Monthly Archives: January 2014

2 facing DUI charges after picking up friend charged with DUI

Ohio readers might be interested in the following account of two people who were charged with DUI after attempting to pick up a friend who was also charged with DUI. According to a local news outlet, a woman was taken into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in New Jersey on the night of Dec. 16.

The woman apparently called three friends in succession to pick her up at the police station because the first two were also allegedly under the influence when they arrived. According to police, the woman who was first taken into custody displayed signs of intoxication, failed a field sobriety test and swerved in her car. The first friend whom she called is also said to have shown signs of intoxication, and police allegedly discovered seven Vicodin pills in her possession, for which she had no prescription. The friend was charged with DUI and possession of a controlled substance.

Police officers allege that the second friend to arrive also appeared intoxicated and failed a field sobriety test. He was taken into custody and charged with DUI. Eventually, a fourth friend, who was sober enough to drive, arrived at the police station.

It might come as a surprise that not just one, but two allegedly intoxicated people would take the chance of driving to a police station. However, whether these individuals were pulled over while on the road or drove themselves to the police station, an attorney’s approach for their defense might be the same.

Much of the evidence presented in a DUI case is circumstantial. For example, whether a person passes or fails a roadside sobriety test is dependent on a police officer’s judgment. Other tests, such as blood or breath tests, give only approximate results. Since much of the evidence is circumstantial, it may be possible to challenge it in court.

On the other hand, it is possible for a defendant to avoid a trial by accepting a plea bargain. In most cases, a plea deal is worked out between the defense and the prosecution. A defendant might receive a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty or no contest plea.

24-year-old woman faces DUI charges; $50,000 bail

A 24-year-old woman who faced DUI accusations on Dec. 12 for a Florida motorcycle accident that claimed the life of a 58-year-old man had a prior conviction of drinking and driving in 2009. She was also taken into custody in 2012 for failure to appear on a driving with a suspended license charge. The most recent charges are for DUI manslaughter. Authorities claimed that she was intoxicated when she drove a Lexus during the early morning hours of Sept. 7 and hit the motorcycle on Interstate 95.

She admitted she had been drinking with friends at a Palm Beach Bar and was on her way to Palm City when the accident happened. The rider was wearing a helmet but still succumbed to his injuries. The prosecution requested that she be detained until she was connected to the GPS tracking system used by the jail to ensure she doesn’t drink and drive. However, her attorney suggested a different tracking system that also randomly tests any alcohol in her system.

The prosecution further explained that she must be given bail, and the judge concurred. She set the woman’s bail at $50,000 and ordered the GPS system to be enforced. The judge wanted to make sure she did not drive while intoxicated. Her blood-alcohol content level registered .249 percent, or more than triple the maximum limit of .08 percent permitted by state legislation after the accident.

Someone with a history of drinking and driving offenses or traffic citations could face strict sanctions if they are convicted of a subsequent DUI. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to suggest options like a GPS with a breathalyzer so that a client doesn’t have to stay in jail and is still permitted to drive.

County commissioner charged with second DWI

In the early morning hours of Dec. 6, a North Carolina county commissioner was taken into police custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. He was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor DWI and misdemeanor impeding traffic. This is the fourth time the New Hanover County commissioner has been taken into custody since he was first elected in 2010, and it is the second time he has been in police custody on suspicion of DWI this year. In addition to the DWI charges, a report suggests that he has previously been arrested for a traffic violation and assault.

According to a Wilmington Police spokeswoman, at 12:47 a.m., on Dec. 6, a police officer discovered a vehicle stopped near Masonboro Loop near Masonboro Sound Road and Navaho Trail. Inside the vehicle was the New Hanover County Commissioner slumped over the steering wheel and unconscious. The spokeswoman said that the officer also allegedly discovered pills of various types in the commissioner’s possession. New Hampshire state law will require his automatic removal from the board if he is convicted on the felony charge, and a fellow commissioner said that he hopes the commissioner will resign.

In a separate incident, on Dec. 18, 2012, he was stopped by Wilmington police and was charged with DWI. At the time of that incident, his blood-alcohol content was .08 percent, which is over the North Carolina legal limit. He is scheduled to appear in court for that charge on Dec. 10.

Individuals who have a history of DWI charges and convictions may be confronted with increasing penalties with each conviction. A North Carolina criminal defense attorney, who works with individuals who have multiple DWI convictions on record, might be able to reduce penalties stemming from an additional conviction. The attorney may be able to introduce evidence during a trial and suggest leniency based on the facts of the case.

Nebraska DUI dismissed for New England Patriots cornerback

On Dec. 6, Alfonzo Dennard, a New England Patriots cornerback, agreed to a plea deal that dismisses a DUI charge against him and concluded two days of Nebraska court hearings. In exchange for having the DUI case dismissed, Dennard pleaded no contest to the charge of refusing to submit to a chemical test as part of an agreement with the Lincoln city attorney’s office. He was put on probation and fined $500.

If Dennard commits any new DUI offenses, the DUI charge may be reinstated. According to an assistant prosecutor, the charges for the refusal to submit and the DUI have the same penalty. She said that it is not uncommon for individuals to have one or the other of the charges dismissed.

The cornerback was taken into custody in Lincoln in July on suspicion of drunk driving when he allegedly refused a breath test. According to police, a partial reading indicated that he had a blood alcohol level that was above the legal limit. In a September hearing, prosecutors wanted to revoke his probation after Dennard allegedly admitted that he had been drinking and driving.

The cornerback is already serving three years of probation for a separate incident in 2012. Dennard was expected to be a mid-round NFL draft choice that year and played college football at Nebraska. A few days prior to the draft, he was taken into custody for the incident, in which he allegedly struck a police officer near a bar in downtown Lincoln. In that case, he received a sentence of 100 hours of community service, 30 days in jail and two years of probation.

On Dec. 5, his jail sentence was extended to 60 days and his probation to three years by a district judge. In addition, the judge increased his community service to 200 hours. He is slated to begin his jail sentence on March 1.

This story illustrates the potential benefit of a plea agreement. In this case, the defendant was able to have his DUI charge dismissed, which may help him further his professional football career. A DUI conviction can have a negative impact on individuals’ careers and personal lives regardless of whether they are high-profile athletes or working professionals in another industry, but a thorough defense may offset some of the ramifications.