Lawyer For Driver With Multiple DUI Charges Claims Media At Fault

New Jersey residents who follow celebrity news may have heard that the mother of actress Lindsay Lohan might be on her way to a plea bargain with prosecutors to resolve her DUI charges.

She recently left court with orders from a judge to return in January after performing community service and undergoing an alcohol and substance abuse assessment. Her attorney stated his belief that the evaluation would confirm that his client did not have alcohol or substance issues.

According to court records, Dina Lohan was stopped by the police for speeding Sept. 12 and appeared to the officer to be intoxicated. Subsequent chemical tests confirmed the initial observations of the police officer when her blood alcohol concentration was determined to be .20 percent. The legal limit for driving while intoxicated is .08 percent.

Lohan’s attorney attributed her multiple DUI charges to the attention focused upon her by the media. The attorney read a statement after court claiming that the “daily stresses” of contending with photographers and reporters were a factor leading to the arrest of his client who, he said, does not have any alcohol or substance issues.

Legislation in most states, including New Jersey, requires those charged with DUI or other alcohol-related offenses to undergo an evaluation for alcohol and substance abuse either prior to pleading guilty as part of a bargained plea arrangement or prior to sentencing following a conviction after trial. The purpose of the evaluation is to aid judges in identifying those individuals convicted of DUI charges who might be in need of alcohol or substance abuse treatment.

If an alcohol or substance abuse evaluation reveals that a person has a drug or alcohol dependency or abuse issue, the law allows a judge to make treatment a condition of the sentence. An attorney familiar with DUI penalties is a person’s best resource for answers to questions concerning sentencing options under currently existing laws. The attorney might be able to persuade the judge to exercise leniency in sentencing or to suspend jail time in favor of the client’s enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program.

“Shoulder Tap” Program Discourages Teen Drinking In The Los Angeles Area

Walnut Creek police are launching a “shoulder tap” program among the city’s stores to discourage underage drinking. The legal drinking age in California is 21, and any adult who buys alcohol for minors may be charged with a crime for furnishing alcoholic beverages or hosting underage drinking parties. Minors who are pulled over with any alcohol in their systems may also be charged under California DUI laws.

The “shoulder tap” programs involved using minors enrolled in the police academy. These young men and women attempted to coax adults into purchasing for them. Police found that adults at each of the five stores targeted refused, and some threatened to call the police on the young people.

Los Angeles Drinking Laws

Photo courtesy of letsgoeverywhere via Flickr.

Many minors have used false identification for purposes of obtaining alcohol at local stores in the past few years or have attempted to persuade adults to buy it for them. Law enforcement authorities encourage parents to discuss the consequences of alcohol purchase and use with young people, especially as it relates to loss of driving privileges. The threat of losing a driver’s license is often a powerful motivator to stop young people from drinking.

Both minors and adults who are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol may face serious criminal charges. Minors can lose their driver’s licenses and be forced to perform community service or even spend time in jail. Adults can also lose driving privileges and may face thousands of dollars in fines for a single conviction. A DUI attorney may be able to help a driver who is accused of this serious crime negotiate a plea agreement or mount a defense to DUI charges.

More Than One-Third of Designated Drivers are Impaired

Although many people who drink understand the benefits of finding a designated driver, a study conducted by the University of Florida showed that more than one-third of designated drivers had been drinking. Their blood alcohol content levels showed impairment that affected their driving. With enhanced DUI penalties in Dallas, Texas and across the nation, designated drivers should take note.

In the study of more than 1,000 people at bars in a Southeastern Florida town, about 50 percent registered a BAC of .05 percent or higher, the new recommended maximum for driving. The professor who oversaw the study observed that people often select a designated driver by who has consumed the least amount of alcohol during the night. They may look at the person’s history of driving as someone who has been able to drink and drive previously.

