Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on memory, driving, and talking

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, and here on distracted driving. Now comes news that memories decrease if you talk on your phone while driving.

January 22, Champaign, Il

It is well known that having a conversation (for example on a cell phone) impairs one’s driving. A new study indicates the reverse is also true: Driving reduces one’s ability to comprehend and use language.

The findings, from researchers at the University of Illinois, appear in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

This is the first study to find that driving impairs language skills, said Gary Dell, a psycholinguist in the department of psychology at Illinois and corresponding author on the study. Two previous studies had reported that driving did not impair the accuracy and comprehension of speech.

“The previous findings made no sense to those of us who have studied language,” Dell said. “You might think that talking is an easy thing to do and that comprehending language is easy.

But it’s not. Speech production and speech comprehension are attention-demanding activities, and so they ought to compete with other tasks that require your attention – like driving.”

Well, looks like we are already moving in the direction of not talking and driving. Even Oprah has gotten on the bandwagon.


I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by not texting or using my phone while I am driving. I will ask other drivers I know to do the same. I pledge to make a difference.

Hat tip to Shelley Blair.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer predicts new laws banning cell phone use while driving (even if it's hands-free)

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about distracted driving. Now comes news, from the Secretary of Transportation no less, suggesting it's time to banned talking on phones and driving, even if it is hands-free.

From Fast Lane:

A new study out today irresponsibly suggests that laws banning cell phone use while driving have zero effect on the number of crashes on our nation’s roadways.

At this early stage in our work against distracted driving, no one should be discouraging strong nationwide efforts to make our roadways safer. When it comes to distracted driving, we are only at the starting gate.

If anything, the study suggests we need even tougher protections. Adrian Lund, president of both the HLDI and IIHS, said, "Drivers in jurisdictions with such bans may be switching to hands-free phones because no U.S. state currently bans all drivers from using such phones." But, he wisely cautions, "We know that people talking hands-free are really not much safer than people talking on handhelds."


Here's a shocker: That Bluetooth appendage in your ear isn't doing anything to make you safer. This comes from the Highway Loss Data Institute, which studies such things. More precisely, its study found that crash rates in places with bans in place – California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington D.C. – stayed the same when those bans were implemented.

"The laws aren’t reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk," said Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and HLDI president Adrian Lund in a press briefing.

The National Safety Council earlier this month found that one in four US car crashes involves cell phone distraction. At the start of this year, Illinois joined the list of states that have banned texting behind the wheel, but with these new findings, are such laws enough? Digital distraction behind the wheel has been called a safety epidemic – should bans go all the way and ban all in-car cell phone use?

Oh-no! I suspect the cell phone industry is about to start lobbying Congress to avoid the ban of cell phones while driving.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on texting being illegal for truck & bus drivers

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about texting and driving. Now comes news that commercial drivers will be treated like the rest of us.

Press Release from the Department of Transportation

U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday announced federal guidance to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses. The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Department to combat distracted driving since the Secretary convened a national summit on the issue last September.

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

The action is the result of the Department’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.

"Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit."

Phew, finally some equity in treatment, assuming it really is safer to not text while driving.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the rights of the accused to drive

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about the mandatory license suspension for everyone in Illinois charged with a DUI. Now comes news that it doesn't work that way everywhere.

January 26, Raleigh, N.C.

By law, the magistrate has very little authority to keep an accused drunken driver off the road. He or she is entitled to bond. Plus, the statute focuses on convictions, not pending cases.
"It's not specifically listed in the statute that they're to consider the dangerousness to the community," Willoughby said. "That, I think, is a shortcoming."
Willoughby believes the law should change so that someone considered a danger could be automatically detained on pending DWI cases.
"Here's a dangerous situation," Willoughby said. "The courts need to address it quickly."
Defense Attorney Whit Powell, who isn't involved in the Eason case, agrees that pending arrests should be considered to force faster judgments.
"You watch those cases and make sure that a person doesn't just rack up cases without ever going to court," Powell said.
He argues, however, that holding suspects without with a conviction crosses the line.
"Don't forget the Constitution," he said. "A man or a woman is innocent until proven guilty."
Craig Lloyd, executive director of North Carolina's MADD chapter, believes it is only matter of time before repeat offenders hurt someone. He suggests impounding vehicles or requiring an ignition interlock system after multiple arrests.

One word for Mr. Lloyd, balderdash! I have numerous clients who will not drive while their license is suspended for a DUI arrest and by the way, they tend to be found not guilty of the offense.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says NHTSA finally gets a new Administrator

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here about the opening for the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Now comes news that a less controversial Administrator, one without insider ties to MADD, has been selected.

