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Bloomington Criminal Defense Law Blog

What to do if you're pulled over for suspicion of DUI

Police officers are always on the lookout for drivers showing signs of intoxication. If you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI, it's natural to be nervous. It's also likely that you'll make a mistake, especially if you've never been in this position before.

There are several important steps to take if you're pulled over for suspicion of DUI in Indiana:

  • Quickly move to the shoulder of the road: You don't want to give the officer reason to believe you're trying to get away. Put on your hazard lights, slow down and move to safety. If the shoulder of the road is not an option, continue driving until you reach a safe place, such as a parking lot.
  • Remain courteous: You don't have to be overly friendly with the officer, but you want to treat them with respect. Talking back or explaining your legal rights will not go over well.
  • You don't have to incriminate yourself: Even though you want to respect the officer, it doesn't mean you have to incriminate yourself. The 5th Amendment gives you the right to remain silent.
  • Being honest probably won't help: For example, telling the officer that you "only had one drink" isn't going to do much to help you. In fact, it's likely to work against you, as the officer now knows you have alcohol in your system.
  • Keep your cool: This is hard to do, especially if you are put under arrest, but it's important. This allows you to pay attention to everything that's happening. It also helps avoid additional charges, such as resisting arrest. Once again, remember that you have the right to remain silent.

Is marijuana legalization coming to Indiana?

Advocates for the legalization medical and recreational marijuana have made inroads across the United States. There are currently 33 states and Washington, DC that allow medical marijuana and 11 (including DC) that legalized cannabis for recreational use. As many know, Indiana does not make either of these lists, but there was some optimism at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session that there could be some changes to laws regarding marijuana.

With the exception of Kentucky, Indiana is surrounded by states that eased up their laws regarding marijuana use:

Should drug dealers be charged with homicide?

The opioid epidemic is all around us with 47,000 deaths in 2017 tied to opioid-related deaths. Whether it is hardscrabble areas that are economically depressed, affluent suburbs with ritzy country clubs or college campuses like IU, drug addiction has wrecked the lives of many.

Preying on the addicted

Effectiveness of DUI roadblocks questioned

North Dakota recently made news when its House Representatives passed legislation that gets rid of DUI roadblocks. The vote was 79 to 14, and the measure now goes to the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The cold hard fact is that sobriety checkpoints are terrible at apprehending drunk drivers," state Representative Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), the bill's sponsor, said. "They fail miserably at apprehending. There's really not much debate on that aspect."

Jurors can bring personal beliefs into the courtroom

Judges typically have a list of factors it considers before dismissing a juror, but at the top of the list is that person’s ability to remain impartial when hearing evidence. Massachusetts Justice Kimberly Budd wrote as much, saying in her decision: “Asking a prospective juror to put aside his or her preconceived notions about the case to be tried is entirely appropriate (and indeed necessary); however, asking him or her to put aside opinions formed based on his or her life experiences or belief system is not.” 

This was in response to Commonwealth v. Quinton Williams. Williams, who is African-American, was convicted of possession with intent to distribute. During the jury selection process, one prospective juror who worked with low income and at risk youth convicted of drug crimes claimed that she believed that the system was rigged against black men, but that she could still remain impartial about the case. The judge excused the juror despite the objection of Williams’ attorney.

Supreme Court rules that states cannot impose excessive fees

The United States Supreme Court rarely rules unanimously these days. Nevertheless, it did so recently when it passed down a decision that makes it clear that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of excessive fines, fees and forfeitures applies to states.

In her return to work, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and announced it from the bench, stating:

An illegal traffic stop could help you defend against charges

Law enforcement officers often have to walk a fine line between respecting an individual's civil rights and protecting society as a whole. While there are certainly situations in which law enforcement officers must follow their own best judgment, in most scenarios, there is a clear-cut policy in place.

Best practices for law enforcement minimize the intrusion on the rights of the average citizen while ensuring that law enforcement can perform their job adequately. For example, courts in many states have repeatedly ruled that profiling drivers based on age, race or other factors in order to conduct a traffic stop is not legal. It represents a violation of that individual's basic liberties.

IU gets a new police chief

After 23 years of working at the Plainfield Police Department, Jill Lees will become the new IU Police Chief. She is set to begin in March. Despite the fact that she has been in Plainfield for over two decades, Lees should not have too many problems finding her way around campus - she got a criminal justice degree from IU in 1995 before going to work in Plainfield.

A community-minded chief

Many roadside drug tests are inaccurate

A Florida sheriff’s deputy recently made national news for a string of arrests based on inaccurate drug tests. The now-dismissed man made 81 arrests in his first 11 months on the job, and now he faces criminal charges for false arrest. While it is still unclear whether deputy is guilty of ineptitude or malicious intent and faked results, the fact remains that the deputy is responsible for putting many innocent people behind bars for days, weeks or months.

Lab analysis flagged the deputy

The penalties of an OWI in Indiana

Many people, especially some college students, don't realize how serious an OWI charge is. They shrug it off as a night spent in the drunk tank. Maybe you get stuck with a ticket. It's nothing that won't blow over in a couple weeks, right? They could not be more wrong.

Indiana takes OWIs very seriously, and for good reason. Over a third of all fatal car accidents in our state include at least one drunk driver. Nationwide, just under 19 percent of all drunk driving accidents are caused by intoxicated college students. Cops know the danger these young people pose to themselves and others and will not hesitate to crack down on offenders.

For experienced help in criminal defense, including DUI defense, call Shapiro & Lozano at 812-336-8192.

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