The Dos and Don’ts of Using Your Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition interlock devices are proving to be an effective tool in the campaign against drunk driving, especially when it comes to reducing DUI recidivism.

With all 50 states and the District of Columbia implementing ignition interlock laws in one form or another, DUI offenders all over the United States can all be ordered by the court trying their case to install an IID in their car.

Should you find yourself among them, you need to keep in mind that a court-ordered ignition interlock program has rules that you need to follow or face further legal consequences.

Here are some of the dos and don’ts of using an ignition interlock device.

DO: Heed court orders and install an IID.

One of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make when it comes to IIDs is ignoring the court order to install one in your car.

Ignition interlock installation is usually part of a DUI offender’s probation, and not installing an IID despite court orders is a violation of its terms.

The court may order your arrest to face a probation violation hearing. Once the court finds that you did violate your probation, the judge will likely tighten its terms, order you to pay a fine, and even sentence you to jail.

DON’T: Tamper with the device.

Whatever you do, don’t even think about trying to remove, disable, trick, or damage the device.

Tampering with an ignition interlock device comes with harsh consequences, including a maximum of 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

You will also have to pay for a damaged IID, a rather expensive piece of equipment usually owned by a private ignition interlock device provider.

DO: Bring your car in for device calibrations.

You are required to have your device calibrated every 30 to 180 days, depending on your state.

Calibration ensures that your IID is in good working condition. Skip it, and you could find yourself dealing with a device lockout, which presents a different set of problems for you.

DON’T: Leave your engine running.

If you occasionally leave your car and keep the engine running for whatever reason, it would be in your best interest to break this habit.

IIDs are designed to prompt DUI offenders for random “rolling retests” to ensure that you’re staying sober while on the road. That means you could be up for one at any time and end up missing the alert and the test altogether.

A missed test will be reported as a failed test, which could help put you in further trouble down the line. Device lockouts also happen due to failed tests.

DO: Start your car from time to time.

Even when you’re not planning on going anywhere, it would be best to start and drive your car from time to time, perhaps once every couple of days. That’s because your IID draws power from your battery.

The device needs a constant power supply of 12 volts to work properly. Not starting your car for long periods could affect the performance of your car battery, which could end up supplying the device with less than the required 12 volts.

If the voltage drops, the device might interpret it as a tampering attempt and report it as such.

DON’T: Consume food and drinks that contain alcohol.

It’s a given that you shouldn’t drink alcohol before starting your car because your IID will undoubtedly detect it on your breath and prevent you from starting the engine.

The problem is, some foods, drinks, and consumer goods contain certain amounts of alcohol.

Mustard, for example, often contains wine or other types of alcohol. The same goes for some brands of soy sauce. There are also soft drinks with alcohol content.

Then there’s mouthwash, whose alcohol content is even higher than most beers and wines.

To avoid a fail on your IID test, stay away from these products, at least in the minutes before attempting to start your car.

Being in an ignition interlock program can get tough, but as long as you finish it while following the rules, you will see the device legally removed from your car sooner than you think.

5 Reasons Why You Should Prepare A Will Now

Do you have assets like cash and property that contribute to a positive net worth? Do you actually care who gets them when the inevitable happens?

If your answer to both questions is a yes, then you must prepare a will while there’s still time.

It’s unfortunate how some people dismiss estate planning as something that only the wealthy must do. What they fail to realize immediately is that their affairs also need to be settled and their assets distributed, no matter how small.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that many middle-aged Americans still don’t have a will. It’s also possible that many senior citizens haven’t even discussed with an elder law attorney the importance of having one prepared.

If you are one of the many Americans who haven’t drafted a will just yet, here are five reasons why you should, regardless of whether you have kids or not.

1. You Can Name Your Own Executor

Preparing a will allows you to appoint a person you trust to act as executor, who will manage your entire estate and do things like pay your bills and taxes and distribute your assets, among other things.

Without a will, the court will be the one to appoint an executor, possibly someone you don’t trust enough to manage your estate. Only by preparing a will yourself can prevent this from happening.

