Monday, August 18, 2008
Answer: No, not in Utah.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will not issue a work permit. I have only seen one in my years of practicing law and the client was not supposed to get it. It was rare. It was a mistake on the part of the DMV and the license suspension was not related to a DUI.
Utah's Law: Utah has no provisions for a work permit. My friends in Texas can get a "needs necessity license" that allows people to go to and from work and to conduct visitation with children. Utah has no such license. If your license gets revoked or suspended, and you get caught driving on that suspension, you not only face more criminal charges, but the DMV will extend the suspension.
Alternate Transportation: My advice is to find alternate transportation. I know what you are thinking, "the bus doesn't work for me." Do some creative thinking. If I was in high school and had no money, I would have been happy to drive someone around for a small cost. Hire a driver. Find someone who has no job, but has a driver's license. Put them to work. That way, there is no risk for you on the suspension Issue.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
DUI for driver of ambulance?
Man had volunteered for 16 years before incident
Deseret Morning News
PAYSON — Police arrested a volunteer ambulance driver for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol early Saturday morning after he responded to a call to transport a hospital patient to another medical facility, officials said.
The 44-year-old volunteer was serving as a backup driver from his home that morning when he heard a call for an additional driver, said Payson Fire Chief Scott Spencer.
"There were no patients on board though," said Spencer.
The volunteer had apparently been drinking at home before he left to pick up an ambulance and a two-man EMT crew late Friday night to take a patient from Payson's Mountain View Hospital to Provo's Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, officials said.
The driver, however, didn't get that far.
"He only drove (the ambulance) about four or five blocks," said Spencer. "When he got to the hospital where he was to (pick up the patient for) transport, he was stopped."
His ambulance crew was suspicious during the short ride, but a Payson police officer at the hospital initiated an investigation after apparently smelling alcohol on the man, Spencer said.
The man, a 16-year veteran volunteer for the department, submitted to a field sobriety test, including a Breathalyzer, Spencer said.
"They showed me the results," Spencer said. "It was a real disappointment, but I told them we had to treat him like anybody else."
Payson police said an initial test showed the man's blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit. They handed the investigation over to the Utah County Sheriff's Office to avoid a conflict of interest.
Sheriff deputies arrested the driver and booked him into Utah County Jail on a probable cause statement for DUI at 1 a.m. Jail officials released him after he posted a $1,300 cash bail an hour and a half later. No charges have been filed.
The man was immediately suspended after his arrest while police investigated. On Wednesday, however, the man resigned from the department while conveying regret for the incident.
"He resigned and said he was really sorry," said Spencer.
The man apparently has no prior arrests or any history of DUI violations, according to jail and court records.
"It just frustrates me because he knows better," Spencer said. "He wanted to help out but made a poor decision."
Friday, August 03, 2007
People often ask me what to look for when hiring a lawyer to defend their DUI. Generally speaking, there are six things that a person should see in a lawyer. Look for a specialist, someone who focuses on your type of case, and someone who has experienced and is trained in this area of the law. It has been said that DUI cases are the most complex type of cases because of the science and the intricate facts that surround a DUI case. That being said, if you had to have brain surgery, you would not go to a family physician. You would seek out the best surgeon you could find. Here are the five things I think a person should look for in an attorney.
Associations: The National College of DUI Defense is an association that provides the most advanced training in defending a DUI. The best attorney’s from around the nation are members of this organization and help train other attorney’s in this specialized field. Your attorney should be an active member of this organization and it will give you a good clue that the attorney knows how to properly defend a DUI. The attorney should also be a member of his local Criminal Defense Association (i.e. Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers). The attorney should also be a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Association. The attorney should also have formal training in trial work such as the
Experience: Ask questions about how long the attorney has been representing citizens accused of DUIs. Ask the attorney how many trials they have done that relate to DUI. Ask the attorney about suppression hearings they have done.
Case Load: You want to determine if the attorney is just a dump truck that takes your case, takes your attorney fee, and then walks you in and says there is nothing we can do, just plead guilty. I try to keep my case load between 30 to 50 clients. It does no service to a client if the attorney is just running around on 200 cases trying to do a volume business. Try to decipher if the attorney has the time to think about your case, or just wants your money. Sometimes you can decipher this by what they charge. If the attorney charges your $500, you can expect a $500 job. To properly defend a case, be prepared for a couple of thousand. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Practice Focus: Determine what percentage of their practice is focused on DUI. Are they a lawyer that does a run of the mill and is offering to do your bankruptcy, divorce, and personal injury case too? Look at where the attorney focuses his practice.
