DUI, Alcohol & Driver Safety Information
Here at Checkpoints, we know that dealing with a DUI can be difficult. There’s the emotional stress of confronting the incident, the process of finding a DUI attorney, court dates and any number of other related issues that go into resolving a DUI case.
Fortunately, there are tons of great resources and blogs out there for information on topics related to drunk driving. The Checkpoints team keeps a number of blogs bookmarked for easy access. After sharing them amongst ourselves, we thought it would be helpful to offer readers a definitive list of our 44 favorite DUI, alcohol and driver safety resources.
We may not be affiliated with the following blogs, but in our opinion, they’re the best of what’s out there and we’re proud to give them the recognition they deserve.
To make your browsing experience as easy as possible, we’ve broken the list down into the following categories:
- Drunk Driving
- Alcohol News & Information
- Alcoholism Treatment & Recovery
- Driver Safety
A big congratulations to our winners, and thanks for all the excellent reading. Keep up the great work!
- Blog to Eliminate Drunk Driving. The official blog of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) details the inspiring work the organization is doing around the country and serves as an excellent resource for issues related to drunk driving, drunk driving victim services and underage drinking prevention. Read it: http://maddonline.blogspot.com/
- Behind the Wheel. The official blog of DrinkingAndDriving.Org, Behind the Wheel is written by citizens committed to public safety, respect for the law, and responsibility. They believe education is the most powerful tool for making sure those who choose to drink never choose to drink and drive. Read it: http://www.drinkinganddriving.org/blog/
- DWI Blog. Chris Alexander’s blog is a great resource for comprehensive information on the laws and rules governing DWI. In an attempt to make the roads a safer place, Chris regularly posts news updates and current research about drinking and driving trends. Read it: http://www.aboutdwi.com/blog/
- Breathalyzer Blog. This is exactly the kind of blog you might expect from a company specializing in personal safety devices. The Breathalyzer Blog covers stories about alcohol safety and drunk driving prevention. Read it: http://www.q3ats.com/blog/
Alcohol News and Information
- Alcohol News. Updated every Monday, Alcohol News is a great blog for staying up to date on alcohol-related news around the world. Whether you skim the headlines or read the full articles, Alcohol News is always good for getting a big picture snapshot of alcohol policy on a global scale. Read it: http://alcoholweekly.blogspot.com/
- Alcohol Reports. This blog is a one-of-a-kind resource collecting the most current news, reports, publications and peer-reviewed research articles about alcoholism and alcohol-related problems on a global scale. The editorial team strongly encourages the sharing of research findings and always provides contact information for authors. Read it: http://alcoholreports.blogspot.com/
- Beer Booze News. If it’s alcohol news you’re interested in, you’ll be hard pressed to find a blog updated more regularly than Rob K.’s Beer Booze News. From tax increases to prevention, he covers it all and he covers it often. Read it: http://www.beerbooznews.com/
- Drinkaware. If you’re looking for a definitive source of information on responsible drinking, you won’t do much better than the UK’s Drinkaware. They may be based across the pond, but the resources you’ll find here are easily applicable anywhere. Read it: http://www.drinkaware.co.uk
- Points. The official blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society is written by a group of scholars with wide-ranging expertise. Together they offer original reflections on the history of alcohol and drugs, the policy surrounding them, and their place in popular culture. Read it: http://pointsadhsblog.wordpress.com/
- Alcohol Law Review. Paul Pisano, Senior Vice President of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, keeps you current on alcohol regulation and legislation at the Alcohol Law Review. From court cases to Congress, this blog has all kinds of useful legal information regarding alcohol. Read it: http://www.alcohollawreview.com/
- The Politics of Drinking. Written by freelance journalist Phil Mellows, The Politics of Drinking covers, among other things, the UK pub industry and alcohol policy. As an authority on the subject, Phil offers opinion and insight on news and research related to the alcohol industry. Read it: http://www.philmellows.com/
- Drinking Diaries. Caren and Leah write about women’s issues, education and travel for a variety of publications, but at Drinking Diaries they write about … drinking. More specifically, the blog is designed to be a forum for women to share, vent, express and discuss their drinking stories without judgment. Above all else, Drinking Diaries is a true community, through and through. Read it: http://www.drinkingdiaries.com/
- S.A.D. Blog. This Tumblr blog from Stop Alcohol Deaths (S.A.D.) is devoted to promoting responsible drinking. News stories, opinions, cartoons and more make up S.A.D.’s collection of original and found content. Read it: http://tumblr.stopalcoholdeaths.com/
