Proper car inspections and car maintenance — PREVENT a felony charge

Licensed mechanic facing a felony charge? Yes, it happens.

In 2015, the Vermont Attorney General charged a licensed mechanic with manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Unfortunately, a customer was killed in a 2014 auto accident partly due to brake failure. The guilty mechanic passed this vehicle through inspection just a few months prior.  After the accident, investigators discovered badly rusted brake lines as well as a badly rusted vehicle frame.

Sadly, the mechanic’s possible motive was to save an elderly couple in their 80’s some money. He warned them on a prior visit about the rusted brake lines, but the husband refused the repair. On a subsequent visit, he passed their vehicle through inspection.

Vehicle inspection laws in Vermont  changed in 2013.  Vermont car inspectors now MUST fail cars with rusted brake lines. Fellow Vermont mechanics say the judge used this case as a harsh example to warn them.

Now this mechanic is paying a heavy price. Loss of career. Ruined reputation in town. A felony on his record. Jail time. Just imagine if this happened to you in your early 30’s!

Other mechanics are rightly alarmed.  Brake lines rust quickly in Vermont.  Overzealous mechanics are often accused of price-gouging.  How often do you need your brake lines repaired, after all?

You may surprised, as I was.

Did you know that rusted brake lines are a common problem even if your car is only five years old?

Harsh winter weather attacks your brake lines. Washing the undercarriage of your car helps slow down the deterioration.  Obviously, the brake lines need regular inspection by a trained mechanic.

According to RepairPal (, you can expect to pay between $144 to $193 per brake line replacement. Dealers command the highest brake repair fees. If one brake line is going bad, it is likely the other three lines will fail shortly thereafter.

Forking out $600 or more dollars IS a small fortune if you are on a fixed income.  However,  facing a felony charge is far costlier.

On the flip side of the coin, if you fail to maintain your own car, you also could face a felony charge.

What if you accidentally kill someone because your brakes failed? Did you fail to have your brake pads, rotors, and lines repaired or maintained in a timely manner?

The courts in Missouri could potentially charge you with second degree involuntary manslaughter.  Why? When you don’t keep up with safety repairs on your vehicle, you pose a dangerous risk to other drivers.  In the eyes of the law, this is considered criminal negligence, according to NOLO.  Truthfully, we all let things slip at times when our lives are overwhelmingly busy.

Sometimes, though, a deadly auto accident due to brake failure occurs because of a defective auto part.

Have you been in an auto accident due to brake failure? Maybe you knew your brakes were due for maintenance soon, but should have lasted longer than they did.  Your criminal defense lawyer will leave “no stone unturned” to discover the truth on your behalf.

NO one should face criminal charges alone. You need an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney to help you get a fair trial and preserve your rights.

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC offers a free initial consultation!   Call 636-244-3737 today.


This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.



5 tips to avoid becoming a 2017 DUI holiday statistic!

St. Louis DUI attorney

We all want some good news to inspire more gratitude this Thanksgiving weekend.  But the 2016 statistics for drunk-driving deaths are in, and the news is grim — drunk drivers were the number one killer, chalking up 10,497 fatalities according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. (

This does not include the bloodshed, pain, tears, and lives forever changed due to drunk-driving injuries. Those stories often go untold. The truth is this: drinking and driving just don’t mix! 

The AAA predicts that 2017 will be the busiest Thanksgiving travel season since 2005.  Busier highways and more congestion equals more travel risk, right?

While you cannot control the other drivers on the road,  here’s how to reduce your own risk:

1.)  Gonna kick back and enjoy that beer,  Grandpa’s “secret recipe”, or a glass of fine wine?  You know the drill.  Don’t leave home without a designated driver.  If you get stopped while your blood alcohol content is over the legal limit in Missouri  (.04 BAC),  you’re facing a license suspension or much, much worse!

Consider the holiday mood of the police officer and the judge! They’ve seen too many alcohol-related deaths and injuries. Their view of you is likely to be very dim — don’t expect leniency!  After all, the 2016 drunk driving statistics are grim.

2.) Sadly, the next highest 2016 NHTSA fatality statistic is due to not wearing seatbelts. Please BUCKLE up for highway safety. 

Seatbelts are one of your lines of car accident defense. You can count on sharing the road with people driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both!

Be sure to spy on your kids while traveling. They have a way of sneaking out of seat-belts when you least expect it.

