November 30, 2014

Breathalyzer App Calls Uber For Impaired Users

When out drinking for a night, it can be difficult to track how much alcohol you have consumed. It may also be difficult to know when you shouldn’t get behind the wheel.

Certain breathalyzer apps have purported to help drivers in Alabama and nationwide better understand when they are over the legal limit to prevent DUI or drinking related accidents. Now a new breathalyzer app takes an extra step by contacting Uber, the ride service provider, once it detects a user is over the legal blood-alcohol limit.

The company known as “Breathometer” has introduced a new device that informs drivers of how drunk they are, and hails a ride from Uber when the user is legally drunk.

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According to reports, the device is called “Breeze,” and has the ability to test the blood alcohol level of a user, similar to other breathalyzer apps. The application goes a step further to help drivers make better decisions, by not getting behind the wheel. The “Breeze” app is connected to a mobile app, via Bluetooth, and has the ability to test blood-alcohol content (BAC). It can provide an estimated time frame before the driver’s BAC will return to zero. The app links to the Uber app, which allows users to quickly find a local ride. The app also gives users the option of phoning a friend or other nearby cab company. Users report the app is easy to use and returns results quickly.

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November 30, 2014

Breathalyzers and the Potential for Violation of Civil Liberties

While you may know you have some rights during a police stop, do you know what your rights are related to a breathalyzer test?

Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over and probable cause to search your person or your vehicle. Any unlawful search of your person or your property could amount to the suppression of evidence or the dismissal of your case. What if a cop asks you to take a breathalyzer test? Are your civil liberties at stake?

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The law surrounding breathalyzer tests varies depending on the circumstances. What if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint? Or if an officer claims he saw you swerve over the median?

The consequences for simply submitting to a breath test can be severe, even if the breathalyzer tests show the driver's blood-alcohol content was under the legal limit of 0.08 percent. For example, some instances, students have been penalized by their university because of an arrest, even if not convicted. In some cases, a driver can still be arrested if the BAC was under the legal limit, so long as the officer has probable cause to suspect that whatever was consumed resulted in impairment.

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November 26, 2014

Study: Majority of Heavy Drinkers in U.S. Are Not Alcoholics

Visit your neighborhood bar or attend a local sporting event and you are likely to see a very common American past-time — alcohol consumption. In Alabama and nationwide, Americans like to drink. Whether your drink of choice is wine, beer, or a cocktail, consuming alcohol is more common than not.

But is heavy drinking in the U.S. a problem?

According to a recent study discussed on Alabama Public Radio, many Americans are heavy drinkers. Yet, the majority of those drinkers are not alcoholics. Researchers believe with some behavioral therapies, these drinkers can get back on track, without requiring complete abstinence.

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Historically, there has been a presumption there are only two kinds of drinkers: moderate drinkers who may enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, and alcoholics, who get black-out drunk as soon as they take a sip.

New research suggests the majority of drinkers in the U.S. fall somewhere in between. Based on a new study published in Preventing Chronic Disease, the majority of adults who drink will drink a few alcoholic beverages during the week and even more on the weekends. An analysis of the study compared to recommended servings, means that at least 1 in 3 American adults is considered a heavy or excessive drinker.

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November 24, 2014

Women Over 60 and the Rise of Alcoholism

Those who are habitually under the influence of alcohol or who suffer from alcoholism are more likely to get pulled over and charged with drinking and driving. Individuals who face second or third DUI offenses are more often than not victims of alcoholism.

According to a recent report, a new demographic is becoming more likely to need treatment for alcohol addiction—women over the age of 60. Researchers found women over the age of 60 make up nearly 1 in 10 of females who undergo formal alcohol dependency programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Addiction experts and psychologists have seen a problematic rise in problem drinking, driven by a culture of drinking at home, especially for older Americans.

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The downtrodden economy as well as women staying at home can both contribute to patterns of heavier drinking and addiction. The trend was first tracked in England, where researchers found a 65 percent rise in the number of older women treated for alcoholism in the past five years. Rather than going out to a bar or restaurant to drink, researchers say more women are drinking in the privacy of their own home, which can result in more dependency issues. Many of those drinking at home, alone are older women, study authors found.

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November 18, 2014

Cannabix: Marijuana Breathalyzer Effectiveness Weighed

Driving under the influence of marijuana can be a criminal offense, but it is often difficult for officers to know “how high is too high” or to test drivers for intoxication. In states where marijuana has been legalized, the threat of criminal prosecution for driving under the influence can be a burden for users with a right to use medical marijuana or where marijuana is legal for recreational use.

Law enforcement agencies have also conceded proving a driver is under the influence can be challenging, especially when they are trying to charge a driver with DUI. Testing drivers for marijuana may become easier, as a new product is being launched to test the impairment of drivers.

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Cannabix is a “marijuana breathalyzer” becoming available to law enforcement agencies nationwide to help authorities test a driver’s level of impairment. According to representatives from the company, the breathalyzer allows law enforcement to test a driver’s ability without using an invasive procedure, like drawing blood. Cannabix was revealed at the National Marijuana Business convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, though it is still in a “concept-phase” and has not yet been released to the general public or law enforcement agencies. The product is currently being tested and marketing is being prepared for the Cannabix launch.

