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Monthly ArchiveMay 2007

Alcohol Issues hudson on 28 May 2007

Good News About Booze, Part 3

Researchers at Ohio State University recently conducted experiments involving laboratory rats that suggested that moderate drinking may increase memory function. The study concluded that the laboratory rats performed better at memory tests with the human equivalent of two drinks than those who not given alcohol. The study’s researchers believe that the analysis thus far indicates that moderate drinking may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. They also believe that the research could have far reaching implications for other serious neurodegenerative diseases.

DUI Law hudson on 24 May 2007

Rules for FAA Licensed Pilots

From time to time we encounter persons charged with driving under the influence who are licensed by the FAA to fly aircraft. Often these persons are as concerned (sometimes more concerned) with the FAA’s action toward their pilot’s license than the State’s action against their driving privilege. The rules are somewhat convoluted and an attorney can definitely help sort out the impact of a DUI arrest on a pilot’s license. I found an excellent site that discusses the effect a DUI can have on a pilots license.

The simple explanation is that a person with a pilot’s license need not self report until either an administrative action has been taken against their driving privilege, or they have been convicted of an alcohol related driving crime (DUI, OWI, DWI, etc.). If one of these events occurs (either a driving privilege suspension or restriction or criminal conviction for an alcohol related driving crime) the pilot has 60 calendar days to report the action and incident to the FAA. The pilot must report each action despite having arisen from the same event. This means that a pilot must notify the FAA if there is an action against their driving privilege and send a second notice if they are convicted of an alcohol related offense. The FAA has an online resource for questions relating to this particular aspect of their licensing rules and regulations.

DUI Enforcement &DUI Issues &DUI Law hudson on 21 May 2007

Increased DUI Penalties Do Not Deter DUI

A study recently funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an organization whose goals are to improve the health and health care of all Americans, recently concluded that increased penalties for DUI do not deter DUI. Researchers looked at the changes in law and policies from 1976 to 2002 and dui arrest and accident fatality data for the same period. The study was conducted at the University of Florida and concluded that despite an increase in penalties the number of DUI’s committed were not reduced. The researchers concluded that the increased penalties had no deterrent effect on DUI.

Alcohol Issues &DUI Defense hudson on 19 May 2007

DIABETES:Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t.

Recently a terrible accident occurred in Santa Clara County. John Mayfield, a diabetic, suffered some sort of lapse from low glucose levels. Rapid and unpredictable swings in glucose, blood sugar, levels is one of the main aspects of diabetes. It is for this reason that responsible diabetics regularly monitor their food intake and their sugar levels. In order to keep a “normal” blood sugar level, they adjust their insulin according to some general guidelines. However, this is not an exact science.

By all accounts this is what Mr. Mayfield had done prior to his driving back in July. Unfortunately, and with no warning, his sugar level dropped and an accident ensued. Mr. Mayfield’s truck lost control, flipped over and exited the freeway. The vehicle then collided with another truck, they burst in to flames and the passengers in the other vehicle died. Obviously a horrendous accident.

BUT THAT IS WHAT IT WAS, AN ACCIDENT. Mr. Mayfield did not intend to go in to diabetic shock. He did not disregard the warning signs. He did not overindulge. He did what is responsible, and more importantly, WHAT WAS REQUIRED BY LAW.

You see, in California, and most every state, people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or epilepsy, which may lead to lapse of control, can only drive if a doctor indicates the condition is under control from medication, such as insulin, and is relatively unlikely to occur. Such as Mr. Mayfield. In fact, it is unclear if Mr. Mayfield had ever suffered a similar situation.

So Mr. Mayfield was left with a choice; drive without his taking insulin, which violates his medical protocol, or take the insulin as directed. He did the prudent act, took his medication after checking his levels. It was not enough, and despite his intelligent and responsible actions, the accident occurred.

Now the District Attorney wants to prosecute John for driving under the influence of drugs; the drug being his insulin. So John is damned for what he did. Of course, we can easily surmise that had John NOT taken the required medication he would be charged with a crime for that omission, damned if he didn’t.

Not every event in life, no matter how tragic, is a crime. Accidents happen despite the best intentions and precautions of all involved. The mere fact that a death or deaths occurred does not elevate the event from tragedy to manslaughter. Prosecuting John Mayfield is the definition of persecution.

Alcohol Issues hudson on 12 May 2007

The DUI Trap

Recently in Connecticut, MADD put on a drinking demonstration for legislators. One of the legislators consumed three and half glasses of wine and felt fine to drive… one problem, she was .15. While MADD used this as an opportunity to demonstrate that people can be .15 and still feel fine to drive, but be dangerous, it clearly illustrates how hard it is for people to know when they are “above the limit.” The line drawn in the sand by our government is difficult to determine in a social setting and sets up otherwise innocent citizens for prosecution. Our government needs to determine a way for citizen’s to test themselves prior to driving so that they do not unwarily become a DUI arrest statistic.

Alcohol Issues hudson on 05 May 2007

Good News About Booze, Part 2

In December of 2006, an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine claimed that moderate drinking may lengthen life while excessive drinking may shorten it. The study was based on a survey of 34 large studies analyzing data from more than one million people and 94,000 deaths.
The study defined moderate drinking as drinking up to four drinks a day for men and two drinks a day for women. The study concluded that such moderate drinking was found to reduce the risk of death from any cause by approximately 18 percent. However, the data suggests that when these standards are exceeded, Dr. Augusto Di Castelnuevo, from Catholic University of Campobasso, states “things radically change.”
The reason for the different number of drinks between men and women has to do with the manner in which alcohol is metabolized. Women, who drink two alcoholic beverages, experience the same effects from alcohol as men who drink four. This discrepancy also led the scientists to determine that women who drink more than two drinks a day run a higher chance of liver disease and cancer.
The study also concluded that drinking small amounts of alcohol during meals reaped the most significant health benefits. This conclusion was in keeping with other scientific studies indicating that the “Mediterranean Diet” was healthy. The ultimate finding was that small amounts of alcohol generate significant life extending benefits.