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Sober Drivers Stopped for DUI: How Often?

We occasionally note in our blogs what we regard as a critically important balance in a democratic society, namely, this: the tempering of the state’s power to stop, question and arrest members of the public with an individual’s legal right to be treated with fundamental fairness in his or her interactions with law enforcement officials.

As we have previously noted, this is certainly true in the realm of Bellingham DUI-related charges and drunk driving arrests. In this area of law, due process concerns are always present; additionally, they are sometimes magnified by factors such as machine and equipment failures (e.g., see our September 27 blog on the Washington State Crime Lab) and other problems that are simply inherent in the system and that can work to compromise a just result.

Take the case of a Texas man and his recent experience, for example – a story that is hardly news to defense attorneys and that occurs with varying twists across the country with regularity.

David Hammock – a Dallas resident – was stopped recently by a police officer who saw him hit a curb. Hammock was 100 percent sober at the time and told the officer that, but the officer asked him to perform a battery of sobriety tests. Hammock says that the stop unnerved him; he failed the tests. He says that being tall and uncoordinated didn’t help.

He was subsequently patted down, cuffed and taken to jail, where he spent several hours. The breath test he took there came back with a 0.00 reading, and he was released – after he paid to get his impounded car back with the help of a Tucson car accident attorney.

How typical is this? Bellingham DUI attorneys say it happens frequently, because investigatory tools – such as sobriety tests – are far from infallible.

Hammock was obviously happy to leave the jail. “The officer said I blew a 0.00 and I thought hallelujah,” he said.

Child Support and News Radio

Child support is something that affects many people across the United States as well as in Colorado. It can often come as a result of a divorce or the separation of unmarried parents. For people who receive child support, that extra money can mean the difference between being able to provide for their children and not being able to. When one spouse doesn’t pay the amount that was determined, as in the following story, it can be frustrating and the children may suffer because of it.

A comedy star who got his start in “The Kids in the Hall,” a Canadian comedy series that formed in the ’80s, has reported that he could be arrested for not paying child support if he returns to his native Canada.

David Foley claims he has been ordered to pay child support that amounts to 400 percent of his income. In a recent interview, Foley said he would happily pay half of his income, but he can’t afford current payments.

The comedian has two teenage children with his first wife, whom he divorced in 1997. Foley and his second wife had a daughter as well. They divorced in 2008.

In 2007, Foley tried to have his support payments modified, saying he could not find a steady job. The judge, however, denied his request.

After staring on “The Kids in the Hall,” Foley had roles on “News Radio,” the Pixar movie “A Bug’s Life” and a guest role on the television series “Desperate Housewives.” He has also received interest from CBS to star in a new television series.

In situations like this, multiple children are dependent on child support payments. It is the parent’s responsibility to provide his or her children with the support they need. Contact the best accident lawyer in Oregon to handle cases like these.

When do I get arrested?

When are you under arrest?
You are arrested when law enforcement officers take you into custody or otherwise deprive you of your freedom of movement in any significant way, in order to hold you to answer for a criminal offense. Police officers, under Florida law, are obligated to identify themselves and to advise you that you are under arrest and why, unless circumstances make it impossible for them to do so at that time. You may, in fact, be under arrest even though no one has actually used the word “arrest” or any other comparable word. The fact that you have been deprived of your freedom of movement in some significant manner may amount legally to an arrest.

Ordinarily, private citizens do not have power of arrest in New York; but under limited circumstances a private party may make an arrest where an actual commission of a felony is involved. Contact an Naples car accident law firm immediately after your arrest.