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November 14, 2014

Magic City Classic Raises Awareness to Prevent DUI Accidents

Football season on college campuses means parties and drinking, which can also result in drunk driving and dangerous accidents. Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University students are familiar with the annual football battle between the two schools in their traditional Magic City Classic week.

The festivities mark one of the biggest celebrations in Birmingham, attracting tens of thousands of fans statewide. One family who lost their son in a Magic City drunk driving accident 21 years ago has used the occasion to raise drunk driving awareness and to prevent future accidents and injuries.

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In Leeds and throughout the state, parents, administrators, and safety advocacy groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board are encouraging students to be drug and alcohol free this season. If students do decide to take part in drinking activities, they are encouraged to drink responsibility. MADD has made it a priority in Alabama and nationwide to raise awareness and to help prevent underage drinking and driving accidents. The last week of October is also known as “Red Ribbon Week,” a time for supporters to join together to curb incidents of impaired driving.

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November 12, 2014

25-Year-Old Gets Two-Year Prison Sentence for DUI

Getting behind the wheel after a couple of drinks is not against the law, so long as you are not impaired. However, as anyone who has been stopped and arrested for intoxicated driving knows, the consequences can be severe and lasting.

In a recent Alabama case, a 29-year-old was arrested and charged with DUI and is now preparing to serve a two-year prison sentence after causing a crash-related death. If you think that a DUI is a minor charge that is easily overcome —think again. Without an experienced attorney, you are likely to loss your license, incur huge fines and possibly lose your freedom due to an extended jail sentence.

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Any DUI charge and conviction will carry penalties. These will likely increase in “aggravated” DUI cases where the incident involves an accident, injury or other circumstances carrying more severe penalties.

In this case, defendant was involved in a fatal collision that killed a 25-year-old woman. According to reports, the Montgomery defendant confessed to drinking and driving and crashing his vehicle. He plead guilty to murder and first-degree assault in September, and will now spend the next two years in prison.

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November 9, 2014

Montgomery Officer Arrested, Resigns After DUI

A drunk driving arrest and conviction can be damaging personally and professionally. This is especially true for individuals employed by law enforcement agencies. In a recent case, a Montgomery police officer resigned after getting pulled over and arrested for DUI. The 28-year-old officer was arrested in late October after he was involved in a two-vehicle collision on a Montgomery highway. According to police reports, the officer struck another vehicle that was stopped at an intersection.

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When a drunk driving offense involves a car accident, penalties are likely to be even more severe. In the event a drunk driving arrest is related to an accident and property damage or personal injuries, defendant could face additional charges and penalties. In this case, there were no injuries reported following the collision. The off-duty officer was arrested after he failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Montgomery City Jail where he was charged with driving under the influence.

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October 30, 2014

Two DUI Suspects Charged with Having Sex in Police Car

Generally speaking, the police do not transport male and female arrestees or inmates in the same vehicle. There is a good reason. According to a recent article from the Green Bay Press Gazette, a male and female suspect who had been arrested separately for drunk driving were put in the back of the same police car to take them to the station.

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While being transported, the couple started having sex in the back of the police cruiser. The officer immediately ordered the male DUI suspect to pull up his pants and placed him in the front of the police car.

When they arrived at the station, both were charged with lewd and lascivious behavior in addition to driving under the influence of alcohol.

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October 25, 2014

Man Allegedly Passes Out at Drive Through and Then Tries to Order Food From Police

Normally a DUI stop involves the police pulling over a driver who is swerving, weaving, or driving in some way that suggests the driver might be under the influence. In some cases, civilians will call the police when they are concerned that someone is driving drunk.

hamburger-1198649-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from the News Tribune, workers at a fast food restaurant called the police after a man who appeared to be drunk came up to the drive through window and passed out. The man must have woken up at some point, because police arrived to find his car straddling two parking spaces designated for disabled persons.

When the officers approached the man’s car, the backup lights turned on, and the car started moving. The officer moved out of the way to avoid a collision and approached the car on foot. Officers alleged that they saw the man throw his car keys into the back seat. When they attempted to speak to him, he allegedly tried to order food from the police.

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October 21, 2014

DUI Suspect Arrested While Allegedly Driving Naked with Three-Year-Old Child on Her Lap

According to a recent news article from Action 10 News, witnesses saw a woman in Corpus Christi remove all of her clothes while standing outside of her car with her three-year-old son. She then got in the car with the child and drove away. When police pulled the woman over, she was allegedly in the car, completely naked, with her child sitting on her lap. Police arrested the suspect for driving under the influence. The child was left with his father when the woman was taken to jail.

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October 17, 2014

Man Arrested at Alabama Sobriety Checkpoint for Smuggling Tortoises

Sobriety checkpoints are frequently used by police in Alabama to arrest people for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. In a recent story from AL.com, a man was arrested at a DUI checkpoint in Covington County, after he allegedly tried to smuggle six protected gopher tortoises into the state.

turtle-1431649-1-m.jpgAuthorities are reporting that the suspect was charged with possession of a non-game species. This is a misdemeanor criminal charge. It is believed that the man was planning on eating the turtles. This particular type of turtle is a protected by Alabama state law and is a listed as a threatened species by the United States Government. It is alleged that the suspect had obtained the turtles in Florida, where they are listed as a protected species.

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