How Does A Sleeping Man Get Charged With A Connecticut DUI?

Connecticut DUINot everyone who’s about to be charged for a Connecticut DUI makes the decision to flee the scene, but one man in Manchester didn’t just flee, he took it one step further.

The man was driving with his car alarm sounding, and he caught the attention of the police when he was speeding through an intersection. The officer thought he might be driving a stolen car, and when he attempted to stop the vehicle the suspected drunk driver drove over some grass, hit a fence, and ran off.

When police approached the vehicle, no one was inside. They searched the area and found the driver, but he ran inside his home. Police located him again and found him, much to their surprise, hiding under the covers of his bed. When they asked him what he was doing, he said he was just sleeping.

Turns out, the “sleeping offender” was actually drunk. He ran away from police because he didn’t want to get caught driving drunk. Another surprising twist to the story? He had a ignition interlock in his vehicle, and the alarm the police heard blaring was going off because he failed to blow into the device when required to.

He failed field sobriety tests, refused to submit to a breathalyzer, and was charged with a Connecticut DUI. Considering he had an ignition interlock in his car, this probably wasn’t his first DUI either.

A repeat offender charged with a Connecticut DUI can spend up to six months in jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines. That offender will also be required to use an ignition interlock for three years. That would be extra time on  top of the time he was already required to use an interlock.

The moral of this story: when you’re being chased by police, no one is going to buy that you were just sleeping. And if you have an ignition interlock in your car, you fail to provide a breath sample, and your interlock alarm goes off, someone is definitely going to notice.

Here’s Why You Should Take Maryland Ignition Interlock Law Seriously

Maryland ignition interlock Maryland drunk driving offenders should take note: judges in your state take Maryland ignition interlock law very seriously, and you might want to think twice about violating the conditions of your ignition interlock program.

It’s a extreme example, but one that’s worth paying attention to. One Maryland woman killed two men in a drunk driving crash back in 2009, and she was sentenced to jail for her crime. She served four years and was released early with the condition she install and use an ignition interlock, she remain on probation, and she was not to drink alcohol.

Instead of sticking to the terms of her probation, she violated it by drinking alcohol. How did the judge know she did that? It was thanks to her ignition interlock. She blew into it and locked it 10 different times because she had alcohol on her breath.

In her defense, the woman claimed that it was Altoids that resulted in the ignition interlock failures. Fortunately, the judge didn’t buy that excuse. He called her a liar and sent her back to prison for 16 more years.

Clearly the Maryland ignition interlock law is working in the state. Also known as Noah’s Law, it was passed one year ago after Officer Noah Leotta’s family waged a long battle to bring it to Maryland. Noah’s Law requires that all drunk driving offenders — including first time offenders with a BAC of .08 or higher, use the device in any vehicle they drive.

If this offender would not have been required to install an ignition interlock as part of her probation, she could have drove drunk again and killed someone else in the process. Now she’ll be spending an additional 16 years in prison considering why she would make the choice to drive drunk again.

It might seem like it’s just you and your ignition interlock in the car and it won’t matter if you fail the breath test, but this case shows that violating your ignition interlock program is a serious offense. Nothing good can come of it if you do.

US Drunk Drivers Still Main Reason People Die On The Roads

US Drunk DriversThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) monitors all traffic crashes that happen on US highways. They need to see which dangerous driving behaviors are contributing the most to traffic-related deaths in the county, and this year they found, once again, that US drunk drivers are still the main reason why people are dying on the roads.

In their latest report NHTSA highlighted the different issues facing drivers on roads this past year.

Over 35,000 people died in crashes

Think fatal vehicle crashes don’t happen that often? Think again: 37,461 people died because of a vehicle crash in 2016, and that is the highest number of vehicle-related deaths since 2007.

Distracted driving deaths are down

There’s been a lot of publicity surrounding distracted driving crashes over the past year, but according to NHTSA, fatal crashes because of texting actually fell 2.2% over the past year.

