DUI case appeal

The Criminal Court of Appeals ruled last week the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was overseeing an “unconstitutional” fee system that only required defendants pay a $250 blood test fee upon their conviction.

Because of that ruling, which stems from a 2012 DUI case in Chattanooga, many attorneys believe Tennessee courts can’t allow blood or breathalyzer testing into evidence in DUI cases as long as TBI’s crime lab continues to receive the fee. They say the fee serves as a conflict of interest that brings the testing results into question.  I argued this to a district attorney and the charge was dropped to a lesser charge.

One question is whether that ruling becomes a permanent piece of case law that judges must consider while ruling in future cases.  It will be up to the Tennessee Supreme Court to decide if it is.

The TBI denies any bias or conflict of interest; however, it tests people’s blood for the presence of alcohol and drugs in DUI cases.   Defense attorney argue this practice is unfair.

If you have received a conviction for DUI in Tennessee, you may wish to call your attorney.

 

 

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

We have all told lies.  Sometimes they are ‘little white lies’.  Other times they are ‘whoppers’.  People don’t want to look foolish.  They don’t want to look guilty.  People lie for many reasons.  But the one person you never should lie to is your attorney!

Attorneys must know every piece of your case, good, bad or indifferent.  Think of your attorney as the priest listening to confession in the movies.  He is listening, not judging.  An attorney is there to help you.  You are paying him or her money.  She knows that you that you aren’t perfect and doesn’t expect you to be.  But you must tell the truth, the whole the truth!

In a legal battle, your opponent is going to know the truth if you have an ex-spouse, enemies, friends that talk too much and so so.  It’s better you tell your attorney than him find out you have lied in the middle of your trial.

I have a friend that is a preacher.  A man came in to see him and, before the preacher could speak, told him all the sins he had committed.  Having told the preacher everything bad he had done, he wasn’t keeping any secrets.  Now they could talk and they did talk.  It was a great discussion.

That man had the right idea!

 

Extradition

Extradition is a process where fugitives from justice are returned by the asylum state to the demanding state to stand trial on pending criminal charges.

The extradition process begins when the fugitive is arrested in the asylum state as a result of criminal charges in the demanding state. If the fugitive does not waive extradition, the extradition process continues and the fugitive is taken before a magistrate, where the fugitive is either committed to jail or admitted to bail.  Then the magistrate establishes a time in which the demanding state may arrest the fugitive.  When the demanding state is notified of the fugitive’s arrest, he can either waive extradition or refuse to waive extradition, the demanding state submits formal documents requesting the governor of this state to issue a requisition [warrant] and agent’s commission.

When and if the demanding state’s request is approved, the governor issues his rendition warrant, which authorizes the arrest of the fugitive and the delivery of the fugitive to the agents of the demanding state.  But a fugitive has a right to challenge the extradition in a habeas corpus proceeding.

Unless the fugitive is charged with a capital crime, he is eligible for bail in the asylum state.  The fugitive is held for a “reasonable time” for the demanding state.  Reasonable can be as little as 10 days and as many as 30.

US Supreme Court says Christmas displays are constitutional

An interesting case for this time of year.  Merry Christmas!

 

United States Supreme Court

LYNCH v. DONNELLY, (1984)

No. 82-1256

Argued: October 4, 1983    Decided: March 5, 1984

The city of Pawtucket, R. I., annually erects a Christmas display in a park owned by a nonprofit organization and located in the heart of the city’s shopping district. The display includes, in addition to such objects as a Santa Claus house, a Christmas tree, and a banner that reads “SEASONS GREETINGS,” a creche or Nativity scene, which has been part of this annual display for 40 years or more. Respondents brought an action in Federal District Court, challenging the inclusion of the creche in the display on the ground that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court upheld the challenge and permanently enjoined the city from including the creche in the display. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held:

Notwithstanding the religious significance of the creche, Pawtucket has not violated the Establishment Clause. Pp. 672-687.

    • (a) The concept of a “wall” of separation between church and state is a useful metaphor but is not an accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists. The Constitution does not require complete separation of church and state; it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any. Anything less would require the “callous indifference,” Zorach v. Clauson,

343 U.S. 306, 314 

    , that was never intended by the Establishment Clause. Pp. 672-673.
    (b) This Court’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause comports with the contemporaneous understanding of the Framers’ intent. That neither the draftsmen of the Constitution, who were Members of the First Congress, nor the First Congress itself, saw any establishment problem in employing Chaplains to offer daily prayers in the Congress is a striking example of the accommodation of religious beliefs intended by the Framers. Pp. 673-674.
    • (c) Our history is pervaded by official acknowledgment of the role of religion in American life, and equally pervasive is evidence of accommodation of all faiths and all forms of religious expression and hostility toward none. Pp. 674-678.

[465 U.S. 668, 669]  

    (d) Rather than taking an absolutist approach in applying the Establishment Clause and mechanically invalidating all governmental conduct or statutes that confer benefits or give special recognition to religion in general or to one faith, this Court has scrutinized challenged conduct or legislation to determine whether, in reality, it establishes a religion or religious faith or tends to do so. In the line-drawing process called for in each case, it has often been found useful to inquire whether the challenged law or conduct has a secular purpose, whether its principal or primary effect is to advance or inhibit religion, and whether it creates an excessive entanglement of government with religion. But this Court has been unwilling to be confined to any single test or criterion in this sensitive area. Pp. 678-679.
    (e) Here, the focus of the inquiry must be on the creche in the context of the Christmas season. Focus exclusively on the religious component of any activity would inevitably lead to its invalidation under the Establishment Clause. Pp. 679-680.
    (f) Based on the record in this case, the city has a secular purpose for including the creche in its Christmas display and has not impermissibly advanced religion or created an excessive entanglement between religion and government. The display is sponsored by the city to celebrate the Holiday recognized by Congress and national tradition and to depict the origins of that Holiday; these are legitimate secular purposes. Whatever benefit to one faith or religion or to all religions inclusion of the creche in the display effects, is indirect, remote, and incidental, and is no more an advancement or endorsement of religion than the congressional and executive recognition of the origins of Christmas, or the exhibition of religious paintings in governmentally supported museums. This Court is unable to discern a greater aid to religion from the inclusion of the creche than from the substantial benefits previously held not violative of the Establishment Clause. As to administrative entanglement, there is no evidence of contact with church authorities concerning the content or design of the exhibition prior to or since the city’s purchase of the creche. No expenditures for maintenance of the creche have been necessary, and, since the city owns the creche, now valued at $200, the tangible material it contributes is de minimis. Political divisiveness alone cannot serve to invalidate otherwise permissible conduct, and, in any event, apart from the instant litigation, there is no evidence of political friction or divisiveness over the creche in the 40-year history of the city’s Christmas celebration. Pp. 680-685.
    • (g) It would be ironic if the inclusion of the creche in the display, as part of a celebration of an event acknowledged in the Western World for 20 centuries, and in this country by the people, the Executive Branch,