2. You Can Distribute Your Assets The Way You Want It

As stated above, a will distributes your assets accordingly. Create one now, and you’ll have complete control over who gets what.

While you’re obliged to follow inheritance laws in your state that may compel you to leave to your spouse a certain percentage of the assets you acquired during your marriage, you still have the right to leave specific assets to people of your choosing. Name them clearly in a will, and those people will receive whatever it is you’re bequeathing them.

3. You Can Nominate A Guardian For Your Kids

Parents are always worried about what would become of their minor children if death suddenly comes for them.

Preparing a will can relieve you of this concern, as you can use the document to nominate a person whom you trust enough to take care of your kids when you pass on.

As with the appointment of an executor, the court will take it upon itself to name a guardian for your underage kids if you die without a will. Create a will now if you don’t even want to think about the possibility of the court naming the wrong person as guardian for your kids

4. Everything Will Go Smoothly

You’ve probably seen enough movies and TV shows that feature a lot of drama about relatives squabbling over the assets of a relative who just died and left a fortune.

While what is shown on screen is mostly exaggerated for dramatic effect, people do fight over inheritance, especially when the assets left behind are considerable, and there’s no will. It’s not uncommon for an estate without a will to go through protracted legal battles about who rightfully gets what.

There will be no such drama if you have prepared a will. It will be ironclad and save maybe for a few technicalities or glitches, the whole thing will likely go smoothly and be sorted out as quickly as possible.

5. You’ll Have Peace of Mind

A will is meant to be followed to the letter. Once you have prepared one, you will have peace of mind knowing that all your wishes will be respected and carried out when the time comes.

The importance of a will cannot be stressed enough. If possible, don’t do DIY estate planning. Talk to a legitimate estate planning attorney instead to ensure that everything about your will is in order.

5 Lessons You Can Expect To Learn From DUI Classes

It’s not easy being a DUI offender.

Once a court finds you guilty of driving under the influence, you’re bound to face penalties that include a jail sentence, hefty fines, and probation.

The judge may also order you to complete a DUI education program at your own expense.

You might see attending DUI classes online or otherwise as a rather harsh punishment in the sense that you’ll have to sit through hours of lectures and group discussions, and you’ll have to pay for them.

Then again, if you take them seriously (which you should, or else), you will learn things that will serve you well in life, particularly in relation to drinking and driving.

Let’s take a look at some of the lessons you can expect to learn from DUI education programs.

1. The Importance of Drinking Responsibly

It’s safe to assume that the people who run DUI classes don’t really expect participants to give up alcohol altogether, although that would be an ideal result.

What a DUI class does then is to teach its students to be more responsible when they imbibe alcohol.

Binge drinking, for example, can be classified as a highly irresponsible way of consuming alcohol because of the risks that come with it. 

A DUI class will help you see the pitfalls of binge drinking and provide advice on how to avoid it, among other things.

DUI classes will also stress the importance of always having a fallback whenever you’re too intoxicated to drive, like having a friend drive you home or calling a cab or ride-sharing service so you can get home safely.

2. Drunk Driving Hurts and Kills Actual People 

Let’s say your DUI arrest was relatively uneventful, as it happened during a routine DUI stop.

If that’s the case, then you can consider yourself fortunate. Other drunk drivers aren’t so lucky.

Over the decades, drunk driving has injured and killed tens of thousands of people. Most drunk driving accidents are well-documented through photos, many of which could be gruesome enough to make people faint.

If you’re attending a DUI class, expect the lecturers to show these graphic images to you and more.

To further drive home the very real dangers of drunk driving, DUI classes may also make participants listen to testimonials from loved ones left behind by victims of drunk drivers.

They may even bring in drunk drivers convicted of manslaughter or even murder to tell you how much they regret their decision to drive drunk only to end up ruining the lives of other people.

3. How To Make Better Life Decisions

A key part of a DUI education class involves providing participants with a variety of scenarios related to drinking and driving.

