Unique alcohol marketing has M.A.D.D. upset…

August 24, 2009

Cherry Hill, NJ's Flying Fish Brewing Co. is proud to be from New Jersey. With that in mind, the company has come up with a unique marketing scheme for some of its brews: naming them in honor of NJ Turnpike exits.

The company was founded in 1995 and is the largest New Jersey-based brewery. With an already popular product associated with its name, the company released its first "Turnpike Exit" brew, Exit 4 American Trippel, in early 2009, and its second release, was due out on July 15, 2009, is Exit 11 Hoppy American Wheat Ale. They plan to continue introducing new exit-themed beers every few months.

Interesting idea? Not everyone thinks so, including MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), whose position is that a deliberate connection is being made to promote drinking and driving. The executive director of the New Jersey chapter of MADD was quoted as saying, "The combination of a roadway and advertising for any kind of a beer doesn't make any kind of sense." Adding, "This is almost a mockery."

Is MADD mad?

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority could be described as being "tolerant" of the brewery's approach to promoting its beer, but they certainly don't endorse it. That is made clear in disclaimers issued by Flying Fish.

Both Flying Fish and MADD seem to have avid supporters in this debate. The one thing they both agree on, according to a quote by Flying Fish's president, is that "… drinking and driving is never an option".

I think this adverting has nothing to do with drinking and driving. I believe Flying Fish Brewing Co. just wanted to show their New Jersey roots. What do you think?

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DUI Arrests Up Among Women

August 20, 2009

Nationwide, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, both police and traffic safety organizations are seeing an alarming rise in the number of drunk-driving (DUI – DWI) arrests among women. In Pennsylvania, the offense is known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), while in New Jersey it is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

According to FBI figures, across the U.S. the number of women arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs rose 28.8 per cent from 1998 to 2007. Conversely, the number of men arrested for DUI during that same time period decreased 7.5 percent. While reports show that men still drink more than women and are still responsible for more DUI cases, the disparity is narrowing.

There are three reasons cited for this change: (1) women are driving more due to increased pressure at work and home, often times economic in nature, (2) younger women feel more equal to men and, therefore, behave in unconstrained fashions, and (3) police have become less likely to let women "off the hook".

It is not only the east coast of the United States that struggles with drunk driving matters. In California, women accounted for 18.8 percent of all DUI arrests in 2007, up from 13.5 percent in 1998, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

One federal study on women and alcohol defines abusing alcohol as having at least four drinks in a day. This same study shows that in the 10-year period ending in 2002 the overall number of women who admitted to abusing alcohol rose from 1.5 to 2.6 percent. For women aged 30 to 44, however, the number of those abusing alcohol more than doubled, going from 1.5 percent to 3.3 percent in that same 10-year period.

These trends have not gone unnoticed by the federal government. The Transportation Department's annual crackdown on drunk driving begins in late August and will focus on women.

Most of our Bucks County DUI clients still remain males, but there are a significant number of women who we represent. Of the women that Saile & Saile LLP has represented for DUI in Bucks County, PA, most are between the ages of 25 and 45 years old.

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Jail time on my first Bucks County DUI offense…really???

August 11, 2009

Most drivers are caught off guard with their first Pennsylvania DUI offense. This is simply because they have not had any experience with the criminal justice system.

The PA DUI penalties are split between three levels for a first offense DUI charge. If your blood alcohol level (B.A.C) is below at 0.099 there is no mandatory jail time for a first offense PA DUI charge. You can still receive jail time in this level if there are aggravating circumstances involved.

The next level of PA DUI penalties involves the B.A.C. level of 0.010 – 0.159. This is what we call the middle range. On a first offense DUI in this middle range, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence in the Bucks County prison of 48 hours up to six months.

If your first offense PA DUI is in the highest level, B.A.C. 0.160+ there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 72 hours in the Bucks County prison up to six months.

If you qualify for the Bucks County A.R.D. (first offender's program) you will avoid jail time. House arrest is not usually given by Bucks County Common Pleas Court judges on a first offense DUI.

Although DUI is a dangerous crime in Pennsylvania, every citizen is presumed innocent under the law and has the right to challenge the evidence including police procedures.

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Fatal Bucks County DUI car accident trial ends in the Defendant’s acquittal of criminal charges

August 3, 2009

A Bucks County DUI case ended in an acquittal for Defendant Laurence Thompson of Bensalem, PA on Friday, July 31, 2009 in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. In question throughout the weeklong trial was whether or not Mr. Thompson was the driver of the vehicle in which the Bucks County car accident victim Mary Anne Locicero was killed.

The charges Mr. Thompson faced were homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, and drunk driving. He had asserted from the time of his arrest that he was not driving the car that crashed on Route 13 in Bensalem, PA.

The fatal Bucks County car accident occurred on March 15, 2009 on Route 13 when Mary Anne Locicero's car, traveling at excessive speed, spun across the highway and hit two guardrails. Defense and prosecution experts alike contend that Ms. Locicero was ejected from the car through the passenger side window, but disagree on who was driving the car.

The prosecution argued that Mr. Thompson was driving the car, given the fact that Ms. Locicero was thrown from the passenger's side window. Defense, however, with the aid of their experts' accident reconstruction demonstrations, argued that Ms. Locicero could have been in the driver's seat and propelled, due to impact, across to the passenger's side, where she was forced from the car.

Providing even more uncertainly as to who was driving were the conflicting stories of the witnesses at the scene of the Bensalem car accident and the bouncer who was working at the Bensalem bar where Mr. Thompson had been drinking prior to getting into Ms. Locicero's car. Those who witnessed the car accident reported to police investigators that Mr. Thompson climbed out of the driver's side window after the crash.

In the end, the jury found Mr. Laurence not guilty. If he had been convicted of the crimes with which he was charged, Mr. Thompson could have spent over 10 years in a state prison.

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