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Thread: Drinking and driving

  1. #1

    Red face Drinking and driving

    Hello fellow merbites,

    I could use your collective knowledge and experience.

    My girlfriend got caught on a DUI on the way back from a X-mass party yesterday.

    She’s normally not a lush but I guess she didn’t think yesterday

    They performed an Alco test, no blood sample.

    On her Alco test she hit .14

    I’m just back from getting the car out of impound.

    Did anyone try to fight this in court?

    Does she have a chance ? Will a lawyer do more then just cost more money?

    Thanks for you input

    Crusader

  2. #2
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    Bat Crusader,

    Did this happen in Quebec? I have experience with handling DUI charges, but unfortunately not in Quebec.

    The relevant questions are: (1) is this her first DUI? and (2) was there an accident involving property damage/personal injury?

    If the answers to these questions are yes and no, if it happened in Connecticut, with a BAC of .14 she would easily get accepted into something called an alcohol education program, a program for first offenders. She would have to complete the program, attend classes about how to drink responsibly and eat while drinking etc., and then upon successful completion of the program she would have the charges dismissed and only have to pay for the program fee and court costs. I don't know if it's the same in Quebec but hopefully one of the local legal eagles will post and let us know. I am actually curious to know how it works in Quebec.

    Oh, and one other thing: in Connecticut your driver's license is suspended automatically when you get a DUI charge, and if you need to drive to work you have to get a special permit........which is a bitch and a pain in the ass for some people because it takes up to a week or more to get sometimes.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 12-08-2007 at 03:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Its hard in Quebec even with a good lawyer to beat this in court 1 year suspension +the fine and no more vacation in Florida if convicted she will be acriminal according to Canadian law.

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=EagerBeaver]Bat Crusader,

    Did this happen in Quebec? I have experience with handling DUI charges, but unfortunately not in Quebec.

    The relevant questions are: (1) is this her first DUI? and (2) was there an accident involving property damage/personal injury?




    It did happen in Québec, it's her first (and better be last ) DUI , no accident, she was caught in a police trap.

    They alwready suspended her liscence for 30 days.
    I did a little searching and the minimum sentence if she's juged guilty seems to be 600$ fine a the liscence revoked for a year.

    Hope to find a defendable strategy.

    It looks like I'm the designated driver for X-mass parties...

  5. #5
    Veteran of Misadventures
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bat Crusader
    Hope to find a defendable strategy.
    Most defense strategies focus on attacking the methodology of implementing the testing device or devices used by the police to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC). For example, in a case where a breathalyzer is used, attacks can be mounted on the methodology by which the machine was calibrated and/or the methodology of the testing. The problem in most cases is that the client is/was too inebriated to recall exactly what happened.........and the cop of course has a much more lucid recollection. The cops receive special training in the calibration of the breathalyzer machines used to conduct these tests and they are tough to cross examine......you basically have to keep your fingers crossed, hope they fucked up and then trip them up on cross examination............I usually have gotten little or no help from clients and have had to rely on the cop fucking up. It does happen sometimes. The police report on the matter should be reviewed very carefully in this regard. A good DUI attorney will have a checklist of things to look for, in terms of possible fuck ups by the testing officer.

    My advice is to get a local attorney who specializes in DUI cases. See if he/she offers a free consultation. If not you still might want to consult the advice of an attorney.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 12-08-2007 at 05:35 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Bat Crusader


    It did happen in Québec, it's her first (and better be last ) DUI , no accident, she was caught in a police trap.

    Where was the police trap?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bat Crusader
    They alwready suspended her liscence for 30 days.
    I did a little searching and the minimum sentence if she's juged guilty seems to be 600$ fine a the liscence revoked for a year.
    I guess your friend's name is not Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan.

  8. #8
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I for one have trouble helping you out Bat Cruisader... Your GF did drink and drive, she was more than 50% above the limit, and I am sorry if this causes inconvenience, but maybe next time it will serve as a reminder to a few people... (and I say this with no agressivity at all). All I can say is I am happy she was not in an accident as victim or as cause... because injury to others is more than inconvenience to the DUI person who is caught...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by hormone
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I for one have trouble helping you out Bat Cruisader... Your GF did drink and drive, she was more than 50% above the limit, and I am sorry if this causes inconvenience, but maybe next time it will serve as a reminder to a few people... (and I say this with no agressivity at all). All I can say is I am happy she was not in an accident as victim or as cause... because injury to others is more than inconvenience to the DUI person who is caught...
    Hello Hormone,

    I agreed 100% with you about a week ago...

    Funny how your point of view can change.

    We do have a strategy, and an honest one.

    We where all surprised that she failed the test; she had a lot a beer (6) but over a long period of time (less than one per hour) and then stopped for about 2 hours before driving

    We will have an expert calculate her theoretical blood alcohol concentration

    Here is a link to educaloi if you are curious

    http://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/loi/drivers/13/

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bat Crusader
    Hello Hormone,

    I agreed 100% with you about a week ago...

    Funny how your point of view can change.
    Sadly it seems to have changed after being caught. This seems like a double standard to me... I hope you don't mean to say it's OK to drive with 0.14...

    We do have a strategy, and an honest one.

    We where all surprised that she failed the test; she had a lot a beer (6) but over a long period of time (less than one per hour) and then stopped for about 2 hours before driving

    We will have an expert calculate her theoretical blood alcohol concentration
    Again, I am sorry to say I don't agree: this is not "honest", this is trying to get around the law. It is also trying to get around common sense, community safety, the idea of justice, etc. I am in disbelief on how people want the law to apply to others but not to them, because "they are OK", they know that...