[465 U.S. 668, 670]   

    Congress, and the courts for 2 centuries, would so “taint” the exhibition as to render it violative of the Establishment Clause. To forbid the use of this one passive symbol while hymns and carols are sung and played in public places including schools, and while Congress and state legislatures open public sessions with prayers, would be an overreaction contrary to this Nation’s history and this Court’s holdings. Pp. 685-686.

691 F.2d 1029, reversed.

BURGER, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and O’CONNOR, JJ., joined. O’CONNOR, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 687. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ., joined, post, p. 694. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEVENS, J., joined, post, p. 726.

William F. McMahon argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the briefs were Richard P. McMahon and Spencer W. Viner.

Solicitor General Lee argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Assistant Attorney General McGrath, Deputy Solicitor General Bator, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kuhl, and Kathryn A. Oberly.

Amato A. DeLuca argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Sandra A. Blanding, Burt Neuborne, E. Richard Larson, and Norman Dorsen. 

Footnote * ] Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the Coalition for Religious Liberty et al. by James J. Knicely and John W. Whitehead; for the Legal Foundation of America by David Crump; and for the Washington Legal Foundation by Daniel J. Popeo, Paul D. Kamenar, and Nicholas E. Calio. Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Jewish Committee et al. by Samuel Rabinove; and for the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith et al. by Justin J. Finger, Alan Dershowitz, Meyer Eisenberg, Jeffrey P. Sinensky, Nathan Z. Dershowitz, and Marc Stern.

CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

We granted certiorari to decide whether the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits a municipality [465 U.S. 668, 671]   from including a creche, or Nativity scene, in its annual Christmas display.

I

Each year, in cooperation with the downtown retail merchants’ association, the city of Pawtucket, R. I., erects a Christmas display as part of its observance of the Christmas holiday season. The display is situated in a park owned by a nonprofit organization and located in the heart of the shopping district. The display is essentially like those to be found in hundreds of towns or cities across the Nation – often on public grounds – during the Christmas season. The Pawtucket display comprises many of the figures and decorations traditionally associated with Christmas, including, among other things, a Santa Claus house, reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh, candy-striped poles, a Christmas tree, carolers, cutout figures representing such characters as a clown, an elephant, and a teddy bear, hundreds of colored lights, a large banner that reads “SEASONS GREETINGS,” and the creche at issue here. All components of this display are owned by the city.

The creche, which has been included in the display for 40 or more years, consists of the traditional figures, including the Infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, kings, and animals, all ranging in height from 5″ to 5′. In 1973, when the present creche was acquired, it cost the city $1,365; it now is valued at $200. The erection and dismantling of the creche costs the city about $20 per year; nominal expenses are incurred in lighting the creche. No money has been expended on its maintenance for the past 10 years.

Respondents, Pawtucket residents and individual members of the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the affiliate itself, brought this action in the United States District Court for Rhode Island, challenging the city’s inclusion of the creche in the annual display. The District Court held that the city’s inclusion of the creche in the display violates the Establishment Clause, 525 F. Supp. 1150, 1178 (1981), which is binding on the states through the [465 U.S. 668, 672]   Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court found that, by including the creche in the Christmas display, the city has “tried to endorse and promulgate religious beliefs,” id., at 1173, and that “erection of the creche has the real and substantial effect of affiliating the City with the Christian beliefs that the creche represents.” Id., at 1177. This “appearance of official sponsorship,” it believed, “confers more than a remote and incidental benefit on Christianity.” Id., at 1178. Last, although the court acknowledged the absence of administrative entanglement, it found that excessive entanglement has been fostered as a result of the political divisiveness of including the creche in the celebration. Id., at 1179-1180. The city was permanently enjoined from including the creche in the display.

A divided panel of the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed. 691 F.2d 1029 (1982). We granted certiorari, 460 U.S. 1080 (1983), and we reverse.

II

A

This Court has explained that the purpose of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment is

    • “to prevent, as far as possible, the intrusion of either [the church or the state] into the precincts of the other.” Lemon v. Kurtzman,

403 U.S. 602, 614 

    (1971).

At the same time, however, the Court has recognized that

    “total separation is not possible in an absolute sense. Some relationship between government and religious organizations is inevitable.” Ibid.

In every Establishment Clause case, we must reconcile the inescapable tension between the objective of preventing unnecessary intrusion of either the church or the state upon the other, and the reality that, as the Court has so often noted, total separation of the two is not possible. [465 U.S. 668, 673]  

The Court has sometimes described the Religion Clauses as erecting a “wall” between church and state, see, e. g., Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 18 (1947). The concept of a “wall” of separation is a useful figure of speech probably deriving from views of Thomas Jefferson. The metaphor has served as a reminder that the Establishment Clause forbids an established church or anything approaching it. But the metaphor itself is not a wholly accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists between church and state.

No significant segment of our society and no institution within it can exist in a vacuum or in total or absolute isolation from all the other parts, much less from government. “It has never been thought either possible or desirable to enforce a regime of total separation . . . .” Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 760 (1973). Nor does the Constitution require complete separation of church and state; it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any. See, e. g., Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 314 , 315 (1952); Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 211 (1948). Anything less would require the “callous indifference” we have said was never intended by the Establishment Clause. Zorach, supra, at 314. Indeed, we have observed, such hostility would bring us into “war with our national tradition as embodied in the First Amendment’s guaranty of the free exercise of religion.” McCollum, supra, at 211-212.

B

The Court’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause has comported with what history reveals was the contemporaneous understanding of its guarantees. A significant example [465 U.S. 668, 674]   of the contemporaneous understanding of that Clause is found in the events of the first week of the First Session of the First Congress in 1789. In the very week that Congress approved the Establishment Clause as part of the Bill of Rights for submission to the states, it enacted legislation providing for paid Chaplains for the House and Senate. In Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), we noted that 17 Members of that First Congress had been Delegates to the Constitutional Convention where freedom of speech, press, and religion and antagonism toward an established church were subjects of frequent discussion. We saw no conflict with the Establishment Clause when Nebraska employed members of the clergy as official legislative Chaplains to give opening prayers at sessions of the state legislature. Id., at 791.

The interpretation of the Establishment Clause by Congress in 1789 takes on special significance in light of the Court’s emphasis that the First Congress

    • “was a Congress whose constitutional decisions have always been regarded, as they should be regarded, as of the greatest weight in the interpretation of that fundamental instument,” Myers v. United States,

272 U.S. 52, 174 

    -175 (1926).

It is clear that neither the 17 draftsmen of the Constitution who were Members of the First Congress, nor the Congress of 1789, saw any establishment problem in the employment of congressional Chaplains to offer daily prayers in the Congress, a practice that has continued for nearly two centuries. It would be difficult to identify a more striking example of the accommodation of religious belief intended by the Framers.

C

There is an unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life from at least 1789. Seldom in our opinions was this more affirmatively expressed than in Justice Douglas’ opinion for the Court validating a program allowing release of [465 U.S. 668, 675]   public school students from classes to attend off-campus religious exercises. Rejecting a claim that the program violated the Establishment Clause, the Court asserted pointedly:

    “We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” Zorach v. Clauson, supra, at 313.

See also Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 213 (1963).

Our history is replete with official references to the value and invocation of Divine guidance in deliberations and pronouncements of the Founding Fathers and contemporary leaders. Beginning in the early colonial period long before Independence, a day of Thanksgiving was celebrated as a religious holiday to give thanks for the bounties of Nature as gifts from God. President Washington and his successors proclaimed Thanksgiving, with all its religious overtones, a day of national celebration and Congress made it a National Holiday more than a century ago. Ch. 167, 16 Stat. 168. That holiday has not lost its theme of expressing thanks for Divine aidany more than has Christmas lost its religious significance. [465 U.S. 668, 676]  

Executive Orders and other official announcements of Presidents and of the Congress have proclaimed both Christmas and Thanksgiving National Holidays in religious terms. And, by Acts of Congress, it has long been the practice that federal employees are released from duties on these National Holidays, while being paid from the same public revenues that provide the compensation of the Chaplains of the Senate and the House and the military services. See J. Res. 5, 23 Stat. 516. Thus, it is clear that Government has long recognized – indeed it has subsidized – holidays with religious significance.

Other examples of reference to our religious heritage are found in the statutorily prescribed national motto “In God We Trust,” 36 U.S.C. 186, which Congress and the President mandated for our currency, see 31 U.S.C. 5112(d)(1) (1982 ed.), and in the language “One nation under God,” as part of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. That pledge is recited by many thousands of public school children – and adults – every year.

Art galleries supported by public revenues display religious paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries, predominantly inspired by one religious faith. The National Gallery in [465 U.S. 668, 677]   Washington, maintained with Government support, for example, has long exhibited masterpieces with religious messages, notably the Last Supper, and paintings depicting the Birth of Christ, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection, among many others with explicit Christian themes and messages. The very chamber in which oral arguments on this case were heard is decorated with a notable and permanent – not seasonal – symbol of religion: Moses with the Ten Commandments. Congress has long provided chapels in the Capitol for religious worship and meditation.

There are countless other illustrations of the Government’s acknowledgment of our religious heritage and governmental sponsorship of graphic manifestations of that heritage. Congress has directed the President to proclaim a National Day of Prayer each year “on which [day] the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” 36 U.S.C. 169h. Our Presidents have repeatedly issued such Proclamations. Presidential Proclamations and messages have also issued to commemorate Jewish Heritage Week, Presidential Proclamation No. 4844, 3 CFR 30 (1982), and the Jewish High Holy Days, 17 Weekly Comp. of Pres. Doc. 1058 (1981). One cannot look at even this brief resume without finding that our history is pervaded by expressions of religious beliefs such as are found in Zorach. Equally pervasive is the evidence of accommodation of all faiths and all forms of religious expression, and hostility toward none. Through this accommodation, [465 U.S. 668, 678]   as Justice Douglas observed, governmental action has “follow[ed] the best of our traditions” and “respect[ed] the religious nature of our people.” 343 U.S., at 314 .

III

This history may help explain why the Court consistently has declined to take a rigid, absolutist view of the Establishment Clause. We have refused “to construe the Religion Clauses with a literalness that would undermine the ultimate constitutional objective as illuminated by history.” Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 671 (1970) (emphasis added). In our modern, complex society, whose traditions and constitutional underpinnings rest on and encourage diversity and pluralism in all areas, an absolutist approach in applying the Establishment Clause is simplistic and has been uniformly rejected by the Court.

Rather than mechanically invalidating all governmental conduct or statutes that confer benefits or give special recognition to religion in general or to one faith – as an absolutist approach would dictate – the Court has scrutinized challenged legislation or official conduct to determine whether, in reality, it establishes a religion or religious faith, or tends to do so. See Walz, supra, at 669. Joseph Story wrote a century and a half ago:

    “The real object of the [First] Amendment was . . . to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.” 3 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 728 (1833).