Alcoholism Treatment & Recovery
- The Immortal Alcoholic. A truly honest and heartfelt blog from the wife of an end-stage alcoholic. Linda shares all kinds of personal stories detailing her trials and frustrations; she also provides some great information and insight about the facts related to alcoholism. Read it: http://immortalalcoholic.blogspot.com/
- The Alcohol Harm Reduction Blog. This is the official blog of HAMS, a peer-led network devoted to bettering the lives of drinkers and non-drinkers by promoting safe alcohol use. Posts are generally written by Kenneth Anderson, the author of How to Change Your Drinking: A Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol, and are an excellent source of information about safe drinking habits. Read it: http://hamsnetwork.wordpress.com/author/porkchoptze/
- Alcohol Awareness Speaker. At the age of 18, Marcus Engel was blinded and nearly killed when he was hit by a drunk driver. After years of rehab and hours of reconstructive surgery, Marcus has regained control of his life and now speaks professionally about overcoming adversity. On his blog, Marcus offers personal thoughts on a number of inspirational topics. Read it: http://alcoholspeaker.blogspot.com/
- Journey Healing Centers Blog. Still in its infancy, we’re excited to promote the new blog from Journey Healing Centers. Their hope is that it will provide a place for anyone involved with drug or alcohol rehab to strengthen one another and find support. We hope so too. Read it: http://www.journeyrecoverycenters.com/blog/
- The Alcohol Free Social Life. If you’re thinking about giving up alcohol, this blog deserves a bookmark on your browser’s toolbar. The Alcohol Free Social Life offers useful information about how alcohol affects you and how you can live without it. Read it: http://www.alcoholfreesociallife.com/blog/
- At the Bottom of My Gin Cup I Found Tea. James Robe was previously a personal chef to the Dutch Ambassador; he is now the owner of Driftwood Tea. Along the way he picked up another title – Sober. His personal blog chronicles his progress and achievements along the way. Read it: http://gincup.com/
- Alcoholism Support Blog. Filled with posts about current topics related to alcoholism, this blog is a great resource for someone struggling to deal with an alcohol addiction. The goal of the Alcoholism Support Blog is to help individuals understand the problems and issues that lead to alcoholism in the first place. Read it: http://www.alcoholism-support.org/alcoholism-blog.html
- The Discovering Alcoholic. Clean and sober since ’94, Gavin is known by his readers as “The Discovering Alcoholic.” He recently handed off most of the writing on his blog to his good friend “Screedler,” who continues to prove, post after post, that the road to recovery is not a dead end. Read it: http://discoveringalcoholic.com/
- Healing Imperfectly. People clean up everywhere. The author of Healing Imperfectly recently celebrated her first year of sobriety while on active duty in Afghanistan. Her blog posts are always heartfelt and offer up an honest look inside one woman’s personal healing process. Read it: http://healingimperfectly.blogspot.com/
- Breaking the Cycles. Lisa Frederkisen, who alone has more than 40 years of experience with family alcohol abuse and alcoholism, found Breaking the Cycles in 2008. The site’s blog is an excellent source of news and insights regarding substance abuse and addiction. Read it: http://www.breakingthecycles.com/blog/
- Working Partners. As an organization dedicated to helping companies maintain a drug-free workplace, Working Partners uses its blog as a platform for providing all kinds of useful information about drug and alcohol safety. Read it: http://blog.workingpartners.com/
- Thinking About Drinking. This blog is an extremely interesting documentation of one individual’s attempt at “re-learning to drink.” Read up on insightful experiences and personal opinions as the author of Thinking About Drinking explores the possibilities of “controlled drinking.” Read it: http://thinkingaboutdrinking.net/about/
- Binge Inking. Authored principally by Peapod, an individual in long-term addiction recovery and who works in the addiction treatment field, this blog offers news, opinion, comments and random musings on addiction and recovery. Binge Inking is always a good source for information and personal stories. http://www.bingeinking.com/
- Stark Raving Sober. Here’s a blog that thoughtfully covers many different aspects of addiction, often from a humorous perspective. The title comes from a phrase used to describe people who are crazy, even when they’re not bombed out of their gourds. We’ll let you determine for yourself if you think the author fits the bill. Read it: http://stark-raving-sober.blogspot.com/
- Life Without Beer Goggles. Oscar started drinking at the age of 13 and drank on and off until he checked himself into a treatment center in 2005. He’s been sober for more than six years, now. Life Without Beer Goggles is Oscar’s attempt share is experiences getting sober with the millions of other people going through the same thing. Read It: http://www.lifewithoutbeergoggles.com/
