Massachusetts Police Worry about Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Across the United States, state and local governments seem to moving toward the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana. One concern of the police and others against legalization is that there would be a corresponding increase in the number of people driving under the influence of marijuana.

dutch-weed-2-jpg-1206038-m.jpgAccording to a recent article in the Worchester Telegram, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and its membership share these concerns. One major issue is that, unlike drunk driving, driving under the influence of marijuana is much more difficult to prove.

Field sobriety tests are designed to detect drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed the three standardized tests now approved for use in DWI and DUI detection, but these tests are not effective for drivers suspected of being on drugs.

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Massachusetts State Police Arrest Drunk Driver Who Crashed after Driving Wrong Direction

There are some people who regularly drink alcohol to the point of intoxication and then get behind the wheel of a car. While it may seem like a normal thing for some, driving a 2,000-pound vehicle while drunk is actually one of the most dangerous things imaginable.

wrong-way-sign-232552-m.jpgNot only is the drunk driver taking a risk of hurting himself or herself, it is risk taken on behalf of others without their knowledge or consent. Each year, across the nation and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, lives are ruined and lost due to drunk driving car crashes.

According to recent news story from the Boston Globe, police were called to the scene of accident caused by a drunk driver. Authorities are reporting that the suspected drunk driver was driving his motor vehicle in the wrong direction of the highway when he crashed into another car.

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NFL Commissioner Discusses Sanctions Against Josh Brent for Fatal DUI Accident

According to a recent news article from NBC Sports, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell consulted with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) representatives before issuing a 10 game suspension to defensive tackle Josh Brent.

451055_football_american_texture.jpgBrent's suspension was related a 2012 drunk driving car crash that resulted in the death of his Cowboys teammate, Jerry Brown. The suspension means that Brent cannot participate in any team activities or even begin practicing until week nine of the regular season. If he is involved in any other prohibited alcohol-related incidents, including drunk driving, he will not be allowed to return to the NFL.

Goodell said that the length of the suspension was chosen after speaking with experts, including those from MADD. It was important for Brent to understand just how serious his actions were and that any future drunk driving will not be tolerated. Though Brent has decided to appeal the suspension, Goodell said Brent understands the reasoning behind the decision.

This NFL sanction is in addition to the criminal penalties imposed on Brent after he pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the drunk driving related death of his teammate, which included 180 days in jail and ten years of probation.

As our attorneys in Boston who regularly represent victims of drunk driving accidents understand that people often fail to consider the true impact their decision to drink before getting behind the wheel can have on families. Most of the public interest campaigns focus on the fact that you can go to jail for drunk driving, but to the victims of alcohol-related accidents, the effects can be devastating.

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Michael Phelps Arrested for DUI

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps captured the collective attention of the nation during the 2008 Summer Games. More recently, he has found himself back in the spotlight after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving for the second time.
According to a recent news article from CNN, Phelps was arrested in Baltimore just before 2:00 a.m. and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), excessive speed, and failure to stay in the appropriate lane.

swimmers-725332-m.jpgPhelps posted a response to the breaking news on his Twitter account, stating that he knows the severity of his actions and that he is deeply sorry to anyone he has let down.
Authorities have explained that Phelps was caught on a stationary radar speed detection system traveling almost 40mph over the posted speed limit. A police officer followed Phelps onto the interstate and pulled him over just after a toll plaza.

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Tennessee Man Threatens to Join ISIS after Drunk Driving Hit-and-Run Arrest

According to a recent news article from the Daily News, a man arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Tennessee allegedly threatened to join the terrorist group ISIS and kill the police officer as his first victim.

12754_hand_cuffs.jpgAuthorities say that defendant pulled into a gas station with a car with a broken windshield that had obviously been in an alcohol-related car crash and vomited on his pants. Defendant allegedly smelled strongly of alcohol and could barely stand beside his vehicle as police arrived.

