Archive for the ‘DUI Utah Blog’ Category

Dash-Cam Video Shows Woman’s Arrest During Diabetic Episode

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Santa Fe. NM. July 19 — Shocking dash camera footage shows a diabetic woman being dragged out of her car by Santa Fe County sheriff deputies, all while she was having a diabetic episode.
Even more alarming she’s just left handcuffed on the pavement.

 Right now, the sheriff said some things should have been done differently and he takes the matter seriously. 

In the video, deputies yank Revina Garcia out of her car. She had just been in a car accident after having a severe diabetic attack and is completely limp. 

”I was just lost, I was just lost,” Garcia said.

After the slamming into the back of a truck, Garcia said she couldn’t open the door. 

”I just didn’t know how to open the door,” Garcia said. 

A deputy shattered Garcia’s car window and pulled her out of the car. Garcia was then thrown on the street face down and handcuffed.

”In this case there was no resistance. We are looking at that very seriously,” Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia said.

With Garcia’s face on the ground and her not moving at all, deputies walk away. Garcia said her blood sugar was so low that she could have gone into a coma.
“What concerns me is there is no need to lay someone on the ground for that amount of time. There were other deputies around that could have assisted in at least sitting her up or having her placed in a cruiser,” said the sheriff.
Garcia was face down on the pavement for more than a minute, and the Sheriff says he’s going to look into just how hot it was that day and how hot that pavement could have been. 

The video shows deputies finally taking Garcia to the police car. 

”I’m surprised I didn’t go into a coma in the back of that police car,” Garcia said. 

After 10 minutes, paramedics arrived and Garcia was treated for the diabetic episode.

The sheriff said this incident will bring awareness and training to make sure this never happens again. Right now, there’s an internal review of Revina Garcia’s arrest. 

The sheriff plans on meeting with the Garcia family to discuss ways law enforcement can improve and make sure medical issues are considered at each scene and treated properly.

(From Lawrence Taylor)

Observations on Interpretation of Blood Alcohol Levels derived from analysis of Urine.

Friday, April 13th, 2012

this is a great article discussing the use of blood alcohol levels derived from urine. Here is an excerpt from the article: For many years it has been customary to derive blood alcohol concentrations from the analysis of urine, and despite the fact that the accuracy of such derivations has often been questioned British courts have been content to accept them as evidence in prosecutions for drunken driving, presumably on the grounds that such evidence was merely confirmatory and not viral.

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If you need a Salt Lake City DUI attorney, please call David Rosenbloom at 1-800-384-8946

Legal Prescription Drugs And DUIs

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Cops are underpaid and overworked, and while it is true that these are the guys that show up every time you dial 911, the relatively recent concentration of DUI enforcement has resulted in COPS bending the rules to bring in scores of drivers just barely over the limit but not at all impaired. In short the law says that anything over a blood alcohol level of .080 mg/dl is a “per se” DUI; however the other arm of this law is that anyone who is “impaired” by ANY amount of drugs or alcohol can be cited as well. This means if you are at a BAC of .010 or trace alcohol, that you can be cited for DUI if you don’t pass the stupid, unproven, “balance” tests that the police administer on the roadside. Let’s be very clear here before I go on; if you are pulled over for say speeding, and the cop says “have you had any drugs or alcohol today?” And your answer is, “well, just what the doctor prescribed, and I only had a half of the 7.5 lortab for my tooth extraction,” and you are unable to stand on one foot for thirty (30) seconds while looking at your uplifted foot, all with traffic zooming by, or are unable to walk 18 heel to toe steps without missing a single heel to toe touch by more than half an inch, or stepping off line once; it is more likely than not that you will be receiving a DUI. WAIT! WHAT!?

Understanding DUI law is not necessarily easy, but if you take a few minutes, it is not unreasonably difficult, although by the time we are finished you will be blown away. The law wants to cover everything right? So of course, we want to protect the public from obviously impaired drivers strung out on say oxycontin, or sleeping pills – no one disagrees with that. But a little is a lot in DUI law. The law states that anyone who has even a trace amount of a perfectly legal, prescribed, taken as directed drug, is guilty of 41-6a-517 DUI, called a “metabolite DUI” and impairment is not necessary for this charge! WHAT?

That’s right. In Utah, if you take your medication as directed, and have your blood tested, lets say as a result of an accident that isn’t your fault, if that blood comes back as positive for even a metabolite of any drug, that can be used against you as a DUI. Now, to be sure, the law makes a provision for what is called a “rebuttable presumption” or affirmative defense to the charge by showing a prescription for the drug, or that the drug was ingested by mistake, but that means thousands of dollars in legal fees, and frankly, very, very attorneys will be able to explain to you what a rebuttable presumption is. REMEMBER! Your ability to drive or your impairment is based on your ability to perform roadside balance tests that have NEVER been proven to distinguish between impaired and unimpaired drivers (because they are total bullsh*t); no one ever tested you on your ability to balance on one leg before you took your driving test, and many people have poor balance, especially when a police officer has them on the side of the road with oncoming traffic! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any love for drivers who are loopy, but judging impairment AFTER finding out about normal drug use from the driver is foul play. There are people who are impaired from prescription drugs to be sure; but the vast majority of cases I see are either mistakes, new prescriptions or dosages taken as directed, or sheer sleepiness, which everyone is guilty of now a days. Worse still, since a prosecutor defines which statute a case is filed under, most of the time, the driver doesn’t have the defense of a legal prescription taken as directed! Rather, under 41-6a-502 or the normal run of the mill DUI statute, the state is going down the road of impairment; and since impairment is judged not on how much or little you have in your system, but how you performed on roadside sobriety tests – the prosecution has a leg up to begin with. This is PATENTLY UNFAIR. In cases where there is no discernible and I mean visible impairment, it is complete BULL to prosecute ANYONE who is taking their medication as directed
and isn’t visibly impaired. don’t forget, these people, even mormons, need Ignition Interlock Devices installed in any car they own or operate, as a result of the DMV civil rules; so even if they don’t drink, if they are convicted or plead guilty, they need an interlock!