- Alcoholic Outsider Artist. From the same city that produced Henry Darger comes Chicago’s Parker Lanier, the Alcoholic Outsider Artist. In his own words, his pictures are “confused, abrupt, adamant, honest and entirely lacking in foresight … they are made possible only by the depth of my illness and the gift of my sobriety.” Trust us when we say you’ve got to see them for yourself. Read it: http://alcoholicoutsiderartist.blogspot.com/
- Addiction Inbox. Dirk Hanson is a freelance science reporter and novelist. His Addiction Inbox blog is an extensive, well-kept collection of articles and health studies on drugs, addiction and alcoholism. Dirk’s blog is a great resource for tracking down the most recent scientific studies and medical findings on addiction. Read it: http://addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com/
- Last 100 Days As An Alcoholic. Exactly as it sounds, Last 100 Days was intended to be the documentation of one alcoholic’s last 100 days of drinking. The strategy didn’t quite work at first, but with some help from his family and his doctor, the author has now been sober since April 20, 2011. Last 100 Days documents his progress as he continues to enjoy the sober life. Read it: http://soberin100days.blogspot.com
- The Safe Driver. Scott Marshall is Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada and has been a judge on three seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver. On his blog The Safe Driver, Scott offers his own observations, opinions and insights on safe driving and driver education. Read it: http://safedriving.wordpress.com/
- Defensive Driving Blog. If you’re looking for useful and accessible tips for safer driving, the Defensive Driving Blog is always a good read. Updated regularly, the authors keep this blog filled with information applicable to all drivers. Read it: http://defdriving.wordpress.com/
- Women-Drivers Blog. Women-Drivers.com is “putting women in the driver’s seat.” Anne Fleming launched the site in 2008 and uses the Women-Drivers Blog to discuss all things auto from a distinctly female perspective. Read it: http://www.women-drivers.com/blog/
- Comedy Guys Defensive Driving Blog. The Comedy Guys team has been providing entertaining defensive driving classes for more than 15 years. On their blog, the group offers tons of defensive driving tips and auto-related news, with more than a handful of funny videos along the way. Read it: http://www.comedyguys.com/blog/
- How We Drive. The official blog of Tom Vanderbilt, Slate’s transportation columnist and the author behind Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do. Tom uses How We Drive as a platform to share his latest work as well as his thoughts on various driving and traffic related issues. Read it: http://www.howwedrive.com/
- L.A. Can’t Drive. Ranked by L.A. Snark as one of the top 50 L.A. blogs, L.A. Can’t Drive is Michael Shen’s attempt to prove that L.A. is a city filled with truly terrible motorists. Posts offer specific examples of terrible drivers, ranking each incident on an “Idiocy Meter” scale. Read it: http://www.lacantdrive.com/
- 4 Safe Drivers. A blog dedicated to providing drivers across the country with relevant driving news. From new ordinances to pending legislation, 4 Safe Drivers has all kinds of useful driving information. Read it: http://www.4safedrivers.com/blog/
- Collision Guard Blog. Collision Guard is a safe driving community whose goal is to “create aware, safety-conscious drivers.” Their blog is a great resource for staying up to date on driving-related news from the serious to the sexy (according to a recent post, sexy drivers drive Audis). Read it: http://collisionguard.com/blog/
- Drive Safe Blog. The Drive Safe Blog is dedicated to “helping parents create safer roads, one teen at a time.” With experienced accident investigator Mike Pehl leading the team, Drive Safe’s bloggers offer tons of great information on how to stay safe behind the wheel. Read it: http://drivesafeblog.com/
- Driver’s Seat. This Wall Street Journal blog features news, views and advice about cars, auto safety, driving and transportation. Driver’s Seat is written primarily by Jonathan Welsh, with contributions from auto critic Dan Neal and Wall Street Journal reporters. Read it: http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/
- Speed Check. Speed Check serves as an open and informed forum for discussion on traffic and pedestrian safety topics. The blog is an excellent resource for information and insights on driver- and traffic-related facts, opinions and experiences. Read it: http://www.informationdisplay.com/traffic_calming_blog/
- Traffic Safety Culture. As the official blog of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Traffic Safety Culture offers its readers information that aims to improve drivers’ attitudes and behaviors for the better. Read it: http://aaafoundation.blogspot.com/
- Zoom Safer Blog. Zoom Safer specializes in software to promote the safe, hands-free use of mobile phones while driving. The company’s blog is a reliable source of information about safe driving and the fight to curb distracted driving. Read it: http://zoomsafer.com/blog/
In the week leading up to their season opener, San Francisco 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards received word from the NFL that he will not be suspended for DUI charges brought against him more than a year ago when he was a member of the New York Jets.
