2017 Florida DUI Lessons: Get Drunk as a Possum?

florida dui possumA Florida possum was recently apprehended doing what we have come to expect from the human residents of the Sunshine State: breaking into a liquor store and getting her drunk on. With reports of Florida DUI dangers rising, it seems that the possum took matters into her own hands by staying off the roads and instead, opting for a safe space in the warm and inviting temple of tequila… indulging in the bed and breakfast of champions.

Just like our human friends, we are not judging the possum for her love of alcohol. Aside from breaking and entering, we can even give her props for doing what every Florida DUI offender has failed to do: staying off the roads when they have been drinking. Possums may not be known for their best judgment as they attempt to cross the road, but they are pretty much 100 percent off the hook for drunk driving. They know that when they have had a drink or two, they may as well just get cozy right where they are, sleep it off, and head home once they are sober enough to do so.

Well, that’s what we would like to think, at least.

Florida DUI stories have always been a fascinating look at the world of drunk driving. Possum proclivities aside, the most recent Florida DUI stories have included the woman who got a DUI on a horse and another DUI on a lawnmower story. We accept that Florida has a reputation for drunken decisions, including those made by golf stars and country music celebrities. In a state where ignition interlock devices are always an option for drunk drivers, we suggest following the example set forth by the possum, not the human headliners.

The moral of the Florida DUI stories… do not drink and drive. Not on a lawnmower, not on a horse. And if you really must drink, play possum and sleep it off before you become a different type of roadkill risk.

How DUI Feel? What to Think About the Alcohol You Drink

how does the alcohol you drink make you feel?

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“Don’t ask her on a straight tequila night,” the country song goes, claiming tequila’s power to incite feelings of heart-wrenching angst over lost love. Plenty of people believe that the type of alcohol you drink has some direct connection to the emotional response we have while under its influence. We were a little excited that with recent headlines, there may have been some science to back up those claims, especially when the way a person feels could determine their motivation for a DUI, too.

Unfortunately, science really just threw back a shot and said the type of alcohol you drink still doesn’t matter.

A recent survey discovered:

  • Liquor encouraged more “positive” emotion in respondents, including feeling more energetic, confident, and sexy.
  • Liquor made people feel physically ill.
  • At the same time, liquor made people feel more aggressive.
  • Red wine helped drinkers feel more relaxed.
  • Some red wine drinkers complained the beverage made them feel more tired.
  • Heavy drinkers seem to report more negative emotions than occasional drinkers, including aggression, but they also felt more energized.

Basically, not a lot of this makes any difference. Alcohol affects people differently based on a wide range of factors. The one effect that seems to be standard is impairment, which is why we have the standard blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing that determines a DUI and is used in ignition interlock technology.

The alcohol you drink does seem to have one indisputable fact: when you drive after drinking you are dangerous. A DUI does not depend on the mood you are in, nor does it require a specific type of alcohol. When you drink, your mood may be affected but so is your ability to drive, whether you are energized by those tequila shots, or ready to hit the sack. Keeping the number of drinks in mind is probably a better use of your time and efforts than cataloging your (perhaps somewhat exaggerated) alcohol-emotional connection.

Happy Holidays, Healthy Choices, and No DUIs

Happy Holidays Mean Healthy Choices and No DUIEach year we are faced with the happy holiday season of celebration and the understanding that there is a New Year ahead. This combination of blowing off steam and preparing to do better can be cleansing, full of promise, and a little unnerving to those who WANT to make changes, but who aren’t ready to do a complete 180 in terms of life choices. For us, Happy Holidays mean balance and making healthy choices, not giving up on all of the good stuff we’ve grown to love over the year or years.

Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas or any other holiday this month, you can make one choice that nobody can argue with: the choice to never drink and drive.

