PA Bill to Avoid Loophole

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I reported last week about a legal loophole that allowed for a DUI offender not to be convicted for a second time since her first conviction had not happened yet. Apparently, this is an issue in many states.

This week, PA representative Seth Grove’s bill was approved by a state House of Representatives Committee. The bill allows people arrested for a second DUI to be considered repeat offenders even if they have yet to receive their first conviction.

There are many supporters of this bill, including the PA chapter of MADD. Ultimately, it will keep roads safer and make people more accountable for their actions.

The bill has yet to be approved by the PA House and Senate. Following the possible approval, the bill will be sent to Governor Ed Rendell.

[Source: York Dispatch]

Legal Brand Marketing's Angie and Becky Discuss Controversial DUI Case

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IL Hospitals Versus Police: Blood Tests

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IL Police Chief Jim Puckett believes that doctors and nurses should be arrested if they refuse to do draw blood from a possible DUI offender who refuses a to submit to a blood test.

An incident happened this past weekend in Love Park where Chris Primuth, a two-time DUI offender, crashed his car. He was injured and he was taken to the Saint Anthony Medical Center. He refused to take a sobriety test. When Puckett asked the medical staff to draw blood, both the doctor and nurse refused since Primuth was refusing to submit in the first place. Puckett took Primuth to Winnebago County jail, where the jail nurse also refused to draw blood.

Now, a question of legality arises. Are hospitals required to draw blood from a DUI-suspect who refuses to submit to a sobriety test to begin with? Puckett believes that hospital employees should be aware that hospitals cannot be sued for taking blood against a DUI-suspect’s will. Therefore, if a hospital refuses to draw blood, the nurse or doctor on duty should be arrested.

Puckett’s opinions seems rather harsh because perhaps hospitals may not be protecting the rights of a DUI offender but protecting the safety of other people in the hospital.

[Source: Rrstar.com]

No Organ Transplant for DUI Offender

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The state of Nevada has gotten itself in a difficult situation over a sick prisoner. Erik Lawrence Randall is in jail for a DUI causing death charge and a hit-and-run charge. However, he is also suffering from kidney disease.

$50,000 a year is spent on Randall’s dialysis treatments. Furthermore, he cannot earn work credits for his parole because he is seeking treatment in the state medical facility, which forces his parole date to be pushed back.

So, when Randall asked the Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners to adjust his sentence so he can receive a kidney transplant, he was denied.

Yes, Randall did a terrible thing ending the life of an innocent civilian. However, is the state of Nevada being fair in denying him treatment so he can successfully fulfill his time in prison?

[Source: North Lake Tahoe Bonanza]

The Cost of Drunk Driving – For Those Not Even Involved

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In today’s New York Times, Freakonomics blogger, Eric A. Morris discusses the real cost of drunk driving amongst all Americans.

Although he states that the number of drunk driving fatalities has gone down, people still continue to be irresponsible on the road, costing taxpayers a lot of money.

When a drunk driving accident happens, it is the taxpayer’s money that pays for the transportation of the police, fire, and emergency services, as well as medical care for those affected and property damage. In 2000, drunk driving accidents costs the country $114 billion dollars, which Morris states is more than twice the cost of the recent GM bailout.

It is understandable that citizens would be upset to have to pay their own money because the negligence of other drivers on the road. However, with the amount of people who do get behind the wheel after a few drinks, maybe there is a lesser amount of upset citizens and a bigger amount of guilty citizens.

MI: Phone Tips Are a Probable Cause

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Michigan Representative Lamar Lemmons is proposing a bill that allows police to pull over a suspected drunk driver when they receive a phone tip from a third party. Currently, in order for police to pull a driver over, they need to witness a reckless driver on the road.

This bill came as a result of a tragic incident in 2009 when a drunk driver killed four teenagers. The drunk driver’s family knew their relative was on the road and called the police, but the tip was not a probable cause for the police to stop the driver.

