Category Archives: DWI

Another Ravens Running Back Arrested – This Time For DUI

Apparently if you play running back in the NFL and you wear a purple jersey, you’re probably going to be arrested at some point in your career.

Bernard Pierce is the latest running back to be placed in handcuffs after the 24-year-old was charged with driving under the influence Wednesday morning. According to the police report, an officer stopped Pierce for speeding in a 30 mph zone just before 2 a.m. The officer asked Pierce to submit to a field-sobriety test, which he subsequently failed. He was cuffed and taken into custody.

Pierce has been officially charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, exceeding the maximum speed (55 mph in a 30 mph zone) and driving a vehicle in excess of reasonable and prudent speed on a highway.

“Off The Books”

To top things off, there’s a chance Pierce could have been charged with attempting to bribe a police officer. According to the police report, Pierce allegedly asked the officer if “the incident could be kept off the books.”

Pierce also was recorded saying, “Do you know what happened the last time a Ravens player got a DUI? I’m getting cut tomorrow, not like you care.”

The player Pierce was referencing was cornerback Victor Hampton, who was released following his arrest for DUI.

And sure enough, just like Pierce predicted, he was released by the Ravens on Wednesday afternoon.

Purple Running Back Arrests

As we alluded to above, purple running backs have had a tough time staying out of trouble of late. Aside from Pierce, here’s a list of a few of the notable arrests.

Related source: ESPN

The March Madness Violent Crime Bracket

The NCAA tournament is here, and that means it’s once again time to bust out one of our favorite blogs, the Crime Bracket!

If you missed our bracket last year, we forecast the tournament field based on DUIs per capita. The state with the highest DUIs per capita were given the victory, and that gave us a Final Four of 3-seed Creighton, 10-seed Stanford, 10-seed Arizona State and 15-seed University of Milwaukee. Ultimately, 3-seed Creighton won the tournament.

This year, we decided to tweak the selection process a little bit. This year we advanced the college that had the highest rate of violent crime per student. Here’s a look at the data we used. For example, the University of Arkansas had 15 instances of violent crime at their Fayetteville campus, which boasts an enrollment of 21,405. That means 1 in 1,427 students at Arkansas can expect to be the victim of a violent crime.

So without further ado, here’s a look at the 2015 March Madness Violent Crime Bracket. (Note, if a school did not report it’s findings, it was not advanced in the bracket.

2015 March Madness Bracket

Although it’s unlikely that two 15-seeds will make the final four, it happened in the 2015 March Madness Violent Crime Bracket. Here’s a couple of insights from the bracket:

  • 16-seed Hampton knocks off top-seeded Kentucky in round 1, with a crime ratio of 1:1,050 to 1:3,388.
  • Coastal Carolina pulled off a similar upset against Wisconsin, with a crime ratio of 1:1,090 to 1:3,515.
  • The Final Four features 9-seed LSU, 11-seed UCLA, 15-seed New Mexico State and 15-seed Texas Southern.
  • 15-seed Texas Southern wins the tournament, and the title as the most dangerous college campus for violent crime. 1 in 682 students at Texas Southern were the victims of violent crime at the most recent survey. Texas Southern edged out the other finalist, UCLA, which boasts a violent crime probability of 1 in 953.

Tune into March Madness to see how our bracket compares to the actual results!

 

Extra DUI Patrols Planned For St. Patty’s Day Across Minnesota

The Minnesota State Patrol has announced that they will be conducting extra DUI patrols tonight and into tomorrow morning in an effort to keep the roads safe over the St. Patty’s Day holiday.

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the more dangerous days of the year for drivers, especially at night. The Minnesota State Patrol said that they arrested 106 individuals in Minnesota on St. Patrick’s Day last year, and they hope the announcement of extra patrols will lead people to make better decisions.

No Reason To Drive

If you plan on ringing in the holiday with a few green beers, make sure you plan ahead and have a sober ride home.

In fact, to ensure revelers get home safe, Miller Lite has partnered up with the Metro Transit system to give free rides to inebriated passengers who make a smart decision. According to their press release, passengers can ride for free on St. Patrick’s Day on all Metro Transit routes from 6 p.m. through 3 a.m tomorrow morning. The free-ride services are also available on routes operated by the Metropolitan Council, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, SouthWest Transit and Anoka County Traveler.

If you’re planning on heading out on the town tonight, take a look at this interactive trip planner so you know which buses are in your area, and when they arrive.