It is rare that a person sets out to drink and drive. That decision is usually one that occurs in the moment, well after a few drinks have been consumed and the intoxicating effects have impaired reason. Healthy choices mean that before we leave for the party, we decide that we will not drink, we will set up a designated driver, or we will have the number of a taxi or rideshare service ready for when the party ends. Those are all choices we can make, healthy choices, that will not only keep the festive feelings flowing, but will frankly just keep us all alive. There aren’t many choices that are that healthy.

This month has the most DUI arrests than any other time of the year, but we can all change that.

We wish all of our readers a wonderful holiday season, where the cups are overflowing with good tidings, good times, and the good sense to find a safe way home after celebrating. You don’t want to begin the New Year with a DUI, ignition interlock requirement, or worse, so make sure your choices reflect the kind of person you want to be.

Happy Holidays from Ignition Interlock Help!

A Texas Aggravated DWI Only Costs Your Freedom

Texas aggravated DWIEvery day in the United States, people drink and drive. This isn’t a rare occurrence and it is the cause of many horrific traffic accidents. Texas is cracking down on drinking and driving by passing stricter laws with harsher sentences for offenders. If you are convicted of a Texas Aggravated DWI, you are convicted of a felony, with its long-reaching consequences that will affect you for the rest of your life.

A DWI charge is elevated to a Texas Aggravated DWI when the DWI was not the only offense you committed. The following offenses will raise your drunk driving charge to a felony:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .15%.
  • Being convicted of a third DUI offense.
  • A minor under the age of 15 was present in your vehicle at the time of the incident.
  • You caused an accident that resulted in serious bodily harm or death.

If any of these circumstances apply to you at the time you are pulled over for a suspected DWI, police can charge you with a felony DWI. This will severely increase your penalties if you are convicted. Texas Aggravated DWI offenders can be sentenced to anywhere from six months up to 20 years in prison. If you caused a fatal accident and were subsequently charged with a felony DWI, you can face up to 15 years in jail and your fines, alone, for a Texas Aggravated DWI can be close $10,000. That doesn’t even include the costs of installing an ignition interlock device, reinstating your driver’s license, and paying your legal fees.

When in Texas, do as the Texans do and don’t drink and drive. The saying “freedom don’t come free” is true and you’ll never realize it more than in the wake of a felony when you realize that losing your freedom also doesn’t come free. You will pay for the rest of your life for that loss.

New Mexico Aggravated DWI: Easy to Get, Hard to Forget

New Mexico Aggravated DWINew Mexico has a serious DWI problem. That is why it has harsher penalties and lower maximum sentencing guidelines than most other states. This can especially be seen in the case of New Mexico aggravated DWI penalties. Generally speaking, aggravated DWI charges are based upon additional crimes that occur during the DWI incident. Some contributing factors to a New Mexico Aggravated DWI are the refusal to submit to a blood or breath test and accidents causing injuries. A high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is on the list, too.

If you are pulled over and found to have a BAC of .16 percent, you will be charged with a New Mexico aggravated DWI. In addition to the 48 hours of mandatory jail time for a first offense DWI, your mandatory minimums will be raised. Aggravating circumstances will cause you to spend much more time in jail: 90 days for a first offense, second or third offense are both up to a year. For a felony, you are looking at 18 months to 3 years in jail, depending on the degree of your felony conviction.

Additionally, the mandatory minimums are as follows for a first-time DWI conviction (no aggravating circumstances):

  • Attend a victim impact panel and DWI school.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse screening; counseling and treatment, if recommended.
  • No consumption or possession of drugs or alcohol.
  • 24 hours of community service.
  • Court and probation costs.
  • One-year ignition interlock requirement.

If you are convicted of a New Mexico Aggravated DWI, you will face harsher penalties in addition to the ones just listed.

A New Mexico Aggravated DWI conviction is a lesson you will not forget. Even making this mistake once carries strict penalties with little chance for leniency. Judges do not look kindly on aggravated DWI offenders and will most likely give you the harshest penalties available, especially when the state is already faced with a high rate of drunk driving problems.

