The Collateral Damage of Alcohol and Drugs

Discussion surrounding alcohol and drug abuse often revolves around the consequences of substance abuse to the individual – and understandably so, considering the devastating effects of alcohol and drugs on the user. Alcohol and drug abuse is detrimental to the individual, but also results in substantial harm to family, friends, and society at large who are left to suffer as the collateral damage of addiction.

In a recent study, former government researchers from the UK sought to quantify the harm caused by commonly abused drugs. Ultimately, they were able to rank the most commonly abused drugs according to their overall harm, their potential to harm the user, and their potential to harm others. Although it is the only legal substance that was analyzed, alcohol outranked every other illegal drug both in terms of its overall harm and its potential to harm others. (more…)

Three Strikes of West Virgina

It is hard to believe that it has been almost 17 years since former President Clinton announced the nationwide initiative to set a standard for impaired driving due to alcohol at .08 BAC. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in the year immediately following that announcement 15,786 traffic fatalities on American roadways were caused by alcohol. That figure represents 38 percent of all traffic fatalities that year.

West Virginia adopted the new measure and has a strict punitive schedule for those caught operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Understanding that both your finances and your freedom are at stake when you drive after drinking is meant as a deterrent to those who consider getting behind the wheel.

Strike 1

The first time an individual gets a DUI on the roads of West Virginia, it may have been a gross error in judgement. The law and the courts, however, are no less forgiving. Depending on the conditions surrounding your arrest, you can expect to the courts to levy the following judgements:

  • Up to six (6) months in jail
  • A fine ranging from $100 to $1000
  • Suspension of driver’s license from 15 to 45 days

Each of these punishments is meant to highlight the importance the state of West Virginia places on maintaining safe roadways free of impaired drivers.

Strike 2

A second offense for DUI in the state of West Virginia leads to stiffer fines and penalties. A repeat offender has shown that the first conviction was not enough of a deterrent to abstain from driving after drinking. A second conviction for DUI in West Virginia is subject to the following:

  • From six (6) to 12 months in jail
  • A fine ranging from $1000 to $3000 
  • 1 year suspension of driver’s license
  • Mandatory IID (Ignition Interlock Device) requirement

The IID requirement is mandatory with all convictions after the first DUI conviction. These devices measure the alcohol on the driver’s breath before allowing the vehicle to start.

Strike 3

If you are appearing before a court of law on your third DUI conviction within a 10 year period, the harsh punishments associated with a second conviction look like child’s play compared with what you can expect from the judge hearing your case. If convicted for a third DUI offense, the penalties and fines include:

  • From one (1) to three (3) years in jail
  • A fine ranging from $3000 to $5000
  • 1 year suspension of driver’s license
  • Mandatory IID (Ignition Interlock Device) requirement

Understanding the severity of the West Virginia DUI laws hopefully deters individuals from taking to the roads after having had a few drinks. In the unfortunate case that you are arrested for DUI in the state of West Virginia, the services of a competent West Virginia attorney are necessary to help you navigate the legal landscape.

Budweiser Releases Global Be(er) Responsible Day PSA Video

From Budweiser: Next time you go out, be sure to make a plan to get home safely. Your friends are counting on you. Enjoy Budweiser responsibly. #FriendsAreWaiting.

And their great PSA video. Share with your friends! (more…)

The Most Dangerous Cities: DUIs, Death and Your Insurance

Everyone knows that DUIs have a high price, both personal and financial. Not only do alcohol-related accidents kill thousands of people – 10,322 in 2012 – but they cost about $199 billion per year. Betweenlegal and insurance penalties, those convicted of drunk driving pay a high price, too –but how much?In a recent study, NerdWallet analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on fatal alcohol-related crashes per capita in the 150 largest cities. We then compared it to our own data on insurance premiums for drivers convicted of DUIs, and came to a surprising conclusion.

Because laws and insurance premiums vary from city to city and state to state, drivers convicted of a DUI in Omaha won’t find themselves facing the same consequences as those convicted of a DUI in Detroit. However, the cities where drunk driving is the most fatal are often not those in which drivers face the most severe insurance consequences.  (more…)

Washington State Prepares for More Marijuana DUIs

Washington is one of two states that permit recreational use, sale and purchase of marijuana. Colorado and Washington both legalized marijuana in 2012, and each state has faced unique challenges to safely implement the law. Though Colorado has been permitting marijuana sales and purchase since January 1, 2014, Washington did not start licensing marijuana retailers for pot sales until July 2014. Experts within the state believe Washington pot shops will quickly run out of product, with many unable to deliver to the thousands of customers waiting in long lines on opening day. Marijuana sales are expected to offer a boon to Washington’s economy, though an uptick in sales may be slow due to licensing red tape.

Police Preparing for “High” Drivers

As state residents gear up for legal high times, law enforcement across Washington State are preparing for a likely increase of DUIs due to marijuana. Officers claim that marijuana-related DUIs increased after voters approved home growing and use in 2012. Now users are no longer restricted to backyard pot, and can also legally buy from local weed shops. Police fear that an increase of use due to the now-legal sales will lead to more Washington drivers getting behind the wheel while impaired by marijuana. Officials also fear that drivers will confuse the law legalizing pot with laws banning driving under the influence of the drug. (more…)