Accessibility: Determine whether you will be able to get a hold of your attorney. I provide my clients with all of my contact information including cell phone and email address. Most if not all clients, will receive contact back from within just a couple of hours, unless I’m in trial, then it would be the next day.
How do You feel: Finally, Determine how you feel about the attorney and if you trust the attorney. Does the attorney sound like a salesman, or is he really interested in your case. Does he ask you in-depth questions about your case and answer your questions?
Monday, June 18, 2007
The worst part of driving on a suspended or revoked license is that it extends your suspension period by the DMV. Even if your lawyer makes a plea deal so that you don't plea to driving on a suspended license and the plea is to something that says your were driving in a car (i.e. broken tail lamp), the DMV will still extend your suspension period on the basis that you were driving on a suspended license. Here is a story that was printed in the Ogden Standard Examiner that discusses this issue briefly.
What if Paris were in Utah?
Local attorneys talk about how DUI sentences compare
BY JESSE FRUHWIRTH
Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org
FARMINGTON — While nationwide pundits decide whether Paris Hilton’s “celebrity justice” means she’s being let off easy or treated too harshly, two local attorneys agree her sentence has been comparable to “Utah justice.”
Deputy Davis County Attorney Richard Larsen nor Ogdenbased defense attorney Glen Neeley claim to be experts on California’s DUI laws. Each state legislature sets its own rules on how driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is to be penalized.
Both men, however, have extensive courtroom experience with Utah’s DUI laws. They answered questions on how a defendant who had been convicted of a first DUI and twice caught driving on a subsequently suspended license might fare in Top of Utah courts.
First-time DUI offenders, Larsen said, will usually receive a sentence similar to Hilton’s.
“It is fairly standard in Utah. The fine is $1,332, then a requirement of either two days in jail or 48 hours of community service,” he said. “Generally, what happens is, the judge allows the community service.”
More punishment, Neeley added, comes from the driver’s license suspension, which forbids the recent DUI offender from getting behind the wheel for any reason.
“You’ll get 90 days suspension for a first offense,” Neeley said. “Your second offense is one year. … In Utah, it’s black and white. Other states have a ‘needs necessary’ license, but Utah has no permit for driving to work.”
Even then, the punishment is not over, and this is before any probation violations occur.
“If your license is suspended for a DUI, you’re normally going to have an ‘alcohol-restricted license,’ ” Neeley said.
New in 2005, the sometimes-referred-to “not-adrop” law states that, for two years, first-time DUI offenders are not allowed to operate a vehicle if they have even the slightest amount of alcohol in their system.
Nonoffenders can consume alcohol and operate a vehicle lawfully, provided the driver’s blood-alcohol level is lower than 0.08.
Violating the 90-day suspension — even while completely sober — or the twoyear alcohol restriction usually won’t land a person in jail, Neeley said.
“It can be jail time, but if it’s the first time they’ve been caught, it’s usually just a fine, community service, things like that,” he said.
But there is no framework for penalizing probation violators the way there is for the initial DUI, Larsen said, so a judge is legally allowed to sentence up to six months in jail.
“When you get to the point of a probation violation … ultimately, it’s the judge that makes the final decision,” he said.
Depending on the community, Larsen said, courts will consider jail overcrowding when sentencing a first-time probation violator. Also, he said, Top of Utah courts typically allow work release to individuals who have steady employment.
“If somebody has a job, we generally consider it to be in the community’s best interest to allow them to keep working rather than causing them to lose their jobs,” Larsen said.
Of course, people on work release won’t be able to drive themselves to their job. They’ll need to take the bus or catch a ride from someone else.
But what about a second probation violation? Could a person really evade jail time after a second violation of a court order?
“They may not get jail time if the defendant understands the circumstances and is getting the message,” Larsen said, “and if not, a judge asks, ‘What can I do to get through to this defendant?’ ”
It appears as if Hilton, after two probation violations, might serve as many as 40 more days in jail.
Both Neeley and Larsen stopped short of saying whether that is unusual. They agree that it simply depends on the policies, attitudes and judgments of the judge.
Monday, June 11, 2007
As the race for Salt Lake City mayor heats up, there is one candidate you shouldn't expect to see at any joint appearances or debates. He'll be spending his time at the Salt Lake County metro jail instead.
