Friday, December 9, 2011

"Sovereign" Citizen Charged with DWI Says Court doesn't have power to punish me...Court's opinion differs.

This man claims that the court doesn't have the power to punish him.  That argument didn't exactly work.

Sovereign citizen’ loses DWI trial in Northland
KC Star Reports- By: Brian Burnes,

A Platte County jury has found a self-described “sovereign citizen” guilty of driving while intoxicated and driving without a license.  Jurors on Monday convicted Adam David Mael, 32, of Kansas City, North during a one-day trial.  A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper had stopped Mael in October 2010. Mael allegedly performed poorly during field sobriety tests and refused to provide breath and blood samples after being arrested and taken to the Platte County jail.  Further investigation revealed that Mael’s driver’s license had been revoked for refusing a breath test in July 2010.

When a trooper read Mael his Miranda rights, Mael said: “I give you no jurisdiction over me, and I do not submit to anything you say about me.”  Mael represented himself during Monday’s trial, citing the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation in his opening statement and arguing that the government had no authority over him. He also subpoenaed Gloria Boyer, county recorder of deeds, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate that the government didn’t own the road on which he had been driving.

The jury recommended three-and six-month sentences, respectively, for the DWI and driving without a license convictions.  Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd described Mael as one of growing number of people who claim they have not consented to government jurisdiction, but the jury’s verdict didn’t concern that issue.  “It was about keeping our community safe from drunk drivers,” Zahnd said.  “After a 12-hour day hearing evidence and rendering a verdict, these jurors unanimously recommended this defendant spend six months in jail,” he said.

Mael is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 11.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DUI Charges cost more than Money: DUI charge leads Head of FAA to Resign

As a follow up to the article posted in the Lawrence Journal World and reposted on our Blog hereDUI charges can cost a lot more than what you pay an attorney, and fines.  DUI charges can have a drastic impact on your ability to find or maintain employment if they are not handled properly.  This is a lesson that the Head of the Federal Aviation Administration is now learning the hard way.

US FAA chief resigns over drunk drive charge

As Reported on Reuters -

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obama in Osawatomie KS: Take a look at his car and why he can speed through the KC Metro.

As anounced a few weeks ago, President Obama will travel through the Kansas City metro area today on his way to a small town south of Kansas City called Osawatomie.  President Obama is scheduled to land in Kansas City today and travel down to the small town to deliver a speach.  Be assured his motorcade will cause some problems traveling in the metro especially with the fresh snow.  With the presidential visit upon us I thought I would take a minute to explain why the president will get to speed through town, as well as what he will be riding in.

The Car

Here is the prediential limo.  Also known as "Cadillac One," "Limo one," or "the Beast."  Now much of it's bells and whistles are classified, but here is what we know about the car.  The current presidential limousine entered service on January 20, 2009. According to the manufacturer, General Motors, the 2009 Cadillac presidential limousine is the first not to carry a specific model name.  The vehicle's outward appearance carries many current Cadillac styling themes, but doesn't exactly resemble any particular production vehicle. The body itself seems to be a modification of the immediately previous DTS-badged Presidential limousines, but the vehicle's chassis and driveline are assumed to be sourced from the GMC Topkick commercial truck.  Many body components are sourced from a variety of Cadillac vehicles; for example, the car apparently uses Cadillac Escalade headlights, side mirrors and door handles. The tail of the car seems to use the taillights and back up lights from the Cadillac STS sedan. Although a price tag has not been announced, there is a rumor that each limousine costs US$300,000.
Most details of the car are classified for security reasons; however, it is known that it is fitted with military grade armor at least five inches thick, and the wheels are fitted with run flat tires that makes the vehicle drivable for a certain length of time if punctured. The doors weigh as much as a Boeing 757 airplane cabin door. The engine is equipped with a Eaton Twin Vortices Series 1900 supercharger system.  The vehicle's fuel tank is leak-proof and explosion resistant.  Due to the thickness of the glass, much natural light is excluded, so a fluorescent halo lighting system in the headliner is essential. The outside crowd is only heard through internal speakers. The car is perfectly sealed against biochemical attacks and has its own oxygen supply and firefighting system built into the trunk. Unseen at a glance are two holes hidden inside the lower part of the vehicle's front bumper, which are able to emit tear gas. The vehicle can also fire a salvo of multi-spectrum infrared smoke grenades as a countermeasure to a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) or anti-tank missile (ATGM) attack and to act as a visual obscurant to operator guided missiles.  This is fired remotely by the USSS countermeasures Suburban which trails the limo and contains the sensors to detect the launch of such an attack.  The limo is equipped with a driver's enhanced video system which allows the driver to operate in an infrared smoke environment. This driver's enhanced video system also contains bumper mounted night vision cameras for operation in pitch black conditions.  Kept in the trunk is a blood bank of the President's blood type.  Interestingly, there are no key holes in the doors. A special technique, known only to Secret Service agents, is required to gain access to the passenger area

The Motorcade and Speed

Since 2001, when the president travels out of town, his motorcade has consisted of about 45 vehicles. While the limousine itself is maintained by the Secret Service, motorcade support vehicles are maintained by the White House Military Office.   At times, the president travels in the presidential Suburban, one of two Chevrolet Suburbans with the presidential seal on the sides.  The presidental motorcade is allowed to speed and even required to speed for several reasons.  Even though it seems counterintuitive speed is actually more safe for the president.  It allows the secret service to identify possible threats because anyone trying to follow the president will also be traveling at a high rate of speed.  Another reason the president will speed is because wherever the president goes the highways and roads will be closed and the public won't have access to them for a specified area around the presidents motorcade.  It is in the interest of the public for the President to move quickly through the area so that traffic won't back up due to road closures.  Probably the last and most obvious reason that the president will speed through an area is that he is usually on a strict and demanding schedule.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What does a DUI cost? New Kansas law brings big changes.

