Police Officer Needs 24 Hour DUI Class

Should there be a minimum age for police officers? There is no doubt many 21-year-olds are not mature enough to handle such a stressful and important job. This is one of those instances.

A New Jersey police officer has been removed from street duty and is facing drunken driving charges after he allegedly drove a red pickup truck through three street signs, struck a building, and knocked down a neon sign. As reported in www.philly.com.

William A. Grasso, 21, was charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. The crash occurred shortly before 2 a.m. He was off-duty at the time of the accident. Is he mature enough to be a police officer?

The officer has been taken off the street and relieved of police powers as the facts of this incident are ascertained. There exists the very-real possibility that he will lose his job if convicted. The facts make his case look bleak at best.

The accident occurred after Grasso's truck hopped a curb in the traffic circle median, struck two road signs, and went back onto the road before hopping another curb. Grasso's truck then plowed into another road sign before ramming into the liquor store sign.

After striking the sign, Grasso's truck hit part of a brick retaining wall and, finally, a tree.

Grasso was injured in the accident and was taken to the hospital bleeding and suffering from head trauma. He is also the second member of the Camden County Police Department to run afoul of authorities in Cherry Hill while off-duty. Back in May, a lieutenant who led the department's narcotics unit allegedly exposed himself at a Starbucks.

I would like to see Grasso get a second chance. Perhaps after taking a 24 hour online alcohol class, he can return to being a helpful protector of society.

Another Disney Star Headed to DUI Program

There is no denying that being in the public adds extra pressure along with notoriety for all actions. This is especially true when it comes to young actors who battle with addiction issues as well as get caught for driving under the influence (DUI).

The latest actor to get arrested for DUI is Disney star Billy Unger. Of course it happened late at night – shortly after the howling hour (midnight). The 18-year-old Disney XD “Lab Rats” star blew a .08 when police pulled him over for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. As reported in heavy.com.

Unger joins a long list of former Disney stars who have struggled with alcohol and drugs, including Zac Efron, Shia LaBeouf, and Jake T. Austin.

Here’s what you should know about the child star and his indiscretion. Unger blew a .08 blood alcohol level when police administered a Breathalyzer test. In California, a .08 or higher constitutes driving under the influence, but the state also has a Zero Tolerance Law for drivers under 21 years old.

First-time offenders in California face penalties include a one year license suspension, the educational portion of DUI school and hundreds of dollars in fines.

Unger sent his first post-jail text to Josie Canseco at 3 a.m., the 16-year-old daughter of former baseball player Jose Canseco. She’s friends with Unger’s little brother Eric.

Unger has long had the reputation of being a perfect 10 in all aspects of his life. Does a DUI taint that?

Hopefully this is a one-time offense and Unger will take a professional alcohol class and realize he is a role model for many young, adoring fans.

Do 10% of All Americans Die From Alcohol Abuse?

As horrific as that headline reads, it begs to be asked – is it true?

In a study by the Centers for Disease Control, alcohol abuse causes one in ten deaths of working class adults in the United States. That makes it the fourth leading cause of preventable death. As reported in www.digitaljournal.com.

Does that figure shock you? Even though I am the educational director for onlinealcoholclass.com, that figure seems absurdly high.

Do you think that number might justify legalizing marijuana?

Many will argue that there is growing evidence that medical marijuana is valuable for treatment of many illnesses and injuries. There are those that will try and make you believe that there is no evidence that recreational marijuana is harmful.

Keep in mind that the American medical Association (AMA), the definitive body of medical expertise in this country, has yet to conclude there is even one ailment that benefits from smoking marijuana.

According to the CDC), excessive drinking accounted for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults in the United States. AAD rates vary across states, but excessive drinking remains a leading cause of premature mortality nationwide.

The CDC estimated excessive drinking cost the US $223 billion in 2006 alone or $766 for every person in America, including children. Perhaps because it is only roughly half of what the alcohol industry makes each year it is ignored.