Designated Drivers In Dallas, TX

Photo Courtesy of stopalcoholdeaths via Flickr

The people tested in the study had an average age of 28, and most were Caucasian, male, college students. They submitted to an interview that lasted less than six minutes about their alcohol consumption and then took a breath test. Although the non-drivers registered a higher BAC level than the designated drivers, about 18 percent of the designated drivers had BAC levels at .05 percent or higher, with 17 percent registering lesser BAC levels.

While national campaigns have emphasized not consuming any alcohol at all before driving, the professor believes that the drivers think one or two drinks won’t affect driving ability. Other designated drivers might be chosen due to poor planning or at the end of the evening.

A designated driver might not know they need to drive and find out at the last minute. If they are charged with drunk driving, a DUI defense attorney might be able to mitigate the charges and accompanying penalties against them.

DUI Suspect Offers Beer To Cop In Kent, WA

In Washington state, you can be arrested for a DUI even if you are not driving your car at the time of arrest through the stipulations of what has been called the “physical control” law. This is what happened to a man who upon being asked for his driver’s license, offered a beer to a cop. On June 18, 2013, police approached the 26-year-old man in the parking lot of a Kent, Washington 7-Eleven. Witnesses had summoned police because the young man appeared intoxicated. The young man’s physical demeanor gave police sufficient grounds to arrest him on DUI charges. Subsequently, it was discovered the young man had three previous DUI arrests, and that his driver’s license had been revoked.

Seattle Drunk Driver Sobriety Test

Generally speaking, if the prosecutor has sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove that a person has been driving while intoxicated, that person does not have to be apprehended in the act of driving to be charged with a DUI. Washington state also has a physical control DUI law on its books as RCW 46.61.50. This law makes it a crime to use a vehicle in any way when you are intoxicated, even if you have pulled off the road because you have decided it is a bad idea to drive any further. Regardless of whether you are charged with a straight DUI or a physical control DUI, the blood alcohol limits for legal intoxication are .08 percent.

DUI penalties in Washington state can be severe, and may include jail time, probation, fines and ignition interlock requirements. There will be administrative penalties as well, such as loss of your driving privileges. You may be subject to administrative penalties even if the criminal charges against you are dismissed. If you’ve been charged with either a conventional DUI or a physical control DUI in the state of Washington, it might be in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Source: Newser, “DUI Suspect to Cops: Here, Have a Beer,” Matt Cantor, June 18, 2013

Drunk Student Case Spotlights Fraternity Drinking

Arizona Underage Drinking & DUI Image

A recent case involving a fraternity brings attention to the problem of underage drinking in Arizona college towns. Members of an Arizona fraternity recently dropped off a fraternity brother at the hospital with a sticky note explaining he was drunk and needed help. That night, the student had consumed 20 shots of tequila. His frat brothers took him to the hospital out of fear for his well-being, but they didn’t stay because they thought they would get in trouble for providing him alcohol. The ASU fraternity has recently received media attention for its treatment of drunken fraternity brothers who are underage. Another inebriated student from the same fraternity drowned in a river after being kicked out of a Tempe bar during a fraternity gathering.

In Tempe, students in fraternities and sororities have been frequenting local bars because ASU closed Greek sorority and fraternity housing. Without university enforcement and intervention, fraternity members under and over 21 have more of an ability to drink in excess if they are not policed. The student who was taken to the hospital had a blood alcohol level of 0.47. In Arizona, the presence of a blood alcohol level above 0.0 is considered a violation of the law for anyone under 21 driving a motor vehicle. An underage DUI in Phoenix, Arizona results in a revocation, suspension or denial of a license for anywhere up to two years, depending on the number of violations a person has.

Arizona does not permit minors to possess or have any alcohol in their systems. Minors may receive up to 360 days in jail and multiple fines for hundreds or thousands of dollars for alcohol consumption. The law also prohibits people 21 and older from buying alcohol for a minor. Those who provide a minor alcohol could be charged with a misdemeanor.