The wide receiver, who pled guilty to the charges in July, will be fined $50,000 for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The fine comes in place of a possible suspension and totals roughly two percent of Edwards’ salary.
The San Jose Mercury News reported on the NFL’s formal statement regarding the wide receiver’s case.
“Braylon Edwards was fined $50,000 for violating the NFL policy on Substances of Abuse. The fine is for the DUI only,” the league explained. “Any other matters will be addressed at the appropriate time.”
While the final sentence of the statement suggests room for further discipline, the NFL allegedly assured 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke that Edwards would not face suspension.
The disciplinary action against the 49ers receiver stems from Edwards’ September 2010 arrest on charges of driving while intoxicated.
The night of the arrest, NYPD officers stopped Edwards on Manhattan’s West Side for excessive tinting on the windows of his SUV and noticed a strong smell of alcohol. When given a breath test, Edwards’ blood alcohol content was .16, twice the legal limit.
At the time, Edwards was on probation for aggravated disorderly conduct stemming from accusations that he punched a man outside a Cleveland nightclub in 2009.
News of his league fine comes as a relief to the 49ers, who knew Edwards may be facing possible suspension when they signed him to a one-year, $2.1 million contract.
Edwards is currently listed as a co-starting receiver for the team’s Sunday opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
A presidential relative was arrested last week in Framingham, Mass., on charges of drunk driving and now faces deportation.
When Onyango Obama, the half-brother of President Obama’s father, was given the chance to make a phone call following the arrest, he was sure to make his family ties known.
“I think I’d like to call the White House,” said Obama, according to the police report.
If expecting his nephew, Obama failed to remember that President Barack Obama is currently vacationing with his family on Martha’s Vineyard.
The law firm representing Onyango Obama told the Boston Globe that he is now in the custody of immigration officials and facing a possible deportation to Kenya.
The White House would not comment on the incident this week and, instead, directed all requests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. According to the ICE press office, the agency does not report on individual cases.
Onyango Obama, 67, was stopped by police around 7 p.m. on Wednesday outside the Chicken Bone Saloon after he made a sharp turn and caused a police cruiser and another driver to slam on their brakes.
Officer Val J. Krishtal noted in his report that Obama appeared to be slurring his speech when the officer approached the vehicle.
“The male would not allow me to speak and continued to interrupt me,” Krishtal recorded in his arrest report. “I explained to him that I narrowly avoided striking his vehicle, and he told me that he did not hear my tires screeching, so I was not being accurate.”
After telling the officer he had not been drinking, Obama confessed to having one beer. He then revised his confession and claimed to have had two beers.
When a field sobriety test was performed, Obama allegedly kept starting the tests too early and spoke over the officer’s instructions.
“Every time I got a sentence out, Obama would say, ‘You are correct,’” Krishtal reported. “He also attempted to start the [one-legged stand] test approximately seven times without being told to do so.”