In each case, the inquiry calls for line-drawing; no fixed, per se rule can be framed. The Establishment Clause like the Due Process Clauses is not a precise, detailed provision in a legal code capable of ready application. The purpose of the Establishment Clause “was to state an objective, not to write a statute.” Walz, supra, at 668. The line between permissible relationships and those barred by the Clause can no [465 U.S. 668, 679]   more be straight and unwavering than due process can be defined in a single stroke or phrase or test. The Clause erects a “blurred, indistinct, and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.” Lemon, 403 U.S., at 614 .

In the line-drawing process we have often found it useful to inquire whether the challenged law or conduct has a secular purpose, whether its principal or primary effect is to advance or inhibit religion, and whether it creates an excessive entanglement of government with religion. Lemon, supra. But, we have repeatedly emphasized our unwillingness to be confined to any single test or criterion in this sensitive area. See, e. g., Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672, 677 -678 (1971); Nyquist, 413 U.S., at 773 . In two cases, the Court did not even apply the Lemon “test.” We did not, for example, consider that analysis relevant in Marsh v. Chambers,463 U.S. 783 (1983). Nor did we find Lemon useful in Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228 (1982), where there was substantial evidence of overt discrimination against a particular church.

In this case, the focus of our inquiry must be on the creche in the context of the Christmas season. See, e. g., Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980) (per curiam); Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963). In Stone, for example, we invalidated a state statute requiring the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments on public classroom walls. But the Court carefully pointed out that the Commandments were posted purely as a religious admonition, not “integrated into the school curriculum, where the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like.” 449 U.S., at 42 . Similarly, in Abington, although the Court struck down the practices in two States requiring daily Bible readings in public schools, it specifically noted that nothing in the Court’s holding was intended to “indicat[e] that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently [465 U.S. 668, 680]   with the First Amendment.” 374 U.S., at 225 . Focus exclusively on the religious component of any activity would inevitably lead to its invalidation under the Establishment Clause.

The Court has invalidated legislation or governmental action on the ground that a secular purpose was lacking, but only when it has concluded there was no question that the statute or activity was motivated wholly by religious considerations. See, e. g., Stone v. Graham, supra, at 41; Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 107 -109 (1968); Abington School District v. Schempp, supra, at 223-224; Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 424 -425 (1962). Even where the benefits to religion were substantial, as in Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947); Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236 (1968); Walz, supra; and Tilton, supra, we saw a secular purpose and no conflict with the Establishment Clause. Cf. Larkin v. Grendel’s Den, Inc., 459 U.S. 116 (1982).

The District Court inferred from the religious nature of the creche that the city has no secular purpose for the display. In so doing, it rejected the city’s claim that its reasons for including the creche are essentially the same as its reasons for sponsoring the display as a whole. The District Court plainly erred by focusing almost exclusively on the creche. When viewed in the proper context of the Christmas Holiday season, it is apparent that, on this record, there is insufficient evidence to establish that the inclusion of the creche is a purposeful or surreptitious effort to express some kind of subtle governmental advocacy of a particular religious message. In a pluralistic society a variety of motives and purposes are implicated. The city, like the Congresses and Presidents, however, has principally taken note of a significant historical religious event long celebrated in the Western World. The creche in the display depicts the historical origins of this traditional event long recognized as a National Holiday. See Allen v. Hickel, 138 U.S. App. D.C. 31, 424 F.2d 944 [465 U.S. 668, 681]   (1970); Citizens Concerned for Separation of Church and State v. City and County of Denver, 526 F. Supp. 1310 (Colo. 1981).

The narrow question is whether there is a secular purpose for Pawtucket’s display of the creche. The display is sponsored by the city to celebrate the Holiday and to depict the origins of that Holiday. These are legitimate secular purposes. The District Court’s inference, drawn from the religious nature of the creche, that the city has no secular purpose was, on this record, clearly erroneous. 

The District Court found that the primary effect of including the creche is to confer a substantial and impermissible benefit on religion in general and on the Christian faith in particular. Comparisons of the relative benefits to religion of different forms of governmental support are elusive and difficult to make. But to conclude that the primary effect of including the creche is to advance religion in violation of the Establishment Clause would require that we view it as more beneficial to and more an endorsement of religion, for example, than expenditure of large sums of public money for textbooks supplied throughout the country to students attending church-sponsored schools, Board of Education v. Allen, supra; expenditure of public funds for transportation of [465 U.S. 668, 682]   students to church-sponsored schools, Everson v. Board of Education, supra; federal grants for college buildings of church-sponsored institutions of higher education combining secular and religious education, Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672 (1971); 10 noncategorical grants to church-sponsored colleges and universities, Roemer v. Board of Public Works, 426 U.S. 736 (1976); and the tax exemptions for church properties sanctioned in Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664 (1970). It would also require that we view it as more of an endorsement of religion than the Sunday Closing Laws upheld in McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420 (1961); 11 the release time program for religious training in Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952); and the legislative prayers upheld in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983).

We are unable to discern a greater aid to religion deriving from inclusion of the creche than from these benefits and endorsements previously held not violative of the Establishment Clause. What was said about the legislative prayers in Marsh, supra, at 792, and implied about the Sunday Closing Laws in McGowan is true of the city’s inclusion of the creche: its “reason or effect merely happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some . . . religions.” See McGowan, supra, at 442.

This case differs significantly from Larkin v. Grendel’s Den, Inc., supra, and McCollum, where religion was substantially [465 U.S. 668, 683]   aided. In Grendel’s Den, important governmental power – a licensing veto authority – had been vested in churches. In McCollum, government had made religious instruction available in public school classrooms; the State had not only used the public school buildings for the teaching of religion, it had “afford[ed] sectarian groups an invaluable aid . . . [by] provid[ing] pupils for their religious classes through use of the State’s compulsory public school machinery.” 333 U.S., at 212 . No comparable benefit to religion is discernible here.