While many still will try and prove that marijuana is a safer alternative, why not just be sober? When did being sober become so horrible? I am hopeful that through good classes like those at onlinealcoholclass.com and onlinedrugclass.com we will encourage more people to lead a sober lifestyle.

Florida Judges Need DUI School

Lawyers gawked from office windows last month when a BMW S.U.V. swiped a parked police cruiser in the parking lot of a courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, then slammed into a gate over and over again.

A judge was at the wheel. As reported in www.nytimes.com.

As lawyers used smartphones to snap pictures of the morning spectacle, Judge Lynn D. Rosenthal became the third Broward County judge in six months to be arrested on charges of driving under the influence. A colleague, Judge Gisele Pollack, had been suspended five days earlier after getting arrested on a D.U.I. charge while already on leave for taking the bench intoxicated — twice.

Even for South Florida, where absurd news events are routine and the sheriff went to prison for corruption, the spate of judicial scandals has raised serious questions about whether the arrests in Broward are a bizarre coincidence or underscore a larger systemic problem. In a county where the judiciary is known for old-school nepotism and cronyism, and judges have been caught smoking marijuana in a park and found drunk and partly naked in a hotel hallway, some lawyers find themselves wondering: At what point do isolated instances of misconduct point to something bigger?

On Wednesday, WPLG, an ABC affiliate, citing anonymous sources, reported that a Broward family court judge was under federal investigation on suspicion of allowing a now-convicted Ponzi Schemer to influence a case.

And this month, a former judge in Broward was disbarred for exchanging 949 phone calls and 471 text messages with the prosecutor during a death penalty case. Yet another judge was recommended for removal in April after being accused of cheating clients and a co-counsel in the settlement of a civil suit she handled as a private lawyer a decade ago.

As it turns out, bad behavior by judges has become distressingly common across Florida in recent months. Judge John C. Murphy in Brevard County is on leave after he was caught on video this month threatening a public defender, who later accused the judge of punching him in the head. In the Keys, a judge who was replaced on the bench after dozing off told a local news reporter that Ambien made him hallucinate about “ ‘Fantasia’ and the dancing brooms.” Another stepped down because a blogger exposed a sexually explicit profile the judge had posted on a gay dating site.

But Broward — a heavily Democratic county of 1.8 million people with many judges who are the children, spouses, siblings and fraternity brothers of other judges and some of the region’s most powerful people — seems to be ground zero for allegations of judicial misconduct. The system’s critics say that is because Broward has a highly politicized and clannish culture that is known for protecting its own, which has led some in the judiciary to feel invincible, even as they preside over a county court system that produces the state’s highest exoneration rate.

“I do think it belies an underlying systemic problem in Broward County,” said Howard Finkelstein, Broward’s elected public defender. “I don’t think this stunningly embarrassing fact of having all these charges pending at the same time is indicative of a judiciary with substance abuse problems, but I do think it is a manifestation of the greater problem of a circle-the-wagons mentality.”

Records posted online by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the independent agency that investigates misconduct by state judges in Florida’s 67 counties, show that 17 percent of the 62 formal disciplinary cases filed against sitting judges since 2001 have been in Broward.

Those figures do not include two judges who were recently arrested or those who resigned before a case was made public, such as Judge Lawrence L. Korda, who, in 2007, after presiding over parts of the Anna Nicole Smith case, was caught smoking marijuana in a park. (Not to be confused with Larry S. Seidlin, the Broward judge who sobbed on the bench during a nationally televised ruling on where the reality TV star should be buried.)

Many judges accused of wrongdoing remain on the bench, such as the family court judge who took in a foster child who had appeared in his court, only for the teenager to accuse the judge years later of molesting him.

“Tell me one other courthouse that at any time ever had three judges pending criminal charges, a fourth judge disbarred by the Supreme Court and another judge awaiting removal,” Mr. Finkelstein said. “And that doesn’t include the naked judge!”

