No Drink, No Drive: Illinois Open Container Guidelines

Illinois open containerOpen container laws prevent people from doing the unthinkable: drinking while driving. Each state has its own guidelines for open container regulations, but it is the TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century) that outlines the federal government’s open container guidelines with six standards that states should adopt if they want to receive federal funding for their roadways. Illinois open container laws follow the strictest guidelines, in accordance with TEA-21.

Illinois open container laws state that no open containers of alcohol are allowed in vehicles where the driver could have easy access. That includes the passenger area and glove compartment. The state also restricts passengers in a vehicle from drinking alcohol, too. That helps eliminate any temptation of the driver to maybe sneak a sip or two while behind the wheel and other dangerous scenarios.

The open container guidelines set forth by TEA-21 state:

  • officers can stop drivers for not following open container laws.
  • open containers of alcohol and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle are not allowed.
  • the prohibition applies to all varieties of alcoholic beverages.
  • the prohibition applies to all drivers and passengers in the motor vehicle.
  • the prohibition applies while vehicles are on any part of a public highway.
  • the passenger area is any area that seats drivers and passengers or is accessible to either, including the glove compartment.

Illinois is one of the majority of states that is in full compliance with TEA-21 guidelines, as well as the recommendation for other drunk driving prevention measures, like its all-offender ignition interlock requirement.  It may seem counterintuitive for anyone to attempt to drink and drive, and especially to drink while drive, but both scenarios still play out each day on our roads. With safety a top priority, both Illinois, and the federal government are looking out for everyone’s best interests and safety by eliminating open containers of alcohol and insisting on even more ways to curb drunk driving.

Cutting the Costs of a Missouri DWI

Cost of Missouri DWIThe costs of a Missouri drunk driving conviction (Missouri DWI) are high. On average, across the U.S., a first-offense, simple (no injury, death or property damage) DWI is expected to cost around $10,000. A Missouri DWI, however, can end up costing you a lot more than what’s average, especially when lost wages and other troubles are taken into consideration.

Administrative penalties for a Missouri DWI include license suspensions and fees to have a license reinstated. If you refuse the breathalyzer at the time of your arrest, that tacks on additional fees and consequences. You’ll also have higher insurance rates and an ignition interlock requirement. There are also costs associated with the Missouri Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) that will need to be paid as part of your court-ordered Missouri DWI consequences.

Fortunately, ignition interlock devices actually decrease the financial impact of a Missouri DWI.

An ignition interlock device allows you the freedom to continue driving as if you didn’t get into DWI trouble. In exchange, all you need to do is provide a breath sample to prove you are sober while driving. You no longer have to worry about how you’ll get to work or to important appointments and others on the roads don’t have to worry about whether you are sober while driving. Once you have met the requirements for your interlock restriction, the device is removed and you are able to move on with your life.

One of the best ways to help those who have gotten a Missouri DWI and are facing the high cost of those actions is to facilitate the independence needed to get back on steady ground. Reliable, safe and personally-owned transportation is a part of that, which is why an ignition interlock device actually reduces the overall financial impact of a Missouri DWI.

DWI Distance: Texas Dry Counties and Towns

Texas dry countiesThe Prohibition Era may be over but there are still several counties and towns in Texas that have laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol. We refer to these alcohol deserts as Texas dry counties, or sometimes moist counties, if they allow some alcohol sales with tough restrictions. There is an understandable amount of confusion and controversy over these laws and how they can affect drunk driving.

Texas dry counties and towns do not allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in any form, even in restaurants or other dining establishments. In 2012, there were more than 200 dry counties reported in the U.S., 7 of which are Texas dry counties with 194 other counties categorized as “moist.”. Those restrictions include the inability to purchase alcohol on certain days or restricted hours on Sundays. Some limits are based on the type of alcoholic beverage – wine vs. liquor, for example.

Texas dry counties don’t eliminate the danger of drinking and driving. If an area not allow alcohol sales, a person still has the ability to drive to a “wet” area and consume alcohol. The distance involved in driving back from a wet area can increase the chances of a drunk driving incident, DWI, injury or fatality. For the record, a DWI in any county in Texas could result in an ignition interlock requirement.

Restricting the sale of alcohol does serve to reduce the rates of drinking and driving on a local level, but it can also attribute to long-distance drunk driving. Those who wish to drink alcohol will find a way to purchase and consume their favorite drink, even if it means risking driving while intoxicated on the trip home.

What Happens at Different Blood Alcohol Levels?

high BAC hardcoreBlood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the measure used to define how much alcohol is in a person’s blood. It is also used for legal purposes in a DUI or drunk driving case.  The more alcohol consumed, the higher the BAC level, because the body processes alcohol at a consistent rate, and drinking tends to outpace alcohol metabolism. When one drinks more than the body can process, alcohol levels rise and cause intoxication, leading to the possibility of driving drunk and DUI consequences.

BAC Levels and the effects:

.02 percent BAC: The body gets warm and somewhat relaxed, and judgment is altered slightly. Visual functions decline, as does the ability to multi-task.

.05 percent BAC: Inhibitions are lowered, as well as coordination and alertness. The eyes may be slower to focus or track objects, and reaction times are delayed.

.08 percent BAC: As the legal limit that defines intoxication, this BAC level shows significant problems with coordination. Speech, motor control, hearing, and vision are all affected, and reaction time significantly declines. This level of intoxication creates a true danger on the road.

.10 percent BAC: Speech is slurred, and, the ability to think or move appropriately has deteriorated. As this level is above the legal limit, there is a stronger danger involved and even less ability to make correct judgment calls.

.15 percent BAC: Considered a hardcore, high BAC level in many states in legal, DUI terms. Once a person reaches this level, they may already be vomiting, as well as exhibiting a true difficulty walking or even sitting.

.25 percent BAC and above: loss of consciousness, “alcohol poisoning,” and death are possible consequences to this level.

When drinking, keep in mind that the more one drinks, the less a person is able to judge one’s own level of intoxication. Understanding the effects of drinking on the body and mind. Then set a limit before drinking, and to stick with it, or plan for a safe ride home with a designated driver or taxi.

Weird Things DUI: Drinking Beer from a Straw

drinking beer from a strawGetting drunk or getting wasted, is one of those hobbies people seem to swear by, and eventually swear off. Weekend warriors, binge drinkers, mom’s night out – all of these have one thing in common: getting completely intoxicated as quickly as possible. There are plenty of methods people use to achieve that goal, many of which land a person in the emergency room, jail or in a state of disbelief. For instance, drinking beer from a straw, or as we like to call it, the personal DUI vacuum.

Actually, drinking beer from a straw is a lie, if you’re trying to get super wasted this weekend. There are theories about why it is supposed to work like we can somehow drink more alcohol at a faster pace through a plastic tube. That’s not true. Some say it is the actual vacuum effect that eliminates oxygen in the process of drinking… but we get a little lost there. Then there’s the idea that you can inhale residual alcohol vapors easier through a straw. However, the only part of drinking beer with a straw that will get you more intoxicated is probably the effect of the bubbles in the brew. That’s all.

In these moments of beer-drinking wonder, nobody points out that you can drink a cocktail with or without a straw and still maintain the same level of intoxication.

Remember that plans to get drunk or wasted can quickly end up in an unplanned DUI and possible ignition interlock requirement. People may do a lot of weird things in the quest for a little relaxation after a long day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the dangers of drunk driving while sipping through a straw. Each year, over 14,000 people are killed by drunk drivers on our roads, and that doesn’t include victims that are injured for life or any property damage. Considering the dangers of too much alcohol, whether a DUI, alcohol poisoning or other related crimes, searching for a better, faster way to get wasted is a vacuum of common sense.

Just Go Home: West Virginia Hardcore DUI Drivers

West Virginia hardcore DUI

“Go big or go home” should never be part of any drunk driving incident, but between binge drinking and people not understanding blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits, hardcore DUI is a reality in our world. West Virginia hardcore DUI offenders are expected to have a much tougher time moving past their drunk driving conviction, and considering the statistical danger of high, hardcore DUI drivers, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned.

A West Virginia hardcore DUI driver is defined as:

  • Having a high BAC at the time of arrest, and/or;
  • Having multiple DUI offenses within the 10-year lookback period.

Those don’t necessarily apply to all offenders, but they are considered red flags for the West Virginia hardcore DUI designation. The final piece of the puzzle is how resistant to rehabilitation the offenders are. If a person with multiple DUIs is willing to accept treatment for a possible alcohol dependence, they may not end up with the hardcore DUI designation.

For those who are designated as hardcore DUI drivers, the regular legal consequences will apply. On top of those, offenders will be assessed for alcohol treatment and be placed in a program as indicated by the test. There will be more strict ignition interlock requirements, possible incarceration for any violations of the program and home monitoring of alcohol use could be a measurement, too.

If your plans include binge drinking or any type of drinking at all, you may want to add a safe ride home into that plan. West Virginia hardcore DUI drivers are given an even more comprehensive road to recovery than any other drunk drivers. Considering that even a “simple” DUI in the state results in court costs, fines, an ignition interlock requirement and more, the investment you’ll be forced to make after a DUI is a lot more hardcore than you may realize. Go big or go home, but be safe about it, and stay out of drunk driving danger.

Tampering With a Mississippi Ignition Interlock Means Trouble

Mississippi ignition interlock tamperingAfter a Mississippi DUI, you will have an ignition interlock requirement. You may not see how the device is a powerful tool to help get your life back together, but it definitely allows you to retain much of your freedom and independence. For some, there is still lingering frustration with the requirement, or even just the process of using a Mississippi ignition interlock device. That frustration may lead to trying to tamper with the device or circumvent the process, a road that is just going to increase the overall frustration felt with an interlock.

A Mississippi ignition interlock device stores data that you may not even consider. Primarily, interlock devices measure and store information about your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). They also record information about how many times you tried to start your car, or attempted to start your car. How long you drove each time, the mileage and any information from your rolling retests. Attempts to tamper with the device are also recorded, and all of that data is sent to MASEP and/or the court.