Defendant was asked to perform some field sobriety tests but was stopped when asked to do the walk-and-turn and one-legged-stand tests.

After being placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), assault, leaving the scene of accident (hit-and-run) and driving without a license, the man was seated in the back seat of the police cruiser when he allegedly made the threats to the arresting officer. As noted in the article, if he was serious about his threats, he will have wait until he is released from jail before taking any action.

Boston drunk driving injury lawyers know hit-and-run cases and cases involving drivers who are unlicensed pose more challenges than a typical alcohol-related car accident lawsuit.

The reason these cases are more complex is that, in the case of a hit-and-run, if police do not find the driver, it may be impossible to serve that person with a civil complaint and make him or her a defendant in the lawsuit. In the case of a driver who does not have a license, it is likely that he or she does not have car insurance, since auto insurance companies require proof of license and driving history before offering coverage.

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Defendant Pleads to DUI Homicide in Worcester

According to a recent news article from WLLP News, a man pleaded guilty to charges involving a deadly drunk driving car accident in Worcester. Prosecutors stated defendant, of Berkshire County, ran a red light in Worcester County when he was driving late at night and broadsided a pickup truck driven by a 48-old-man from the Boston suburb. The victim died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.

jail-979240-m.jpgDefendant was charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI), Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or Drugs involving a Homicide, and manslaughter. In exchange for his plea of guilty, the manslaughter charge was dismissed, and defendant received a sentence of up to six years in a Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI).

As our drunk driving accident lawyers in Boston can discuss, a civil suit must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations, so that it is not time barred. However, when there is a pending criminal case against the driver who is alleged to have caused the accident, it is likely that the civil case will be stayed (put on hold) until the criminal matter has been resolved.

The reason for this is that a criminal defendant has an absolute right to remain silent pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona and the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination (PASI). In a civil case, the plaintiff's attorney can require the defendant to answer written questions known as requests for admissions, answer interrogatories, and require that he or she answer oral questions at a deposition.

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NBA Player Greg Monroe Arrested for Drunk Driving

According to a recent article form CBS Sports, an NBA player, Greg Monroe, urinated on himself after being arrested for drunk driving.

breathalyzer.jpgMonroe was pulled over by police for driving with a headlight out. He is alleged to have told police that he is trying not be in the newspaper for drunk driving. He told police that he plays for the Detroit Pistons.

Monroe failed several field sobriety tests, according to police, and agreed to blow into a breath-testing machine. His blood alcohol content was 0.089 at the time of testing. While Monroe was arrested in Michigan, the legal limit in every state, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

Our drunk driving injury lawyers in Massachusetts understand that a legal limit of .08 grams is not a random number. Congress established this limit after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other interested parties and organizations led a national lobbying effort backed by vehicle crash data supported by numerous studies and research.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed extensive studies of drunk driving arrests with the assistance of police and several universities. The majority of the studies were conducted in the 1970s and have been updated in the years since release of the initial findings. NHTSA used the results to develop standardized methods for administering and interpreting the results of field sobriety tests.

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Jury Orders Convicted Felon to Pay DUI Car Accident Victim $3.2 Million

According to a recent article from The Sacramento Bee, defendant may be suing her insurance company after a jury awarded $3.2 million to a woman who defendant hit and severely inured with her car during a drunk driving accident.

gavel4.jpgDefendant, who now resides in the female offender unit at Folsom prison, was convicted in 2012 on several felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from a nearly fatal drunk driving car crash for which she was responsible.

Evidence in her criminal case included a video recording from a traffic camera that showed defendant's car drifting right while making a left turn. Defendant's car then went over the curb and hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian's head cracked the car windshield before she was thrown into the air.

When the injured pedestrian landed, she broke her back in several places, her wrist, leg, and most of her ribs. She also punctured a lung. After the accident, doctors determined that she had suffered a diffuse axonal traumatic brain injury (TBI) when her head hit the windshield. The victim is left with memory loss and an inability to balance herself. As our Boston attorneys who handle drunk driving accident cases understand, TBIs often involve extensive use of expert witnesses.