With the lecturer’s guidance, you and your fellow students will navigate the given scenarios until you reach the correct and responsible decision that will help you avoid an incident that results in a DUI.

With such scenarios, you can learn how to make better decisions not only about drinking and driving but life in general as well.

4. What Triggers Your Alcohol Use

All sorts of substance use are often triggered by something. In your case, a DUI class will help you identify the things in your life that make you want to drink and subsequently drive.

Once you have identified the reasons for your alcohol use that led to a DUI conviction, DUI education programs will help you explore them through classes and counseling sessions, where you can learn how to keep them from resurfacing and putting you in trouble once again.

5. It Pays To Have Only Positive Influences Around You

When attending a DUI class, your lecturer will likely ask you to make an honest assessment of the people in your life and find out which ones really care about you and who are nothing more than bad influences that enable your drinking and driving.

In line with its goal of helping participants avoid future DUI incidents, a DUI class will recommend that you need to try to exclude bad influences from your social circle.

You will learn the importance of surrounding yourself only with friends and loved ones who will support you and help you make responsible choices.

Completing DUI education programs may take some time and effort on your part, but with the valuable lessons you learn from DUI classes, you will stand a better chance of having a future without another DUI in the picture.

Consequences of Drinking and Driving During The Pandemic

The fact that drunk driving endangers lives is no longer up for debate. However, apart from drunk drivers risking their lives and countless others, drunk driving can also increase the insurance cost for drivers across the United States.

Recent statistics show that attitude towards alcohol-impaired driving has dramatically changed over the years, thanks to positive organizational movements and campaigns.

However, to date, there are still alarming data about drunk driving—injuries and fatalities are still significant, many individuals still think it’s safe to drive after having a few drinks, and most people don’t even have a clue what the penalties for a first offense extreme DUI are. 

Drunk Driving Statistics

Here are some distressing statistics on drunk driving in a typical year:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people in the United States die in motor crashes that involve alcohol-impaired drivers
  • Car accidents that are alcohol-related cost the U.S. as much as $44 billion annually
  • Approximately 67% of U.S. men and women are likely to get involved in an alcohol-related crash during their lifetimes
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one-third of fatal crashes involve drunk drivers

Drunk Driving and the COVID-19 Pandemic

There is no denying the COVID-19 pandemic has some unexpected impact on today’s DUI statistics. But just how drastically is the pandemic affecting the numbers? To put things in perspective, let’s examine some previous and current statistics. 

For instance, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) reported 377 deaths and 1,171 injuries due to alcohol-related crashes between 2015 and 2017. At the end of March 2019, Missouri police arrested 293 people for drunk driving. 

This 2020, on the same weekend, police arrested only 94 people for drunk driving. If the numbers stay consistent, Missouri is on track to reducing the numbers by as much as seventy percent!

Fortunately, the same trend is emerging across other states. Case in point: only four people were arrested for driving under the influence in Nebraska on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s a 15-year low for the state. 

Dorchester and Berkeley County, on the other hand, made no arrests in March. Charleston County, on the other hand, detained only 13 individuals for DUI charges last March. New Mexico DUI arrests are also down by as much as fifty percent.

Understandably, these dramatic drops are attributed to the “stay at home” orders implemented in most states. Tourism-dense states like Hawaii attribute the decline in DUI arrests to fewer tourists driving on the roads.

Interestingly though, alcohol sales went up. Nielsen’s study indicated that alcohol sales spiked by as much as fifty-five percent and showed no signs of slowing down. This figure also shows that while Americans are buying and drinking more, they are doing it at home.

DUI During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Consequences and What to Expect

When arrested for DUI, what are the possible consequences?

Immediate financial responsibilities

Make no mistake about it; getting a DUI can be costly. Even before you are formally convicted, likely, you’ll already spend thousands of dollars on the following:

  • For the court to release a bond
  • To get your car back
  • Towing charges
  • Down payment for lawyer services

Restrictions on driving privileges

In most states, individuals convicted of most DUI-type offenses will face ramifications on their driving privileges. For instance, in some states, an individual who refuses to take a BAC test will have their driver’s license suspended automatically. The length of time of the suspension can vary from one state to another. However, the typical range is from three to twelve months.