What is Worse Than a Maryland Aggravated DUI?

maryland aggravated DUIDrunk driving is always bad, but laws distinguish between a simple DUI and drunk driving that is much more serious. Maryland aggravated DUI law picks up where the simple penalties leave off: from fines, court costs, and mandatory ignition interlock requirements to incarceration, probation, and other consequences.

Maryland aggravated DUI penalties occur when an offender:

  • Drives under the influence with a child passenger present.
  • Causes injury or death to another as a result of the DUI.
  • Has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 percent or higher.
  • Is a habitual DUI offender.

In many cases a first-offense DUI in which the driver has a BAC of .15 percent or higher results in the most restrictive penalties, even if no injuries or property damage occurs. All DUI offenses have a mandatory interlock requirement, but the requirement can be extended for a longer time due to aggravating circumstances.

If there is a child passenger present at the time of a DUI, even with a low BAC, the driver will face Maryland aggravated DUI charges. On top of that, the driver could also be charged with child endangerment.  Habitual DUI offenders face aggravated charges simply because of their inability or refusal to drive sober, despite previous convictions and consequences.

Things can always be worse until they actually are at their worst. A DUI is nothing to blow off and making a choice to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking puts lives at risk each day. The legal consequences for a Maryland aggravated DUI are nothing in comparison to the real-world reality of causing someone’s death. As frustrating as it can be to find a safe ride home when drinking, the alternative is nothing less than asking for a lifetime of aggravation, regret, and possible loss of freedom.

Will the New Utah BAC Law Keeps Tourists Away?

Utah BAC and the future of tourismWhen the party people think about their next bar crawl destination, they obviously start mapping out a trip to Utah. Across the U.S., Salt Lake City and Park City are THE places to rock a weekend of binge drinking, body shots, and beer bongs. The lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law that passed in Utah this year was a total oversight of the drinking culture that Utah is best known for. That lower BAC limit will do nothing for public safety, except keep away the masses of spring break partygoers.

Okay, maybe not.

Yes, there is a lower Utah BAC limit. No, not one person is surprised or staying away from Utah because they cannot drink and drive as they did before. A lower BAC is not an ignition interlock device – it cannot prevent drunk driving, and it will not stop people from drinking responsibly either.

Utah BAC at-a-glance comparison:

  • Utah’s DUI rate is at .7 percent, in comparison to the national average of 1.9 percent.
  • Iowa drunk driving stands at 3.1 percent, Florida scores 2.1 percent.
  • Utah’s drunk driving rate is at least one-third of salacious headliner state Florida and real-life drunk driving danger domain Iowa.
  • People in Utah may drink less alcohol. Or perhaps they are just smarter about not driving if they have been drinking.

We all know that Utah is unique, BAC or no BAC. Regardless, a lower Utah BAC law is not going to change how tourists see the state because tourists are not visiting Utah to drink and drive.

The cries from the affected industry heads (those who profit from alcohol sales) about fewer tourists seem a little petty, considering how people continue to visit Utah and visit often. Tourism and associated employment rates rose from 2015-2016, and a lower BAC is not likely to affect that trend. Even if it did, the fact that the state is keeping DUI damage to a minimum is likely another attractive aspect to adventures in Utah.

A Florida Aggravated DUI is Life Changing

Florida aggravated DUIDriving under the influence is still a large problem in the United States. Part of the reason is that there is very limited access to things like public transportation outside of larger cities and suburbs, and part of it is just that people are human and make mistakes or deliberately choose to ignore the rules. Ignoring the rules is no excuse, and in many cases, that decision can lead to a DUI or aggravated DUI charge.

A Florida Aggravated DUI will often not just increase the penalties for drunk driving, but the charge could escalate to a felony.

The situations that will result in a misdemeanor Florida aggravated DUI include:

  • A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement of twice the legal limit or more.
  • Property damage.
  • A first DUI with a minor child present.
  • Minor injuries occurring as a result of the DUI.