Obama was arrested on drunken driving charges after failing three sobriety tests. He later registered a blood alcohol level of 0.14 percent at the station. The legal limit in Massachusetts is 0.08.
Framingham police Lieutenant Ronald Brandolini told the Boston Globe the department did not look into the presidential connection despite Obama’s name and his request to contact the White House.
Obama was arraigned Thursday on charges of DUI, failure to yield at an intersection, and negligent operation. A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney told the Boston Globe the judge released Obama on personal recognizance, but that he was held on an immigration detainer.
A police officer in Redding, Ca., is currently on paid leave after his arrest last week for suspicion of driving a city vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Matthew R. Zalesny was stopped by Redding police early Aug. 17 and subsequently arrested by California Highway Patrol Officer Kurt Heuer.
Police Chief Peter Hansen told the Record Searchlight that Zalesny was cited and arrested, and that the officer is now on paid administrative leave as a department investigation is carried out.
Zalesny’s law enforcement duties have also been suspended, Hansen told the newspaper.
The criminal investigation of the case has been handed over to the CHP in accordance with standard department procedure. The case is currently being prepared for the Shasta County District Attorney’s review.
Zalesny, 44, was born and raised in Redding and has worked for 23 years as a law enforcement officer.
After beginning his career with the Tehama County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy in 1988, he moved to the Anderson Police Department three years later. While there, he worked patrol and served as an officer in the department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
Zalesny has been with the Redding Police Department since 1994, where he has worked as an identification technician, taught defensive strategies, served on the SWAT team and served as a field training officer.
In 2007, Redding police honored Zalesny and a group of other officers for their work on an anti-gang enforcement unit.
Zalesny’s DUI arrest marks the second among Redding police officers in the last five years. In 2006, Christopher Jacoby was arrested when CHP officers found his car plowed off a highway embankment.
Jacoby pleaded guilty to the charge, paid fines, and spent ten days in jail before eventually returning to work as a Redding Police Department investigator.
Redding Police declined to provide the newspaper with the conditions of Jacoby’s discipline for the DUI arrest.
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.
A recent ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court has proven controversial in the months following the decision as prosecutors have begun using it as a new weapon in DUI cases. Charges in DUI cases may be upgraded without evidence of a driver’s impairment at the time of the accident.
In April, the court ruled that drivers in fatal driving accidents could be found guilty of a felony if trace amounts of an illegal drug are found in their bodies.
The new ruling means prosecutors no longer have to prove that drugs contributed to a crash, simply that they were present in a driver’s system. In the original case, a felony conviction was upheld against a pickup truck driver showing traces of methamphetamine after he crashed and killed two people.
Just one month later, prosecutors in DuPage County used the Supreme Court’s ruling to upgrade a misdemeanor charge to felony aggravated DUI involving drugs. That upgrade changed the defendant’s possible sentencing from 12 months of jail time to three to 14 years in prison.
At least four prosecutions in Cook, DuPage and Kane counties have already applied the Supreme Court’s opinion, each involving alleged use of illegal drugs.
The new precedent has safety advocates applauding the decision, while defense lawyers suggest it may misinterpret the intent behind Illinois’ drunken-driving laws.
“What they’re saying is just because you used drugs in the past, even though you could be safe on the road at the present time, we don’t want you on our highways, and that’s questionable,” a Wheaton, Ill., DUI attorney told the Chicago Tribune.
Others concerned claim the decision may put prescription drug users at risk as the law applies to both illicit drugs and controlled substances. Drivers may be unaware of how long a drug can be detected in their system.
Prior to the court’s ruling, it was necessary to show impairment in a fatal drug-related crash, which was often difficult without a set standard such as the .08 blood alcohol limit for drunk driving.
The ruling grew out of a crash on Christmas Day 2004 when Aaron Martin, 24, left a Peoria bar in his pickup and missed a curve, hitting a car head-on and killing a 50-year old woman and her elderly mother. Trace amounts of methamphetamine were found in the driver’s urine, but no alcohol.
Martin was convicted of aggravated DUI involving drugs by a Peoria County jury, and the judge sentenced him to six years in prison. The conviction was overturned in August 2009 by a state appeals court, after prosecutors failed to show a causal relationship between the drugs and the driving accident.
