Rep. Fossella Gets 5 Days in Jail for D.U.I.

New York Congressman Vito Fossella was sentenced to five days in jail today for a D.U.I, conviction.

Fossella was arrested after running a red light on May 1 in a Virginia suburb of Washington, and convicted of drunken driving in October. Under Virginia law, a driver who registers a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher must serve five days behind bars. Police say Fossella's blood alcohol content was 0.17.

Fossella's lawyers tried to convince the judge that the breath-test machine used on Fossella was faulty, but the judge didn't buy it.

Fossella's lawyers have already filed a notice of appeal. If successful, they will seek a jury trial next time around.

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    honestly, (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:46:25 PM EST
    with that kind of blood alcohol level, i'm surprised he could even move, much less drive. if it were me, i'd be unconscious, if not dead.

    Police say Fossella's blood alcohol content was 0.17.

    how do these people do it? his blood was nearly 1/5th alcohol!

    Go talk to some ER folks. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Fabian on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:25:27 PM EST
    They can tell you tales of people who come in so tanked that it's a wonder they are breathing, yet they are still conscious.

    Nono (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:27:54 AM EST
    That's like 0.17%, not 17%.  If I remember right, 0.35% is where you're risking alcohol poisoning or worse...

    no, (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 04:12:18 AM EST
    that's 17%, not .17%. .17% would be, barely, the level of naturally occuring alcohol in your system.

    17% = .17

    .17% = .0017

    they are constantly confused because reporters and editors, as a rule, got D's in basic math.


    Uh, no (none / 0) (#9)
    by steviez314 on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:54:07 AM EST
    .17 blood alcohol level IS 0.17%.

    If you BA level was 17%, you'd be on your way to being embalmed.


    Well (none / 0) (#12)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:22:38 AM EST
    I dunno about basic math, but basic biology suggests to me that you can't replace one-sixth of your blood with alcohol and still be alive.

    Blodd alcohol (none / 0) (#17)
    by themomcat on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 08:23:29 PM EST
    is expressed as mg% or milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. 0.08 is 80 mg in 100cc of blood or 80mg%. The body, through the liver, kidneys and lungs, can eliminate about .5 oz. of alcohol per hour. At 0.17 or 170 mg%, the person can be grossly impaired. At levels above 300 mg%, the person can lose consciousness and is at risk of aspiration and choking if they vomit, this person needs to be intubated and put on a ventilator and monitored in an ICU. Levels over 400%, the person is at risk of death from acute alcohol poisoning and may need emergency dialysis to eliminate the alcohol.
     Having worked in Emergency Medicine for 30 years, I have seen patients with alcohol levels over 300 mg% who are still talking to me when by rights they shouldn't be breathing. It has to do with tolerances that are built up after years of drinking, eventually, that reverses because of cirrhosis of the liver and a build up of ammonia in the blood stream. Also one other point, the "normal" blood alcohol level in humans is zero.

     There are a number of web sites that you can calculate your blood alcohol levels without a lab or a breathalyzer. Just Google blood alcohol calculations.

    And much to my dismay, I live in Mr. Fossella's CD. Thankfully, as of Jan. 1, he will be gone. I think he embarrassing himself and his family. It would be better if he paid the fine and did his 5 days rather than waste the time of the court and the money of the tax payers of Virginia.


    Sorry, that should be "Blood". (none / 0) (#18)
    by themomcat on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 08:24:47 PM EST
    I swear I only had one glass of wine.

    Your honor, I was drunk. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Fabian on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:09:43 PM EST
    I just wasn't THAT drunk!

    Plus that light saw him coming and changed to red just for him.  It was a clear case of entrapment.

    Why can't he just do his 5 days? (none / 0) (#4)
    by nycstray on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 10:24:34 PM EST
    A jury trial?!

    Like I always say.... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 08:55:56 AM EST
    5 hours in a cage stings...much less 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years.

    If I had the connections, time, and money he has I'd shoot for a jury trial too.  I always thought "the machine wasn't properly calibrated" defense can and should be valid...how often do they calibrate the machines?  When you're dealing in hundreths of 1 percent, there is your reasonable doubt right there...an uncalibrated machine.


    Drunk vs impaired (none / 0) (#5)
    by nellre on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:18:40 AM EST
    In CA the legal limit is .08. For me, that's one glass of wine, which renders me impaired in terms of driving, but not drunk.

    I define drunk as slurring words and staggered gait. I think for most .17 would render you a staggering slurring fool...but not an alchoholic, who has a much higher tolerance. At this level, social norms conform to the law's requirements for most people.

    However I believe the general population has not accepted the difference between drunk by our social definitions, and impaired by the law's definition. We'd all be safer if more effort was made to distinguish drunk from impaired.

    I'm the same as you (none / 0) (#7)
    by nycstray on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 03:32:54 AM EST
    One glass of wine I would consider myself impaired as far as driving is concerned (105ish lbs here). I have never had a driver's license, but it is in my future when I move to CA. Interesting to see their level is half.  The lower levels hopefully makes others think, as you have a very good point about drunk vs impaired  :) I'm so used to cabs and public transportation, it's a no brain for me.

    I wouldn't call it "tolerance" (none / 0) (#11)
    by Fabian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:20:29 AM EST
    The habitual drunk has more practice functioning in an inebriated state and therefore is better at it than Stu Sober.  

    I think running the red light constitutes "impaired".  Come to think of it, I would gladly endorse a blanket law that allows a charge of Driving While Impaired.  I don't care why you were impaired - sleepy/ing, drugs(all types), orgasm, reading, using a cell phone, eating, drinking, shaving and in general, not actually driving.  


    Amen.... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:34:32 AM EST
    I've been saying the same till I'm blue in the face...who cares the reason behind the reckless driving, be it drink/drugs/fiddling with the radio/general carelessness...lets just punish reckless driving regardless of cause.

    As someone nearly killed by a sober reckles driver, I assure you the fact he was sober was no consolation.

    And we can stop dragging people through the system who simply blow a .01 over the limit while threatening no one.  


    I used to cycle commute (none / 0) (#14)
    by Fabian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 10:15:42 AM EST
    Idiot drivers of any type scared me and most of them were sober.

    Of course there was: "Put it in the hole, Kimmie.  That's where it works best!".  "Kimmie" was having problems unlocking her car in the parking lot of a local pub.  Fortunately, I was only a couple blocks away from home.


    DUI is a growth industry (none / 0) (#15)
    by herb the verb on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:21:06 PM EST
    You wouldn't want to shut down the only one we have in America, would you?

    Good point... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:35:50 PM EST
    I forgot MADD sets the policy, silly me...can't piss off MADD and put all those probation officers and lawyers out of work...not in this economy.

    Tyranny is goods for business...not much profit in liberty.