Candidate John Renteria, who is president of the Latino support organization Centro Civico Mexicano, was sent to jail Friday by 3rd District Judge Sheila McCleve for 365 days.
He appeared in McCleve's court to show cause why he shouldn't have his probation on DUI-related convictions revoked. Despite his pleas that he is needed in the community, McCleve had him handcuffed and taken directly to jail.
Renteria, who has run several times for public office, including for the City Council and the Legislature, violated the conditions of his probation by driving on a revoked license, consuming alcohol and not reporting to his probation officer when he was supposed to, according to the court file.
He also did not fully comply with the judge's orders requiring him to wear an electronic ankle device during his probation, the judge found.
Renteria was considered a second-tier candidate and not given much of a chance to win. The last campaign finance disclosure indicated he had raised no money.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Tears flowed in 3rd District Juvenile Court as Christopher Williams forgave Cameron Howard White for killing four members of his family.
But when Judge Andrew Valdez asked White to tell where he got a bottle of vodka that night, White's attorney quickly interrupted.
"I need to review that," Richard Van Wagoner told the judge. "He has not waived his Fifth Amendment rights [against self-incrimination]."
Valdez told White he would not force him to go against the advice of his attorney, but added: "You know how important it is for [the family] to know, Cameron. What they want is heartfelt."
Earlier in the hearing, Christopher Williams' mother, Nadine Williams, had told White, "The one decent thing you could do is tell who gave you the liquor."
White, who had partially consumed a bottle of Smirnoff watermelon vodka, was driving his mother's Jeep Cherokee south on 2000 East beneath the Interstate 80 overpass about 9:40 p.m. on Feb. 9 when he swerved across the median and struck a Volkswagen Passat driven by 42-year-old Christopher Williams.
Williams' wife, Michelle Williams, 41, who was seven months pregnant; their son, Ben, 11, and daughter, Anna, 9, were killed.
Christopher Williams and another son, Sam, 6, were injured. Another son, Michael, 14, was not in the car that night.
White, then 17, left the scene on foot and was arrested several blocks away, where he told police he was too drunk to perform field sobriety tests. He also told police he drank alcohol on a daily basis, according to testimony from White's May 10 certification hearing.
A blood test measured White's blood-alcohol level at 0.15 percent, nearly twice Utah's legal limit of 0.08.
White pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of second-degree felony automobile homicide.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop third-degree felony and class A misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, and leaving the scene of an injury accident.
Earlier this month, Valdez decided against ordering White to stand trial in adult court, where the teen would have faced up to 30 years at Utah State Prison.
Valdez said the juvenile court system - which has jurisdiction over White only until he turns 21 - offered White a better chance at rehabilitation and the best chance for long-term protection of the community.
White thanked the judge for that decision on Monday, saying: "You saved my life."
He also thanked the victims' families. "I want you to know how much I love you," White said with a sob.
Nadine Williams said she has tried not to be angry with White, but that was made more difficult when she learned he had twice been referred to juvenile court last year for fighting and brandishing a knife at Skyline High School.
"I want you to know you have destroyed a family," Nadine Williams told the teen. "I think he should have the full three years with no parole."
Michelle Williams' mother, Audrea Dorney, who lives near the Whites and knew Cameron White as a young boy, said she is not convinced prison wouldn't have been more appropriate.
"I truly hope this is a wake-up call for you," she added.
How long White actually stays incarcerated will be determined by the Youth Parole Authority, the juvenile equivalent of the state parole board.
Christopher Williams told the court he wanted "peace and healing rather than retribution," adding that he hopes White will "make something of himself."
The judge said that could be accomplished, in part, if White chooses to speak to other teens about the dangers of drinking and driving.
"You still decide who you are and what you will become," Valdez told White. "I believe you can do it. It's one reason I kept you in the juvenile system. It's on you now."
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Study: Drivers On Cell Phones As Bad As Drunk Driving Last Edited: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 4:16 PM MDT Created: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 4:16 PM MDT
According to the recent study the levels of impairment are nearly equal.
And police say the roll of cell phones in crashes is likely underreported.
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Preston Raban says unless a driver acknowledges using a cell phone or a witness can attest to it, it's hard to know if a cell phone contributed to a crash.
The potential for cell phone use to contribute to crashes has prompted
Research suggests that while drunken drivers and drivers who use cell phones exhibited different problems driving, both had trouble in overall traffic safety.