Archive for January, 2010

…and DUIs on Bicycles

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

A few minutes ago I posted about an arrest yesterday for driving a golf cart under the influence.  Then I stumbled over this news story from the same day:

Man on Bicycle Charged with DUI

Naples, FL.  Jan. 26 — A Tampa man riding a bicycle was charged with driving under the influence after Collier County stopped him in East Naples.

The sheriff’s office reports that 51-year-old Tommy Charles Miller was riding a bike Saturday night without any lights. When deputies stopped him, they reported that his eyes appeared bloodshot, and he smelled like alcohol. Deputies also found two cans of beer in the bike’s front basket.

Miller was arrested and charged with DUI, refusing to submit to a DUI test, having an open alcohol container in public and refusing to sign a citation. He was being held on $7,000 bail.

$7000 bail for riding a bike with a .08% blood-alcohol level?  Must be a dangerous criminal…

Again, not an isolated instance of an over-zealous cop.  For stories of other arrests for DUI on a bicycle, see my posts Felony Bicycle DUI, DUI – on a Foot-High Toy Bike and DUI – While Walking a Bicycle.  


More MADDness…

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

If you ever doubted that MADD's "War on Drunk Driving" was more about alcohol than saving lives…

Man on Golf Cart Arrested for Drunk Driving

Bonifay, FL.  Jan. 26Florida State Troopers were on the scene of a fatal accident on County Road 177 Tuesday afternoon when Jerry Ogburn drove up on a golf cart just to look at the crash. That's not against the law. But driving under the influence is.

Ogburn was arrested for DUI and booked into the Holmes County Jail. Troopers say it's not his first DUI arrest.

Because of Ogburn's drunk driving history, his golf cart was supposed to have an ignition interlock device which would prevent him from starting it if he'd been drinking…

DUI in a golf cart?  Ignition interlock devices on golf carts?

No, this isn't some weird aberration or an over-zealous cop.  This is MADD's prohibition agenda run amok.  See some of my previous posts, including DUI arrests on golf carts, wheelchairs, lawn mowers and — a horse


The New Vigilantes

Monday, January 25th, 2010

So where do we go next in MADD’s hysterical War on Drunk Driving?

Craig’s List DUI Busters

Milwaukee, WI.  Jan. 22 — We’re all fed up with drunk drivers. Some people on the popular website Craigslist have decided they’ve had enough, and they want to put a stop to it. They call themselves the DUI Busters, but some are questioning their controversial tactics…

The so-called "DUI Busters" are trying to put a stop to it, and they’re bragging about their exploits on Craigslist.

The DUI Busters say they hang out in bars looking for people who’ve had too much to drink, trail the unknowing person to their car, then follow them down the road, and call 9-1-1…

Liz Rhode is firmly against drunk driving, but the Waukesha woman says something about staking out bars bothers her. She posted her point on Craigslist: How are they going to prevent the DUI they are following from from running through a red light possibly leading to a fatal collision. why not stop them before they get into the car. That’s is what a good samaritan would do.

Suddenly the debate over the DUI Busters was the hottest controversy on Craigslist.

The fact that FOX 6 was doing a story on DUI Busters even got some of the posters peeved. What really get them riled up were the guidelines on "How to Roll" when you make the 9-1-1 call – "Tell them you’ve been following a driver that’s ’swerving everywhere’, and the clincher being they ‘almost hit a parked car’"

Whether it’s true or not, at least one DUI Buster admits telling 9-1-1, "I lie to the police about the prospective drunk driver hitting a parked car when they didn’t. As long as you’re over the .08 you’re legally intoxicated if you hit a parked car or not.", even though the driver wasn’t actually swerving or hitting anything.

Welcome to the MADDness….


When Does the Insanity End?

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

So you thought the crime of drunk driving required….well, driving?

High court: Asleep at wheel, not driving, enough to get a DWI

Minneapolis, MN.  Jan. 21 — Being drunk and asleep at the wheel of his car while it was parked in his apartment lot with the keys on the console was sufficient evidence to convict a Crookston man of drunken driving, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday.

In a seven-page decision, Justice Alan Page said the jury could reasonably conclude that Daryl Fleck was in "physical control" of his vehicle when arrested.

Fleck’s appellate lawyer, G. Tony Atwal, an assistant state public defender, disagreed with the ruling. "Presumably, if you’re in or about your car, the county attorney could now charge you with a physical control DWI," Atwal said.

In 2007, Fleck was drunk and asleep in his car with the driver’s door open in the assigned parking spot at his apartment building when someone called police. He got his fourth drunken-driving conviction and was sentenced to four years in prison. The state Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction, setting up the appeal to the Supreme Court.

Atwal said he pushed the appeals because there was no indication Fleck had driven; the engine was cold, and the car wouldn’t even start when an officer tried it.

I suppose the next step is to throw people in jail for drunk driving without being drunk.  Oh, right, I forgot, they already can — if the machine says your blood-alcohol level is .08%.


DUI Entrapment

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Suppose a police officer asks or orders an individual to drive a vehicle — and then arrests him for DUI when he complies? This situation comes up more often than you might think. Take, for example, the following case that eventually made its way to the New Jersey Supreme Court….

The defendant asked his brothers at a wedding reception to drive him home because he was too intoxicated to drive. In the parking lot, however, the brothers got into a fight, attracting the attention of local police. One of the officers struck a brother with his nightstick. The defendant asked the officer to quit hitting his brother. The officer replied by ordering him to leave the parking lot. When the defendant did not immediately comply, the officer repeated the order and then forcefully escorted him to his truck. The defendant obediently got into the vehicle, started the engine — and backed into a police car. He was arrested for drunk driving.

At trial, the judge ruled that the defendant had failed to prove entrapment or duress as a defense, and he was convicted. On appeal, however, the conviction was reversed on grounds of quasi-entrapment — that is, the defendant should have been acquitted if he could show that but for the officer’s order to leave in the vehicle he would not have driven. The prosecution appealed this reversal to the state’s supreme court.

Incredibly, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court and reinstated the conviction. Its reasoning? "Obviously," the court said, "if the law were to permit [drunk drivers] to offer as a defense that they drove only because they reasonably feared that telling the police that they were drunk might lead to arrest, the invitation to offer a pretext would be clear".

The court continued its twisted logic: "No one ordered the defendant to get drunk and no one ordered defendant to drive drunk. The police did not coerce defendant into driving his vehicle through the use or threats of violence. The police officers merely ordered defendant to get in his truck and leave the scene of the fight…." (Emphasis added)  State v. Fogarty, 607 A.2d 624.

This "no win" scenario is fairly typical of what I have referred to in earlier posts as "the DUI exception to the Constitution".