Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C

400 Poydras Street, Suite 1680
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
United States (US)
Phone: (504) 680-4304
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Gary Smith's Blog Posts

About Gary Smith

Gary is a founding member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C. Gary represents clients whose cases involve maritime and admiralty law and litigation. In addition to practicing law, Gary serves as a State Senator in the Louisiana Senate.Gary Smith's Google+ Profile

Driving While Under the Influence…of Fatigue

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Sleepy Man

We all know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impair judgment and put everyone’s lives at risk. But we do not often think of the intoxicating effect of that all-nighter or the common case of “burning the candle at both ends.” If you are running on empty (sleep, that is, not fuel), you are putting yourself and others at risk.

On June 7, a sleep-deprived Walmart truck driver crashed into a car that was carrying, among others, comedians Tracy Morgan and James “Uncle Jimmy Mack” McNair on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing McNair and seriously injuring Morgan. According to New Jersey prosecutors, Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., had been awake for a period in excess of 24 hours at the time of the crash. As the NY Times reported, investigations found that Roper swerved at the last minute to avoid a collision with slow-moving traffic up ahead that he had failed to perceive, causing the multi-vehicle crash that killed one and injured several others. [Read more…]

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Pop Music Sings of Drinking without the Consequences

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teen drivingWhat does Ke$ha brush her teeth with in the morning? What brand of liquor does LMFAO like? What alcohol brand name does Snoop Dogg drop in his song “I Drink I Smoke”?

If you know the answer to any of these questions, or if your child does, listen up. A recent study published last month, referenced in NPR and USA Today, found a correlation between exposure to music containing alcohol brand references and alcohol-related behaviors among adolescents. It stated that adolescents who like music that references alcohol are three times as likely to drink and twice as likely to binge than those who do not like these songs. [Read more…]

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Bicycling Under the Influence

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Two People Riding BicyclesBiking is becoming an increasingly common way of traveling the roadways in cities and towns across the United States, and, as with any other method of transportation, safety is a concern.  Laws against drunk driving are relatively apparent but what about biking under the influence?

The dangers of drunk driving are apparent and so are the consequences of being charged with a DUI.  But, for bicyclists pedaling home after a few drinks at the bar the rules and consequences aren’t so clear.

According to an article from the Huffington Post, this is an issue that is taken rather lightly by citizens and lawmakers.  Events in cities and towns nationwide actually encourage people to head home on their bike after a boozy night out despite well-documented dangers of bicycling under the influence. [Read more…]

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Officers Target Underage Drinking and Driving

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Person Driving a CarDriving while intoxicated is considered a relatively serious offense in Louisiana. When a person below the legal drinking age gets behind the wheel with an elevated blood alcohol concentration level, the consequences could be even more severe.

This April, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission focused their DWI Task Force patrols on motorists under the age of 21 who choose to drink and drive. The campaign was an effort to keep young drivers safe during the season of proms, graduations and end of school parties. [Read more…]

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First Personal Injury Lawsuit Filed in East Harlem Gas Explosion

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As many news outlets reported last month,As many news outlets reported last month, an explosion caused by a gas leak ripped through East Harlem on March 13 around 9:25am, killing 8 people and injuring dozens.  The devastation was massive, leveling two buildings located at 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue in ruins, and the explosion caused tremors that could be felt for miles away. With the severity of this explosion as well as the suddenness of its arrival, it was only a matter of time until the victims of this horrible tragedy started seeking compensation for their personal injuries.    MyFoxNY has reported that Michelle Nelson, a 46-year-old Harlem woman, has filed a lawsuit against Con Edison as well as the owner of 1646 Park Avenue, stating that she sustained “severe and permanent injuries” from the explosion when it caused her to fall in her apartment that was located more than a block away from the blast area. The suit also states that there was neglect in Con Ed’s “duty to keep… the premises in a safe, proper and secure manner.”  It appears that more lawsuits are on the way as well; Jose Vargas, a 20-year-old high school student, has filed paperwork that he might sue the city for $10 million after being thrown off the seat of his passing bus, resulting in torn ligaments and burst blood vessels.    As more and more time passes from this tragedy and people have time to recover and reflect on their injuries, it is certain that more will come forward who need compensation for their damages from this horrible catastrophe.    From all of us at Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLC, our hearts go out to those killed or injured in the East Harlem gas explosion.  We know that for some, no amount of money can ever compensate for the damages they’ve experienced.    If you’ve been injured in New Orleans in any size accident that was a result of another’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for guidance today. an explosion caused by a gas leak ripped through East Harlem on March 13 around 9:25am, killing 8 people and injuring dozens.  The devastation was massive, leveling two buildings located at 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue in ruins, and the explosion caused tremors that could be felt for miles away. With the severity of this explosion as well as the suddenness of its arrival, it was only a matter of time until the victims of this horrible tragedy started seeking compensation for their personal injuries.

