Problems persist with police drunken driving data, auditor says

Updated: 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2017 |  Posted: 4:34 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Highlights

Police routinely changed queries used for drunk driving stats, producing unreliable statistics, auditor says.

Auditor’s report found many of the same issues first identified by 2016 Statesman investigation.

Police data can be essential for police and policymakers to figure out how to enforce laws, protect safety.

The Austin Police Department has changed how it tallies drunken driving wrecks, now using the Texas Department of Transportation’s database, according to a new report by the city auditor’s office.

That change alone increased the average annual number of drunken driving wrecks in Austin by 52 percent — more than 600 collisions — when compared with numbers pulled from the Police Department’s own database, the auditor’s report found.

In the past, the department routinely changed how it crunches drunken driving statistics — key data used to help shape law enforcement decisions made by city and police officials, according to the report.

The American-Statesman spotlighted the Police Department’s statistics problem in May 2016 — during the closing days of the $10 million fight over Austin’s ride-hailing regulations — when the department provided contradictory counts on drunken driving crashes in the city.

A subsequent analysis by the Statesman in August found significant deficiencies in how authorities have analyzed cases of driving while intoxicated — findings echoed in the city auditor’s report released this week.

“APD has routinely changed the techniques used for analysis of DWI data,” the audit report said. “These changes … have resulted in fluctuations in both the overall DWI arrest and crash statistics used for research and/or reported to stakeholders during the scope period October 2013 through March 2017.”

RELATED: Police revise drunken driving crash stats key to Prop 1 campaign

The report also plainly laid out the importance of the data: “These changes affect the accuracy of DWI incident data used by the department for decision-making and the consistency of reporting on DWI incidents.”

The department didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to questions about what — if any — changes it made in how it produces DWI counts, in the wake of the Statesman’s investigation and the auditor’s review.

However, the auditor’s report says the department made a key change the month after the Statesman published its investigation into the department’s DWI statistics.

The drunken driving data became a critical part of a political campaign seeking to overturn Austin’s ride-hailing regulations during the spring of 2016.

At the time, police data showed a 23 percent drop in drunken driving wrecks from 2013 to 2014, when ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft began to officially serve the city — a figure they used to support Proposition 1, which would have repealed City Hall regulations that required drivers be fingerprinted.

But, in the closing days of the campaign, the police provided the Statesman with a second set of figures that showed the drop was just 12 percent.

Uber and Lyft went on to lose by 12 percentage points.

Then, just days after the election, the police sent the Statesman a third set of numbers that showed the drop was 17 percent.

“The data that was given to us in the heat of the battle turned out to be wrong,” said District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool, who requested the review. “To the extent that we can control for some of this, we should be controlling for some of this.”

Pool said she will raise the issue of the Police Department hiring a full-time statistician during upcoming budget talks this summer as one way to reduce such errors in the future.

The Statesman investigation that followed identified key deficiencies in the Police Department’s statistics unit and how it crunches the drunken driving data. Like this year’s audit, the Statesman found that the department failed to standardize the criteria it used to pull and crunch the statistics from its database.

The investigation also found the department’s statistics unit had no formal system for storing these queries or the results they produce, depriving it of a key way to check its work, and that its staff has little formal training in computerized mapping, databases or statistics when they were hired.

“A tip of the hat to (the Statesman),” Pool said, for uncovering the shortcomings.

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/local/problems-persist-with-police-drunken-driving-data-austin-auditor-says/VimprZAYiwVhv45ZqAMB3N/