The victim's boyfriend was with her at the time accident and appeared to be struck by the car and also received major injuries.

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Country Singer Lynn Anderson Arrested After Drunk Driving Crash

Country music legend Lynn Anderson has been charged with drunk driving after crashing her car, according to recent news report from News 2 Nashville. Anderson had a series of chart-topping hits in the 70s and 80s including "I never promised you a rose garden."

magic-pills-1418156-m.jpgPolice responded to a motor vehicle accident and noticed that one of the drivers was showing signs of impairment. That driver, Anderson, is alleged to have admitted drinking and driving and to having ingested prescription medication prior to getting behind the wheel. This was not the first time she was arrested on DUI charges. Anderson was arrested in 2004 after being found by police passed out in her car on the side of a road.

As our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers understand, many drivers who have caused a serious accident seem to be under the belief that they are allowed to drive after taking powerful prescription medications. This could not be farther from the truth.

Let's first look at cases involving alcohol. As long as you are 21 years of age or older, it is completely legal to drink alcohol. It is not however, legal to drive a car after becoming intoxicated. Drunk driving is negligent driving.

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UFC Fighter Nick Diaz Arrested Again for Drunk Driving

Our Boston attorneys who represent victims of alcohol-related car accidents understand that the findings of the criminal court may aid plaintiffs in a later civil lawsuit.

12754_hand_cuffs.jpgAccording to a recent news report from Fox Sports, UFC fighter, Nick Diaz has been arrested for drunk driving. This is the second time Diaz has been arrested for DUI in the past year.

Police reported that Diaz was pulled over on routine traffic stop, and officers suspected that he was driving under the influence of alcohol. After being arrested and taken to the police station, officers asked if he would consent to giving a breath sample. He said that he would take the test but asked if he could go to the bathroom before blowing into the breath-testing machine.

He is alleged to have attempted to induce vomiting in what is being seen as an attempt to rid his body of alcohol before taking the test. Officers told him to stop, but he kept trying to make himself vomit. Even if he succeeded in vomiting, this would have no significant effect on his breath test results, due the fact that machine measures alcohol in the air expelled from the lungs, which has nothing to do with the amount of alcohol still in the driver's stomach.

Diaz was also charged with attempting to destroy evidence and refusal to give a breath sample.

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Greater Driver Accountability Urged by Grieving Massachusetts Father

A 20-year-old student studying physical therapy at Simmons College was killed on Father's Day while jogging along a road in Sharon. The vehicle that caused her death was driven by a man who never should have been behind the wheel because his license was suspended.
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Now, the student's father has become an advocate to press Massachusetts state lawmakers to pass a measure he hopes will help boost enforcement against derelict drivers. It would require the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to issue a notification to local police when a person's license is suspended. This would allow officers to watch for that person's vehicle, in the event he or she decides to venture out anyway.

Testifying before the state's Transportation Committee recently, the father spoke of his family's struggle to make it through another day without his daughter. He said a driver operating a suspended or revoked vehicle is "an immediate threat to public safety," warranting a higher degree of action.

Another reason our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers believe such action is so vitally important has to do with the fact that if a driver's license has been revoked, he or she is not covered by insurance. That means if the driver wrecks and causes serious injury or death, insurance options are severely limited. An injured person could seek compensation directly from the driver. Under certain circumstances, there may be grounds to pursue liability action against the owner of the vehicle (if different from the driver) or from a bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the driver just prior to the crash. But there are many variables in such instances.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Didn't Know He Could Get DUI While High

According to a recent article from CBS Sports, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell did not know that he could be charged with a DUI for smoking marijuana before driving.

403_dutch_weed.jpgAs your Boston drunk driving car accident lawyer understands, the term "drunk driving" is not a legal term. The crime itself takes a different name depending on the relevant state code. For example, in Massachusetts, the crime of drunk driving is called Operating Under the Influence (OUI) of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Prosecutors will typically refer to it as OUI liquor or OUI drugs when speaking in court.

