DUI: A Perennial Major Traffic Problem in all US States

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Crimes | 0 comments

For millions of Americans, driving while under the influence of narcotics or alcohol is illegal and totally unacceptable because of the big risk it puts other motorists and pedestrians into. Even long before actually getting to sit behind the wheel of their own car, these drivers, while still children, have already learned that drinking and driving is a very dangerous combination.

Barron H. Lerner, MD, PhD, who practices internal medicine, teaches medical ethics, is a historian and an acclaimed author, is the writer of One for the Road, a book that takes a look at the grassroots of drunk driving in the US. According to him, love of drinking and love of driving of Americans are both implanted in the nation’s culture. This explains why, despite stricter laws, harsher punishments and heavier fines, so many Americans still drive while under the influence.

In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported about 10,322 individuals killed in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol- impaired drivers. Two years prior to this, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested after they were found intoxicated either by alcohol or illegal drugs.

The present blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers in all US states is 0.08%, while for drivers below the age of 21, a No Tolerance policy, which mandates that no traces of alcohol should be found in their blood system while they are driving, is in effect (the leading cause of death among teens is traffic accident, with about a third of it being due to alcohol or drug intoxication). Punishment for violators can mean costly fines, jail term of loss of license.

Though a 0.08% BAC limit is already low, Lerner, while writing his book, endeavored to understand more the meaning of blood alcohol level. To arrive at the same conclusions reached by traffic enforcers, he bought a Breathalyzer and tested his BAC after consuming three shots of vodka (on an empty stomach) within an hour. Though his BAC only read 0.05%, he felt intoxicated and his speech was garbled. He knew that had he hit the road, he would not be able to drive safely, especially in the event of an unexpected road obstacle.

The law considers drunk driving as a grave act of negligence, much more so if someone gets injured or killed. Drivers who will be found intoxicated will be charged with DUI, or driving under the influence, a serious crime in all US states. Depending on the BAC level or if anyone is hurt in the accident, the punishments become heavier and the fines, more expensive; there are also the possibility of the court ordering that an ignition interlock be installed inside the driver’s vehicle and the acquisition of an SR-22.

DUI is a serious matter that no American would want to be charged with. However, one has to understand that by taking the wheel even when intoxicated will remain to be an illegal and totally unacceptable driving behavior.

Read More

Buyers Beware: Receiving Stolen Goods is a Crime in Texas

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Crimes | 3 comments

Did you know that if you bought something that you believe it stolen, you can be held just as criminally liable as the one who stole the item? When an individual knowingly receives stolen property, this is considered theft under the laws of Texas. You don’t have to be the one to directly take the property from the owner to be liable under circumstances when you know or should have known that the property was stolen.

For example, if you are in the automobile buy-and-sell business and someone tries to sell you a car at a ridiculously low price but could not present you with a pink slip (certificate of title), claiming that it had been lost. At that point, you must have known or suspected that the car was stolen. The proper thing to do is to verify whether this is true or not by checking if the car has been reported stolen. Even if there are not alerts on the vehicle, you will still not be covered when the police comes calling because the owner may not have known that the car had been stolen. As a business owner who is aware of the importance of the pink slip, you should not buy the car at all because you won’t be able to sell it without the pink slip and you will have to report the purchase to the county tax assessor within 20 days. Failure to do so is an admission of guilt.

A key element in proving theft via receiving stolen goods is knowledge that the goods had been stolen or “hot.” In the above example, the knowledge is assumed considering the nature of the defendant’s business. In other circumstances, however, it may not be immediately apparent as an Austin criminal defense lawyer will point out.

If you are charged with receiving stolen goods, you need to prove that you had no knowledge that the item was stolen at the time of the purchase. This is not at all easy but it can be done with the right strategy. The item will still be confiscated (presuming ownership can be proven) and you will not get your money back, but at least you will avoid a conviction with the help of competent legal representation.

Read More