Woman Arrested After Allegedly Being Drunk at Victim Impact Panel

Most people are familiar with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  The organization’s main stated goal is to reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities in the U.S.  In addition to their many advertising campaigns like you might see reflected on billboards as you drive on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale, they also have many educational programs.

Broward Criminal DefenseOne of these programs, called the Victim Impact Panel (VIP), is generally only attended by people ordered to do so in connection with a DUI plea or following trial.  According to a recent news article from The Moultrie Observer, a woman was arrested at one of the VIP meetings for allegedly showing up drunk and causing a public disturbance.As our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys can explain, the Victim Impact Panel is a meeting where victims of serious drunk driving accidents or their families speak to attendees about the profound effect drunk driving had on their lives and how they want to stop everyone in attendance from getting behind the wheel drunk again, as the effects can be devastating and lifelong.  In some cases, there are not enough presenters available, so they show a video, but the goal is to do live events each time.

In this case, authorities have said defendant attended a morning session of the Victim Impact Panel discussion, and she started being “unruly” a few minutes before 10 a.m.  She was allegedly yelling at a high volume and was using excessive amounts of profanity.  An officer had a portable breath-testing device in his cruiser and administered an alcohol breath test to defendant. She allegedly blew a result consistent with intoxication, and she was taken to jail.  She was charged with disorderly conduct.  She was at the MADD VIP class as part of her sentence in a previous drunk driving offense.  It is important to note that defendant has not been convicted of any crime in connection with her recent arrest and is presumed innocent unless and until she is found guilty in a court of law by a judge or jury, as this is the standard in our criminal justice system.

State Highway Patrol troopers and local police will often try to use a portable breath-testing (PBT) device, also called a Roadside Breath Test (RBT) instrument, to gain probable cause to make an arrest.  However, your drunk driving defense lawyer should do whatever is reasonably possible to challenge these results.  The device has probably been riding around in the trunk of a cruiser where it gets knocked around and out of calibration.  The device has probably not been calibrated according to the instructions.  It may simply be an expensive version of the novelty type of devices anyone can purchase.  It is very unlikely it was tested against a wet bath or dry gas external standard, as is the case with a standard breath-testing machine.  These are all things that can be challenged by your attorney during a motions hearing prior to a DUI trial.

Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Woman accused of being drunk at MADD event, May 16, 2017, By Alan Maudlin, The Moultrie Observer

More Blog Entries:

DUI Ignition Interlock Bill Passes Florida House Committee, April 19, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog