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.

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.

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.

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.

Will the .05 Utah Drunk Driving Law Keep People Off The Slopes?

Utah drunk drivingIn Utah, winter is king. Not only does the state enjoy a long ski season with record snowfall, Olympics organizers are also contemplating another Utah bid for the Winter Games. If the Olympics do come again to Utah there will tourists by the thousands, but will the new Utah drunk driving laws throw a wrench into the games?

Earlier this year Utah became the first state to change its legal blood alcohol limit from .08, the standard across the United States, to .05. Although the new law isn’t even set to take effect for another year, the backlash started almost immediately.

A few representatives from the tourism and hospitality industry have voiced concern that the blood alcohol limit of .05 is too harsh and it could keep visitors away from Utah. The head of Ski Utah, a marketing group that manages the ski and snowboard industry in the state, thinks the perception of Utah will change. He feels Utah ski resorts are for fun, and this BAC limit could affect the chances of hosting the Olympic games.

Another Utah group has been vocal about the new blood alcohol limit and changes to Utah drunk driving laws, and they keep returning to Utah’s Capitol Hill in the hopes they’ll force lawmakers to make a change. The American Beverage Institute visited the House Minority Caucus recently to request a repeal. Because of past ads the group ran suggesting a senior lawmaker was more dangerous behind the wheel than someone with a .05 BAC, the Caucus didn’t respond to their appeal.

For his part, Utah Governor Gary Herbert said he would be supportive of a tiered penalty system that would penalizes someone with .05 BAC differently than if they had .08.

Despite the opposition, there’s always the possibility that the current .05 blood limit is going to stay in Utah. Even if it actually decreased tourism for the state, the flip side is that it would save lives, and that’s the bottom line.

Colorado Skiing is Fun, But Don’t Get Arrested For Drunk Driving

car in snowIf you’ve ever heard the term après ski, you know the sport of recreational skiing is associated with drinking. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as those skiers and snowboarders aren’t driving after they hit the slopes. If they pack up their gear after a few drinks and head home down the hill, they are extremely likely to be arrested for drunk driving.

In Colorado, it’s even more likely you’ll be arrested for drunk driving after you’ve hit the ski hill. According to the Colorado State Demographer’s Office and the Colorado Courts, the Central Rockies are a hot spot for drunk drivers, and the Rocky Mountain Resort region is where police are nabbing the highest number of drunk drivers.

The Denver Post recently published stats that showed 8.8 out of 1,000 residents were arrested for drunk driving in Summit, Lake, and Eagle counties. Summit county is home to Breckenridge and Keystone, two world class ski hills in Colorado.

When you’re trying to stop drunk driving in a resort town, you have to get a little creative. That’s why Colorado police in Eagle County are part of the statewide ‘The Heat is On’ campaign. The Heat is On is a DUI task force started back in 2007, and officers patrol and look specifically for drunk drivers.

With the holidays here, it’s even more likely that people who are skiing or snowboarding in Colorado are going to be caught by this DUI task force. That’s why it’s important to be aware of a few ways you can avoid being arrested for drunk driving when enjoying the snow at a Colorado ski resort.

Carry a personal breathalyzer

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recommends you carry a personal breathalyzer with you at all times this holiday. Although you shouldn’t drive after drinking any amount of alcohol, a personal breathalyzer will let you test your BAC and know whether you’re anywhere near the legal limit.

Check the CDOT R-U-Buzzed app

You can also track your BAC by entering your information into CDOT’s app. It will compare your estimated BAC with the current Colorado DUI standards and tell you how long it may take you to become sober.

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Colorado, there’s one penalty you should be aware of. All offenders arrested for DUI in Colorado will be required to install an ignition interlock—a device that prevents a driver from starting the car if they have alcohol in their blood stream, in any vehicle he or she drives. Even first offenders will be required to use an interlock for eight months.

Apres ski should be fun, not life-threatening, so keep these DUI statistics in mind if you’re going to head up to the Rocky Mountain Resort region of Colorado. As long as you drive sober, you’ll have a safe and enjoyable ski season.

Tis The Season For Holiday Drunk Driving Crashes

holiday drunk driving crashes It’s finally nearing the holidays again, and the season for holiday baking, tree decorating, and festive parties is upon us. But during the holidays we take the good with the bad, and the bad for many families is holiday drunk driving crashes claim the lives of many during this busy season.

Around the beginning of November you may notice that there are a lot more drunk driving crashes in the news. Maybe you even know of someone who was injured or killed in one, and you can’t understand why people are still drinking and driving. It’s unfortunate that they are, because people are dying all over the United States in drunk driving crashes just like these.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Melissa Hancock is a reality star from the show Little Women: Atlanta. After a night out where she had several drinks at a nightclub she got behind the wheel of her car and crashed straight into Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Dill. He died of his injuries a day later.

The ironic thing about this drunk driving crash is that Dill was the designated driver who was on his way to pick up his wife. She’d been drinking and he didn’t want her to drive.

When police officers took Hancock’s BAC level they found she was at 0.112, and they charged her with DWI and maiming.

Sacramento, California

If you’ve ever seen someone stranded on the side of the road, your first instinct may be to pull over and help. One couple stranded near a highway off-ramp must have felt relieved when someone offered to help them, but instead of driving off knowing he’d been a good Samaritan, Mark Poss ended his day in the hospital.

After he pulled over on the freeway at 2:30 am in the morning, Poss got out and helped the couple move their vehicle over to the side of the road. Out of nowhere a drunk driver crashed into Poss and the other person pushing the car.

While the other person suffered a broken leg, Poss had both legs severed in the drunk driving crash. The driver who hit him was charged with drunk driving.

It’s always hard to understand why someone would make the choice to drink and drive when there is so much to lose, but it’s especially difficult to see all of the drunk driving crashes ramp up toward the holidays.

That means more families will know what it’s like to spend the holidays without someone they love.

Texas Drunk Driving Suspect Pulled From Burning Car

Texas drunk driving If you crash your car at low speed and you’re buckled in with your seatbelt, you can easily get hurt and destroy the vehicle. When you crash at high speeds, like a Texas drunk driving suspect did recently, you can cause a lot more damage.

He was driving on an Interstate in Arlington, Texas when he crashed into a pole. A passerby noticed the car was propped up and wrapped around the pole, so he pulled over close by. That’s when he noticed the vehicle was on fire.

There were three people in the vehicle but no one seemed to know it was on fire. The driver was unconscious behind the wheel while a passenger was on the phone with police. The witness noticed the fire was spreading and began urging the occupants to get out, and he and another person dragged the driver, still unconscious, out of the car and toward safety.

That’s when the flames began rising, and had the witness not come upon the car and helped, the people inside may not have made it out. When the driver woke up the witness asked him if he was drunk and he replied yes, he had been drinking. For making the choice to drink and drive, he lost his vehicle to a fire. He’ll most likely be facing drunk driving charges as well.

Thankfully, this Texas drunk driving crash had a somewhat happy ending. All of the occupants survived what could have been a fatal crash. Many drunk drivers aren’t so lucky. Hitting a solid object at a high rate of speed can kill you instantly, and even if you live, if you’re too drunk to get out of the car and it starts on fire like this vehicle did, help may not arrive in time.

This type of crash can happen to anyone who drinks and drives, so think before you drink and hand the keys to a sober driver.

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