Friday Fallout: High School Students Witnesses To New Mexico DWI Trial

New Mexico DWI Before New Mexico ignition interlock laws changed to include first time offenders, the state had a serious problem with drunk drivers. Since that law passed in 2005, the state has steadily cracked down on anyone who drives while intoxicated. As a result of the New Mexico DWI changing for the better, public perception of drunk driving has changed too.

New Mexico has created unique programs to promote public education on the dangers of drunk driving, and part of that public education includes high school students. That’s why the West Mesa High School students were taken to a performance facilitated in part by the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.

The students, numbering in the hundreds, were witnesses to what happens when someone is arrested for New Mexico DWI. They were invited to listen to the West Mesa Performing Arts Center to watch a replicated court room in action as two DWI cases were presided over by the judge.

The defendants were both two-time DWI offenders in New Mexico, and they were handed down sentences while the students watched. When that part of it was over, the defendants talked about how the crime has impacted their lives. One of the defendants detailed how he was just going to get pizza after a few drinks, and because of that poor choice he lost his car, his driver’s license, and had to pay thousands in fees, fines, and wages he lost because he missed work. He said if he could go back and make his decision all over again, he’d call Uber.

Why would a high school show teens what happens in a DWI courtroom? According to organizers, it’s part education and part showing them what the future could bring if they decide to drink and drive too. No one wants to be arrested for New Mexico DWI, and maybe when these teens find themselves in the same situation, they’ll remember this experience and make the smart choice.

Oklahoma Drunk Driving Laws Are Changing, Again

oklahoma drunk driving There’s trouble brewing in the world of Oklahoma drunk driving law, and it could have a major effect on how first-time DUI offenders are penalized after an arrest. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has just ruled that a new drunk driving law, the Impaired Driver Elimination Act, is unconstitutional.

Backing up to March of 2017, the Oklahoma State Senate passed new legislation that would change how a first time Oklahoma drunk driving offender would be treated under the eyes of the law. The new program was called the Impaired Driver Elimination Act, and it would allow first time offenders to reduce their driver’s license suspension from one year to six months when they install an ignition interlock in their vehicle.

If these offenders completed the program they would not have the charge appear on their driver’s license record, and that means they can continue to work, drive their family, and move on with their lives without having to lose jobs or take a bus.

This new law was signed by the Governor in June of 2017 and took effect in November 2017. Just one month later, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck it down. They ruled that this new program, requiring ignition interlocks for first time offenders, violated constitutional guidelines.

Specifically, there are 17 sections in the new law that dealt with driver’s license suspensions, ignition interlock devices, and blood and breathalyzer test. Combined, they denied a suspect his or her due process rights, and because of that the new law must be struck down.

The decision was 5-4 and it was made by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, so it’s unlikely the law as it was written will see the light of day again. That’s unfortunate, because the bottom line with a program like this is that it offers offenders a chance to quickly get back on track with their lives after a DUI conviction.

With an ignition interlock on your car, the court will be satisfied you’re not going to drive drunk again. When you have that interlock you shouldn’t be tempted to drink and drive either, and having the option to have that DUI conviction cleared from your record is something many convicted drunk drivers would opt for.

What will the state of Oklahoma come up with to replace the Impaired Driver Elimination Act? Hopefully it will include ignition interlocks as an option for all first time offenders, because that’s the best way to stop a drunk driver from driving drunk again.

There’s A Bright Side To The Florida Ignition Interlock Program

Florida Ignition InterlockTaking part in the Florida ignition interlock program is a requirement for a Florida DUI, but only if a few conditions are met. First offenders need to install one if they are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .15, and second, third, and other repeat offenders must use the device for at least a year after conviction.

When you are required to use an interlock, you can expect, as part of your Florida ignition interlock program, to stop driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. What you wouldn’t expect is that the very same device can also stop someone from stealing your car. Or, if it doesn’t stop that person, it can slow them down and record evidence too.

Need an example? A 17-year-old from Hillsborough County, Florida was recently arrested after he stole a car outside of a McDonald’s restaurant recently. The owner of the car was standing outside of the restaurant and had left his car running nearby. The teen decided to jump into the car and drive away, and when he did the owner gave chase.

