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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October 15, 2014

Olympic Icon Michael Phelps Arrested for DUI

It is not uncommon for a first-time DUI offender to be arrested and charged for second and third offenses. It is uncommon for that second-time offender to be the most decorated Olympian in history. According to CNN recent reports, legendary swimmer Michael Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI in Baltimore. This was not his first run-in with the police and his first DUI occurred before he was of legal drinking age. The swimmer was arrested in Maryland around 1:40 a.m. and charged with driving under the influence, excessive speeding, and for crossing over double lanes.

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According to his Twitter account, the athlete was not on a training break, but had returned to competitive swimming in April. The 29-year-old apologized for his actions and issued a series of messages on social media. Statements were also issued on behalf of the USA Swimming team finding his actions disappointing and “unquestionably serious.” Police reports stated that an officer was operating a stationary radar when a 2014 Land Rover passed traveling at 84 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. The officer trailed the vehicle onto northbound I-95 through the tunnel and pulled the driver over near the toll plaza. Using his driver’s license ID, it was confirmed that the 22-time medalist was behind the wheel.

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October 11, 2014

Alabama Inmate Arrested for DUI

Any DUI offender faces the potential of criminal charges, and penalties including fines, jail time, and a criminal record. The stakes are even higher for an inmate who busts out of jail on a joyride and then gets caught driving under the influence. After four years on probation, a violation landed an Alabama offender back in the Madison County Detention Facility. While serving out his 90-day-sentence, the offender was given a low security classification, allowing him to work as a class four inmate. This gave the inmate ample opportunities to leave the premises.

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According to reports, the inmate was working unsupervised in a fleet shop, remaining available during the evening hours to provide a vehicle to a deputy or fix a broken vehicle. The inmate was also responsible for some maintenance of on-site vehicles, including fixing a tire or performing repairs. County Sheriff’s Office authorities reported that there are over 1,000 inmates in the county who are in the trustee program. Supporters of the program say that there are a number of benefits and incentives, providing work and freedom for inmates, while also saving the county money. Inmates are not paid for the work, but they are provided extra food and tips for washing the vehicles. This also gives inmates the ability to buy additional personal items, including cigarettes, beverages, or snacks.

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October 7, 2014

Authorities: Public Campaign Strategies Curb DUIs

Every year, local and state authorities will develop ad campaigns to discourage drinking and driving. In addition to public service ads and statements, authorities will often ramp up law enforcement efforts through checkpoints and other aggressive tactics. While the campaigns can be beneficial to reduce drinking and driving, drivers should also be wary of the potential for surveillance and DUI arrest. According to local reports, public service slogans and campaigns like “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Arrive Alive,” do have power in curbing drunk driving. Authorities like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as Alabama state officials agree that the catchy slogans help to reduce drunk driving and save lives.

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According to authorities, driving under the influence is a leading factor in crashes that result in injuries and fatality. Due to the public safety risk authorities, including the Alabama Department of Public Safety as well as local law enforcement agencies, have been aggressive about anti-drunk driving campaigns and in aggressive law enforcement strategies to discourage drinking and driving. According to a local Alabama police department, one city issued more than 5,500 citations and made 260 DUI arrests since March. Though these numbers seem high, the Huntsville, Alabama police department argues that the numbers are down from last year due to public service campaigns.

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October 2, 2014

Mayor Suspended for DUI in Alabama's Largest “Dry” City

DUI arrests can impact the lives of those we least expect. According to recent reports, the mayor of Hartselle, Alabama’s largest “dry” city, has been arrested for driving under the influence. Though the mayor says he opposes the sale of alcohol within city limits, he was allegedly caught driving to neighboring towns, where alcohol is permitted, and then driving home. The case is a reminder that anyone, even those with good intentions, can be unexpectedly caught in the legal hassle of a DUI.

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The 61-year-old Hartselle city councilman was elected mayor in 2012. A longtime advocate of the alcohol-free Alabama city, the mayor was also caught up in a recent DUI scandal that made national headlines. According to authorities, the mayor was arrested on Interstate 65 in Limestone County at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 27th. He was booked at the local jail and released on a $1,000 bond. The mayor has already been stripped of his driver’s license but is likely to face additional penalties, including fines, a potential jail sentence, as well as a criminal record.

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September 30, 2014

Two States and a 57-Mile DUI Pursuit

Police officers will go to extreme lengths to apprehend and detain a suspect. As we have all seen police chase footage on reality shows or the news, it is not uncommon for police to engage in high-speed chases--even across state lines.

In a recent case, officers pursued a suspect for 57 miles and through two states and multiple counties at high speeds. The pursuit, which started as a garden variety traffic stop, ended with an Alabama arrest and DUI charge. According to reports, the 37-year-old driver was pulled over in Pensacola, Florida and stopped when a female passenger opened the door. When the officer ran to catch the passenger, she jumped back in the vehicle and the driver hit the gas and peeled out, allegedly nearly hitting the deputy. The deputy had already called for backup as he began the pursuit of the red Ford pickup.

