October 1, 2012

DOL hearing fees go up once again!

In a surreptitious effort to dissuade individuals from challenging the suspension of their licenses when arrested for DUI in Washington State, the Department of Licensing has once again increased the hearing fee.  As of October 1, 2012, the new fee is $375 nearly doubling the $200 which stood for several years.  The fee increase is just another DOL tactic to discourage individuals from exercising due process and challenging these “hearings” which are, undoubtedly, results driven.   DOL hearing officers are encouraged to sustain suspensions and are even questioned/brow-beaten when they actually dismiss for valid reasons.  The source came straight from a DOL hearing officer, I cannot name due to their possible firing, with whom I regularly conduct hearings.

The DOL formerly charged individuals $100 to request a hearing and would allow the individual 30 days to request the hearing.  The timeframe for requesting a hearing was changed to 20 days and the fee increased to $200 without any discussion or reasoning.  Now the $375 is a blatant attempt to preclude due process!

August 10, 2012

Country “Star” Randy Travis arrested for DUI….naked!

Randy Travis has had a tough year, first he was arrested for Public Intoxication (there is no such charge in Washington State so feel free to get drunk in public, lol, just kidding) in February and now he has apparently been arrested for DWI (DUI is what it is deemed here), both in my home state of Texas.  Here is a snippet from CNN (better luck next year Randy):

 

Travis was driving his black 1998 Pontiac Trans Am, which went off the north side of a highway just west of Tioga, Texas, where he resides, and struck several barricades in a construction zone, said Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Tackett.

Travis was found naked, Tackett said. When the singer was brought to Grayson County jail at 3 a.m., after a hospital visit, he still didn’t have clothes, Sgt. Rickey Wheeler said.

“He was given a paper suit, which is a jail uniform made out of paper,” Wheeler told CNN.

Travis was charged with driving while intoxicated and felony retaliation, after allegedly threatening to fatally shoot highway patrol troopers who responded to a concerned caller who notified authorities of “a man lying in the roadway” Tuesday. The incident happened just six months after he pleaded no contest to public intoxication in another case.

July 10, 2012

Cat Cora DUI…

Celebrity chef Cat Cora was cited for driving under the influence after a minor traffic incident in her hometown of Santa Barbara, Calif., local authorities confirmed to TODAY.com.

She is scheduled to be arraigned on July 26, and is being charged with one count of DUI and one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher, Santa Barbara Sergeant Riley Harwood told TODAY.com.

Cora, 45, is best known for her role as an Iron Chef on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and as the co-host of Bravo’s “Around the World in 80 Plates.” Cora is raising four children with her longtime partner, Jennifer Cora.

On June 17, while returning from the Cold Spring Tavern in Santa Barbara after what she told police was an argument with her partner, she rear-ended another vehicle at 6:15 p.m. at a low speed in her 2007 Chevy Tahoe, Harwood said. No one suffered any injuries, but the female driver of the 2001 BMW 325i told officers who came to the scene that she believed Cora was intoxicated. Cora told police she had consumed three bottles of beer at the tavern.

Cora’s blood-alcohol level was determined to be .20 and .19 from two breath samples taken at the scene, according to the report. Cora also had a blood sample taken at Goleta Valley Hospital shortly afterward that measured her BAC at .19, more than twice the legal limit.

Cora was cited for DUI and taken to the Sobering Center in Santa Barbara, where non-violent, cooperative people are sent until they sober up and are released. She has no prior DUI citations in Santa Barbara.

June 14, 2012

134 mph hour in 50 mph zone DUI arrest!

BILLINGS, Mont. — A Montana man faces a felony charge of driving under the  influence after authorities say a state trooper clocked him driving 134 mph in a  50 mph zone.

The Billings Gazette reports 32-year-old Shaun Kachina Bell of  Billings made an initial appearance in Justice Court Monday on the DUI charge,  along with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor counts of speeding and  driving without a license or proof of insurance.

His bail was set at $15,000.

Prosecutors allege Bell was speeding in a Dodge Magnum late Sunday on  Highway 312 outside Billings. Trooper Kyle Hayter followed him into city limits  and pulled him over. The trooper said there was a man passed out in the  passenger seat.

Court records say Bell has three previous DUI convictions.

June 14, 2012

14!!! DUIs…WOW

BOISE — There has been strong reaction to a story about a Boise man convicted of his 14th DUI. Many are asking, “How is it that someone with 14 DUIs is still behind the wheel?”

After two hours of deliberation on Tuesday, an Ada County jury found 55-year-old Terry Ash guilty of his 14th DUI.

Shelly Armstrong, the Ada County prosecutor handling the case, explained to us his history.

She said Ash’s first DUI came 36 years ago in 1976.  By 1993, he had eight DUIs.  Each one of those were misdemeanors.

It was around that time, the mid 1990s, when DUI laws were changing.

In 1995, Ash received his first felony DUI.  Armstrong says he was sent to a boot camp for DUI offenders.

In 1996, he got two more DUIs, one in Ada County and another one in Canyon County. The judge in Ada County sentenced Ash to five years in prison. He was eligible for parole after two years.

Canyon County sentenced him to five years in prison. He was eligible for parole after two and a half years. He served those terms concurrently for a total of two and a half years in prison. His probation for those DUIs ended in 2001.