MyFoxNY has reported that Michelle Nelson, a 46-year-old Harlem woman, has filed a lawsuit against Con Edison as well as the owner of 1646 Park Avenue, stating that she sustained “severe and permanent injuries” from the explosion when it caused her to fall in her apartment that was located more than a block away from the blast area. [Read more…]

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What Should I Do if Pulled Over On Suspicion of DWI?

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What Should I Do If Pulled Over For DWI | New Orleans, LA Defense Attorney | Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLCImagine this scenario: You’re heading home late one night after having a few drinks with some co-workers, and as you are driving, you see flashing lights behind you. It’s very easy to panic in this instance; however, following these tips from DrivingLaws.org, you can help prevent the situation from escalating into a DWI (DUI) charge:

  • Pull over. Start decelerating, and pull over to the side of the road after signaling when it’s safe. Normally, you should pull over to the right, but there are certain cases where this isn’t possible, be aware of your surroundings. [Read more…]
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Guide to New Orleans, Louisiana for Mardi Gras 2014

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Mardi Gras 2014 | New Orleans, LA DWI Attorney | Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLCNew Orleans, Louisiana is famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations.  However, there are so many things to do and see, forcing most to ask themselves, “How should I spend my time at Mardi Gras?”

Below is a helpful guide to understanding all there is to do at Mardi Gras, courtesy of CBS Miami: [Read more…]

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St. Charles Parish Man Charged with DWI after Deputy Death

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St. Charles Parish Deputy Sheriff Death Leads To DWI Charge | New Orleans, LA | Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLCAs a DWI attorney in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, I’ve seen many drunk driving accidents over the years. One such crash caught my attention recently, however, with a shocking fatality.

A Luling man has been charged with DWI after a wreck that killed St. Charles Parish deputy sheriff Jeff Watson. The grand jury has indicted the defendant, however, deciding not to charge him with causing Watson’s death.

According to The Times-Picayune, toxicology reports indicate that the driver’s blood alcohol level was .10 at the time of the wreck. The legal BAC in Louisiana is .08. [Read more…]

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What is the Difference Between DWI and DUI?

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DWI vs. DUI | New Orleans, LA Criminal Defense Attorney | Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLCAs an experienced DWI attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana, I often see confusion within the state about drunken driving terminology. This is to be expected, as different states in the U.S. use different acronyms for the charge, even ones that border Louisiana.

In Louisiana, driving while intoxicated, or DWI, is the term used to describe impaired or drunken driving. Texas also uses the term DWI.

DUI is another acronym for impaired or drunken driving, standing for “driving under the influence.” Mississippi, for example, uses the term DUI.  [Read more…]

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Video: Police Violate Rights at DWI Checkpoint

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DWI Checkpoint Rights Violation | DWI Attorney | Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLCMost of us would like to believe that police officers will respect our constitutional rights, now matter the circumstances.

Unfortunately, this is not the case—even at DWI checkpoints.

At DWI checkpoints in New Orleans and across Louisiana, officers are required to follow certain protocols to ensure your rights are not violated.

In some cases, officers fail to respect these rights. It is sadly believed by many officers that the average citizen is not fully aware of his or her rights, and this belief is exploited by intimidation and authority presence.

This past summer, such an incident occurred when a man was pulled over at a DWI checkpoint. Fortunately, the driver was well versed in his constitutional rights. The officers, however, failed to respect those rights—and were caught on tape. [Read more…]

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