Might need to pay more for car insurance

If you have a DUI offense on your record, you are more likely to pay higher premiums for car insurance. Sadly, there is no way around this. It is also possible for insurance companies to drop you, and you will have to seek out insurance companies that will accept you.

Expect to be placed on probation

Since a DUI offense is a criminal offense, expect that you will be placed on probation for a period of time following your conviction. Keep in mind that probation will cost money, so expect to incur additional costs.

More fines upon conviction

Once convicted, you will be fined by the court. These fines will often eat up your bond, so you might need to pay additional money. It would be wise to arrange that you are put on a payment program as the fines can be extensive.

What happens when you get charged with driving impaired or driving drunk at this time? 

Now more than ever, it would be a great idea to work with a good and seasoned lawyer. While it is likely that you will be facing the same charges, there are strains and limitations placed on the legal system right now due to the pandemic. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the courts may also offer limited hours and services. It is also highly likely that you will encounter delays and changes to the standard business operations and temporary orders to cease in-person conferences and appearances. 

A good lawyer can help ensure you will get the hearings, counsel, and legal measures that are your due. Currently, until the foreseeable future, you might need to make do with meeting your attorney virtually, through videoconferencing or meetings over the phone. 

However, it is possible to arrange in-person meetings if truly called for. Consider it best to check with your lawyer regarding your needs and how to proceed during this time.

The Bottom Line

A DUI or any related offense can be inconvenient, embarrassing, and downright expensive. Not only that, but the records and ramifications associated with it can also last for many years. The only foolproof way to avoid getting a DUI is not to drive while under the influence.

What First-Time Offenders Can Expect From DUI Treatment

So you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI for the first time, and being in that situation can be daunting. After all, DUI is a serious offense in all states, and it carries severe penalties as well.

Should you get convicted of a DUI, you can expect to deal with consequences such as jail time, driver’s license revocation, and payment of steep fines.

However, there is a chance the judge presiding over your case would allow you to enter into a suspended sentencing arrangement and order you to undergo a DUI treatment program instead.

Whether it’s online DUI treatment or otherwise, such a program is designed not only to educate DUI offenders about the consequences of drunk driving but also help them identify an underlying alcohol problem if it exists and get the necessary treatment for it.

If you’re a first-time offender and you have to go through DUI treatment, here are some of the things you can expect.

You Will Undergo DUI Screening

At your initial DUI screening, you will be asked to answer tests that carry questions aiming to establish a drinking problem, if any.

If your answers to the questions point to the existence of alcohol issues, you can expect to be recommended for an alcohol assessment.

You Will Answer More In-depth Questions During Alcohol Assessment

Alcohol assessment can be similar in the sense that it involves answering more questions.

This time, however, the questions are more probing—even personal.

The questions that you will need to answer during your alcohol assessment will touch on things like your relationships with family and friends, your job, and of course, alcohol use.

Through your answers, the mental health professional conducting your alcohol assessment should be able to identify your triggers for drinking and the severity of your alcohol problem. Your alcohol assessment results will also help accurately determine your treatment needs and how long and intense it should be.

Possible Treatment Recommendations

Depending on your alcohol assessment results, you may be asked to enter alcohol abuse treatment programs.

If your alcohol assessment discovers a co-existing mental disorder along with your alcohol problem, you may have to undergo dual diagnosis treatment to address both issues.

Your results may also call for alcohol detoxification, then inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment later.

You may also be asked to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.

In most cases, attending alcohol abuse education programs or DUI school is also a requirement to help a first-time DUI offender learn how dangerous drunk driving can be and how to avoid drinking and driving in the future.

Why Completing DUI Treatment Is A Must

When a judge orders you to undergo DUI treatment, you are in no position to refuse or avoid it.

Given that it’s a part of your suspended sentencing arrangement or a condition of your probation, refusing or avoiding DUI treatment comes with harsh consequences.

