Driver in Mardi Gras Crash Charged with DUI, Reckless Driving

A 25-year-old bouncer at a daquiri bar, was allegedly driving drunk when he lost control of his vehicle and slammed into 32 people at one of New Orleans’ biggest Mardi Gras parades. Many people were hurt. Police arrived and the driver registered a BAC of .232, almost three times the legal limit of .08 in that state. The driver faces charges of first-degree vehicular negligence, hit-and-run driving, DUI and reckless driving. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the fields of DUI, and Traffic Ticket Defense. If you have been charged with DUI, Careless Driving, or Reckless Driving, you need a skilled attorney to represent your interests. Call our Denver office today at 303-635-6768 for a Free Consultation.

Cite: Emily Saul, New York Post, 2/26/2017

Link: http://nypost.com/2017/02/26/driver-in-mardi-gras-crash-had-blood-alcohol-level-3-times-legal-limit/

Your driving record may be more important than you think

New information reveals that insurance companies use your driving record to when determining risk. This is not news when it comes to your auto insurance premium, but it does come as a surprise to some that your driving record could be a factor in your Life Insurance and Home Owners Insurance policies. Based on 7.4 million vehicle records from 2006 to 2010 crossed referenced with death records from 2007 to 2010, companies found correlation between a person driving record and likelihood of death. For example, people with serious violations, such as DUI, had a 71% higher death rate than people of the same age with clean driving records or minor violations. In this digital age, your driving record is becoming increasingly important. If you are charged with DUI, Reckless Driving, or any other type of traffic offense, call our office. We can help keep your record clean. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation.

Cite: Barbara Marquand, USA Today, 1/13/2017

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/01/13/your-driving-record-insurance-companies-crystal-ball/96471612/

Law Enforcement Sacks 276 Impaired Drivers During Super Bowl Weekend

The Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol were among 76 law enforcement agencies that joined forces Feb. 5 through Feb. 8 for heightened DUI-enforcement period. Super Bowl weekend enforcement resulted in 276 impaired-driving arrests, an increase from the 234 arrests made in 2015. The Aurora and Colorado Springs police departments as well as the Colorado State Patrol recorded the highest arrest totals. “The Heat is On” is a campaign effort funded by the CDOT Highway Safety Office and runs throughout the year focusing on 12 specific periods for “high visibility for impaired driving.” The 12 periods are centered on holidays and public events. The next such event is scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, which will run for a full week from March 11-18. If you have been arrested for impaired-driving, your privilege to drive and status as a law abiding citizen are in jeopardy. You need a skilled attorney to defend your rights in Court. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in DUI Defense. Our firm has 8 years of experience in DUI and Criminal Defense. Call our office today for a Free Consultation.

Cite: Natalie Munio, The Denver Post, 2/12/2016

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29510443/law-enforcement-sacks-276-impaired-drivers-during-super

Colorado Felony DUI Bill enacted

After a long legislative battle, the Felony DUI bill (HB15-1043) passed.  Colorado just one of five states without a felony DUI law.

 

In the end, the bill that passed was significantly scaled back from the original draft. The new statute will create a class 4 felony AFTER three or more prior convictions for DWAI, DUI, or DUI per se, DUID, vehicular homicide, or vehicular assault, arising out of separate distinct criminal episodes.

 

The bill changes the penalty for aggravated driving with a revoked license from a class 6 felony to a class 1 misdemeanor but requires a sentencing court to ensure that an offender spends a minimum of 60 days in a county jail.

 

In addition, the bill requires that if the court sentences the defendant to the DOC for a felony DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI offense, it must determine that incarceration is the most suitable option given the facts and circumstances of the case, including the defendant’s willingness to participate in treatment. The court shall also consider whether all other reasonable and appropriate sanctions and responses to the violation that are available to the court have been exhausted and do not appear likely to be successful, or if there is an unacceptable risk to public safety.

 

The bill also allows for community corrections residential treatment as a condition of probation for a third alcohol related offense in seven years. It allows for interlock for a multiple DUI offender for at least two, and up to five, years, and also mandates interlock for offenders on parole after conviction of Felony DUI.   

  

As an organization and as individuals, we certainly do not want to minimize the impact or seriousness of impaired driving; however, research does not support the creation of a felony crime for the purpose of decreasing drunk-driving incidents. Rates of drunk-driving are no lower in states that have felony DUI laws and, while prison can “protect” society by keeping someone locked up and unable to cause harm, the prison system does little to rehabilitate the offender or make them less likely to re-offend. In fact, the incarceration time could make an addict more likely to re-offend by destabilizing his or her life in such a powerful way; loss of social connections; loss of employment; and the added stress of being a felon. Evidence supports increased early interventions, including DUI courts, to decrease rates of drunk driving accidents. Unfortunately, these facts did not sway the politicians, who were convinced by public sentiment.

