Anneli Nystrand, Esq.
Associate

What is the Driver License Compact?

What is the Driver License Compact?

The Driver License Compact (DLC) is an interstate agreement between 45 states to exchange information about license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents, including DUI offenses. Its theme is “One Driver, One License, One Record.”

If a driver commits a traffic infraction while driving in a state outside of where their license was issued, the home state laws would apply in their case. Non-moving violations are not reported in the DLC, but moving violations such as speeding or driving under the influence would be shared.

The five non-member states are Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Tennessee. All other states, and the District of Columbia, are members. So what does it mean if your state has (or has not) signed on to the Driver License Compact? Here are a few DLC provisions and how they can affect DUI convictions.

What does the DLC do?

Under the DLC, an out-of-state vehicular offense will affect your driving record as if it had been committed in your home state.

The major provisions of the DLC include:

  • “One driver license.”You must surrender an out-of-state driver’s license when you apply for a new license.
  • “One driver record.”Your home state must maintain a complete record for each driver to determine your driving eligibility in your home state, as well as your driving privileges in other states.
  • Any information about an out-of-state traffic violation will be reported back to your home state.
  • Your home state will treat an out-of-state offense as if it had been committed at home. Essentially, your home state’s law will apply to your out-of-state offense.
  • Equivalent statute.Your home state can’t penalize you for an out-of-state offense unless there’s an equivalent offense on the books in your home state. If your state doesn’t have a statute that’s equivalent to the other state’s law, then no action can be taken

Effect on DUI’s

Under the DLC, if you commit a traffic violation — including a DUI — in a member state, then your home state’s vehicle code will apply to your out-of-state offense. For example, if you’re convicted of DUI in another state and get your license suspended in that state, then that state will inform Florida DMV about your DUI conviction and license suspension and will likely also suspend your Florida license as well as impose other penalties as well.

To learn more about how a DUI many affect your driver license,

please contact the Law Office of Lee Meadows at 850-224-8873

 

Auto-Brewery Syndrome

Auto-Brewery Syndrome

This rare medical condition prompts the gut to ferment alcohol

Auto-brewery syndrome is a condition in which an overgrowth of yeast in the gut causes carbohydrates to ferment into ethanol. Patients with the condition can become intoxicated without ingesting any alcohol; all it takes is food.

“The obvious risk factor as it relates to this diagnosis is elevated blood alcohol levels that impair judgment while driving or operating machinery,” said Jeff McCombs, DC, author of The Everything Candida Diet. “Additional considerations would be passing out and possible long-term health implications such as chronic intestinal wall distention with a slight chance of perforation. This syndrome can be complicated by constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and excessive fermentation due to candida or other yeast organisms.”

Recent Cases 

A few cases of auto-brewery syndrome have been recorded in the United States. The most recent involved a 35-year-old teacher from upstate New York whose blood alcohol content read four times the legal limit when she was stopped by a police officer in fall 2014.

The woman had ingested four alcoholic beverages between noon and 6 p.m. To prove that auto-brewery syndrome was what caused her apparent “drunkenness,” her attorney forensically established that her blood alcohol content should have registered between 0.01 and 0.05.

The defense provided the court with blood samples taken on three separate occasions within a 12-hour period in which the defendant was monitored by two registered nurses and a physician assistant. The tests produced a blood alcohol level that was double, triple and quadruple the legal limit-even though the defendant wasn’t consuming alcohol during the observation. The judge dismissed the charges. The silver lining is that the woman now knows she has the condition and its potential implications.

One of the few research studies on the topic concluded that endogenously produced ethanol as a cause of a motorist’s intoxication lacked merit due to deficiencies in the design and lack of suitable control experiments in prior studies.

In other cases, auto-brewery syndrome appeared to be a byproduct of short bowel syndrome-such as in the case of a young girl who began showing signs of alcohol intoxication at age 3. On one occasion, a blood test indicated her ethanol concentration was 15 mmol/L. Candida kefyr was found in cultures of her gastric fluids. Researchers determined that these findings were linked to the consumption of a carbohydrate-rich fruit drink.4

Medical Management

A patient with auto-brewery syndrome requires careful surveillance in order to identify the factors at work and the most appropriate treatment.

“The best practices approach for establishing [auto-brewery] as a diagnosis would be placing the person in a hospital setting, where their diet and response to sugars could be measured and observed through blood tests, vitals and symptoms,” according to Cordell & McCarthy. In these documented cases, auto-brewery syndrome was treated with relevant pharmacotherapy and patients adhered to a restrictive diet. Because it is still such a unique and understudied condition, more research is necessary to determine a definitive cause and the best methods of treatment.

References

Cordell B, McCarthy J. A case study of gut fermentation syndrome (auto-brewery) with Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the causative organism. IJCM. 2013;4(7).

The DUI Turns 130 Years Old

The DUI Turns 130 Years Old

 

In 1887, a London taxi driver named George Smith became the first person to be arrested for driving under the influence after he crashed his vehicle into a building. Smith pled guilty and was fined 25 shillings. By today’s standards, 25 shillings amounts to about 40 British pounds, which is about $70.

 

Prior to 1910, no state had laws against driving drunk, but that changed in 1910 when New York became the first state to adopt a law against driving under the influence of alcohol. At that time, however, there was no science available to determine a person’s blood alcohol content and consequently, the determination of whether a driver was intoxicated was left to the arresting officer.

The problematic issue facing law enforcement in determining whether a person was intoxicated improved in 1931 when Indiana University professor Rolla Harger invented the “drunk-o-meter” in an attempt to quantify intoxication. The person being tested would blow into a balloon, which was then attached a tube containing chemicals and the air in the balloon released. The alcohol in the air from the balloon would react to the chemicals and create a color and the higher the alcohol content, the greater the change in color. The “drunk-o-meter” became the predecessor to the modern breath test.

In 1954, Robert Borkenstein of Indiana University invented a portable device that also measured a subject’s blood alcohol content. The device would come to be known as the “breathalyzer”, and in 1939, Indiana became the first state to pass a law that made it illegal to drive with a specific blood alcohol content. At that time, the legal blood alcohol limit was 0.15 percent.

The late 70’s and early 80’s saw an increase in public awareness on the dangers of drunk driving. Much of this awareness was due to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which was founded by Candy Lightner in 1980 after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. MADD has pushed for tougher legislation regarding DUI laws and penalties and their efforts have strongly impacted DUI laws throughout the United States. In 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed, which required that states pass legislation raising the legal drinking age to 21 and lowering the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.08 percent in all states.

In Florida the legal limit is currently 0.08 percent and the possible consequences of a first-offense DUI in Florida include fines, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, an ignition interlock device in the person’s car, and jail time. Enhanced penalties could apply if the convicted driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .15% or more, was involved in an accident that resulted in injuries or property damage, or had a passenger in the car who was under 18 years old.

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