Archive for May, 2007

Immaculate Intoxication

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Can alcohol be created by the human body itself — without any drinking? Apparently so.

In an interesting scientific article, two physicians at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore reported that they detected the odor of beer in three of their patients. This was in an isolated hospital setting; there was no access to alcoholic beverages. The doctors had urine samples taken and analyzed by gas chromatography. Result? All three showed the presence of alcohol in their systems. Two of these were then tested for actual blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). One showed a BAC of .043%. The other was .121% — or 1 1/2 times the legal limit for DUI!

The presence of alcohol in human specimens containing glucose and yeast should come as no surprise.  Several have made this observation. Under normal circumstances trace amounts of alcohol may be found in the blood; the alcohol is then channeled into an energy pathway by hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase…

The two physicians continued:

The Japanese report the auto brewery syndrome in which they have seen middle aged patients with bowel abnormalities, most often after surgery, who have yeast overgrowth, usually candida, in the G.I. tract and who ferment ingested carbohydrates, producing enough alcohol to result in drunkeness.” Mullholland and Townsend, “Bladder Beer – A New Clinical Observation”,  95 Transactions of the American Clinical Climatological Association 34 (1983).

In other words, the body is manufacturing alcohol by itself — in some cases, enough to become legally intoxicated.

This has been confirmed by other studies. Swedish researchers, for example, have found that:

Increasing evidence has emerged to show that endogenous ethanol does exist, the the concentrations seen have large inter-individual variations. Our results show a markedly skewed distribution of values…The reason for the wide inter-individuaal variation in healthy abstaining individuals is hard to explain.” Jones et al., “Determination of Endogenous Ethanol in Blood and Breath By Gas Chromatography”, 18 Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 267 (1983).

How many folks, with “immaculately conceived” alcohol in their systems, have been arrested and convicted for DUI? These people were innocent, right?

Wrong. In the rush to convict drunk drivers (and with federal pushing), all states have now passed so-called per se laws: driving with a BAC of .08% or more. Neither intent, negligence or even knowledge is required. The crime consists of simply having the alcohol in your body. Even if you’ve had nothing to drink.


Felony Bicycle DUI

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

It was inevitable…

State Not Backpedaling on

Bicyclist’s DUI Charge

Woodstock, Illinois.  May 11 – Even prosecutors acknowledged the case is a bit odd, but that’s not stopping them from pursuing felony drunk driving charges against an Oakwood Hills man and repeat DUI offender accused of riding his Schwinn bicycle while drunk.

Oakwood Hills police charged Charles Braun, 43, with drunken driving after he allegedly rode his bike – which happened to have a small motor attached to it – into traffic and caused a crash near Valley View Road and North Park Drive on April 21. His blood alcohol level was .272 at the time, prosecutors said…

“The bicycle had a motor that was no longer operating,” Braun told the judge during his request for a bond reduction. “The pull-cord was broken before the [crash].”

In agreeing to lower Braun’s bond from $20,000 to $10,000, Judge Joseph Condon said the state has no evidence that the motor was working…

But prosecutors said they believe the charges are valid. Even if the motor wasn’t working, the charges would still stand, (Assistant State’s Attorney Ryan) Blackney said, because the bicycle was not in “junk status.”

Because of a prior record that includes three drunken driving convictions – those from driving an actual car – if convicted on the bicycle charges, he’d have to serve a mandatory minimum of three years in prison and would not be eligible for probation or supervision.

Three years in state prison for riding a bike under the influence.  That should teach him…to just use a car next time.


So If Breathalyzers Are So Accurate…

Friday, May 11th, 2007

For decades police departments have sworn by the accuracy of breathalyzers, generally using blood tests only as a backup or where drugs are suspected.  And for those same decades prosecutors have been assuring gullible jurors that those machines are infallible — right up there with DNA evidence.  And breath testing is cheaper, faster and pain-free.  

 So why are police departments beginning to switch to blood tests?


Phoenix Police to Use Blood

Tests for DUI Stops

Phoenix, AZ.  May 11 — If you drive drunk, the Phoenix Police Department will stick it to you where it hurts.

The department is making the switch from the traditional breath tests to blood tests when they stop someone suspected of being under the influence.

Police say the reason is easy: the evidence is harder to disprove in court and it could be more accurate.

Sgt. Chris Moore said people who don't like needles shouldn't drink and drive, because they really don't have a choice…

He also said police can use reasonable force if they need to in order to get the blood. 

Funny how cops and prosecutors swear breathalyzers are deadly accurate beyond a reasonable doubt….until they switch to blood, which it turns out is "more accurate".   Sufficiently more accurate to justify dropping breathalyzers.

(Thanks to Andre Campos.)


.00% = Under the Influence of Alcohol

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Never let facts get in the way of a drunk driving bust:

Man Passes Breathalyzer, Cited Anyway

Lancaster, OH.  May 8 â€” When Russell Errett went out to play a game of pickup basketball with friends April 19, he didn’t expect it to cost him thousands of dollars and end up in a court case. But that’s exactly where it is headed.

Errett, 50, was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and weaving outside lanes of traffic.

“It makes no sense to me,” said Errett’s attorney, James Linehan. “He cooperated with police, took the breathalyzer test and scored zeros, and yet he was still cited for OVI (Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated). Clearly he wasn’t intoxicated.”

A review of the police reports and the supplementary investigation report say Errett was polite, but failed the field sobriety test. Errett was then read his Miranda rights and arrested; his car was impounded.

Errett readily agreed to take the breathalyzer test, maintaining his innocence. He told the officer he had been confused and nervous when taking the field sobriety test.

When he took the test, the result came back with all zeros. He had no alcohol in his system…

Errett was given the ticket, had to put up a $1,000 bond, pay to get his car out of the impound lot and hire an attorney with his trial scheduled for later this month…

“In this case the officer had a scientific test, a scientific test which officers ask juries to believe everyday, which told the officer that my client was innocent,” Linehan said.  “And even with the knowledge that my client was innocent, he was still charged.”

Have you ever tried to take a field sobriety test — under field conditions?  As the studies have repeatedly shown, these so-called “tests” are designed for failure.  Of course, cops don’t like being told they’re wrong…and certainly not by a machine.

(Thanks to Bruce Korol.)


Tape Recording Under the Influence

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

I'll bet you didn't know it was a serious crime to have your tape recorder on during a DUI traffic stop:

Dover Man Charged With Taping His DWI Arrest

Rochester, NH.  May 9  –  A 48-year-old Dover (New Hampshire) man has been charged with tape recording his own drunken driving arrest in Rochester early today.

Police say they saw Christopher Power sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle with its motor running just before three o'clock this morning.

After speaking with Power, police charged him with drunken driving, and discovered a running audio recorder on the driver's seat. In addition to drunken driving, Power was charged with wiretapping.

I can see where cops wouldn't want any evidence of what really happens during a DUI "investigation".  Ask any LAPD cop.