The dissent asserts some observers may perceive that the city has aligned itself with the Christian faith by including a Christian symbol in its display and that this serves to advance religion. We can assume, arguendo, that the display advances religion in a sense; but our precedents plainly contemplate that on occasion some advancement of religion will result from governmental action. The Court has made it abundantly clear, however, that “not every law that confers an `indirect,’ `remote,’ or `incidental’ benefit upon [religion] is, for that reason alone, constitutionally invalid.” Nyquist, 413 U.S., at 771 ; see also Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 273 (1981). Here, whatever benefit there is to one faith or religion or to all religions, is indirect, remote, and incidental; display of the creche is no more an advancement or endorsement of religion than the Congressional and Executive recognition of the origins of the Holiday itself as “Christ’s Mass,” or the exhibition of literally hundreds of religious paintings in governmentally supported museums.

The District Court found that there had been no administrative entanglement between religion and state resulting from the city’s ownership and use of the creche. 525 F. Supp., at 1179. But it went on to hold that some political divisiveness was engendered by this litigation. Coupled with its finding of an impermissible sectarian purpose and effect, this persuaded the court that there was “excessive entanglement.” The Court of Appeals expressly declined to [465 U.S. 668, 684]   accept the District Court’s finding that inclusion of the creche has caused political divisiveness along religious lines, and noted that this Court has never held that political divisiveness alone was sufficient to invalidate government conduct.

Entanglement is a question of kind and degree. In this case, however, there is no reason to disturb the District Court’s finding on the absence of administrative entanglement. There is no evidence of contact with church authorities concerning the content or design of the exhibit prior to or since Pawtucket’s purchase of the creche. No expenditures for maintenance of the creche have been necessary; and since the city owns the creche, now valued at $200, the tangible material it contributes is de minimis. In many respects the display requires far less ongoing, day-to-day interaction between church and state than religious paintings in public galleries. There is nothing here, of course, like the “comprehensive, discriminating, and continuing state surveillance” or the “enduring entanglement” present in Lemon, 403 U.S., at 619 -622.

The Court of Appeals correctly observed that this Court has not held that political divisiveness alone can serve to invalidate otherwise permissible conduct. And we decline to so hold today. This case does not involve a direct subsidy to church-sponsored schools or colleges, or other religious institutions, and hence no inquiry into potential political divisiveness is even called for, Mueller v. Allen, 463 U.S. 388, 403 -404, n. 11 (1983). In any event, apart from this litigation there is no evidence of political friction or divisiveness over the creche in the 40-year history of Pawtucket’s Christmas celebration. The District Court stated that the inclusion of the creche for the 40-years has been “marked by no apparent dissension” and that the display has had a “calm history.” 525 F. Supp., at 1179. Curiously, it went on to hold that the political divisiveness engendered by this lawsuit was evidence of excessive entanglement. A litigant cannot, by the very act of commencing a lawsuit, however, create the appearance [465 U.S. 668, 685]   of divisiveness and then exploit it as evidence of entanglement.

We are satisfied that the city has a secular purpose for including the creche, that the city has not impermissibly advanced religion, and that including the creche does not create excessive entanglement between religion and government.

IV

JUSTICE BRENNAN describes the creche as a “re-creation of an event that lies at the heart of Christian faith,” post, at 711. The creche, like a painting, is passive; admittedly it is a reminder of the origins of Christmas. Even the traditional, purely secular displays extant at Christmas, with or without a creche, would inevitably recall the religious nature of the Holiday. The display engenders a friendly community spirit of goodwill in keeping with the season. The creche may well have special meaning to those whose faith includes the celebration of religious Masses, but none who sense the origins of the Christmas celebration would fail to be aware of its religious implications. That the display brings people into the central city, and serves commercial interests and benefits merchants and their employees, does not, as the dissent points out, determine the character of the display. That a prayer invoking Divine guidance in Congress is preceded and followed by debate and partisan conflict over taxes, budgets, national defense, and myriad mundane subjects, for example, has never been thought to demean or taint the sacredness of the invocation. 12 

Of course the creche is identified with one religious faith but no more so than the examples we have set out from prior cases in which we found no conflict with the Establishment [465 U.S. 668, 686]   Clause. See, e. g., McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420 (1961); Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983). It would be ironic, however, if the inclusion of a single symbol of a particular historic religious event, as part of a celebration acknowledged in the Western World for 20 centuries, and in this country by the people, by the Executive Branch, by the Congress, and the courts for 2 centuries, would so “taint” the city’s exhibit as to render it violative of the Establishment Clause. To forbid the use of this one passive symbol – the creche – at the very time people are taking note of the season with Christmas hymns and carols in public schools and other public places, and while the Congress and legislatures open sessions with prayers by paid chaplains, would be a stilted overreaction contrary to our history and to our holdings. If the presence of the creche in this display violates the Establishment Clause, a host of other forms of taking official note of Christmas, and of our religious heritage, are equally offensive to the Constitution.

The Court has acknowledged that the “fears and political problems” that gave rise to the Religion Clauses in the 18th century are of far less concern today. Everson, 330 U.S., at 8 . We are unable to perceive the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Rome, or other powerful religious leaders behind every public acknowledgment of the religious heritage long officially recognized by the three constitutional branches of government. Any notion that these symbols pose a real danger of establishment of a state church is farfetched indeed.

V

That this Court has been alert to the constitutionally expressed opposition to the establishment of religion is shown in numerous holdings striking down statutes or programs as violative of the Establishment Clause. See, e. g., Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948); Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97(1968); Lemon v. Kurtzman, supra; Levitt v. Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty, 413 U.S. 472(1973); Committee [465 U.S. 668, 687]   for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756(1973); Meek v. Pittenger, 421 U.S. 349 (1975); and Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980). The most recent example of this careful scrutiny is found in the case invalidating a municipal ordinance granting to a church a virtual veto power over the licensing of liquor establishments near the church. Larkin v. Grendel’s Den, Inc.,459 U.S. 116 (1982). Taken together these cases abundantly demonstrate the Court’s concern to protect the genuine objectives of the Establishment Clause. It is far too late in the day to impose a crabbed reading of the Clause on the country.