Arizona DUI Center – Arizona Marijuana DUI

Marijuana DUI cases present a real risk of prosecuting people driving while not impaired. A primary reason is legislation that contradicts what science tell us it true about the drug. However, recently much of the scientific reality about marijuana has made its way to a number of higher courts.  This includes the Arizona Supreme Court.  As a result, the current state of Arizona law provides that prior marijuana use should not, alone, support a DUI conviction.However, while many of the myths about the meaning of a positive marijuana test result have been discarded – the world views of the people that previously prosecuted such cases still remain.  These world views are plainly evident in the way some jurisdictions now prosecute alleged marijuana DUI cases based upon junk science.While no reasonable person would advocate for a person to drive while impaired by a drug, what should be equally concerning is the wrongful prosecution of someone based up an scientific sounding opinion lacking any basis in real science.  After all, the American justice system was founded on the fundamental principle that “it is far worse to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free.” In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 372, 90 S. Ct. 1068, 1077, 25 L. Ed. 2d 368 (1970).There are many legitimate signs and symptoms that a person may be impaired marijuana, but unfortunately investigations often go well beyond actual science.  For example, law enforcement will often testify they a green tongue means a person is impaired by marijuana.  This proposition has no basis in science yet it taught by the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration to officers across the United States.  One court that looked into NHTSA’s green tongue theory found:State has presented nothing, no scientific studies and no case law or other authority, to support the reliability of the trooper’s concern regarding the condition of Hechtle’s tongue. Cf. State v. Wheeler, No. 24397–1–II, 100 Wash.App. 1062, 2000 WL 646511, *2 n. 2, 2000 Wash.App. LEXIS 779, *7 n. 2 (Wash.Ct.App. May 19, 2000) (“Although we assume the officer’s assertion to be true for the purposes of this opinion, we are nevertheless skeptical as to its accuracy. We find no case stating that recent marijuana usage leads to a green tongue.”). State v. Hechtle, 2004 UT App 96, ¶ 13, 89 P.3d 185, 190Even the Arizona Court of Appeals has held the mere “scent of marijuana, standing alone, is insufficient evidence of criminal activity to supply probable cause for a search warrant.” State v. Sisco, 2 CA-CR 2014-0181, 2015 WL 4429575, at *1 (Ariz. Ct. App. July 20, 2015)DEFINING SOME TERMSTHC – also known as “Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol” is the main psychoactive constituent in marijuana.Hydroxy THC – the primary metabolite of THC.Carboxy THC – the metabolite of Hydroxy THC.  Carboxy THC can remain in the body for as many as twenty-eight to thirty days after ingestion. State ex rel. Montgomery v. Harris, 237 Ariz. 98, 346 P.3d 984, 988 (2014). The presence of this metabolite provides no evidence of impairment.Cannabinoids – the active constituents in cannabis.HOW THE DRUG EFFECTS THE HUMAN BODYIt is common knowledge that the higher your alcohol concentration, the more severe your intoxication. However, marijuana does not affect you the same as alcohol. The highest levels of the active part of marijuana (THC) are usually in your blood within about 3 to 10 minutes following inhalation. This does not mean the concentration of the drug will be at its highest level in that time frame. The concentration of THC in a blood sample simply has no correlation with a level of impairment.Marijuana’s maximum influence on your performance usually manifests in 20 to 40 minutes after inhalation, yet this is also during the time period when the your THC levels are rapidly falling. (Sewell et al., 2009).Science has yet to meaningfully quantify how and to what extent marijuana impairs us.  While it is “well established that alcohol consumption increases accident risk, evidence of cannabis’ culpability in on-road driving accidents and injury is far less robust” (Armentano, 2013).In sum, presence of marijuana in your blood is simply not a reliable indicator of psychomotor impairment.Keep reading by clicking here, or you can contact the firm directly by calling (602) 494-3444 for a consultation.

Source: Arizona DUI Center – Arizona Marijuana DUI

State transportation worker suspended after OUI arrest in R.I.

A MassDOT electrician arrested Wednesday for allegedly driving under the influence in Providence has been suspended without pay after he reportedly struck multiple cars in his state-owned vehicle after leaving a North Attleboro job site, according to an official’s account.

Rhode Island State Police arrested the man, identified in e-mails between senior MassDOT officials as Robert Chaves, on suspicion of drunk driving in the vicinity of the Lower South Providence neighborhood.

MassDOT officials were notified of the arrest at around 12:25 p.m. after Chaves was ordered off a job site Wednesday morning when he got into a verbal altercation with a state contractor over that worker’s “method of installation,” according to a written description by a MassDOT official of the sequence of events.

The details of the incident were revealed in a chain of e-mails between MassDOT management inadvertently sent to the News Service as they discussed the latest information available to them and a public response should they get questions from the media.

The Rhode Island State Police confirmed Chaves’s arrest to the News Service early Wednesday evening on charges of operating under the influence, and said the prisoner was still being processed as additional charges were considered. Damage to the vehicles hit by Chaves was minor, according to police, and no one was injured.

Acting Massachusetts Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, District 5 Highway Director Mary-Joe Perry and MassDOT spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard were among the officials on the e-mail chain.

Goddard, when contacted by the News Service, declined to discuss the details of the incident or the identity of the state employee involved.

“MassDOT is aware of this incident of very serious and unacceptable behavior, and has taken immediate steps to suspend the Highway Division employee in question from work without pay until the results of the law enforcement investigation become available,” she said in an official statement.

MassDOT District 5 engineer Bill Travers relayed one version of the morning’s events in an email to other MassDOT management as told to him by Chaves’s supervisor Michael Mulkhern. Based on that account, Chaves was working on a traffic loop installation project in North Attleboro Wednesday morning when he began “yelling and cursing” at one of the contractors.

Mulkhern “de-escalated” the situation and ordered Chaves back to the electrician’s depot in Middleborough.

After the incident was reported to the District 5 office, Mulkhern relayed orders to Chaves that he report to district offices in Taunton, but Chaves showed up again near the job site in North Attleboro before being told a second time to go to Taunton.

Instead of going there, it appears that Chaves drove to Rhode Island and Rhode Island State Police called the District 5 office to report that he had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after striking several vehicles, according to Travers’ e-mail.

According to Travers, the MassDOT vehicle Chaves was driving sustained “minor damage,” but was towed by state police to a lot in Providence because it had run out of gas.

Chaves, according to the e-mails, has been employed as a MassDOT electrician since August 2016.

Source: State transportation worker suspended after OUI arrest in R.I. – The Boston Globe

How Will An Out Of State DUI Affect You?

The legal driving limit is the same in every state with a requirement of 0.08 blood alcohol limit, and that does not apply only to alcohol. Even though anyone driving under the influence is charged with DUI, each state has different charges and rules. Whether you receive a ticket for “driving under the influence” (DUI), “driving while intoxicated” (DWI), or “operating under the influence” (OUI), it’s a serious penalty in any state under any name. You also don’t have to be driving a car or truck; if you’re intoxicated, you’ll receive a DUI whether you’re riding a golf cart, ATV, or even a bicycle.

What Happens When You Are Charged Out Of State?

Most people know the rules and what happens if they receive a DUI in their state. But many don’t know the charges and rules if they’re in a different state. Not only are the charges different in each state, but the punishments vary as well. There are things you need to know and questions you may have if you get a DWI or a DUI if you’re on vacation or a business trip. If you get pulled over and get a DUI ticket when you’re out-of-state, your local police receive that information, and they can also charge you according to the laws of your own state, and you end up with a double punishment.

 

Most states have entered an interstate driver’s license compact that is used to exchange traffic violations that are committed out-of-state and forwarded to the home state. Your home state will charge you as if you committed the offense at home, and apply the laws of your home state to the out-of-state charges.

 

The state where the DUI occurred can punish you under their traffic laws, inflict fine, jail time, revoke your driving privileges, and other punishments, but they cannot take away your out-of-state license. Only the state that issued your driver’s license has the right to take it away.

What Happens If A Police Officer Sees Someone Driving Erratically

A police officer will pull someone over if their driving is erratic or impaired. The officer then conducts a sobriety test, such as a breathalyzer, which measures the blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC, to determine if the driver is under the influence. If the BAC is 0.08 or higher, then the driver may be charged.

There are also other tests that the officer may choose to conduct if they deem it necessary.

Car Insurance Rates May Be Raised As A Result Of A DUI or DWI

If you receive a conviction for drunk driving, your insurance may go up, or they may even drop you. However, if you have a spotless driving record and this is your first offense, you may just get a slight raise in your rate.

You May Lose Your Driver’s License

If you’re charged with a DUI, your driver’s license will most likely be suspended by your home state. The police officer may take your license and give you a temporary one that expires the day of your DMV hearing. At that time, you may get your driver’s license back, or it may be suspended for a determined amount of time depending if you’ve had any prior convictions or your BAC.

 

However, if you refuse to give a breathalyzer, blood test, or any test, your driver’s license will be suspended automatically, even if you’re not convicted of DUI.

You May Have To Attend A Treatment Program To Get Your Driver’s License Back

You may have to go through an educational or treatment program to get your license back. If you refuse to go or don’t complete the program, you won’t get your license back for some time.

