There’s A Bright Side To The Florida Ignition Interlock Program

Florida Ignition InterlockTaking part in the Florida ignition interlock program is a requirement for a Florida DUI, but only if a few conditions are met. First offenders need to install one if they are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .15, and second, third, and other repeat offenders must use the device for at least a year after conviction.

When you are required to use an interlock, you can expect, as part of your Florida ignition interlock program, to stop driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. What you wouldn’t expect is that the very same device can also stop someone from stealing your car. Or, if it doesn’t stop that person, it can slow them down and record evidence too.

Need an example? A 17-year-old from Hillsborough County, Florida was recently arrested after he stole a car outside of a McDonald’s restaurant recently. The owner of the car was standing outside of the restaurant and had left his car running nearby. The teen decided to jump into the car and drive away, and when he did the owner gave chase.

The owner was dragged by the vehicle before he let go, and the teen took off. It was found abandoned the next morning, and although you’d think the teen got away free and clear, think again. Because of the Florida ignition interlock requirement, this teen was caught in the act.

Ignition interlock devices are equipped with a camera that records the driver providing a breath sample. This teen had to blow into the device to start the car, and he was most likely required to blow into it again for a rolling retest. Maybe he didn’t realize his photo was being taken every time he blew into it, but whether he knew or not, photographic evidence was easily obtained thanks to the interlock.

An ignition interlock is a penalty, and most people just want to get through their program, drive sober, and move on with their lives. But if you look on the positive side, that interlock can teach you to drive sober and, if you lose your car due to theft, it can help identify the thief too.

Drunk Driving In Texas Can Start With Just One Drink

drunk driving in Texas The biggest question people have about drinking and driving is, “How much is too much?” The answer to that question is simple: there is no safe amount of alcohol you can drink before you drive, and the Texas Department of Transportation would like you to be aware of that. The risk of your crashing or being arrested because of drunk driving in Texas can begin at very low levels of impairment.

According to TDOT, every 20 minutes someone in Texas is injured or killed because of an alcohol-related drunk driving crash. Given the risk, why do people drink and drive? It might be because they don’t realize that one drink might be all it takes to impair your driving skills.

Alcohol affects everyone in a different way

Alcohol has the power to affect your vision, hand/eye coordination, and motor skills, and the effects begin as soon as you’ve had your first drink. What happens after that drink hits your bloodstream depends on a few factors including whether you’re male or female, what your body weight is, and your age.

No every drink is created the same way either. Tall cans of beer look like one can, but they can include as many as three servings of beer. Cocktails you purchase in a club can have two or three different types of liquor, and some wines have more alcohol-content than others.

Because of those differences, no one can tell you that it’s safe to drive after drinking one drink. While one person will feel sober after one or two glasses of beer in an hour, another will be well on their way to impairment after drinking the same amount. That person could easily be arrested for drunk driving in Texas, all because they drank the same amount as another person.

If you’d like to have a drink with dinner or you want to drive home after you’ve been out drinking, your best option is to find a sober driver. If you have to ask yourself, “How much is too much?” you shouldn’t be driving.

Are Wisconsin OWI Offenders Skipping Their Interlocks?

Wisconsin OWI The news is full of stories about drunk drivers violating Wisconsin OWI laws, and that’s not really surprising all things considered. At this time first time offenders who are arrested for Wisconsin OWI receive what amounts to nothing more than a traffic ticket.

But letting those first-time offenders get off easily can result in that person becoming a second, third, or four-time offender, and once they get to that point the Wisconsin penalty system will kick in and they’ll be forced to pay the price.

Unfortunately a lot of offenders seem to be weighing whether or not they want to actually comply with those penalties, many people may be skipping out on their ignition interlock program. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were over 300 convictions relating to either tampering with or failing to install an ignition interlock.

An ignition interlock—a device that requires the drunk driving offender to blow an alcohol-free breath sample before the engine will turn over, is required to be installed on every repeat Wisconsin OWI offender’s vehicle. They are also required for any first-time offender who is arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher and anyone who refuses the breathalyzer when suspected of drunk driving.

Without an ignition interlock to stop a convicted drunk driver, that driver can continue to get behind the wheel while drunk. If that happens, he or she could easily crash and kill someone or themselves. That’s why the Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation Safety plans on creating a ignition interlock monitoring program.

In order to monitor all ignition interlock offenders, the bureau will need to pair with law enforcement and keep track of all offenders and all data relating to an ignition interlock. From the moment of arrest that person will need to be tracked, and that’s a big project for the state.

But out of all the states that should make the effort, Wisconsin is at the top of the list. More than fines, fees, and even jail time, ignition interlocks need to be part of a drunk driver’s rehabilitation program. If they aren’t, there’s no way to change their behavior.

