Is DWI Probation Supervision Worse Than Prison?

October 20, 2009 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under DUI, DUI Court, Probation

By Lawrence Newman –

My job is to protect my clients. Avoiding a term of probation supervision is part of that protection. I do recognize the value of the probation department, and when it is appropriate, their services can be invaluable.

For younger people whose parents can not control them (the out of control teens) NYS has a PINS Program (Person In Need of Supervision) and pre-PINS probation program. These forms of probation are where the child reports to a probation officer who provides the child with resources, supervision, and direction (psychological counseling, drug counseling, job counseling, school counseling). I do feel that probation is a good thing for some adults as well. As an alternative to incarceration, probation supervision allows them to remain gainfully employed and get counseling for their drug/alcohol issues. Tompkins County also has a Felony Drug Court Program which is probation based, and more intense in it’s rehabilitative goals.

Where I have an issue with probation is where it is recommended or the prosecution wishes to apply it to those adults who do not have drug and/or alcohol dependence issues. Some of these people would not benefit from Court Ordered Probation Supervision. I feel in some respects it is a punishment worse than a short jail sentence.

Recently I was in Court, and was watching an attorney and his client go through a plea and sentencing for a DWI. I observed the judge tell the attorney that because of Probation his client could not now get a condtional license at the DMV. The attorney had a look of shock. What he did not know, and what he failed to tell his surprised client was that once the probation department is involved (You are ON Probation or IN Probation) they decide when and if you get your license back. Not the Court and Not the DMV.

Some of the “terms and conditions” of a three year or five year probation:

1. Report to a Probation Officer or have the Probation Officer make surprise (unannounced) visits to your home or elsewhere (perhaps your job).

2. Remain within the Jurisdiction of the Court unless granted permission to leave (No random visits to relatives or friends or potential job opportunities in other states).

3. Be available for questions from your probation officer.

4. You must receive permission (prior consent) from your Probation Officer before you move, change your job, or remain away from home past 12:00am.

5. Refrain from disreputable people or places.

6. Abstain from the use of all drugs (except by prescription), as well as the use of any intoxicating beverages (alcohol).

7. Stay away from all places where (intoxicating beverages) they are sold or served for on-premises consumption.

8. You must submit at any time without notice and without a search warrant to a search of your person, residence, vehicle, or other personal property, leased and/or owned that is not your residence and any area under your immediate control and permit seizure of any contraband.

9. You must be granted permission to obtain any type of driving privilege or license whether conditional or unconditional.

10. You may have to place an ignition interlock device on your car, and at your expense as required by the Probation department.

11. You have to submit upon request with or without prior notice to any appropriate test including breath, blood, urine or saliva for the purpose of determining the alcohol and/or drug content.

12. Undergo an evaluation for alcohol and/or substance abuse and follow through with any treatment and/or counseling recommended, including inpatient and/or aftercare treatment, and shall undergo said treatment for as long as required, all at your expense.

13. Attend and actively participate in and successfully complete counseling/treatment/educational programming/self help group as designated by Probation.

14. Not drive a car without permission of Probation. Must inform Probation of all cars owned or operated and their plate numbers.

15. Work faithfully at a suitable employment or pursue a course of study or vocational training that can lead to suitable employment. You can not quit or change employment without permission by Probation.

16. You are not allowed to own, use, or possess any guns, rifles, shotguns, stun guns, taiser, swords, ballistic knives, gravity knives, weapons, etc.

As to true understanding of the application of the Probation Department’s terms. I have had clients have to decline better employment in neighboring states. I have had client’s have to submit to liver enzyme blood screens with Probation seeking to discover weekend drug use.

In some counties, it is well known that their Probation Departments do not give permission to have a driver’s license for years. So some things can truly be worse than three or four months in prison.