The appellate decision was then overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court when the justices ruled “no causal connection” was needed due to Illinois’ longstanding zero-tolerance stance on drugged driving. The court’s opinion suggests the real crime is bad driving, which is why proof of impairment is not necessary.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one says it all. Two on-duty Miami police officers mug and smile for the camera while surrounded by five young women celebrating a bachelorette party July 2 at the Clevelander hotel.
Later the same night, one of the officers, Derick Kuilan, took the bachelorette for a joyride on a department-owned ATV, crashing into and seriously injuring two innocent beachgoers.
The picture was released Tuesday by Miami-Dade prosecutors as they charged Kuilan with two felony counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury. The second officer, Rolando Gutierrez, does not face criminal charges.
“It is mind-boggling that they felt comfortable enough to do something like that,” Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega told the Miami Herald.
Both officers have been fired from the department since the time of the incident.
Details of what allegedly happened are outlined in a warrant prepared by prosecutor David I. Gilbert and Miami Beach detective Robert Silvagni:
Derick Kuilan was assigned to ATV patrol, midnight shift, on July 3 and Officer Rolando Gutierrez was assigned to patrol mid-Beach.
That night, the pair of officers walked into the Clevelander hotel bar, a known attraction for tourists, around 5 a.m.
A group of young women from Pennsylvania were celebrating a bachelorette party when the officers arrived. After posing for a picture with the group, Kuilan and Gutierrez began dancing and drinking.
Kuilan then invited the bachelorette, Adalee Martin, to take a ride with him on the ATV he had parked nearby, to which Martin agreed.
The two drove south along the beach at alternating speeds, turning the headlights on and off as they neared approaching pedestrians. When they arrived at the end of the beach and turned around, they drove back north with the vehicle’s lights turned off.
On the drive back, the ATV crashed into Kitzie Nicanor and Luis Almonte, who were on the beach dipping their feet in the water. Bystanders claimed that the ATV whizzed by and that “they could barely see it, because it had no lights on and it was traveling fast,” according to the warrant.
Almonte suffered a broken femur, requiring surgery, while Nicanor had to have her spleen removed and remains hospitalized in serious condition.
Kuilan surrendered to the Miami-Dade County Jail after being charged Tuesday and has already posted $30,000 bail. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 25.
In Clearwater, Florida, a motor scooter dealership decided to implement an aggressive campaign to meet the needs of “specialized” market by offering what they call “DUI scooters.”
These “DUI scooters” are small, electric mopeds that are bright red and blue, with pedals, headlights and windshields. They don’t go more than 20 miles per hour, though, and they meet the federal description of a “low-speed electric bicycle,” according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times.
In other words, you don’t need a driver’s license to drive one, and those who have had their license suspended because of DUI may have another way to get around.
Doug Vitello and Gary Parr are the owners of Sunset Scooters. They were finding that they couldn’t quite meet the needs of their potential customers, so they did a little research into the DUI laws.
It turned out that the motorized scooter in question was an attractive option for those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor DUI, who had their driver’s license suspended and needed everyday transportation.
And while current Florida law may allow these scooters to be driven without a license, a driver could still face DUI charges if found to be driving one of these under the influence. DUI laws, afterall, apply to the operation of any vehicle, including scooters, boats, lawn mowers and more.
When Vitello and Parr learned this fact, they went searching for a scooter that was legal to drive without a license. They found one, made in China and distributed out of California. Then they put a sign in their window that said “DUI Scooters.”
When they sell a “DUI scooter” to a customer, Sunset Scooters provides customers with a copy of the law that says they are legal to drive without a license. They also recommend that customers laminate the law and carry it with them, to avoid misunderstandings with the police.
“At first we had some trouble with law enforcement basically not understanding what these were,” said Vitello. “Even some judges were completely mystified. But now they all seem to be on board.”
The so-called “DUI scooters,” made by X-treme Scooters and costing upwards of $2,000, look similar to regular motor scooters, if a little smaller, with narrower wheels and the pedals sticking out of the side.
The police in Clearwater were not so sure about the vehicle. Sgt. Tom Nestor told the St. Petersburg Times, “We’ll just say they’re under review for now.” The agency was, according to the article, “trying to determine exactly what these scooters are and how to handle them.”