DUI's plain and simple cost a driver money.  Increase in insurance costs, fines, attorney fees, reinstatment fees, ignition interlock device fees, and the list goes on and on.  An article in the Lawrence Journal World breaks it down. 

Kansas’ new DUI law bringing big changes

Kansas enacted new drunken driving laws, effective July 1, making ignition interlock devices mandatory for even first-time offenders, creating a central repository to better track drunken drivers across the state and expanding treatment options.  The law also earned the state the highest possible rating from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for laws designed to combat drunken driving. Today, we check in with the people who deal with understanding — and implementing — the law on a daily basis. Here’s what we found:

Ignition interlock devices
 For Ace Bail Bonds, the DUI law has been a big boost to business, said owner Steve Robson. Ace is one of a few local businesses that install the interlock devices, and Robson said they’ve seen installations increase significantly over the past couple of months.  Before the new law, Ace Bail Bonds would install a small number of the devices every month, but now, they’re averaging about a 100 monthly. The biggest issue Robson has been hearing about usage of the devices is people who drink alcohol the night before and then fail the breath test in the morning. After three failures within 15 minutes, users of the interlock must pay a $25 fee to have the device reset.

Breathalyzer refusals
One of the disappointments with the law expressed by state Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, who helped craft the legislation, was that Breathalyzer, or alcohol-level breath test, refusal wasn’t criminalized. That is, it’s not a criminal — but rather a traffic — offense for someone to refuse a Breathalyzer during a traffic stop. While a person who refuses a Breathalyzer automatically loses his or her driver’s license for a year, it’s more difficult for prosecutors to obtain a DUI conviction without the test.  “Defendants (who refuse) are less likely to face criminal charges,” said Charles Branson, Douglas County District Attorney.  But some prosecutors, including Branson, have taken steps to close that loophole by working with police and judges to streamline the search warrant process for a blood test when probable cause exists.  Scott McPherson, county attorney for Rice County, said his office has copied the Douglas County model.  “It seems to be working well,” said McPherson, who estimates officers have requested search warrants for blood tests in about a dozen cases since the new law was implemented. Whether district attorneys take the steps Branson and McPherson have to handle refusals is up to each district, and it’s unclear how many counties have implemented similar plans.

The takeaway for drivers who are pulled over, at least in Douglas County, is simple: A refusal will likely lead to a search warrant for a blood test, and refusing will bring about more consequences than if a driver consents. In addition to losing a license for a year, drivers who refuse will be assessed a $400 lab fee for the blood test.

Kendall Heiman, addictions counselor at Professional Treatment Services, performs the substance abuse assessments and evaluations required for all DUI offenders. Judges use the assessments when deciding whether to order further treatment.  The biggest change with the new law, Heiman said, is an opening up of state funding for offenders who are tagged in assessments as needing additional treatment. Since the law has passed, Heiman said the treatment needs for offenders who come through her door vary.

For DUI offenders who don’t present the markers for a substance abuse disorder, their treatment plan will consist of the assessment and follow-up at an eight-hour alcohol awareness and information course, Heiman said.  But when someone fits the criteria for further treatment, Heiman can recommend outpatient treatment, which can range up to 20 hours of group and individual treatment per week.  Heiman said they’ve seen success at this stage of treatment, which can provide the wake-up call to people that they have a substance abuse problem.  “There’s this moment of clarity” for offenders, Heiman said.  In rare cases, Heiman can recommend inpatient treatment, and the new law allocates state funding for offenders who don’t have insurance and can’t afford inpatient treatment.  Gary Lee, director of services at Valeo, the Topeka-based substance abuse treatment facility, said they haven’t yet begun to see DUI offenders sent to their 40-bed facility based on the new law, but he expects to in the coming years.  The center provides a wide-range of treatment, including detox, group therapy and individual counseling for their clients, who typically stay about two weeks.

Yearly cost of a first conviction for driving under the influence:

Interlock installation and fees: $917
Insurance increase: $60/month
Court/jail costs: $143.50
Treatment: $220 to $270
Fines and probation costs: $810 to $1150
Lawyer: $1,000 minimum
License reinstatement fee: $100
Refusal of breath test to find blood-alcohol level: $400
Total estimated cost range: $3,910 to $4,700
Costs will vary based on service providers chosen and whether someone applies for diversion. Information provided by Ace Bail Bonds, Professional Treatment Services, Douglas County Assistant District Attorney Greg Benefiel, the Ron King Agency and local attorney John Frydman.