a Class B violent felony.
  • DUI offenders driving with a passenger under the age of 16 who is seriously injured can be charged with aggravated vehicular assault and may receive three and a half to 15 years in prison if convicted. The charge will be considered a Class C violent felony.
  • Individuals convicted of DUI with a passenger who is a child under the age of 16 may receive up to four years in prison. The charge is a Class E felony.
  • If an individual is charged with DUI, with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more and there is a child passenger under 16, their driver’s license will automatically suspended, pending prosecution.
  • A DUI offender convicted of drinking and driving with a child passenger will automatically lose their license for a year after a first DUI offense. If the offender has prior DUI convictions and the subsequent conviction is within 10 years of the first DUI, he or she will automatically lose their driver’s license for 18 months.

The new legislation proposed by the Governor follows a crash in Westchester County where eight people were killed, including four children.

Source: News Channel 34, WNYC

Aug

5

Seeking BOTB Bloggers on DUI

By admin

Fellow DUI Bloggers:

Total DUI is looking for submissions for our first 50 Best of the Best Blogs on DUI.

People facing charges for driving under the influence search the Internet for useful information on how to handle their DUI offense. DUI bloggers are all over the Web to help those in need find out what they can expect in consequences, legal proceedings, etc…

You have all been working very hard to make sure your readers are up-to-date, so now is the time to be recognized for your efforts. The Best of the Best blogs list will be promoted throughout social media networks.

If you think your blog should be considered, please e-mail Total DUI (dui@totalattorneys.com) by Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 5 p.m. CST. In your e-mail please include the following:

  • Blog’s name and link
  • Description of your blog – please keep it under 200 words
  • Why your blog is the best

Thank you for your suggestions and good luck!

NOTICE: Any entrants chosen will be listed at the discretion of TotalDUI, Inc. and its affiliates. Those listed (i) agree to be bound by the decisions of the judges and/or TotalDUI, Inc., (ii) represent and warrant that they are the sole creator and owner of the blogs submitted by them, (iii) agree that TotalDUI, Inc. may publish the names of their blogs without further compensation to the entrant, and (iv) agree that no claim relating to damages or losses shall be asserted against TotalDUI, Inc. or any of its affiliates. TotalDUI, Inc. makes no warranty, guaranty or representation of any kind concerning this contest in general.