Archive for the ‘DUI News’ Category
Vick, a Democrat from Chesterfield, was arrested by an officer from the Bureau of Protective Services in the parking lot of the state House after he was observed “staggering side to side” and “struggling to maintain his balance,” the Huffington Post reported. According to the official report, Vick got into his car and hit a cone before the officer stopped him.
But Vick’s attorney, fellow state representative Todd Rutherford said Vick was imbalanced because, “he had a rock in his shoe.” Adding, “The way he walks does not dictate the way you drive. And he only saw him driving 20 feet.”
“Ted was not intoxicated. He was not drunk. He was not impaired. I have never in all my years seen anybody stopped by an officer on foot in a parking garage,” Rutherford said, according to a report by the Associated Press.
However, the State reported that Vick smelled strongly of alcohol and refused to submit to field sobriety tests.
According to the incident report, Vick admitted to officers that he had two glasses of wine with dinner earlier that evening. The State reported that an officer asked the lawmaker if he would typically “feel comfortable in his in his current state, Vick said, ‘No, I have drivers.’”
Vick refused to take a breathalyzer once he was taken to jail, just like last May when he was pulled over and charged with DUI.
Vick’s run-in with police last May had similarities to his most recent arrest, not only did he refuse a breath test but he also ran into traffic cones in that incident as well.
Last May, Vick was pulled over by an officer around 1 a.m. for speeding and “having trouble driving in a straight line,” the Huffington Post reported. The police report stated that Vick ran over a flex cone before stopping, which Rutherford said was due to the size of his truck.
The officer’s report said there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from Vick’s breath. In that incident Vick also refused to submit to field sobriety tests.
Vick also had a passenger in his car, a 21 year-old university student who said he was giving her a ride home from a local bar. The State said he also had a pistol on his person and his concealed weapons permit had expired in 2007.
According to the Huffington Post, Vick’s first DUI charged was eventually dropped, and it’s possible that he might be able to avoid the second charge, especially with a strong defense.
South Carolina has an implied consent law, which means that by having a driver’s license you automatically give police the right to ask you submit to a sobriety tests and refusing to do so means you could have your license suspended immediately and lose it for several months.
Charleston, SC- Over one-third of all traffic fatalities are caused by intoxicated drivers. This is such an alarming statistic that the National Traffic Safety Board believes that lowering the legal blood alcohol limit is a way to combat this problem.
Currently, the legal limit nationwide is .08 percent, but the NTSB has issued a recommendation that the legal limit be lowered to .05 percent.
“This is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States,” said Deborah Hersman, the NTSB chairman said, according to USA Today. “To make a bold difference will require bold action. But it can be done.”
The U.S. has been fallen behind the majorities of 100 other countries which lowered the legal limit to .05. According to the NTSB, lowering the limit to .05 percent will save an estimated 500 lives each year.
The NTSB said that even low blood alcohol levels can be dangerous. According to the board, drivers with BAC of .01 displayed attention problems and lane deviations in driving simulators. Additionally, at 0.02, drivers exhibit drowsiness, and at 0.04, drivers were much less aware and alert.
“In the last 30 years, more than 440,000 people have perished in this country due to alcohol-impaired driving. What will be our legacy 30 years from now?” Hersman asked during the Tuesday press conference, CNN reported. “If we don’t tackle alcohol-impaired driving now, when will we find the will to do so?”
Lowering the legal limit is just one among several other recommendations by the NTSB which are outlined in a report entitled, “Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving.”
Their other recommendations include requiring ignition interlock devices—equipment that prevents a car from starting if a driver is drunk– for first offenders and enhanced DUI patrols. The board also recommended that states expand law enforcement’s ability to confiscate the license of drivers, who exceed the legal limit, along with creating even more courts to deal with drunk driving cases.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association and MADD both support the idea of lowering the legal limit, but they also believe it may be a somewhat impossible task and are pushing for ignition interlock devices and enhanced patrols.
“When the limit was .10, it was very difficult to get it lowered to .08,” said Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the governors group told USA Today. “We don’t expect any state to go to .05.”
Not surprisingly, the American Beverage Institute, which represents thousands of restaurants nationwide, was critical of lowering the blood alcohol limit, noting that the average woman reaches a .05 BAC with just one drink. They also pointed out that 70 percent of alcohol-related fatalities were caused by drivers with a BAC of .15 or above.
“This recommendation is ludicrous,” Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, said in a statement to CNN. “Moving from 0.08 to 0.05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior.”
The NTSB cannot actually change laws, but they have significant influence over state lawmakers who can introduce drunk driving legislation.
Madison, WI- Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to make the state’s weak OWI laws tougher and met with little resistance earlier this month when they presented legislation at a public hearing which would make jail sentences mandatory for repeat drunk drivers.
The legislation, introduced by state Representatives Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon), and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills)would make a three year jail sentence mandatory for drunk drivers after their seventh, eighth or ninth OWI arrest. Offenders charged for a tenth DUI would be required to spend at least four years in jail, according to TwinCities.com.
The new legislation would also require a 30 day jail sentence for anyone who causes an accident involving injury.
The current DUI laws in the state are among the most lenient and the laws lag behind other states that take a much tougher approach towards intoxicated drivers. A first offense is the essentially the equivalent to a minor traffic violation. There is no mandatory jail term, the fines range between $150 and $300 and an alcohol assessment. If convicted the offender could lose their license for six to nine months.
In 2009, legislators passed bills that established mandatory sentences in some DUI cases aloing with making it a misdemeanor to have a child in the car if an adult has been drinking—in some states it is a felony for a drunk driver to have a child in the car—and making OWI a felony after the fourth offense.
