Articles Posted in DUI Defense

In August of 2015, 20-year-old Jared Gerhardt was charged with a single count of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury. The accident took place in March, when Gerhardt was allegedly driving 100 mph before his Camaro veered toward a sign and ultimately left the road before rolling numerous times and coming to rest in a field. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

Three people were in the vehicle when the crash occurred; Gerhardt, 20-year-old Austin Myers, and 17-year-old Wyatt M. Barry. Myers and Gerhardt were thrown from the car during the accident. Barry ran to a nearby residence for help, and told deputies upon their arrival that Myers had been driving Gerhardt’s Camaro initially, but at some point the two switched places. Before the crash occurred, news articles indicate Myers grabbed the wheel while Gerhardt was driving when the vehicle began leaving the road, then Gerhardt overcorrected causing him to lose control.

Gerhardt, now 21 years old, pleaded guilty to the charge which is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Austin Myers suffered a broken arm in the crash, and Gerhardt was very remorseful in court according to reports, saying that he made a very bad decision and got behind the wheel under the influence. He also said he felt bad that his friend was hurt in the accident.

Recently, 27-year-old Jose A. Ortiz of Napa was stopped by St. Helena Police officers after failing to stop at a stop sign. Now, Ortiz faces a felony DUI charge after it was determined it was Ortiz’s fourth arrest for driving under the influence within the last 10 years, according to news reports. iStock_000068527987_Large-2-300x200

Ortiz allegedly turned onto southbound Main Street from eastbound Spring Street without stopping; officers also noted that Ortiz sped up to 41 mph in a 25 mph zone before they pulled him over, according to Sgt. Chris Hartley.

Hartley claims that Ortiz had a BAC (blood alcohol content) above the .08 percent legal limit in California upon taking a breath test. He also failed field sobriety tests, and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. A fourth DUI arrest in California is charged as a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Ortiz was booked into the Napa County Jail.

In the early morning hours of March 20, a 20-year-old Norwalk woman was charged with drunk driving while underage and a litany of other charges after she fled the scene of a traffic stop, according to news reports. Jenna Jewell is accused of attacking police officers as well, and faces charges that in addition to DUI include reckless driving, use and possession of drug paraphernalia, engaging in pursuit, assault on a peace officer, and more. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

Norwalk police officers claim that just before 3 a.m. on Sunday, they witnessed an SUV with its headlights turned off driving in a northbound direction on North Main St. Police followed the vehicle, and noticed the female driver was operating the SUV in an erratic manner. After Jewell allegedly ran a red light, police used lights and sirens and gave chase. Police claim that with headlights still off, she continued to ignore red lights and eventually pulled over at an intersection, where her SUV struck the curb.

As police scanned her license plate, the woman sped away once more and drove in a dangerous manner, nearly colliding with another vehicle. The next time she stopped, officers removed her from the SUV in an effort to prevent her from fleeing the scene once more.

Recently, 39-year-old Anthony Broadfoot of South Lake Tahoe was arrested for his third DUI in three iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253months. According to news reports, Broadfoot, an El Dorado County sheriff’s deputy was on paid administrative leave when the latest incident took place.

Broadfoot was involved in a crash in the Shingle Springs area where he allegedly struck a parked vehicle in a parking lot. California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene, and upon investigating arrested Broadfoot on suspicion of DUI.

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In January of last year, Michigan State Police Trooper Sammy Seymour Jr. was pulled over while off duty in Ludington. He was initially charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicatediStock_000016894637_XXXLarge-2-300x200 and open intoxicant in a vehicle, however the judge dismissed the second charge because the beer can which would have contained fingerprints had been discarded, and the officer failed to check the box on the ticket. Seymour was placed on administrative leave, but is now back on road patrol out of Cadillac after recently pleading guilty to reduced charges.

Although Seymour was driving a Volkswagen Jetta at the time he was pulled over, a negotiated plea deal allowed him to plead guilty to operating an off-road vehicle (ORV) while visibly impaired. Through this plea negotiation, Seymour will not have restrictions placed on his driver’s license. The trial judge in the case suppressed the results of a Datamaster breath alcohol test, which meant the jury would not have heard this evidence had the case gone to trial. This would have made obtaining a conviction difficult for prosecutors.

The first trial took place in May of last year, however the judge declared a mistrial after the jury became deadlocked. While prosecutors intended to put Seymour on trial once again and appealed the suppression of the Datamaster breath results by the judge, a higher court judge agreed that suppression of some of the evidence was proper, including roadside statements made during the traffic stop and results of certain field sobriety tests.

