Driving under the influence of alcohol, also known as DUI, is illegal for a reason. Alcohol can compromise the driving skills of a person, putting him or her at risk of traffic accidents. But because DUI is illegal anywhere, it is often exaggerated and misunderstood, resulting into undeserved arrests, charges, and penalties.
The good news is, according to the website of Horst Law, there is a way to defend DUI charges, to minimize the penalties or dismiss the case entirely. Below are some of the most common defenses.
Validity of Stop
One of the most common ways to counter a DUI charge is to question the stop and arrest itself. If the driver has been ordered to pull over with no probable cause, all evidence that can be gathered during that period may be nullified.
Doubt on Officer’s Observation
The arresting officer’s observations can also be put into question, especially if these judgments have resulted into the arrest. Below are some examples:
- Officer believes that the driver is drunk, but in fact the driver is just sleepy
- Officer wrongly pulls over the driver because he appears to be driving erratically, even though he is not
Validity of Tests
There are various ways to test if a person is intoxicated, including breathalyzers, field sobriety tests, and chemical tests. But these tests can only be valid if the arrest is lawful and the officers have given warnings and proper information regarding them. If any of these factors are not met, the tests may be considered invalid, and therefore their results may not be considered viable evidence.
Accuracy of Tests Results
The tests are not always accurate, and this fact can be used as a defense in court, with the idea that the results are not truthful or just outright doubtful. Below are some of the instances where test results can be put into question:
- Administering authorities did improper procedures that may influence results
- Equipment, tools, and machines used in the test are defective
- Procedures were confusing, so driver was not able to properly do the tests
Drunk-driving is listed with reckless driving, over-speeding and driver error as the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Car accidents in the U.S. have always numbered to more than five million annually, injuring more than two million and killing no less than 30,000 every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the usual offenders of the law against drunk-driving, are adolescents; those aged between 17 and 24.
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit set by the U.S. government is 0.08% (the limit is lower for commercial truck drivers and individuals below the age of 21). Offenders caught with a 0.08% or higher BAC level will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) or with the more serious offense, drinking while impaired/intoxicated (DWI) (some states, however, DUI and DWI interchangeably).
DUI or DWI is a serious crime. Penalties for the offense vary, depending on the severity of the offense and the number of times it has been committed. Under the law, the basic sentences for offenders include:
- 1 to 30 days imprisonment;
- $200 fine;
- revocation or suspension of driver’s license; and,
- installation of an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) in the vehicle of the offender. An IID is a device like the breath analyzer. It measures the level of BAC in the driver. If the BAC level detected by the IID is higher than its programmed limit (usually as low as 0.02%), it will automatically render the vehicle incapable of starting.
Drunk-driving accidents usually happen on weekends and on holidays. This is because, despite drinking, many simply refuse to believe that the alcohol they consumed will impair them. People will have to realize that BAC reading is based on the level of alcohol that is detectable in their blood, despite them still being sober.
According to the firm Horst Law, “Even a single DUI conviction could change your life. For starters, your license will be revoked for a full year after your conviction, at which time you will have to work through the complex process of getting your license reinstated. Until it is eventually reinstated, you will have to figure out a way to get to and from work, assuming that you do not lose your job. By the time everything is said and done, the state estimates that the overall cost of a first-offense DUI could be just under $5,000. Aside from the long-term consequences that a conviction is likely to have on both your livelihood and lifestyle, you will have to serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail.” Thus, if charged, a really good criminal defense attorney can be your best ticket to an acquittal.
Companies use employment tests to filter applicants, to separate those who are qualified to those who are not. When employers say qualified, they don’t just mean in job skills, but also in physical fitness, mental fortitude, and other factors that may directly or indirectly affect the job.
Employers require applicants to take different tests to know if they are qualified for these varying factors. The common kinds of tests are written below.
Job Knowledge Test
This is arguably the most important employment test, because it measures your knowledge of the job. It determines your level of competence in the applied position by giving you questions related to your tasks.
These tests are objective, meaning there are right and wrong answers. They are often in written format, but an oral type is not that unlikely.
Cognitive Ability Test
Aside from knowledge of the job, employers also look into your cognitive abilities such as comprehension, logic, reasoning, and other departments that may indirectly affect your success in the position you are applying for. It is important for the employer to know your mental capabilities, because these capabilities show your potential in solving job-related issues.
These tests are more general, but they are still objective in nature. They are often in multiple choice format.
Even if you are knowledgeable of the job and have the mental capability to solve job-related problems, you can still fail in your position if you do not have the specific personality traits that are advantageous for the position.
For example, an employee in the sales department may have more success if he is assertive, confident, and outgoing, but an employee in the creative department may get away with being reserved.
These tests are not objective, meaning there are no right and wrong answers. Personality tests are often in the form of multiple choice. You are give certain scenarios and are required to choose what you will do if you are put in the same situation.