Litigation Help

Examples of our Group’s services include:

  • Developing incident response plans and assisting in immediate responses to computer intrusions and security breaches, including counseling on steps to minimize liability, and filing civil litigation or making criminal referrals to law enforcement.
  • Representing companies that have suffered an information security breach in FTC and State Attorney General inquiries and civil litigation.
  • Counseling clients on compliance with debt help Illinois information security legislation, commonly known as SB 1386, and any similar state or federal laws and regulations requiring companies to provide notice when sensitive personal information has been acquired by an unauthorized person.
  • Conducting internal and Internet investigations to identify and track down wrongdoers who are causing harm to the corporation through the Internet or networked computer systems (trade secret leaks or theft, extortion attempts, defamation, etc.).
  • Advising covered entities under GLB or HIPAA regarding the information security requirements under the respective security rules. Such projects often include risk assessments and implementation of reasonable security measures under the direction of counsel and consequently within the umbrella of the attorney-client privilege.
  • Conducting general security and privacy audits and evaluations of the adequacy of companies’ security policies and measures, considering applicable laws and regulations, information security standards such as ISO 17799, and industry best practices.
  • Reviewing, revising and drafting policies and practices pertaining to incident handling, acceptable use, terms of service, electronic monitoring and e-mail marketing, including reviewing contracts with service providers to ensure inclusion of appropriate information security provisions.
  • Conducting due diligence review of the information security practices and procedures of potential acquisition targets or business partners.

Do State Tracking Laws Create More Opportunities for Drug Crimes?

The Associated Press published an article about their analysis of federal data regarding tracking laws and the methamphetamine epidemic. Since several states have adopted the electronic tracking techniques to record the sales and purchases of pseudoephedrine, the Drug Enforcement Administration has actually seen an increase in criminal activity related to meth. This has some states and officials questioning if the tracking laws are drawing more people to commit drug crimes instead of preventing the criminal offenses defended by west palm beach criminal defense.
Tracking laws were implemented in 2006 after meth busts became very prominent in the U.S. Technology easily allowed sales of cold medicines that were popular for making meth to be tracked and logged. Pharmacies could verify if the buyer at the counter had already purchased their legal limit of pseudoephedrine or not.
Although the laws were intended to disrupt the meth business and affect the production of the illegal substance, the DEA believes it only created a new set of criminals in the drug trade. Because tracking laws affected the amount of cold medicine that single operations could purchase, makers of meth began recruiting and buying the ingredients from “pill brokers.”

Five die in fatal Louisiana I-10 multi-vehicle collision

Louisiana State Police Troop A recently responded to a fatal multi-vehicle collision on eastbound Interstate 10. Investigators report that a small SUV collided with a white pickup truck traveling west on the interstate. The pickup then crossed the median and struck an Acura which was traveling in the eastbound lanes. At one point, the pickup truck also hit the trailer of an 18-wheeler heading east on the interstate.

When the pickup truck struck the Acura head-on, the car immediately burst into flames. All five people in the car, including three children, were killed in the accident.

The driver of the pickup truck, a 29-year-old man, and his passenger, a 28-year-old woman, both suffered life-threatening injuries in the collision. They were both transported to Our Lady of the Lake hospital for treatment. Neither the driver of the SUV nor the 18-wheeler operator was hurt in the tragic accident.

Investigators are currently looking into the accident. Each driver has submitted a blood sample to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis. At this time, it is not clear whether any of the drivers had alcohol or drugs in his or her system.

While family and friends grieve the senseless deaths of the five people who were killed in the fiery crash, the State Police superintendant expressed concern for them. “This is a horrible tragedy and our thoughts are with those lost in the crash as well as their families and friends … There were needless deaths; this crash did not have to happen.”

Accident attorneys in Michigan can use their expertise to address these and other car accidents across the country.

Your Health Can Get You Arrested

Motorists in less than perfect health can find themselves wrongly arrested on criminal DUI charges. Some of these drivers attempted to tell the arresting police officer that their bloodshot or watery eyes or bad balance or poor coordination were due to illnesses – and that they hadn’t been abusing drugs or drinking too much alcohol. Other motorists fear talking back to police officers. Drivers have even been arrested and prosecuted when having ailments which remained undiagnosed, never knowing that a medical condition, and not alcohol or drug impairment, caused their intoxicated appearance and poor performance when taking DUI physical tests (walk the line, repeatedly touch the finger to the nose while both eyes are closed, balance on one leg, etc).

Even when not detecting the use of alcohol, police officers are permitted to arrest motorists when seeing traits or behaviors which they associate with DUI driving, such as a reddened face, watery eyes or other traits which could result from medical ailments.

