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Officer had probable cause to believe defendant drove while drunk

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for judicial review involving his refusal to take a chemical test for intoxication. The judges found the evidence supported that the officer had probable cause that Paul Hassfurther drove his truck while intoxicated and that he knowingly refused to take the chemical test.

A 911 call led Oakland City Lieutenant Timothy Gaines to check out a report of a drunk driver who pulled into a gas station. The caller gave her name, described the truck, and followed it to the gas station. There, Gaines found the driver – Hassfurther – who admitted he had been driving the truck and he had drank the night before. Hassfurther showed signs of intoxication. He refused to take a portable breath test, to which Gaines informed Hassfurther that his license would be suspended for a year. Hassfurther then took that test and alcohol was detected in his system.

After arriving at jail, Gaines told Hassfurther his prior conviction for OWI would result in a two-year suspension if he refused to take the chemical test for intoxication. Hassfurther again refused, and he was later charged with OWI. The state alleged that he knowingly refused to take the chemical test.

He sought judicial review, arguing the officer didn’t have probable cause that he drove drunk, he wasn’t properly advised of his rights, and he didn’t knowingly refuse the chemical text for intoxication.

In Paul Hassfurther v. State of Indiana, 26A01-1208-CR-350, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of judicial review. The evidence shows a concerned citizen called 911, Gaines saw Hassfurther display signs of intoxication, and he admitted to police he drove the truck and had been drinking. Gaines also advised Hassfurther several times that his license would be suspended if he refused to submit to the chemical test and told Hassfurther that a prior conviction for OWI would result in a two-year suspension.


 

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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