Canoeing Under the Influence May Soon be Legal

Canoeing under the influence may soon be legal…in Canada.

Canada, who has some very strict DUI laws, currently makes it illegal to canoe while under the influence of alcohol. The outdoorsy county may soon change that however.

Canadian Parliament is considering legislation which would change the definition of a vessel so that it “does not include a vessel that is propelled exclusively by means of muscular power,” according to the National Post.

In Canada, it is not illegal to operate a non-motorized vehicle, such as a bicycle, while under the influence of alcohol. The issue that the Canadian Parliament is grappling with is whether a person should be prosecuted for a crime that, had it taken place on land, would not be a crime because the vessel is not motorized.

John Gullick, chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), doesn’t think the comparison between canoes and bikes are the same.

“The only person who gets hurt is the person riding the bicycle. Well, in the case of muscular or human-powered vessels, there can be far many more numbers of people in the vessel, and it also affects people around the vessel. First responders, people who are searching for people who get lost or get in trouble,” Gullick told the National Post.

The legislation was prompted by a number of arrests for canoeing under the influence which led to the suspension of the canoers’ drivers licenses.

Should the Canadian Parliament agree with the new legislation, doesn’t mean that a person can be prosecuted under a different criminal statute according to Greg Yost, a justice department counsel for criminal law matters.

Although I agree with the pending legislation, it doesn’t mean that a person should hit the lakes after having to many Molson Ices, eh.

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New Multiple DUI Court Provides Treatment and Accountability

In San Mateo County, California, a new multiple DUI court program focuses on those with a history of drunk driving. Under the program, people with two or three misdemeanor drunk driving offenses will get individualized treatment plans and closer monitoring by the state. The first six months after a DUI offender’s second or third misdemeanor conviction is when they are most likely to be involved in a fatal crash, and the program’s goal is to divert these occurrences with a new targeted strategy.

The county’s District Attorney’s Office, Probation Department, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, and Private Defender Program worked together to design the program. Key elements of the program include offenders’ monthly check-ins with a judge dedicated to the program, increased supervision, and customized substance abuse treatment plans. The two-pronged approach of accountability and treatment is meant to encourage program participants toward a path of recovery rather than repeated accidents. “From the health perspective, we really want to improve the overall health of the individual,” said Clara Boyden, a program manager with San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.

The health staff will employ strategies such as outpatient treatment programs, counseling, and medication to help individuals manage their issues with substance abuse. In addition, case managers could potentially refer participants to employment and education opportunities.

As for the accountability element of the program, at-home and in-the-field check-ins will continue with probation officers. Newer technology will also strengthen current supervision efforts. A tool that requires a breathalyzer test before a driver can start a vehicle, called an ignition interlock device, is one device that will be used in the program. There are also ankle monitors that track participants’ locations and their level of inebriation. These technologies will allow probation officers to keep participants on track and hopefully prevent them from repeating the mistake of driving under the influence—a behavior that accounts for one third of all auto accidents.

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Is There Such a Thing as a Happy DUI?

Is there such as thing as a happy DUI? There is when it’s not real and ends in a proposal.

A California sheriff’s deputy recruited colleagues to stage a fake DUI arrest of his girlfriend so that he could surprise her with a proposal.

Deputy Kevin Bowes of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Palmdale Station had two fellow officers pull over his girlfriend, Ellen Alexander, on suspicion of driving under the influence. She, of course, was not driving under the influence, but as part of the elaborate prank, the officers had Alexander perform field sobriety tests.

Bowes arrived and while Alexander was looking up and touching her nose as part of one of the field sobriety tests, Bowes took a knee behind her with a ring in hand.

One of the officers who was conducting the field sobriety tests then told Alexander to turn around. After turning around, she saw Bowes and ran up to hug him.

In the video later posted by the station, Bowes can be heard asking, “Is that a yes?” Alexander nodded yes.

The video can be seen on the station’s Facebook page at:

Below the video reads, “Congratulations to the future Mrs. Deputy Bowes. She thought she was a suspect DUI driver but it was a traffic stop that changed her life. Watch as Deputy Bowes proposes to his future wife. We are so happy for you brother, and thank you for allowing us to be part of this wonderful moment. Welcome to the Tan & Green family, and may you have a wonderful life together. #LASD #AV411 #SheSaidYes”

As a DUI attorney, I do a lot criticizing about the manner with which law enforcement officers conduct DUI stops. This one, however, I think I can get behind.


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Rival School Sends Care Packages to Family and Teammates of Fatal DUI Victim

There is so much bad news out there that sometimes it’s difficult to turn on the television or computer without seeing anything good, particularly when it comes to driving under the influence. So today I bring you some good news and, yes, it has to do with a California DUI.

Cameron Allison Jr. was killed earlier last month by a drunk driver in Stockton, California. Allison, who was a running back for the Lincoln High School football team, was a passenger in a BMV that was hit by an Infiniti. Allison was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver of his vehicle was in stable condition. The driver of the Infiniti, 31-year-old Anthony Calderon, was arrested by Stockton officers on suspicion of driving under the influence and is being held on $1 million bail.

Unfortunately, Allison’s story is not an unusual in that thousands of people die annually just like Allison did. What makes Allison’s story different is how the rival high school responded to the loss of Allison.

While high school rivalries can be fierce, Lincoln High’s rival Edison High put the rivalry aside, recognizing that all students are part of the same community.

Edison High gave Allison’s family a quilt and other items with the Lincoln High School logo and “Allison #9” on them and a check for $230. Allison’s teammates were give 70 water bottles with “Allison #9” on them and a card expressing their condolences.

“We just wanted to reach out to them. It’s not about north side versus south side, it’s about a community that feels their pain and understands what they’re going through,” said Edison Head Coach, Booker Guyton Jr.

Ani DiFranco once said, “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.”

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The Hidden Cost of DUIs: A Private Lawyer Will Save You Thousands

While many people understand the cost of going to court and paying fees associated with the legal system for a DUI, few realize that perhaps the greatest ongoing cost is the drastically increased auto insurance premium for the three to five years after getting a DUI.

A new study released by QuoteWizard this June found that hiring a private DUI lawyer to get your charges reduced can save you up to $4,000 on car insurance alone. After you are charged with a DUI, you will see rising premiums for your car insurance. Companies may even cancel your insurance coverage since you are seen as a potentially expensive liability. On average, drivers with DUIs will pay $830 more per year for auto insurance than drivers without a record.

The key to reducing your DUI cost is getting your DUI charge reduced to a reckless or negligent driving charge. Your best chance of this outcome is with a private lawyer. The study found that a private DUI lawyer is three times more likely to get a DUI charge reduced than a free public defender.

Even with reduced charges, your insurance rates will rise, but a DUI charge will cost an average of $1,460 more on insurance than someone with a reckless or negligent driving charge. Further, court fees and fines for a DUI average out to $3,600. Fees for reduced charges are less than half that at $1,600.

"Since the consequences of a DUI conviction are staggering, the cost of good legal counsel should be viewed as an investment working to protect the defendant’s future," says attorney Eduardo M. Borda. It’s essential to get a private lawyer to save money in the long run. Beyond that, it’s just as important to make sure to hire an attorney who specializes in DUI defense. "A person charged with a DUI needs a lawyer specifically trained in defending DUIs to get the police reports, video recordings, audio recordings and all of the maintenance, calibration, and testing logs for the breath test machine, or any underlying data on blood or urine tests," says Jay Norton, a Kansas DUI lawyer. "You have to know what to ask for, know how to get it and then know what to do with it."

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