Keep in mind that completing the DUI treatment process is necessary to reinstate your driver’s license. Fail to undergo or finish treatment for DUI, and you won’t find yourself driving legally anytime soon.

Failure to complete DUI treatment is a violation of your probation, something that courts do not look upon kindly. If a judge determines that you did violate the conditions of your probation, don’t be surprised if he or she extends your probation, or worse, make you serve more time in jail and pay much heftier fines.

DUI treatment may not be a walk in the park, but if it gives you the opportunity to reduce or even eliminate your penalties, then it would be in your best interest to take it seriously.

How to Prevent Your Teen From Driving Drunk

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Unfortunately, many teens get access to alcohol at a much earlier age. Let us look at some alarming statistics:

  • A 2017 study revealed almost 61% of teens admitted to binge drinking
  • A research conducted in 2016 showed that 38% of students admitted to binge drinking while in college
  • Teens drink and drive as much as 2.4 million times each month
  • About 10% of teenagers in high school will drink and drive
  • About 85% of teens in high school will binge drink

While courts often mandate an ignition interlock device (IID) for DUI offenders, a growing number of parents embrace interlock installation to ensure their minor loved ones are always sober when behind the wheel.

What is DUI?

Driving under the influence is a legal citation given to someone caught driving under the influence of a mind-altering substance such as alcohol. The ramifications of driving under the influence are grave, and those convicted will face serious legal consequences.

What happens if your teen gets a DUI?

Typically, DUIs are issued when an accident has taken place or during traffic stops. When underage drivers are pulled over, and the police suspect they are driving under the influence,  they will undergo a blood alcohol content (BAC) breath test. If alcohol is detected, they will be taken into custody, and the vehicle will be towed.

Most states have zero-tolerance laws for DUI and will slap hefty penalties on teenagers under 21 years of age who drive with alcohol in their bloodstream. 

What are the legal repercussions of underage DUI?

There are several legal penalties for teens who drive under the influence, including:

  • Probation
  • Fines
  • Loss of driver’s license (mostly for an entire year)
  • Community service
  • Mandatory alcohol education
  • Jail time

What can you do to help ensure your teenagers will not drink and drive?

Set clear rules

A study of over 1,000 teens revealed that those with “hands-on” parents are four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving. At all times, be very clear that they are not allowed to drink any alcohol if they plan to drive. Ensure they are aware that it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive when under the influence.

Layout all the unpleasant consequences of driving drunk, including jail time, losing their license, being denied college acceptance, or worst, being involved in a fatal car crash. Set rules and expectations clearly and be strict without feeling guilty.

Equip your teens to handle peer pressure

Most teenage drinking occurs because of peer pressure. Sit down with your teens and talk about possible scenarios they’ll encounter that will involve alcohol. Give guidance on what they need to do if they were offered a drink at a party. 

Also, remind them to always turn down rides from friends who have been drinking. Reassure your teens they can always call on you if they need a ride.

Set a good example

Ensure you practice what you preach. Don’t drink excessively, especially when your teenage children are around. Refrain from making jokes about drinking as well so they won’t think alcohol use is glamorous or funny. Avoid implying alcohol can solve any of your problems by saying you need a drink after a long day.

Get to know the people they hang out with

It would be a good idea to help your teens establish friendships with those who don’t drink. If you notice they’re hanging out with friends who are known to use alcohol, limit their time together. Also, implement strict rules on how they’ll spend after school time and the people they’ll spend it with.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your teenagers can still end up driving while under the influence. In line with this, make sure you know what the legal consequences are. Better yet, consider interlock installation for your peace of mind.

Ways Drunk Driving Accidents Affect Victims Physically, Psychologically, and Emotionally

Drunk driving has been a huge problem in the United States for decades.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pegs the number of arrests in 2018 for driving under the influence (DUI) at 1,001,329, a staggering figure by any standard.

In the same year, more than 10,500 people died in drunk driving accidents in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

For all the massive resources used for campaigns against drunk driving over the years, far too many people still get behind the wheel and drive.