In 2001, a Broward County judge was arrested on charges of public intoxication after being found drunk and naked from the waist down at a resort that was hosting a state judicial conference. Mr. Finkelstein has been there: A recovering addict, he, too, was once arrested, after using cocaine and crashing into a police car.

William J. Gelin, a defense lawyer in Broward who runs a blog, Jaablaw.com, that chronicles courthouse antics and posted a photo of Judge Rosenthal’s arrest, noted that the Judicial Qualifications Commission only reveals cases that result in misconduct charges. Most complaints against judges remain secret, which he said adds to the perception that judges feel omnipotent.

“It’s time to shine a light on these individuals and their performance, as the founding fathers intended,” Mr. Gelin said.

Michael L. Schneider, executive director and general counsel of the commission, acknowledged that the recent run of Broward judges being arrested is unusual, but that the agency dealt with cases “one at a time” and not systemically.

“The commission isn’t a punishment group,” he said. “It’s designed to evaluate fitness of somebody to be a judge.”

Broward’s chief judge, Peter M. Weinstein, said the rash of arrests was an “anomaly” that did not reflect the hard work judges do every day at the courthouse.

“It’s a big court system — we have 103 people making decisions every single day,” Judge Weinstein said. “Over all, we have excellent judges, and nobody ever reads or hears anything about them.”

A lawyer for Judge Rosenthal, Brian Y. Silber, declined to comment.

Two of the arrested judges refused a Breathalyzer test, but the test conducted on Judge Rosenthal showed that she had not been drinking. She told the police that she had taken Ambien the night before, but after failing a field sobriety test, she refused to take urine or blood tests, according to the police report. The police, suspecting that she was impaired by drugs, charged her with D.U.I.

Judge Pollack was suspended without pay, despite a request from her lawyer, J. David Bogenschutz, that her alcoholism be considered a disability. She has sought treatment and hopes to return to the bench, Mr. Bogenschutz said.

“Where a judge has the same problem 5,000 other people have, it makes news,” he said. “They are not supposed to have human feelings and human failings.”

Mr. Bogenschutz, who has represented dozens of Florida judges, recently married one of his clients. His wife, Ana Gardiner, is the former Broward judge who was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court this month for lying about an “emotional relationship” with a prosecutor during a 2007 case. (The defendant was granted a new trial and is now serving a life sentence instead of being on death row, as Ms. Gardiner had ruled.)

“You shouldn’t get special treatment because you’re a judge, and you shouldn’t be treated more harshly if you are a judge,” said Marc Shiner, who represents Judge Cynthia G. Imperato, who was arrested in November for driving under the influence. “They are trying to make an example out of her.”

Zac Efron Taking Alcohol Abuse Seriously

Zac Efron is the latest Disney star to come out that he has spent time in rehab for alcohol abuse.

Even though Efron's life seems pretty glamorous, it hasn't been entirely easy. Behind that pretty smile, the actor has had a stint in rehab and had his jaw wired shut from a fall in his home. He has grown up in the spotlight starring in Disney's "High School Musical" movie series. As reported in celebrity.yahoo.com.

The 26-year-old actor admits he was drinking way too much. Now, almost a year out of rehab he is still sober. He has sold his glamorous home in the Hollywood Hills and moved in with his brother in the Los Feliz area where he can live a little more privately.

He is seriously committed to his sobriety. He recently joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been seeing a therapist. He admits his battles with addiction are a never-ending battle.

Many of his former friends have turned on him since he became sober, and wisely, Efron knows that he is in a much better place now.

While Zac is still working through his personal life, his career seems to be doing better than ever with his upcoming flick "Neighbors," which also stars Seth Rogen and opened on May 9th.

It is nice to see him committed to maintaining his health and abstaining from drugs and alcohol. He is a good model for all those who have addiction. They can see that through hard work and commitment addiction can be conquered, but it is truly a never-ending battle.

DUI Program in Store for Driver with Seven Kids

Think about one of the worst parents you know. Then compare that parent to these folks?