You May Lose Your Car

If you have prior drunk driving convictions, your car may get impounded for a determined period.

There are devices, like Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs), which won’t allow the driver to start the car if their BAC is too high.

The DUI or DWI Won’t Go Away

Once you’ve been officially convicted of DUI, it remains on your record for at least 5 years, but it varies in each state. Consequently, it may show up on your background check.

Are DUIs A Misdemeanor Or Felony?

If this is your first DUI offense, it will probably be a misdemeanor. However, if you severely injured or killed someone while under the influence, then it’s a felony. If this wasn’t your first conviction, or your license is suspended, then it’s a felony.

 

There are many things that may occur if you’re pulled over while driving under the influence that could harm your future. So if you’ve been drinking and your mind is impaired do not drive. If you’re intoxicated call a cab, an uber, or a friend because, in the end, it is not worth it even if you think you can ‘get away’ with it out of state.

Author Bio:

 

Evan M. Levow, Esq. is an award-winning New Jersey DWI defense attorney at Levow DWI

Law who has been successfully representing drivers arrested on DWI charges in New Jersey for

decades. In addition to his dedication to representing his clients, Evan is also committed to

giving back by helping educate drivers throughout the country about DUI laws and safe driving practices.

Walks Into a Bar… Dog Day Afternoon

A guy walks into a bar and orders six shooters. The bartender says, “Looks like you are having a bad day.”The guy says, “Am I ever! I woke up late for work. On my way to work, I got in an accident. When I got to work, I was four hours late, so the boss fired me. To top it off, I came home to my wife screwing my best friend.”The bartender says, “What did you say to your wife?”The guy says, “I told her to get out, and I never want to see her again.”The bartender says, “What did you say to your best friend?”The guy says, “BAD DOG!”

Source: Funny Jokes | Walks Into a Bar… Dog Day Afternoon Joke | Comedy Central

Fuel truck driver who OD’d at gas station had previous OVI conviction

A fuel truck driver whom police said overdosed with the motor running outside a gas station has been convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence before, according to records from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.Police discovered Kristopher Phoenix bleeding from the nose and slumped to the floorboard of his truck after an overdose Wednesday morning, Police Chief Rick Jones said. Phoenix’s driver record indicates this wasn’t his first drug- or alcohol-related encounter with law enforcement: He was convicted of OVI in Ottowa County October 20, 2004. His license was suspended for eight months as a result of that arrest and conviction. Phoenix’s driver record also contains three other suspensions for infractions related to non-compliance and improper equipment. Phoenix’s tanker was stopped at a BP station along U.S. Route 50 and state Route 264 Wednesday when a passerby spotted his prone body and told a clerk inside.”It was kind of the perfect scenario of a bad storm, because you’ve got a fuel tanker truck with some sort of flammable liquid throughout the whole thing parked at a BP gas station with a driver who has overdosed on heroin,” Jones said. “You could not ask for a worse scenario.”The chief said he startled Phoenix when he got inside. Phoenix admitted to using heroin, Jones said, but he didn’t need naloxone to be revived. The truck also contained pills.Jones said Phoenix was on the clock; WCPO contacted his employer, but no one was available to talk about his arrest.

Source: Fuel truck driver who OD’d at gas station had previous OVI conviction – WCPO Cincinnati, OH

What Should You Do if One of Your Friends or Relatives is Arrested?

