Archive for the ‘Spice DUIs’ Category

Suspected Drunk Drivers Strapped to Torture Tables In Guantanamo-Style Blood Draw

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Sunday, July 12 — If you’ve been thinking lately that America doesn’t resemble the country your parents grew up in, you’re right – it doesn’t, because it isn’t. In fact, America has changed dramatically since the 1950s and 1960s, and not for the better in terms of your rights under the “law” and the Constitution.

Nowhere is this more evident than in cases involving drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Granted, driving under the influence is most certainly dangerous and cops ought to be given the tools to protect us against those who abuse their driving privilege in this manner. But the issue has become so hyper-politicized in recent years that now police are using extra-constitutional techniques in order to determine whether someone has been driving under the influence, all with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court.

This blatant Fourth Amendment violation is epitomized in a shocking video recently released online showing police in Georgia strapping down American citizens who have only been accused of driving drunk before using a needle to forcibly draw blood from them.

In this video, which was broadcast on Atlanta’s Fox affiliate, one suspect can be heard saying, “What country is this?”

”We all are American citizens and you guys have me strapped to a table like I’m in Guantanamo f***ing Bay,” complains another suspect, regarding the forced blood draw.
The policy of police obtaining a warrant to draw blood from those merely suspected of being drunk at a DUI checkpoint or a routine traffic stop has been in place for years across many states, but to actually see it in action is disturbing.

The clip shows individuals being strapped down on a padded table at the Gwinnett County jail. Even those who show no resistance whatsoever are forcibly restrained and have their heads pressed down by an officer using his elbow.

The man who is screaming, “What country is this?” has been identified as Mike Choroski. He is seen protesting as officers forcibly hold him down in order to obtain the sample without his prior consent. reports that he is still awaiting trial; Choroski claims he is not guilty and that there was no accident involving his vehicle.

”I’m a taxpaying American who refused something….I refused to do this….what happened to me in that room was unnecessary and nobody should have to do that,” Choroski said.

David Boyle, an attorney, said during an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta that such forced blood draws actually constitutes an “unreasonable search,” as in Fourth Amendment.

”Holding down and forcing somebody to submit to this is really intrusive in terms of that level of invasive procedure into someone’s body is ridiculous for investigating a misdemeanor,” Boyle said in the interview.

The report says cops do first obtain a search warrant, but like Boyle says, they nonetheless force citizens to comply with what is very much an invasive procedure. And, as points out, the threshold for obtaining such a warrant is low:

Despite the fact that citizens can lose their driver’s license for a year if they refuse a standard breathalyzer test, cops can then get a warrant to forcibly draw blood, ‘for every DUI stop, even if there’s no accident or injury.’”
Since January, police in Gwinnett County, Ga. have conducted in excess of 100 forced blood draws – a practice that, until now, was not very widely known (unless you happened to be one of the unfortunate souls who were arrested for DUI in Georgia).

”I’m stunned, I did not know that this was legal, I did not know they could take your blood without your consent,” a Fox 5 anchor said in response to the clip, further stating that the process indeed appeared to be a Fourth Amendment violation.

According to reports, Georgia, by far, is not the only state that enforces so-called “no refusal” DUI checkpoints, where cops can forcibly draw blood. That’s because in 2005 the nation’s highest court ruled, astonishingly, that it is not unconstitutional for states to forcibly hold down citizens and obtain blood samples.

In January 2013, another Supreme Court ruling affirmed that a warrant must first be obtained in order to take the blood sample, but that in an “emergency” police could bypass the warrant requirement.

The “emergency” authorizing the bypass of a search warrant is that the blood-alcohol level may become lower if a warrant has to be obtained — which is possible in all cases (as it is true that the level may actually increase). Warrants, incidentally, are usually obtained very quickly — essentially automatically — by telephone.

The Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

In most states, a first-offense misdemeanor DUI can have more serious repercussions than many felonies — and in the long run, more….far more.
The following comments posted on Lawrence Taylor’s great blog by a reader are illustrative:

A DUI is like a cancer, as is mentioned in Mr. Taylor’s web site. Like he wrote, it’s expensive to fight a DUI, but the alternative is scary. I’ll add that it is like a cancer for another reason — the penalties are so far reaching and numerous that, still, 3 years after my DUI conviction (I pleaded guilty, not knowing what I was in for) I am still finding ever more ways how that DUI will and is affecting my life. Even someone with advanced spreadsheet skills would have a tough time creating a spreadsheet that would completely illustrate the penalties of a DUI from the MVD, the court, your insurance company, your professional licensing organization (mine was nursing), your employer (if you’re lucky enough to keep your job), local and state and federal government agencies and benefits, schools, the ignition interlock company, and the list so far, in my case, continues to grow. Like a cancer…
Listen GOOD: a DUI will ruin your life, slowly, but surely. If you have to sell your soul to the devil himself, FIGHT YOUR DUI LIKE HELL, because the alternative is a LIFE of HELL.

As a DUI defense attorney, I suppose this is self-serving, but…If you are ever arrested for drunk driving, find the most qualified DUI lawyer you can — one specialized in DUI defense with extensive experience and a sterling reputation in the field. Defending DUI’s is ALL I do, over a thousand so far.

Woman Given Breathalyzer Tests 54 Times in a Year

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Kidlington, England. July 18 — A British woman said police pulled her over and administered Breathalyzer tests 54 times in a single year before she filed complaints about officers.
Katie Bowman, 24, said Thames Valley Police pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving 54 times in a single year, despite the fact that she does not drink alcohol, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

Bowman said the police were retaliating for a complaint she filed. She did not say what the original complaint was about.

She said notes left on her file by police caused her to lose her job as a paramedic.

”It is absolutely a direct result [of the alleged police action]. That was what was put on my CRB [Criminal Records Bureau check] … that caused me to lose my job,” she said.

The Thames Valley Police released a statement in response to Bowman’s allegations.

”The need to retain the intelligence reports relating to Ms. Bowman was reviewed in 2012 [following which a number were removed] and again in 2013 following further requests made on behalf of Ms. Bowman,” the statement said. “Ms. Bowman has made a number of complaints to Thames Valley Police, some of which were unsubstantiated and some resulted in disciplinary proceedings against officers. In one case Ms Bowman made a complaint against a number of officers, which she subsequently withdrew. Despite the fact she withdrew her complaint, Thames Valley Police continued with disciplinary proceedings against the officers.”

”The complaints made specifically about harassment were unsubstantiated,” the statement read.

Does anyone out there think this practice is limited to England?

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)

Lisa Steed and UHP DUI arrests and information

Friday, October 12th, 2012

The link below is MY client getting tazed!–ztuG8

Datamaster Intoxilyzer Comes Under Fire

Friday, May 27th, 2011

This is one of many stories about how a small scientific misfire can unintentionally have HUGE end results: Vermont DUI Intoxilyzer Controllers inadvertently failed to input a tolerance or range for monthly calibration testing, as reported by the Burlington Free Press:

MONTPELIER — A mistake in the software setup on a breath analysis machine and whistleblowers’ complaints about unethical lab work threaten dozens of drunken-driving prosecutions in Vermont.

At issue are breath tests performed by a DataMaster DMT machine at a Vermont State Police barracks that authorities say wasn’t set up properly. Amid a broadening inquiry by two defense attorneys, dozens of criminal convictions could be reopened and several civil license suspensions are being overturned.

Hundreds of other cases since 2008 could be in jeopardy because of problems with the state Department of Health’s maintenance of the machines that are used at police stations and barracks to test drivers arrested for suspected drunken driving.

The state Health Department, which is being stripped of the breath-testing program, says the machines didn’t give any erroneous readings. At issue, officials say, is human error that resulted in one machine at a Vermont State Police barracks operating for almost a year without a self-check function that assures it’s working properly.