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Any DUI allegation or other criminal charge will carry additional penalties for defendants who try to flee the scene. In addition to underlying drunk driving charges, suspects can also face charges for evading an officer or reckless driving, charges that will become more severe in the event of an accident or injury. Our Birmingham DUI attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals who have been charged with DUI in Alabama. In addition to providing strategic advocacy and counsel to those charged with drunk driving, we are also committed to raising awareness and staying abreast of drunk-driving cases throughout the region.

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September 25, 2014

Study Reveals Breathalyzer App Inconsistencies

Before Smartphones and portable breathalyzer tests, those who consumed alcohol had to guess whether they were over the legal limit before getting behind the wheel. Anyone who has consumed alcohol likely knows the tell-tale signs--blurred vision, unstable balance, even a change in personality. But how easy is it to identify symptoms of intoxication in ourselves? The breathalyzer app was intended to be a modern solution to the old-age dilemma- but, do they work? And are they accurate? A recent investigation studied the results on breathalyzer applications and have raised suspicion of accuracy. Nationwide, authorities have urged drivers not to believe everything a Smartphone tells them.

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After drinking, it can be difficult to know whether you are too intoxicated or over the legal limit. This can be especially difficult if you have only had one or two drinks. Compound this with variables, including how much you have eaten, the temperature outside, or how much water you have consumed, and the BAC results are always likely to vary. Our Birmingham DUI attorneys understand the frustrations faced by drivers who have been arrested and charged with DUI. We also know that even if you were only slightly over, you could face severe criminal charges and penalties. To best protect your rights, you should have a clear understanding of how breathalyzer apps and BAC evidence may be used against you in court.

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September 21, 2014

Police Officer Charged in DUI-Related Homicide

According to a recent report from WCVB.com, a Lowell, Massachusetts police offer (“Defendant”) was charged in connection with a fatal DUI. Authorities are reporting that the victim was driving a mid-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV) when Defendant, in a larger SUV, crossed over the double yellow lines and crashed into his car. The 26-year-old victim was killed in the alcohol-related accident.

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Defendant was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), homicide involving a DUI, and cited for several other moving violations, including driving over the double yellow lines.

As your Birmingham, Alabama DUI lawyer can explain, while this at first appears to be a homicide case, the most important job is to defend the DUI. If an attorney can fight the DUI charge and show that the driver was not impaired, than the driver cannot be found guilty of the homicide charge in what was actually just an unfortunate car accident.

There are many ways to challenge a DUI. Many DUI arrests are based upon an officer’s claim that a driver failed the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), which are authorized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These “tests” are used in every jurisdiction, including Alabama.

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September 17, 2014

State v. Edwards: On the Warrant Requirement in DUI Blog Draw Cases

In State v. Edwards, a DUI case before the Supreme Court of South Dakota, Defendant was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. During his arrest, the officer read Defendant the contents of a pre-printed card.

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Essentially, Defendant was informed that after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the fact that he was operating a motor vehicle in the state meant that he had consented to giving a blood, breath, or urine sample. Defendant was also told that he had the right to an additional chemical test by a technician of his choosing at his own expense.

The arresting officer asked Defendant twice if he understood the warning, but defendant remained silent. The arresting officer and the booking officer told him that if he refused to consent to a blood test, they would use a restraint chair and force him to give a sample. The officers then placed him in a restraint chair, held a Tazer to his stomach and told him that they would use it if he resisted. The officers were able to get a successful blood draw at this point.

Defendant was later indicted for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol under the relevant state statute. If this were an Alabama case the DUI statute can be found in §32-5A-191.1 of the state code.

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September 13, 2014

State v. Buckland: The Admissibility of Breath Test Results in a DUI Trial

State v. Buckland, a case from the Connecticut Supreme Court, involved a defendant (“Defendant”) who was convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the Influence (DUI) of intoxicating liquor and operating a motor vehicle while having an elevated blood-alcohol content (BAC).

breathalyzer-46-m.jpgIn Alabama, your Birmingham DUI defense attorney can explain that the legal limit is 0.08 grams of ethanol (drinking alcohol) per 100 milliliters of blood.

In Buckland, Defendant was driving his car when a state special constable, using radar gun, observed him traveling at 50mph in a 34mph zone. The constable pulled Defendant over after he had driven an additional seven-tenths of mile before stopping.

When the officer approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, he detected an odor of alcohol through Defendant’s open widow. The officer noted in his police report that Defendant’s speech was a slurred, and his eyes were glossy. Defendant also had difficulty getting his documents from the glove compartment and wallet. Defendant admitted that he had two glasses of wine prior to driving.

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