A woman from Jonesboro, Arkansas is in jail on charges that she drove a van with seven children while intoxicated and in possession of marijuana. As reported in www.henryherald.com.

Krystal Tierra Griffis, 30, has been charged with DUI, seven counts of child endangerment by DUI, three counts of seat belt and four counts of child safety restraint violations, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and giving a false name and date of birth to police.

A real winner, right?

What time of day do you think this happened? How about 2:40 a.m – with 7 kids in the vehicle.

On a similar note A man from McDonough, Arkansas man is being held on $750 bond in Henry County Jail for simple battery after police said he threw beer in a woman’s face Memorial Day.

Steven Anthony Crawley, 36, threw the beer at his former girlfriend.

Is this not simply deplorable behavior? Do you think if these two had taken alcohol awareness classes in their past they might not have out themselves in these types of situation?

These are right out of Jerry Springer. I hope both are forced to take alcohol and drug classes as part of court-ordered punishment.

Headed for DUI Class a Bunch of Mullarkey?

As a counselor for in-class and online alcohol classes I am always on the lookout for news stories involving alcohol, drugs and driving under the influence. This story is not just a bunch of malarkey.

It is the humble advice of this man that you should always treat a police officer with respect, even if you think you are being treated unfairly. Getting hostile is never the answer and can only serve to exacerbate an already volatile situation. A 30-year-old man, accused of kicking a police sergeant in the stomach and injuring another officer after police were dispatched to investigate the report of a motorist driving erratically was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, interfering with an officer, threatening and driving under the influence. As reported in www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com.

The hostile assailant was one Alan Robert Mullarkey who also threatened the lives of officers' families during his arrest. Officers noted that he appeared to be highly intoxicated. You think?

Mullarkey refused to perform field sobriety tests and wouldn't take a Breathalyzer test at police headquarters. He continued to make matters worse when kicked a police sergeant in the stomach when he was being placed in a patrol car and injured another officer's finger.

During the booking process, he also made several comments and threatening statements about officers and their families. Mullarkey said he would shoot officers' families and would get a gun to harm officers if he were released from custody.

It comes as no surprise that we are talking about a career criminal with serious issues. Mullarkey, described by police as a convicted felon who was recently released from prison after shooting someone with a firearm.

I hope he gets some counseling and takes a reputable alcohol//DUI course.

Alcohol Class Could Help Keep Cancer Away

I know that headline sounds hokey, but believe it or not, it is true.

Yet another report is offering a strong reminder that alcohol is a known cancer-causer, and advising those who drink to take in no more than one to two drinks a day. As reported in www.ctvnews.ca.

Cancer Care Ontario released new recommendations back in April on how best to manage the risks of alcohol.

Their report found that, despite the wealth of studies noting the health risks of alcohol, only a third of Canadians are even aware they can lower their risk of cancer by reducing their alcohol intake.

Cancer is a carcinogen. And there’s very clear evidence of that. Most people know about the risks of smoking, and smoking being a risk factor for cancer. But alcohol is a risk factor for cancer too.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers alcohol a Class 1 carcinogen. Do you realize what that means. That puts alcohol in the same class with asbestos, smoking, ultraviolet radiation, and diesel exhaust.

From my experience as a counselor with both in-class and online alcohol classes it seems that most people are unaware of how clearly alcohol has been linked to cancers of the mouth and throat, such as esophageal and pharyngeal cancers, as well as liver, colorectal, and breast cancers.

Even small amounts of alcohol have been shown to increase the risk of some cancers. The relative risk of oral and pharyngeal cancers, for example, is increased by 21 per cent for those consuming one drink or less per day, compared to non-drinkers. The risk also increases with the amount consumed.

Heavy alcohol drinkers -- meaning those who have more than four drinks per day -- are at a substantially increased risk of cancer.

For those who do choose to drink alcohol, the agency says to reduce one’s cancer risk - women should not drink more than one drink a day, men shouldn’t drink more than two drinks a day.