You can have the knowledge for the job, the mental fortitude to solve job-related problems, and the right personality traits for the position, but you can still perform unsatisfactorily when you are already on the job. That’s why employers give you a chance to feel the workplace by giving you a simulation of it, so they could see you actually perform the job. These simulations assess your skills and competence in your tasks.
Simulation tests are in practical form. Maybe you are required to demonstrate your knowledge of a particular computer program that is essential for the position, or prove your physical fitness for a job that is physically demanding.
Testing for employment may be hard, but it is often a necessary task to help you and your potential employer prevent things like job frustration, employee turnovers, job-related injuries, and other issues that may affect the business and personal side of employment.
Whenever there are truck accidents, the blame often goes to the driver for their negligence. While it may be clear that the collision may be their fault, this may not be the case all the time. There are other factors that may have contributed to the accident and one of them is employer negligence. In this article, we will discuss company liability in a truck accident.
According to the website of Spiros Champaign Law Firm, employers have the duty to ensure that their trucks should be regularly maintained and properly operated to reach their destinations safely. The liability of an employer is governed by the “respondeat superior” rule. Under this principle, the employer is responsible for the negligent acts of a truck driver if such were unintentional and were committed within the scope of their employment. For example, if the driver decided to stop by to watch a movie while on his way to their destination and gets into an accident, they will be liable for the accident. He still had a duty to perform.
The liability of an employer will also depend on whether or not the truck driver is their employee or an independent contractor. So how will the court determine which is which? If the truck company controls the working hours, route, and provides benefits to the driver, then the driver is their employee. On the other hand, if the driver uses their own truck, pays for their own gas and oil, and shoulders their own liability insurance, then the driver is an independent contractor.
There is an exception to every rule and the same way to employer liability. If the truck driver is an employee of a trucking company and commit an intentional act, then the employer will not have any liability whatsoever. For example, if the driver intentionally slams their truck into another vehicle because the other driver is having an affair with their spouse, the company is then free from any liability.
While the law requires truck drivers and trucking companies to ensure that trucks are well maintained and properly operated (through disciplined driving), the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that many drivers are allowed to drive despite having bad driving records and warnings from their safety officers. Many truck drivers have also been found to be intoxicated with alcohol, which is one of the major causes of fatal truck accidents.
Worse than these is the means employed by many carriers. These re-register under a new name with the Department of Transportation, in order to evade penalties and liability for repeated violation of federal safety rules.
Studies by the Department of Transportation have revealed the existence of so-called “chameleon carriers,” which simply change their names and corporate structure to be able to continue their operations. However, while avoiding legal responsibilities for their traffic violations, these “chameleon carriers” also continue and even become more dangerous on the road.
More than two million semi-trucks or big rigs operate on US roads and highways and, for years now, the NHTSA has continued to record about half a million accidents involving a number of these truck, which cause more than 100,00 injuries and at least 4,000 deaths.
Truck drivers who drive while intoxicated should never be excused from facing legal responsibility, but so are their employers, who allow them to continue driving despite their bad record. Removal of bad drivers from the road is strictly mandated by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 and violation of this Act should make employers much more responsible before the law than their drivers since this would be a case of obvious negligence and reckless behavior of choosing profit over public safety.
According to the Abel Law Firm website, no amount of money can ever undo the pains and suffering experienced by a victim of a truck accident. Severe injuries, much more the death of a loved one, simply because of someone’s act of negligence, merit the victim and/or his/her family the justice that he/she deserves and the full amount of compensation that the law may permit.
Accidents could happen anywhere: on your way to work, in the grocery store, or even in the comforts of your home. These accidents oftentimes result in unanticipated emergency department visits, hefty medical bills, and a day or two off work. In some even more serious instances, accidents may result in irreversible physical disabilities, sometimes even death.
According to the website of Mokaram & Associates, P.C., one of the most common causes of accidents is unsafe premise, and one accident that could occur in a poorly managed property is chemical burn. Depending on the substance’s strength and concentration, a chemical burn can cause pain and redness that may occur immediately after the exposure. Among the most common causes of chemical burns are cleaning agents, thinners, gasoline, bleach, metal cleaners, swimming pool chlorinators, and concrete mix.
If your skin has just been exposed to a burn-causing chemical, here’s what you need to do.
- Remove yourself from the area of exposure.
- Remove any contaminated clothing
- Flush the exposed area with running water for not less than 10 minutes
- For larger exposure, you may consider taking a shower, however, you do not want to cause any further damage to the skin by scrubbing the affected area
- To prevent infection, you may consider covering the affected area with a clean gauze or bandage. However, do not apply it tightly, as it may further damage your skin
- Rush to the emergency department immediately. If you can, bring the chemical container with you to help medical staff assess the substances that have caused your burn
Although rare, there have been recoded deaths associated with chemical burns. Fatal symptoms of chemical burns include seizures, irregular heart rate, extremely low blood pressure, difficulty breathing and cardiac arrest. As such, it is extremely important to seek medical help immediately during chemical burn accidents.