FYI: Sometimes You’re Not Just Charged With Drunk Driving

charged with drunk driving If you’ve ever wondered what you’d do if you were charged with drunk driving, you don’t have to wonder for long. Drunk driving laws for each and every state include a list of comprehensive penalties, and that list includes jail time, driver’s license suspensions, and for a growing number of states, ignition interlocks for all offenders.

But most people who are charged with drunk driving don’t receive just that one DUI charge; they get hit with a host of other charges that seem to go hand and hand with drunk driving. Take one woman in Great Falls, Montana for example. She was driving her minivan at 2:30 am in the morning when she ran a stop sign, broke someone’s window, and then hid on the upper level of a parking lot when she knew police were following close behind.

When police questioned her she said she admitted to drinking a lot of alcohol and her breathalyzer reading was 0.197. Police also noted that her son was lying in the back of the vehicle, she had a suspended driver’s license, and she was driving a van with no insurance.

Along with her drunk driving charge, she received several other charges including felony criminal child endangerment, criminal mischief, aggravated driving under the influence, driving with no insurance, and driving with a suspended license.

Not everyone is going to receive that many charges in addition to being charged with drunk driving, but when you’re drunk it might make perfectly good sense to drive on suspended driver’s licenses, drive with no insurance, or take your kids along. It all added up for this driver, and the same thing could happen to anyone.

No one wants to end up in these situations, but thanks to the mix of alcohol and driving, it’s all too easy to leave your driveway with no criminal history and return after you’ve been sitting in jail for a few days and have a felony charge pending. Think before you drink, and if you need to drive, find someone sober to get you where you need to go.

How Much Jail Time Is Enough For A Ninth Drunk Driving Charge?

ninth drunk driving chargeOne drunk driving charge can be chalked up to a bad choice, and a lot of people stop at one, learn their lesson, and never drive drunk again. But some people don’t learn the hard way, and they rack up repeat drunk driving convictions.

Take one man in Montana for example. He’s been arrested not just once, not three times, but a whopping nine time for drunk driving. His ninth charge resulted from crashing into a moving vehicle and then into two parked cars. When he was arrested he also refused to submit to a breathalyzer test and was forced to submit a blood sample at the hospital.

You’d think with nine drunk driving charges on his record, as well as the count of felony criminal mischief he received during his ninth arrest, that he’d be going to prison for quite some time. Not so: five years in jail is all this man will receive for his ninth drunk driving conviction.

That seems like a fairly light sentence when you take a few things into consideration. The lookback period for a drunk driving charge in Montana is a lifetime. That means any charge he’s had on his record should be considered when he’s arrested again. For repeat offenders in Montana, a fourth drunk driving conviction is an automatic felony, and that charge should come with significant jail time.

According to Montana drunk driving law, a three time or more repeat offender should see the inside of a jail cell for up to a year. They’ll also pay fines up to $5000, lose their driver’s license for one year, and will be required to install an ignition interlock. Considering he was on his eighth drunk driving charge when he was arrested this last time, one hast to wonder how he was allowed to be driving at all, especially without an ignition interlock.

Out of all of the states, Montana is considered once of the most lenient. It ranked 40 out of 51 states where number one, Arizona, is considered to be the most strict for drunk driving arrests. That leniency shows in drunk driving sentences, especially when you compare this five year sentence with a man in Texas was who also arrested for his ninth drunk driving charge. He ended up with life in prison, and his last arrest was a crash where no one died either.

Is nine times the charm? With only five years in jail to mull it over, you have to wonder if this repeat drunk driver will ever learn to stop drinking and driving. At the very least, Montana should consider passing a real ignition interlock law. At present, the state does not require interlock devices for any offenses – they are discretionary, meaning they are only installed if a judge orders them. More than half the states in the country now mandate ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenses. It might be time for Montana to protect its citizens from impaired drivers. Interlock laws would be a good place to start.

There Are A Lot Of People Up North Who Are Driving While Impaired

driving while impairedMost people know that driving while impaired is the wrong thing to do, but some people put the blinders on about how dangerous it is. They really think a drunk driving crash could never happen to them. That is until they crash, someone crashes into them, or someone they love dies due to a drunk driver. Suddenly all of the crash statistics and data out there on how prevalent drunk driving will seem shocking, because you’ve really never thought about it before.

If the Northern states are any indication, there are a lot of people not really thinking about the dangers of drunk driving. According to a study from CarInsurancecomparison.com, there are several Northern states that have a failing grade when it comes to driving while impaired.

The study took data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Committee and analyzed it for driving fatalities that resulted from a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08, arrests for driving under the influence (DUI), and the penalties for DUI as set out by each state.

According to CarInsurancecomparison.com, these are just two Northern states with the most fatalities and driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in 2015.

Driving while impaired in North Dakota

According to North Dakota data, one alcohol-related crash happened every 8.9 hours in 2014. North Dakota is at the top of the heap for both alcohol-related fatalities and DUI arrests, and statistics released from a 2009 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism showed the state also ranks with some of the highest consumption of alcohol in the North.

Besides heavy drinking, another reason why North Dakota could be at the top of the list is thanks to the state’s lax drunk driving penalties. They only require 10 days jail time for a second DUI offense, a one year driver’s license suspension, and no there is ignition interlock requirement for any offender.

Montana’s drunk driving problem

Montana’s traffic crashes doubled in the first three months of 2015, and almost ¾ of crashes that take place in the state were due to drunk driving or failing to put on a seat belt. Crashes could be increasing because first offenders in Montana may not be required to use an ignition interlock. It’s up to the judge whether or not they do for a first offense, and the person will only lose their driver’s license for 6 months.

These are only two out of ten states on this list, and this is definitely a top ten list no one wants to be on. Maybe these states should take a look at this data and try to improve their drunk driving records, otherwise they’ll continue to have the distinction of having some of the most dangerous roads to drive on.

Drunk Driver Has An Ill-Timed Craving For Frozen Yogurt

fro yo drunk driverThe United States is full of fro-yo enthusiasts, and although there aren’t that many things that should stand between someone and their frozen yogurt craving, a police officer is definitely be one of them.

For one drunk driver, the craving for frozem yogurt meant she left her common sense at home when she decided to make a run to her local coffee shop in Great Falls, Montana. Unfortunately for her, to get her favorite frozen treat, Charlene Kranitz had to walk right into a ‘Coffee with a Cop’ community event. Held at Schulte’s Coffeehouse, there were 15 police officers inside the shop at that moment, and they even had a squad car sitting out front with its lights flashing.

One of the police officers noticed that Kranitz was stumbling slightly, and when she walked by him he detected the odor of alcohol trailing behind her. When he followed her out to the parking lot he discovered she had driven to the coffee shop in that condition, and what’s worse, her car was parked up against a light pole. After making the judgement call that Kranitz was over the legal limit, the police officer arrested her.

That arrest may curtail any cravings for fro-yo in her immediate future. In Montana, a drunk driver receives a misdemeanor for driving under the influence (DUI). That charge results in a driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months, 2 days to 6 months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and the possibility of an ignition interlock for a period of time.

There was no mention in the original article whether or not this drunk driver managed to get her fro-yo before she was arrested, but for now she’ll either be in jail or she’ll have to rely on the courtesy of friends to get her to the coffee shop for her next dessert craving. Thanks to her drunk driving charge, she definitely won’t be driving.

You Can Be Charged With DUI If You Drive After Using Inhalants

dui-charge-inhalantsIf you sat down and took a look at the history of how people have driven under the influence over the past 50 or so years, you’d see a drastic change in driver behavior and an even bigger change in what substances those people have taken before they get behind the wheel.

Gone are the days when hard liquor was the drink of choice: now you’ll find drunk drivers fueled by a combination of alcohol, drugs, and in some cases, inhalants or aerosol propellants. You know alcohol affects your coordination and reflexes in such a way that drinking and driving is dangerous, but how do inhalants affect you while driving?

One man challenged a DUI conviction because he was in care and control of the vehicle after using inhalants, and after going all the way to the Montana Supreme Court and losing, he’s set a precedent for all drivers who think they can drive under the influence of aerosol propellants.

A motorist can and will be charged and convicted of driving under the influence in Montana if he or she is in care and control of a vehicle after inhaling aerosol propellants. The man challenging his conviction was charged with felony DUI after he crashed into a utility pole. This was his fourth DUI, and although his toxicology report indicated he was driving under the influence of an aerosol dust remover, he attempted to have the felony charge dropped by arguing that the word ‘drug’ doesn’t include inhalants.

But the state Supreme Court had a different opinion, and because the definition of drug means a substance that alters one’s consciousness, his use of inhalants can be the basis of a DUI charge.

Because a fourth DUI is a felony in Montana, the driver in this case could receive up to 5 years in jail, $10,000 in fines, a driver’s license suspension of a minimum of one year, and a required ignition interlock program when he receives his driver’s license back again.

This case could set a precedent for all drivers in the United States—if you drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or substances like inhalants, you can and will be charged with DUI.

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