Wisconsin lawmakers often run into steep criticism from the Tavern League when they try to pass tougher drunk driving legislation. But Tavern League lobbyist Scott Stenger said the new bill didn’t make sweping changes and his organization took no issue with the law, Twincities.com reported.
“Our position has been on repeat offenders there’s nothing you can propose … we would oppose. That needs to be where there’s a focus,” Stenger said.
The opposition the legislation comes from the Wisconsin Counties Association, which is concerned that mandatory jail terms would be costly. In written remarks the Wisconsin Counties Association said a minimum sentence of 30 days costs an average of $1,500 per offender, those costs would be passed onto the taxpayer.
But to legislators it is more important to save lives and keep drunk drivers off the road. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, an average of 200 people are killed by intoxicated drivers in the state on an annual basis. Over a ten year period, 51,000 people have been injured by drunk drivers on Wisconsin roads.
Drunk driving is responsible for at least one-third of all fatal accidents in the U.S. so it is in the interest of public safety to have tougher DUI laws. A mandatory sentence for repeat offenders makes sense, especially if they can help avoid one senseless death.
First-time DUI offenders are given a bit of a break and a Wisconsin DUI attorney can help them avoid a tough penalty if their DUI was an error in judgment.
According to CTnow.com, Marita A. Shurkus, 45, arrived to an afterschool program at a Southington elementary school to pick up her nine and eleven year olds, but staff at the school suspected she was intoxicated and refused to let her leave with the children. Staff members then alerted police
When police arrived Shurkus was arrested and charged with criminal attempt of risk of injury to a minor and operating under the influence. She was taken into custody following field sobriety tests, according to CTnow.com.
Although Sharkus did not harm her children, there have been instances in the past where children have been killed or seriously harmed because they were in a car with a drunken adult.
In Feb. of 2011 an Illinois man killed his girlfriend’s 5 year-old son in a drunk driving accident. Cecil Conner was driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit when he crashed into a tree. His girlfriend’s son was in the backseat and was killed instantly.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 211 children under the age of 15 were killed in drunk driving collisions in 2010, at least 60 percent were passengers of drunk adults.
The state of Connecticut has fairly strict laws regarding drunk driving which included a minimum jail sentence, suspension of driver’s license for as long as a year, a judge can also order the offender to install an ignition interlock device. But Connecticut is not tough on drivers who drive drunk with children in the vehicle.
Some lawmakers are aiming to change that, and introduced a bill earlier this year that would enhance DUI charges and penalties if a person has a child in the car. Washington D.C. and 43 other states have enhanced DUI laws but for some reason Connecticut is lagging behind.
State Representative Al Adinolfi introduced, for the third time, legislation that would make it a felony to drive with a child under the age of 16 in the car while intoxicated, it would carry a maximum jail sentence of 4 years.
Adinolfi’s legislation is similar to New York’s Leandra’s Law, which was named after Leandra Rosado, an 11 year-old girl who was killed when a driver flipped the van she was in on the Henry Hudson Parkway. Six other girls were injured.
MADD also encourages lawmakers to require ignition interlock devices for first offenders if they are arrested with minor children in their car.
“You’re putting that child in danger and there needs to be a punishment that goes along with that crime,” said MADD volunteer Skip Church.
Some say that the legislation is unnecessary since it is already a felony to risk of injury to a child and carries strict penalties. But sometimes prosecutors in the state drop the risk of injury charges if that is the offender’s first DUI charge.
Bryant was arrested last Friday in Ada, Oklahoma after an officer stopped him near the stadium at East Central University. The police report states that Bryant was “because he made a left turn after failing to signal until his vehicle had come to a stop at a stop sign on campus,” ESPN reported.
Bryant told the arresting officer that he was just driving a friend home from a party, and had not been drinking. He later admitted that he had a “few drinks earlier that evening.”
The police officer noted that Bryant had slurred speech, and a strong odor associated with an alcoholic beverage along with being unbalanced on his feet.
During the arrest, Bryant was refused to take the breathalyzer test properly and allegedly argued with the officer. According to ESPN, the officer had to take several different breathalyzer readings before getting an accurate one. The police report stated that Bryant told the officer “I just don’t want to lose my driver’s license.” His blood alcohol level varied ranging between 0.10 and 0.90. Like most states, the legal limit in Oklahoma is 0.08.
Bryant was booked into jail and faced a misdemeanor charge from driving under the influence.
“We are aware of the incident and are now in the process of collecting more information,” Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said in a statement. “We will not have any further comment.”
The Cleveland Browns took a chance on Bryant even though he was arrested last October for selling a small amount of marijuana to an undercover police officer on the East University Campus. He was charged with felonious distribution of a controlled substance and was suspended from the team for three weeks.
On draft day, Browns’ coach Rob Chudzinski said he checked into Bryant’s history and felt confident that Bryant was the right decision.
“Through the course of looking into his background with coach Cullen out there, as well as our scouting staff, we felt like he is past the mistakes that he’s made and ready to move on,” Chudzinski said, according to ESPN. “He’s matured.”
In his Tuesday court appearance, Bryant pleaded no contest, but his fate with the Browns is still unknown.
Bryant was given a one year deferred jail sentence and fined $1,136. He will also be required to sit on drunken driving victim’s impact panel and undergo substance abuse screening.
His agent, Marc Lillibridge, told the Plains Dealer his client was “remorseful,” adding that Bryant felt like “he let a lot of people down, especially the Cleveland Browns.”
The NFL typically suspends and fines players for one or two games, but they rarely apply tough sanctions on players who are arrested for DUI despite the alarming number who have been arrested for intoxicated driving. In 2012, 42 NFL players were charged with driving under the influence.