In practice the way most cases go is something like this; the state charges, the driver relents and pleads to an impaired driving. Now they are alcohol restricted as a result of the plea, but they don’t necessarily know it. They are then stopped say a year later, and they blow say .010 from a single beer they had earlier with dinner, five hours ago. And now they are charged with an alcohol restricted driver violation which is the same class as a DUI, a class B, and carries the same penalties as a DUI, BUT now their license is suspended for one (1) year and they have a THREE (3) year interlock requirement, which they were trying to avoid before by pleading to the impired driving! Talk about your catch-22′s!

Scientific Accuracy Takes A Backseat To Politics

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Science is interested in accuracy. Generally one may say that politics and law are interested in fairness. However, where DUI Law is concerned, scientific accuracy has been bulldozed into the ground by well intentioned anti-alcohol zealots who have politicians ears. A ready example is a jury instruction that orders jurors to “assume that the intoxilyzer readying is accurate.” Even if you are not a lawyer, you know enough law from watching television that the province of the jury is protected from politics, or should be. Jurors in our system of justice occupy a hallowed role – protecting individuals from a much more powerful government, by holding it’s agents to a high standard of proof, that of reasonable doubt. Th government has historically been held to this standard by forcing them to prove each element and each fact to this unforgiving level of proof. We don’t instruct a jury to assume anything about the facts of a case specifically because it lessens the burden of proof for the state and gives them an unfair advantage. It doesn’t matter if the crime is child abuse, or DUI, the idea that the government is given an advantage of “accuracy” because it certifies that they have checked the machine monthly is complete bull. Each DUI case under say .085 BAC is about that very accuracy, and the very manufacturer of the machine states that the machine is only accurate to + or – .005 or 5%, whichever is greater. The idea that the legislature can, or for that matter would even attempt, to rewrite scientific accuracy by changing the rules is as un-American as it gets.

Spice DUI

Friday, September 24th, 2010

So, can a person who legally takes a substance be arrested for DUI in Utah? The answer is yes, probably. Under the law if a person is “unable to safely drive,” and is under the influence of any drug, legal or illegal, an officer can and will issue a DUI. Two central questions are : 1) What is unable to safely drive;, and 2) What is under the influence. The probably part comes later.

The answer to the first question is easy and mind-boggling – “unable to safely drive” means that a person “failed” the so called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, the three tests that officers perform on the roadside – HGN – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, WAT – Walk and Turn, and OLS – One Legged Stand. The mind boggling part of this is that these “tests” have NEVER been demonstrated to distinguish between people who have been drinking and people who have not – that is; there have never been ANY tests on sober people to see if they could pass the tests. Simply put, these test are completely meaningless scientifically – but law enforcement continues to use them to arrest people.If you get even two clues on the WAT and 2 on the OLS, you are considered “impaired.” That is, a score of 95% on the WAT is a fail!

“Under the influence” has a special meaning in Utah. It has the normal meaning that every satte uses, that is; affected by physically – but it also has a special meaning; first it means that if you have ANY alcohol in you and fail the SFST’s above (HGN, WAT, OLS) you are considered “under the influence,” but it also means that if you fail the SFST’s and you have ANY measurable amount of ANY metabolite of ANY drug in your blood, you are also “under the influence.” This latter meaning is a real kicker – someone who smokes pot three weeks before they are stopped, and has ANY INACTIVE metabolite in their blood (pot lasts for about two to three weeks in one’s blood), even a threshold amount of say 1 ng/ml, even though it is completely scientifically accepted that the level could not possibly have any effect on the person – is DUI!

The probably part has to do with how much you tell the officer. And this is where most people mess up. You are legally entitled to shut your mouth, especially if they start trying to work you over for information. Just shut it! If you tell the officer something they would not have known but for your answer – you have just provided the officer with probable cause. That is what they will use to arrest you with. DONT: overthink, or even think at all, just shut it! Nothing will get better if you talk. They wont not arrest you, they wont no give you a ticket, and they won’t most of all, go easy on you. All they are trying to do is hurry up and see if you are holding so they dont waste their time.

If the officer says something like “I won’t arrest you and you won’t go to jail if you tell me what you used today…” or anything of that nature – cops aren’t allowed to make such deals, they have to arrest you anyway, and whether jail is a certainty depends on how busy the officer is, how crowded the jail is, and how far you are away from jail. Don’t ever let an officer coerce you into giving evidence against yourself, especially if they are threatening to search you car! That search would likely be suppressed unless you are already arrested – remember they need probable cause to search, and unless your car smells like a drug, they don’t have that! ASk for your ticket and to leave. And keep asking. They are legally entitled to the time it takes to write the ticket for that infraction and nothing else. No questions prolonging the stop, no questions about where you are coming from, and no questions about where you are headed. Period. Politely decline.

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