California Drunk Driving Arrests Help State Win Top Spot For Worst Drivers

california drunk driving Have you ever wondered where the worst drivers in the United States live? Given Florida’s track record you would be forgiven for thinking it held this distinction, but you’d be wrong: thanks to California drunk driving and distracted driving, it’s the Golden State that reportedly has the Worst US Drivers by State.

You now know where to avoid driving thanks to a new report by a marketplace website called QuoteWizard. They did a study focusing on crashes, fatalities, traffic tickets, DUI arrests, and speeding tickets. Compiling millions of pieces of data, they came up with a list of the best and worst drivers in America.

Given the combination of California drunk driving arrests and tickets written for distracted driving, the state was able to jump from its 2016 second place finish to first place for 2017. The authors of the study cited Los Angeles gridlock as a hot spot for bad driving, and they also ranked several California cities; Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield as being on the list of cities with the worst drivers. Sacramento held the distinction of being the number one worst city in the nation.

With data like this showing the cold, hard facts about driving in California, residents should be glad that there is a new ignition interlock law on the horizon. Expanding on the current pilot program taking place in several counties, the new ignition interlock law will be implemented in January of 2019. At that point ignition interlocks will become an option for all drivers in the state, and if enough people put them to use, there should be a significant drop in California drunk driving arrests.

Given that the new interlock law is a year away and that distracted driving is only increasing in the state, it’s not surprising that California has taken the top spot. It also seems likely that California could continue to claim the worst drivers in the nation into 2018, and that means there is work to do now.

What’s The Difference Between A Texas DUI And A Texas DWI?

Texas DUIWhat’s the difference between a Texas DUI conviction—known as driving under the influence, and a Texas DWI—driving while intoxicated? Both include serious penalties, but if you’ve just been charged with either, you should know they aren’t exactly the same thing.

In many US states a DUI is the only charge you’ll receive, and state by state DUI laws highlight the different fines, fees, and penalties you can receive with your charge. Specifically in Texas, what you are charged with depends on a few factors.

What is a Texas DUI charge?

In Texas, you can be charged with DUI if you are stopped by police and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08. If you receive this charge, it’s a Class C misdemeanor on your record.

You can also be charged with Texas DUI if police determine you are a minor and you are driving with any amount of alcohol in your system. That means if you are a minor and you blow into a breathalyzer and register anything other than zero, you can be charged with DUI.

What is a Texas DWI charge?

In contrast to the Texas DUI, a Texas DWI is a charge when a person has been stopped for driving while intoxicated, with intoxicated being defined as having a .08 reading on a breathalyzer or having physical or mental impairment due to alcohol or drugs.

A Texas DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. That can change if you are arrested with a BAC over 0.15 or if you hurt or killed someone because you were driving drunk. In that case your crime could jump up to a felony, and you could be going to prison.

Penalties for both DWI and DUI

Whether you have been charged with a Texas DUI or a Texas DWI, you’ll be receiving penalties for those charges.  The penalties for a Texas DUI will be less severe and could include a driver’s license suspension and fines. Penalties for a Texas DWI could include fines, a driver’s license suspension for a year, and the possibility of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive.

In Texas, just like everywhere else, if you don’t want to pay the price, don’t drink and drive.

 

Hard To Believe, But This Texas DWI Crash Caused By Firefighter

Epic fail sign - Texas DWI There’s not much that can be said when a public servant makes the choice to drink and drive. It’s hard to understand how, after witnessing the crashes when someone drives drunk, they could do it themselves. It’s common too, or at least it might seem that way after a recent Texas DWI crash involving an off-duty firefighter.

The Dallas-based firefighter, Horace Shaw III, was driving after drinking at a local restaurant. He was speeding when he drove over a hill and crashed into an SUV with two occupants: a pregnant teenage girl and her boyfriend. They were both ejected from the vehicle and the teen, Alyssa Pimental, died of her injuries. Her unborn baby died as well.

According to witnesses who were there after the crash, Shaw couldn’t walk straight. He declined to answer questions and was taken to jail. Since that time he’s been charged with intoxication manslaughter, and that means a stiff sentence for causing a Texas DWI crash.

An intoxication manslaughter charge in Texas is much more severe than a first or even second Texas DWI offense. This is a second-degree felony. The offender, whether that person is a public servant or just a citizen of Texas, may spend up to 20 years in prison. He could also have to pay up to $10,000 in fines, and he’ll have to perform community service as well.

The tragedy of this Texas DWI crash is that a mother and her unborn baby were killed, all because someone decided to drive drunk. It’s horrible that a firefighter caused it; a man who worked with the department for 12 years, because he should have known better. Someone on the front lines of a drunk and drugged driving should have realized what one or two drinks could do to their driving skills. If he had, this never would have happened.

 

Man 14 Years Late For His Drugged Driving Charge In Florida

drugged driving charge in FloridaYou’d assume someone convicted of a crime and handed a jail sentence would stick around and work their way through the penalty handed to them by the judge. That’s usually the way it goes, but it doesn’t always happen that way. One man in West Palm Beach is an example of this – he skipped town for 14 years on a Florida drugged driving charge.