Some even get arrested multiple times within a certain period that they end up facing aggravated DUI charges in some states.

Sometimes, one can’t help but think that these drivers don’t realize that the accidents they could cause can take a heavy physical, psychological, and emotional toll on everyone involved, including themselves.

The Physical Impact of Drunk Driving Accidents

People who figure in a drunk driving crash rarely come out of it unscathed. Passengers sustaining minor injuries are common, and they would be the more fortunate ones. Others end up with injuries to the more vulnerable parts of their body, including the:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Spine
  • Legs
  • Knees

Depending on the severity of the crash, a passenger, pedestrian, or the drunk driver himself could survive a car accident but end up incapacitated due to injuries to the above-mentioned areas.

The brain is also prone to serious injury in an alcohol-impaired driving-related crash. Many survivors of a drunk driving crash have lost the ability to talk, walk, or even feed themselves because of a traumatic brain injury, depriving them of a normal life.

Limb loss is also a typical consequence of drunk driving accidents. In some particularly horrific alcohol-related crashes, victims end up with severe burns and live with constant pain for a long time.

Alcohol-related Car Crashes and Their Psychological Toll

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a mental health disorder that’s commonly associated with war veterans and those who have gone through a violent experience. Car crash survivors happen to be vulnerable to PTSD, too.

A drunk driving accident survivor with PTSD are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Flashbacks, a vivid reliving of the crash
  • Nightmares
  • Jumpiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Concentration problems
  • Irritability/Quick to anger
  • Emotional numbness
  • Avoiding people, places, and activities that remind them of the accident
  • Survivor’s guilt, questioning why they survived while others did not

The intensity of the above symptoms can vary over time. Sometimes, even the sound of something crashing to the floor can trigger a flashback. Watching a car crash scene in a movie will likely do the same. Being stressed out, in general, can set off more symptoms as well.

The Emotional Effects of a Drunk Driving Crash

Those who live through a car crash are likely to suffer a lot of grief, especially if they lost someone close to them to a drunk driver. 

While some grieve accordingly, others could take it to the extreme and isolate themselves, shunning friends and family.

It’s also common for car crash survivors to feel a lot of anger, even rage.

Such emotions may become even more intense once they find out that a drunk driver caused the accident that killed or badly hurt their friend or loved one. It’s not unheard of for angry car accident survivors to wish for something violent to happen to that alcohol-impaired driver.

As for drunk drivers themselves, let’s not forget that they are also human. Feelings of guilt may already be eating at them since the accident, even more so if someone ended up paralyzed or dying because of it.

The worst part about the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of drunk driving accidents on survivors is that it may take some time for them to recover, if at all.

Then again, anyone who lived through an alcohol-related car crash should never lose hope. With possible compensation from a personal injury claim and unwavering support from their loved ones, recovery should never be too far off for survivors of a drunk driving crash.

What You Need To Know About Thanksgiving DUI

For most people, Thanksgiving is often associated with family gatherings, festivities, and turkey. For law enforcement, however, it is mostly associated with a massive rise in DUI arrests. 

As part of their effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, police have set up DUI checkpoints for Thanksgiving. In most cases, checkpoints are announced beforehand through the town’s police website, local news, or the newspaper.

Legally, the primary purpose of DUI checkpoints is not to catch offenders or hand out DUI penalties. Instead, the checkpoints are implemented to discourage people from driving under the influence.

Often, they cannot pull over people at random. However, they usually set up a neutral system, for instance, every 3rd driver. Once a car is pulled over, the police will observe the motorist and ask questions. 

If the police notice signs of drunk driving, the driver will be asked to step out of the car and subject themselves to a field sobriety test. DUI checkpoints are considered helpful in preventing people from driving under the influence. 

Some statistics indicate that checkpoints have helped prevent one out of ten DUI fatal accidents. 