From the Fast Lane:

It is an absolute pleasure to introduce Fast Lane readers to NHTSA's new Administrator, David Strickland.

If you've been involved in consumer safety in the last eight years, then David is probably a familiar name. As the Senior Counsel for the Senate's Consumer Protection Subcommittee, he was the lead staff member overseeing NHTSA, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

That job made him quite the watchdog, and President Obama and I know he's ready to continue that role here at DOT.
It's also worth noting that David has demonstrated his ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans. For example, as former NHTSA Administrator David Kelly noted, David successfully worked automobile safety measures into law in 2005: "Even though the Republicans were in control, he was one of the main guys getting auto safety provisions in that bill."

NHTSA has an important role to play in both safety and environmental protection, and David Strickland has demonstrated his commitment to both while not antagonizing either the auto industry or consumer and environmental advocates.

Let's hope he's not a Prohibitionist like the former nominee and current CEO of MADD Chuck Hurley.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on another DUI on a bicycle

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about DUI's that were not in cars. Now comes news of yet another person charged with a DUI on a bicycle.

January 25, Naples, FL
A 55-year-old man who was riding a bicycle on Sunday faces DUI charges when he refused to take a sobriety test during a traffic stop.

Deputies pulled over Tommy Miller for riding his bike without lights on US-41 towards Collier Boulevard at 7:19 p.m.

According to deputies, during questioning Miller couldn't explain why he was going to Collier County.

The deputy noticed his eyes were bloodshot, and that he had two cans of beer in his bike basket, according to reports.

Miller reportedly was asked to take a sobriety test, but denied the request.

He was arrested and taken to Naples Jail Center.

I'm a bit surprised by this DUI so I did look up Florida statutes and found this definition of a vehicle:

VEHICLE.--Every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

Well, with that definition of vehicle, it looks like one could be charged with a DUI on horseback, golf cart, or mini-bike.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says sometimes the debt is too high for a DUI

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here about the costs of a DUI. She's even posted here on collateral consequences. Now comes news that a DUI accused decided life was no longer worth living.

January 22, Santa Rosa, CA

A Windsor woman who was arrested Thursday afternoon for violating her probation for DUI apparently hanged herself hours later in her cell at the Sonoma County jail, the sheriff's office said Friday.
Teresa Ellen Hagan, 49, was pronounced dead at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa at 7:24 p.m. She was found hanging in her cell around 7 p.m., Lt. Chris Spallino said.
Hagan hanged herself on a sweatshirt she wrapped around a pipe in her cell, Spallino said. She was intoxicated when she was booked around 1:30 p.m. for violating her DUI probation and was placed in a sobering cell, Spallino said.

Rest In Peace Teresa Hagan.

If you or someone you know needs help please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer sees more proof that anonymous DUI tipsters can't be trusted

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here, about anonymous tipsters. Now comes news that DUI tipsters are willing to lie in order to get someone stopped for a DUI.

We're all fed up with drunk drivers. It seems the repeat offenders just keep on offending, and lawmakers in Madison can't seem to stomach making the first offense a crime. In the meantime, more innocent people get killed.

Some people on the popular website Craigslist have decided they've had enough, and they want to put a stop to it. They call themselves the DUI Busters, but some are questioning their controversial tactics.

Like any mother of a drunk driving victim, her pain is unmistakable. Yet people continue to drive drunk, despite being arrested.

The so-called "DUI Busters" are trying to put a stop to it, and they're bragging about their exploits on Craigslist.

The DUI Busters say they hang out in bars looking for people who've had too much to drink, trail the unknowing person to their car, then follow them down the road, and call 9-1-1.

Just as you'd expect the idea is not popular at taverns on a Friday night. The idea is about as popular as flat beer. What may surprise you is the Milwaukee County Sheriff's response. Mothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD) agree with the Sheriff's Department. They say the DUI Busters heart is in the right place, but their methods are dangerous.

Liz Rhode is firmly against drunk driving, but the Waukesha woman says something about staking out bars bothers her. She posted her point on Craigslist:
How are they going to prevent the DUI they are following from from running through a red light possibly leading to a fatal collision. why not stop them before they get into the car. That's is what a good samaritan would do.
Whether it's true or not, at least one DUI Buster admits telling 9-1-1, "I lie to the police about the prospective drunk driver hitting a parked car when they didn't. As long as you're over the .08 you're legally intoxicated if you hit a parked car or not.", even though the driver wasn't actually swerving or hitting anything.
MADD says making up a story like that helps no one.
How hard is it to conceive of an irate driver calling in a false DUI to the police? It's time for law enforcement to corroborate those anonymous tips before invading the privacy of citizens driving on the roads.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on DUI seizure by trooper beckoning the accused

This Chicago DUI lawyer believes one shouldn't be punished for following police instruction. She's posted on DUI's where the accused was ordered to drive here. Now comes news that the police can't make you drive over to them and then charge you with a DUI.

