Update: NY Giants’ David Diehl pleads guilty to Aggravated DWI

David Diehl being arrested; picture by Richard Harbus for the NY Daily News

David Diehl being arrested; picture by Richard Harbus for the NY Daily News

This is an update to an earlier post about current N.Y. Giant (and former Brother Rice and University of Illinois) offensive lineman David Diehl.

From ESPN New York:

New York Giants tackle David Diehl pleaded guilty to aggravated DWI and impaired driving in a Queens District court stemming from his arrest last summer for driving his BMW into two parked cars in Queens.

Diehl will not be allowed to drive or apply for a driver’s license in New Jersey, where he lives, for a six-month period and will have to wear a SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) bracelet for 90 days.

Prosecutors said Diehl’s blood alcohol content was at .182, well above the legal limit of .08.

Diehl has to complete two drunken driving programs and pay $1,200 in restitution fees to the owners of the cars.

The aggravated DWI charge will be dismissed if Diehl complies with his sanctions within the next six months, with the first of three compliance conferences scheduled for April 19. In that case, he will be sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge on the driving while impaired charge.

The Giants’ veteran might face further disciplinary action from the NFL, which could fine him for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Under the terms of the 2010 policy, a first DUI or DWI offense, absent aggravating circumstances, generally results in a fine of one game check, up to a maximum of $50,000, pending a resolution in court to establish an alcohol-related violation of law.

Smile while you blow?

This was brought to my attention by Champaign attorney Mark Palmer.

The Secretary of State has proposed an new rule for breath ignition interlock devices (“BAIID”), requiring that they have cameras capable of photographing the motorist while he or she is taking the breath test necessary to start the vehicle.

The proposed rule states:

IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES

SOS also proposed amendments to “Procedures and Standards” (92 Ill Adm Code 1001; 37 Ill Reg 720), concerning Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIIDs) issued to persons with restricted driving permits or monitoring device driving permits (MDDPs, for first-time DUI offenders). No later than July 1, 2013, all BAIIDs installed shall include a camera that captures a clear image of the individual blowing into the BAIID, at a sufficiently wide angle to determine whether a circumvention device has been inserted into the mouthpiece of the BAIID. Captured images shall be stored by the vendor of the BAIID device and made accessible to the SOS, as prescribed by the SOS. For persons in the first-time monitoring driving permit program, preventing the camera from taking clear and accurate photos of the permittee blowing into the mouthpiece is a violation.  Permit privileges shall be suspended for an additional 3 months when an image shows the MDDP permittee has used a product that allows the permittee to avoid blowing directly into the mouthpiece, or has tried to prevent a clear picture of the driver. BAIID providers and installers are affected by this rulemaking.

As you may know, the Illinois Secretary of State requires that most people who have been suspended or revoked in Illinois for one or more DUIs have a BAIID installed on their vehicle as a condition of a driving permit.  The BAIID will only allow the individual to start a motor vehicle so long as there is not a BAC reading of 0.025 or higher.  This means that a person can have a BAC that is well below the legal limit yet not be able to start his or her vehicle.  Because of this, it is quite common for people to find that they are locked out and unable to start their vehicle despite not having consumed alcohol for over 12 hours, and feeling completely sober.  When this happens, not only is the person unable to start the car, but he or she will then face repercussions for their “high” BAC, including but not limited to extensions of the suspension, revocation of the driving permit,and  impoundment or forfeiture of the vehicle.

Faced with such consequences, it is commonplace for the person in this situation to attempt to claim that someone else was responsible for the BAIID result.  Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn’t.  Currently, the person may contest the action of the Secretary of State and request a hearing, at which time he or she can present their evidence.  This requires the Secretary of State to weigh the credibility of the witnesses and evidence.  A photograph of the actual test will make this determination a lot easier, for both the Secretary of State and motorist involved.

Rockies’ Todd Helton gets DUI while out to get lottery tickets

Todd Helton's mug shot

Todd Helton’s mug shot

You would think that if you earned $20 million dollars a year, you wouldn’t need to go out and purchase lottery tickets.  Especially if you are drunk.  At least, shouldn’t you have a manservant to go and fetch them?

According to Colorado’s Channel 9:

Todd Helton, a Major League Baseball first baseman for the Colorado Rockies, was arrested for suspicion of DUI Wednesday morning. Thornton Police released the full description of what happened during Helton’s arrest.

According to a 9NEWS source, a witness contacted Thornton Police when they witnessed a black Ford F-150 pick-up truck driving erratically southbound on Colorado Boulevard.

The driver then pulled into a Conoco gas station at 12780 Colorado Boulevard.

When police arrived on the scene, they found the truck running and the driver’s side door open. However, no one was inside the truck.

“Moments later a man dressed in camouflage walked out the gas station and advised that he was the owner of the truck,” the arresting officer describes in the police report. “I could immediately smell a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage coming from his person and he was unsteady on his feet. The male`s eyes were also bloodshot and watery. Initially the male party would not make eye contact with officers. I asked the male where he was coming from and he stated something about getting his truck washed. The male`s speech was slurred and hard to understand. During this initial contact, the male had his wallet, chewing tobacco, and lottery tickets in his hand.”

Police identified the driver as Helton.

Police interviewed a nearby witness regarding Helton’s driving.

“The witness observed the black truck turn into the lane for oncoming traffic on Colorado Boulevard and swerve and hit the median on the left near a crosswalk before 128th Ave,” the police report states. “The witness then watched the truck pull into the gas station and saw the driver get out and inspect the vehicle for damage. Sgt Stevens stated the witness confirmed the male we were speaking with was the party driving the
truck.”

