Another case of a police officer arrested for DUI who refuses all tests

As a DUI defense attorney, people always ask me, “should I perform the tests?”  And my answer is, do what police officers do.

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Woodstock police officer faces arraignment in March for driving under the influence after he crashed his pick-up truck in Round Lake Beach about two weeks ago.

The officer was identified as Michael E. Niedzwiecki, 29, of Lake Villa, who was charged with DUI and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, according to a Round Lake Beach Police Department report.

The accident occurred Feb. 11 at 1:49 a.m. on Hainesville Road when Niedzwiecki’s 2007 Ford F250 pick-up went out of control while traveling northbound on a curve close to Clarendon Drive and struck a telephone pole, according to the report, which added that power lines knocked down by the crash blocked northbound traffic on Hainesville between Rollins Road and Clarendon.

According to the report, Niedzwiecki told one of the officers at the scene that he forgot about the sharp curve to the left in the roadway, and that is why he lost control of his truck. The report added that both Niedzwiecki and a woman who identified herself as his wife went to a nearby McDonald’s after the accident and before police arrived to get help.

The officer wrote in the report that Niedzwiecki was slurring his words and had glassy bloodshot eyes and an unsteady gait. “I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage,” the officer wrote.

When an officer asked Niedzwiecki to do a field sobriety test, Niedzwiecki refused and when asked to submit to a breath test, which he also refused, according to the report, and he was placed under arrest for DUI and was also cited for failure to reduce speed. When asked to make a statement about the accident, Niedzwiecki refused again, the report states.

According to the report, at one point, Niedzwiecki showed an officer his Woodstock police officer badge and identification card.

Read the whole story here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-woodstock-officer-charged-dui-st-0225-20170224-story.html

Michael Floyd, Austin Seferian-Jenkins plead to DUI charges

There were two NFL DUI stories in the news over the past couple of days:

From Pro Football Talk:

Wide receiver Michael Floyd has pleaded guilty to extreme DUI to settle the criminal case related to his December arrest in Arizona.

Floyd faced seven charges, but the other six were dropped when he entered a guilty plea in Scottsdale on Thursday. Jonathan Roy of FOX 10 in Phoenix reports that Floyd was sentenced to 120 days in jail with 24 of those days to be served at a Maricopa County facility. The other 96 days of the sentence will be served via home detention.

Floyd also needs to do 30 hours of community service and was fined $5115.99.

and from TMZ:

NY Jets player Austin Seferian-Jenkins has cut a plea deal in his DUI case from last year and won’t spend any time behind bars … TMZ Sports has learned.

The 24-year-old tight end was arrested on September 23 in Florida after a cop pulled him over for a traffic stop and thought he seemed wasted. Dashcam footage from the incident showed him slurring.

According to court docs, Seferian-Jenkins pled no contest to a reckless driving charge and in exchange, got 1 year probation and 50 hours of community service.

He also has to attend DUI school and pay a $500 fine.

Drunk Driver nearly crashes into film students making anti-DUI promo

Some film students out to make an anti-DUI promo for their local police department nearly became victims themselves.

From KOCO News 5:

A metro-area college student was carrying a light across a Valley Brook street when he saw a vehicle heading toward him.

“I saw him accelerate on the gas like he was trying to hit me,” said Oklahoma City University film student Mike Stamp. “I hopped out of the way real fast. After that, I was kind of in shock.”

Stamp and a friend, fellow OCU film student Jacob Keen, were shooting a DUI awareness promo Sunday night for the Valley Brook Police Department.

“He really wasn’t slowing down like the other cars were,” Keen said. “He kind of did a little swerve.

The driver, Richy Reese, was immediately stopped by Valley Brook Police Chief Michael Stamp, who is Mike Stamp’s father.

“He kind of comes to an abrupt stop, and I made try to contact with him, and he takes off,” Michael Stamp said.

Another officer pulled over Reese, who stumbled from his truck before being arrested. His blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit — .17.

“It could have been very bad. It’s very close,” Michael Stamp. “Very ironic that you’re doing a DUI story and one shows up.”

Police officials said Reese has at least four DUI convictions.

 

Not everyone gets 10 days in jail for DUI fatal accidents

The ten day jail sentence that Ryne San Hamel received last week for the drunk driving crash that killed Bobby Cann has sparked outrage (Click here to read the Sun-Times’ editorial).

But don’t think that everyone who drives drunk and kills someone gets a slap on the wrist.

Here is another recent case that had a very different result.  From the Chicago Tribune:

A Mundelein woman was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison Tuesday for the death of a 22-year-old man in an early morning drunken driving crash in Libertyville.

Amanda Auld, 24, was sentenced after pleading guilty last year to one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in a death.

Killed in the crash was Steven Daskaukas, a passenger in Auld’s car when she struck the back of a truck at the intersection of Peterson and Harris roads in Libertyville at 2:43 a.m. on March 7, 2015.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Patricia Fix said she was particularly struck by reports that Auld’s friends, following in another car, had been calling Auld and Daskaukas on mobile phones in an attempt to stop the woman from continuing to drive.

Fix noted that Auld was speeding, leaving the second car unable to catch up with her.

Auld admitted in a statement to the court that she and her friends had been drinking heavily at two bars and had left a bar in Fox Lake when the crash occurred.

Auld apologized to Daskaukas’ family, saying she knew no words would make up for the loss, but that he had been her best friend and that “living through that accident is my very own life sentence.”

“You will never know what it’s like to watch your best friend die and walk away unharmed,” she said.

Auld said she takes “full responsibility for the part I played” in the crash, but also asked for a probationary sentence that would allow her to go into a formal treatment program to battle long-term alcohol, substance abuse and mental health issues.

But Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Brown said Auld had been given supervisory sentences in the past that were to involve treatment programs and she failed to complete them.

Fix also noted that point in handing down the sentence, saying that although Auld had begun treatment programs and courses while in jail, it was hard not to believe her plea for treatment was an attempt to avoid prison.

Auld’s sentencing followed her guilty plea to the charge in a negotiated deal in which other charges were dismissed, including reckless homicide, and a cap of eight years was put on the sentence she would receive. Without the cap, she would have faced up to 14 years in prison, or probation if the judge found that the case included extraordinary circumstances.

Read the whole story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-dui-death-sentencing-st-0201-20170131-story.html

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.