Word of mouth has spurred the scooter sales. Sunset Scooters now sells around 10 per month. Parr and Vitello say that they came up with the “DUI scooter” term themselves.
This week’s DUI stories feature a poor parenting decision, and an active night for a man charged with 3 DUIs in a single evening of driving.
Baby On Board
It is all too common in the world of DUI news to hear about a parent’s use of poor judgment. Not only do they allegedly drive drunk, but they do so with a child in the car with them.
In Fort Myers, Florida, Brittney Locke is charged with DUI and other crimes, after police say she was stopped on the interstate while driving under the influence, according to ABC 7.
According to police, Locke was stopped after witnesses called police, having witnessed an accident on the highway. The driver left the scene, witnesses said, and police found Locke parked along the side of the road near an exit, with metal sheared off the side of the car.
She also had an infant in the car with her, in a car seat.
Police noted that she appeared to have trouble keeping her eyes open, and said she didn’t know what she’d hit to cause the damage to her car. She failed a field sobriety test.
She claimed to be on the way to see the child’s father, to get money from him. She also told police she was exhausted, and that she had to be up early to visit an area methadone clinic as a part of addiction treatment.
Police allegedly found a Xanex tablet in the car, a prescription bottle of ibuprofen and a plastic straw that, according to ABC, “appeared to be coated with drug residue.”
A relative took control of the child. Locke is charged with DUI, DUI property damage for the guard rail she allegedly hit, child cruelty, drug possession and drug equipment possession.
A 3 DUI Charge Night
According to KGMI in Whatcom County, Washington, a man is facing 3 DUI charges after a single night of activity.
Tommy Ryser allegedly wrecked his pickup truck on the road, where police found it at around 8 p.m. on a Monday night. Then, police received a call that another accident had been reported.
It was a red VW Golf that had crashed into a guardrail.
Who pulled up to that accident site but Ryser, driving a tow truck. He had a cut on his face, according to police, and was found to be intoxicated.
According to KGMI, Ryser was arrested for and charged with crashing both disabled vehicles, and with driving drunk to the crash sites, in order to tow them back home.
In a DUI case in Kentucky, a judge in the case acquitted a man suspected of DUI because of a burp.
According to the Courier-Journal, a judge found Bertrand Howlett not guilty of DUI because the judge had a personal recollection from his experience as a prosecutor of DUI cases years ago that a burp at the wrong time could skew the results of a Breathalyzer test.
Based on that recollection, Howlett was acquitted of the charge that stemmed from when police pulled him over after, according to officials, he was seen speeding and almost driving off the road. Police said he smelled like booze and that he failed a field sobriety test, and they charged him with DUI.
However, Howlett claimed that he had burped just before his blood alcohol content was tested back at the jail—a test in which he blew a 0.15. That burp, he contended, was enough to skew the results of the test. The judge in the case agreed. Police had not, in the judge’s mind, waited long enough after Howlett’s burp for the test to be accurate.
In testimony, Howlett said that the burp wasn’t a loud one, and that in fact no one may have been able to hear it. The machine used to measure his blood alcohol content stated in the manual that police should observe a suspect for 20 minutes before a test is given, in order to make sure that the only substance tested is air from the lungs.
If the test subject regurgitates, for example, police should wait 20 minutes before proceeding.
The DUI case in Kentucky was without a jury, so the judge was left to decide on the matter. He sided with the idea that the burp had skewed the test results, based on his time as a DUI prosecutor for six years while he was an assistant county attorney.
That decision has since moved to the Supreme Court of the state, not to appeal the DUI case decision, but to question whether a judge can admit as evidence a piece of his or her own knowledge. The county attorney’s office called the judge’s use of his own personal knowledge a “manifest injustice.”
Clearly Howlett wasn’t the only one left with a bad taste in his mouth.
Stop and think before you get behind the wheel on New Year’s Eve.
This is the motto of one Georgia funeral home – a family business that has been running Operation Stop and Think for the past 10 years.
According to a CNN report, McGuire, Jennings and Miller Funeral Home in Rome, Ga. has been offering a contract to anyone who wants to sign it up until noon on New Year’s Eve.
