DUI victim works to keep offender in jail

By Topher

When there is a chance to affirm justice, and to see that a criminal gets their due, it is often the victim of a crime who raises the loudest voice and brings safety and security concerns into the public sphere.

That is the case in Tennessee, as a woman who had to struggle to survive after being hit by a drunk driver is raising the alarm and attempting to keep the perpetrator of that DUI behind bars.

Eveylen Turner, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was in a coma for three weeks after Joseph Chimahosky crashed into her. Chimahosky was drunk when he hit Turner. He was found guilty of the crime, and he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

He has so far served five months of that sentence as part of his DUI penalties, but is now facing a parole board that will determine if he stays inside the joint or heads back out into the world.

With the parole hearing offering a place for Turner to state her views and potentially impact his stay in prison, Turner vowed to Channel 4 News in Nashville that she would do whatever it would take to keep Chimahosky behind bars.

“I don’t think he has served his time,” said the victim of the man’s drunk driving crash. “I think that he will get out and do the same again. The next person might not be as lucky as me.”

This was not Chimahosky’s first conviction for drunk driving, either. He had two previous convictions for DUI before his third, in the crash that almost killed an innocent person.

Turner made sure to be at Chimajosky’s parole hearing recently, bringing along pictures, X-rays and her medical bills, which totaled more than $1 million, as she built her case against him.

According to Channel 4 News, her and her family pleaded with the hearings officer to keep Chimahosky in jail.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Dotson held a similar position. “I have no faith in him getting out of here,” he said, “and endangering everybody in the roadway in this county.”

Chimahosky has been in trouble even while in jail. There are reports of an incident on four occasions. He told the parole officers that “not a day goes by I don’t think about my actions. As much as I want to, I can’t change what happened that night or what bad decisions I made that night, but I can change the decisions I make in the future.”

The parole board’s decision should take 3 to 4 weeks.



Judge Slaps Lindsay Lohan with Alcohol-Monitoring Bracelet

By Topher

Lindsay Lohan has been an active participant in the celebrity news cycle throughout her Hollywood career. A new scandal or piece of juicy gossip about the young actress seems to emerge every week or two, reminding us how calm most of our lives are in comparison.

But a recent turn has taken Lohan from the world of L.A. gossip to serious legal tangle, as she had to appear in court after pleading guilty to misdemeanor drug charges and no contest to three driving charges in 2007. She was given probation at the time.

Now, a judge has ordered that Lohan must wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, and submit to drug testing in the L.A. every week, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting.

At first, Lohan’s lawyer attempted to contest the ruling that her client had to wear a bracelet. The judge responded that she would be happy to spend the next half an hour listing reasons that she is requiring Lohan to wear the bracelet tracking her blood alcohol content. The lawyer accepted that as basis enough to continue without further challenge.

The judge also ordered an alcohol education program for the starlet.

Her appearance in court recently was to address the fact that Lohan, had missed an appointment to appear in court last week for a progress report on her probation. On the day that she was supposed to be in Beverly Hills for that progress report, she was actually in Cannes, France, partying at the Cannes Film Festival. A warrant for her arrest was sent out, though it was recalled after Lohan posted bail.

Lohan’s lawyer claimed that her passport had been stolen while she was in France, and that it prevented her from getting on a flight from France.

The weekly drug testing could jeopardize a movie project that Lohan was scheduled to film in Texas. When presented with this information, the judge suggested that the project would have to wait.

Lohan spent several hours after the court session, waiting to have the alcohol-monitoring bracelet put on. She will have to wear the bracelet at least until her next hearing, which will take place in July.

While ignition interlock devices are common penalties for a DUI arrest, alcohol monitoring bracelets are less common. However, this high-profile case has brought them to the attention of the public at large, and even some mothers have an interest in using them to keep tabs on their teenagers.

Steps such as these are still a ways off, however, as the bracelet is not widely available.



Minnesota Supreme Court Upholds DUI of Parked, Sleeping Driver

By Topher

In 2007, a Minnesota man was arrested after police found him asleep at the wheel of his car, parked in his designated spot in front of his own apartment building. According to the Star Tribune, Daryl Fleck was drunk, and he was subsequently charged with driving under the influence.

Recently, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld a jury’s drunk driving conviction of Fleck. The court determined that there was enough evidence for the jury to conclude that Fleck was in control of his vehicle when he was arrested.

Fleck’s conviction was his fourth for DUI, and he was sentenced to four years in prison. The conviction had already passed through the state’s Court of Appeals, which affirmed the conviction and paved the way for the state Supreme Court appeal.

G. Tony Atwal, Fleck’s appellate lawyer, did not agree with the court’s decision to uphold the conviction. He told the Star Tribune, “Presumably, if you’re in or about your car, the county attorney could now charge you with a physical control DWI.”

Atwal explained his decision to pursue the various appeals because there was not evidence to suggest that Fleck had actually driven the vehicle that he was found in. According to Atwal, the car’s engine was cold to the touch, and a police officer wasn’t able to start it at all.

Atwall also noted that the fact that the car was parked in a parking lot near Fleck’s home made a great deal of difference. Had it been parked by the side of the road, for example, the situation would change.

According to the Star Tribune, the Supreme Court did not agree. The decision handed down read, “Mere presence in or about a vehicle is insufficient to show physical control; it is the overall situation that is determinative.”

The decision, written by Justice Alan Page, did acknowledge that the circumstances of this situation were not typical of the more common “physical control” drunk driving cases.

The “physical control of a motor vehicle” law is intended to prevent drunk people from getting in a position to operate a motor vehicle, but rather to enter vehicles only as passengers.



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 Offender on Bail Caught Drinking on Courthouse Lawn

By Mary Ann

Martin Ruiz of Nevada may be living proof that actions speak louder than words.

In January of this year, Ruiz was arrested for DUI after an accident in which he and his passenger were injured, as well as the other driver.  Ruiz was driving 70 mph with a blood alcohol level of 0.104.

After pleading with the judge at his court date to release him and promising never to drink another beer again, he released from the Douglas County Courthouse on his own recognizance.

And then he was caught drinking a 12-pack of beer on the courthouse lawn.

This time, the judge set his bail at $100,000, saying that releasing him on his own recognizance would be “completely inappropriate.”