With all that said, if you do end up in trouble on St. Patrick’s Day, whether be for DUI, assault or underage drinking, please reach out to legal counsel. You’re already facing an uphill battle when you go to court on your own, and it’s going to be even tougher to defend yourself when the judge sees that date of the incident was St. Patrick’s Day. We are working around the clock tonight, and we’ll work hard to get you out of jail and out of a conviction. If you need assistance on St. Patrick’s Day, give Appelman Law Firm a call at (952) 224-2277.

Related source: Metro Transit

 

Drunk Secret Service Members Crash Into White House Barrier

Two secret service agents are under investigation after they allegedly drove drunk and crashed into a White House security barrier last week.

But it gets worse. According to the Washington Post the pair of inebriated agents drove right through a suspicious package investigation. Secret Service Director Joseph Leery said the administration is investigating the matter.

“[We are] aware of the allegations of misconduct involving two of our employees,” said Leery. “If misconduct is identified, appropriate action will be taken based on established rules and regulations.” He also noted that the Secret Service “will fully cooperate” with the inspector general’s office.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said drinking on the job is unacceptable, no matter your line of work.

“Drinking on the job isn’t good at McDonald’s and it certainly isn’t good if you work for the Secret Service,” he said.

Wanted To Breath Test

According to news reports, the pair of agents were drinking at a party and decided to leave. While returning the vehicle to the White House, the pair drove through a tapped off scene where authorities were investigating a bomb threat before hitting a security barrier.

Police responded to the accident but were given the run-around by a high ranking commander. Authorities reportedly wanted to conduct sobriety tests and place the agents under arrest, but a commander ordered the suspects home.

If the DUI allegation is confirmed, it would be the latest incident in a string of blunders for the agency sworn to protect the president. Aside from the DUI scandal, the Secret Service has been rocked with allegations of soliciting prostitutes and letting a mentally unstable man scale the White House fence and burst into the building with a knife.

Related source: Washington Post

Party Bus Joyride Ends With DUI at MN State Hockey Tourney

A hockey official in town to watch the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament ended up in handcuffs last week when he drunkenly took a party bus for a joyride through downtown St. Paul.

Michael Allan Schurrer, director of junior gold/bantam hockey teams in the Forest Lake, was arrested Thursday after he hopped on a small bus that was left running outside of Alary’s Bar near the Xcel Center. The door to the bus was locked, so it’s uncertain exactly how Schurrer boarded the bus, but one way or another he ended up behind the wheel.

Schurrer took the bus on a short trek around downtown St. Paul while a witness called police. Authorities located the bus about a mile from the bar, and they stopped Shurrer as he exited the vehicle. A police report of the incident noted that Schurrer “exhibited a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot, watery eyes, poor balance and slurred speech,” and he also “refused to perform any field sobriety tests.”

Despite his refusal to submit to a breathalyzer, police had enough evidence to place him under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Slew of Charges

Schurrer earned a slew of charges for his drunken joyride, including:

  • Driving after the cancellation of a license.
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test.

Luckily for Schurrer, Alary’s Bar told police that they didn’t want to press charges for automobile theft.

Although the bar didn’t want to pursue charges for auto theft, it’s unlikely that Schurrer will get much leniency from the judge. Schurrer has had numerous run-ins with the law in the past, having been convicted of DWI on five different occasions between 1995 and 2008. He hasn’t carried a valid license since 1997, according to police.

Related source: Inforum.com

Which Traffic Violations Raise Your Insurance Rates The Most?

Traffic violations are no fun. Not only do you have to pay the original fine, but once that’s over, you’ll also have to deal with increased insurance rates. Oftentimes these insurance upticks are much higher than the cost of the traffic citation, but which moving violations raise your insurance rates the most?

Thanks to a comprehensive analysis by the firm Marketwatch, we now know which traffic violations jack up your insurance rates the most. Not surprisingly, driving under the influence tops the list.

5 Violations That Increase Your Insurance The Most

On average, these five driving tickets will increase your insurance premiums the most.

1. DUI/DWI

2. Reckless Driving

3. Speeding 31+ mph over the speed limit

4. Speeding 16-30 mph over the speed limit

5. Careless Driving

See a trend there? Driving violations that put you or other drivers at a heightened risk for an accident all raise your rates the most. But now that we now which violations raise your rates the most, the question at hand is, “How much do these violations raise my rates?”

Biggest Rate Hikers

An analysis of the 50 states revealed that on average, your insurance premiums increase this much based on the violation you commit.