In Arizona, DUI lawyers may be able to assist minors who have been arrested for an under 21 DUI. Attorneys work with people who are facing misdemeanors for drinking or driving under the influence to receive the most positive outcome possible. When individuals who have been arrested for DUI charges obtain the help a lawyer, they usually have a better chance at making a strong claim and a chance at receiving a lesser charge.

Source: Alcohol Policy Information System, “State Profiles of Drinking Laws: Arizona,” 2013.

Source: DrivingLaws.org, “Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties in Arizona,” , 2012.

What Happens In Vegas Does’t Always Stay In Vegas – A Review Of Las Vegas DUI Penalties

Las Vegas DUI Penalties

A DUI conviction in Nevada earns offenders more than just a slap on the wrist and a hefty fine. DUIs result in a complicated assortment of consequences that can easily require thousands of dollars, hours of time, and huge amounts of energy.

Las Vegas has two types of DUI penalties—administrative and criminal.

Las Vegas at night, courtesy of Moyan_Brenn via Flickr

Administrative Penalties

Administrative penalties are imposed by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on you and your license, including the following fees:

  • $65 driver license reinstatement fee
  • $35 Victims Compensation Civil Penalty
  • $21.75 driver license application fee

Keep in mind the administrative penalties above are only applicable to a first DUI offense.  Consequences can become more severe for each additional offense.

Criminal penalties

Criminal penalties are enforced by the courts. For drivers over the age of 21, the following lists provide the criminal penalties for different convictions.

First Conviction:

  • Driver license revoked for 90 days
  • Jail sentence up to six months
    • Or 96 hours of community service
    • Up to $1,000 fine
    • Mandatory DUI school attendance (average cost is $150)
    • Possible order to attend a substance-abuse treatment program

Second Conviction in Seven Years:

  • Driver license revoked for one year
  • Jail sentence or home arrest up to six months
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Up to 200 hours of mandatory community service
  • Possible car registration suspension
  • Possible order to attend a substance-abuse treatment program
    • Or undergo clinical supervision for up to one year

Third Conviction in Seven Years:

  • Driver license revoked for three years
  • Prison sentence up to six years
  • Fine up to $5,000
  • Possible car registration suspension

Beyond the penalties listed above that are based on number of offenses, DUIs that cause death or serious injury can result in additional punishments that are significantly more severe. Even on the first offense, a DUI that causes death or serious injury can result in a prison sentence up to 20 years, a fine up to $5,000, and a driver license revocation of three years.

Source: DMV.org, DUI & DWI in Nevada, http://www.dmv.org/nv-nevada/automotive-law/dui.php

DUI Penalties in Atlanta, Georgia

Everyone knows that if they are charged with a DUI, they’re going to pay a serious fine.  The fine is probably the most recognized and immediate consequence of a DUI conviction and, in Georgia, drivers over 21 pay the following:

  • First Offense: $300-$1,000 fine
  • Second Offense: $600- $1,000 fine
  • Third Offense: $1,000-$5,000 fine

Although fines are the most recognized consequence, there are several other costly penalties that drivers often fail to consider.  Here is a list of the additional penalties you can expect if you or someone you know is charged with a DUI in Atlanta.  Brace yourself.

Atlanta Georgia DUI Checkpoint

Photo Courtesy Of of versageek via Flickr

First Offense DUI Penalties                                                                                

Second Offense DUI Penalties                                                                                                        

  • 48 hours MINIMUM in jail
  • 3 year license suspension
  • 30 days community service
  • $210 license reinstatement fee
  • $298 DUI Alcohol/Drug Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical Evaluation

Third Offense DUI Penalties

  • Habitual Violator (HV) Status
  • License revoked for 5 years plus license plate confiscation
  • 15 days MINIMUM in jail
  • 30 days community service
  • $298 DUI Alcohol/Drug Risk Reduction Program
  • Name, address, and photo published in your local newspaper

Considering all of these penalties, the actual cost of a DUI in Georgia goes far beyond the initial fine and can easily amount to thousands of dollars.

Source: DMV.org, DUI & DWI in Georgia