Urine and blood tests, administered after arrest, detect even small quantities of lawful medications or illegal drugs. Since lawful medication or illegal drug consumption may have been of a quantity insufficient to impair a motorist’s driving abilities or may have occurred too many days or weeks earlier to lawfully warrant an arrest, DWI defense attorneys frequently succeed in having judges exclude from evidence all laboratory results of urine tests.

It is up to the arrested person (through his or her attorney), and not the State Attorney prosecuting the case, to inform the judge when the results of urine and breath tests should be kept out of evidence. When judges order that evidence obtained from urine tests be excluded (thrown out), prosecuting attorneys frequently plea bargain by dismissing DUI criminal charges and substituting them with the less serious offense of reckless driving.

Drivers who accept plea offers on the less serious charge of reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication may seek to seal their records if having no prior arrests. When DUI charges are dismissed, whether by jury acquittal or judges, persons never arrested before are eligible to seek to expunge their criminal record.

Since medical conditions often mimic the side effects of alcohol and drug use, a well intentioned police officer can wrongly assume you were drinking to excess, ingested too much lawful medication to safely drive or were high on illegal drugs. Innocent people are arrested on DUI charges when exhibiting a few or even one of the characteristics police officers associate with drunkenness, illegal drug use or impairment from use of prescription medication:

– a face which is reddened, flushed, blank or expressionless
– eyes which are red or watery
– slurred speech
– poor balance / poor coordination
– slow to react
– tiredness or fatigue
– jerky eye movements – slow recall or memory
– irritability
– excessive sweating
– nausea / vomiting

Here is a sampling of medical conditions which can place you at high-risk for wrongfully being arrested on criminal charges, along with a description of their DUI-lookalike symptoms:

ACNE: Can cause overall facial redness.

ANEMIA: Symptoms frequently include fatigue and facial paleness.

ANXIETY: Sweating, fatigue, irritability and memory problems are typical occurrences.

BELL’S PALSY: Damaged facial muscles cause flat, expressionless features, often occurring suddenly, sometimes with eye redness and irritation.

CARPAL-TUNNEL SYNDROME: This nerve disorder, common in hands and wrists, limits dexterity. Someone with Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome is likely to fare poorly when following a police officer’s command to perform a DUI physical test of closing both eyes and repeatedly alternating hands while bringing fingertips to the tip of their nose. Often caused by repetitive motion at work, most people linger with Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome for months or years before being diagnosed.

COMMON COLD: Red, watery eyes and tiredness.

DERMATITIS: This skin ailment causes slight to bright redness, often to the face and forehead. Typically, the occurrences are sporadic.

DEPRESSION: Fatigue, spontaneous crying and irritability, all typical symptoms of depression, are among the same indicators which police officers associate with DUI impairment.

DIABETES – JUVENILE / TYPE 1: Hypoglycemic reactions can induce a fruity alcoholic breath odor and behavior closely mimicking drunkenness. Nervousness, confusion and difficulty when concentrating are other common traits of hypoglycemia. Neuropathy in limbs can make it difficult to perform well when taking DUI tests, such as walking a line, balancing while one leg is raised and repeatedly bringing fingertips to tip of nose while eyes are closed. Retinopathy, a diabetes-related eye disease, can blur vision – sometimes for just a few hours – temporarily and unexpectedly diminishing driving skills and performance when taking DUI physical tests.

DIABETES – ADULT ONSET / TYPE 2: Neuropathy in limbs can make it difficult to perform well on DUI test taking exercises such as walking a line, balancing while one leg is raised and when repeatedly bringing fingertips to tip of nose while eyes are closed. Retinopathy, a diabetes-related eye disease, can blur vision – sometimes for just a few hours – temporarily and unexpectedly diminishing driving skills and performance when taking DUI physical tests. Persons with adult onset diabetes are often obese, further complicating their performance when taking DUI physical tests. As many as 80% of persons with this form of diabetes are unaware they have the disease.

EAR INFECTIONS: Dizziness which often accompanies ear disorders can impact performance while walking a line or when balancing while one foot is raised, two of the tasks frequently assigned in DUI physical tests.