A felony Florida aggravated DUI results from:

  • A third DUI in a 10-year period
  • A fourth or subsequent DUI no matter the time period
  • Serious injuries occurring as a result of a DUI.
  • DUI manslaughter

Punishments for a felony Florida aggravated DUI include fines, up to five years in prison, five years of probation, lifetime license revocation, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, alcohol treatment program, and more.  Not to mention the effects it will have on your ability to get a job, go to college, rent a home, or even vote.

A felony conviction is for life, and an aggravated DUI means there was a lot of damage done or high risks taken. Before you do something that will change the way you live and take away freedoms you take for granted every day, be sure you can live with the consequences. Be smart, make a plan to get home safely, and save yourself the aggravation of a lifetime of regret.

A California Aggravated DUI Results in Aggravated Penalties

California aggravated DUIMany states have different levels of DUI offenses. These can include zero tolerance laws for those under 21 or a DWI for a person whose BAC is below the legal limit but who is still driving impaired with a BAC of .02% or more. Most states also take into account mitigating and aggravating circumstances when it comes to DUI charges and penalties. In the state of California you can be charged with a California Aggravated DUI under several circumstances.

BAC Above .15%

California state law considers a BAC that is double the legal limit to be a ‘special factor’ and will impose stricter penalties, such as requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device on a first offense.

DUI With a Minor Passenger Present

If a child younger than 14 years of age is present in your vehicle when you receive a California DUI, you will serve a mandatory 48 hours in jail, if not longer.

Refusal to Submit to Testing

If you refuse the breathalyzer test and are convicted of a DUI, you can expect to receive harsher penalties as the judge will assume your BAC was above legal limits and that’s why you refused to be tested.

Reckless Driving or Excessive Speed

If you are driving erratically or at speeds more than 20 MPH over the speed limit on regular roads and 30 MPH on highways, your jail time will be extended by 60 days that must be served concurrently. Even if you’re sentenced to probation otherwise, you will be required to first serve your 60 days of jail time.

Causing an Accident

If you cause an accident that leads to an injury while under the influence, you will be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony level California Aggravated DUI depending on the severity of the accident.

If you are convicted of a California Aggravated DUI, even if it’s your first offense, you can expect your penalties to more closely match those of a 4th offense DUI conviction. You will most likely receive fines, jail time, license suspension, and be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicles.

A Major Breakthrough in Preventing Virginia Underage DUI

Virginia underage DUIIf you are under 21 in Virginia, you know that you can’t buy alcohol. There are only certain circumstances, such as with your parents at home, in which it is legal for you to drink alcohol at all. Despite knowing the laws, underage drinking still happens. But Virginia underage DUI laws are strict, with major consequences. That party you are heading to… is it really worth the risk to your future? Are you willing to face all of the consequences for underage drinking and driving in Virginial?

Virginia underage drivers are responsible for 14 percent of traffic fatalities in the state. Alcohol plays a big role in those big numbers.

If you are caught driving with a .02 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or higher, you will lose your driver’s license for a year, pay a fine up to $1,000, face up to 10 days in jail, and will have to complete 50 hours of community service. If you are convicted of a Virginia underage DUI, in addition to the underage penalties, you will also be sentenced as an adult. Your age will not get you out of the mandatory ignition interlock requirement, and any other drivers or owners will be required to use the device, too.

Pro tip: rideshare services do not ask why you need a ride home, they just drive you there safely.

It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and that is the reason for the strict drunk driving and Virginia underage DUI laws. Fines and community service are nothing in comparison to the reality of what a drunk driver can do to a family. By staying sober behind the wheel, no matter how old you are, you’re ensuring the safety of everyone’s in your path. The consequences you face are too much to pay when you could just as easily find yourself a safe ride home when drinking, regardless of age.