Could DUI Class Have Saved Marijuana Activist?

Driving under the influence is a violation that involves not only alcohol, but includes all drugs including marijuana and prescription medications. I say that because it is important to note that while the laws regarding marijuana possession and consumption have been relaxed, driving under the influence of marijuana is still highly illegal.

This blog is not so much about driving under the influence of marijuana, but to highlight a DUI fatality involving alcohol consumption and marijuana activism.

Jennifer Friede, a longtime resident of Denver, Colorado was killed by a suspected drunken driver heading the wrong way on Interstate 25. She also was a prominent marijuana activist.

The 34-year-old Friede was a passenger in a vehicle struck by a vehicle traveling south.

Denver police arrested the driver of the wrong-way car, Rebecca Maez, 27, on suspicion of DUI and vehicular homicide. Friede's boyfriend, Jeremy DePinto, was driving the car and also suffered injuries.

This is not Maez’ first run-in with law, nor her first DUI. In 2009, Edgewater police arrested Maez for DUI, speeding in a construction zone and driving while her license was under restraint.

Friede was a fundamental in getting the measure to legalize marijuana in Colorado. She was known as Jenny Kush, who advocated for the expansion of access to marijuana.

She and her group would rally at the capital every month that cannabis is safer than alcohol. It's ironic that it was an uninsured drunk driver that killed her.

I am not sure that a simple computerized DUI class is enough for Maez. She needs to spend some serious time behind bars. If, and when, she gets out, I hope she dedicates her life to sobriety and helping others stay away from alcohol.

Marijuana Users Need DUI Classes Too

With laws regarding marijuana possession and consumption becoming more lax across the country, it is ever-more-important that laws and testing for driving under the influence of marijuana come to the forefront. Arizona is grappling with medical marijuana and driving under the influence.

Do you think medical marijuana users should lose their license? As reported in

Medical-marijuana cardholders in Arizona who drive after using the drug may face a difficult legal choice: their driver's license or their marijuana card. If they use both, they could be charged with DUI.

Do you agree with state prosecutors who claim that any trace of marijuana in a driver's blood is enough to charge a motorist with driving under the influence of drugs and that a card authorizing use of medical pot is no defense? Keep in mind that marijuana stays in the bloodstream for up to 60 days.

Given that 18 states and the District of Columbia authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes makes marijuana-related DUIs an issue for police, prosecutors and politicians nationwide.

The biggest issue is deciding what blood level of marijuana makes a driver impaired, similar to the way blood-alcohol levels determine when a person is legally drunk.

The other issue is how to detect if the person is actually under the influence at the time of the infraction. I have yet to hear of an accurate test that can determine when the marijuana was ingested that is cost-effective. We will address this topic again in later blogs.

Another Detroit Lion in Need of an Online DUI Awareness Program

The number of current and former players for the National Football League’s Detroit Lions is in trouble for driving under the influence. This time it was “The Hammer,” Ronnell Lewis, who got hammered and rove in a drunken state. There were seven arrests of current Detroit Lions athletes from 2001-2011. There have been seven just since January.

Lewis’ former teammate Aaron Berry's run-in with the police marked the sixth time a Detroit Lions player has been arrested this off-season for a crime. Somewhat unbelievably, the Detroit Lions currently account for 24% of total NFL athlete arrests in 2012. As reported in

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley, the #11 pick of the 2011 NFL draft, was arrested two separate times this spring in Mobile, Ala. In April, he was charged with marijuana possession; By May, he was arrested again and charged with a DUI and one count of eluding the police (at 100 mph in his Cadillac Escalade). Running back Mikel Leshoure also racked up two separate arrests in less than a month, both for possession of marijuana, in southwest Michigan. And offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath paid a $412 fine after his arrest for marijuana possession in South Carolina in January.

So, what happens when “The Hammer” allegedly gets hammered? He ends up with his second run-in with the men and women in blue in four months.

Lewis who was released by the team last week — is in hot water for a drunken driving incident that happened in Oklahoma last week. He was arrested after police spotted his vehicle cross the line. In the front seat was a six-pack of beer. One beer was missing.