VI

We hold that, notwithstanding the religious significance of the creche, the city of Pawtucket has not violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 13 Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.

    It is so ordered.

 

Prescriptions That Cause DUI

A very good article by Michael Kraut, an attorney in California.  Forewarned is forearmed!

“Driving under the influence” (DUI) doesn’t just apply to alcohol. It also encompasses the use prescription-drug-DUI-los-angelesof any drug that may impair your ability to operate a vehicle. That includes illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications. In other words, if an officer pulls you over and suspects you are impaired due to the use of drugs—even those you’re legally allowed to take—he can still arrest you under suspicion of DUI.

Most of us understand the dangers of combining alcohol with driving, but statistically, far fewer people understand or recognize prescription drugs’ effects on our ability to drive. Let’s look at a few startling numbers, courtesy of AAA:

• Nearly 50 percent of Americans say they have taken prescription drugs within the past 30 days. Thirty-one percent take at least two prescriptions.
• While two-thirds of drivers consider driving under the influence of alcohol to be a serious threat, only 28 percent of drivers believe the same about driving while using prescription drugs.
• Only 35 percent of drivers choose to curtail driving even when they believe their medication is affecting their ability to drive.
• Of fatality accidents involving drug use, 46.5% of those accidents involved prescription drugs.

To complicate the issue further, assessing the actual risks between drug use and driving can be far more difficult to measure than alcohol use. The reasons?

1. Different drugs have different effects;
2. The same drug can affect two people in entirely different ways;
3. Concentration or dosage of a drug can cause a huge variance in how it affects a driver;
4. Drugs can remain in our system for differing lengths of time, some affecting us long after we take them; and
5. Drugs used in combination can interact with each other and/or with alcohol, making the number of possible outcomes almost impossible to predict.

If you are taking a prescription drug, how do you know whether it’s safe to get behind the wheel? We will tackle this question in more detail momentarily; for now, let’s look briefly at a few broad categories of drugs and how they can affect the way they drive.

Marijuana

Marijuana has been legal for medicinal use in California for years, and as of January 1, it will also be legal for recreational use. Unfortunately, marijuana (also known as pot, or cannabis) can impair your ability to drive the same as alcohol, or worse. According to EMSA Online, marijuana can affect reaction times, perception of time and distance, and judgment. These impairments can worsen when combined with alcohol use, and if pot is combined with opiates or other sedatives, it can even cause hallucinations.

Prescription Drugs that Sedate

Perhaps the most common side effect of impairment-causing prescription medications is their ability to sedate us—to make us drowsy, distracted, listless or less responsive behind the wheel. The number of drugs that cause this is vast and varied, and can include any of the following:

• Opioids—prescriptions used to treat pain, or as a supplement to treat substance abuse of other similar drugs. These may include morphine, codeine, OxyContin, Vicodin, methadone and others.
• Tranquilizers—drugs used to treat anxiety like Valium or Xanax.
• Prescription sleep aids—such as Lunesta or Ambien.
• Antidepressants—like Zoloft or Prozac.
• Barbiturates—sometimes used to treat anxiety or seizures.
• Muscle relaxants—like Flexeril, Soma or Dantrium.
• Antihistamines—available by prescription or over-the-counter, many of these allergy-treating drugs cause drowsiness.

Drugs that Overstimulate Us

Sedatives aren’t the only threat for drivers; some prescriptions act as stimulants, which speed up our normal body processes. While this might seem to increase our awareness, when we are over-stimulated, these drugs can make us more aggressive or more prone to take risks on the road—not entirely unlike the illegal drug cocaine. Drugs that create this risk may include:

• Amphetamines—used to treat a variety of issues ranging from narcolepsy to ADHD. Examples include Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine, Benzedrine, Concerta and Dextroamphetamine.
• Prescription diet pills—used to increase metabolism, suppress appetite and facilitate weight loss, but which can also cause overexcitement and insomnia. These include drugs like phentermine, Tenuate and orlistat.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

Many of the drugs just mentioned are also available in over-the-counter dosages. These and other OTC drugs can also impair driving in unexpected ways. For example, the same AAA report cited above indicates that diphenhydramine—a drug commonly used in cold and allergy medicines— can impair a person’s ability to maintain speed, lane position or a safe following distance while driving. Just one such dose can mean a driver is as impaired as if he were legally drunk. In fact, even certain herbal supplements can affect the way you drive!

Avoiding Prescription Drug DUIs

If you must take one or more prescription drugs, what can you do to stay safe behind the wheel and avoid a possible DUI incident? Start with the following:

• Always read the list of possible side effects. No exceptions. Know the risks before you take every drug.
• Ask your doctor or pharmacist. If you are unclear about whether the dose you’re taking can impair driving, ask. Also, be sure to mention any drugs or supplements you’re taking—both prescription, OTC medications and herbal supplements—and ask whether these drugs may interact to cause impairment.
• Take the drug for 24-48 hours before driving. Evaluate how the drug makes you feel before getting behind the wheel.
• Drive with a buddy until you are confident. When beginning a new prescription, have someone with you, in case you show signs of impairment. If it happens, pull over and let your friend drive. Talk to your doctor before getting behind the wheel again.

Driving under the influence of a prescription drug can be just as dangerous, or even more dangerous, than driving after consuming alcohol. Likewise, a DUI from drug use can be just as devastating to your life as one from alcohol use.

 

 

My witness can’t be at court

A person facing a legal hearing often has a friend who promises to testify for him.  Unfortunately, when the day arrives the friend can’t be present at court but he says that he will write a letter for the judge to see.

Lawyers cringe when a client asks why the judge won’t accept the letter.  The court has good reason; it is against the law.  It is a witness that the opposing lawyer cannot cross examine.