After arriving at the site of a party where underage drinking was suspected, Alaska State Trooper Travis Bordner approached a vehicle driven by Anton Majaev. Majaev pulled away to leave the scene but stopped when he saw the trooper walk into the road to look at the license plate of Majaev’s truck. Trooper Bordner waved Majaev
back, and Majaev complied with this direction by backing up to speak with the officer. At that time, Trooper Bordner found reason to conduct field sobriety tests, which Majaev subsequently failed. Majaev was charged with driving under the influence and moved to dismiss the case against him on the grounds that he was illegally seized in violation of both the United States Constitution and the Alaska Constitution. The district court denied his motion, and the court of appeals affirmed this denial on the basis that no seizure occurred. We conclude that a reasonable person in Majaev’s position would not have felt free to leave the scene because doing so would have violated the law and that, therefore, a seizure occurred. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the court of appeals that no seizure occurred and remand for a determination by the district court regarding whether Trooper Bordner had reasonable suspicion to seize Majaev.

It's about time. What law had the accused broken when summoned by the trooper? Aren't we all told to obey the instructions of law enforcement? The Alaskan Supreme Court got this one right. That's more than I can say for the U.S. Supreme Court on a completely different matter regarding the First Amendment Rights of non-citizens, namely corporations to buy political elections.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on opting out of the Ignition Interlock Device program

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about the MDDP. Now as money gets tighter and tighter more and more people are opting out of the program.

From Twitter:

Sec. of State envisioned MDDP would be a success-- Surprisingly it has been an abysmal failure!

A few months ago I was moderating a panel at the Illinois State Bar Association's Solo and Small Firm Conference. One of the panelists, Marc Loro from the Secretary of State's office, made the above tweeted statement. Now, I have clients opting out of the program based solely on the expense.

There were also practitioners at the conference who said the same thing during the comments and questions portion of the panel. So as the economic penalties of a DUI arrest increase it's getting harder and harder to have the accused take on anything else financially. Many are just doing without.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on MADD's desire to shun those charged with DUI

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about the "Scarlet Letter" of DUI. Now comes the news that MADD really wants DUI offenders to get the complete Hester Prynne treatment.

January 14, Cleveland, OH

The local Mothers Against Drunk Driving group is upset that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason rode in a car with a man arrested for drunken driving.

Mason, the top enforcer of justice in Cuyahoga County, was a passenger Dec. 30 when Parma City Councilman Tom Regas -- who also serves as Mason's campaign treasurer -- was charged with drunken driving near Mason's home in Seven Hills.

MADD in Northeast Ohio is disappointed because Mason and his office work hard to jail intoxicated drivers and especially those who kill people, Executive Director Julie Leggett said.

"Him being in a vehicle is not something we would have expected," Leggett said of Mason. "It's an unfortunate situation. The outcome could have been very tragic."

"If I had any idea he was intoxicated, I'd have got a cab," Mason said in an interview with Plain Dealer editorial writer Christopher Evans. "I know the impression is out there that he and I were yukking it up, getting hammered. That's not what happened."

Did you notice that MADD is upset because the prosecutor was along for the ride? Equally significant, did you notice that the prosecutor didn't think his buddy was impaired? It's going to be pretty interesting when the prosecutor get's called as an eyewitness in this case don't you think?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on punishment for Tweets announcing DUI checkpoints

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted on DUI checkpoints and here. Now comes news that other countries are cracking down on announcing DUI checkpoints via Twitter.

From Twitter:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicago DUI Lawyer wonders if it's really a DUI or just a DWT?

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about Driving While Texting (DWT). Now comes news of one of the first, DUI/DWT combinations.

January 15, Chicago, Il

A Des Plaines man is among the first in the state to be charged under the new no-texting-while-driving law, which took effect Jan. 1.

In Des Plaines after a police officer saw him weaving between lanes on
River Road in the northwest suburb, Des Plaines Police Chief Jim Prandini said.

“Our officer pulled up next to him and saw him texting,” Prandini said. “What brought his attention was the erratic driving.”

He was also charge with felony DUI, based on his prior DUI arrests, as well as driving without insurance, and driving while suspended.

I'm curious how the police decided that the purported erratic driving was because he was DUI, not DWT?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the Mormon State Senator's DUI arrest

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here and here on alcohol prohibition. Now comes news of a Utah State Senator's DUI arrest. He's a Mormon, member of the Church of Latter-Day-Saints, that prohibits its members from alcohol consumption (see health practices section here).

January 16, Salt Lake City, UT

Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack resigned from the Legislature Saturday, the day after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, telling the Deseret News that wasn't the first time he'd taken a drink.

Killpack is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which counsels its members to abstain from alcohol, but he acknowledged that evening was not the first time he'd taken a drink.

"It was an occasional, social thing," he said of his drinking. Asked if he was giving up alcohol, Killpack said, "I don't know that I have a lot of interest in that anymore." He said he expected to undergo some sort of court-ordered treatment.

He said he is in contact with his church leadership about his drinking and that it is something he and his wife were already talking about. "This was nothing that came as a surprise to my wife," Killpack said.

First appointed to the Senate in 2003, Killpack was up for re-election this year. He served as co-chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee in addition to other committee assignments. Among the issues he advocated was strengthening Utah's DUI laws, telling his fellow lawmakers last year during a debate on a DUI bill that when he was just a teenager, his father was killed by a drunken driver.

Perhaps it's time for MADD to take a closer look at the politicians they use as the mouthpiece for their alcohol prohibition agenda.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer thinks police need more training to handle mentally ill

This Chicago DUI lawyer is saddened by some of the early murders this year. I've posted here about police killing suspected DUI drivers now comes word of a similar tragedy too close to home.

The family of a man shot to death by police after a low-speed chase through
the western suburbs said Wednesday that he likely suffered from delusions or diabetic shock behind the wheel, and they questioned the use of deadly force.

Patty Mojziszek said her ex-husband, Dan Mojziszek, 52, had been treated
twice at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital last weekend for dangerously low blood-sugar
levels. She also said he had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a mental
characterized by psychosis and mood swings.

Dan Mojziszek was supposed to take insulin for his diabetes and medication
for his mental illness, but he often took neither, she said. Patty Mojziszek
said this could explain why police found him driving erratically and ignoring
"numerous verbal commands" before they opened fire Monday night near the border of Northlake and Stone Park.

Mojziszek, however, had a long history of traffic incidents. His license
was revoked in 1991, and he was convicted of DUI five times and received seven
citations for driving on a revoked license, according to secretary of state
spokesman Dave Drucker. Mojziszek wasn't eligible to get his license back, he
It looks like this tragedy could have been avoided. Let's hope law enforcement gets additional training to deal with the mentally ill.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer wonders who else does MADD want to have an Ignition Interlock Device?

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, and here about MADD. Now comes news that they want the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) placed on more cars.

Kristi Hosea, a victim-services specialist with Illinois Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said stepped-up efforts by police have been helpful, but there won't be a significant decrease in drunken driving until breath-alcohol ignition interlocks are more widely required in vehicles.

"People's behaviors aren't changing after they're arrested for a drunk-driving case," she said. "One of the things we're doing in Illinois is pushing for more ignition interlocks."

Under a state law that took effect a year ago, first-time offenders now must use a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device if they want to drive while their licenses are suspended.

Hosea said, "We need to make cars inoperable for drunk drivers."

Well, whose left to have a BAIID installed on their car after those charged with drunk-driving? Get your wallet ready, MADD is about to reach in and take money away from you in order to move forward their alcohol prohibition agenda.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says you can't see the 2016 Olympics in Chicago, but if you have a DUI you can't go to the 2010 Olympics in Canada either

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here about the impact of DUI's on immigration status. She also posted here about an old DUI keeping a husband and wife on separate sides of the Canadian/U.S. Border. Now comes news that Canada will enforce its laws barring non-Canadians entry for a DUI.

From Twitter:

dollbabytina @chicagoduilaw was just reading ppl will be denied entry to Canada if convicted of a dui w/in 10yrs,even if it was red. to a lesser charge

Americans wanting to get into Canada to attend Olympic events may be told to turn around and go home if they’ve been convicted — or even charged — with drunk driving.

In Canada, drunk driving is considered a criminal offence, though in the United States, it’s often considered a only a misdemeanour.

But Phillip Chicola, the U.S. consul general in Vancouver, says Americans shouldn’t bother complaining to their government about it.

Chicola says it’s Canada’s laws and there’s nothing his office can do to help.