If a call came from a friend or relative asking for help because he had been arrested, would you know what to do? Hiring a criminal defense attorney or arranging for bail is not something most people are accustomed to doing, so understanding the court process and the roles played by criminal defense attorneys and bail bonds agents will help.           Following an arrest, the accused person is booked by the police. Booking involves taking fingerprints and pictures (mug shots), and recording personal information of the arrested person. After completion of the booking process, the arrested person is taken to court.           During the accused person’s court appearance, a judge informs the person of the charges against him. The judge also informs him of his rights, including the right to be represented by an attorney. This initial court appearance ends with the judge deciding whether to release the person from custody and the setting of bail.           The best way to help a person accused of a crime is to contact a criminal defense attorney early in the proceedings. The attorney will represent the accused person’s interests at all stages, including the setting of bail.           Judges have broad discretion in deciding whether to set bail, and the amount.           The purpose of bail is to secure the accused person’s attendance at future court proceedings. The seriousness of the charges filed, and the accused person’s ties to the community are two factors judges use to decide the amount of bail.           An experienced criminal defense attorney is knowledgeable of the laws and appellate court decisions dealing with bail. The defense attorney knows the factors to bring to the attention of the judge to obtain the accused client’s release without bail, or with lower bail than normally would be imposed by the judge.           Once bail is set, the attorney will guide the friends or relatives of the accused person through the process of posting the bail. Retaining the services of a reputable and reliable bail bonds agent will help to speed the accused person’s quick release. A bail bonds agent will post the bail to obtain the person’s release, and becomes responsible for assuring the court that the person will return for all scheduled court appearances. The fee charged by bail bonds agents varies from state to state, and is a percentage of the bail posted.  This bail bonds company website has a more comprehensive bail bonds guide you can download.

Source: What Should You Do if One of Your Friends or Relatives is Arrested? – Chapman Criminal Defense Firm

Suspended Franklin attorney faces decade in prison following third OWI arrest

A suspended Franklin attorney is facing more than a decade in prison after her third arrest for drunk driving.Julia Compton was arrested on December 29, 2016, in Johnson County and charged as a habitual vehicular substance offender.Johnson County prosecutors also filed three other criminal charges against Compton including operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction, a felony, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person.“We have every intention of arguing that she spend some time in prison,” said Johnson County deputy prosecutor Rob Seet.  “We have every intention of proving her guilty.”Mothers Against Drunk Driving is also pushing for Compton to receive a prison sentence.”Based on her history and her convictions of drinking and driving, I am concerned she’s going to hurt herself or somebody else, and I want to keep this community safe,” said Lael Hill, Indiana spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Call 6 Investigates was unable to get video of Compton’s December 2016 arrest because the case is still pending.However, Call 6 Investigates did obtain video of her March 29, 2012 arrest in Fortville.Police pulled over Compton after officers saw her driving on the shoulder.After failing her field sobriety and breath tests, police removed alcohol bottles from her car and struggled to get the handcuffs on her.When they took her back to the Fortville police station, Compton told them she was an attorney.At the time of her arrest, Compton was a licensed attorney in Franklin.“I’m an attorney, please don’t do this,” Compton told the officer. “I will do whatever you want me to do.”A chemical test showed Compton’s blood alcohol at .23, nearly three times the legal limit.“I’m a f****** lawyer, alright?”  said Compton. “I will call the judge, ok?”Just a few months after the March 2012 arrest in Hancock County, Compton was arrested again in June 2012 for drunk driving in Johnson County.Johnson County prosecutors filed seven criminal charges against Compton including OWI with prior OWI within 5 years, OWI with a BAC of .15% or more, driving while suspended with a prior, and resisting law enforcement.Compton’s actions caught the attention of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, the agency that investigates allegations of attorney misconduct.In 2013, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Compton’s law license for six months, citing multiple alcohol related arrests within three and a half months.She also had to serve two years of probation with monitoring from JLAP, the judges and lawyers assistance program.In November 2013, Compton went to work at Marion County’s juvenile court as Best Practices Director where she handled court cases involving abused and neglected children.She resigned in October 2016, and in December 2016, Compton was arrested a third time in Johnson County for drunk driving.She’s facing more than a decade in prison if convicted.It wasn’t until after Call 6 Investigates started asking questions about Compton’s case that her driver’s license was suspended in court on May 30, five months after her third drunk driving arrest.Deputy prosecutor Rob Seet said Compton’s driver’s license suspension should have been automatic because Compton refused to take a test.It’s unclear exactly why the suspension did not happen immediately following Compton’s arrest.“I checked her license as I was kind of getting ready for trial, and I noticed that it was valid,” said Seet. “That’s a problem.”Seet said they moved to impose Compton’s license suspension on the day they noticed, which was on May 19, and the court chose to address the issue at the May 30 hearing.The BMV said they did not receive an order to suspend Compton’s license until June 1.MADD is concerned about Compton driving on the road with other Hoosiers.

Source: CALL 6: Suspended Franklin attorney faces decade in prison following third OWI arrest – TheIndyChannel.com Indianapolis, IN