Think of it this way.  Your are being tried in court and the other side gets to put on a letter that says you are guilty.  You can’t cross examine the missing witness as to why he believes you’re guilty.  You can’t ask the paper that the missing witness submitted if he even saw the crime.  You can’t ask the missing witness anything.  A client would say, “It’s not fair!”

A letter from a person who could not attend court isn’t fair to anyone.  If you have a person who could help your case, tell your attorney.  He will get the witness subpoenaed.   The witness is protected from being fired from his job, excused from school, etc.  for attending court.

Then he really will be a witness.

 

With Christmas almost here, I thought this story would be amuzing

From Jack Fuqua’s Law Jokes:


Christmas in the Courthouse
A supposedly true story…

In a local county courthouse the Clerk of Court hated fake Christmas trees, so he always put up a real tree in the Clerk’s office every year. One year the Fire Marshal happened to do a building inspection of the courthouse just before Christmas, while the Clerk was out to lunch, and noticed the tree. In the belief that the tree represented a fire hazard, he proceeded to write a citation for a violation of the fire code, which prohibited “live” trees in a public building, and gave it to the Clerk’s assistant.

When the Clerk returned from lunch and was given the citation, he hit the roof. Determined that no Fire Marshal was going to spoil his Christmas, he decided to fight the citation. So he went to the morgue in the adjoining police station, and asked the Coroner for his help. The Coroner came over and put a toe tag on the tree, listing the cause of death as “Being cut off at ground level”.

The Clerk called the Fire Marshal back to re-inspect, and showed him the toe tag on the tree. He told him that when the Coroner pronounces something “dead”, it is *legally* dead, and therefore the citation for having a “live” tree was obviously in error, and wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

The Fire Marshal thought about it, and came to the realization that, since he would have to pursue the fire code violation in that very courtroom, this was probably one argument he wasn’t going to win. So he let them have their tree.

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT TRIUMPHS OVER THE GRINCHES OF THE WORLD ONCE AGAIN!

 

He’s lying!!!

We  have all had situations where we deal with people who lie.   Every one tells a lie.  Some lie because they don’t want to hurt our feelings.  Other people simply have no regard for the truth.  Still others lie to make or keep money.  The list goes on.

If you think you are going to be in legal problems, don’t lie.  Simply don’t talk.  In Tennessee, it is a class E felony to tell a lie to a policeman.  The policeman can lie to you and it’s called “investigative technique”.

One thing you can do when dealing with a potential legal problem is to take notes.  Clear, truthful notes are very valuable.  List what you and the other person said.  List the time of day, the location and any witnesses.  If you are taken to court, your notes will be invaluable to your attorney.

In Tennessee, you can tape conversations that you are a part of even if the other party does not know he is being recorded.  But you cannot tape a conversation you are not a part of such as putting a tape recorder in your child’s backpack and sending her off to school.

The best thing to do is to tell the truth.  The next best thing is to say nothing.

 

 

Petty theft and shoplifting

 An excellent article I found on the web.
Petty theft and shoplifting are often dismissed as insignificant crimes, because by definition, they involve taking something of relatively little value. However, the consequences can be significant.

Shoplifting and petty theft are criminal offenses that are often thought of as interchangeable. In fact, the two share common elements: Each crime requires the perpetrator to take something of a certain value or less, with the intent to permanently keep it. Shoplifting, however, is fine-tuned to apply to the theft of store merchandise; and it can apply to acts that fall short of removing the item from the store. This article explains the crimes in detail, as well as common possible punishments.

Petty Theft

Petty theft (from the French “petit,” or small) is the taking of something whose value is at or below a specified dollar amount, such as $500 or $750. If the item’s value is more than the threshold amount, the offense becomes “grand” larceny (again, from the French for “large”). In order to convict a defendant of petty theft, the prosecutor must convince a jury or judge, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the following:

  • The victim of the crime had a “possessory interest” in the item taken. This means that the victim had a right to possess the item, even if the victim didn’t own it. Often, the victim is both the owner and the one with possession. But not always – suppose the bike you’re using belongs to your cousin, who loaned it to you for the summer. Its theft would be from you, because you have a possessory interest in the bike.
  • The property was “taken away,” if only slightly. Petit theft traditionally required the movement, however slight, of the item away from its original place or position. Modern statutes often dispense with the requirement that the defendant move the item, insisting only that the defendant exercised control over it.
  • The victim did not agree to the taking. In most cases, this element is obvious. Taking something through deception or deceit also satisfies this element, as when a person tells an owner that he will return an item, intending from the outset to keep it. (Note that this is different from promising and intending at the time to return the item, then failing to do so—as long as the borrower intended when he obtained it to return it, his subsequent failure to do so does not make his act criminal. Instead, he will be civilly liable for failing to return the property.)
  • The defendant intended to permanently deprive the victim of his interest in the property. Here, the prosecutor must show that at the time the thing was taken, the defendant didn’t intend to return it. It’s not necessary to show that the victim in fact never got it back – it’s the defendant’s state of mind at the time he acted that’s important. And, merely taking something under circumstances that make it highly unlikely that it will be returned qualifies as a taking. For example, taking a bike and stashing it in the woods, where it would not likely be found, is tantamount to intending to permanently deprive the victim of the bike.

Shoplifting

Shoplifting is a form of petty theft, and covers the taking of merchandise that is worth less than a specified amount. Each of the petty theft elements explained just above apply in a shoplifting context, with particular wrinkles. For example:

  • The shoplifter need not exit the store without paying in order to commit shoplifting. Even the slightest movement that is consistent with an intention to steal is sufficient. For instance, placing the item under one’s clothing, or hiding it inside another item, are enough of a “taking” to constitute theft. Of course, the shopper must have intended to steal when doing these things; absentmindedly placing one item over another does not equal intent to steal.
  • A shoplifter’s willingness to pay for an item after being apprehended will not defeat a charge of shoplifting. As long as the defendant intended to keep the item without paying when taking it, a subsequent change of heart won’t matter.
  • A person can commit shoplifting by altering or removing price tags. These acts illustrate an intent to take money from the merchant, by attempting to pay less for the item than the tag originally specified.

Establishing the Value of the Item Stolen

For both petty theft and shoplifting, the crime will be elevated to grand theft if the item or merchandise is worth more than the amount specified in the statute. For things taken from stores, establishing value is not difficult, but that may not be the case when it comes to personal property that is not for sale. For example, what is the value of your two-year old leather jacket, or your father’s briefcase that is quite worn but has high sentimental value to you? In general, value is determined by what the item would fetch on the open market. So, the leather jacket might be valued by comparing it to similar jackets in second-hand stores. The same goes for that well-loved briefcase – its dollar value will not include the sentimental value you have placed on it.

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Penalties for Petty Theft and Shoplifting

Petty theft and the related crime of shoplifting are misdemeanors. This means that convicted defendants face the possibility of time in jail (not state prison) of up to one year or less, in most states; and a fine of up to one or two thousand dollars. Depending on the circumstances, first-time offenders may have the option of “diversion,” a court-supervised program in which the defendant performs community service, perhaps undergoes counseling, and remains arrest-free for a period of time. Defendants who successfully complete the program are entitled to have the charges dismissed.

Penalties for petty theft can become much more serious when the defendant has a prior conviction for the same offense. In these situations, repeat offenders can be charged with a felony, known as “petty with a prior.” Felonies carry the possibility of time in state prison, and of course the stigma of having a felony conviction on one’s record. See Serious Petty Theft: “Petty With a Prior” & Burglary for more information.

Questions to Ask Your Attorney

  • How can I prove that I always intended to return the subject of this criminal charge?
  • What are the chances that the prosecutor will charge me with a “petty with a prior?” Can I plead to a lesser offense?
  • In this courthouse or with this judge, what’s the usual treatment for first-time offenders who plead guilty?
  • If I go to trial and lose, am I likely to be punished more severely than if I plead guilty now?

DUI Expense

I found an interesting article on DUI.

 

Most people don’t realize that DUI fines cost you a lot of money. Here are the 10 things that go in determining the cost of your drunk driving penalties and how much you should expect to pay.

1. Your Driving Record

The biggest factor in determining your DUI fines is your past drunk driving record. Typically, the fines for first time DUI offenses are less costly than multiple offenses. The actual amount of your fine will depend on your state dui laws.

A first time DUI offense usually falls between $350 – $1000. If you get a second or third DUI, the fines will be much higher. The fine for a repeat offenders can be up to $15,000 and even higher.

Your Cost : $350 – $15,000

2. Blood Alcohol Test Fine

When you are arrested for a drunk driving, you will have to take a chemical test to get a more accurate estimate of your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

If you fail your DUI sobriety test , you are required by the “Implied Consent Law” to take the chemical test. This law basically says that if you have a driver’s license you have agreed to take this test.

If you refuse to take this test, your driver’s license will be suspended and you will be hit with a DUI fine.

Read DUI Consequences: What Will Happen to Me Now?

Your Cost: $500 – $1,000

3. Car Impounded

If you are arrested for drunk driving, your car will be impounded. You will then have to pay for the towing and impounding fees. You could also be charged a vehicle release fee.

Your Cost: $300- $500

4. Attorney and Legal Fees

This is probably the most expensive part of a drunk driving arrest. The exact amount you pay will depend on the details of your case and the experience of the lawyer. But expect to pay a lot in terms of legal fees, bail, retainer fees, and legal counsel.

You may able to save some money by using a public defender to represent you. However the courts will look at your monthly income statement and determine if you can afford to pay for a DUI lawyer. If your income is too high, you’re going to pay for the lawyer out of your own pocket. And that is going to be expensive.

Your Cost : $1500 – $25,000

5. DMV Hearing

One of the consequences of a dui is that your driver’s license will be suspended. If you decide to challenge your drunk driving arrest you will have to schedule a hearing with the DMV. However, you will have to pay for the cost of filing for this hearing.

Your Cost: $150

6. License Reinstatement

To get your driver’s license reinstated you will have to get a restricted driver’s license. For this you will be charged a reinstatement fee.

Your Cost: $120

7. Auto Insurance Increase

Your going to be paying a lot for your DUI car insurance. Your original car insurance is going to be canceled and you will have to purchase a new car insurance policy.

DUI Auto Insurance: Expensive Consequences of Drunk Driving Laws

The cost of your insurance is going to triple and may even be higher. So if right now you are paying $100 a month, you can expect to starting paying between $300 – $500 per month after a drunk driving arrest.

Your Cost: $3,000 – $7,000 increased yearly payment.

DUI Car Insurance: 5 Easy Ways to Save Money After Your Arrests

8. DUI Schools

As part of your DUI fines you will have to attend DUI school. The length of time you have to attend the school depends on high was your BAC. The higher your BAC, the longer you must attend the DUI school. In California, for example, you can get anywhere between 12 hours to 30 months of DUI school.

For a typical DUI school you will be charged for an assessment fee, intervention fee, and cost of materials.

You Cost: $300- $500

9. Ignition Interlock Device

Most states require you to purchase and install and Ignition Interlock Device before reinstating your driver’s license. Once this device is installed in your vehicle you will have to provide a clean breath sample before driving your vehicle.

You will have to pay for the monthly rental fee which ranges from $50-$100. You will also be required to pay for maintenance expenses and the fees for downloading the data from the device.

Your Cost: $730 – $2,800

10. Restitution

You will be held responsible for any damages you cause as a result of your drunk driving. This means you will have to pay for damages public or private properties and personal injuries to another human being. The costs of these damages can easily be over $10,000.

If you injure or kill someone while driving drunk, you will also face criminal charges. Which means more jail time, more lawyers, and more DUI fines.

DUI Criminal Record:2 Ways to Erase Your Drunk Driving Arrest

Bottom Line

DUI fines are expensive. You will need to spend a lot of money in legal fees to avoid getting a conviction or reduce your sentence. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, use the 10 points listed in this article to better understand how much you can expect to pay after your arrest.