Early Saturday morning February 13, 34-year-old Leticia Astacio was pulled over on Interstate 490 by New York State troopers. Astacio, who is a Rochester City Court judge, was arrested for drunken driving after she refused to take a breathalyzer test. iStock_000004337124_Large-2-190x300

News reports at Syracuse.com and CBS news revealed troopers were dispatched to an area near Mount Read Blvd. on I-490 at approximately 8 a.m. on Saturday when a one car accident was reported. It is believed the judge’s vehicle was the car in the accident, according to Trooper Chris Kowalski.

Astacio was on her way to court to preside over criminal court arraignments when she was stopped. Following her DUI arrest, another judge was called in to replace her. Astacio was released with an appearance ticket, and is scheduled to appear in court on the misdemeanor DWI charge in March. The appearance ticket issued to Astacio was designated DWI with refusal.

On Saturday February 6, a 51-year-old Fultondale, AL man was pulled over for driving in an erratic manner. Joel Allan Sloan was wearing a clown costume when he was pulled over by a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy. Another motorist reportedly flagged down the deputy after noticing Sloan’s erratic driving. iStock_000023802012_XXXLarge-2-300x200

Sloan was driving a red Ford SUV when the other motorist noticed he was weaving in and out of lanes. As the deputy approached to pull the suspect over, he noticed the vehicle crossing into the oncoming lane then back into his own lane.

According to news reports, Sloan did not explain to the deputy his reason for being dressed in full clown attire, but did say he had just been at a local restaurant where he had a few drinks. Authorities also found that Sloan had an outstanding felony warrant for first-degree theft of property. He was arrested and charged with DUI before being booked into the Jefferson County Jail. Sloan’s bond was set at $2,500.

Last Thursday, co-executive producer of Northwest Productionsdui-arrest announced on her Facebook page that Miss Washington USA Stormy Keffeler had resigned, and that Kelsey Schmidt, first runner-up, would assume the title.  Keffeler’s resignation is reportedly in connection with a DUI arrest in April of last year.

According to news reports, Maureen Francisco, the co-executive producer who works with Miss Washington USA, was unaware at the time of the October pageant that Keffeler had been arrested on DUI charges in April after being pulled over while driving on two flat tires.  Court documents claim her BAC (blood alcohol content) level was almost three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
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On January 9, a Florida woman was arrested in Melbourne, FL after a passerby noticed she was driving at a high rate of speed without headlights, zigzagging through traffic on U.S. 1. The passerby reported the woman’s driving to authorities, who pulled over 33-year-old Jacquelyn Tadrous. Although she was said to be driving recklessly with four children in the vehicle, police also noticed she appeared to be intoxicated, and had open containers of alcohol inside the vehicle. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

The incident occurred at about 11:30 p.m. according to news reports. The children in the vehicle ranged from two to 16 years of age; Tadrous faces charges including child neglect, violation of probation, and driving under the influence. In addition, police said she was on probation for a July 2015 DUI conviction, and driving on a suspended license. Tadrous, a Rockledge resident, was incarcerated at the Brevard County Jail and held without bond pending her court appearance on Monday, January 11.

In the state of Michigan, anyone who drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child or children younger than 16 may be charged with child endangerment. While charges of driving under the influence are serious, DUI with a child in the vehicle are even more serious. Considering Tadrous was on probation for a 2015 DUI conviction, the criminal penalties she will face if found guilty will likely be enhanced.

Michigan State Police collected statistics for drunk driving charges and arrests for 2014, and there are some very interesting facts according to a recent article at Mlive.com. Michigan’s 2014 Drunk Driving Audit confirmed that just over 35,000 individuals in the state were convicted on DUI charges in 2014. What else did we learn? iStock_000006220072_Double (2)

Over the last decade, arrests and convictions have dropped by 35% across the state. Does this mean fewer people are driving while under the influence? Not necessarily – people are driving less. Annual reports indicate that over the past ten years, vehicle miles driven have also dropped by about 30%. Another factor for the reduction in DUI arrests and convictions is that there are fewer traffic stops because of a smaller police force, resulting in fewer road patrols.

The good news is that over the last decade, impaired driving resulting in injury has dropped by 30%, while the number of deaths attributed to accidents caused by drunk drivers has dropped by 19%.