Social Host Laws Could Hold Craft Breweries Liable For Drunk Driver

social host laws Florida Social host laws are beginning to pop up in more states than ever. Depending on how it’s defined, the laws could cover anything from a parent purchasing alcohol and letting their teen drink at home to a nightclub not cutting someone off who is clearly over their limit.

There’s a case on the docket in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Florida right now that could have some significance for Florida social host laws. It may make defining responsibility more obvious when a drunk driver drinks too much at their establishment and drives on to kill someone.

The case involves Caroline Sine, a music teacher in Pinellas County. She was driving in August 2016 when her car was crashed into by Brice MacLeod. He had been out that night, drinking his way between a few craft breweries, and he left both places drunk. He was more than double the legal limit when he ran the red light and crashed into Sine.

Sine’s father filed a lawsuit alleging the two pubs he visited served him more than enough alcohol to get him drunk, and they didn’t stop him before he got behind the wheel. It also states that MacLeod was a frequent visitor to those establishments and he was addicted to alcohol.

As a repeat drunk driver, with a previous DUI conviction in 2006, he was past the point of the Florida lookback period. In Florida, a first DUI only has a lookback of five years before it will count against the offender for a second conviction. The fact that the lookback expired doesn’t mean he got off easy, because he’s been charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI, and DUI causing serious injury and is spending 14 years behind bars for it.

Whether the breweries will be held accountable for the death of Sine is up to a judge and jury, but it does cast a light on how social host laws are supposed to work. If you see someone drinking alcohol and they are clearly over the legal limit, it’s a no-brainer you should stop them from driving. If you’re the person serving them that alcohol, it’s even more important because it may be just as much your fault and it is theirs when they kill someone because of drunk driving.

Wisconsin Ignition Interlock Loophole Officially Closed

Wisconsin ignition interlockThere’s a lot going on in Wisconsin, not the least of which is that Wisconsin ignition interlock laws are officially changing for the better. But is ‘better’ enough to stop drunk drivers in the state?

Governor Walker just signed several new bills into law, and one of them dealt with Wisconsin ignition interlock interlock laws. An ignition interlock — a device that requires a convicted drunk driver to blow into a tube to assess his or her blood alcohol content (BAC), is currently not required for first time offenders in Wisconsin. Repeat offenders are required to install the device.

The bill closes a loophole in Wisconsin ignition interlock law that allowed these offenders to avoid installing the device at all. Because an offender is required to lose his or driver’s license for a period of time, they were only required by the court to install an ignition interlock when the driver’s license was reinstated.

Some operating while impaired (OWI) offenders in Wisconsin were driving their cars before their license was reinstated, but if they were stopped for driving on that suspended license, they wouldn’t receive a citation for driving without an interlock. That’s because the interlock wasn’t required yet. The problem with an offender driving on a suspended license is that there is nothing to stop that person from driving drunk again.

The bill changes Wisconsin ignition interlock laws to require an interlock to be installed immediately upon conviction, and that interlock will eliminate the possibility that the offender can drive drunk again.

It’s a step in the right direction for Wisconsin, but an even better step would be requiring all offenders, including first time offenders with a BAC of .08 or higher, to drive with an interlock. Wisconsin needs to take a look at passing sweeping new interlock laws to include all offenders, because that’s the best way to clear the roads of drunk drivers.

Would You Like A Drunk Driving Charge With That Transit Sign?

drunk driving charge New Jersey There are many reasons why alcohol and driving don’t mix. Alcohol can give you a feeling of courage and invincibility. It can affect your judgement and your hand-eye coordination. It can also limit your vision and make you unaware that you’re speeding or swerving. Because of the effect of alcohol, what started as a quick drive can end in a drunk driving charge. Or, in the case of a New Jersey woman, a drunk driving charge plus the pesky issue of a transit sign sticking out of the roof of her car.

Police were surprised to see a vehicle with excess cargo driving down busy Route 46 in South Hackensack, New Jersey. She was pulled over, and the arresting officer asked her why she was driving with a large transit sign sticking out of her roof. The interesting part? She didn’t even realize it was there.

Apparently, she had been driving for a while and the sign had, somehow and without her noticing, become stuck in the vehicle. Police took video when she was pulled over, and it’s hard to understand how it would be possible not to notice the sign. It’s positioned through the sun roof and impaled in the back seat of the car.

It didn’t take long for police to realize she was driving under the influence, and she was arrested on a drunk driving charge as well as careless driving. In New Jersey, that charge is going to result in her spending some time in court. If she’s convicted she could spend up to 30 days in jail, lose her driver’s license for up to a year, and she’ll pay up to $500 in fines and even more in other fees.

She may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle she drives. New Jersey law states that any first-time offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher be required to install and use an interlock. An ignition interlock—a device that requires you to blow into it to monitor your blood alcohol content, is the only way to ensure this driver doesn’t drive drunk again.

Let’s hope this offender is required to drive with an interlock, because there’s no telling what type of sign she’ll bring home or what she’ll hit the next time she drives drunk.