This bill seems to be polarizing the state of Michigan. While many advocates are thrilled, many who are opposed believe that people will abuse the system. What if someone is misguided about whether a person is drunk or not? A phone call could possibly lead the police down a wrong path. However, a phone tip could save lives if the police do stop a drunk driver and prevent an accident from happening.

It seems as if this law is allowing citizens to be more active in preventing drunk driving. Do you think people are able to accept this responsibility?

[Source: UpperMichiganSource.com]

Loopholes for Repeat FL DUI Offender

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Here’s a lesson to us all: commit all of your crimes in a short period of time and you can get away with a simple misdemeanor.

We see legal loopholes all the time, but this story definitely takes the cake. Stacy Slabach is a repeat DUI offender. Under Florida state law, she should be convicted of a felony. In Florida, a third DUI arrest is considered a felony if the arrests are within the same decade.

Slabach was arrested for a DUI back in 2000. However, this year, she was arrested for a DUI on April 15th. On April 19th, she was arrested again for a DUI. Since her April 15th conviction wasn’t placed yet, her April 19th arrest does not factor. Therefore, she cannot be considered a felon.

Talk about good timing.

In the past, this non-DUI-felon also received jailtime for cocaine possession and she even brought in contraband into the facility during her stay. Furthermore, she has also been found guilty of prostitution and heroin possession.

Yeah, this definitely doesn’t sound like someone who could possibly get a felony for a DUI…

VT to Crack Down on Bus Drivers with DUI Offenses

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In the news, there has been story after story about bus drivers getting pulled over for a DUI – even in instances when there were children on the bus. This is reprehensible and, of course, concerned citizens would want these bus drivers’ licenses revoked.

Vermont is becoming one of those states to look heavily into this matter. Lawmakers are working on a regulation to ban a driver from getting a commercial driver’s license if they have ever been convicted of a DUI.

This seems fair, but what about DUI offenders who have reformed?

“We all believe in rehabilitation and redemption and the opportunity to move forward and continue to have opportunities in our society, so we have to weigh that against possible safety concerns …whether an absolute ban is right; I want to give it more thought,” states Governor Jim Douglas.

Is this possible regulation fair? Should commercial drivers – especially bus drivers -  be held to a higher standard, even after one DUI?

[Source: http://www.wcax.com]

No-Refusal Weekend in Illinois

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Kane County, Illinois, is planning another “No-Refusal Weekend”. No-refusal weekends are when judges and prosecutors are on call to draft up search warrants for drunk drivers who refused to take a sobriety test. These warrants force offenders to submit to a blood test.

There is no legal authorization that permits the use of physical force during no-refusal weekends. However, during past no-refusal weekends, most suspects complied.

This program is mostly aimed at repeat offenders. Many repeat offenders refuse to take a breathalyzer because their punishment could be less severe.

Kane County does not announce when their no-refusal weekends will be; they only announce that one is coming soon. In the past, most no-refusal weekends occurred during a holiday. Maybe one is coming up around Memorial Day?

The Chicago Tribune says there are a of legal uncertainties about no-refusal weekends. Is it fair to draft a search warrant because someone refused to submit to a test?

M.A.D.D. Oversight in Nevada

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Last year, the Nevada traffic safety office gave M.A.D.D. a $20,000 grant to educate judges and prosecutors about ignition interlock devices. However, the information M.A.D.D. shared was only in regards to first and second DUI offenses and not DUI felonies.

M.A.D.D. representative Keely Hedderman never spoke with judges or prosecutors about the law that requires DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device for three years if they have killed or injured someone. She was only looking at first and second offenses and not felonies.

Because of this oversight, Nevada did not renew the grant. M.A.D.D. was unaware of this oversight, as well.

Do you think Hedderman was still being effective with just informing judges about first and second DUI offenses? What do you think this oversight means for M.A.D.D. and the reputation of Nevada’s DUI enforcement?

[Source: The Reno-Gazette Journal]