In 2002, he got his 12th DUI, landing Ash in prison for another three years.

In 2005, Ash received his 13th DUI conviction, and spent five years in prison.

Ash’s 14th DUI happened on Sept. 4, 2011, when police arrested him for crashing his car near Kuna.  Four hours after the crash, officers recorded his blood alcohol content at 0.13.

In all, Ash served roughly ten and a half years in prison for his last five DUIs.

Ash’s attorney, Brian Boyle, says he is considering appeal options, but couldn’t go into more details because of the appeal process.

We contacted prosecutors and attorneys, but no one would go on camera to explain how someone can get 14 DUIs.

Ash is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 22.  Because of a repeat offender enhancement on the DUI charge, Ash faces up to life in prison for his latest DUI conviction.

May 25, 2012

Jenna Jameson and Matthew Fox among new Hollywood icons with DUI arrests…

Matthew was arrested in Oregon following an alleged drunken trip down a highway and Jenna was arrested following an alleged accident.  She hit a pole and failed field sobriety tests.  Don’t these guys have enough money to hire a private car when going out drinking?

May 14, 2012

Matthew Fox arrested for DUI…

Matthew Fox can’t outfox the law.

The Lost star has been dinged with a DUI charge stemming from a boozy bust last week after being pulled over for a traffic violation in Bend, Ore., E! News has confirmed

Per the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office, Fox was officially rung up yesterday on counts of driving under the influence of intoxicants and failure to carry or present a license, both misdemeanors.

The 45-year-old actor was pulled over on May 4 shortly after 2 a.m. after failing to drive within his lane and failing to use the appropriate signal. He was subsequently taken into custody after the officer determined that he was intoxicated.

He’s set to be arraigned on June 7.

March 30, 2012

Whidbey Island DUI Driver to be sentenced…

COUPEVILLE, Wash. — An Island County court judge will sentence an 18-year-old girl for a drunk driving crash that killed three of her friends last year. Kaylea Souza, 18, was charged with vehicular homicide after the November 12, 2011 crash that killed Rob Knight, Marcel “Mick” Porter and Charles “Mack” Porter on Whidbey Island. She pleaded guilty. The sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 Friday in Coupeville. Souza admitted she had been drinking the night of the crash. She passed another car in her 2003 four-door Chevrolet, lost control and slammed into a tree, causing the car to burst into flames. One witness was able to pull Souza from the burning wreckage, but the flames were too intense to get the other three. The victims were burned beyond recognition. According to probable cause documents, Souza told Langley Police that she had consumed a 40-ounce “Micky’s” and some “Olde English.” Souza also said, “I wasn’t that drunk,” and later yelled out, “I can’t believe they let me drive,” documents say.

March 12, 2012

Washington DUI Laws expanded…

SEATTLE — While legislators in Olympia haggled over ways to close the budget shortfall, they agreed on at least one thing, unanimously passing a bill cracking down on people driving under the influence.

“You can’t always stop people from being, becoming impaired, but this is a way to stop them from getting behind the wheel and driving,” said Amy Freedheim of the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

The legislation expanded DUI laws to include huffing, the act of inhaling chemicals to get high. It would also make it tougher to fool an ignition Breathalyzer.

The new law could force offenders to pay for cameras that prove they’re the ones taking the test instead of a sober friend or family member.

“The fixes the Legislature is doing strengthen our impaired driving laws, making our streets safer,” Freedheim said.

Advocates for stronger DUI laws applaud the bill.

Fifteen-year-old Kelsey Parret was killed in 2010 while walking on the shoulder of a road in Pierce County. Court documents say the driver appeared drunk. The suspect pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, and was sentenced to four years in prison.

“Your child is taken away forever, and he’ll go to jail for two years. Doesn’t seem fair,” said Amy Glassburn, the victim’s mother.

Parents and legislators hope these new laws will give him and other offenders pause before possibly re-offending.

“I’m glad that they’re working on it, and that they’re working so hard,” said Glassburn.

Kelsey’s parents think tougher sentencing guidelines are the next step to prevent DUIs, but say this new bill is driving home the point:  drunk driving won’t be taken lightly.

The new legislation has been delivered to the governor’s office. The bill’s supporters say she is expected to sign it.

February 28, 2012

Hines Ward DUI Plea Deal…..

A Georgia judge ordered the National Football League star to serve 12 months of probation and perform 80 hours of community service, said Emily Gest, spokeswoman for the DeKalb County solicitor-general.

Ward, a 35-year-old, two-time Super Bowl champion, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol in the early morning hours of July 9. In a statement released at the time, he denied being impaired.

Prosecutors dropped the drunken driving charge in exchange for Ward’s plea, Gest said. He also pleaded no contest to a charge of failing to maintain his lane, commonly known as swerving, according to a statement by the solicitor.

Ward was fined $2,000. He will have to undergo an evaluation for alcohol abuse and will be required to undergo any treatment recommended, the statement said.

He will be allowed to check in with his probation officer by phone or email, which is standard practice for defendants who live out of state.

Ward, a Georgia native, was drafted in 1998. He has been selected for the Pro Bowl four times and is a former Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. Ward is the all-time leader in career catches for the Steelers.

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