Happy Holidays from Guardian Interlock

 holidays guardian interlockThe flurry of shopping, decorating, and holiday parties is now over, and the big day has finally arrived. It’s time to take a moment to look back on the last year and be grateful for the life and family you’ve been given.

While you’re enjoying your holiday this year, always keep in mind that there’s one decision that has the power to affect your entire life: drinking and driving can turn your world upside down in seconds, so always find a sober driver when you’re enjoying alcohol.

Happy Holidays from Guardian Interlock!

Friday Fallout: Utah Parents Forgive After Impaired Driving Crash

impaired driving crash utah How do you move on after you lose someone to an impaired driving crash? There really is no right or wrong way to proceed, and while some families will immediately begin the process of seeking justice for the crime, others will choose to lessen the pain by forgiving the driver.

Only two days after an alcohol-fueled driving crash claimed the life of their 19-year-old son, a family in Taylorsville, Utah is doing exactly that. The crash happened the night before Thanksgiving when the driver was heading to a party. She was driving a Cadillac Escalade and she hit the teen while he was in a crosswalk.

She realized she had hit someone, but she kept driving. When police caught up to the badly damaged vehicle she was running away from it to another vehicle. Police arrested her and she admitted she drank several shots and beer before driving. She was arrested for drunk driving, and if convicted, the least of her worries will be that she’ll spend time in jail, pay stiff fines, and drive with an interlock after her release.

The worst part of a tragic impaired driving crash like this one is that both the driver and the family have to live with the choice the driver made. Although this family has to spend the rest of their lives without their son, they aren’t angry with the driver. Instead, they’ve sent out a message to the woman who caused the crash. They stated that their son had a kind nature and he wouldn’t want her to go through life carrying the burden of killing him. They’d like her to know they have no bad feelings, they understand she didn’t make the decision to kill their son, and that they forgive her.

Although not everyone is ready to forgive the drunk driver who took a loved one from them, this family is moving on after losing their son to an impaired driving crash the only way they know how.

The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock will bring you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact, or fallout, of drunk driving.

MADD Massachusetts Pushes For Tougher Ignition Interlock Law

ignition interlockWhen a state begins the process of passing an all offender ignition interlock law, it’s almost always guaranteed there will be road blocks. In order to get the most support for the law before it goes for a vote, groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will make a show of support by sharing victim impact stories and statistical data to demonstrate just why that law is needed.

MADD Maryland came out for the Maryland all offender ignition interlock law by supporting Officer Noah Leotta’s family, and the state finally passed Noah’s law not long after. Now MADD Massachusetts is front and center as lawmakers attempt to pass a new bill requiring interlock devices for anyone who is arrested for drunk driving.

Massachusetts is one of two states that does not have an interlock law for their first time operating under the influence (OUI) offenders. That means any first time drunk driver can choose to wait out his or her suspension or ignore it altogether and continue to drive after an OUI conviction. These drivers are only required to use the device in Massachusetts if they are arrested two or more times.

To support the bill MADD Massachusetts has made their voice heard by testifying at the State House. They’ve shared data that indicates that ignition interlocks have stopped, in the past ten years, over 38,000 attempts to drive drunk in the state. That data is only for repeat offenders, so it’s easy to imagine how many first-time offenders would be stopped by these devices if they decide to drink and drive again.

Along with MADD Massachusetts, several victims of drunk driving in the state have shared their experiences. Although the bill is currently still up for debate, it’s the hopes of everyone supporting it that Massachusetts lawmakers will make the right decision and pass this much-needed all offender ignition interlock law.

Dancing Drunk Driver Charged With DUI In Nevada

DUI in NevadaIn the moments before you’re arrested for DUI in Nevada, there are a few things that might go through your head. You could wonder just how much trouble you’re in, what a DUI in Nevada will cost you, or whether or not you’re about to go for jail. What you probably shouldn’t worry about is whether or not it’s appropriate, given the circumstances, to dance on the rooftop of your SUV.

Despite the fact that the situation did warrant doing a little jig, one Nevada driver did just that. She was reported for driving the wrong way down a road, and she pulled off the highway and parked her SUV. When police arrived, they said she was dancing on top of the SUV. That’s unusual on its own, but when she decided it was time to get away she pulled out a child’s scooter and tried to hit the road.

She didn’t get far. Police prevented her from escaping in her get away vehicle, and although she resisted arrest, they arrested her and charged her for multiple offenses.

This case is a good example of what not to do when arrested for DUI in Nevada. Here’s some advice on what you should do.

If you’re asked to submit to a breathalyzer, do so

Nevada is an implied consent state. That means, by accepting a driver’s license in the state, you agree that you’ll cooperate with a police officer if he or she suspects you of driving drunk. If you refuse the breathalyzer, the officer will have reason to believe you are driving under the influence. At that point they can suspend your driver’s license for 90 days and arrest you for DUI.

If you are convicted of a Nevada DUI, you should opt for the interlock

If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .18 or greater at the time of arrest and you’re convicted of a DUI in Nevada, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device for 12 months. If you had a lower BAC, your license will be suspended for 90 days and you may be required by the judge to install an ignition interlock.