“People can go to jail and lose their driver’s licenses based on this science,” said George Ostler, a defense attorney in Norwich who has clients who were prosecuted using test results from the machine. “When they don’t maintain the machines like this, it’s disturbing.”

The machines, which cost about $6,150 each, use infrared light to detect the presence of alcohol. Each machine is supposed to conduct a self-check to measure the alcohol content of a control sample before it analyzes a subject’s breath.

The issue with the one at the state police barracks in Royalton is that two state Department of Health chemists failed to activate the self-check function, called a tolerance detector, before it went into use in May 2010.

Now the results of all the tests it conducted are suspect, and prosecutors are sending out notices to defense attorneys and drivers who represented themselves in civil or criminal proceedings that the breath-test data in their cases might have been compromised.

“It is frustrating to learn that through human oversight, these instruments were not set up properly and that potentially we took advantage of evidence that should not have been available to us,” said Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand, whose office is seeking to vacate 33 driver’s license suspensions.

Prosecutors in Windsor and Orange counties say they have no plans to seek the dismissal of convictions obtained using testing from that DataMaster because there was enough other evidence of impairment to convict.

Despite notices to affected parties, no one has indicated a desire to reopen a case, Sand and Orange County State’s Attorney Will Porter said.

In Orange County, up to 20 people were convicted in drunken-driving cases based on the machine’s results and 15 to 20 cases are pending. Porter said those prosecutions will proceed, relying on other evidence.

“We are trying to get to the bottom of it and determine the extent of the problem and how it affects currently pending cases,” he said.

In Orleans County, the failure of a DataMaster in a routine performance check in October has led to dismissal of at least four driver’s license suspensions.

Stuart Schurr, traffic resource safety officer for the Department of State’s Attorneys, won’t say how many cases statewide might end up being affected. David Sleigh, a defense attorney involved in some of the DUI cases, says hundreds, dating to 2008.

“I will say what I have to, not in the court of public opinion, but in a court of law,” Schurr said. “You may have to sit back and wait for this to be fully litigated before both sides come out.”

State officials acknowledge that human error is to blame. They say the machine never gave erroneous readings.

“The thing about the DataMaster instrument, in terms of sophistication, is (that) it virtually always, if it gives you a result, it gives you an accurate result,” said Dr. Harry Chen, the state health commissioner. “It will not … give you an inaccurate result. So the results are still valid and accurate, despite the fact that this switch was turned off.”

The explanation doesn’t wash for Sleigh, who helped detect the problem through his work on behalf of five drunken-driving suspects.

Sleigh and fellow defense attorney Frank Twarog obtained copies of complaint letters written last year by two Department of Health whistleblowers who said sloppy and unethical work by a lab colleague had been reported but unaddressed.

First reported on by the Burlington weekly Seven Days, the letters written by chemists Amanda Bolduc and Darcy Richardson were obtained by The Associated Press through a Public Records Act request.

The Health Department withheld from The AP 16 emails dealing with the DataMaster issue. Assistant Attorney General Margaret Vincent asserted attorney-client privilege or “attorney work product” as the reason.

The whistleblowers’ complaints allege that laboratory technician Steven Harnois tampered with DataMaster machines to get them to pass routine performance checks and kept records so badly that it compromised the chemists’ ability to testify in court about readings.

“I have concerns in his level of integrity and ethics,” Bolduc said. “These concerns have been brought to the attention of the program chief on numerous occasions, and still the problem exists.”

Whenever she raised concerns, her boss retaliated against her for it, she said.

Harnois, who still works at the lab, didn’t respond to an email message seeking comment for this article. Chen said the Health Department’s internal investigation found no tampering on DataMasters and no evidence of wrongdoing by Harnois.

Last month, the state decided to move the breath testing function from the Health Department’s lab to the state Department of Public Safety’s lab, a change that has been discussed for years but never made until after the current problems surfaced.

Written by  John Curran, The Associated Press

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.

Copyright © 2009 DUI UTAH