Increased attendance at alcohol classes can help educate people on the true dangers of the drug (yes – it is a drug). But education can only take one so far. At some point the mind has to understand the dangers and not take the unnecessary risk. You wouldn’t ingest a teaspoon of asbestos would you?

Online DUI Education Can Help Save Lives

This is the fourth in our week-long blog series here at onlinealcoholclass.com looking at the horrific possible consequences of drinking and driving. Each day we are looking at a different incident where someone lost their life because another person chose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. This incident took place in El Cajon, California.

Mario Alberto Carranza was allegedly drunk when he lost control of his car, sending it off the freeway and killing two passengers. He hopes to get away with it. Carranza, whose arm was in a sling as he made his court appearance via video, was ordered held on $1 million bail, pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges. As reported in www.10news.com.

The 26-year-old Carranza was driving on the interstate at 7:30 a.m. when his vehicle drifted into the center divider. He then overcorrected, and the car smashed through a chain-link fence before ending up in a concrete culvert. That sounds like a drunken driver or one who had fallen asleep.

Carranza obviously is seriously guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol as the San Diego resident’s blood-alcohol level was measured above .30 -- nearly four times higher than the legal limit.

Two passengers, Monica Lupercio and Carlos Vargas, both 20 years old, were killed and Carranza was seriously injured.

Carranza has a history of DUI behavior having been convicted back in 2007. He now faces 30 years to life in state prison if convicted of two counts each of second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing injury, along with one count of possession of cocaine.

Again we see that drinking and driving are a deadly combination. Why do people think that they are safe in their huge chunk of metal? I’ll tell you why – because alcohol makes people believe do stupid things.

Another Life Lost to a Multiple DUI Offender

As we finish up Alcohol Awareness Month (April, 2014) we here at onlinealcoholclass.com are seeking to highlight the need to stay out of the car if you have been drinking. Each day we are highlighting yet another fatal incident involving the combination of drinking and driving.

The family of Ben Woodruff knew Thursday morning would be the plea hearing for Scott Spangler, the man who caused the fatal 2013 head on collision, killing the father of two. As reported in www.wbir.com.

"I want to make it clear that I do not hate this man -- although I hate what he did," Joy Woodruff, his sister, said sobbing at Spangler, shortly after he pled guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault. The Sevierville man's license was already revoked, after he had five prior DUIs.

"There will never be justice, because you can't bring Ben back," his mother said.

The family is not only upset for what happened to Ben, and his 8-year-old son, Ethan, who's still undergoing constant rehabilitation, but because of his sentence: 20 years in jail, with parole eligibility after serving 30-percent, or six years.

"There's no opportunity to adjust that in any way right now that gives the judge the ability to say 'no.' Six years is not enough," Woodruff's widow, Beth, added.

In August 2013, 50-year-old Spangler drove is car on John Sevier Highway, crossed the center line, and struck the Woodruffs' car. The Woodruffs' car ricocheted toward a third vehicle, critically injuring two other people.

Prosecuting attorney Sarah Keith said Spangler was found urinating on the road and there was drug paraphernalia in his car. He'd been high on crack cocaine and Xanax.

"Are you entering this agreement voluntarily today?" Judge Steven Sword asked Spangler.

"Yes," he responded.

Family Wants Change

After learning of Spangler's parole eligibility, the Woodruffs say 30-percent of the sentence it's not enough.

"There's no opportunity to adjust that in any way right now that gives the judge the ability to say 'no'," Beth Woodruff said. "Six years is not enough."

Even though Spangler had 5 prior DUIs, they're not on the same punishment scale as aggravated vehicular homicide. That means he's eligible for parole after serving that minimum 30-percent of the sentence.

That means, with time already served, his first parole hearing is in 2019.

The family is working with attorney Darren Berg to change the guideline, through new proposed legislation.

"We want to give the option for the trial judge to be able to determine what the release eligibility date would be," Berg said.

It could be introduced next general session that would give that parole determination up to judge.

After five DUIs, and Spangler's already revoked license, the family wants to make sure he learns his lesson.