US drunk drivers are still causing fatal crashes in record numbers

It’s not surprising that drunk driving remains the main cause of fatal vehicle crashes. Alcohol affects your motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and reflexes, and driving a vehicle that weighs several tons while  impaired is a recipe for disaster.

Besides US drunk drivers, other risky behaviors highlighted by NHTSA include speeding, not wearing seat belts, and the fact that people are driving more often than they have before.

Thankfully, there is one solid way to stop US drunk drivers before they cause a fatal crash. Ignition interlock devices will prevent convicted drunk drivers from driving drunk again, and the number of states adding all offender ignition interlock penalties to their drunk driving laws is growing every year.

Soon every convicted drunk driver may be required to use an ignition interlock, and if they do, NHTSA could finally start to see a significant drop in drunk driving deaths in every state.

That Moment When Your Nanny Gets A Florida DUI

Florida DUIWhen you have someone looking after your children you want to know they are safe in their care. After a nanny was arrested recently on a Florida DUI charge, probably quite a few parents are now worried about their own caregivers.

Not everyone realizes just how much drinking alcohol and taking drugs can affect your judgement, coordination, and vision. That’s why the biggest concern when someone has done one, the other, or both is not whether or not that person will get caught; it’s whether or not they will crash their vehicle.

In this case the nanny from Boca Raton, Florida was driving under the influence on a highway when she did crash the car, and unfortunately, she also had the baby in the back seat. Even worse, the baby wasn’t properly secured in his car seat so when police arrived they discovered the car seat had been flipped over.

Police discovered she had several bottles of prescription drugs in the vehicle with her, and they arrested her for Florida DUI causing property damage, possession of a controlled substance, and child neglect.

Thankfully, the baby only had minor bumps to his head. It could have been a lot worse, and the nanny will now have a long road ahead of her as she works her way through the Florida DUI penalty process. After a crime like this, Florida parents may have an even longer road to trusting their own caregivers again.

One way the state of Florida could alleviate the concerns of parents would be to pass an all offender ignition interlock law. An all offender ignition interlock law requires all offenders – including first time offenders – to install an ignition interlock device after they’ve been arrested for Florida DUI.

Florida bypassed the opportunity to act on an all offender interlock bill this past spring. Maybe this is the case that will bring that bill back to life?

Tiger Woods Pleads Guilty To Drunk Driving In Florida

drunk driving in Florida A lot of famous people have been arrested for drunk driving in Florida, but few have been in the news as much as Tiger Woods has over the past few months. That’s because the nature of his DUI arrest, and how he’s dealing with it, are somewhat unique in the world of celebrity DUI.

Tiger Woods was arrested for drunk driving in Florida at two in the morning last May. He was found asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle, and when police arrived it was obvious that the car had been damaged. Although he passed the breathalyzer test he was still charged and arrested for DUI because the toxicology report showed he had several different drugs in his system.

This past August he entered the Florida DUI first-offender program, also known as Florida’s Diversion program, and because of the nature of the program he was able to enter a guilty plea for the lesser charge of reckless driving.

The Florida Diversion Program involves an offender spending a year on probation, paying $250 in fines and court costs, and attending DUI school. The offender must also perform 50 hours of community service and attend an impaired driving victim workshop. In Tiger’s case, he’ll also be required to submit to random drug tests.

There is no jail time involved with his plea deal, and if he completes the program he will still have the reckless driving charge on his permanent record.  He can ask a judge to remove the reckless driving charge, but if he’s charged again he’ll still be a second-time drunk driving offender in Florida. If he doesn’t complete the program he’ll have a second-degree misdemeanor on his record.

Florida isn’t the only state with a Diversion Program, and it’s slowly becoming a way for many first-time drunk drivers to correct their mistake and move on from a drunk driving charge. With someone like Tiger Woods currently enrolled, it’s definitely going to bring more attention to diversion programs everywhere.


