The police recently picked you up for DUI—maybe even for the second or third time—and you’re finally ready to admit that you have an alcohol problem. You know you need assistance, but where do you go to find it? And how do you know which program is most likely to help you?
These seemingly simple questions can lead to a raft of conflicting, challenging decisions. It is almost shockingly difficult to find objective reviews of the various treatment options available as well as clear data about which approaches work best for different types of people.
This post aims to shine a light on this murky subject. Let’s explore. Where can you go for help? What programs are even out there?
Ever had a conversation like that with a friend when you’ve been out socializing for the night? Chances are that you’ll yield to your friend’s persuasions and get behind the wheel, ignoring the small voice of reason inside your head that’s warning you’re about to do something stupid.
So if we know something is a bad idea, why do we do it anyway? Why don’t we choose to hang out with somebody who would give us better advice and encourage us to engage in less risky behavior? It’s a complicated answer that relates to the way our brain works and how we interact with those around us.
Was one of your resolutions this year not to get behind the wheel of your vehicle if you’ve been drinking? How are you doing at keeping it? If you’re like most other people, now that we’re almost one month into 2017 many of your well-intentioned goals for changing your life have already gone by the wayside.
But there is a way to increase your success dramatically—and it’s not that hard to put into practice. It’s a technique that psychologists call implementation planning (or in less formal terms, if-then planning). You can employ this technique when you’re trying to lose weight, get a better handle on your emails at work or even when you’re trying to ensure that you don’t end up with a DUI conviction on your driving record.
The concept of using if-then statements to achieve a goal is not new; Peter Gollwitzer, a psychology professor at NYU, introduced the idea back in the 1990s. But people are revisiting the technique because studies have shown that this technique works extremely well in changing habits and helping people achieve desired behaviors.
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police must have warrants to draw blood from DUI suspects, defendants accused of DUI in Los Angeles and their lawyers have been working to get any incriminating blood evidence suppressed in their trials. (Those convicted of DUI have been trying to get their convictions overturned.) Such efforts have been successful in many state and local courts throughout the country.
California prosecutors and defense attorneys are watching one case in San Mateo County that involves vehicular manslaughter. On October 5, 2013, 27-year-old Zachary Katz drove the wrong way on U.S. Highway 101 and slammed into another car. The crash ejected both occupants of the other vehicle, killing one and seriously injuring another, according to Palo Alto Online.
When police officers did a preliminary blood screening on Katz, his blood alcohol content measured 0.15. Two hours later, a hospital test showed it to be 0.13. Both readings are well over the legal limit of 0.08.
When New York State passed the nation’s first DUI law back in 1910, automobile owners weren’t the only drivers that authorities were targeting. At that time, plenty of horse-drawn vehicles still traveled the roads, and their drivers could cause a fair amount of damage to people and property if they were under the influence while holding the reins. Fast forward more than 100 years, and police officers rarely (if ever) arrest someone for a DUI in Los Angeles when they’re riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn carriage. But it can and does happen elsewhere.
In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, police arrested Robert Miller, 18, on suspicion of DUI. Miller, a member of the Amish church, was driving one of the plain black buggies that the Amish favor.
What evidence should a judge permit police to present during a DUI trial? If a driver suspected of DUI in Los Angeles refuses to take a field sobriety test, for example, should the court allow police officers to use that as evidence against him/her?
The Washington State Supreme Court thinks so. In a recent 5-4 vote, the court ruled that Mark Tracy Macham did not have a constitutional right to refuse a field sobriety test on the grounds that it was an unreasonable search.
According to King 5 News, police had pulled Mecham over back in 2011 because there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. After trying to talk to Mecham, the officer concluded that he was impaired and asked him to take a field sobriety test. Mecham refused. During his booking at the police station on DUI charges, Mecham also refused repeated requests to take a breathalyzer test.
The Port of Los Angeles has a total of 16 marinas with 3,795 recreational boat slips. Since a day on a boat often involves enjoyment of adult beverages, there are plenty of opportunities for boaters to face arrest on a water-related DUI in Los Angeles (technically a BUI–boating under the influence). The results of this behavior can be deadly; according to a U.S. Coast Guard Boating report, 16 percent of the boating-related fatalities in the Pacific region of the U.S. involved boating while intoxicated.
Other parts of the country have even worse records. In the Western region, which includes Oklahoma, 18 percent of the boating deaths were alcohol-related. Fortunately, the boating accident caused by Aaron Christopher Hux on July 6th didn’t cause any fatalities. But when the 39-year old Hux struck a concrete wall just north of a marina on Keystone Lake, the impact did plunge three of the four teenagers onboard into the water and sent them to the hospital for treatment.
Under California’s vehicle codes, drivers suspected of a DUI in Los Angeles must submit to breathalyzer or blood tests or face a license suspension of one year for the first offense (two years for the second offense and three years for the third) and must pay a fine of $125.
Texas has a similar implied consent law, and the state’s appeals court has just upheld its constitutionality.
Officer Luis Villarreal of the McAllen, Texas, Police Department pulled John Andrew Rankin over on July 19, 2014, after the driver breezed through a blinking red light without stopping. The officer reported that Rankin smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred his speech. When Rankin failed field sobriety tests, Villarreal arrested him for driving under the influence. At the police station, Rankin refused to take a breathalyzer test.
Drivers at risk for DUI in Los Angles sometimes face dilemmas. They don’t want to drive when they suspect they’ve had a few too many, but if they don’t move their cars from a bar’s parking lot, they may risk a tow truck taking it to an impoundment lot. Would they be more inclined to seek alternative transportation if they knew that their cars would remain in place overnight?
The City of Tampa, Florida, thinks that they will. In 2008, the City adopted an ordinance that made it illegal for bars to have vehicles on their lot towed between 9 p.m. and noon the next day, unless they have signed an order authorizing its removal. The law also forbids tow truck drivers from removing any vehicle unless they have a signed order that gives the make, model, color and license plate of the vehicle and the name of the person in the bar who ordered the removal.
But the law has not worked as intended. According to a series of investigative reports by TV 10News in Tampa, neither bar owners nor customers are aware of the law. People interviewed for the news story said that fear of towing did play a role in their decision to drive their vehicles after they had been drinking.
So Tampa’s City Council is now considering another measure to require any bar or restaurant that serves alcohol to post signs telling customers that their vehicles cannot be towed before noon. According to 10News, the goal is to encourage anyone who’s had too much to drink to seek a lift from a cab, Uber, Lyft or a friend.