Archive for the ‘DUI News’ Category
Lubbock, TX- A local teenager, her parents and an apartment complex have been hit with a new multi-million dollar lawsuit after a drunken driving accident involving at least five cars took the life of one man and left others injured.
Authorities say that Jessica Traylor was drunk when she left a pool party at the Ranch Apartments on April 29. According to a police report, Traylor ran a red light at the intersection of Quaker Ave. and 19th Street just after 8 p.m.
When Traylor ran the red light she set of a chain of collisions that resulted in one man’s death. According to the Amarillo Globe News, Traylor’s Lincoln sedan slammed into a SUV as it was turning left at the intersection. The impact of the collision pushed the SUV into Liandro Garcia, 47, who was riding his motorcycle; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The SUV that Traylor struck first was carrying two passengers who have been identified as Storm Murray and Jane Alaand. Both Murray and Alaand suffered serious bodily injuries, the Amarillo Globe News reported.
Everything Lubbock online reported that a total of five cars were involved in the accident. Traylor along with four other people were hurt with their injuries ranging from moderate to mild.
Once on the scene police determined that Traylor was intoxicated and paced her under arrest. She is facing charges of negligent homicide, but the criminal charges are just a few of the teen’s problems that are beginning to mount. If Traylor is convicted she could face anywhere from 2 to 20 years in jail.
Garcia and Murray have both filed lawsuits against Traylor, naming her parents and the apartment complex as co-defendants. Garcia’s widow is seeking a $15 wrongful death settlement and Murray is seeking $1 million for his injuries.
KCBD TV reported that Traylor was arrested in March for possession of a dangerous drug. The person was with was also received a citation for minor possession of alcohol.
A DUI at any age is serious, but most states, Texas included, have a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinkers. That means that any person under the age of 21 with a .02 blood alcohol level, which is barely one drink for most people, will face criminal charges.
To be charged with a DUI, adults have to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more, though there is a push on the federal level to lower the legal limit to .05.
Judges can sentence drunk drivers to jail after their first offense, so it is critical that any person at any age charged with a DUI hires an attorney to defend them in court. With a strong defense, the offender can plead to a lesser charge.
A practiced Lubbock DUI attorney will use any number of defense strategies, depending on the circumstances of a case, to prevent a conviction or enter a plea for a reduced sentence or charge. Anyone who is arrested for driving under the influence should retain an attorney as soon as they are able.
Naples, FL- Recently, Barbara Walters talked candidly about her adopted daughter’s problems with drugs and alcohol, and now Jacqueline Danforth is in trouble with the law after she was arrested for driving under the influence Sunday night.
According to the police reports obtained by the National Enquirer, Danforth was in a SUV that was parked with the lights out late Sunday night in the Naples. When police approached the SUV they began questioning an unidentified man who was a passenger in the SUV.
The Enquirer reported that Danforth was unsteady on her feet, “swaying wildly” and becoming agitated with the police officer. She allegedly grabbed the officer, who had to force her to the ground before she was placed under arrest.
Police apparently found a small amount of marijuana and a pipe on the male passenger. He was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Danforth, 44, was placed under arrest and booked for driving under the influence, though it is not clear if she was drunk or on drugs. This is first such charge for Danforth who has had a history substance abuse, but no adult criminal charges. According to the Daily Mail, Danforth was released from jail after posting $1,000 bail. Danforth and her male companion will be arraigned in June.
Walters adopted Danforth in 1968 when she was an infant, but Danforth couldn’t get over her feelings of abandonment, something Walters’ chronicled in her recent autobiography and during her round of the talk shows.
Danforth has also frank with her drug use, telling NBC news, “I did marijuana.” She also admitted she did meth, “It was called crank then, but it’s now methamphetamines. Quaaludes were all over the place. Valium. And the drugs numbed all the other feelings.”
Danforth also said in the same interview, “But it didn’t take away the issues that I had. They got bigger and bigger. I was more and more isolated from my mom’s world. And I thought running [away from home] would solve all my problems.”
Danforth was in trouble quite a bit as a teenager and spent some time in a boot camp for troubled girls. Her past drug problems compelled Danforth to start a youth program which combined outdoor activities with psychological counseling. She ran New Horizons for Young Women in Maine until 2008; it is unclear why the program closed down.
Barbara Walters couldn’t be reached for comment.
Given Danforth’s history with substance abuse, it is somewhat surprising that she has not been arrested for driving under the influence before.
For many people with a substance abuse problem, getting arrested for DUI will put them in a position to get help either voluntarily or by court order. Often times, a DUI attorney, when building a defense, will arrange for their client to attend a substance abuse program in lieu of a jail sentence. DUI sentences also typically require that offenders take alcohol and drug education programs to prevent future incidents of intoxicated driving.
The case goes back to the 2010 arrest of Tommy Tyler Jr., who was pulled over for having an obstructed license plate. During the course of Tyler’s traffic stop, the officer noticed an odor of alcohol and asked Tyler to submit to a breathalyzer test, which showed his blood alcohol level .14, nearly twice the legal limit of .08, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
The officer in the case stated he pulled Tyler over because the license plate cover on his Cadillac Escalade was tinted and the officer stated he was unable to read it.
Tyler appealed his case, insisting that one of his constitutional rights were violated when the officer pulled him over.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects everyone from unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement. The amendment prevents police from pulling over a driver with the intent of discovering if they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol without having probable cause, meaning the driver must violate traffic or other laws before an officer has the right to conduct a stop.
Last month, the Iowa Supreme Court determined that Tyler’s Fourth Amendment right was violated and the arresting officer had no right to pull Tyler over, which effectively invalidated the evidence gathered in the case.
In 2011, Tyler tried to get the evidence thrown out of court, however an appeals court denied his motion, but he kept pursuing the case.
According to WHO TV, Tyler believes the traffic stop may have had something to do with this race. He said, “I tell you the racial profiling thing, gotta stop. Black man, white man, black man, white Escalade. c’mon.” Tyler added, “If they just stop and think and…back off of that. I mean they use anything just to stop you just to go farther and it’s not a good thing.”
However, Johnston’s police chief said an internal investigation did not reveal that any racial profiling led Tyler’s arrest.
In their decision the Iowa Supreme Court said the evidence indicated that Tyler did not have tinted plates. The court also noted that the arresting officer was able to call in the license plate number after he pulled Tyler over.
When establishing a DUI defense, an Iowa attorney will first question if the officer had probable cause to pull a driver over. Police, even if they suspect a driver is drunk cannot go on a “fishing expedition.”
Challenging probable cause is among the many defense strategies in an Iowa DUI attorney’s arsenal. There are a number of other strategies an experienced attorney can employ to help a person avoid a DUI conviction, such as challenging the results of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer. With the assistance of a legal professional, alleged DUI offenders have the opportunity to stop a conviction or plea for a reduced sentence.
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.