If you are found guilty of tampering with the device or trying to circumvent the device will face the following penalties:

(ii) A violation of this paragraph (e) is a misdemeanor and upon conviction the violator shall be fined an amount not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($ 250.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) or imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both.

The cost of a DUI is more than a Mississippi ignition interlock and some court costs and fines. Life changes after a DUI, and it can be a difficult road to recovery. As long as you use your interlock as instructed and pledge to only drive if you are sober, you have the best tools in your back pocket to move past your conviction and back into your best life ever.

What About a Missouri DWI Plea Bargain?

Missouri DWI plea bargain ignition interlockA Missouri DWI implies many different things to various individuals, especially when there are so many different types of DWI convictions. For instance, you could go straight through the procedure without a problem, confront your legal punishments and turn out fine after a few huge lessons have been learned. You have the option to battle the charges in court, through the Missouri Department of Revenue or both. Much of that depends on the specifics of your case, like your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the number of previous convictions. Once in a while, you can even have a plea bargain set up for the legal hearing that reduces your wrongdoing to a non-criminal offense.

In any case, all Missouri DWI incidents will still require SATOP, the Missouri Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program.

As a rule, a “simple” first-offense Missouri DWI can be reduced by the court, or with a plea bargain (please consult a lawyer). The way to that is the SATOP program and an ignition interlock device, as you need to finish the program to have your license reinstated by the Missouri Department of Revenue. Additionally, SATOP gives the education and support for the individuals who may have a problem with or a dependence on alcohol. The ignition interlock monitoring satisfies the legal requirements handed down by the court and state laws.

SATOP and similar, comprehensive programs across the U.S. have notable reputations for allowing independence and accountability while at the same time helping Missouri DWI offenders get their lives back on track. Ordinarily, a DWI boils down to terrible judgment; as few individuals really plan to drive while intoxicated. SATOP gives offenders the chance to see where their decision-making wasn’t the best, gives them devices, a motivating force and the understanding needed to make better decisions later on, and forever. For anybody confronting a DWI, even with a potential plea bargain in progress, having a program that supports a solid association with liquor is the best anticipation of further episodes.

No More SUI – Shopping Under the Influence

SUI shopping under the influenceHow did you end up with three matching kayaks and a box of ping pong balls? Perhaps your determination to stay home and drink safely resulted in a new, less dangerous, but still just as expensive habit: SUI. SUI or shopping under the influence (of alcohol) is rapidly becoming a problem, at least for those who must foot the bill for their intoxicated spending sprees. Where do people turn to when trying to battle their “UI” demons? Breathalyzer technology, that’s where.

Breathalyzer technology is generally thought of only in terms of drinking and driving. Law enforcement uses it for testing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when ascertaining whether a suspect is legally intoxicated or not. That same technology is used in ignition interlock devices to prevent DUI offenders from making another intoxicated mistake. That has led to pocket breathalyzers and smartphone breathalyzers that have seemingly evolved into a way to make sure we don’t SUI.

The app works just like a breathalyzer or ignition interlock device. Blow into the mouthpiece and your BAC is calculated. If the BAC measures at or above a certain level, then you are not allowed to spend your hard-earned money on things you wouldn’t buy if you were sober.

Just one final point. As long as people are home while drinking, they’re not on the roads trying to drive. It probably isn’t too likely that they’re spending more than the cost of a DUI (upwards of $10,000) and what’s the harm of shopping on a drunken whim, anyway? The advances in breathalyzer technology are creating all types of situations where people are aware of the effects of alcohol on their decision making, which may lead to better judgment before they head out for a night of drinks with friends. These little gadgets that are preventing alcohol-infused decisions are slowly taking over the world, teaching lessons too many people used to ignore.

Burritos and Your Florida BAC

If you’re a Taco Tuesday kind of person, you’re probably going to get this little DUI snack on many levels. Not too long ago, a woman was pulled over by Florida law enforcement under the suspicion of driving under the influence. It’s easy to think she may have been under the influence of the burrito she then handed the police, but it turns out she was just twice over the Florida BAC (blood alcohol concentration) limit.

She handed the police her burrito.

It was a nice gesture, one we can all appreciate. Burritos are big deals and shareable size. When your Florida BAC reaches a certain level, perhaps you just want to share the love even more. We cannot say for certain that was the motivation. We can say, however, that certain Florida BAC limits will trigger different consequences once you are convicted of a Florida DUI. For instance:

  • .02 percent BAC: legal limit for underage DUI charges.
  • .04 percent BAC: legal limit for CDL (commercial driver’s license holders) DUI charges.
  • .08 percent BAC: legal limit for regular DUI.
  • .15 percent BAC: legal limit for high-BAC DUI, with an automatic ignition interlock penalty.

Even if your BAC isn’t at .08 percent, you could still have an interlock penalty. Florida also requires interlocks for multiple DUI offenses.

Mexican food is a go-to for the drinking crowd, but don’t let it lure you into a false sense of security. When you need to run to the border, make sure you’re sober while doing so or that someone else is behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. The last thing you want is a DUI and an accidental burrito handoff, rather than a full tummy and the satisfaction of being at home, at last, to sleep off your margaritas and tequila shots in your own warm, cozy bed.