Articles Posted in Under the Influence of Drugs

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging all party-goers to recognize that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving this Halloween. As with all other holiday weekends, Halloween can bring about an increase in parties and celebrations in Florida and across the United States. Sadly, this also means that there will be an increase in drunk driving related injuries and deaths. Because of this, law enforcement officials are expected to be out in full force on Halloween night all across the state of Florida.

If you plan on drinking this Halloween, make sure to designate a sober driver before hitting the town. Consuming even just “a few” drinks could still place you over the legal limit. You do not want to place innocent trick-or-treaters and other roadway users in danger. Avoid drinking and driving entirely. Police will be ready to pounce if they believe they spot a drunk or buzzed driver, so save yourself the terrifying ride to jail and the horrifying costumed mug shot as well.

11064883376_6771bd6c4a_zHalloween Drunk Driving Facts

  • Nearly half of all car crash fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver in 2012.
  • In 2012, 26 people were killed in car accidents involving drunk drivers on Halloween night.
  • In 2012, 10,322 people were killed in drunk driving crashes across the nation, accounting for a third of all traffic crash fatalities for the year.
  • Young drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 years old make up the largest group of drunk drivers involved in fatal collisions.
  • In 2012, 18 percent of all drivers under the age of 21 involved in fatal crashes were impaired.

The best way to make sure your Halloween is happy and safe is to be smart and stay sober if you plan on driving. Just one drink can be one too many – buzzed driving is still drunk driving. If you plan on consuming any amount of alcohol, make sure you have a safe ride home lined up. Pre-program a cab company’s number into your phone or make plans with a designated driver.

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Former Saturday Night Live funnyman Chris Kattan received his sentence six months after he was arrested on suspicion of a DUI.

The 43-year-old comedian is required to pay a $500 fine, attend a three-month alcohol program, 104 Narcotics Anonymous classes, and will be on probation for the next three years, according to reports. Moreover, he is banned from driving with any drugs in his system, unless he has a valid prescription, and has been ordered to participate in the Hospital and Morgue Program, which is designed to show people the potential tragic consequences of their reckless behavior.

The Night at the Roxbury star was arrested in mid-February early in the morning after he crashed his Mercedes into a Department of Transportation vehicle that was parked on the side of a Los Angeles freeway doing maintenance work. While no one was injured in the accident, Kattan did fail a field sobriety test and was arrested and booked into the Van Nuys jail. He was released a short time later on a $15,000 bond.

7th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball - Red CarpetSince receiving his sentence, Kattan has not commented on the incident.

The case is not completely settled just yet. Next month, a restitution hearing will be held to determine how much money Kattan owes the state for damage to the truck he hit.

DUI charges for driving under the influence of drugs are usually treated just the same as DUI charges stemming from alcohol use. There is one difference between the two, which is how police measure impairment. For an alcohol-related DUI, police usually measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration using a Breathalyzer device or blood test and then compare the results to the legal limit, 0.08 percent. For a drug-related DUI, the methods law enforcement uses to determine impairment is much more subjective.

Police commonly rely on observations made during field sobriety tests, which allows an officer to observe a suspected DUI driver’s attention level, state of mind, balance, physical ability and other factors that the officer then will use to decide whether the suspect is impaired. While the presence of drugs can be found using blood tests, the existence of drugs in a person’s blood stream may not solely be an indicator that a person was driving under the influence of the substance.

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Disney Channel star Billy Unger was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of drunk driving after he was stopped in his Nissan Altima on Pacific Coast Highway, according to authorities.

Unger is best known for his role on the Disney sitcom “Lab Rats.”  He was reportedly going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone on PCH around 12:10 a.m. Saturday when he was pulled over near Las Tunas Beach, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

The arresting officer approached the 18-year-old actor’s Altima and claims he could immediately smell the odor of alcohol.

nissan keyThe officer also alleges that Unger’s eyes were bloodshot and watery.

Unger’s blood alcohol level was reportedly 0.08, right at the legal limit for an adult, and he allegedly did not pass a sobriety test. He was immediately arrested for suspicion of drunk driving.

Unger was later issued a citation and released on his own recognizance, which is standard procedure in DUI cases.

The detective did mention that Unger was very cooperative.

Unger issued the following statement Monday on Twitter:

“As I move forward responsibly in this matter, I simply ask the public, and more importantly my fans, to reserve judgment and allow the opportunity for me to address this issue properly through the legal system.”

When a driver under the age of 21 is pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida, they can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content is .02 percent or higher. While the legal limit for driving for those over the age of 21 is .08 percent, Florida has a strict zero tolerance policy for underage drivers that choose to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking.

If you are charged with underage drinking and driving, you face a license suspension. For any underage driver that submits to a breath test and blows a .02 or higher, their driver’s license will be suspended for six months with a 30 day hard suspension following a first time DUI arrest. This means that the driver cannot drive anywhere for any reason for those 30 days. Following the hard suspension period, the driver may be able to obtain a hardship license for “business purposes only” or for “employment purposes only.” Now, if the underage driver refuses to submit to a breath, blood or urine test then their driver’s license will be suspended for one year with a 90 day hard suspension.

Additionally, if you are arrested for underage drinking and driving and your blood alcohol content was .05 percent or higher then you must complete a DUI program.

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Published on: is reporting that last Tuesday’s Weeki Wachee crash that involved a head-on collision between a car and a school bus may result in a DUI charge.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Michelle R. Sutton of Spring Hill was allegedly driving a Toyota coupe at a high rate of speed– weaving in and out of the westbound lane of County Road 550 — before ultimately colliding head first into the school bus. The bus was carrying about 30 students from Spring Hill’s Westside Elementary at the time of the crash. Sutton was seriously injured in the DUI crash and was taken to Oak Hill Hospital where an ER nurse allegedly found a plastic bag containing about 18 grams of marijuana in Ms. Sutton’s shorts pocket.

Because she was being admitted to the hospital, the deputy gave Ms. Sutton a citation and notice to appear in court next month for possession of marijuana instead of arresting her–but the Hernando County State Attorney’s Office has 90 days to file a misdemeanor DUI or 180 days to file a felony DUI with Serious Bodily Injury case, if they choose.

This presents an interesting issue from a constitutional law perspective. Since a nurse–and not law enforcement–found the marijuana on Ms. Sutton, she does not have the same constitutional protections from unlawful searches and seizures as she would if the police had found it at the scene of the accident. Generally under Florida law, the trigger for a constitutional law violation that can result in evidence being suppressed is that some government entity was involved in the seizure. In this case, Ms. Sutton told the nurse she was wearing her boyfriend’s shorts and didn’t know about the drugs in the pocket. Regardless, to sustain a conviction, the burden will still be on the State to prove that Ms. Sutton was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to the extent that her normal faculties were impaired.

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