After a DUI arrest, suspected drunk drivers have several options. They can take a breathalyzer test or refuse to do so, they can bail themselves out or spend the night in jail, and they can determine how they behave in front of the police.
Rarely, though, do DUI suspects take the ill-advised choice of running from the police. This practice, however, seems to be growing more popular, particularly in the town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
According to a recent report from Sioux Falls’ newspaper, The Argus Leader, local police have had a difficult time with runners, or people who sprint out of the police station while waiting for the results of a blood or breathalyzer test.
The problem is particularly acute in the case of convicted DUI drivers who must return to the police station for a daily blood alcohol test.
After a DUI conviction, South Dakota often orders offenders to participate in a 24/7 sobriety program. For a period of a few months, the offenders must have a blood test taken every day at the police station.
If the individuals pass the exam, they are free to go, and eventually graduate from the program after a certain period of documented sobriety. If, however, the individuals fail the exam, they are immediately placed into jail because they violated the terms of their DUI probation.
One hole in this system in Sioux Falls, though, is that a test-taker must wait in the police department for 15 minutes while the police officer attempts to determine the validity of the initial test.
During this waiting period, the offender waits in the lobby, which is not staffed by a security guard, and the only officer in the room is behind a desk tinkering with blood tests. In other words, it is an invitation for a concerned offender to run.
This occurs fairly frequently in Sioux Falls, according to the report, and recently happened in the case of Brad Lehrkamp. The 28-year-old Lehrkamp was waiting in the lobby and he feared that he had “blown hot,” or failed his blood test.
Lehrkamp’s fears proved accurate, and so, fearing the prospect of going back to jail, Lehrkamp bolted out of the lobby and made a run for it.
His attempt to flee, however, was quickly thwarted when he broke his leg leaping down the police department’s stairs. After being treated at a nearby clinic, a gimpy Lehrkamp was promptly delivered to a local jail.
Of course, dramatic attempts to flee are not the only possible method of escaping South Dakota’s 24/7 sobriety program. Other defendants simply refuse to show up for their appointments, which voids the terms of their probation and also leads to further jail time.
These 24/7 programs have been very popular in many states, because they save the costs of jailing a DUI offender, but also allow law enforcement officials to keep close tabs on people who may act as a danger to others.
The programs, however, also have their critics, many of whom claim that daily blood tests are too intrusive, and that they may not prevent future DUI accidents if they are too loosely enforced.
A recent DUI arrest in Missoula, Montana, spun out of control when the driver began attacking local police, who responded to the abuse by tasing the man twice and hauling him off to jail after his fourth DUI arrest.
Police arrested 40-year-old Roy Vincent Adams on suspicion of drunk driving after they perceived that his car driving erratically, according to a recent report from The Missoulian.
Sources indicate that, immediately before the arrest, police noticed Adams gunning his engine on slick, icy roads, which caused his car to swerve wildly and almost led him to crash his vehicle directly into a police cruiser.
When police officers, who were trailing Adams, turned on their lights, Adams attempted to flee by speeding in an opposite direction. His efforts, however, were to no avail, as Adams simply ran his truck into a curb.
According to the police report filed after the incident, Adams left his car after being pulled over and started pacing back and forth, in what police deemed a threatening and erratic manner.
When Adams allegedly ignored an officer’s demand to sit on the curb, the arresting officers grabbed Adams and a fight ensued. Adams allegedly struck one officer in the chest, and was able to continue fighting even after the police tased him twice.
The police report also indicates that Adams continued screaming obscenities at police officers after he was handcuffed and incapacitated. Sources say that Adams, who has been held in a local jail on a $15,000 bail, has been convicted three times before on DUI charges.
Adams is facing a litany of charges, including felony DUI, assault, resisting arrest and attacking a police officer, and reckless driving.
Interestingly, police were able to obtain a blood sample from Adams via a mandatory blood test, rather than a breath test, which Adams refused to give.
The administration of “no refusal” blood tests has recently gained traction in several states, as police officers have looked for an alternative method of determining a suspect’s blood alcohol level when the driver refuses to give a breath test.
The use of the blood test has drawn the ire of civil rights attorneys who criticize law enforcement officials for using the remarkably invasive method of drawing blood from noncompliant suspects.
In the absence of a less-invasive blood alcohol testing method, however, it seems that police will continue to rely on mandatory blood tests when DUI suspects refuse to breath into breathalyzer devices.
Of course, as technology continues to grow at an exponential pace, there may soon be a DUI testing method that allows police to determine a suspect’s blood alcohol level without touching him or her at all.
This method, though, will raise new concerns about privacy, as police could theoretically administer such a non-invasive test to everyone, regardless of their level of suspicion.
These issues serve to highlight an inescapable reality of modern DUI law: as technology continues to give police more enforcement options, defendants will keep arguing that the new tactics give police too much control over civilian drivers.
Highlighting a trend that has grown more common across the United States, several cities in Texas are deciding to force suspected DUI drivers to take blood tests if they refuse to take the less-invasive breathalyzer tests.
The controversial practice—known as “no refusal” testing because suspected drunk drivers cannot refuse the blood tests—has also taken hold in several other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Illinois.
According to a recent report from Fox News, the practice has also upset many civil rights attorneys, who argue that forcing suspected drunk drivers to take a blood test amounts to a violation of their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure.
Of course, police departments strongly defend the practice. And the courts seem to think it is fine, as well. In Texas, for example, the court system has uniformly supported police officers’ rights to administer the blood tests, even if the defendant refuses.
Typically, people who are pulled over for a DUI are offered a breathalyzer test, which simply involves blowing into an instrument that provides a rough estimate of the person’s level of intoxication.
Suspected drunk drivers, though, are often not keen on taking the breath test, and some criminal defense experts recommend that drivers avoid them altogether in certain states.
The new policy used by Texas police officers, however, will thwart drivers’ attempts to circumvent the law. The biggest downside, though is that it requires the forceful pricking of a person’s finger to obtain accurate results.
Despite the invasiveness of the procedure and the complaints from civil rights attorneys, police departments often prefer the blood test to a breath test because the blood test often offers more convincing evidence at trial.
Sources indicate that prosecutors across the country find that blood tests help them win DUI convictions in almost 90 percent of their drunk driving cases. And this reality often drives DUI suspects to plead guilty to the charges before a trial even starts.
So, the blood tests appear to offer overwhelming evidence of a person’s level of intoxication, and they are often administered without the driver’s permission. Because of these realities, mandatory blood tests appear to be very bad news for drunk drivers.
Of course, police admit that they would also have mandatory breath tests if it wasn’t so difficult to force someone to blow in a tube (in contrast, it’s much easier to stick someone’s finger with a needle without that person’s permission).
Alas, the police are left without only one mandatory form of blood alcohol testing, although it appears to be a very valuable one.
And as more and more jurisdictions embrace the use of “no-refusal” testing, suspected DUI drivers may continue to see an erosion of their right to privacy. The question remains, though, whether this erosion of privacy is worth the benefit to public health of keeping more drunk drivers off the road.
After a long legal battle, which included the resolution of a dispute about the validity of the charges at the Illinois Supreme Court, a woman finally pleaded guilty this week to an aggravated DUI after causing a multiple-car accident that killed two motorcycle drivers.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 27-year-old Alia Bernard recently pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated felony DUI after she admitted to having marijuana in her system when the fatal crash occurred.
Sources indicate that the fatal accident occurred in May 2009, when Bernard apparently bent over to grab her sunglasses and lost control of her vehicle.
When Bernard, a resident of Aurora, Illinois, was reaching for her glasses, she rear-ended a stopped car on an Illinois state highway at a very high speed. The collision sent the stopped car flying forward, and it then struck another car that was waiting to take a left turn.
When this second collision sent the turning car further into the intersection, the car created an obstacle for two motorcyclists who were lawfully traveling through a green light. The force of the collision killed both motorcyclists.
In all, the accident that was started by Bernard’s negligent driving involved nine different vehicles, injured 12 people, and resulted in the death of Wade and Denise Thomas, who were 44 and 45 years old, respectively.
Originally, prosecutors alleged that Bernard was texting when the accident occurred, although she and her DUI lawyer offered a different story.
According to Bernard’s lawyer, “[i]t was sunny and the sun was bouncing off the chrome of the motorcycles and she went to get her sunglasses and when she looked up, there was a car in the road.”
In addition, even though tests showed that Bernard tested positive for marijuana, she claims that she had not smoked pot for three or four days before the accident and was completely sober when the collision occurred.
Despite this claim, though, prosecutors raised her charges from the lesser crime of reckless homicide when the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that any amount of an illegal substance in a driver’s system during a fatal accident warrants the charge of aggravated DUI.
This news has upset some legal experts in Illinois, as it suggests that, for example, drivers who smoked marijuana several days before getting into even a minor accident could still be liable for an aggravated DUI charge.
In response, supporters of the decision say that a zero-tolerance policy will deter drivers from getting behind the wheel if they have a shred of doubt about their sobriety.
Regardless of the validity of the decision, Bernard has admitted responsibility and pleaded guilty to the charges. Sources indicate that Bernard, who has no past criminal record, could face six to 28 years in prison.
When police officers are arrested for a DUI, they usually face more scrutiny than the average citizen who is caught driving drunk, and a recent incident in Miami, Florida serves as no exception.
According to the Miami Herald, 32-year-old Fernando Villa, a veteran officer in the Miami-Dade County police force, was discovered by his colleagues while off duty passed out in his patrol car in the middle of an intersection.
While this story is shocking enough, local officials are also disappointed by the actions of the arresting officers, who did not place Villa in jail after the incident. Their actions have spawned an internal investigation into the matter.
Sources indicate that another Miami police officer discovered Villa’s patrol car idling in the middle of an intersection around 8:20 p.m. on a Tuesday evening. The officer discovered Villa drunk and passed out in the driver’s seat of the idling car.
Upon discovering his inebriated colleague, the officer on the scene contacted his superiors for orders on how to handle the situation. According to the man he called, Police Director Jim Loftus, the officer was instructed to treat Villa “like everyone else.”
Typically, of course, someone accused of drunk driving is taken to jail and booked for the offense. Rarely are drunk drivers simply given warnings by police and allowed to casually drive home. In fact, under Florida law, drivers are released with a promise to appear in court only for low-level, or misdemeanor, DUI offenses.
Contrary to usual police policy, though, the officer who initially arrested Villa did not book the drunk driver, nor did he take him to jail. Instead, Villa signed a form promising that he would appear in court and he was allowed to go home, despite the fact that his offense was probably not a low-level DUI.
This action has drawn a considerable amount of scrutiny from local press, and in response to a public outcry, the Miami-Dade police department’s bureau of internal affairs has launched an investigation into the matter.
Again, the police director Jim Loftus maintains that he instructed the arresting officer to arrest and book Villa, without giving him any special treatment. Somewhere along the line, however, an office disobeyed this order and gave Villa special treatment.
According to Loftus, the police department plans to discover the identity of the “person or persons” who refused to follow their superior’s official advice, and “hold them accountable.”
Thus, it looks like a simple act by one police officer to offer special treatment to his colleague may prove to be very costly for the officer’s career.
Of course, Villa’s career is almost certainly in deeper trouble. Sources indicate that the officer has been relieved of his duties without pay while the police department completes its investigation into the matter
A few weeks ago, James Loney, the star first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was involved in a bizarre DUI accident, but his employers did not find out about the incident until recently, thanks to an anonymous phone call to the team’s executive office.
According to a recent post from the Los Angeles Times, Loney was driving his 2009 Maserati on California’s famed 101 Freeway when his car allegedly sideswiped three other cars, and eventually came to a complete stop in the fast lane of a busy highway.
Sources indicate that the incident took place in the early evening in Sherman Oaks, California. The 27-year-old Loney was arrested on the scene by police officers, but not before he engaged in some reportedly bizarre behavior.
After Loney struck the three vehicles—a Mini Cooper, a Toyota Prius, and a Mercedes Benz—the three drivers of the other cars attempted to speak with Loney, who had parked his car in the fast lane of the freeway after the collisions.
Their efforts, however, were futile, as Loney appeared to be unconscious, or at the very least, unresponsive to the requests of the other drivers.
Once he awoke, though, the police report claims that Loney attempted to flee the scene, although he did not get very far, given his arrest shortly after the collisions.
After he was arrested, sources indicate that Loney’s unusual behavior at the scene of the accident prompted paramedics to transport him to a nearby hospital, where he eventually recovered his senses without further incident.
An arresting officer remarked that Loney displayed “objective symptoms of being intoxicated or under the influence of something,” although one source told the Los Angeles Times that a breathalyzer test and a blood test both came back negative for signs of intoxication.
However, in response to this claim, a California Highway Patrol officer claimed that an investigation into the results of Loney’s blood test had not yet been completed.
Of course, while this news means that Loney will have to battle possible DUI charges in court, it seems that the Dodgers do not intend to punish Loney by revoking their contract offer, despite the fact that they only recently learned of the incident.
The Dodgers’ general manager, Ned Colleti, said that the team still planned to tender a new contract to Loney, who is up for a new deal, unless an internal investigation reveals new details about the arrest.
In the absence of new information, though, Colleti seems willing to maintain the team’s ties with James Loney, who has been a revelation in recent years as an upcoming young star for a disappointing team.
For his part, Loney is likely eager to start making headlines for his play on the baseball diamond, not his reckless driving.
In a victory for deaf rights advocates, a judge In Washington state recently overturned a DUI charge leveled against a deaf man who had not had the aid of a sign language interpreter during his initial court appearance.
The ruling brings an end to five years of legal wrangling for 33-year-old William Kral, who had spent years appealing his past conviction on DUI charges despite the fact that he did not have a trained interpreter assisting him during his DUI arraignment.
According to a report from The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, the nightmare began for Kral in December 2005, when he was arrested in Benton County, Washington on suspicion of drunk driving and driving with a suspended license.
However, when the deaf man was arraigned after his arrest, the courtroom did not provide a properly trained interpreter. According to Kral, the interpreter told him a document was simply a continuance of the man’s case.
The document, however, waived Kral’s right to a speedy trial. Due to the miscommunication, Kral signed a piece of paper that severely limited his rights. As a result, Kral allegedly signed a paper waiving his constitutional right to a speedy trial without adequately understanding the nature of the document.
At the time, the court overlooked this disadvantage, and eventually found Kral guilty of driving drunk. Kral had to serve a nine-month prison sentence, which included three months in an alcohol treatment program, and had to pay more than $4,600 in fines.
Over the course of the next five years, Kral struggled through several appeals, in which he was aided by several different court-appointed attorneys.
Finally, in August, an appellate court ruled that Kral had been denied his constitutional rights when he was not provided with a properly trained translator. The judge sent the case back to the trial court for a reversal of the decision.
This final reversal occurred last week, when the trial court admitted its wrongdoing by throwing out Kral’s conviction and ordering that the state repay the $4,600 he had paid in fines.
Such an action, however, offers little solace for Kral, who cannot recover the nine months he spent behind bars. To make matters worse, Kral’s prison sentence forced him to lose his construction job and his girlfriend at the time.
In addition, despite Kral’s painful ordeal, the district court seems to have failed to learn its lesson. In the recent hearing, Kral had to provide his own professionally-trained interpreter because the court still did not offer one to deaf defendants.
Thus, while Kral won his individual battle, it came at a great personal cost, and it appears that the court has yet to change its discriminatory practices.
Nevertheless, Kral and his attorney hope that the decision will eventually help improve the experience of other deaf defendants in Washington courts.
When people face the indignity of a DUI arrest, they are best advised to refrain from attacking their arresting officers. This advice, unfortunately, has not reached all drivers, as proven by the recent antics of a man in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.
The man, 46-year-old Eric J. Gross, allegedly kicked a state trooper in a police cruiser while they were traveling to the police station after Gross had been arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a report from The Morning Call.
After Gross kicked the trooper, Joseph Wasylyk, the injured officer was able to pull his car over, force Gross outside of the car, and physically restrain the arrestee to prevent future kicking.
The trooper drove Gross to the station, and then retreated to the Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he was treated and released.
Sources indicate that the bizarre incident started at roughly 6:00 p.m. when Wasylyk responded to a report of someone driving recklessly in Washington Township, Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, Gross abandoned his vehicle and started walking down a local highway.
When he responded to the scene, the trooper eventually spotted Gross and arrested him for suspicion of drunk driving. It should be noted here that, even though Gross wasn’t driving at the time, his driving earlier that night still made him eligible for a DUI offense.
After the initial arrest, the trooper placed handcuffs on Gross behind his back, and secured Gross in the back seat of his cruiser with a seat belt. His job seemingly done, Wasylyk started to drive towards the DUI Center in Allentown, where Gross would be charged and booked.
While they were driving to the DUI Center, however, Gross started cursing and moving around in the back of the cruiser. To get a better look at the anxious offender, the trooper turned on his interior lights.
Soon, Gross began kicking the armrest and computer printer located inside the cruiser, though when the trooper asked Gross to kindly refrain from harming the equipment, Gross quickly obliged.
This stern warning, however, did not prevent Gross from taking much more aggressive action later in the drive. Sources indicate that Gross lifted his legs and started kicking Gross repeatedly on the right side of his body.
In a feat of physical coordination, the trooper was somehow able to pin the man’s legs against the seat, pull the car over, and restrain Gross before driving him to the DUI Center in one piece.
For his acts of violence, Gross now faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, and harassment.
He was held on $20,000 bail and immediately sent to Lehigh County Prison, where the guards will be best advised to watch out for his flailing legs.
According to the tireless celebrity watchdogs at TMZ, the 2010 winner of the Miss USA pageant was recently arrested for a DUI, which added an exclamation point to a scandal-ridden year for the beauty queen, Rima Fakih.
Sources indicate the Fakih was arrested last week in Highland Park, Michigan when the police suspected her of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Despite the official police report, and the fact that criminal arrests are part of the public record, Fakih bizarrely denied the initial report. This weekend, she tweeted, “let’s clear things up now… I’m NOT in Michigan and I’m NOT in jail! Wrong Fakih.”
Alas, cooler heads eventually prevailed, as her DUI attorney later told the Detroit Free-Press that his famous client was, in fact, the Rima Fakih who had been arrested for a DUI in Highland Park, Michigan.
Since her attorney admitted that she had been arrested for a DUI, Fakih removed the false tweet from her Twitter account and expressed remorse, through her attorney, for the “situation that she is in right now.”
The alleged DUI incident adds another scandal to an increasingly large list of public transgressions for the Miss USA winner.
Sources indicate that Fakih was exposed as a former stripper by a Michigan radio show just one day after she won the 2010 Miss USA contest.
While the news that she had been a pole dancer didn’t immediately disqualify her from serving as Miss USA, the image-conscious competition certainly lamented the fact that there were pictures floating around the Internet of the contest winner engaging in pole-dancing competitions.
In addition to the rumors and innuendos surrounding her past career, Fakih was also targeted by critics for allegedly partying too much after she won the Miss USA crown.
While Fakih now faces real legal trouble, which is potentially more damaging than rumors about partying and dancing, she entered the Miss USA pageant as a hero to many young girls, particularly those of Arab descent.
Sources indicate that Fakih was probably the first woman of Muslim and Arab descent to win the Miss USA competition. Fakih’s family had immigrated from to the United States from Lebanon when she was a baby and eventually settled in Michigan.
Even more interestingly, Fakih’s family celebrates both the Muslim and Christian faiths, which made her a particularly appealing candidate in the Miss USA contest.
Fakih was also the first Miss Michigan to win the competition since 1993. After she was crowned Miss USA, she participated in the Miss Universe contest but did not win.
Needless to say, Fakih has seen better days, but her DUI arrest does not necessarily mean that she will have to lose her car. Punishment for first-time offenders often involves some jail time, fines, or the possibility of a temporarily suspended license.
Recent technological developments have allowed police to check the blood alcohol content of allegedly drunk drivers on the scene. This new technology has also allowed drivers to check their level of inebriation before getting behind the wheel.
According to Tech News Daily, inventor Al Linke recently created a talking breathalyzer that tells its users New innovations, though, continue to make breathalyzer tests more appealing for regular folks. The newest invention, a talking breathalyzer, lets people who want to hit the road know if they are under the legal alcohol limit. The device can be built from a kit or it can be purchased whole, and it costs roughly $140.
The device contains an Arduino-based circuit board, which is attached to regular commercial alcohol sensor. When a person breathes into the device, the sensor heats the breath, and a chemical reaction changes the electricity flowing through the circuit board.
Somehow, the electrical change within the circuit board triggers a mechanism that allows the user to learn whether he or she is drunk.
In a unique twist, the machine does not require users to blow into a mouthpiece. In order to keep the device sanitary for multiple users, the talking breathalyzer only requires users to blow on its alcohol sensor.
In another effort to separate this breathalyzer from other commercially available devices, Linke programmed the machine to deliver the verdict through an electronic voice. Each unit comes with several voice options, including a pirate, a New York cab driver, and an old Englishman.
The device can also be programmed with digital music or a user’s own voice. Apparently, if the device is connected to a computer, users can also send updates on their level of drunkenness over Twitter.
One caveat, though, with the machine is that the talking breathalyzer does not give an accurate reading of a person’s blood alcohol content. Rather, it simply tells a user roughly how drunk he or she is.
As a result, drivers should not rely solely on the advice given by the talking breathalyzer when deciding whether to get behind the wheel. Only professional breathalyzers should be trusted to gauge a person’s blood alcohol level, and drivers are better off not trying to drive at all after drinking.
The company admits this shortcoming of its device on its website, where it warns users that the talking breathalyzer is “for entertainment purposes only.”
Nevertheless, if the device informs a user that he or she is drunk, it could obviously serve as a rough guide for people when they are deciding whether to drive.
Still, users are warned not to rely on the device’s information in their driving decisions. No police officer in her right mind would allow a DUI driver to walk free based on the words of a robotic pirate.
In a shocking turn of events for unsuspecting traffic police, a recent DUI arrest led to the discovery of a dead body in South Carolina.
According to WMBF News in South Carolina, 28-year-old Christopher Heck was pulled over by police on the night before Thanksgiving when the officers suspected that Heck was driving under the influence of alcohol.
When they pulled Heck over, the arresting officers suspected he was hiding something, so they searched his car. The search yielded surprising results, as the police discovered several stolen items and an ID card that belonged to 47-year-old Charlotte Altman.
In response to this discovery, local investigators went to Altman’s home to ask about the stolen items and missing ID. When they arrived at the home, they found signs of a break-in, so they searched the house.
To their shock, investigators found Altman’s dead body on the kitchen floor. Initial findings suggested that Altman had been fatally stabbed in the neck.
Sources indicate that Altman did not live in the home permanently, but that she sometimes visited on the weekends to do cleaning and regular maintenance, and that she may have been planning to eventually move into the home.
In recent weeks, Heck had been staying with his grandmother in her house in Manning, South Carolina. His grandmother’s house was located next door to Altman’s home.
Investigators believe that Altman and Heck did not know each other, but that they were aware of each other’s presence next door. Police believe that Heck probably knew that she was only in the home during weekends.
Officers theorized that Heck broke into the home believing that Altman was out of town and, when he discovered her during the break-in, panicked and stabbed her in the neck.
In addition to his potential conviction on charges of a felony DUI and murder, Heck is also being investigated for the commission of two other burglaries in the area. Police are conducting a thorough investigation, though, before they bring formal charges.
According to Clarendon County Sheriff’s Captain Kipp Coker, the police are “crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s and making sure we’re following up on things we are getting through the investigation.”
While the situation may seem extremely rare, it is surprising what criminals will do after committing a heinous crime. In many cases, such criminals are in an extremely agitated state of mind, and are simply not thinking clearly.
So, in this case, if Heck really did commit the murder, it’s little surprise that he was inebriated and not thinking clearly at the time of his DUI arrest.
If, indeed, Heck is found to be guilty, South Carolina police will consider themselves fortunate to have discovered the suspect so quickly after the crime. Without the discovery of stolen items during the DUI arrest, Heck may have eluded police for a much longer time.
When most people are pulled over for a DUI, they do not have any text on their clothing announcing the fact that they are drunk. Usually, police must use context clues and modern technology to determine if a driver is inebriated.
A recent driver on Long Island in New York, though, made the arresting officer’s job much easier by wearing a t-shirt saying “I’m a drunk” during his DUI arrest.
In a story that is sure to induce eye-rolling and head-slapping from knowing readers, Kevin Daly was faced with an awkward situation when he was arrested under suspicion of a DUI while wearing a t-shirt proclaiming his guilt.
According to a report from the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the t-shirt’s primary slogan was printed in bold letters and was surrounded by the equally incriminating claim that “I’m not an alcoholic … alcoholics go to meetings.”
Depending on the result of his DUI sentencing, Daly may soon have an opportunity to prove his t-shirt false, as mandatory alcohol counseling for former drunk drivers is a common DUI law in many U.S. states.
Sources indicate that Daly’s arrest was embarrassing for reasons other than the poor clothing selection, as well. The police report claims that Daly slammed his 2000 Saturn into a parked police cruiser around 1:45 a.m. on a Thursday morning.
The police cruiser was parked on the side of the highway to catch drunk drivers. In this situation, the arresting officer was spared the expense of having to chase the suspect, although the police department was probably displeased with having to repair the beat-up cruiser.
Fortunately, though, the police officer who was in the car was not seriously injured, but he was taken to the hospital for treatment for minor wounds.
In his initial hearing, Daly was charged with driving while intoxicated and, perhaps not surprisingly, was served with several summonses for unresolved traffic incidents.
It is fair to assume that, at his trial, Daly will be encouraged by his DUI lawyer to wear something a bit more practical, like a suit and tie, or anything without the words “I’m a drunk” printed clearly on the front.
The possible consequences Daly will face at trial depend on whether this is his first DUI offense, as well as other circumstances of the case. In many DUI decisions, offenders must relinquish their license, serve some jail time, or pay a hefty fine.
Cases in which DUI drivers injure other people, or cause serious property damage, usually see harsher sentences. In addition, repeat DUI offenders typically face more severe punishments than people who have committed their first DUI offense.
And, it should be noted that each state has a unique set of DUI laws, and some states are much stricter than others. Despite these variations, though, there has been a national trend in recent years to create stronger DUI laws.
When people drive home after a night of drinking at a bar, they usually gauge their level of drunkenness with a quick glance at the mirror or a simple balancing test. Getting arrested for a DUI is rarely on their minds.
Some enterprising souls carry portable breathalyzer tests, but these are expensive, and sometimes difficult to use. Most drivers, however, simply guess whether they are sober enough to drive home.
In response to this information gap, a company in Buffalo, New York has designed a breathalyzer kiosk that could offer quick blood alcohol readings for bar patrons, allowing them to drive home with the knowledge that they and their passengers are safe.
According to the University of Buffalo Reporter, Ladybug Technologies recently announced the release of their new machine, the SipSmart Network, which allows bar customers to check their blood alcohol levels before they get into their cars.
In addition to the new kiosks, the company also sells a portable breathalyzer test, as well as a smart phone application that helps drinkers keep track of their BAC by entering each drink they consume and their body weight.
The kiosk, however, is the jewel of the company’s DUI-preventing fleet of machines. Sources indicate that the SipSmart Network machines contain a police-grade breathalyzer unit, which is covered by a “thin, sleek” kiosk.
The machines also use platinum fuel-cell technology, which allegedly helps the devise obtain accurate data about a user’s blood alcohol levels.
A pilot program aimed at studying the usefulness of the machines has started in a bar in New York, as well as a bar in Ontario. These pilot machines require a $5 payment from each customer for a reading.
Each $5 payment entitles a user to three different breath readings throughout the night. Before using the machine, though, customers must also purchase a 50-cent disposable mouthpiece from a nearby dispenser.
While the machine may offer a helpful resource for some potential drunk drivers, it still has its critics. First, some people note that the machine often takes up to 15 minutes to provide an accurate reading, which could dissuade some customers who are leaving a bar in a hurry.
In addition, critics are concerned that people will use the machine to drink until they are right at the legal limit, then immediately get into their cars.
Even though customers may technically be under the legal limit, they may still have reduced reaction times or poorer vision due to their drinking. In other words, just because a person passes a kiosk test, they aren’t necessarily in the best shape for driving.
Finally, customers that rely on the kiosk should also be warned that police won’t let them go simply because they passed a test a few minutes ago. If a police officer’s breathalyzer reaches a different measurement than the kiosk’s, the police will always rely on their own reading.
So, much like alcohol, the kiosk might be a fun tool, but it should be used wisely.
As reality television continues to dip into unchartered territories of crude and obnoxious subject matters, the addition of a program highlighting drunk drivers seems like a natural evolutionary step.
According to a recent article from Reuters, The Learning Channel (TLC) will soon begin airing a controversial new series called “D.U.I.” As its title suggests, the show will follow DUI drivers during and after their arrests.
Sources indicate that the show’s cameras will follow police as they chase down drunk drivers on Oklahoma highways.
Once the officers spot a potential drunk driver, the cameras will continue to follow the action “as viewers ride along through the process of interrogation, searches, lockup and the attempt to post bail,” according to the show’s producers.
The show intends to portray the “harsh reality” of a DUI arrest, as viewers will be able to watch offenders handle the typical procedure following a DUI, including the sentencing, any fines or jail time, and the potential damage to personal relationships.
The show, essentially, will be a DUI-related version of the popular series “Cops,” which has entertained home viewers with more than two decades of raw footage of police dealing with criminal suspects.
The DUI show, however, enters a new territory of bizarre. It will also undoubtedly raise a significant amount of controversy.
Some critics, for example, believe that the show might glorify DUI arrests, particularly if they highlight high-speed chases between police and suspected drunk drivers.
Since television shows cannot show chases that end in fatalities, the argument goes, viewers may be misled into believing that DUI chases are fun, exciting, and never fatal.
In addition, critics of the show believe that following DUI suspects through the entire criminal process is a gross violation of personal privacy. This argument, though, ignores the long-term success of “Cops,” which has survived similar criticisms and stayed on the air for several years.
Of course, the show also has its supporters. Some proponents of the series argue that, by portraying the cruel reality of a DUI arrest, the show is doing a service to other drivers.
If potential drunk drivers are able to see the severe consequences of a drunk driving charge through the drama of another person, they may be dissuaded from getting behind the wheel after having too many drinks.
To be fair, shows like “Cops” have not had a direct effect on crime rates, so the potential deterrent effect of “D.U.I.” will likely be small, at best. As the show’s producers readily admit, the most value offered by the show will likely come in the form of entertainment.
Still, the show may offer an interesting glimpse into the realities of drunk driving, as well as the aftermath of arrests for driving under the influence. That is, the show will be interesting for those who aren’t caught by the roving cameras.