What exactly is this contract? It’s a contract stating that the undersigned definitely plans to drink or use drugs and then drive a car on New Year’s Eve.
If someone does sign the contract, McGuire, Jennings and Miller will cover the costs of everything related to their funeral when they are killed from DUI – including a casket, burial plot and even flowers.
Barry Miller, one of the funeral home’s owners, said the program started 10 years ago when he lost a family member to a drunk driver.
In the 10 years the program has been running, not one person has come in to sign the contract.
Miller said he never expects anyone to actually sign it, but they use it as more of a tool with some shock value, in hopes of saving a life.
If you’re drinking and driving in the state of Illinois this holiday season, keep this in mind: When pulled over for DUI, the money you pay in fines will go in part to funding new cop cars and updated breathalyzer machines.
According to a report from the Illinois News Tribune, as much as 20 percent of a DUI fine goes to the arresting county’s police department, while the rest of the fine is distributed to other funds – some of which include new police cruisers and new breath test equipment.
It’s just one more reason to be extra careful on the roads this holiday season – if you don’t get a ticket, you won’t be contributing to state police funding!
Since 2007, DUI arrests for women has risen almost 30%. We see this increasing trend with many female celebrities who have been arrested for suspicion of drunken driving.
Heather Locklear was arrested back 2007 for suspicion of drinking and driving in Santa Barbara, Cali. A concerned driver on the road called the police stating Locklear was driving erratically on the road.
She plead no contest to DUI but pled guilty to a lesser charge of a misdemeanor of reckless driving. She paid a $700 fine and was sentenced to attend a 12 hour drug education program and placed on three years’ probation.
Lindsay Lohan received her DUI offense in 2007 as well. She pled no contest to driving under the influence and received three years probation. The judge also ordered her to serve 10 days community service, spend 30 days in drug rehab and complete an 18 month alcohol education program.
Her probation was recently extended as a Beverly Hills judge stated Lohan did not complete the required treatment programs because she filmed out of state. Her DUI attorney claims she can finish the required programs and feels they can overturn the extension.
Actress Joyce Dewitt was arrested in July of 2009 under a suspicion of a driving under the influence. She allegedly drove through a barricade attracting the local police department.
When they walked up to her car they could smell alcohol. They gave her the regulated field tests and afterward she was arrested. Dewitt was released after posting $5000 bail.
Is there a connection with female celebs and the increasing percentage of females being arrested for driving under the influence? Many might look up to these famous women and follow the trend. Or could it be the increasing pressure of the economic times as many women are strong in the workforce.
At this point there are many possibilities as to why this is on the rise with woman in the U.S., but it’s only speculation at this point.
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.
Many weird circumstances can surround a DUI offense. One’s inhibitions are down and one thing leads to another.
In some instances, people break into establishments or end up stealing, not realizing their actions will be dealt with and there are consequences.
Take 29-year-old Timothy Peare, for example in Bethlehem, Pa. He attempted to steal a tow truck from Saucon Collision hoping to remove his vehicle from an impound.
His vehicle was taken there earlier in the evening. He never actually drove the tow truck off the property, but he had started the vehicle with the intent to help get his car back.
It appears he had a DUI arrest earlier that day and just wanted to get his vehicle.
Now he is faced with more than just a DUI charge. The police are charging Peare with a criminal attempt to steal a vehicle, theft from a vehicle and loitering/prowling at nighttime.
Another instance of a drunk driver , Claud Gipson- Reynolds, stole a fire truck in Sonoma County, Calif. after he got his car stuck in the mud.
He thought it would be a good idea to break into the fire house to at first call a tow truck. When he saw the fire truck the bright idea popped into his head to “borrow” the fire truck to help push his vehicle out of the mud.
But he also got the fire truck stuck in the mud about 20 feet away from his car. He then decided to call a tow truck from the fire truck radio’s engine, but instead of a tow truck coming to his rescue, the highway patrol rolled up to the scene.
Gipson-Reynolds was arrested and spent a night in the “drunk tank.” Later he stated this whole incident helped him to realize he had a drinking problem, and he will think twice before he gets into a car to drink and drive.
Many should think about the DUI penalties and aftermath of their decisions they may face if convicted of DUI.
Sources: The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle