Are DUI Laws A Sophisticated Form Of Gaslighting?

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dui lawsHow does “gaslighting” relate to Ohio DUI laws?

In the 1944 film Gaslight, Ingrid Bergman’s character  Paula Alquist Anton meets and marries the charming Gregory Anton played by Charles Boyer.  The husband does everything in his power to isolate his wife from other people. He allows her neither to go out nor to have visitors, implying that he is doing so for her own good, because her nerves have been acting up, causing her to become a kleptomaniac and to imagine things that are not real. On the one occasion when he does take her out to a musical gathering at a friend’s house, he shows Paula his watch chain, from which his watch has mysteriously disappeared. When he finds it in her handbag, she becomes hysterical, and Gregory takes her home. She sees why she should not go out in public.  We learn that these events have been part of a sophisticated manipulation by Gregory .  In the film’s dénouement the wife’s sanity is returned when a police detective confirms her belief that the gaslights are indeed flickering.  It is from this scene that we get the psychological term “gaslighting” which“is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memoryperception, and sanity.” Dorpat, T.L. (1994). “On the double whammy and gaslighting”Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy 11 (1): 91–96.  Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

Why do I maintain that neo-prohibitionists, their corporate backers and their government supporters are engaged in gaslighting when it comes to DUI laws?

Ohio has declared WAR on drunk drivers.  This must mean that drunk driving is more pervasive than ever, right?  This is simply not the case.  We have made massive strides in combatting the problem.  Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have dropped from 60% of all traffic deaths in 1982 down to 31% in 2010. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview. Traffic Safety Facts: Research Note. 2011 (December). DOT HS 811 552. Page 2, Table 3.   Alcohol-related traffic fatalities per vehicle miles driven have also dropped dramatically — from 1.64 deaths per 100 million miles traveled in 1982 down to 0.45 in 2006 (the latest year for which such statistics are available). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2006 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment: Alcohol-Related Fatalities. Traffic Safety Facts: Research Note. 2007. DOT HS 810 821. Page 1, Figure 1.  The proportion of alcohol-related crash fatalities has fallen 52% since 1982, but the proportion of traffic deaths NOT associated with alcohol has jumped 78% during the same time.  These number are not presented to demonstrate that drunk driving is not a national problem – it is.  The numbers are not meant to mitigate the immeasurable pain of a totally preventable drunk driving tragedy, but to ask whether or not implementing a policy of ever increasing penalties will help stop the problem.  It can be argued that we are winning the battle against alcohol-related traffic deaths.  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview. Traffic Safety Facts: Research Note. 2011 (December). DOT HS 811 552. Page 2, Table 3; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Fatalities in 2010 Drop to Lowest Rate in Recorded History. NHTSA Press Release. April 1, 2011.

The general public has also been led to believe that longer and longer jail sentences are effective in combatting drunk drivers.  Despite the popularity and political expediency of ratcheting up jail time, research suggests that jail or prison sentences for alcohol offenses appear to be of little value in deterring high BAC drivers.  Compton, R. Preliminary analysis of the effect of Tennessee’s mandatory jail sanction on DWI recidivism. Research Notes. 1986 (June) Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Homel, R. Policing and Punishing the Drinking Driver: A Study of General and Specific Deterrence. NY: Springer Verlag, 1988; Joksch, H.C. The Impact of Severe Penalties on Drinking and Driving. Washington, D.C.: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1988; Ross, H.L., and Klette, H. (1995). Abandonment of mandatory jail for impaired drivers in Norway and Sweden. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 1995, 27(2),151-157 as cited by Dr. David J. Hanson, Alcohol Problems and Solutions. Research suggest that the cry for larger and larger fines is also an ineffective policy.  In fact, large fines appear have little deterrent effect, according to research. Lawpoolski, S., et al. Speeding Tickets: Effective Deterrents for  Future Violations or Not? Apaer presented at TRB annual meeting, 2006.

We have been manipulated to believe that all drunk drivers are the same and that they pose the same threat level.  In fact, some have gone as far as saying every drunk driver should be charged with attempted murder. Ozy Editors, Does DUI = Attempted Murder?, Sept. 2013. The fact is that we know the average BAC among fatally injured drinking drivers is .16. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Performance Measures. NHTSA Budget Overview FY 2007. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2007.  High BAC drivers tend to be male, aged 25-35, and have a history of DWI convictions and polydrug abuse. Hedlund, James and James Fell. Repeat Offenders and Persistent Drinking Drivers in the U.S..Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2007.  Hardcore drunk drivers are responsible for 70% of all drunk driving fatalities and are 380 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Drivers with blood alcohol concentration levels in excess of .15 are only one percent of all drivers on weekend nights; however, they are involved in nearly 50% of all fatal crashes during that time. Id.  Instead of focusing on this problem group, government/corporate/prohibitionist groups apply DUI laws against every driver on the road.

Often the harshest DUI penalties are applied to every driver.  An example of this is the use of roadblocks and checkpoints which are not as effective as other law enforcement methods, but are used primarily to intimidate and deter the general populous and attack some of our most cherished American ideals.   Perhaps the most egregious form of this gaslighting is the “No-refusal” checkpoint in which judges are sitting by to allow forced blood draws for any person attempting to evade a breath test.  Another example of this misguided approach is the DADSS program which seeks to have passive alcohol searches embedded in every car manufactured in the United States.  No one dares question the need for crack-downs like the twice annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and its accompanying multimillion dollar ad blitz.  Why do we never pause to ask if this is helping.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving became the most successful advocacy group of all time not because of their demand for “penalties for all,” but because they were able to successfully challenge the social norm that drinking a driving was harmless and an activity that we all engaged in. Hellstrom, David. “Reducing Risk: The Prevention Collaborative’s Positive Social Norming Campaign.” Conference presentation at the National Conference on the Social Norms Model, July 17, 2003, Boston, MA; Collaboration and social norms: The key to reducing impaired driving among college students in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Peer Educator, October 2002, Vol. 25, No.3; National Social Norms Resource Center. Minnesota DWI Prevention: The Prevention Collaborative as cited by Dr. David J. Hanson, Alcohol Problems and Solutions.  In his book Why People Obey The Law, legal scholar Tom Tyler argues that compliance with the law has less to do with deterrence (fear of penalty) than with the rational decision that complying with the law is in a person’s self-interest. More important to their compliance is the decision that following the law is the right thing to do. Having the biggest impact on their perception of the law is the belief in the legitimacy of the authority. “People who go to traffic court are less concerned with the outcome – even when it is a costly ticket or fine – than with the fairness of the process.” Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us), 2008, pp 235. Thus the societal norm that driving within the speed limit and driving without being impaired, is an agreed upon social construct and is enforced best by our agreement that violating these laws is dangerous and deserving of punishment.

For generations, Ohio have been told to fear alcohol and have overly taxed and regulated the alcohol industry. Ohio is one of 17 states where the government controls liquor sales.  While the “sin tax” in Ohio is huge, with taxes accounting for 40% of the retail price, some groups push their prohibitoinist agenda in calls for higher taxes on alcohol and more regulation.  Research demonstrates the fallacy of this policy.  Increasing the cost of alcohol with increased  taxation would have virtually no impact on reducing drunk driving.  Hanson, David J. Preventing Alcohol Problems: Alcohol, Culture and Control. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995.  Common sense dictates that cost will not be a factor in the decision making process of a heavy alcohol user. 

We have so demonized alcohol that we have created a counter-intuitive binge drinking culture amongst our youth.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving and others call this folly to even consider lowering the drinking age.  Since 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act has required states to raise the age to 21 or lose federal transportation money. South Dakota was the last state to comply, in 1988.  Vermont voted to raise the age in 1985, and in the ensuing 20 years, alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped by 40 percent, according to Vermont State Police.  “Is there any significant support in the U.S. Congress for changing the law? We don’t see that,” said Chuck Hurley, CEO of MADD.  Typically, when states flirt with the idea, they quickly abandon it for fear of losing the highway funding, he said. This is gaslighting – preventing a needed national debate by making the topic off limits at the risk of losing highway traffic funds. “Our laws aren’t working. They’re not preventing underage drinking. What they’re doing is putting it outside the public eye,” Vermont state Sen. Hinda Miller said. “So you have a lot of kids binge drinking. They get sick, they get scared and they get into trouble and they can’t call because they know it’s illegal.”

Don’t ever drink and drive.  Be a designated driver.  Use alcohol responsibly. Be there for people who suffer from addiction.  We can do this!  Things will get better!

Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  Email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

IFor more about DUI laws  check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville


OVI Checkpoints Miss The Point Says ABI

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The American Beverage Institute is an industry-sponsored advocacy group that has stood up to Mother Against Drunk Drivers and their campaing for government funded OVI checkpoints. The beverage group says that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) should back off from the roadblocks and instead support roving patrols to catch heavy drinkers. “By promoting sobriety checkpoints, MADD and NHTSA are ignoring the root cause of today’s drunk driving problem – hard core alcohol abusers,” ABI managing director Sarah Longwell said in a statement.”Because they are highly visible by design and publicized in advance, roadblocks are all too easily avoided by the chronic alcohol abusers who comprise the core of today’s drunk driving problem,” Longwell said. “That leaves adults who enjoyed a beer while watching a game or a glass of wine with dinner to be harassed at checkpoints.”

As a Dayton OVI attorney, I have been fighting OVI checkpoint for twenty years. We can, and should, join other states in banning checkpoints and focusing on arresting the people who are causing the most harm on our roads. Let’s let good police officers make good arrests based on the long-held values of the American Constitution.  If you believe in our cause, let us know on our Facebook page [here].

Keywords: OVI checkpoint, Dayton OVI attorney, NHTSA, MADD, American Beverage Institute.

Ohio DUI Defense – What Books Do You Need?

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Ohio DUIOhio DUI defense includes having the right materials to prepare your case for trial.  There are 14 NHTSA police training manuals that are specific to an DUI/OVI case.  They are:

  1. NHTSA DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing – Instructor Manual
  2. NHTSA DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing – Participant Manual
  3. NHTSA Drug Recognition Expert 2-Day Pre-School – Instructor Manual
  4. NHTSA Drug Recognition Expert 2-Day Pre-School – Participant Manual
  5. NHTSA Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School – Instructor Manual
  6. NHTSA Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School – Student Manual
  7. NHTSA Drugs that Impair Driving – Instructor Manual
  8. NHTSA Drugs that Impair Driving – Student Manual
  9. NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Refresher Training Court (8 hour) – Instructor Manual
  10. NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Refresher Training Court (8 hour) – Student Manual
  11. NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Refresher Training Court (4 hour) – Instructor Manual
  12. NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Refresher Training Court (4 hour) – Student Manual
  13. NHTSA Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) – Instructor Manual
  14. NHTSA Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) – Student Manual

These materials provide an attorney with a complete understanding of what an officer should be doing at every stage of the investigation.  Knowing what should happen can be contrasted with what actually happens and provide a valuable cross-examination method. Ask you Ohio DUI lawyer how they will use these manuals in your defense.

Call Ohio DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland at (937) 318-1384
should i blow

Defending A DUI: The Exit Sequence

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There are three distinct phases to an alcohol investigation. The first phase involves the officer observing your driving behavior and determining whether or not to initiate a stop. This first phase is called the ‘Vehicle in Motion‘ Phase.

The second phase is the ‘Personal Contact‘ phase. Here the officer has exited his/her vehicle and is having a conversation with you.  Do you look drunk? Do you smell drunk? Do you sound drunk?  A trained law enforcement officer has many tools in their arsenal to help determine if you may be intoxicated.  If the officer is satisfied that enough evidence exists, they will ask you to exit the vehicle. [Note: the legal standard required to have you exit the vehicle for further investigation is reasonable and articulable suspicion].

