Woman tells officer she was driving to “sober up”

In a DUI case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant a) drove (or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle) and b) was intoxicated.

So, telling an officer that you were driving to sober up is an admission to both of those elements.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

A woman charged with driving under the influence on Friday night in west suburban Riverside told a police officer she was driving to a fast food restaurant to “sober up.”

The officer spotted 25-year-old Katherine L. Muhlenbruc’s 2000 Volkswagen about 4:15 p.m. when it crossed the center lane while traveling north in the 3600 block of Harlem Avenue, Riverside police said. She was pulled over near Harlem and Ogden avenues and told the officer she was coming from a bar in Darien and had done nothing wrong.

Muhlenbruc, of Franklin Park, then told the officer she was driving to a White Castle in Berwyn to “sober up,” police said. She failed a roadside sobriety check and a breath test determined her blood alcohol content was 0.115, nearly two times the legal limit.

Muhlenbruc told police she was not drunk and would have sobered up eventually if she continued to drive and was not stopped by the officer, police said.

She was charged with two counts of driving under the influence, driving without insurance, improper lane usage and driving in the wrong lane, police said.

AllYouCanDrink.com founder gets 10 days for fatal DUI crash

Nearly four years after being involved in a fatal collision that allegedly caused the death of bicyclist Bobby Cann, “AllYouCanDrink.com” partner Ryne San Hamel plead guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated DUI and received four years probation, 10 days of jail and was ordered to pay Cann’s family $25,000 in restitution for funeral expenses.

From DNAinfo.com:

Prosecutors had sought three to 14 years in prison. The judge said Cann’s death was a great loss, but he believes San Hamel feels genuine remorse.

“I wish I could change everything that happened, but I can’t,” San Hamel said as tears streamed down his face. “I just hope that you can feel some kind of remorse for me or forgiveness in your heart. … I live with that moment every day, every minute, every time I lay down and try to sleep.”…

Before announcing the sentence, [Judge] Hooks said he took San Hamel’s remorse into account.

“If I have somebody that gets it and is remorseful — and even though there’s a cry for retribution — I have to weigh what Ryne San Hamel needs,” the judge said, noting that some cases merit lengthy prison sentences if defendants are a danger to society.

“This is not one of those cases,” the judge said…

Cann was a cycling advocate who regularly participated in Critical Mass, an organized effort in which cyclists band together and ride in order to “take back the streets” the last Friday of every month.

San Hamel “spoke about waking up each morning and feeling remorse,” Cann’s uncle Bruce Field said after court Thursday. “I hope that that means every morning he wakes up and says, ‘Now my job is to work very hard to make this world a better place.”

Compare this to the 5 year sentence that 20 year old Carly Rousso got in the “Highland Park huffing case,” or the seven year sentence that Alia Bernard, who was not even impaired (just allegedly had marijuana residue in her blood system*) was originally given (reduced to probation after she had spent approximately four years in prison) and you can see what a break Mr. Hamel received.  I hope he appreciates it and has learned from his experience.

*I want to emphasize allegedly because there were questions raised about the accuracy and legitimacy of the blood test result.

 

Oscar De La Hoya arrested for DUI

From MSN Sports:

Oscar De La Hoya’s troubled past with substance abuse crept its way to the forefront again early Tuesday morning.

The Hall of Fame boxer and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions was arrested by the California Highway Patrol and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater, according to a police report obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

De La Hoya, 43, was observed speeding in a Land Rover on Del Mar Blvd., west of Arroyo Blvd., in Pasadena, according to police. After he was stopped, the officer detected the odor of alcohol on De La Hoya’s breath. The former four-division champion failed several field sobriety tests and was arrested without incident at 1:57 a.m. PT. De La Hoya was later released from jail to his manager.

Chicago Police to do DUI Saturation Patrols this Weekend in Wicker Park, Logan Square and Chicago Lawn

The Chicago Police Department has announced DUI Strike Force Saturation Patrols this weekend.

From their website:

The Chicago Police Department will be conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol in the Shakespeare (14th) [this is Wicker Park and Logan Square] District this weekend. The DUI Saturation Patrol will commence at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 13, 2017 and end at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2017.

The purpose of this program is to saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continually monitor vehicular traffic for signs of impaired driving. Patrols also place emphasis on speed, alcohol-related and safety belt violations. Police vehicles equipped for speed detection are deployed to apprehend speeding violators.