The owner was dragged by the vehicle before he let go, and the teen took off. It was found abandoned the next morning, and although you’d think the teen got away free and clear, think again. Because of the Florida ignition interlock requirement, this teen was caught in the act.

Ignition interlock devices are equipped with a camera that records the driver providing a breath sample. This teen had to blow into the device to start the car, and he was most likely required to blow into it again for a rolling retest. Maybe he didn’t realize his photo was being taken every time he blew into it, but whether he knew or not, photographic evidence was easily obtained thanks to the interlock.

An ignition interlock is a penalty, and most people just want to get through their program, drive sober, and move on with their lives. But if you look on the positive side, that interlock can teach you to drive sober and, if you lose your car due to theft, it can help identify the thief too.

Drunk Driving In Texas Can Start With Just One Drink

drunk driving in Texas The biggest question people have about drinking and driving is, “How much is too much?” The answer to that question is simple: there is no safe amount of alcohol you can drink before you drive, and the Texas Department of Transportation would like you to be aware of that. The risk of your crashing or being arrested because of drunk driving in Texas can begin at very low levels of impairment.

According to TDOT, every 20 minutes someone in Texas is injured or killed because of an alcohol-related drunk driving crash. Given the risk, why do people drink and drive? It might be because they don’t realize that one drink might be all it takes to impair your driving skills.

Alcohol affects everyone in a different way

Alcohol has the power to affect your vision, hand/eye coordination, and motor skills, and the effects begin as soon as you’ve had your first drink. What happens after that drink hits your bloodstream depends on a few factors including whether you’re male or female, what your body weight is, and your age.

No every drink is created the same way either. Tall cans of beer look like one can, but they can include as many as three servings of beer. Cocktails you purchase in a club can have two or three different types of liquor, and some wines have more alcohol-content than others.

Because of those differences, no one can tell you that it’s safe to drive after drinking one drink. While one person will feel sober after one or two glasses of beer in an hour, another will be well on their way to impairment after drinking the same amount. That person could easily be arrested for drunk driving in Texas, all because they drank the same amount as another person.

If you’d like to have a drink with dinner or you want to drive home after you’ve been out drinking, your best option is to find a sober driver. If you have to ask yourself, “How much is too much?” you shouldn’t be driving.

Are Wisconsin OWI Offenders Skipping Their Interlocks?

Wisconsin OWI The news is full of stories about drunk drivers violating Wisconsin OWI laws, and that’s not really surprising all things considered. At this time first time offenders who are arrested for Wisconsin OWI receive what amounts to nothing more than a traffic ticket.

But letting those first-time offenders get off easily can result in that person becoming a second, third, or four-time offender, and once they get to that point the Wisconsin penalty system will kick in and they’ll be forced to pay the price.

Unfortunately a lot of offenders seem to be weighing whether or not they want to actually comply with those penalties, many people may be skipping out on their ignition interlock program. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were over 300 convictions relating to either tampering with or failing to install an ignition interlock.

An ignition interlock—a device that requires the drunk driving offender to blow an alcohol-free breath sample before the engine will turn over, is required to be installed on every repeat Wisconsin OWI offender’s vehicle. They are also required for any first-time offender who is arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher and anyone who refuses the breathalyzer when suspected of drunk driving.

Without an ignition interlock to stop a convicted drunk driver, that driver can continue to get behind the wheel while drunk. If that happens, he or she could easily crash and kill someone or themselves. That’s why the Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation Safety plans on creating a ignition interlock monitoring program.

In order to monitor all ignition interlock offenders, the bureau will need to pair with law enforcement and keep track of all offenders and all data relating to an ignition interlock. From the moment of arrest that person will need to be tracked, and that’s a big project for the state.

But out of all the states that should make the effort, Wisconsin is at the top of the list. More than fines, fees, and even jail time, ignition interlocks need to be part of a drunk driver’s rehabilitation program. If they aren’t, there’s no way to change their behavior.

No Mystery When It Comes To Drunk Driving In Washington State

drunk driving in Washington stateIt was a dark and stormy night. Police in Tacoma, Washington were on duty when they were called out to a disturbance in a quiet subdivision. What they found was a mystery: an ignition interlock device was torn apart and lay in pieces. Ripped from the dash of a vehicle owned by a man convicted of drunk driving in Washington, the driver was mystified as to what happened.

It sounds like the beginning of an ominous tale with no clear explanation, but police in Washington state know what may seem like a mystery isn’t usually a mystery at all. The jeep with the dismantled ignition interlock was sitting in a driveway, and the driver was causing a disturbance by yelling as he walked around his car.

It turns out that the man had just been to a party and he wanted to drive home. He admitted to the police officers that he had been drinking, listing a Jagerbomb as one of his beverages of choice, and he’d used marijuana. Although his memory wasn’t clear after that, he believed he’d arrived at his vehicle to find his ignition interlock ripped off the dash and in pieces.

Police didn’t buy his explanation. They asked if he realized it was a crime to tamper with his ignition interlock after he was already convicted of drunk driving in Washington state, and he acknowledged that yes, it was. That’s when they arrested him on that charge, and his dismantled jeep was towed away.

If you are convicted of tampering with an ignition interlock in Washington state, you will be charged with a gross misdemeanor. That’s separate from your original charge of drunk driving.

There’s no real mystery to drunk driving and anything that happens because of it. Alcohol impairs your ability to think, react, and yes, even after one drink, drive a car. Under the influence, you could decide to make crazy choices like tearing your ignition interlock out of the dash. As this man has shown, that’s only going to lead to more trouble for you.

California Drunk Driving Arrests Help State Win Top Spot For Worst Drivers

california drunk driving Have you ever wondered where the worst drivers in the United States live? Given Florida’s track record you would be forgiven for thinking it held this distinction, but you’d be wrong: thanks to California drunk driving and distracted driving, it’s the Golden State that reportedly has the Worst US Drivers by State.

You now know where to avoid driving thanks to a new report by a marketplace website called QuoteWizard. They did a study focusing on crashes, fatalities, traffic tickets, DUI arrests, and speeding tickets. Compiling millions of pieces of data, they came up with a list of the best and worst drivers in America.

Given the combination of California drunk driving arrests and tickets written for distracted driving, the state was able to jump from its 2016 second place finish to first place for 2017. The authors of the study cited Los Angeles gridlock as a hot spot for bad driving, and they also ranked several California cities; Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield as being on the list of cities with the worst drivers. Sacramento held the distinction of being the number one worst city in the nation.

With data like this showing the cold, hard facts about driving in California, residents should be glad that there is a new ignition interlock law on the horizon. Expanding on the current pilot program taking place in several counties, the new ignition interlock law will be implemented in January of 2019. At that point ignition interlocks will become an option for all drivers in the state, and if enough people put them to use, there should be a significant drop in California drunk driving arrests.

Given that the new interlock law is a year away and that distracted driving is only increasing in the state, it’s not surprising that California has taken the top spot. It also seems likely that California could continue to claim the worst drivers in the nation into 2018, and that means there is work to do now.

Underage Drinking So Intense, The Air At The Party Registered On Breathalyzer

underage drinkingIt’s a forgone conclusion that university parties will be host to underage drinking. What you’d hope is that the underage drinking wouldn’t be so out of control that the air in the room itself could register on a breathalyzer device.

It’s hard to believe but it’s true: a party held off-campus at American University in Bethesda, Maryland was packed to the rafters with underage drinkers. They were attending what’s known as “Tequila Tuesday,” and the alcohol was flowing steadily.

When police arrived, they found people locked in the bathroom and others jumping out of the second story window. They charged the six people hosting the party, and between the six of them they received 126 counts of providing alcohol to minors.

That’s bad enough, but the underage drinking isn’t the most shocking thing about this party; it’s the space it was hosted in. When police pulled out the breathalyzer to test the occupants in the house, the air in the house registered a .01.