Every drunk driving offender in Nevada, even if it’s not required, should install an interlock as soon as possible. An ignition interlock is the quickest way for a convicted drunk driver to get back on the road. Thanks to the passing of a new all offender ignition interlock law, these devices will be a requirement for all first offenders beginning in October 2018.

The next time you’re tempted to drink and drive in Nevada, keep in mind what you should and shouldn’t do after you’re stopped. It just might save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

How To Turn A California DUI Into A Murder Charge

california dui What’s the worst that could happen if you’re a drunk driver in California? You might think it’s the personal cost of a California DUI conviction, but that charge is small potatoes compared to what a man in Sacramento is currently facing.

Thanks to his decision to drink and drive, he’s facing four counts of murder. Fred Lowe, a resident of Sacramento, crashed his car into another car while heading down the Interstate. The other car lost control and flipped over into lanes with oncoming traffic.

Inside that vehicle were five family members who were heading home from a baseball tournament. Four of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, including two teen boys. One lived, and he was treated for serious injuries.

Mr.Lowe, the drunk driver, left the scene before finding out if anyone was injured. Police caught up with him a short time later and arrested him on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Unfortunately for Mr.Lowe, this wasn’t his first time behind the wheel drunk. He had a previous charge of California DUI on his record, and he was also arrested at another time for a robbery. Because of that record, the fact that he fled the scene, and how he had a high blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the crash, the judge decided there was enough to charge this driver with second degree murder.

Now, all because he made the decision to drive drunk, this man is responsible for one of the worst drunk driving crashes the area has ever seen. A family has lost four of its members, and this driver is facing four murder charges in the state of California.

To answer the question, what’s the worst that could happen if you put your keys in the ignition after drinking? You could kill someone, and you might be charged with murder. Just like Mr.Lowe must realize, alcohol and driving don’t mix, so stay safe and don’t drink and drive.

 

Personal Breathalyzer Program Working Well In Colorado

personal breathalyzer The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been running a personal breathalyzer program all year. Now that the year has almost concluded, they’ve got some interesting data to share.

The program was designed by CDOT for first time drunk drivers in Colorado. The participants were given a personal breathalyzer and tracked, with the goal of determining whether or not that breathalyzer would prevent them from receiving a second drunk driving conviction.

Of the 475 participants 75% said they regularly used a handheld breathalyzer. When the data came in, it showed that carrying a personal breathalyzer can really make an impact on a drunk driver.

Some drivers no longer assume they’re safe to drive after drinking  

Before the program, 42% of the participants thought they were fine to drive after a few drinks. Now that they have a personal breathalyzer, they no longer feel that way.

Only one person has received another DUI conviction

The goal of a personal breathalyzer is to prevent you from driving drunk, and since starting the CDOT program only one person out of the group has received a second DUI conviction.

The majority think everyone should own a personal breathalyzer

94% of CDOT participants think everyone who drinks should have a personal breathalyzer with them at all times.

Not everyone knows what the legal BAC is

It’s hard to imagine, but not everyone knows that .08 is the legal BAC in most states. 85% of the participants in CDOT’s program knew that was the legal limit for a DUI conviction in Colorado, but only 59% knew that there was a .05 limit at which you can be charged for DWAI (driving while ability impaired).

There’s one thing good to keep in mind when using a breathalyzer: just because you blow below the legal limit doesn’t mean you should drive. If you receive a reading of .06 on your personal breathalyzer, you’re still better off to stay safe and not drive at all.

Personal breathalyzers are a great tool to have around when you want to know what your blood limit is, and carrying one can help you stay safe during the holidays and beyond.

When Your Ride Sharing Service Driver Is Drunker Than You

ride sharing service There is no question that ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft have saved lives. It makes it easy to find a sober ride home when all you have to do is pick up the phone, open a ride sharing service app, and tap a few times to find a ride in your area.

But what do you do when your Uber driver isn’t as sober at all? That was the case in Phoenix recently when a man contacted Uber for a ride and his ride appeared to be drunk. He had been out with friends and they had been drinking, so he decided that the smart thing to do was contact Uber and ask them for a safe ride home.

When the driver showed up and they all got in the car, the man noticed something wrong. As he was driving, the Uber driver commented to the group that he needed to stop drinking so much. Because he was concerned that his driver was drunker than he was, the man who requested the ride began to record the conversation and contaced Uber. He wanted to get the driver off the road.

Uber wasn’t complying at that point, so he contacted 911 instead. When police pulled the Uber driver over, he blew .24 on a breathalyzer. That’s three times the legal limit of .08, and he was supposed to be the sober ride for whomever he was assigned to that night.

Uber has since removed the driver from its service. Although this kind of situation is rare, it does highlight how you still need to be vigilant when choosing a ride sharing service or searching for a sober driver. All too often people just want to get home after a long night out, and they narrow their choices down to the ‘most sober’ person in the group.

That choice can end in tragedy, so whether you’ve picked a ride sharing service or you have a friend driving you home, make sure that driver is truly sober before you get into the car with them.

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