3.) Allow extra travel time.

According to the 2017 AAA holiday travel predictions, getting places around congested cities could easily take THREE times as long as normal.

That lovely half hour trip across St. Louis to visit your in-laws?   Think about highway congestion and weigh your options.  What are the normal hotspots for traffic back-ups?   Having an alternate travel plan could be safer and healthier for your blood pressure.

Not cooking dinner, but want to enjoy a wonderful place to share a delicious Thanksgiving meal? There’s sure to be a nearby place to please you and avoid some of that traffic!  St. Louis has much to offer:

4.)  Have a roadside assistance plan in place.

If you have any sort of auto-related accident, you’ll be happy you had your roadside assistance current and up-to-date.  Adding their number to your contacts in your cell-phone is one great way to make sure you don’t leave home without it!

5.) Avoid drunk drivers by not driving late at night.

The National Safety Council’s research shows that the risk of a fatal crash is three times greater at night,  and that 50% of traffic fatalities occur after dark!  Add late night gatherings with family and friends to this mix.  Alcohol and fatigue are a deadly driving combination.

If you are involved in a car accident over the holiday weekend, don’t wait to call your car accident lawyer.

For an experienced traffic accident attorney serving the greater St. Louis area, call  The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC at 636-244-3737.   HINT: put this number in your contacts’ list, too.  Better safe than sorry!

Attorney Steimel will give you a FREE initial consultaton.  Now that’s something to be grateful for!

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Drive to survive — tips to avoid frenzied or distracted driving

distracted driving, Missouri car accident attorney

Thanksgiving and holiday travels are just around the corner. Frenzied or distracted driving — a major factor in car crashes — could change your life forever!

For many women, the coming holidays make that “to-do list”  miles longer!  If you’re also a “taxi-mom”,  you’re likely to have a higher risk factor for distracted driving.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, distracted driving is a leading cause of deadly traffic accidents in the state of Missouri.

“Inattention is a leading cause of traffic crashes,” said Colonel Replogle. “If you’re focused on sending a text message, then you aren’t paying attention to your driving. Cell phone usage — particularly texting while driving can lead to tragic consequences. These consequences are easily preventable if drivers would simply put down their phones and focus on the road.”

Nationally, more than a quarter of a million people were injured in distracted driving traffic accidents in 2015.  Also in 2015  —  there were 3,477 motor vehicle fatalities due to distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Even 5 seconds of texting at 55 mph can forever change your life!

These scary statistics sadly don’t seem to matter when our daily lives start rolling along at high speed.  So many places to go and people to see!

Nothing will ruin your holiday season quicker than to be responsible for the death or even serious injury of a friend or loved one!

Intentional safe driving takes planning and education, too.

Include these tips on your “to-do list”:

  • Turn your cell sound off or on vibrate before starting to drive.  Unless you are in the middle of a family emergency, almost any phone call can wait until you are able to pull over.
  • Plan B:  if possible, use your children or other fellow passengers as a cell-phone answering service. I love it when I see texts from my mom friends that are obviously written by their kids.  Misspellings? No punctuation? That’s okay!  These make me smile because I know my friend is practicing safe driving techniques!
  • Long drive ahead? Plan for cell phone pit stops.  Consider it a reward for good cell behavior! That’s right. Just go ahead and schedule time to pull over and check your phone for a few seconds. If you have a worried loved one, they will be happy to know you will be checking your phone every so often!
  • Hands-free options?  Many modern cars are equipped with bluetooth or other hands-free cell phone technology.
  • Resist temptation to check all social media updates while driving, too.  Turn off notifications if the urge is too strong. Your friend’s latest Instagram post of tantalizing holiday baking is just not worth that possibly fatal second of distraction.  Sadly, our social media addiction sometimes kills.
  • Keep your eyes wide open for other distracted drivers!  Especially watch for merge areas such as exit and on-ramps.  Living in the urban sprawl, we regularly encounter the  driver that merges wildly and dangerously into traffic. We do the cell phone check! More often than not, the dangerous driver is on their cell at that moment.

Busy, amazing, multi-tasking ladies — you’ve got this!  You can drive to survive and enjoy this holiday season.

Know someone who needs legal help due to being injured in a distracted driver car accident?  The  experienced car crash attorneys at The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC offer a free initial consultation.

Don’t try to settle without expert legal help from an experienced car accident attorney!   Call 636-244-3737 today!

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.