Police then asked Helton to perform a sobriety test.

“Mr. Helton advised that he had bad hips, and wasn’t on prescription medication,” before taking the sobriety test.

Helton was then taken into custody for investigation of driving under the influence, was booked and was processed through Thornton Police.

According to the police report, “Mr. Helton made spontaneous statements about drinking two igloo cups of red wine at 2000 hours on the night of 02-05-2013.”

Helton was later released to a “responsible party.”

The police report describes Helton as “respectful and professional” throughout the entire process.”

Sobriety Courts? An idea that is worth pursuing

Today I saw an interesting article from Denver about their “sobriety court” which is an alternative way to dispose of a DUI case for serious alcoholics.  Here is part of the article:

In Courtroom 3C, Judge Brian Campbell presides over Sobriety Court, modeled after Denver Drug Court. Campbell says this type of program reduces the usual 90 percent relapse rate by 8 to 12 percent.

“The ultimate thing that you’re preventing is loss of life. When you start to sit there and think about the 8 to 12 percent and the people who might have died as a result of that, it’s a sobering experience,” Campbell said.

The program requires offenders to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars.

Bauer estimates the total cost to her and her parents is $15,000, the cost of daily drug and alcohol testing, weekly counseling, bi-monthly trips to the court and probation office.

The judge, prosecutor, public defender, and others hold a meeting before each session. Offenders who meet the strict requirements get praise and prizes.

Those who don’t meet the requirements can end up back in jail, which has critics like Denver DUI attorney Jay Tiftickjian concerned.

“It could lead to a much longer sentence down the road,” Tiftickjian said.

In my experience, most DUI offenders are not alcoholics — they are either social drinkers or, worse, alcohol abusers.  What makes these people different from alcoholics is that they have the ability to control their drinking.  Oftentimes, the combination of a DUI arrest, prosecution and alcohol treatment is enough to wake them up to their reckless behavior.

But there is a small percentage of drunk drivers who are serious alcoholics — these are people who typically need to drink on a daily basis, are unable to cut back or quit drinking, and have allowed alcohol to take over their lives to the point that their lives are unmanageable.  These people need serious intervention — and a stint in jail or prison won’t do it.  All that does is keep them from drinking for a while.

I believe that our justice system should attempt to rehabilitate people instead of warehousing them.  And I believe that a “sobriety court,” if done right and not abusively, as has sometimes occurred with drug courts, can be a way to help people and protect the public.

It is definitely something that Illinois should look into.

A Red and Blue Light Special: Getting a DUI in a Walmart

Today's Hero

Today’s Hero

The offense of DUI can come in sorts of varieties:  from the person “sleeping it off” to the roadblock to the reckless driver to the fatal accident.  But here is one that is new to me:   driving drunk on a motorized shopping cart inside a Walmart:

Police in Brooksville say they’ve arrested a man who was driving drunk — inside a Walmart.

According to WFLA , officers said Timothy Carr was drunk and driving around the store on a motorized shopping cart.

Carr then removed an alcoholic beverage from a shelf and was drinking it while he knocked other items off the shelves, police told WFLA .

The Walmart is located at 7305 Broad Street.

According to the report, Carr told police he did not have enough money to pay for the alcohol. He also said he is a transient.

Carr had two previous arrests for retail theft, which made the current arrest a felony.

He was charged with disorderly intoxication and felony retail theft.

It is unclear from this story whether Mr. Carr was actually charged with a DUI.  Perhaps the officers used their discretion and only charged him with disorderly intoxication.

But can you get a DUI in Illinois on a motorized shopping cart?  If you are a faithful reader of this blog, you may remember that I have blogged before about DUIs on a motorized wheelchair and on a Zamboni.As I said before in the Zamboni post,

in Illinois one can be found guilty of a DUI if you are driving a motorized vehicle that is not designed for rails or tracks (or a snowmobile, but they are covered under a separate statute) … Previous cases have held that a lawn mower, a golf cart, an all terrain vehicle, a motorcycle, a moped, a portable towing device or even an car that is not drivable, but has not yet been issued a junking certificate, were all motor vehicles subject to DUI laws.

So, the answer is, yes, you can get a DUI in a motorized shopping cart.

However, you cannot receive a statutory summary suspension, for failing or refusing a blood, breath or urine test, if you were arrested for DUI inside a Walmart, because the summary suspension law only applies to driving that occurs on the public roads.  So there’s that.

Update: Will County Judge suspended for 60 days for viewing porn

This is the latest, and probably the last, update on Will County Judge Joseph Polito, who became the subject of a judicial inquiry investigation amidst allegations that he was either viewing or attempting to view pornography on court computers.  I wrote about it here, here and here.

Now it has been reported that Judge Polito has been suspended for 60 days without pay:

A northern Illinois judge who regularly viewed pornographic websites on his courthouse computer has been suspended for 60 days without pay.

The Illinois Courts Commission ruled Friday that Will County Judge Joseph Polito must serve the suspension for what it called “highly inappropriate behavior.’’

The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/XeMd3G ) that the 69-year-old judge acknowledged in November that he was addicted to pornography and that he has sought professional help.

The commission found that Polito’s actions did not affect the quality of his work but were an inexcusable waste of judicial time.

Polito’s attorney, William Martin, says his client thinks the suspension is fair. It begins Feb. 16.

The Sun-Times reports that Polito is a former divorce court judge who now handles traffic and other minor cases.