Larry Newman, Ithaca DWI Lawyer


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DUI Laws and Drunk Driving Consequences

November 12, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Jail News

By Cary Bergeron

States are cracking down on drunk driving. DUI and DWI laws across the nation are becoming stricter and being enforced with greater diligence. Why is drunk driving such as big deal? What happens to your body when you drink that makes driving so dangerous?

Alcohol slows the brain by acting as a depressant. When you drink, some of the messages your senses are sending to your brain are suppressed. That means you the fact that the car in front of you is stopping may not register with your brain, or it may register far to late for you to act. Alcohol in your system also makes you have a distorted picture of how you are moving. You may think, for instance, that you are moving in a straight line, when, in fact, you are staggering across the room. When you are driving, this makes it almost impossible to drive straight down the road.

When you drink and drive, you are putting yourself at risk. Many drink drivers are killed because of their poor driving skills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car wrecks are the leading cause of death for people in America who are under the age of 24, and about 40 percent of those deaths are somehow related to alcohol. Many of those in this statistic were the drivers or passengers of drunk drivers.

So just how dangerous is it to drive drunk? Having a blood alcohol content of just .10, a tiny bit over the legal limit, puts you at seven times higher of a risk for being involved in a crash that kills someone. If that level is raised to just .15, the risk increases to 25 times.

What about driving with a little bit of alcohol in your system? What if you are driving under the legal limit? Are you still putting yourself and people around you at risk?

Believe it or not, you could be. A blood alcohol content of .04, for instance, can increase the likelihood of someone being involved in a car crash by 1.4 times. Every drink that is added to that person’s system increases the risk dramatically. Doubling the blood alcohol level to .08 increases the risk of a car crash to 11 times more likely. So having “just one more” could bring devastating consequences.

So before you jump in the car after a party, stop and think about the risk. Are you ready to live with the knowledge that your actions killed someone? Are you willing to put your own life and the lives of your passengers at risk? If not, pass the keys to someone who did not drink or call a taxi. The rest of the community will thank you.

To learn more about the DUI Laws for your state or the Arkansas DUI Laws And Consequences visit

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What Should You Know About DUI?

November 11, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Jail News

By James M Peterson -

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. Because the way definition is phrased, there is a great deal of local interpretation as to what “under the influence” really means. Drivers are often arrested because of a cop’s suspicion. This can happen even if the individual passed a Breathalyzer test. The police may try to make examples out of sober drivers in order to deter future incidents of actual drunk driving.

It is not against the law to drink moderately and then drive home once sober. Nevertheless, drivers may face accusations of DUI and suffer severe penalties. Some drivers have been locked up in jail, had their license suspended or have been forced to pay high fees to both lawyers and the state. A conviction will make your car insurance rates soar and may even affect your future employment.

This is why it’s important for accused drivers to consult with a qualified DUI attorney to discuss their legal options. Do not be content with the attorney provided for you by the state. Do not assume that the charges you’re facing fit the crime committed. The most experienced lawyers do charge a fee, but statistically get better results. An experienced attorney can plead not guilty and fight for your rights if you were wrongfully charged. Even if you were guilty of drunk driving, he or she can help you get a fair and balanced sentence.

Visit to find a reliable DUI attorney. screens its listed attorneys, ensuring that they have a minimum experience level of five years and that they specialize in these cases. You are fighting for your right to drive, so take advantage of all your resources. contains an extensive directory of skilled []DUI attorneys. To get legal help on a DUI charge, visit

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Celebs Seem to Love Drunk Driving

November 11, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Jail News

By Darrell Freeman

Often we laugh at these strange antics of these celebs, but sometimes these antics are of a more serious nature especially when it comes to drink driving which seems to be a favorite pastime of some top flight and has-been celebs across the country.

Take the case of American supermodel Caprice Bourret who was taken in after being stopped for being over the limit in Holborn, London. The Surreal Life star got a taste of real life when she was stopped at 4am on Tottenham Court Road.