In May of 2000, the man ran a red light in a Ford F-150 and crashed into a Nissan Quest driven by a married mother of two. He was high on the drug GHB at the time. The crash was so violent that a witness said the car seat was pushed toward the back of the van, and she died of her injuries.

The man was convicted on a drugged driving charge in Florida in 2001, but he didn’t take the sentence seriously. When he was ordered to show up for his jail sentence in March of 2003, he never showed up.

He appealed the conviction in Palm Beach County court, and when that appeal failed he cut off his ankle bracelet and fled to the Bahamas.

He did spend time in custody in the Bahamas relating to the charges in Florida, and after he exhausted all of his appeals and was ordered to be extradited, he was picked up and sent back to the USA. Now he’s facing two failure-to-appear charges in Palm Beach County, and it seems unlikely he’ll be able to walk away again.

A DUI is considered driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, so a drugged driving crash like this one comes with the same fines, penalties, and in this case, jail time, as a drunk driving crash. He may have cut and ran from the consequences, but just like time doesn’t heal all wounds, time also doesn’t clear your record when you’ve killed someone due to drugged driving.

Happy New Year From Guardian Interlock

happy new year 2017 is now in the history books, and 2018 is finally here. With a new year to begin, you might be considering new resolutions or just looking for a fresh new start. No matter what your goals or resolutions, Guardian Interlock would like to wish you the very best in this new year, and hope you find success in all that you do.

Happy New Year from Guardian Interlock!

 

Friday Fallout: Here’s Why Drunk Driving On New Year’s Eve Is A Bad Idea

drunk driving on New Year's EveDecember 31st is here again, and as 2017 fades away and a fresh new year begins, it’s important to look back, reflect, and count all of the things you could lose if you get caught drunk driving on New Year’s Eve. If listing your family, friends, job, and home isn’t enough, police want you to give you a few other reasons you might want to avoid drinking and driving.

Fresno police just announced they are bringing back a controversial California DUI program called bar watch. Bar watch places undercover police officers in different drinking establishments. These officers will keep an eye on bar patrons, and if they think someone is about to drink and drive, they’ll follow that person to their car and will stop them from getting in and driving.

The bottom line: they aren’t going to let anyone in Fresno drink and drive, and neither are the police in Macon, Georgia. Although it’s almost on the other side of the country, Macon police are also hosting an anti-DUI program called ‘Drive sober or get pulled over.’ It’s an initiative that many states have used to fight drunk driving, and police will be out in force to catch anyone drunk driving on New Year’s Eve.

They’re running the program from December 15th to January 2nd, 2018, and police across the entire state of Georgia will be on the roads looking for drunk drivers. They’re warning all Georgia drivers that if they do drink and drive, being on Santa’s naughty list will be the least of their worries. Instead of a cozy holiday with family, they could be spending time inside a jail cell.

Whether you’re drinking and driving in California or hitting the road under the influence in Georgia, these two programs show that, no matter where you are in the USA this New Year’s, your best option is to drive sober.

Social Host Laws Could Hold Craft Breweries Liable For Drunk Driver

social host laws Florida Social host laws are beginning to pop up in more states than ever. Depending on how it’s defined, the laws could cover anything from a parent purchasing alcohol and letting their teen drink at home to a nightclub not cutting someone off who is clearly over their limit.

There’s a case on the docket in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Florida right now that could have some significance for Florida social host laws. It may make defining responsibility more obvious when a drunk driver drinks too much at their establishment and drives on to kill someone.

The case involves Caroline Sine, a music teacher in Pinellas County. She was driving in August 2016 when her car was crashed into by Brice MacLeod. He had been out that night, drinking his way between a few craft breweries, and he left both places drunk. He was more than double the legal limit when he ran the red light and crashed into Sine.

Sine’s father filed a lawsuit alleging the two pubs he visited served him more than enough alcohol to get him drunk, and they didn’t stop him before he got behind the wheel. It also states that MacLeod was a frequent visitor to those establishments and he was addicted to alcohol.

As a repeat drunk driver, with a previous DUI conviction in 2006, he was past the point of the Florida lookback period. In Florida, a first DUI only has a lookback of five years before it will count against the offender for a second conviction. The fact that the lookback expired doesn’t mean he got off easy, because he’s been charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI, and DUI causing serious injury and is spending 14 years behind bars for it.

Whether the breweries will be held accountable for the death of Sine is up to a judge and jury, but it does cast a light on how social host laws are supposed to work. If you see someone drinking alcohol and they are clearly over the legal limit, it’s a no-brainer you should stop them from driving. If you’re the person serving them that alcohol, it’s even more important because it may be just as much your fault and it is theirs when they kill someone because of drunk driving.

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