Evan Chadwick, the founding attorney for the Vermont DUI/Criminal Defense Law Firm of Chadwick Law, finished an intensive four day training in Alpharetta, Georgia this week to become a certified DUI field sobriety test instructor by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA).
Evan Chadwick fresh off his completion of his DUI investigation instructor course.
The training required Attorney Chadwick to complete both a practical and written exam on teaching the principals of roadside DUI investigations by law enforcement. “I am thrilled to have taken this course”, stated Attorney Chadwick while awaiting his flight home in Atlanta, Georgia. “The training has given me further practical experience in evaluating DUI cases, and will go a long way in ensuring that my clients, who are facing a DUI in Vermont, will be best served in their pursuit of navigating the Vermont criminal justice system”
This recent certification furthers the field sobriety and DUI investigation practical student course which Attorney Chadwick completed in September of this year and allows him to give seminars to other practicing attorneys on the ins and outs of DUI investigation and the application of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (or SFSTs). “The goal of any attorney should be to never stop learning”, stated Chadwick. “Although I feel that this training gives me a wealth of knowledge in defending Vermont DUIs, I will continue to look for other ways to broaden my understanding on the complexities of Vermont DUI defense.
With an increase in highway fatalities in Vermont this year, law enforcement has been stepping up their investigation and arrests of those that they feel are driving in a criminally negligent manner. Many of these cases, result in a criminal charge for “gross negligent operation. 23 VSA 1091(b)(2) defines gross negligence as ” examining whether the person engaged in conduct which involved a gross deviation from the care that a reasonable person would have exercised in that situation.”
The standard for GNO is rather broad and can encompass a large degree of alleged behavior, such as driving at excessive speeds, texting while driving or operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
One of the many keys to defending a GNO charge is to look critically at the operation of the motor vehicle and argue that the conduct does not amount to criminal negligence, which carries with it a significantly heavier burden then proving civil negligence.
To show criminal negligence, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the mental state involved in criminal negligence. Proof of that mental state requires that the failure to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result will occur must be a gross deviation from the standard of a reasonable person. Criminal negligence is conduct which is such a departure from what would be that of an ordinary prudent or careful person in the same circumstance as to be incompatible with a proper regard for human life or an indifference to consequences. Criminal negligence is negligence that is aggravated, culpable or gross. See USlegal.com
Often prosecutors and law enforcement will produce experts reports to support their position that the conduct alleged amounts to gross negligence. If an accident is involved, these reports can include determinations by the expert that the accident was caused by the defendant’s failure to appreciate the risk that their operation of a motor vehicle was creating to himself and others.
Defending a gross negligent charge in Vermont involves a complex and multifaceted approach. Attacking the investigation itself while also looking critically at the facts that are not in dispute is an essential part of this process. Only though this analysis can a true determination be made as to the merits of the state’s case and in turn figuring out the best possible way to ensure that the individual charged with the offense is able to navigate their way to finding the best result.
It is no secret that a holiday weekend brings an increase in traffic driving through the Green Mountain State. This increase is especially felt on the two major highways which cross the State; I-89 and I-91. As a result, Vermont Law Enforcement has made it clear that they will be increasing their presence on the highways in order to detect and deter unsafe driving behavior, with an emphasis on investigating DUIs and speeding violations.
According to the Valley News, there has been an expected dramatic surge in the number of vehicles on the road, including on I-89, which sees traffic counts of about 41,000 near the Vermont/New Hampshire state line on an average day. This surge of traffic resulted in 100 motorists being issued tickets for speed violations and 8 for the use of hand held electronic devices during a joint task force of Vermont and New Hampshire Law Enforcement officers along the Connecticut river valley on Friday.
The interstate’s are customarily Vermont State Police turf. Do not be surprised to see numerous green cruisers in the median along the highways this weekend. Although safe driving is always the best defense to avoiding traffic tickets, in the event you find yourself with blue lights behind you, it is important to remember the following:
- Be polite;
- Be efficient in producing your license and insurance to the officer;
- Do not interrogate the officer; and
- Keep that PBA care in your pocket at all times and make no mention of it.