    I am sure you were surpised, but it does not mean she was not legally impaired. After just 1-2 drinks, your speed of reaction changes, your vision fild shrinks, your attention span shortens, etc. And this is all below 0.08!! 6% of deaths on roads due to alcool are due to people being below 0.08. This is 6% too many. Should your right to drink with alcool in your brain over-ride the simple right ot life of others? Especially when there are so many alternatives nowadays!!

    An expert can calculate all you want, I hope it does not mean anything to a judge, as this would be a serious blow to any law we have. Only stop people who drive erratically?? This would be ridiculous. Alcool metabolism is variable, depending on sex, weight, body fat, concomittant food intake, but also on habit of drinking (the more you drink regularly, the faster you metabolise it...). This is not linked to tolerance (i.e. the effects you/others perceive from drinking). Hence you may feel OK, but be clearly above a danger level.

    Anyway I wish you and your GF all the best for Christmas and New Year, and hope you and her never drive after drinking anymore. I think your example should be used to show how actually we err in our own perceptions of our alcool level... Hence the simplest solution refraining from driving after drinking!

  11. #11
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    I have had expert toxicologists do "back extrapolation" as it's called and it is not going to work unless the expert witness simultaneously attacks the credibility of the result of the breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer result, if not challenged, will likely be deemed more reliable than "back extrapolation" from the best expert toxicologist money can buy.

    Hormone, this is not really a question of "getting someone off" but reducing the potential severity of the punishment. Please distinguish between the two. Regarding the .14 BAC, I would say that is about average for what I have seen on the Connecticut DUI docket. I have actually seen people well over .20 get the alcohol education program (AEP) if it's a first offense and there was no personal injury/property damage caused by the DUI. Mind you that is not exactly "getting off". In Connecticut, between the suspension of the driver's license, having to go through the hassle of getting a temporary work permit, the AEP program fee of about $500 (I believe that's what it costs), the attorney's fees which will likely be in the range of $1000-$1500, having to attend 8 or so classes where some pseudo-expert tells you strategies for how to drink and what foods you should eat when drinking, and lost time from work for 2 court appearances, there is a punishment. And mind you that is all the best case scenario for a 1st time offender and doesn't count expert witness fees which I can assure you will not be cheap if you bring an expert toxicologist in.

    People do make mistakes, and obviously BC's girlfriend made one. He said she was not a lush and was coming home from a Christmas party. It's understandable that it could have happened. She will get punished and let's hope she learns from it.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 12-11-2007 at 02:33 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    Hormone, this is not really a question of "getting someone off" but reducing the potential severity of the punishment. Please distinguish between the two. (...)

    People do make mistakes, and obviously BC's girlfriend made one. He said she was not a lush and was coming home from a Christmas party. It's understandable that it could have happened. She will get punished and let's hope she learns from it.
    Thanks for youre comments EB. Although I do not share your view point, I do agree with the conclusion (i.e. learning from mistakes). In our system too, it is likely the punishment will be similar to what you describe. I wish to explain a bit more my philosophy on this...
    This is the problem: we always make excuses and say "sorry" when we get caught, and hope we can have no or light punishment only... but we know this is behaviour linked to deaths and permanent cripplings. A lot of them. Actually Quebec is worse than most of the rest of Canada... Problem is the deaths are likely to represent a small percentage of all people who drink+drive. But is this a valid reason to try to avoid/lessen penalties? There is no excuse for a death or crippling accident. The consequences are disproportionate to any penalty one can get for D+D. So the penalties for behaviour potentially leading to these consequences should also be disproportionate to the simple behaviour without consequence. If the penalties are not appropriate for BC's GF, they may not be appropriate for a lot of people (here or in the USA) and maybe the law should be changed. If we only wait to punish people who kill or maim, the dissuasive effect of the law will be lost... A good number of these deaths are caused by "first time offenders". Of course, dead/crippled people don't get a second chance...

    (By "behaviour" I mean strictly drinking and driving for anyone, I am not implying BC's GF does this repeatedly...).

    I understand your logic, actually, EB. My point of view is simply seen from the collective aspect, not the individual aspect. I am not a lawyer. Just a socialist!

  13. #13
    First time D&D offenders should automatically get 100 hours community service over a 3 year period working for Red Nose during the holiday season. Sober, of course.

    Second time offenders, well that repeat mistake should cost you your liscence for at least a year with jail time, just enough time for you to reflect (time in jail doesn't count towards the year suspensions).

    Third time offenders, either amputate their arms so they can't drive anymore, or suspend their driver's liscence for life and have them serve mandatory prison time in a cell with a big dude who's been behind bars for a minimum of 10 years.
    Last edited by OkGo; 12-11-2007 at 07:31 PM.

  14. #14
    I can understand why most of you think she should pay.
    DUI is a big problem.
    But as I said before, she is not a lush; she really thought she was under .08.
    I'm still surprised she busted with a beer an hour.
    We are both generally careful and when together one of us doesn’t touch the stuff (not much anyway)
    That’s why I say the expert toxicologist is an honest defence.
    He will calculate what the level of alcohol should have been.
    (Maybe the machine did make a mistake)
    If it wasn’t possible the judge would not accept the defence!
    For those that thing we deserve a lesson remember this:
    She already lost her permit for 30 days and already spent 125$ getting her car out of impound. If she wins the court case it will cost another 3000$ to 4000$ for lawyers & expert fees
    I think she will learn a lesson even if she doesn’t lose her permit for another year...

    To some of you that might not be that much money, but in our case the budget will feel it for a couple of years...
    Last edited by Bat Crusader; 12-11-2007 at 09:03 PM.

  15. #15
    Yeah, sorry to hear that, sure she's been through enough with the arrest and all already.. I would just like to see more people using Red Nose and in order to do that, you need sufficient volunteers.. and what better than to make first time offenders help out during the holiday season.. lesson hopefully learned, point taken.

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