She of course is not alone or the first star to land in drink driving hot water. Football legend George Best eventually became more of a ledged for his drinking abilities than his football prowess. He managed to get pulled over, again, on the A3 in Merton, south-west London. Police spotted what they later said was someone driving in a wild and reckless manor with no regard for other road users. His fine was £1,500 and he also received a driving ban for 20 months.

Star Wars character R2-D2 was in fact the outer shell of tiny actor Kenny Baker, the 70 year old was pulled over for driving his Mercedes in an erratic manor. He was then found to have a massive 92 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millimetres of blood.

Seventies pop idol Shakin’ Stevens managed to get himself a driving ban when he was caught in his car on New Years Day with 83 milligram’s of alcohol in his blood, the legal limit was just 35mg’s.

It was also a Blue day when boy-band pop star Lee Ryan disappointed his hordes of screaming fans by driving his Porsche through central London while over the limit this was his second offence.

The star of the highly popular comedy Cold Feet, John Thomson managed to receive a three year driving ban after his second conviction in less than five years.

In the 80′s Keith Floyd was famous for his boozy chef antics but in the modern world the 60 year old managed to get himself banned for nearly three years and a hefty £1,500 fine when he admitted being drunk when his car was involved in a head on crash while he was more than three times over the limit.

Another football star who seems to like appearing in court on a drink driving offence nearly as much as playing on the field is Jermaine Pennant. The then 22 year old, appeared in Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court charged with driving while disqualified and without insurance and over the legal limit – poor Jermaine should have taken some advice on drink driving. He managed to get out of prison after a month but won the distinction of being the first player to go onto the pitch wearing a GPS tracking bracelet.

Darrell F writing about advice on]drink driving and []driving driving offence.

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When Traffic Tickets Become Traffic Crimes

October 23, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under DUI, Getting Arrested

By Rob Skubiak -

When you get pulled over for a traffic violation, you may be concerned about getting a fine, or even having points charged to your license. However, depending on what you’re being accused of, a fine might be the least of your worries. The penalties for traffic violations vary from one state to the next, but one thing remains the same: traffic violations such as DUI, reckless driving, hit and run, and leaving the scene of an accident are all considered traffic crimes. Being charged with any of these violations always leads to the potential for criminal charges and jail time, depending on your location and the severity of the crime.

DUI- In most states, you will be arrested and taken to the jail for holding. Depending on how drunk you are and how you behave, you may be able to be released that same day, although your driving privileges may be suspended until your court hearing. When you go to court, the judge will ultimately decide the fate of your case. If you are in a severe case, you may be kept in jail until your trial date, which can be anywhere from two days to two weeks after your initial arrest. To get the best results, you should hire a DUI lawyer to defend your case.

Hit and Run- Being charged with a hit-and-run accident is very serious. Leaving the scene of an accident isn’t a traffic violation, it’s a crime. You will be arrested and entitled to a court hearing, with the possiblility of jail time for your violation. Again, the exact laws in each state will vary, so you’ll need to check with your specific state for exact details.

Reckless Driving- This is another traffic violation that is a crime in most states. Although your first charge will probably elicit a simple ticket, you’re still at a higher risk for being charged with a crime in most states. Also, you need to remember that the severity of your reckless driving charges will define just how severe your punishment is. You might just get a ticket and a fine, but you might wind up in jail or have to face a court hearing. If the latter is your situation, don’t panic. You can hire a qualified traffic lawyer to defend your case.

If you’ve been charged with a traffic violation that has spiraled into a traffic crime, you don’t have to face it alone. There are thousands of qualified traffic lawyers that are out there, waiting to help you with all of your legal needs. You can utilize resources such as and Legal Match, to help you find the perfect traffic lawyer for your needs. All you need to do is to research your crimes and the consequences of them, and hire a qualified traffic lawyer to defend you. Then you’ll at least have a fighting chance at getting your charges dropped or lowered.

Rob Skubiak is a successful []Florida Traffic Ticket Attorneys specializing in Florida DUI ‘s and Orlando traffic ticket attorney offenses. He started Skubiak and Rivas, P.A. in 1992 and has brought on Alain Rivas as his partner. Rob has appeared in courtrooms all over Florida defending his Florida traffic ticket clients. Official Website of Skubiak and Rivas, P.A. Orlando Traffic Ticket attorneys.

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Should I Hire a DUI lawyer?

By Ian E. Wright

The main reason anyone would ask that question is because they have been charged with some form of  DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated). If this sounds like you or someone you know you need to hire a lawyer as quickly as possible.

There are several reason why you need a qualified DUI lawyer working hard for you. Primarily they will know your legal rights in regard to the specific charge against you. Thus, they will be able to help prevent you from self-incriminating yourself or any other mistakes you are likely to make.

Moreover, if the charge is a serious one, which hopefully it is not, they will know how to defend you in court. You need the experience of a good DUI lawyer because they understand how to talk to judges, juries and the prosecution. And once again they will know the law far more throughly than you will, given their years of legal experience.

Probably the most common argument against hiring a DUI lawyer is that they are expensive. Well this is a valid point any good DUI attorney is going to be expensive, but that is because of the value they provide. For example, how much would you pay to avoid going to jail even for a few months. For many people the cost of the DUI lawyer when compared to the potential fines and/or jail time of not; find that hiring one is a good investment on their part.

There are however some common misconceptions about what a skilled DUI lawyer can and cannot do. Most importantly they are not miracle workers. If you have driven drunk and killed someone there is no way that you are going to get away with only a fine. People often see shows such as Law and Order and think that lawyers can get people out any situation.

The truth is that if you are guilty of killing or seriously injuring some one while DUI you will face jail time. However, even in these cases it makes sense to hire a good DUI lawyer because they may be able to get your sentence reduced somewhat, especially if you plead guilty.

The situation where DUI lawyers work best though is for first time offenders. They can ensure that the fines and/or jail time will be as minimal as possible. Think of them as your get out of jail free card, that you can only use once. The more serious the DUI offense or the more DUI convictions you have the less leeway a DUI lawyer will have with your case.

Thus, if you have been charged with a DUI or DWI you need a lawyer on your case. Just remember that they are not miracle workers. They have to work with the particularities of your case and history. In the end though you will be glad you did. Better yet, don’t drink and drive in the first place and you will never have to ask this question again.

Ian Wright is not a lawyer but writes about many legal issues on his websites. He strongly disagrees with people who drink and drive but respects their legal rights. For more information about this issue please visit his sites about: []DUI Attorney and Lawyer and []Illinois DUI Attorney.

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The New World of Drunk Driving Today

October 13, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under DUI, Getting Arrested

By Lawrence Taylor

Driving under the influence of alcohol, or “DUI” as it is usually called, is the most commonly committed crime in the United States. Yet it is almost always committed by a noncriminal – that is, by an otherwise respectable citizen who has never been in trouble with the law. Consequently, representation of the DUI defendant often is attempted by attorneys not versed in drunk driving laws. Typically, the defendant’s business or family lawyer will undertake to represent him “as a favor”. Drunk driving, the lawyer tells himself, is merely a glorified traffic offense. Certainly it is not as serious or complex as a “real” crime, and therefore cannot call for any particular expertise.

This is invariably a tragic mistake. Any lawyer representing a client charged with DUI should be aware of certain preliminary facts.

Though the most common of all offenses, DUI is one of the most complex to understand and defend properly. And the stakes in a DUI case are high – higher in the long run than for most other crimes.

A unique system of legal standards and procedures exists in DUI cases, a system geared to facilitate a conviction. Once the DUI defense attorney is fully aware of these facts, he can proceed to competently represent his client.

Common though DUI is in our courts, it represents one of the most difficult criminal offenses to understand and to litigate. Consider first the nature of other crimes: If the client is charged with petty theft, for example, the issue is usually simply a question of whether he was really seen taking something; if burglary is the charge, perhaps fingerprints represent the most esoteric area involved (if even that); and, in a rape charge, semen analysis may be the only subject requiring any special expertise. In fact, in the majority of crimes, the trial hinges solely on one issue: Did the eyewitnesses see what they testified they saw? Even in circumstantial evidence cases, rarely is anything more exotic than DNA, handwriting analysis or ballistics evidence involved.

Now, consider only superficially what the primary issues are in a DUI case: What was the blood alcohol level in the defendant an hour or so prior to the analysis of a breath sample? To what extent was alcohol chemically affecting the brain tissue of the defendant in such away as to “appreciably” impair his “judgment,” his motor reactions, and his coordination?

In other words, the basic issue is to define chemically what was going on in the client’s brain and body at the time of arrest. Even brain surgeons do not yet fully understand how the human brain functions. Yet, in an attempt to determine the biochemical conditions within his client’s body at a remote moment, the DUI lawyer must be knowledgeable in chemistry, physiology, photochemical and infrared analysis, gas chromatography, etc. And what is meant by “appreciably” impaired? How does one define “judgment”? How is individual tolerance to alcohol measured? What effects do various drugs and medical conditions have on the metabolism of alcohol? Is there any inherent error in breathalyzers? These issues can continue seemingly without end.

Make no mistake: DUI is one of the most complex of all criminal charges, and undertaking to defend a client on such a charge without extensive preparation constitutes nothing short of malpractice.

The second misconception commonly held by both clients and attorneys is that the penalties for drunk driving are only minor. After all, DUI is only a step removed from a traffic citation.

Again, consider the probable consequences if the client were arrested for, say, petty theft, solicitation, or assault. Since it would probably be his first offense, and since he has probably led a sterling life, he will probably not receive jail time. Instead he will be fined perhaps $300 and placed on informal probation for approximately two years. In many jurisdictions, he can come back into court after a probationary period and have the conviction expunged – that is, erased from his record. End result: a few hundred dollars, inconvenience, and attorney’s fees. In fact, statistics indicate that the majority of defendants convicted of felonies end up serving no time in custody; the majority are placed on probation, often without even having to pay a fine.

What does the citizen arrested for DUI face? Depending on the jurisdiction, of course, the first offender may be fined $1,500 and also placed on probation, as a beginning. In addition, the court and/or DMV may take his driver’s license, a license that may be critical to operating his business or performing his job. His car maybe impounded or he may be required to have ignition “interlocks” placed in it. He will have to attend special DUI schools, occasionally for a “fee” of hundreds of dollars. According to one somewhat dated study, a convicted first offender’s average cost for bail, a DUI defense attorney, treatment programs, and fines exceeds $5,000 assuming no accident. Auto Club News (Southern California), October-November 1989. That figure is much higher today. And he may well serve time in jail; many jurisdictions now impose jail sentences for first offenders. On his second conviction he will almost certainly spend time in custody. This is not time served by a hardened con but by a terrified citizen totally unfamiliar with the callous penal system.

Already the person charged with DUI has suffered more punishment than the majority of convicted felons do. But there is more: A convicted defendant will end up paying thousands of dollars over the next few years in increased auto insurance premiums. He is required by law to carry automobile insurance, but he is now a convicted drunk driver who falls into a high risk category; his premiums will be far higher than those of a bank robber or murderer. Further, the client may be suffering from alcoholism. In effect, he may be criminally prosecuted and punished for having what is now recognized to be a medical (and possibly genetic) condition.

Lawrence Taylor is a former prosecutor, Fulbright professor of law, and author of the standard legal textbook, “Drunk Driving Defense, 6th Edition”. He is the senior member of an AV-rated law firm of []California DUI attorneys practicing DUI defense exclusively since 1979.

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Arizona DUI Fines

September 19, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under DUI, DUI Court, Going to Court

By Peter Emerson

The rising incidences of DUIs (driving under the influence) in Arizona have prompted lawmakers to institute higher fines, making it more difficult for offenders to circumvent the consequences of their actions.

The Arizona DUI fines are now pegged at $1,450 for first-time offenders and $3,400 for second-time offenders. This includes standard fines, surcharges (amounting to 80 percent of the fines), additional $500 fine imposed on first-timers, and $1240 for repeat offenders. These additional fines were imposed in August 2005, to augment the standard fines that only covered expenses for court procedures.

The additional money goes to improvements in highway safety systems and prison housing facilities, according to Arizona lawmakers.  The Arizona Department of Public Safety is adding more police \ along highways to help deter and arrest drivers who go on the road while under the influence of alcohol and other substances.  The fines also go to “prison construction assessments,”  since every DUI offender found guilty needs to serve a mandatory prison sentence.

Note that fines actually vary depending on the gravity of the offense. First-time offenders found to have very high alcohol content in their bloodstream (.15 or more) may be asked to pay as much as $2,700.  The fines stated above are the minimum fines, and depending on the judge, an offender may be forced to pay a much higher amount. In addition to the crippling fines, DUI offenders may also lose their driver’s license and are ordered to submit to alcohol screening and drug and alcohol counseling sessions.

If you happen to be charged with DUI and cannot pay the fine upfront, you have the option of paying it over time.  Immediately consult with an experienced Arizona DUI attorney to prevent losing your license and to protect yourself from other possible fees. But the best advice is still prevention – don’t drink and drive. This way you stay safe, avoid fines and keep your record clean. []Arizona DUI Attorneys provides detailed information on Arizona DUI Attorneys, Arizona DUI Fines, Arizona DUI Defense, Arizona DUI Laws and more. Arizona DUI Attorneys is affiliated with []Arizona DUI Penalties.

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Understanding DUI Laws and the DUI Breath Analysis Test

September 19, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Arizona DUI Laws, DUI, DUI tests

By Cary Bergeron

When you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you will likely be asked to submit to a breath analysis test. Understanding this test is essential if you are going to decide whether or not to take it. Refusing to take the test can be used against you in court in many states, so make sure you understand how it is used.

First, in order to understand the breath analysis test, you must first understand how the body reacts to alcohol. Alcohol enters the blood stream quickly because it does so through the walls of the stomach, rather than needing to travel through the entire digestive system. Bodily fluids dilute the level of the alcohol in the blood, and some is eliminated through the liver. Whatever is left in the blood is excreted through sweat, urine, and the breath of the drunken individual. The breath analysis test is done in an attempt to measure the BAC of the individual through his or her breath.

The breath analysis is done using a machine known as a Breathalyzer. This machine is simple to use. You simply breathe into the Breathalyzer, and it will show the police officer your BAC. These results are not perfect, but they are an indication of whether or not you are driving with a BAC that is above the legal limit in your state. If you fail the test, you will be brought in for further testing, including a possible blood or urine BAC test.

Many states allow the breath analysis test to be used against you in court. However, if you are working with an attorney, your attorney may be able to prove that your test results were inaccurate. Many factors can distort the results of the Breathalyzer test, so if your test results were extremely high, or if you felt they were inaccurate, consider working with an attorney when you head to court.

The Breathalyzer is an important tool to officers who actively search for drunk drivers. It gives them yet another simple way to determine whether or not an individual is driving with too much alcohol in his or her system. Before you decide to sit behind the wheel of a car after having a few too many drinks, remember that the police officer who catches you will have a quick and easy method to determine if you are drunk, and drunk driving carries swift and heavy consequences, no matter which state you are calling home.

Need to know more about the []DUI Laws in your state? Head on over to [] for all the information you need.

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DUI Laws and Consequences

September 19, 2008 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Arizona DUI Laws, DUI

By Cary Bergeron

Sure, you know that you will go to court as a result of your DUI conviction. You know that you are going to face fees, fines, community service, and possibly jail time. But what are the other consequences of being convicted of a DUI? Are you ever truly going to be over this conviction, or will it haunt you for the rest of your life? Read more

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