Aug

12

School Board Refuses to Rehire Former Teacher Arrested for DUI

By Topher

A former middle school teacher was unable to convince the Murray County school board in Chatsworth, Ga. to renew her contract this week in light of a recent DUI charge.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jennifer Zeigler addressed the school board in tears, telling them how much she loved the school and her students. She admitted that she had no excuse for her behavior, but insisted that she deserved a second chance.

Zeigler made these claims during a fair dismissal hearing that was held after school Superintendent Vickie Reed did not recommend that the former teacher’s contract be renewed.

The seven members of the board listened to nearly four hours of testimony before they deliberated over their verdict for close to another hour. When the board returned, they voted unanimously to uphold the superintendent’s decision.

In her own testimony, Reed claimed that Zeigler had lost the respect of students, parents and co-workers, in addition to violating the Georgia Code of Ethics.

Ziegler, on the other hand, argued that she had undergone treatment and should be rehired.

Sgt. Todd Pasley, the police officer responsible for Zeigler’s March 16th DUI arrest, also testified at the hearing.

Pasley claimed he clocked Zeigler driving 28 mph over the speed limit and that, before he could pull her over, she hit a truck stopped at a red light and nearly ran into another vehicle.

The police car camera that recorded the incident shows Zeigler stumbling around the parking lot as she insists she had not been drinking.

When blood samples were taken, Zeigler showed a blood alcohol content level of 0.31, nearly four times the 0.08 legal limit in Georgia. She pleaded no contest when charged with DUI in May, at which time she was sentenced to an alcohol treatment program and 12 months probation.

Zeigler apparently admitted in her testimony that she realized she was an alcoholic. She also stressed that she never gone to school or any school functions while under the influence.

The school’s attorney, Stanley Hawkins, accused Zeigler of not being truthful during her testimony and argued that her problems could not be fixed in one summer.

Zeigler has the option to appeal the board’s decision to the Georgia state school board. Her attorney told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that they have not decided if they will do so.

May

11

DWI Arrest Leads Hofstra Hoops Coach to Resign

By Topher

The Tim Welsh era was over almost as soon as it started.

Welsh took the head basketball coaching job at Hofstra on March 31. He had just barely assembled his staff, began recruiting new players and setting up workouts.

But just last weekend Welsh was arrested for DWI, and the charges have brought an end his tenure barely a month after it started.

Welsh had what the New York Post called a “sterling reputation” in the New York area with high school coaches and the media. He had no prior arrests.

Nonetheless, Hofstra demanded Welsh’s resignation from its highest offices. Athletic director Jack Hayes was not happy with the alleged DUI offense, but he had been willing to keep Welsh around. University president Stuart Rabinowitz, however, made the final decision to demand the resignation.

“Tim Welsh tendered his resignation as the Hofstra University men’s basketball coach,” said Hofstra vice president of university relations Melissa Connolly in a statement. “The University accepted the resignation in the best interests of the University and of the men’s basketball program.”

Hayes and Rabinowitz had met to figure out how to begin the search for a new coach, and there is the possibility that an assistant could step into the role. That could last for an interim year, or the school could start a major search process.

Welsh told the Post that he “felt that it was in the best interests of Hofstra University, my family and myself to make this decision and move forward.” He did not discuss the DUI arrest that had led to his resignation.

A source said that Welsh was as concerned about his assistant coaches and their professional fate as he was his own.

According to the New York Times, Welsh registered a blood alcohol content of 0.18 when he was pulled over while driving on a major road in Nassau, Long Island. He was arrested and charged with aggravated DWI. He had reportedly been drinking at a wine bar. At the time of the arrest, he was preparing to move with his wife from Rhode Island to start the new job.

His court case has been postponed until June 1, though the resignation takes effect right away.

Dec

1

A Day of DUIs on Washington’s Whidbey Island

By admin

In Oak Harbor, Wash., a small community off the coast of Washington on Whidbey Island, two bizarre incidents occurred on the same day, both allegedly involving driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The first accident involved a 22-year-old woman who was driving her Volkswagen Beetle on Midway Boulevard, a road that travels directly toward the coast of the island.

The woman drove her Beetle straight through an intersection without stopping and “careened down an embankment and ended up in the tidelands,” according to a report from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Luckily for the negligent driver, it was low tide at the time so she did not end up submerged and in possible danger for her life.

On her way into the tidelands, the Beetle crashed through a concrete bench. The bench was part of a memorial to volunteer firefighters. The car also damaged what city officials called a “lift station breather vent.”

According to Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace, the woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI. A tow truck was able to pull the car from the tidelands. The city will seek restitution for the damaged bench.

The Post-Intelligencer reported the second similar accident that occurred on the same day happened just after midnight on Sunday; a 20-year-old woman drove her car into a two-story apartment building.

“It appeared to be very minor damage,” said Chief Wallace. He did mention that it’s possible there was unseen structural damage to the property.

The driver of the car is a resident in the building that she ran into. She was arrested on suspicion of DUI and underage drinking.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in either of the incidents. When DUI is involved, the results can be far more tragic than those of this odd day of accidents in Oak Harbor.

When the news of DUI accidents is so often more severe than several strange veers off of the road, it can be nice to read about a bad situation that didn’t end up far worse.

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

Jul

27

Costs of Refusing a Breathalyzer Increasing

By admin

As of Sept. 1, people in Louisiana who refuse to take a breath test will have their driver’s license suspended for one year. The penalty is twice as long as the current penalty for breathalyzer refusal.