FIBROSITIS: Muscle inflammation in the neck, shoulder, arms, lower back and thighs is often accompanied by stiffness and weakness. Frequently worsened by fatigue and often undiagnosed, the ailment can diminish a motorist’s performance when taking DUI physical tests.

GOUT: Persons with this type of joint inflammation to their feet, ankles, hands, arms or shoulders typically experience pain and limited mobility. They are likely to fare poorly when performing DUI physical tests such as walking a straight line, balancing while one foot is raised or closing their eyes while repeatedly bringing fingertips to tip of nose.

HEEL SPUR: This painful bony growth in the foot makes walking and standing painful and difficult. Sometimes leads to painful back and knee ailments. The ailment lessens one’s ability to walk along a straight line or to balance while standing on one foot.

LYME DISEASE: Muscle pain and fatigue, common symptoms, are likely to likely to diminish one’s ability to perform demanding DUI physical tests to the satisfaction of the observing police officer. People with Lyme Disease typically are plagued with it for months or years before being diagnosed.

MENIERE’S DISEASE: This inner ear disorder impairs balance, making it difficult to fare well when taking DUI physical tests. Jerky eye movements, often associated with Meniere’s Disease, can confuse police officers who conduct on-the-scene eye examinations (checking for HGN or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus). In training, police officers are instructed that jerky eye movements (a lack of smooth pursuit of eye pupils) are an indication of alcohol or drug impairment. Vomiting and excessive sweating are among other symptoms of the illness.

MENINGITIS: Frequently suffered from for some time prior to diagnosis. Those afflicted share numerous characteristics often associated with DUI, including eye sensitivity to light, irritability, confusion, fatigue and nausea / vomiting.

MENOPAUSE: Dizziness, moodiness, fatigue, tension, anxiety, bladder irritability and other menopausal symptoms are similar to the symptoms police officers associate with alcohol or drug impairment.

MONONUCLEOSIS: Persons 40 years of age and under, the group most susceptible to mono, comprise the same demographic group which police officers consider the highest risk for being under the influence of illegal drugs. When accompanied by discoloring of skin and / or eyes, police officers can mistakenly believe someone with mono is DUI.

OBESITY: In addition to obese people being less able to perform well on DUI physical tests, such as walking a line or balancing on one leg, they are more likely than most others to have weight-related medical disorders (including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure) which can further impact observations and judgments being made about their physical condition.

PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME / PMS: Rapid emotional changes, dizziness, irritability, anxiety and nervousness are among the same the symptoms police officers associate with alcohol or drug impairment.

PULMONARY DISORDERS: Fatigue, dizziness, restlessness, anxiety and faintness can be confused with the traits police officers associate with alcohol or drug impairment.

SODIUM IMBALANCE: Symptoms of this often undiagnosed ailment include excessive sweating, anxiety, confusion and restlessness, traits police officers consider to be caused by alcohol and drug impairment.

STRABISMUS: A disorder of uncoordinated muscle movement between the eyes, impairing one’s ability to focus. Diminished depth perception further impairs the ability fare well on DUI physical tests, such as walking toe to heel along a straight line, particularly in darkness. Uncoordinated eye movements can confuse police officers who are trained to associate a lack of smooth pursuit of eye pupils with DUI impairment during their on the scene eye examination for HGN or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Police officers are trained to associate jerky eye movements (a lack of smooth pursuit of eye pupils) with alcohol or drug impairment.

SUN POISONING: Deep sunburns common in South Florida can not only redden skin, but may cause fatigue and dizziness.

TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACK: Brief episodes of sudden decreased blood flows to the brain induce confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, visual irregularities, traits police officers consider to be caused by alcohol and drug impairment.

Having insulin-dependent diabetes, Mr. Spolter is aware how medical ailments – including those which have not yet been diagnosed in his clients – can make motorists appear to be impaired by alcohol, prescription medications or illegal drugs. Among the DUI clients he has effectively represented are persons whose medical ailments played a role in their having been arrested. Mr. Spolter has achieved favorable case outcomes in DUI cases on behalf of persons having these medication conditions:

 

 

Client’s Condition   Case Outcome Obtained
Broken Collar Bone: Obtained State Attorney’s Agreement to Dismiss all Charges pending against Defendant injured in DUI-related accident who failed the DUI roadside physical tests and also failed Sheriff’s Department’s DUI urine test which revealed Marijuana usage. A full case dismissal permits those not having prior arrests to seek to expunge their criminal records.
Severe Leg Disability: Obtained Reduction to Reckless Driving (with Withhold of Adjudication) on behalf of a client who failed DUI Roadside Physical Performance Test and whose DUI administered Urine Test revealed use of Illegal Drugs.

A Withhold of Adjudication permits those not having prior arrests to seek to seal their criminal records.

Diabetes: Obtained Reduction to Reckless Driving (with Withhold of Adjudication) on behalf of a client with diabetes. The client failed the breath test and failed the DUI Roadside Physical Performance Test. This being the client’s first arrest, he was eligible to later seek to seal his criminal arrest record.
Tourrette Syndrome: Reduction to Reckless Driving Charge. State Attorney initially prosecuted client for DUI when his urine test reveled use of controlled chemical substances similar to but not identical to those prescribed by his physician.
Borderline Mental Retardation: Non-jail outcome for second and third DUI convictions for arrests occurring weeks apart.

Government Contacts Overview

Our Government Contracts Practice Group represents clients participating in every aspect of government contracting. Our practice encompasses disputes relating to contract performance, contract award controversies (bid protests), civil and criminal False Claims Act investigations and litigation, and disputes between prime and subcontractors. Our practice also includes construction projects with public agencies both nationally and internationally. We represent clients before federal trial and appellate courts, agency boards of contract appeals, the General Accounting Office, state courts and administrative boards and such international tribunals as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Besides handling active litigation matters, our lawyers advise clients on day-to-day government contracts issues and alternative dispute resolution procedures. We also work with clients developing strategies to maximize opportunities to secure new contracts and retain existing business.

Our Government Contracts Practice Group is chaired by Caryl A. Potter, the managing partner of our Washington, D.C. Office. The group includes more than twenty lawyers in several offices, who spend all or a significant portion of their time on government contracts matters.

The following are examples of recent matters handled by our business tax attorneys in Government Contracts Practice Group.

What to Look for in Employment Lawyers

Our Chesapeake employment attorneys combine a depth of substantive knowledge with a breadth of trial experience to provide aggressive, cost-efficient representation.  We are practical in our approach to counseling, negotiation and litigation.  We recognize that clients may have business, political, economic or other considerations which impact the course of action they choose.

Members of the firm are admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals, the United States district courts, Florida courts, including the Florida Supreme Court, and other states’ courts. Many of our attorneys are frequent lecturers and authors on labor and employment law topics.

Charges filed against Fitchburg crash driver

Charges have been brought against the driver of a tragically fatal crash that killed four people last week. The man is being held in jail after having been released from the hospital earlier this week. He is also suspected of a probation violation for a disorderly conduct conviction from 2011. He now faces four counts of homicide for the alleged drunken driving crash last week.

The victims of the crash were from Wisconsin and Illinois. Because of the alleged drunken driving in this accident, the families of the victims may be able to recover for the wrongful death of their loved ones.

Wrongful death claims can be brought in Wisconsin when someone negligently causes the death of another person. Immediate families are generally eligible to bring the claim and recover for medical expenses, funeral costs, and pain and suffering, among other things. Drunken driving is strong evidence that negligence was involved in this crash. Wrongful death cases should be handled by an attorney who is sensitive to the pain that a family is feeling when coping with their loss. Damages from the suit can help relieve some of the financial strain and stress from those dealing with a tragedy.

Police say that the driver in the Fitchburg crash was heading east on Lacy Road and went through a stop sign at a high speed. He then apparently hit a bump at a railroad crossing that made him airborne, causing him to hit a utility pole.

If you or someone you know has lost a loved one due to negligent driving, contact a specialized attorney to evaluate your rights to compensation.