The Summer Season Leads to Increased DUI Arrests

Outdoor barbecues, beachfront gatherings, boating, and spending warm summer evenings with friends and families lead to wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.  The longer days and nicer weather result in greater travel between different events, meaning that drivers spend more time on the road.  The social events of summer involve alcohol consumption and can result in an arrest for driving under the influence if proper caution is not exercised.  It takes much less alcohol to put you over the legal limit than you may think.  It is important to be aware of the presence of alcohol during the seasonal festivities and to make alternative arrangements for driving if you plan to drink.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has conducted studies that demonstrate that incidences of drunk driving increase by twenty percent during the warmer weather.  Many law enforcement agencies set up increased alcohol checkpoints during the summer months, starting Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Labor Day.  These additional alcohol enforcement efforts are funded by various sources and are specifically focused on the revelry of the summer and cracking down on the increased drunk driving incidences that result from more social gatherings.

There are restrictions on what law enforcement officers can do to identify those driving under the influence.  The enforcement checkpoints must be set up in accordance with specific regulations in order to lead to a valid and prosecutable arrest:

  • The roadblock must be for legitimate purposes, such as safety checks, and cannot be for general investigation.
  • The authorization for the checkpoint must have come from a supervisor rather than patrol officers without seniority.  The superior officer must ensure compliance with the legitimacy regulations,
  • The officers must stop and check every vehicle to pass through the enforcement point or impose uniform selection criteria.  There cannot be any selective reviews based on discriminatory criteria such as race, sex, or other identifying characteristics.
  • There must be clear notice to drivers with respect to the location and purpose of the checkpoint, including advance disclosure of the checkpoint and clear identifiers and lighting of the stop itself.
  • The officer performing the initial screening of the driver and passengers of the vehicle must have the appropriate education and training to make an initial determination of suspicion of driving under the influence.
  • The checkpoint must be placed in a specific location and cannot be relocated to random locations.
  • The location of the roadblock must not impose an undue burden on drivers and businesses in the area of the checkpoint.

In addition to the extra checkpoints on the roads to check the sobriety of drivers, the summer brings another source of enforcement actions and arrests – boating under the influence.  Boaters have always been obligated to drink responsibly while operating a boat on the water.  However, over the years, the laws regulating boating and drinking have changed to be in conformity with the legal limits in place for driving under the influence and there are more enforcement actions to catch those operating boats under the influence of alcohol.

Being charged with drunk driving has long-term repercussions on your life, including a severely negative impact on your job and career.  Of course, the most serious consequences of operating a vehicle under the influence are serious injury or loss of life.  If you do face charges of driving or operating a vehicle under the influence, you will need experienced attorneys to act on your behalf.

Sample Law Firm Article #2

Black Box Data Key Evidence in Tennessee Truck Crash Cases

There has been a concerted effort in recent years to have the commercial trucking industry use “black boxes” to improve safety. Black box monitoring systems also known as electronic log systems, electronic data recorders and electronic control modules systems have revolutionized the way Tennessee trucking accident lawyers litigate trucking accident cases. The experienced truck accident law firm of Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC recognize the fundamental role of “black box” evidence in trucking accident cases and will make sure the data is preserved so that it can be used to by an expert to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding a Tennessee trucking accident.

Black boxes provide a wealth of information that can be used by a trucking accident lawyer to establish the basis for the trucking company’s liability during settlement negotiations and at trial. Black boxes record an abundance of critical information that can be important in establishing negligence in a trucking accident including issues related to the condition of the vehicle such as vehicles maintenance problems and tire pressure. Critical evidence about the driver’s performance is also recorded such as sudden braking, speed control issues, clutch application and shifting, following distance, and exceeding regulated hours.

Experienced Tennessee trucking lawyers such as those at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC will also investigate black box data for relevant email communication between the driver and the trucking company. Email correspondence obtained from black boxes may provide damning admissions about mechanical problems, driver fatigue or other admissions of fault by the truck driver immediately following a trucking accident. Because black boxes are typically equipped with global positioning systems (GPS), they provide detailed information regarding where the truck was immediately prior to a trucking accident.

If a person is seriously injured or killed in a trucking accident, it is imperative he or she retain an experienced Tennessee trucking accident lawyer immediately because black box evidence that may be indispensable can legally and intentionally be destroyed. Tennessee trucking accident law and federal regulations permit trucking companies to destroy black box data as well as other vital records and documents after 60 days. Tennessee trucking companies routinely destroy or “lose” important data and documents that may establish negligence and hours of service violations to avoid liability where a trucking accident results in serious injury or death to another person.

At Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC, we know that trucking companies have a strong motivation to destroy black box data that may establish a legal basis for finding the trucking company legally responsible for injuries caused in a Tennessee trucking accident. The attorneys at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC will immediately send written notice via certified mail to the trucking company that the black box data must be preserved for pending litigation and that the truck must not be moved or repaired. This letter is sometimes called a “spoliation letter.”

Experienced trucking accident lawyers will direct the company not to move or repair the truck because this can result in the event recorder being erased or recorded over before the information can be downloaded. If the trucking company refuses to provide the black box data claiming it has been destroyed or lost, the experienced trucking accident lawyers at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC can demand that the trucking company provide the backup copy that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires be kept somewhere other than the truck’s on board computer.

The attorneys at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC Law may also retain an expert to be present during the download of the black box data to help prevent “lost” information. We will also try to reach an agreement with the trucking company regarding how and when the information will be downloaded to avoid “accidental” loss of critical data. If the trucking company refuses to cooperate, the attorneys at Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC Law may expedite the filing of a civil lawsuit and request an Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent the trucking company from doing anything that might result in loss of the black box data.

The black box data can be used to build a case against the trucking company or to discredit the trucking company’s claim regarding the circumstances of the trucking accident. At Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC, we may employ an accident reconstruction expert who will use the information obtained from the black box tocreate computerized animations of the accident, which are very effective and convincing tools for proving liability to a jury.

The black box data can also be used to discredit the testimony of the driver, trucking company expert or trucking company executives. Many drivers and trucking companies routinely falsify their written logs. This practice is so prevalent the logs are derisively referred to as “lie logs” in the trucking industry. The black box data can be used to discredit falsified written logs or to contradict the testimony of the driver or trucking company representatives during deposition or at trial.

At Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC, we know that black box evidence is usually an indispensable part of establishing liability on behalf of a person who has been seriously injured or killed by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. Sample, Sample & Sample, PLC attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country.

Sample Law Firm Article #3

Underage Drunk Driving Charges In California

Even a single drink can subject someone who is under 21 to punishment under the California DUI zero tolerance law (V.C. 23136). Under California’s zero tolerance law, it does not matter whether a driver under 21 is impaired in any way while driving. Zero tolerance means the mere fact of having consumed ANY measurable amount of alcohol before driving constitutes an offense. A driver who is under 21 can violate this provision simply by consuming cough syrup prior to driving.

If you are underage and stopped by a police officer with a blood alcohol level of 0.1% or greater, you face a mandatory one year license suspension and two points on your DMV driving record. Violation of this provision is considered a civil offense. If the accused is under 18, one’s attorney can have the case handled in juvenile court.

The driver who is under 21 and stopped by a police officer faces even more severe penalties if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is between 0.5%-0.7%. The violation of this provision is no longer treated as a civil offense but instead constitutes a criminal infraction (V.C. 23140), which also carries a punishment of a fine and two points on one’s DMV driving record.

A driver under the age of 21 is also subject to the same DUI provisions that apply to those over 21. Under California DUI law, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor if you are either driving under the influence of alcohol (V.C. 23152 (a)), which is sometime called “generic DUI” or are driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.8% or higher (V.C. 23152 (b)), which is sometimes called “DUI per se.”

If you are under 21 and accused of driving with any amount of alcohol in your blood, you should contact nationally known San Francisco DUI attorneys, Sample and Sample, Attorney at Law. Some prosecutors will try to charge a driver who is under 21 with violating all three laws (i.e. civil, infraction and misdemeanor). Experienced San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, will challenge the charges of driving with alcohol in one’s blood on various legal and factual grounds as well as the prosecutor’s decision to charge the driver with all three types of violations.

The DMV may suspend the license of an under age drinker who refuses to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening device test (“PAS” test) when pulled over by a police officer. San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, can challenge the validity of the PAS test based on such grounds as the following:

  1. Whether the device was functioning and calibrated properly
  2. The officer had a valid basis for the initial stop of the vehicle
  3. The adequacy of the officer’s training
  4. The officer complied with standard procedures

These are just a few of the grounds San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, may rely on in defending a driver who is an under age drinker. If a PAS test is not immediately available, the officer will ask the driver to submit to another type of chemical test like a breath or blood test. San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, may be able to challenge the test if time passes before the officer administers the test. The officer is also required to properly warn a driver who is under 21 regarding the possible consequences of refusing to submit to a PAS or other chemical test. San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, will investigate the circumstances of the stop and arrest and may be able to challenge the charges based on the adequacy of the warning issued by the officer as well as a number of other defenses San Francisco DUI attorneys Sample and Sample, Attorneys at Law, can review with you.

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