 

234 DUI Arrests in Colorado over Superbowl weekend

CDOT reported 234 DUI arrests between 6 p.m. Jan. 30 and 3 a.m. Monday, which is the official Super Bowl enforcement period. It is one of 12 periods each year during which Colorado law enforcement agencies crack down on DUIs with increased patrols and additional checkpoints. Police officers set up checkpoints and patrol enforcement locations at main intersections and at and around bars in Colorado. The next major enforcement date will probably be St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

Be safe, do not drive buzzed. 

“2 Drunk 2 Care” Tweet Precedes Fatal DUI

A young woman (self proclaimed the Pothead Princess) gave a tearful apology to the two fatality victims’ families yesterday. What makes this case interesting is the use of social media in the prosecutions case. Prior to getting into her vehicle on that fateful evening, Kayla Mendoza allegedly tweeted “2 Drunk 2 Care”. Within a few short minutes of that text, Ms. Mendoza’s vehicles was traveling the wrong way down the highway and collided head-on with another vehicle killing both occupants. Both when I did prosecutorial work and now as a defense attorney I routinely use social media as a tool to gain additional insight into a case. Did the defendant self incriminate online? Or did the alleged victim brag about lying to police or friends? I have seen both defendants and victims incriminate themselves on social media not realizing who has access to that information. The important takeaway- Social media can and may be used against you!

 

Source: NY Daily News Doyle Murphy

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/pothead-princess-apologize-fatal-florida-crash-article-1.2120529

Drunk Nebraska teen crash-lands pickup truck upside down on football field’s 18-yard line

A Nebraska teen drove his pickup truck over an embankment before crash-landing upside down on a local high school football field’s 18-yard line, police said. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the 16-year-old was drunk driving. The teen escaped with minor injuries following the horror smash on South High’s Collins Field stadium in Omaha at 3 a.m. Sunday.

The school was working to clean up the field from the damage caused by the accident, however, a better approach may be to the wreckage of such an accident on or around school grounds as a reminder of seriousness of drunk driving.

http://www.omaha.com/news/crime/teen-arrested-after-car-lands-upside-down-at-south-high/article_cb9955b4-62a7-11e4-81ff-0017a43b2370.html

Heightened Colorado Drunk Driving Enforcement

The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol, along with local police departments across the state, say they will be on heightened alert for drivers under the influence through Monday. Typically Halloween can be just as big as St. Patrick’s Day for DUI arrests in Colorado. Last year’s Halloween enforcement resulted in 427 DUI arrests. The most were reported in the Front Range, specifically Aurora, Denver and Colorado Springs.

Be careful this time of year and use a cab service if you are drinking. Cabs are not cheap, but a Colorado DUI can cost you upwards of $10,000 after court costs, fines, lawyer fees, increased insurance premiums etc.

If you have a Colorado DUI, contact Denver DUI Defense Lawyer Steven J. Pisani at 303.635.6768 for a free consultation.

Denver to enforce drunk biking, DUI laws

We all know the dangers of drunk driving. These dangers are the same for operating any mechanical device while under the influence. However, sometimes people decide to ride their bikes after drinking. While this might seem like a better alternative to driving, it can still result in an accident or a legal headache. Until last month, the Denver Police Department has not been strictly enforcing a law on drunk biking. There can often be accusations of drunk driving or biking that are unfair and lack evidence.

Now, after an arrest of a scooter driver who was hit by a biker, both accused of being drunk, the department says they will more strictly enforce the drunk biking laws that are already in place. Only the man on the scooter in this case was charged with drunk driving. Although charges for drunk biking don’t seem like they could affect a person’s driver’s license, they might lead to consequences regarding a person’s ability to drive a car.

Charges related to drunk biking might cause a person’s reputation to be damaged. Many times these charges turn into new stories because they are more uncommon than charges for drunk driving a car. People who are arrested should understand their rights. No matter what charges a person might be facing, they have rights that should be protected.

Protecting the rights of the accused allows people to receive a fair trial and defend their reputation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help people in Colorado build a rigorous defense against drunk biking charges and other accusations.

Source: CBS Denver, “DPD Changes Gears, Will Now Enforce Drunk Biking Policy,” Nov. 22, 2012

-Our law firm handles Colorado criminal defense cases. To learn more about drunk driving or biking charges, please visit our website.

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