The NFL has a good alcohol and substance abuse program. It has a great safe driver program that offers free rides for its players. Its players make loads of money. Why do they continually drink and drive?

Riding Horse Drunk Will Land You in Educational Alcohol Course

I reckon that riding a horse in a drunken state was a common occurrence 150 years ago. I also reckon that it happens more often than we hear about it right now. Here is a tale of a modern-day riding under the influence (RUI) violation.

The cowboy, Patrick Neal Schumacher, appears to be a real horse’s patoot! The 45-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado was arrested by University of Colorado police after being spotted riding his horse down the middle of the street and swerving onto sidewalks in downtown Boulder, Colorado on September 9th.

UConn Player Needs a Good DUI Class

There is no denying that a driving under the influence violation is costly. Just how costly was it for one University of Connecticut basketball player? It may have cost more than $100.000.

The UConn men's basketball program has suspended Tyler Olander indefinitely after his second brush with the law in six months. As reported in

Olander was pulled over by state police and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs, operating (or towing) an unregistered motor vehicle and driving without a license.

Olander was arrested after failing standardized field sobriety tests.

The 21-year-old Olander was arrested in Florida during spring break last March when he refused to leave private property after being asked by police. He had missed the final game of the season March 9 with a broken foot, but went to Florida for spring break shortly after his surgery and was arrested in Panama City.

He had his chance to redeem himself. Olander was accepted into a pretrial diversionary program, in which he paid a $280 fine and was to perform community service.

Olander is a 6-foot-11 senior forward who started 26 games last season until he missed the season finale because of a broken foot. UConn (20-10) was banned from the postseason for substandard academic performance.

Last year the 230-pound Olander averaged 4.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. He scored 16 and had seven rebounds in a victory at No. 17 Notre Dame in what might have been his best game.

I hope this is a huge wake-up call for the big man. He is only 21 and has plenty of time to lead a productive life. I hope he enrolls in a level 3 alcohol awareness and DUI class and seeks counseling for possible addiction issues.

Is Alcohol Awareness/DUI Class in Future for Man Who Confessed to Killing?

Matthew Cordle is more than just computer literate. He is also a killer. He admitted as much online.

The 22-year-old from Ohio surprised both local prosecutors and his own attorney after releasing an online admission of his culpability in a fatal accident caused by his drunk driving. As reported in

He is quoted as posing. “My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video acts as my confession.”

He posted his confession on

Cordle had not been charged before the video was released on Sept. 3, 201, but he says he was encouraged to lie by attorneys in order to avoid punishment for the fatal accident, in which he drove on the wrong side of the road when he crashed into Canzani, a 61-year-old photographer.

He further said, “I can’t bring Mr. Canzani back, and I can’t erase what I’ve done, but you can still be saved, your victims can still be saved.”

Cordle will be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.

If nothing else, this certainly speaks about Cordle’s character. I am glad to see him taking responsibility for his actions. Perhaps while in jail he will take a good alcohol class and devote his life to sobriety and helping others who may think about drinking and driving.

Should All Public Officials Enroll in Online DUI Class?

I have asked this question before, but I feel it needs to be raised once again: should public officials be held to higher standards than ordinary citizens when it comes to driving under the influence?

I ask this question because yet another official is losing his job over a driving under the influence (DUI) violation. An elected official in Black Mountain, North Carolina was forced to resign after being arrested for driving with blood alcohol level at nearly four times the legal limit. Is four times the legal limit any worse than just over the legal limit? As reported in

Democrat Tim Rayburn, both Vice Mayor and Alderman of Black Mountain, was driving a fire department SUV at the time of the arrest. He registered a blood alcohol level of 0.30 when tested by authorities.

An officer with the N.C. Highway Patrol arrested Rayburn at the Candler fire station after a motorist called before noon to report the fire department’s SUV being driven erratically. The motorist followed the SUV to the fire station. Rayburn denies that his resignation has anything to do with the arrest.