  • DUI  –  92.49%
  • Reckless driving  –  83.29%
  • Speeding 31+ mph over the limit  –  29.36%
  • Speeding 16-30 mph over the limit  –  28.06%
  • Careless driving  –  26.62%
  • Driving the wrong way  –  21.34%
  • Speeding 1-15 mph over the limit  –  20.54%
  • Improper passing  –  20.30%
  • Failure to stop  –  18.94%
  • Following too closely  –  18.86%
  • Failure to yield to pedestrian   –  18.78%
  • Failure to yield  –  18.71%
  • Not signaling  –  18.55%
  • Violating railroad rules  –  18.07%
  • Illegally driving in a carpool lane  –  17.91%
  • Driving without a license  –  16.47%
  • Not wearing a seatbelt  –  5.60%

So if you’re hit with a traffic ticket, don’t just pay the fine and assume that’s the end of it. If you’re not careful, you may end up paying hundreds or thousands extra in increased insurance rates. A traffic attorney can help you with your case and may be able to get the violation reduced or thrown out. Contact us today for a case evaluation.

Related source: Marketwatch

 

Can I get into Canada with a DUI?

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but sometimes avid fishermen want to head north of the border to check out the fishing holes in Canada. Fishing in Canada can be a lot of fun, but crossing the border can be difficult if you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence.

You’ve probably heard the rumor that you can’t get into Canada with a DUI, but that’s not true. That said, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you can’t just waltz across the border. According to the Canadian government, there’s two ways you can get into Canada with a DUI:

  • If you’ve been convicted of a DUI within the past five years, you’ll want to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa. This will allow you to enter Canada for no longer than six months.
  • If the DUI occurred more than five years ago, the best way to get into Canada is to apply for a rehabilitation permit. Once you fill out the rehabilitation application, you’ll need to mail it in along with $200 (Canadian). Assuming everything is in order, you’ll be granted admittance into Canada.

Plan Ahead

It might seem like a pain to apply for admittance, but Canadian authorities are well within their rights to deny entrance into the country if you’ve been convicted of a DUI. In fact, denial of admittance isn’t just limited to DUIs. You can be denied entrance in Canada if you have any serious criminal conviction, or if you lie about a past conviction.

Additionally, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you’ll need to apply for temporary residency or a rehabilitation permit even if you don’t plan on driving. Border patrol has turned away guests on the Victoria Ferry who have obtained a one-day sightseeing pass because they failed to secure a residency or rehabilitation permit. The same idea applies if you’re a passenger in a car. Even if you don’t plan on driving, that DUI can come back to haunt you if you don’t obtain the right permits.

New Jersey Police Don’t Buy “Black Ice” DUI Excuse

Two New Jersey men thought they could fool police by creating a fake scene to get out of a DUI.

According to the police report, Brian Byers, 20, tried to drive home this weekend after consuming a few too many beers. Police say Byers blew through a stop sign, hit a guard rail and then fled the scene. But, like far too many criminals before him, Byers returned to the scene of the crime to clean up his mess.

This time though he had 20-year-old Alexander Zambenedetti in tow. The pair of 20 year olds each came equipped with a five gallon bucket filled with water. They dumped the water around the crash scene to make it look like black ice, not an inebriated driver, was the reason the car went off the road.

Not surprisingly, the police weren’t buying Byers’ story.

“I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve been here 21 years,” said Sgt. John Lamon of the Sparta Police Department.

Sgt. Dennis Procter added that it was pretty easy to determine that the boys were lying about what transpired.

“You could actually see the skid marks underneath the water they had just put there, so we knew that they had dumped this water over the top of where he lost control of the vehicle rather than the vehicle losing control on the ice itself,” said Proctor.

Proctor noted that Byers eventually confessed to the water-logged plan.

“The original driver of the first vehicle that crashed and left the scene made an admission that … their intent was to blame it on the ice so they could collect insurance for the vehicle, for the damage to the vehicle.”

Byers was charged with Driving While Intoxicated, fleeing the scene of an accident and disorderly conduct for creating a dangerous condition by purposefully icing the roads. Zambenedetti, who dove Byers back to the scene of the crash, also failed a field sobriety test. He too was arrested for DWI.

Related source: CBS2, People, 1010 WINS,

Minnesota Supreme Court Upholds Implied Consent Law

The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the state’s Implied Consent law on Wednesday, effectively saying that as long as the ends justify the means, bypassing forth amendment protections is perfectly acceptable.

Implied Consent, the law at the center of the case, says that drivers must submit to field testing and a breathalyzer if they are suspected of driving under the influence, even if there is no warrant. Proponents of this law continue to champion driving as a privilege, and thus argue that citizens must acquiesce to the whims of law enforcement even without the presence of a warrant. They say things like “Well, if you’ve got nothing to hide, then why should it even matter?” and “Only guilty people would refuse,” but they are missing the larger picture. Our constitution protects us from unreasonable and warrantless searches, so no justification of your refusal should be needed. If the officer really wants to search you, and he has probable cause, then it should be no trouble to get a warrant and conduct a legal search.

The majority opinion, penned by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, demonstrates a frightful line of thinking, especially for a person in her position of power.

“It is rational to conclude that criminalizing the refusal to submit to a breath test relates to the State’s ability to prosecute drunk drivers and keep Minnesota roads safe,” she wrote. “We therefore hold that the test refusal statute is a reasonable means to a permissive object and that it passes rational basis review.”

In other words, criminalizing a citizen’s right to execute fourth amendment protections granted by our Constitution is fine because it makes the world a safer place.

You know what else would make the world a safer place? Instituting a 7 pm curfew. Most crimes happen at night, right? Or how about we institute the death penalty for anybody caught going over the speed limit? I’m all but certain we’d see a huge drop in traffic violations. That would make the world a safer place, wouldn’t it?

The rational used by Justice Gildea is exactly the line of thinking Ben Franklin cautioned against when he said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Dissenting Opinion

Although the majority opinion won out, Justices Alan Page and David Stras wrote a harsh criticism of the ruling. Justices Page and Stras said biological material inside a person’s body should not be applicable to the warrantless search exemption.

“The Supreme Court has never implied, much less stated, that the search-incident-to-arrest exception extends to the forcible removal of substances from within a person’s body,” they wrote. “In the end, the court ultimately arrives at a decision that is as notable for its disregard of Supreme Court precedent as it is for its defective logic.”

Related source: Grand Forks Herald

Cowboy Jacks In Hot Water For Possible Overserving

Cowboy Jacks in Plymouth could face serious penalties after police say the the bar’s patrons have been involved in numerous alcohol-related instances after they leave the establishment.

Plymouth police have been asking individuals who were involved in an alcohol-related crime or hospitalization where they sipped their last drink in an effort to determine if any particular establishment may be overserving its patrons. Police uncovered that Cowboy Jacks was a name that came up quite frequently. According to the data:

  • In the last year, of the 57 people who told Plymouth police where they had their last drink, 43 said it came at Cowboy Jacks.
  • Of the 57 cases, 16 involved DUI arrests. Of those 16 individuals, 13 told police they took their last drink at Cowboy Jacks.
  • The average BAC of DUI arrests from Cowboy Jacks was .172, more than double the legal limit. For other DUI arrests, the average BAC was .132.

The Plymouth City Council said the bar could face significant sanctions if the trend continues. If the bar is named as the last drink destination of three people arrested for alcohol-related offenses within a three-month period, Cowboy Jacks could be fined or have its liquor license revoked.

“They are incomparable to anyone else. The numbers are that staggering,” said Plymouth police chief Mike Goldstein.

While the findings are surprising, there are a number of other factors that haven’t been considered. For example, maybe police target the bar’s patrons around closing time, and ultimately, the bar isn’t forcing anyone to get in their car when they are over the limit.

Minnesota Dram Shop Laws

Alcohol license revocation could be the least of the bar’s worries in the event that one of their inebriated patrons ends up hurting or killing someone else. Under Minnesota’s Dram Shop law, “A spouse, child, parent, guardian, employer, or other person injured in person, property, or means of support, or who incurs other pecuniary loss by an intoxicated person or by the intoxication of another person, has a right of action in the person’s own name for all damages sustained against a person who caused the intoxication of that person by illegally selling alcoholic beverages.”

Cowboy Jacks wouldn’t be illegally selling alcoholic beverages in the traditional sense, but under the state’s dram shop law, it’s illegal for an establishment to sell alcohol to a minor or an obviously intoxicated person. Some people hold their liquor much better than others, so proving that someone was “obviously intoxicated” at the time they were served is difficult.

Hopefully Cowboy Jacks retrains its bartenders to spot drunk patrons and does more to provide transportation options for those who clearly shouldn’t be driving.

Related source: Bring Me The News, Minnesota Sun Sailor, The Partnership for Change