Having a .01 breathalyzer reading isn’t overly significant if you’re a person blowing into the breathalyzer, but the air in the house would have to be overloaded with alcohol fumes in order to register on the device.

There would be two major concerns for the police who responded to the call about the party: one, they would be worried about underage drinking and alcohol poisoning, and two, they’d be on the lookout for underage drinking drivers.

The State of Maryland has a zero-tolerance law for drunk drivers under the age of 21, and that means if they are caught driving with even a .01 percent blood alcohol content (BAC), they could have their driver’s license suspended.

This is one party that will definitely go down in Maryland record books, and it’s safe to say both police and university officials won’t want a repeat of it anytime soon.

Florida Drunk Drivers Don’t Normally Call Themselves In

Florida drunk driversPolice catch Florida drunk drivers all the time. Anyone who is inclined to get behind the wheel drunk has a strong likelihood of getting caught as soon as they hit the open road, and if police don’t stop these people, other drivers may call them in too.

There’s also the possibility that the drunk driver will call himself in. Or, at least, that’s what happened on New Year’s Eve in Winter Haven, Florida. It’s hard to believe, but this drunk driver decided to pick up the phone and call the police dispatch when he couldn’t figure out where he was.

The audio recording was shared on the Winter Haven Police Department’s Facebook page. The drunk driver said that he was driving but was too drunk and didn’t know where he was. He said he was driving a red truck, and while the dispatcher directed him to pull over to the side of the road, he said he’s parked near the police department but so far, nothing was happening.

It’s strange enough that he called and that he pulled over and was waiting for the police, but as he waited he changed his mind and told the dispatcher, ‘I think I am going to get something to eat, they can just catch up with me later.’

Long story short, he tried to leave his location but the dispatcher managed to zero in on him and police arrived. They found him on the wrong side of the road, without a seat belt, and with previous convictions for Florida DUI as well as drug charges.

Like other Florida drunk drivers, he’s been charged with DUI and will face criminal charges in court. Unlike other drunk drivers in the state, he managed to get caught for drunk driving without getting pulled over at a checkpoint, without getting pulled over for driving erratically, and without getting called in by a concerned citizen. He did it all on his own.

In this case the police department was happy no one was hurt, and if you follow their Facebook page, you can tell they thought it was pretty funny. That’s understandable, because most Florida DUI arrests don’t end that way.

What’s The Difference Between A Texas DUI And A Texas DWI?

Texas DUIWhat’s the difference between a Texas DUI conviction—known as driving under the influence, and a Texas DWI—driving while intoxicated? Both include serious penalties, but if you’ve just been charged with either, you should know they aren’t exactly the same thing.

In many US states a DUI is the only charge you’ll receive, and state by state DUI laws highlight the different fines, fees, and penalties you can receive with your charge. Specifically in Texas, what you are charged with depends on a few factors.

What is a Texas DUI charge?

In Texas, you can be charged with DUI if you are stopped by police and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08. If you receive this charge, it’s a Class C misdemeanor on your record.

You can also be charged with Texas DUI if police determine you are a minor and you are driving with any amount of alcohol in your system. That means if you are a minor and you blow into a breathalyzer and register anything other than zero, you can be charged with DUI.

What is a Texas DWI charge?

In contrast to the Texas DUI, a Texas DWI is a charge when a person has been stopped for driving while intoxicated, with intoxicated being defined as having a .08 reading on a breathalyzer or having physical or mental impairment due to alcohol or drugs.

A Texas DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. That can change if you are arrested with a BAC over 0.15 or if you hurt or killed someone because you were driving drunk. In that case your crime could jump up to a felony, and you could be going to prison.

Penalties for both DWI and DUI

Whether you have been charged with a Texas DUI or a Texas DWI, you’ll be receiving penalties for those charges.  The penalties for a Texas DUI will be less severe and could include a driver’s license suspension and fines. Penalties for a Texas DWI could include fines, a driver’s license suspension for a year, and the possibility of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive.

In Texas, just like everywhere else, if you don’t want to pay the price, don’t drink and drive.

 

800-499-0994