Did you notice this is just another way to be punished with the Scarlet Letter for a DUI arrest?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer says looks like MADD has Governor Quinn on the ropes

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about Illinois sentencing. Now comes news that MADD just sucker punched the governor by deeming DUI convicts just as violent as those that literally sucker punched, raped, or killed.

Anti-drunken driving advocates reacted angrily earlier this week when the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that Gov. Quinn's administration had released 18 felony drunken drivers from prison early to serve the rest of their prison time on home confinement.

On Thursday, those same anti-DUI advocates were cheering after the governor ordered all 18 back behind bars to serve the remainder of their prison time. Each will be paroled between mid-January and mid-October under the terms of their original sentences.

MADD officials said repeat DUI offenders should have been considered violent. After reviewing the program, the state Corrections Department agreed.

The 18 DUI offenders were rounded up during the past two days. No more DUI drivers will be eligible for early release.

"A decision was made to eliminate any and all DUI offenders from the electronic-detention program," Corrections Department spokeswoman Januari Smith said.

I bet you want to see who gets to stay out under early release right?

January 7, Naperville, IL

Five men with ties to the Naperville-Aurora area — including a street gang member found guilty of murder conspiracy — were among more than 1,700 Illinois prison inmates recently granted early release under a controversial state program Gov. Pat Quinn has since called a "mistake" and which he has ordered discontinued.

Also freed under the program were 20 other criminals from throughout Illinois with murder or attempted murder in their backgrounds, records showed. Six were convicted of murder, five of second-degree murder, one of manslaughter, one of murder conspiracy and seven of attempted murder.

Under the now-scuttled program — called "MGT-Push" or "accelerated meritorious good time" — inmates' past crimes were not factors in determining their eligibility for early release. By law, Quinn's corrections chief, Michael Randle, considered only the offenses for which inmates were currently in prison, officials said Tuesday.

During a news conference last week, neither Quinn nor Randle pointed out the degree to which people with murder, armed robbery, rape and other convictions for violent crimes had been released under the program. The issue is expected to remain front-and-center as Quinn and Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, his opponent in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, head into the Feb. 2 election.

Does anyone else at MADD want to tell Governor Quinn why the DUI convicts were sent back to prison but not the folks convicted of murder?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the conflict between driving and technology

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about distracted driving. Now comes news of the conflict between technology and, dare I say it, safety.

To the dismay of safety advocates already worried about driver distraction, automakers and high-tech companies have found a new place to put sophisticated Internet-connected computers: the front seat.

Technology giants like Intel andGoogle are turning their attention from the desktop to the dashboard, hoping to bring the power of the PC to the car. They see vast opportunity for profit in working with automakers to create the next generation of irresistible devices.

This week at the Consumer Electronics Show, the neon-drenched annual trade show here, these companies are demonstrating the breadth of their ambitions, like 10-inch screens above the gearshift showing high-definition videos, 3-D maps and Web pages.

Granted lots of prototypes are displayed at these trade shows without any intention of bringing the concept to market. This time I don't think the technology will remain a prototype. The trick will be to make the technology readily available while decreasing the risks of accidents. Many of us view internet access as practically a necessity. We all know that necessity is the mother of invention.

FYI- Don't forget that it is now illegal in Illinois to send, read, or write text messages, emails, or any other type of electronic messaging while driving.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicago DUI lawyer comments on the shortened process for DUI blood draws

This Chicago DUI lawyer has posted here, here, and here about blood testing for those suspected of DUI. Now comes news that law enforcement wants to speed up the process of forcibly taking your blood.

Quicker Procedures Planned for Sobriety Tests on Drivers

The New York Police Department and the city’s five district attorneys announced on Sunday new procedures to speed the process of taking blood from drivers suspected of drunken driving who have refused to take sobriety tests.

The announcement came in response to a committee formed by the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, after it took the police more than seven hours to take the blood of an officer who had fatally struck a woman and refused breath tests. No alcohol was detectable in the officer’s system when his blood was eventually taken.

Under the current guidelines, prosecutors cannot apply for a warrant to take the blood of someone suspected of drunken driving until the suspect has refused on two occasions to take a breath test after being arrested. The concern was that the process took too long, potentially allowing drunken drivers to sober up and escape prosecution.

Under the new guidelines, officers will be able to start the process of getting a warrant after the first time a driver refuses to take a breath test.

“These changes streamline the process to better assure that a culpable drunken driver does not escape justice through delay,” Mr. Kelly said in a written statement.

So what about those suspects that aren't culpable? For whatever reason it seems we never seem to get much traditional media coverage of people who are suspected and then released or acquitted because they weren't under the influence of anything. They just mistakenly believed they had a Constitution that protected their rights.