When last I left you I indicated I would evolve to a topic different than the many phases of a DUI. The responses I have received at this suggestion tells me there is more you would like to explore related to the DUI epidemic. So let's get started.
Field Sobriety Testing seems to be drought with confusion and misconceptions. Let's try to eliminate some of that and at the same time give you some feeling related to your rights when stopped under the suspicion of driving as a suspected impaired driver.
To attempt to determine whether a suspect is impaired, police officers will administer what is known as a "field sobriety test" to determine whether the officer has Probable Cause to arrest an individual for the suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). In some states the offense is referred to as "driving while intoxicated" (DWI),"operating while impaired" (OWI), or "operating a vehicle under the influence" (OVI). Such laws may also apply to boating and piloting aircraft.
A police officer in the United States must have Probable Cause to make an arrest for driving while under the influence (DUI). In establishing probable cause for a DUI arrest officers frequently consider the suspects performance of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a system for field sobriety tests that lead to the creation of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) battery of tests. The NHTSA established a standard battery of three roadside tests that are recommended to be administered in a standardized manner in making this arrest decision. There are Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests as well However, the NSFST have not received NHTSA validation. The NHTSA has published numerous training manuals associated with SFSTA's. As a result, the Walk-and-Turn test was determined to be 68%accurate whether a test subject is at or above 0.08% and the One Leg Stand Test was determined to be 65% accurate in predicting whether a test subject is at or above 0.08% when the tests are properly administered to people within the study parameters.
The three validated tests by NHTSA are:
*The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, which involves following an object with the eyes to determine characteristic eye movement to the stimulus.
*The Walk-and-Turn Test 9heel-to-toe in a straight line) This test is designed to measure a person's ability to follow directions and remember a series of steps while dividing attention between physical and mental tasks.
* The One-Leg-Stand test.
In the US, the field sobriety tests are voluntary, however, some states mandate commercial drivers accept preliminary breath tests (PBT). In some states, the state may present evidence of refusal to take a field sobriety test in court.
In the recent wake of legalized marijuana, law enforce has sought a method of breath testing to determine the content of THC present in an individual. Law enforcement efficiently combats DUI with tool like breathalyzers during field sobriety tests. Excluding edibles, a THC breathalyzer has the potential to measure how "high" an individual may be a that time. The legalizing of marijuana does not entail safety on the road, and accurate methods have become required to determine drivers impairment. A THC breathalyzer could revolutionize road sobriety testing for drivers suspected of impairment.
In summary, all of this testing and reporting has one purpose in mind---making the highways we travel safe for those of us who obey the driving laws. It is suggested that each person review the laws in their area associated with the testing methods mentioned above to accurately determine you rights when stopped as a suspected impaired driver. Laws may change from county to county and state to state.
More next time--stay tuned!
We all know what DUI stands for--(-Driving Under the Influence) but do we really know the laws associated with this--do we understand the penalties one might incur if found guilty of this--do we really know the number of lives lost each year and the associated lives compromised from DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE. Let's take a look.
In the State of California and many other states, one is determined to be driving under the influence with a measured blood alcohol contact of 0.08% alcohol/volume of blood analyzed. That may sound like a fairly insignificant amount of alcohol in a blood sample to decide that a person is unfit to drive a motor vehicle but when you look at the physical effects a slight amount of alcohol has on the human body, you can appreciate the standards established... Just as a side bar, one should also know that this applies to operating a motorcycle, airplane, boat and some other specified transportation vehicles.
I found it quite interesting when I came across the actual physical effects various amounts of alcohol has upon the human body. Now, of course, we understand that each of us react somewhat differently to stimuli than the next person, but this is the standard that the courts and law enforcement measure us by. Drinking enough alcohol to cause a bold alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.03-0.12 typically causes a flushed red appearance in the face and impaired judgment and fine muscle coordination. A BAC of 0.09 to 0.25 causes lethargy, sedation, balance problems and blurred vision. A BAC from0.18 to 0.30 causes profound confusion, impaired speech, (e.g., slurred speech) staggering, dizziness and vomiting. ABAC from 0.35 to0.80 can cause a coma (unconsciousness), life threatening respiratory depression and possibly fatal alcohol poisoning. The transition from mildly impaired to a potential deadly ingestion of alcohol can progress fairly rapidly. Young people are especially endangered by these phenomena.
Depending on the jurisdiction, BAC may be measured by police using three methods--blood, breath and urine. For law enforcement purposes, breath is the preferred method since results are available almost immediately. The validity of the testing equipment/methods and mathematical relationships for the measurement of breath and alcohol, have been criticized. Improper testing and equipment calibration is often used in defense of a DUI.
Driving while consuming alcohol may be illegal within a jurisdiction. In some, it is illegal for an open container of an alcoholic beverage to be in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle or in some specific area of that compartment. There have been cases of drivers being convicted of a DUI when they were not observed driving, after being proved in court they HAD BEEN DRIVING while under the influence.
When last we talked about Driving Under the Influence we kind of introduced you to the basics. State laws, alcohol concentrations and the right to arrest. Now, let’s go a little deeper into Driving Under the Influence.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is best defined as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs (including recreation drugs and those prescribed by a physician), to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely. Having defined that, let’s look at the consequences of this kind of action.
Traffic accidents are predominately caused by driving under the influence for people between the age of 15 and 29. For that age group DUI is the main cause of mortality. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alcohol-related causes cause approximately $37 billion in damages annually. Between attorney fees, fines, court costs, ignition interlock devices, and DMV fees a DUI charge could cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to the offender. One must wonder, is the cost worth the chance.