When the officer asks you to exit the vehicle, they are trained to look for the following signs of impairment:

  • Angry, unusual reactions
  • Can’t follow instructions
  • Can’t open door
  • Leaves car in gear
  • “Climbs” out of car
  • Leans against car
  • Keeps hands on car (for balance)

The only way an officer will care about how you exit the vehicle is if he has already determined you may be impaired by alcohol or a drug of abuse. NHTSA IV-6.  Therefore, to  avoid the appearance that you are impaired, exit the car in an orderly fashion as instructed by the officer. From that point you can decide if it is in your interests to participate in the standardized field sobriety tests.  Why would you? The officer is already suspicious of your sobriety, so why give them additional evidence upon which to support their theory.  Politely say that you don’t wish to do anything else until you speak to an attorney.

Plan ahead by knowing your rights and having the Dayton DUI Attorney 24 hr. Hotline number at the ready.  Call us at (937) 776-2671 and we will talk about your case. Learn more about Charles M. Rowland II at www.DaytonDUI.com.

Changes To The 2013 NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test Manual

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standardized field sobriety testThere is a new NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test training manual and it is significantly changed from prior versions.  Included is the new focus of law enforcement on impairing drugs.  The new information lays the groundwork for full implementation of the Drug Recognition Expert protocol now making its way into Ohio law. 

This article will focus on the changes in a format that follows the NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test training manual text, session by session.  Full versions of the NHTSA DUI training manual are available at various sources on the internet.  This article incorporates the work of various authors and compliers to whom credit is due.  Unfortunately, I did not find proper attribution in the materials.  Thank you for your hard work in helping address the new manual. 

2013 NHTSA Changes

 -Curriculum is in a new PDF Format. The Instructor guide includes all of the information contained in the Participant Manual, including each of the PowerPoint slides.

Session I 

-Old 2008 data and statistical information was updated with 2010 and 2011 data using the NHTSA Fact Sheets and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Data.

Session II

-The word “many” was replaced with “all” when referring to states with .08 DWI limit.

-The data and the definition related on an “alcohol-related crash” were revised to read: “Alcohol-impaired crash” per NHTSA, refers to a driver with a .08 percent BAC or higher. In 2010, 28% of all fatally injured motorcycle operators had a BAC of .08 or higher. In 2010, the 25-34 year old group constituted 34% of all alcohol impaired driving fatalities in the U.S. (NHTSA Trffic Safety Facts, 2010 Data, DOT HS 811 606.)

-The information regarding traffic fatalities was revised to read that on the average, a traffic fatality occurs every 51 minutes. Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, 2010 Data, Alcohol-Impaired Driving, DOT HS 811 606, April 2012.

-Additional Alcohol Facts were added to reflect the current statistics and the involvement of high BAC drivers (0.15+).

Session III 

-More details were added concerning Illegal Per Se laws. Also, major court decisions concerning the admissibility of HGN testimony were added to the PowerPoint slides.

Session IV

-Additional PowerPoint slides were added concerning note-taking and report writing.

Session V

-The acronym “DUI” in this session and in other areas of the curriculum was changed to “DWI” to be consistent throughout.

-The descriptive information for the “Sliding Sports Car” was revised to be consistent with the new version of this video. New information was added for the instructors to solicit from the students as it relates to the sliding sports car during the driving and stopping sequence.

Session VI

-The word “roadblock” was removed and replaced with the word “checkpoint” to be consistent with Sobriety Checkpoints.

-The video of the “Busy Businessman” was replaced and the information listed in this session was revised to be consistent with the new video.

-The video of “Busy Businessman Exiting” was also updated with a new video. The descriptive information was replaced with the new information related to the new video.

Session VII

-The words “driver” and “drivers” were replaced with the word “subject” to be consistent with other areas of the curricula.

-The photo of an officer doing the Modified Romberg Balance test in the PPT slide was replaced with an officer administering the One Leg Stand test. The Modified Romberg Balance test is a test used for DRE and not SFST.

-References directing the instructor to show “extras” referring to an additional video were removed as there are no extra videos.

-All references to “Romberg balance” were changed to “Modified Romberg Balance” to be consistent with ARIDE and DRE.

Session VIII

-Information regarding the field validation studies parameters concerning correct vs. incorrect decisions was added to help clarify the methodology of the studies.

-Additional information regarding the San Diego, CA SFST study entitled, “Validation of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent,” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Final Report DOT-HS-808-839. More emphasis is being placed on the San Diego study because of the higher accuracy rates for HGN, Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand and because it is the most recent study.

-The reference to the combining of HGN and Walk and Turn test was removed.

-The word “pathology” in this session was changed to “pathological”.

-A bolded instructor note regarding resting nystagmus was added and reads as follows: “Remind the participants that if Resting Nystagmus is observed, they can continue with the remainder of the test to check for other possible indicators of impairment and any possible indicators of a medical condition.”

-The marble rolling across a polished pane of glass analogy for describing Lack of Smooth pursuit was removed and the only analogy is now the windshield wiper on a wet windshield versus a dry windshield. Object should be moved steadily at a speed that takes approximately two seconds to bring the eye from center to side. Two passes are to be made in front of the eyes.

-Additional wording was added to clarify how to properly score an improper turn during the Walk and Turn Test if the subject being tested turns on the right foot instead of the left foot. The clarification wording added is:

Note: There may be times when the suspect takes a wrong number of steps or begins the heel-to-toe walk with the wrong foot resulting in a turn on the right foot instead of the left. If this occurs, the suspect should be assessed a clue for an incorrect number of steps and not assessed a clue for an improper turn if the turn was made using a series of small steps as instructed and the suspect did not lose his/her balance while attempting the turn. This scoring is consistent with the original research and training conducted by the Southern California Research Institute and with the administration and scoring of the Walk and Turn test in the San Diego Field Study. 

-Additional information concerning the test limitations was added to both the Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand tests. The additional information added is:

The original SCRI studies suggested that individuals over 65 years of age or people with back, leg or inner ear problems had difficulty performing this test. Less than 1.5% of the test subjects in the original study were over 65 years of age. Also, the SCRI studies suggest that individuals wearing heels more than 2 inches high should be given the opportunity to remove their shoes. Officers should consider all factors when conducting SFSTs.

-The words “pointed out” were removed from the PowerPoint slides when giving the instructions for the One Leg Stand test. The correct instructions are “with your raised foot parallel to the ground.” This revision was made to be consistent with other areas of the curriculum and with ARIDE and DRE. Advising to point the foot out was not part of the original OLS instructions.

-The instructor note regarding how officers are to handle those situations where the subject puts his/her foot down during the test was bolded in the Instructor Guide, which matches the description in the SFST guides:

An instructor note has been added reminding the instructor to instruct the students that if the suspect puts his/her foot down during the test, to advise the subject to pick their foot up and to continue counting from where the foot touched the ground/floor. This is not one of the instructions and should only be given if or when the foot touches the ground.

-All references to the third clue of the One Leg Stand test as being “Hops” were replaced with the word “Hopping”.

-A reference was added to address how to properly ensure that a suspect is not facing an officer’s strobe lights and reads as follows: “Note: Try to face the subject away from flashing or strobe lights that could cause visual or other distractions that could impede the test.”

Session IX

-References to a NHTSA video entitled “Extras” were removed from this session and from the PowerPoint slides.

Session X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV

-No major revisions.

Session XV

-References to showing the video “Extras” were removed.

Introduction to Drugged Driving Sessions

(This session will now be mandatory to teach and will have a four hour block designated for it added to the POBT curriculum)

The Following revisions were also made to the “introduction to Drugged Driving” session:

-The Glossary of Terms was updated to be consistent with ARIDE and where applicable with DRE. As an example, the Hippus definition was removed.

-The definition of drug was corrected to reflect ARIDE and Dre definition.

-The reference to “major drug categories” was revised to the “seven drug categories.”

-Dextromethorphan (DXM) was added to the Dissociative Anesthetics drug category.

-Synthetic Cannabinoids was added to the Cannabis category.

-Drug use data and statistics were updated.

-References to “normal” when addressing pupil size were changed to read, “will not be effected” to be consistent with ARIDE and DRE.

-Wording for the four effects of drugs (Null, Overlapping, Additive and Antagonistic) was revised to be more consistent with ARIDE and DRE.

–More changes are possible due to errors and omissions when the material is circulated.

Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

“All I do is DUI defense.”

For more info on Ohio Standardized Field Sobriety Test cases, check these city-specific sites at the following links:

Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Huber Heights, Springboro, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville