Aug

14

Minnesota Sherrif’s Officer Charged with DUI, Tries to Steal Officer’s Gun

By Topher

Lawrence John Doheny, a sheriff’s department officer in Anoka County, Minnesota, has been charged with DUI and with attempting to grab a police officer’s gun after he was stopped on the highway.

While he was awaiting a blood-alcohol test, police had to Taser Doheny three times to get him to submit, according to Fox 9 in the Twin Cities.

Police saw Doheny’s car make a wide U-turn at a traffic light, then speed and cross over the center line before they stopped him on the highway. When the officer pulled Doheny over, he noticed that there was a smell of alcohol coming from the vehicle, and he saw signs that the driver was drunk.

Doheny said at that point that he had drunk a “couple of beers.”

Doheny got out of his vehicle willingly, but allegedly stumbled as he did so. He did not, however, agree to take an alcohol test, and he was placed under arrest, then transported to the Jordan Police Department and read the implied consent advisory.

Doheny then asked for a lawyer and to be allowed to make a telephone call. He then refused to take a urine or a blood test. He offered to take a DUI breath test, but Scott County, where he was being held, does not offer breath tests as an option in these situations.

Finally, Doheny agreed to take a blood test at the St. Francis Medical Center. “You guys nailed me,” he reportedly said. Doheny was not handcuffed as police transported him into the hospital, but that is when things started to get dangerous.

At that point, Doheny allegedly tried to grab a police officer’s handgun. He then threatened the officer by stating, “you really shouldn’t test me.” The police officer was able to secure his gun before Doheny shoved him in the chest, and took off on foot, ignoring the police’s commands that he get down on the ground.

When Doheny kept running, the officer Tased him. Doheny kept at it, and ended up getting Tased three times as back-up arrived on the scene.

Finally he was handcuffed, put on a stretcher and taken to the emergency room, where staff reported that he was belligerent. They were able to get a reading on his blood-alcohol content.

Doheny, who has been with the sheriff’s department in Anoka for 18 years, has been placed on administrative leave from his civil division post.

Jul

30

Ontario Enacts Tougher Drinking and Driving Restrictions for Teens

By Topher

Starting soon, Ontario will initiate the most strict age restrictions on DUI and drunk driving in Canada.

The new DUI laws will kick in on August 1, according to an article in The Waterloo Region-Record.

Under the new laws, drivers under the age of 22 won’t be able to drink a drop of alcohol, or take a single sip, before they drive a car.

The announcement came down from Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne. Drivers under 21 won’t be allowed to have any alcohol in their blood while they are driving, regardless of what type of driver’s license they have.

Canada has a graduated series of licenses leading up to the G license, which allows drivers to operate any car, van or small truck and trailer up to a certain size. The G1 license allows a driver to drive in the presence of a fully licensed driver who has at least four years of driving experience.

A G2 license allows a driver to drive without accompaniment, but it comes with other restrictions on the number of passengers and the time of night they can carry passengers.

Even before the new legislation goes into effect, G1 and G2 drivers were not allowed to have any alcohol in their system when they are behind the wheel. With the new laws, only G license holders who are over the age of 21 are allowed to have alcohol in their system that does not exceed the legal blood-alcohol limit of .05 percent.

The legislation is only now taking effect, after having been passed back in 2009.

There was dispute surrounding the legislation, and lawmakers removed a provision that would have limited the number of passengers that a teenage driver could have in the car.

Drivers who are caught violating the new law will have their license immediately suspended for 24 hours, and they will face a future suspension and a possible fine of up to $500 Canadian dollars.

Emna Dhahak, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation, told The Waterloo Region-Record that the legislation is “based on sound research and analysis.”

16-year-old Easton Page agreed with the law. “Mixing alcohol and young drivers doesn’t usually work out,” he said. “If you’re going to be behind the wheel you need to be completely in the right mind and focus on what you’re doing. You can’t have that taken away from you.”

Another young person felt that the law may single out young people. “I think that it’s a really good idea for people who are just learning to drive,” said Meghan Garber. “But I think it’s unfair how they target the younger people.”

Andy Murie, who is CEO of MADD Canada, offered that skeptics should check the numbers.

Those aged 16 to 24 represent 13 percent of the Canadian population, but account for 33 percent of DUI deaths. “They don’t just kill themselves,” said Murie. “They kill passengers, their friends, and they kill innocent people. They don’t get to choose when this is their performance.”

Accord to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the peak ages for DUI collisions are between 19 and 21.

Feb

26

DUI Arrest for Germany’s Top Protestant Bishop

By Topher

Margot Kassmann is the country’s highest Protestant minister, and she is the head of the Evangelical Church in Germany. And as we’ve seen many times, those in high office are not immune to driving under the influence and the impact that it can have on a life and a public image.

Kassman faces DUI charges after she tested for three times the legal blood-alcohol content level, according to USA Today.

Kassmann was stopped after she was seen running a red light in the northern German city of Hanover. Police gathered a sample of her blood for testing, and her BAC came back at 0.154 percent.

The legal blood-alcohol level to drive in Germany is 0.05, meaning that Kassmann had tripled the acceptable levels.

Jurgen Lendeckel, a state prosecutor, said of the blood-alcohol content that “the value of 0.11 is a threshold. Everything beyond that means absolutely unfit to drive and results in prosecution.”

According to police, Kassmann’s driver’s license was confiscated, and legal proceedings were already moving forward.

About the incident, Kassmann was not hesitant to take complete responsibility for her actions, saying, “I am alarmed at myself at having made such a bad mistake. I am aware of how dangerous and irresponsible drunk driving is. I will of course face up to the legal consequences.”

Kassman was selected to lead Germany’s Protestant church, which comprises some 25 million members, last October. She has faced scrutiny in the past for her position on military issues, with the message, to quote Spiegel Online, “that the military mission in Afghanistan can’t be justified, and calling for withdrawal of German troops.”

She was also a lightning rod choice for the post because she was the first German bishop to file for divorce. However, she had a reputation as a modernizer who supported the improvement of relations with the Catholic church.

In addition to leading the Evangelical Church in Germany, she is still the bishop of the Evangelical Church in Hanover, Germany. She is an experienced theologian, having studied at numerous universities in Germany.

The Protestant church had no additional comments on the situation, other than what Kassmann told the media.

Oct

16

Cheap Ways to Monitor Convicted Drunk Drivers

By admin

The economy has caused many of us to make cuts not only personally but also in business, and the government is no exception.

They need to make cutbacks just like the rest of us. In order to save money they have begun using advanced technologies to monitor people with DUI convictions.

Many states closed down prisons in the past couple years making it expensive and uneconomical to fill them especially for lesser crimes such as drunk drivers. So some states have adopted electrical monitoring devices for people convicted of DUI.

Included in this development of technology is Virginia. It only costs $12 for offenders to wear this ankle monitor 24 hours a day. This is the cheaper option compared to the $150.00 it costs to keep a minor offender in the Loudon County Jail. Plus the convicted driver is the one who pays the cost to wear the anklet.

Bari Lynn Williams is learning the hard way that this ankle bracelet can cause you to think twice about drinking and driving.

Back in April 2007, Williams was pulled over by the Loudon sheriff’s deputies. She had been at a golf outing earlier that day and had partaken in a few adult beverages.

The deputies pulled her over on suspicion of drinking and driving when they found baggies with drug residue.

She pleaded guilty to drunken driving and drug possession. She got two years probation. The judge told Williams he would dismiss the charges if she followed a court program of probation, therapy, attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and periodic checks for substance abuse.

She had no problems until recently when a deputy stopped by her house for a check and her BAC content was a 0.09, a smidge over the legal limit in Virginia which is 0.08.

Williams faced up to 6 months in jail for violating the terms of her agreement- or she could wear the SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) anklet. This device has a small fuel cell located in the bracelet that’s sensitive enough to detect even the tiniest amount of alcohol that emerges from a person’s skin after drinking.

SCRAM samples perspiration every 30 minutes thus being able to detect the slightest amount of alcohol on the body. So every time an offender sweats it can sense the alcohol and alert the police.

There are about 15,000 SCRAM anklets being used throughout 46 states.

Williams states she’s thankful to be wearing the bracelet because it keeps her out of jail. Sure there is the slight embarrassment she suffers with her new fashion anklet, but to her it’s worth wearing. It keeps her from drinking and will prevent her from any future charges of drinking under the influence.

Jul

15

Drunk Driving Decreasing but Drug Use Increasing

By admin

According to a survey released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fewer Americans are drinking and driving, but one in six drivers are driving while on drugs during the weekend.

The data was released on Monday, July13 from a survey conducted in 2007. The survey showed that 2.2% of drivers were legally driving drunk, with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher.

The first time this survey was conducted was in 1973, where the data showed 7.5% of drivers had a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. This survey was also conducted in 1986 and 1996.

Although the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is pleased to see the drunk driving battle is successful, he point out that “alcohol still kills 13,000 people a year on our rads and we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent drunk driving.”

The same survey also found that 16.3% of drivers on the road on weekend nights tested positive for drugs. This was the first time the survey checked for drug use while driving.

The most commonly used drugs by drivers were marijuana at 8.6%, cocaine at 3.9% and over-the-counter and prescription drugs at 3.9%.

“This troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The 2007 survey included the answers of almost 11,000 drivers who entered random survey sites set up across the country to questions drivers who agreed to participate.

Source: CNN

Jul

14

Stricter DUI Penalties for Delaware

By admin

Recently Gov. Jack A Markell signed two new bills into law to create stricter DUI penalties for people convicted of a DUI offense in Delaware.

House Bill 152: Increased Fines and Jail Time

House Bill 152 increases DUI fines for subsequent offenders, especially drivers with five previous DUI convictions. The bill also called for increased jail time for subsequent DUI offenders and creating a felony DUI for drivers with six and seven DUI convictions.

Last year there were approximately 6,916 DUI arrests, of which 59 people had been previously arrested at least five other times for drunk driving. Since January of this year, 3,213 drivers have been arrested for DUI, with 40 of those people having five or more previous DUI arrests.

House Bill 177: Strict Penalties for First DUI Offense

The second bill signed into law strengthens penalties for a first time DUI offense if the driver has a blood alcohol level of .15% or higher.

If convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .15%, the period of hard revocation for those who are mandated to have an ignition interlock device is increased from 30 to 45 days.

The driver’s license is suspended for six months instead of three, and the ignition interlock device must be used for six months.

The bill limits driving authority of an ignition interlock device licensed driver to work, home, school, alcohol treatment programs and interlock service provider appointments.

Source: Sussex Countian

Feb

9

State DUI Law Updates: West Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina

By Mary Ann

State DUI laws across the country continue to change at a rapid pace. In the past few weeks, many new laws rolled into effect, while other states began discussing revising their current DUI laws. A quick rundown:

West Virginia: State officials are reviewing the data to test the effectiveness of new DUI laws that went into effect six months ago.

The DMV commissioner reports that the usage of ignition interlock devices is up 30 percent, already. The new law was designed to increase usage of ignition interlocks in more DUI cases as part of efforts to lower jail costs and discourage repeat DUI offenders.

Maryland: In late January, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced plans to push for the creation of more than 20 new state laws. His list included a DUI bill based on recommendations from a state DUI task force.

The changes would include a mandatory one-year driver’s license suspension for second and subsequent alcohol or drug related convictions during a five-year period.

South Carolina: New graduated DUI punishments go into effect on Tuesday, Feb. 10. A first DUI with a BAC between .10 and .15 will face $500 fines and 3-30 days in jail.

A BAC above .16 will get a driver $1,000 and 30-60 days. Penalties increase exponentially for a second and third offense.

Jan

19

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.

Jan

12

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.

Jun

25

Washington Woman Gets 0.50 Percent Breathalyzer Reading

By admin

A Pierce County, Washington woman registered a breathalyzer reading of 0.50 percent last month. Two hours after her arrest, Rebecca G. Lingbloom submitted to a blood alcohol test which showed she had a BAC more than six times the legal limit for DUI in Washington.

A state medical technician said such a BAC “would certain kill most people.”

Technicians are required to reanalyze a blood sample showing such a rare blood alcohol level.

Not surprisingly, Lingbloom was found passed out behind the wheel of her car after she had allegedly nearly hit a pedestrian. She was released on bail after enrolling in a six-month treatment program for alcohol abuse.

Sep

6

.08 Does Not Mean “Drunk”

By Mary Ann

The questions arise all the time:

  • How could I be arrested if my BAC was below .08?
  • How could I get suspended from work for being under the influence if my BAC was below .08?
  • How could I have gotten arrested?
  • How could I have gotten kicked out of the high school basketball game?

These questions reflect a common but serious misunderstanding of the meaning of the .08 “legal limit.” In every state, a person may face a DUI conviction for operating a motor vehicle “with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater” (language varies from state to state).

That means it’s a crime to drive with a BAC of .08% or greater. And that’s all it means. States are free to pass DUI laws that also make driving under the influence a crime, and allow for conviction with a blood alcohol level lower than .08% if you show signs of impairment.

States are free to make it a crime to drive with a lower BAC if you’re a minor. States are free to make it a crime to drive with a lower BAC if you’re driving a commercial vehicle. And many do all three.

Outside the legal arena, the .08% “limit” has no application at all unless specifically adopted for some other purpose. Employers aren’t bound by it. Schools aren’t bound by it. And even the criminal justice system isn’t bound by it outside the specific statutes that refer to it.

For instance, the crime of “public intoxication” is not, in most states, dependent upon a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater.

So what does your BAC mean for your case? Speak with a DUI attorney to get the facts about the laws in your state and what your BAC really means.