As noted in this article, Bell, along with fellow Steelers running back LaGarrette Blount, was arrested for possession of marijuana a few hours before a team flight to Philadelphia. Bell, the driver of the car in which the two men were riding, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs (marijuana). According to police, Bell stated that he didn't know that was possible.

During the vehicle stop, Bell was asked if he had smoked marijuana recently and said that he smoked it about a minute ago along with other people in the car. The officer informed Bell the he would have his blood tested for the metabolites of THC and would be arrested and charged with a DUI.

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Convicted Drunk Driver Faces Civil Lawsuit by Parents of Those Killed

A texting drunk driver who killed two 17-year-old high school students and seriously injured two others in New York in December 2012 is being sued for wrongful death, in lawsuits filed just shy of one year of his criminal conviction.
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In the midst of serving a 5- to-15-year sentence in prison, the driver is now accused of negligence resulting in the death of the two teens. Also named in the lawsuit are the drivers' mother, the restaurant that served him alcohol just prior to the crash and two employees of that restaurant. Liability on the part of the establishment falls under what's known as a "dram shop law," and the one in Massachusetts is quite strong.

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 138, 69 holds that no alcoholic beverages should be sold to an intoxicated person by a licensed establishment. Further, any personal injury or negligence action arising out of this or illegal service of alcohol to a minor must be filed in the state's superior court. Our Boston drunk driving injury lawyers are committed to ensuring all persons and entities responsible for serious injuries and deaths resulting from impaired driving are held accountable. We know how important it is for parents and other loved ones to pursue every available avenue of justice.

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Wrong-Way Drivers Commonly Cause Massachusetts DUI Crashes

A recent story for 9 News involves a woman who may not survive a serious drunk driving car accident. Witnesses have reported that, just after midnight, the defendant was allegedly driving his vehicle on the wrong side of a divided roadway. One driver saw the vehicle approaching in time and managed to swerve out of the way.

PoliceLights.jpgWhen the victim saw the defendant approaching heading the wrong way, she also attempted to serve out of the way. Unfortunately she did not have time and was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver.

After the crash, first responders got the victim out of the vehicle and rushed her to a local trauma center. A police spokesperson reported that the woman was immediately taken into surgery to treat her injuries, but it was not known whether she would survive the surgery, given the extreme nature of her injuries.

The at-fault driver who was alleged to have been intoxicated was also taken to the hospital to be treated for what has been described as serous but non-life-threatening injuries.

As your Boston drunk driving car accident attorney understands, driving on the wrong side of the road is a fairly common behavior exhibited while driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted a number of studies since the 1970s to determine the best ways to identify a drunk driver. NHTSA has also used this research to develop a series of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that officers can use to aid them in making an arrest decision.

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Methuen Police Officer Arrested in Fatal Drunk Driving Crash

A Methuen police officer has been arrested for the death of a Lowell man in an alcohol-related car crash, according to a recent article from CBS Local Boston. The police officer was charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) of intoxicating liquor or drugs, vehicular homicide involving alcohol, and open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and he was given a citation for a marked lanes violation and negligent operation.

1342726_alcohol.jpgAs your Boston drunk driving accident lawyer knows, OUI is the name for a DUI charge in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Witnesses say that the defendant was in an SUV traveling west on Riverside Drive in Lowell at just after midnight, when he crossed over the centerline and hit the victim's car. The victim was trapped in the car, and firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to get the victim out of the wrecked vehicle. The victim was then taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The victim was out that night to pick up his sister from work. She was taken to the hospital after the crash and was reported to be in stable condition. The extent of her injuries has not been released.

The defendant is being held on $500,000 cash bail, due to the allegations in this case and the fact that he was arrested last year for drunk driving as well. In that case, he refused to take a breathalyzer and lost his driver's license for six months.

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