In addition, the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit may also be deployed to allow officers to expedite the process of charging a person with Driving under the Influence (DUI) prior to transporting an alleged into the nearest lockup for bonding. The mobile unit also allows for Individual Recognizance Bonds (I-Bonds) to be issued at the site of the DUI Saturation Patrol. For More Information Click Here

and

The Chicago Police Department will be conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District this weekend. The DUI Saturation Patrol will commence at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2017 and end at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 15, 2017.

The purpose of this program is to saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continually monitor vehicular traffic for signs of impaired driving. Patrols also place emphasis on speed, alcohol-related and safety belt violations. Police vehicles equipped for speed detection are deployed to apprehend speeding violators.

In addition, the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit may also be deployed to allow officers to expedite the process of charging a person with Driving under the Influence (DUI) prior to transporting an alleged into the nearest lockup for bonding. The mobile unit also allows for Individual Recognizance Bonds (I-Bonds) to be issued at the site of the DUI Saturation Patrol. For More Information Click Here

Utah may be the first State to go to a 0.05 BAC “legal limit”

Four years ago, the NTSB recommended that the DUI “legal limit” be lowered from 0.08 to 0.05, which would put the United States in line with most other countries.  As I have noted in the past, the research as to whether 0.05 BAC is a better indicator of impairment than 0.08 is muddled.

Now, Utah, a State that has always had strict laws about alcohol sales, is looking at being the first in the nation to lower its limit to 0.05.

From the Chicago Tribune:

…state Rep. Norman Thurston, a Republican from Provo who plans to introduce a bill on the issue in the upcoming legislative session, wants that to change in 2017.

Impairment starts with the first drink, and we want to establish this state as one where you just simply do not drink and drive,” said Thurston, noting he worked with officials from the Utah Highway Patrol while drafting the legislation. “This is all about safety.”

…A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chart shows how a blood-alcohol concentration of .05 — about three drinks in one hour for a 160-pound man — causes, among other things, altered coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects and difficulty steering a motor vehicle.

For men weighing less than 160 pounds and for women, it takes even fewer drinks to reach the .05 threshold. If Utah makes the change, it will join several countries in Europe — such as Austria, France and Germany — that have blood-alcohol limits of .05. (In Poland, it’s .02).

In 2013, the NTSB released a report recommending that states lower to .05 the limit at which people can be prosecuted for drunk driving.

…Art Brown, president of the Utah chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told the local Fox affiliate the group would not support Thurston’s proposal. Instead, he said, the group prefers to focus on interlock devices prohibiting people from driving drunk.

“MADD’s position is we really emphasize interlocks and getting those on people and staying .08,” Brown said.

The state has long had a fraught relationship with alcohol. Mormons, who are forbidden from drinking liquor, make up nearly 60% of the population.

…In Utah, alcohol is not a major cause of fatal automobile crashes. Drunk driving was a contributing factor in about 13% of fatal crashes last year, according to the Utah Highway Safety Office. By contrast, speed played a role in 37% of deaths, and no seat belt use was a factor in 31%.

Last year, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White stated that he believed that the 0.05 limit needed further study before he could support a chance.

Oregon Appellate Court Reverses Wheelchair DUI Conviction

Can you get a DUI in a motorized wheelchair?  The Oregon Appellate Court has said no.

From the Associated Press:

The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a wheelchair user who had been found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

James Greene of Waldport was arrested in November 2012 after entering a crosswalk in a motorized wheelchair and striking the side of a moving pickup. Police determined he was impaired by alcohol and drugs, and a jury convicted him of drunken driving.

In his appeal, Greene argued that he should have been considered a pedestrian, not subject to the DUI law.

The state disagreed, pointing to a law that treats motorized wheelchairs like bicycles when they are driven on bike lanes.

In its opinion Thursday, the Appeals Court decided legislators only intended to have wheelchairs treated like bicycles in that narrow circumstance, and users should be considered pedestrians when in a crosswalk.

What about Illinois?  It is an open question.  The Illinois Vehicle Code defines a vehicle for DUI purposes as:

Every device, in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway or requiring a certificate of title under Section 3-101(d) of this Code, except devices moved by human power, devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks and snowmobiles as defined in the Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act.

For the purposes of this Code, unless otherwise prescribed, a device shall be considered to be a vehicle until such time it either comes within the definition of a junk vehicle, as defined under this Code, or a junking certificate is issued for it.
In Illinois, a motorized wheelchair could qualify as a motorized vehicle.  But common sense has prevailed, as I am not aware of any such prosecution ever being brought.