“Now … it’s worse if you refuse the test,” said DWI attorney Robert Fleming.

Under Louisiana DUI law, a driver who refuses a blood alcohol test on a first DUI offense will have his or her driver’s license suspended for six months and 18 months for a second refusal.

The new law that Gov. Bobby Jindal signed on June 1 doubles the first offense penalty and suspends the offender’s license for two years on a subsequent offense.

Supporters of the new DUI law feel that it will give drivers the incentive to cooperate with police during a DUI stop.

Many supporters say that currently the common thought among many DUI offenders in Louisiana is to refuse the breathalyzer test.

“The problem was that drivers were refusing to take the test” on the advice of DUI attorneys, said Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr.

According to Donna Tate, executive director of the Louisiana chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Louisiana has one of the highest refusal rates in the country. In 2005, 39% of drivers pulled over for drinking and driving refused a breathalyzer, when the national average was 22.4%.

Source: nola.com

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

May

9

German Man Attempting to Pass His Driving Test Arrested for DUI

By Mary Ann

A Bendorf, German man’s attempt to pass his driving test ended when his examiner directed him to a police station. He was arrested for DUI.

The man arrived for his test reeking of alcohol. When questioned, he denied having anything to drink, so his test commenced as usual. The examiner said the man’s driving was “rather bad,” so the examiner directed him toward the police station without him noticing. When they arrived, a breath test showed the man’s blood alcohol level (BAC) was three times the legal limit.

After a DUI offense, that young man can forget getting a driving license for a few years.

May

8

New York Man Sued for Falling While Drunk

By Mary Ann

A New York woman whose back was broken by a falling fan at Shea Stadium has filed suit against the New York Mets Baseball Club and their beer vendor.

Ellen Massey claims that an unidentified, “fat man,” was falling-down drunk when he fell into her and crushed her back.  She needed to have two rods put in her back.  Massey says vendors should have cut him off before he stumbled into her. The man fled after the fall. The vendor is seeking to identify him.

Massey’s complaint asserts it was “the duty and obligation of [the vendor] not to sell alcoholic beverages to spectators and patrons who appeared to be intoxicated at Shea Stadium.”

The vendor had also being sued for a 2005 DUI incident that left a 2-year-old girl paralyzed.

May

5

Paris Hilton Gets Jail Sentence for Violating Her DUI Probation

By Mary Ann

Paris Hilton was sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating her probation following a DUI. Hilton had pleading no contest to reckless driving in January, in plea bargain stemming from her arrest last September for DUI.

She was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. She had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 percent, matching California’s legal limit for DUI.

The California judge refused Hilton’s requests for alternative sentencing options: work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or electronic monitoring in lieu of jail. She will serve her time at the Lynwood California’s women’s jail.

Hilton had testified she believed she was driving legally.

She said she thought her license had been suspended for 30 days and she was allowed to drive to work during the following 90 days. The judge ruled against her, saying “there’s no doubt she knew her license had been suspended.”

May

4

Cardinal’s Hancock Was DUI When he Died

By Mary Ann

St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Josh Hancock was drunk when he ran into the back of a parked tow truck. Unfortunately, Hancock was not stopped for DUI before it was too late. He was not only well over the legal blood alcohol limit for a DUI offense in Missouri, he was talking on his cell phone.

Hancock was DUI, speeding, and talking on his phone, when he struck the tow truck. Hancock had a blood alcohol level of 0.157 percent, nearly twice the per-se BAC limit. Police also found over eight grams of marijuana and a pipe in his vehicle. Toxicology tests have not been completed.

Hancock was not wearing his seat belt, but police said the seat belt would not have helped in this case.

May

1

DUI Charges Dropped in Fatal New York Crash

By Mary Ann

Saratoga, New York prosecutors will drop DUI charges against a 58-year old Queensbury woman who was involved in a fatal motorcycle crash.

A Saratoga County district attorney said that a new blood test indicated that Kay Van Avery had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.02 percent, well below the legal limit of 0.08 percent. A Sheriff’s Office investigation determined that the speed of the motorcyclist was a contributing factor in the accident.

Van Avery was initially charged with misdemeanor DUI, failure to yield the right of way, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. The DUI charge was based on an initial breath test indicating Van Avery had a BAC of 0.06 percent.

Apr

29

“Huffing” Leads to DUI and Death

By Mary Ann

A Florida driver was charged with vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter after he struck and killed a motorcyclist.

Andrew Barnes was driving the wrong way down the street and took no action to avoid the crash. Police officers suspected he was driving under the influence, but when a blood test detected no more than marijuana in his system, the officers were stumped.

Police later found two cans of compressed air in Barnes’ car. Further blood tests showed he was high on the aerosol used to clean computer keyboards. The sprays are harmless if used properly. But, the can contain difluoroethane, a chemical that causes an instant high, or even death, if sucked into the lungs.

This new drug craze is popularly called “huffing,” or “dusting.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released data showing that, in 2005, 1.1 million kids huffed household products, including furniture polish, dust remover, and air fresheners. Some of them died.

Apr

26

Motorcyclist Clocked Doing 130 MPH Arrested for DUI

By Mary Ann

A Mount Joy, Pennsylvania motorcyclist was arrested for DUI. Kraig Anthony Lackey was observed doing 130 mph in a zone limited to 55 mph. He was charged with a DUI offense, fleeing police, speeding, reckless driving, inspection and other motor vehicle violations.

Crotch rockets and drinking don’t really mix, do they?