No Plea Deal For Offender Charged With His Ninth Wisconsin OWI

Wisconsin OWIWisconsin is still the only state in the entire nation where a first DUI amounts to nothing more than an expensive traffic ticket. Repeat offenders don’t fare as well when it comes to penalties, but a Wisconsin OWI can still mean a lighter sentence than if you’d received a DUI or OWI in another state.

But Wisconsin judges don’t always go along with standard sentencing recommendations for a Wisconsin OWI, and one case in Pierce County shows how a judge can take matters into his own hands.

The offender in this case was a repeat offender on his ninth conviction. He was stopped with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.267 after he almost crashed into a deputy’s vehicle.

Although there was some discussion between two lawyers who created a plea agreement, the judge didn’t believe three years in prison and three years on probation was enough. Because it was his ninth conviction and he pleaded guilty expecting he’d receive the minimum sentence available, the judge didn’t feel as though he understood just how serious his crime was.

Stating that he couldn’t go along with the recommendation from the lawyers, he handed down his own sentence. The judge decided that it would be much more appropriate if he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, five of which he absolutely has to spend behind bars.

While in jail he’ll be able to participate in a substance-abuse program, and when he’s out of jail he’ll lose his driver’s license for three years and be required to drive with an ignition interlock for two years.

This offender actually got off easily. A seventh or eighth Wisconsin OWI calls for a maximum prison sentence of 12 years and fines up to $25,000. The judge could have handed down that sentence, but maybe he’s hoping that this Wisconsin offender will stop drinking and driving without spending over a decade in prison.


Why Force Ignition Interlock Compliance? When You Don’t, This Happens

ignition interlock complianceAs more and more states pass all offender ignition interlock laws, one major issue remains: although these life saving devices are now mandatory, it’s difficult to enforce ignition interlock compliance.

If someone is required to install and use an ignition interlock and use if, but they don’t bother to follow through, what’s the worst that can happen? If a Santa Fe, New Mexico case is any indication, the answer is that they will re-offend over and over again.

She was on the side of the road near a park after crashing into someone’s yard, and when an officer came upon the woman he found open alcohol in her vehicle. When asked if she’d been drinking she admitted that she had, and she submitted to two breathalyzer tests that showed she had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.25 and .027.

The fact that she was driving at double the legal limit was one major issue; the other was that she already had at four DWI convictions on her record. Those four were the most recent DWIs, and the officer found she had at least three more over the past 20 years.

Incredibly this offender is only 39 years old, has already been to prison for drunk driving, and was required to only drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock. Because this is her seventh DWI she’s now charge with a fourth-degree felony and she will spend up to three years in jail.

Had this offender followed through with her ignition interlock installation in New Mexico, she wouldn’t have been able to drive drunk. And if she couldn’t drive drunk, she wouldn’t have been arrested over and over again.

How can a state determined to stop drunk drivers deal with ignition interlock compliance? Among ideas considered have been following up via court room visits or requiring ignition interlock checks as part of probation visits. New York does the latter.

This offender is fortunate that, in all the times she drove drunk, she didn’t kill someone. But maybe it’s time she followed through on her ignition interlock just the same.

It’s Hard To Believe This California DUI Crash Even Happened

California DUI When someone dies in a California DUI crash it’s always tragic. Because drinking and driving is a choice made by the driver, the crash wasn’t an “accident”: it happened because someone mixed alcohol and driving.

The knowledge that it was 100% preventable makes one recent California DUI crash really hard to swallow. Katie Evans, a mother of six from Santa Clarita, California, was driving back from the hospital when she was struck by a 21-year-old drunk driver. She had crossed the median and crashed into her car when Evans was only a mile from her home.

She was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Not only was she on her way home from the hospital after visiting her newborn, premature twins, she also had four other children under the age of 12 at home waiting for her.

It was clear to police that the driver was under the influence, but when the blood work came back it was revealed that the drunk driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .21 at the time of the crash. That’s almost three times the legal limit at which you can be charged with a California DUI.