Despite this indiscretion, Rayburn said that he will be keeping his name on the ballot for his re-election this coming November despite his resignation.

He was suspended with pay from his position as chief of the Enka Candler Fire and Rescue Department.

Perhaps he needs more than just losing his job. He needs a 30 hour internet based alcohol class and counseling for what very well may be a serious alcohol problem. I certainly hope he does not win re-election.

Computer Based Alcohol Course Keeps You From Being Statistic

Let’s face it – we live in a world of statistics. They dictate virtually every aspect of our lives. Most of the time we do not even know it. Here are some stats you should seriously consider digesting.

It is well known that young drivers are more likely than older ones to have accidents. But a visual analysis of national data on drunken driving puts the disparity into stark relief — and suggests whose lives might be saved by a proposal to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit. The recommendation, by the National Transportation Safety Board, urges the 50 states and the District of Columbia to lower the limit of 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, the standard in most industrialized countries. As reported in

How do you feel about that?

Drivers younger than 26 cause the most auto fatalities in the United States, regardless of alcohol consumption. But 21 percent of young drivers involved in a fatal accident have some alcohol in their system — higher than in other age groups. Researchers have shown that even a small amount of alcohol can disrupt a person’s ability to concentrate or do two things at once. For less experienced drivers, one or two drinks can cause the loss of reasoning and reaction time that might result in a fatal crash.

More than 6,600 impaired drivers are involved in fatal accidents every year, causing about 10,000 deaths. About half of those accidents are caused by drivers with blood alcohol levels at or below 0.16 percent.

Seriously, now is the time to ponder the issue at hand. Should we consider lowering the BAC limit? I welcome your thoughts.

Take an Internet DUI Awareness Class Before Piloting a Boat

Drinking and operating any motor vehicle is extremely dangerous. This definitely includes watercraft. I have been a strong proponent of mandating an alcohol class for anyone wishing to receive a license to pilot a boat. An alcohol class should be mandatory for all motor vehicles.

Alcohol use has been the top contributing factor in fatal boating accidents for the past 15 years, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Since 2003, on average, 124 people have died each year in the U.S. in accidents where alcohol was to blame. As reported in

A strategic plan by the Coast Guard, overseer of the congressional mandated National Recreational Boating Safety Program, calls for a 5% overall reduction in the number of alcohol-related deaths by 2016.

Part of the Coast Guard’s plan has been to give state and local agencies better tools to combat boating under the influence. Marine officers in 38 states are now using a Coast Guard-funded seated sobriety test. The battery of evaluations includes suspects touching their fingers to their noses and following palm pat instructions among other things while seated in their boats.

Field sobriety tests are much different out on the water. When you’re out on a boat, it’s pretty hard to have somebody walk the white line.

There is no doubt that mandating a DUI awareness class before receiving a pilot’s license is a no-brainer. What do you think?

Drinking and Boating Will Land You in More Than an Alcohol Awareness Class

Have you ever piloted a boat while consuming alcohol? Have you been with someone who had been drinking booze and operating a boat? Drinking and boating is a major problem.

When confronted many drunken captains say they did not think they were doing anything wrong. How can that be? As reported in

Driving under the influence (DUI) laws are the same in most states as operating a car. As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I am shocked when my students say they don’t see drinking and boating as a problem.

Some of the most celebrated boat names on the Internet are telling of society’s acceptance toward drinking on the open water are, “Boatweiser”, “Aqua-holic” and “Cirrhosis Of The River.”

A six-pack of beer and boating go together like a peanut butter and jelly. There are still a lot of people that think that’s just the way it is.

Given the heat of the summer, fatal boat accidents where alcohol is believed to have played a role seem relentless this time of year.

Last week, a 33-year-old Idaho woman died when the jet boat she was riding in ran aground off the Snake River near Idaho Falls. The vessel’s driver was drunk.

In late July, a bride-to-be and her fiancé’s best man were killed in a crash on the Hudson River in New Jersey. The man piloting the powerboat was intoxicated.

I would like to see computerized mandatory alcohol courses for anyone looking to obtain a pilot’s license for a boat. What do you think?