The Atlanta DUI News Blog

May 2011 Archives

DUI Charges Dropped For Atlanta Braves' Derek Lowe

Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe was arrested on suspicion of DUI last month after a state trooper said that he smelled alcohol on Lowe’s breath and noticed signs of impairment. Yet Lowe declined to take a breath test on the night of his arrest, so we’ll never know , legally, whether or not he was drunk behind the wheel.

Perhaps Lowe made a good decision when refusing a breath test, as MSNBC reports that prosecutors have dropped the DUI charges and reckless driving charges against him due to lack of evidence. A defense attorney representing Lowe denied the allegations that his client was racing another driver at the time of his arrest and stated that Lowe did “remarkably well” on the field sobriety tests that were administered by officers.

Deputy Charles Harwell Arrested For Prescription Drug DUI

Law enforcers in the state of Georgia are supposed to enforce DUI crimes, not endanger others on the road by driving under the influence. Perhaps Lincoln County sheriff's deputy Charles Harwell needs to read over the rulebook once again when it comes to state DUI laws.

Deputy Harwell was spotted early Saturday morning driving erratically on Bobby Jones Expressway, reports The Augusta Chronicle. Richmond County dispatch received the report of erratic driving and eventually found Harwell parked in a patrol car on the shoulder of the highway near Deans Bridge Road. Authorities then took Harwell to Medical College of Georgia Hospital to administer a blood test.

Clayton County Officers Arrest 23 DUI Suspects During Crackdown

Local law enforcement agencies are taking on more initiatives to crack down on the dangerous crime of drunk driving. Some of the most common methods of DUI enforcement include the use of DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.

DUI Checkpoints consist of law enforcers setting up roadblocks at a designated location, where motorists are randomly selected for screening. Saturation patrols, on the other hand, consist of a large number of officers enforcing DUI crimes in a small, concentrated area. With saturation patrols, officers will pull over drivers who are driving erratically or disobeying traffic laws.

Not only can binge drinking lead to more incidents of drunk driving and pose as a threat to road safety, but the Boston Globe reports that a new study has revealed that binge drinking by college students can also cause memory defects. Perhaps there's now a new reason to avoid excessive drinking as a young person.

The Spanish study found that binge drinking by college students can cause a slightly lowered ability to remember lists of words when they're sober compared to those students who do not binge drink. Binge drinking is defined as five or more servings of alcohol in a day for a man or four or more servings of alcohol in a day for women. This amount of alcohol can cause significant impairment and can obviously affect a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Repeat DUI offenders in the state of Georgia will face enhanced penalties for a subsequent DUI conviction, including higher fines, a longer jail sentence, and a longer period of license suspension. However, there are also other legal penalties for repeat DUI offenses that many are unaware of. For example, second and subsequent DUI offenses within five years can lead to the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in a vehicle.

Ignition interlock devices are instruments designed to prevent a person from operating a vehicle when alcohol can be detected on the driver’s breath. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, the state ignition interlock requirement applies to all repeat DUI offenders unless the court exempts a person due to financial hardship. The ignition interlock devices are required for any vehicle that is operated by the offender for a period of six months.

Increasing Number of Pro Baseball Players Facing DUI Charges

We're not very far into this year's major-league baseball season and there have already been six athletes in the league who have been arrested on suspicion of DUI. What does this mean for the future of baseball and should MLB add provisions regarding alcohol-related offenses to their rulebook?

These are some issues that MLB and the Players' Union are currently discussing. SI.com reports that Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was arrested earlier this month after failing a field sobriety test in Ohio, making him the latest pro baseball player to go through the legal trouble associated with DUI charges.

Police Investigate Fatal Crash in Marietta

Alcohol-related crashes can be deadly. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Sergio Mendoza Leon, of Marietta, was driving northbound on Wallace Road when he lost control of his 1998 Dodge Caravan earlier this week. This caused Leon to swerve off the roadway and hit a utility pole. Not only did the driver die after being ejected from his vehicle, but Marietta police say that the crash caused structural damage and a gas leak.

Investigators believe that speed and alcohol were factors that caused Leon to drive off of the road in Marietta. Two of the driver’s passengers, 35-year-old Jazmin Martinez and 20-year-old Eduardo Reyes, sustained minor injuries from the crash on Tuesday. No criminal charges are expected to be filed in this case since the DUI suspect is no longer alive.

It may soon become more difficult to get away with drunk driving crimes in the city of Atlanta. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the city's police chief George Turner has asked the city's finance committee to increase the Atlanta Police Department's budget for the 2012 fiscal year. With more money for APD, more police officers would be hired to enforce various crimes, including DUI.

Turner has specifically asked to increase APD's budget to $203 million, which would be a significant increase from the $192 million budget for this year. Most of the budget increase would reportedly go toward hiring new officers. Turner and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have the goal of expanding the police force to 2,300 sworn officers.

Zachary Campbell-Hovland Sentenced for Fatal DUI Accident

The 21-year-old driver who killed Sondra Lynn Reece in a drunk driving accident on Highway 16 last September will now have to spend a significant amount of time behind bars. According to The Times-Herald, the driver, Zachary Campbell-Hovland, pleaded guilty last week in Coweta Superior Court to charges of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, serious injury by motor vehicle, driving under the influence, and reckless driving.

Superior Court Judge Jack Kirby sentenced Campbell-Hovland to 15 years (8 in prison) and 500 hours of community service.

About DUI Schools in Georgia

After a DUI conviction, a judge will often sentence an offender to complete the state's DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program, which is more commonly known as DUI school. But what exactly is this course and why is completion of this course so important?

The Georgia Department of Driver Services states that DUI schools are supposed to help people change their drinking or drug use behavior. The course is composed of two components: the Assessment Component and the Intervention Component. The Assessment Component takes most individuals 1/2-hour to one-hour to complete. The Intervention Component is class that is 20 hours long, spread out over weeks at a time.

Derek Lowe of Atlanta Braves Facing DUI Charge

It looks like Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe is going through some legal trouble off of the field after a DUI arrest last week. Let's just hope that the alleged drunk driving incident doesn't impact his game or his right hand.

According to the Associated Press, a state trooper pulled over Lowe last week after spotting the athlete racing another car on an Atlanta street. The trooper said that he smelled an oder of alcohol on Lowe's breath and noticed other signs of impairment, which led to the arrest. Lowe reportedly declined to take a breath test before he was released from police custody.

Get a "Tow to Go" on Cinco de Mayo in Atlanta

If you’re planning to go have a lot of fun on Cinco de Mayo this year, make sure that you have a way of getting home that doesn’t involve driving while impaired. Atlanta police will be out in full force this Thursday and a DUI arrest would certainly not be a good way to end your evening.

One option that Atlanta residents have after a night of partying on Cinco de Mayo is getting a ride through AAA Auto Club’s Tow to Go program. Drivers in the state of Georgia can call the auto club on May 5 or May 6 and request a “Tow to Go,” which will send a AAA tow truck to pick up the driver and his or her vehicle, plus a passenger. The best part about getting a Tow to Go is that it’s free. You also don’t even have to be a AAA member to get the free tow.