We’ve gone into this before but it doesn’t hurt to reemphasize how a DUI is measures and determined. With alcohol, a drunk drivers level of intoxication is typically determined by a measurement of blood alcohol content or BAC; but this can also be expressed as a breath test measurement, often referred to as a BrAC. A BAC or BrAC measures in excess of the specific threshold level, such as 0.08%, defines the criminal offense with no need to prove impairment. In some jurisdictions, there is an aggravated category of the offense at a higher BAC level, as 0.12%, 0.15% or 0.25%. In many jurisdictions, police officers can conduct field tests of suspects to look for signs of intoxication. The state of Colorado has a maximum blood content of THC for drivers who have consumed cannabis.
In most countries including the United States, sobriety checkpoints, driver’s license suspensions, fines and prison sentences for DUI offenders are used as deterrents. Anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be heavily fined or given a prison sentence. In most jurisdictions, impaired drivers who injure or kill another person while driving may face the worst of penalties. In addition, many countries have prevention campaigns that use advertising to make people aware of the dangers of driving while impaired and the potential fines and criminal charges. Much effort has been placed on discouraging impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel, and encourage drivers to take taxis or public transportation home after using alcohol or drugs. In some jurisdictions, the bar (establishment) that serves an impaired driver my face civil charges.
The battle goes on to inform and control the toll on lives and communities created by carelessly operating a vehicle while under the influence. The best of these civic organizations is the well-known Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD). The good they have done is immeasurable.
At a later time, we will explore another topic of general concern that comes occasionally to my attention. Thanks for taking the time to visit our site.
Local police in Eugene, OR first received a report for a series of burglaries at a pet store, after one of the owner's reported a primate and Girl Scout donation money was missing. After the store's video surveillance footage was viewed it was found that the owner's husband was the one responsible. Nathan McClain was arrested after using $7000 of Girl Scout donation money to pay a prostitute, and then tipping her with the Galagos primate from the pet store he and his wife owned. The primate was returned to the pet store, but the money was never recovered. Here's the article if you want to read more.
Saturday, February 20th, students received a text message from the University of New Hampshire's alert system, telling students of a armed suspect on their campus. Police had found two victims near campus, and arrested two suspects, Matthew Gibbons and Eric Denning. Gibbons posted bail and was released, while Denning appeared in court, and was later released on personal recognizance bail. As of, April 5th, Gibbons is still awaiting his trial after posting $100,000 in bail, while Denning's bail conditions recently changed to allow him to work out of state, and out of his court ordered curfew. Here's an article that goes further in depth about this case. Call Tedd Wallace Bail Bonds with any problems, we'll help you out! (408) 293-6900.
An ex-cop from Ohio requests to be released on bail today, while police determine if they will be retrying him for staging a burglary that resulted in his wife's death. In 2003, former Springboro Police Lt. Thomas Barton was convicted for manslaughter after authorities believed he set up a fake burglary to scare his wife into moving towns, in the hopes he could further his career, however the staged burglary resulted in his wife's death. The conviction was overturned in 2005 after the the federal court deemed that authorities withheld evidence that would've helped Burton, as well as had a case based on an unreliable witness. Warren County officials are opposing Burton's bail and now have until September to either retry or free him. If you are interested in reading more about this case, here is a news article on the case.
Here's an article about a Canadian man who held a bus driver at knifepoint while in pursuit of his morning coffee. While we would simply suggest taking the bus to the stop nearest your coffee shop, if you do find yourself in this situation, feel free to give Tedd Wallace Bail Bonds a call, (408) 293-6900.
During our last visit, I gave you a short overview of Domestic Violence in Santa Clara County as I see it. Let's go back a bit.
As far as I am concerned, persons charged with DV are not criminals. That is not to say that they should not be taken into custody. I strongly believe that removal of one party is essential for the safety of the offended person. Realizing that at any moment any one of us could find ourselves in one of these difficult situations it is best to be adult enough to moderate our response to elevated emotions. Walking away from an potential incendiary situation is something each of us needs to learn early in our lives. That one step back from a difficult encounter may be one of the best steps we ever learn to take.
Here is why I believe that a short stint in custody is a good teacher. Bail for DV charges in Santa Clara County begins at $25,000.00, and goes up from there. Furthermore, before a person can be admitted to bail, that person's case must be reviewed by a Magistrate (a Judge) who is not on staff all the time. Sometimes, the Mag may not get to a case for a day or two creating a great deal of frustration for the inmate and the bondsperson.
There are two things that do not escape ones memory rapidly. The first is being in custody. As I have indicated repeatedly, most DV inmates are not criminals so when a regular citizen just like you and I end up being confined with the general population that inhabits most jails, it becomes intimately obvious that this is not a place you want to visit again soon---or ever. And, secondly, when you have to write that check for the bail premium, that hurts. Bottom line, with the exception of habitual offenders, I have seen very few DV persons a second time.
I don't want to take any more of your time now so let's let these thoughts settle, and next time I will name some of the types of people I have met related with Domestic Violence issues and how I personally deal with these cases.
Checkout this article from Georgia about serial shoplifters who bring a baby along for the fun. It seems shoplifters are starting earlier and earlier... next time maybe leave the baby at home. Call Tedd Wallace Bail Bonds with any problems, well not any problems... you'll have to find your own babysitter! 408.293.6900
Professional Bail Bondsman serving San Jose, California