How to Handle a DUI Checkpoint: Your Easy Guide

  • Stay calm. If you have been stopped, it does not necessarily mean you are suspected of driving under the influence. Remain calm and don’t attempt to do an illegal U-turn just to get out of the checkpoint line. You will only be giving the police a ground to pull you over.
  • Say as little as possible. There is no need for you to impress the officers by providing unsolicited information, even the seemingly innocent ones. They might be used against you later.
  • Be cooperative. The police officer will likely ask for your proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and driver’s license. Be ready to hand them over.
  • You don’t have to consent to a search. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, keep in mind that you are not required to agree. In the same manner, you are also not required to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.   
  • Contact your attorney. If arrested for DUI, you must get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.   

Other Ways You Can Avoid Getting in Trouble This Thanksgiving

  • Never get behind the wheel if you have consumed alcohol. The legal norm in most states is 0.08% BAC.
  • Refrain from driving if you are drowsy, fatigued, or tired. Driving in those states is considered dangerous and can be similar to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Make sure you always wear a seatbelt. It is also crucial that you require all the passengers to do the same. Ensure you don’t start the engine until everyone is buckled in.
  • If drinking is on your Thanksgiving list, ensure you have another means of going home without needing to drive. If not, ensure you have a designated driver.
  • Check your car for issues that will cause authorities to pull you over. In line with this, ensure all the tires, lights, and windscreen wipers are functioning accordingly.
  • Drive carefully and stay away from aggressive drivers. Make sure you also don’t speed up or drive aggressively as well.

Conclusion

Authorities around the country will often dedicate more officers to DUI patrol on Thanksgiving compared to other typical nights. With several officers looking for drunks, your chances of getting pulled over are higher. That being said, ensure you have a designated driver while you go out and have a great time.

What You Need To Know About Court-Mandated DUI Treatment

When a court hands down a sentence against a DUI offender, you can expect it to include fines, suspension of driving privileges, probation, and jail time as sanctions. In some cases, a court may decide to order the DUI offender to undergo DUI treatment as well.

More often than not, court-ordered treatment for DUI intends to give DUI offenders the chance to avoid some of the penalties of their conviction, that is, if they complete the program. It is also designed to determine if the offender has an underlying alcohol abuse problem that needs addressing. More importantly, DUI treatment online, particularly its alcohol education component, also aims to prevent convicted drunk drivers from becoming repeat offenders.

If you’re a convicted drunk driver ordered to undergo mandatory DUI treatment, here are some of the things that will happen.

Initial DUI Screening

DUI screening is the first step toward determining if you have an underlying alcohol problem that may have driven you to drink and drive.

Your initial DUI screening will have you answer questions indicated in the screening tool that will be used on you. Some of the instruments used for DUI screening may include:

  • The CAGE Test—This four-question test, all answerable by a yes or a no, is considered one of the oldest and most commonly used screening instruments for alcohol abuse.
  • The T-ACE Test—Three of the four yes or no questions in this test are from the CAGE test, but this test has a reputation for diagnosing alcohol issues in men and women more accurately.
  • The AUDIT Test—Short for Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, the AUDIT test comprises ten multiple-choice questions. It is reputed to be one of the most accurate alcohol screening tests.
  • The MAST Test—An acronym for Michigan Alcohol Screening Test, the MAST test carries 22 yes or no questions. It’s said to be effective in diagnosing alcohol problems among adults and adolescents.

If the initial drug screening fails to identify an underlying alcohol problem, there won’t be a need to make you undergo treatment, although your state may still require you to complete an online DUI class or an alcohol education course.

However, if the results indicate that an alcohol problem may be present, you can expect to undergo a more extensive alcohol assessment.

What To Expect From An Alcohol Assessment

To be performed by a mental health professional from a state-certified treatment provider, your alcohol assessment will delve deeper into your personal life with more probing questions.

The two forms commonly used for an alcohol assessment are the Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (DIS-IV) and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI).

The DIS-IV form is designed to determine if you have existing mental disorders contributing to an alcohol problem. On the other hand, the ASI is made up of more in-depth questions about your personal life. You can expect to be asked about your family, relationships, career, drug and alcohol use, and other questions that will help them establish the reasons for your drinking.

The treatment provider will use your alcohol assessment results to make a recommendation for an intervention and treatment plan, including its length and intensity.

Expected Alcohol Assessment Outcomes

After your alcohol assessment, the treatment provider will recommend that you to undergo an alcohol abuse treatment program, which may include any of the following:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings
  • Counseling sessions
  • Group meetings
  • Dual diagnosis if a co-existing mental disorder is present
  • Detoxification
  • DUI School
  • Inpatient treatment program
  • Outpatient treatment program

Why You Need To Complete Mandatory DUI Treatment

Completing a court-mandated DUI treatment brings a host of benefits for you. You may be able to avoid jail time and some of the other penalties that come with your conviction. You will also be able to regain your license to drive.

Fail to complete the program, and you will be hauled back to court and be made to serve your sentence in its entirety.

DUI treatment is not a walk in the park for the offender. Still, it offers you a way out, and you would do well to make the most of the opportunity given to you.

What To Do When Falsely Accused Of Domestic Violence

Society and the courts view domestic violence as one of the most serious crimes a person can commit. If accused of domestic violence, it is recommended that you speak with a skilled and experienced criminal attorney immediately.

Regardless if you are guilty or otherwise, even mere domestic violence allegations can have an adverse effect on both your life and future. While millions of individuals are abused by their significant others every year, it is sad to note that some people use false claims of emotional and physical abuse so they can:

  • Win a custody battle
  • Get even with a spouse who wants divorce
  • Get their spouses out of their lives
  • Gain possession of the alleged partner’s property

Domestic Violence in a Nutshell

There is a common misconception that domestic violence refers to physical action against a spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend alone. It also does not follow that the parties involved are involved in a romantic relationship to be guilty of a domestic violence offense. 

Case in point: under California law, domestic violence is defined as “Abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.”

Domestic violence can also extend to those living under the same roof or related by marriage or blood. Domestic violence also includes physical action and threats of physical action, regardless of whether they are carried out or not. Domestic violence can also include:

  • Mental and psychological abuse
  • Stalking
  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexual abuse
  • Destruction of personal property
  • Throwing things toward the victim

Whether charged as a felony or misdemeanor will depend on a few factors like the individual’s age, the allegations, and if there are weapons involved. 

False Domestic Violence Accusations: Here’s What You Should Do

When falsely accused of domestic violence, there are certain things you can do to ensure your freedom is secured and your rights are protected. 

Get lawyer representation

As soon as you are falsely accused of domestic violence, your first course of action should be to seek attorney representation. Your lawyer will prove to the court that you are merely a victim of a malicious plot for revenge.

It is also likely that your spouse or partner is angry because you’ve wronged them by having an affair. It will be up to you and your lawyer to prove that there is no truth to the allegations, and the accuser just wanted revenge.

Ensure that you do not breach any restraining orders against you

Make sure you do not breach the terms and conditions of any restraining order filed against you. The accuser can try to put you in a situation where you breach the restraining order so you’ll face additional legal consequences. 

Play it safe by not meeting the accuser or anyone else named in the order while the case is ongoing. It would also be wise to keep a record of their requests to meet so you can show the court that the other party does not see you as a threat.

Stick to your defense

Stick to the truth and don’t change your story or give a lot of contradicting accounts. If you are innocent, stand by your claims and follow the advice of your lawyer at all times. Also, it would be a good idea to show that you are a good parent. 

In some cases, false accusations can result in the loss of your rights to see your kids. Ask your lawyer what you can do to ensure you do not lose your parental rights.

Keep in mind who is in the wrong.

Remember that you are on the right, and your accuser is the one violating the law. Focus on proving that you are innocent. Once you have established your innocence, the other party will be facing perjury charges. 

Conclusion

When falsely accused of domestic violence, ensure you hire a seasoned and competent lawyer. Stick to your defense, focus on proving your innocence, and allow the legal system to do its job.