The driver will receive a host of charges including felony vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence.  At only 21-years-old and given the penalties for a felony DUI in California, she’s almost certain to go to prison for a few years. When she does get out of jail she won’t be driving for a while either as she’ll have a suspended license and, in the future, an ignition interlock to prevent her from driving drunk again.

But a prison sentence and license suspension is minimal compared to what the family of Katie Evans is going through. Six children have lost their mother due to someone’s choice to drink and drive, and anyone who has lived through the same thing will tell you that’s a life sentence.

Not Your Average Virginia Drunk Driving Offender: Priest Gets His 2nd DUI

virginia-drunk-driving-priestThe lookback period, also known as the “washout period,” is how long it will take your drunk driving conviction to be removed from your permanent driving record. According to Virginia drunk driving laws, the lookback period in that state is 10 years.

Not every state has a lookback period of 10 years, although it is common. Alabama only has a five-year lookback, Washington state has seven years, and Texas lookbacks last a lifetime.

One of the reasons why states have these periods of time established is because they don’t want drunk drivers to receive the same level of punishment for each drunk driving conviction. If they continue to make the choice to drive drunk, they should receive harsher punishments than they did for their first conviction.

That 10-year period is exactly why a Virginia Catholic priest appeared in front of a judge to face his second charge of Virginia drunk driving. Father Walter Lewis was driving late in the evening when he was stopped by police because he was crossing the center line.

He blew .11 on a breathalyzer and he was arrested for drunk driving. That’s when police found out he also had a previous Virginia drunk driving conviction from 2011. For that conviction, he received a 12-month sentence in jail that was suspended as well as a restricted driver’s license.

Although it must be a little unnerving having a priest appear in front of you for sentencing, the judge in this case did hand down a harsher punishment. Because he pleaded no contest to the charges, he received 12 months in jail that was entirely suspended except for 10 days. He also lost his driver’s license for three years, and he’ll be able to apply for a restricted driver’s license requiring him to drive with an ignition interlock for one year.

It just goes to show that anyone, even a priest, can be a repeat offender. If they drink and drive, they’ll pay the price just like everyone else.

Friday Fallout: How Do You Get 28 Minnesota Drunk Driving Arrests?

Minnesota drunk driving arrestsEveryone in Minnesota must know it’s illegal to drink and drive, but the state still ranks as one with the worst drunk driving problems in the USA. After reading about one resident’s Minnesota drunk driving arrests, you’ll really wonder what he could possibly be thinking when he continually gets behind the wheel drunk.

One man in New York Mills, Minnesota has just been arrested on his 28th driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. It’s hard to believe how someone, no matter what state they live in, could possibly get arrested on the same charge so many times, but Danny Bettcher has managed to hit the double digits for DWI.

He’s 64 years old and has a long history of being in trouble for DWI. His latest arrest came after police spotted him swerving all over the road. When they pulled him over they found an empty beer can on the seat, and although he refused to submit to a breathalyzer, he told them he was way over the legal limit and to just take him to jail.

friday-falloutIt wouldn’t be the first time he saw the inside of a jail cell. He’s been in prison for prior Minnesota drunk driving arrests, serving four years in 2010. He’s also been ordered to go into treatment 12 times and spent a long time on probation.

When he was stopped for his latest DWI arrest he had a valid but restricted driver’s license. The restriction was that he not use any type of drug or consume alcohol while driving.  In Minnesota that means he should also have been driving with an ignition interlock device, but the arrest report doesn’t indicate why he didn’t have one installed.

Not everyone manages to rack up 28 drunk driving arrests during the course of their lifetime, and it’s a miracle that he hasn’t died in a car crash or killed someone else. Let’s hope this offender gets the help he needs and that jail time, treatment, and eventually, a restricted driver’s license including an ignition interlock are what he needs to finally drive sober.

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