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California DUI News

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Lowering the blood-alcohol content (BAC) cutoff to 0.05: Sheriff says “you can count me out on that one”

Milwaukee County Sherriff David Clarke has a reputation for cracking down on drunk drivers and pushing for tougher drunk driving laws. The new proposal that would decrease the legal limit from 0.08 to 0.05, however, isn’t exactly what he had in mind. In Milwaukee, the average drunk driver has a BAC over 0.15; almost twice the legal limit. These individuals, Clarke believes, are the ones law enforcement officers in Wisconsin should be concerned with, not the social drinker who can ... Read More »

Suppressing Evidence In Warrantless Blood Draw Cases

Those who have DUI charges pending in California that involve the taking of a blood sample without a warrant or lawful consent should be considering a motion to suppress evidence at the trial court level.  The United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Missouri v. McNeely overruled several California Court of Appeal decisions that had erroneously interpreted the high Court’s 1966 decision in Schmerber v. California as authorizing warrantless blood draws anytime the police have probable cause to arrest a suspect for ... Read More »

Illegal Immigrants to Practice Law in California

In the waning hours of the legislative session on Thursday, a California bill to let undocumented immigrants become lawyers passed the state Assembly and now lies in the hands of Governor Jerry Brown. This bill would allow qualified applicants to become licensed as a lawyer regardless of their immigration status pending California Supreme Court approval. The current law in the state does not allow applicants to be licensed if they are undocumented. The subject of illegal immigrants in the United ... Read More »

Unconstitutional Blood Draws

There is a good deal of debate in the legal community about whether warrantless blood samples taken from DUI suspects are constitutional following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Missouri v. McNeely.  The core of this debate is whether “implied consent” laws constitute an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, or whether such consent is “involuntary consent” because it is based on the threat and imposition of a license suspension. The McNeely decision did not invalidate “implied consent” statutes ... Read More »

Can You Be Arrested for “Aiding and Abetting” a Drunk Driver?

Is it possible to be an accomplice to drunk driving – that is, to be convicted of “aiding and abetting” a person who was driving under the influence of alcohol? In one case in Maine, two men were drinking together in a bar.  When they left, the owner of the car had his friend drive since the friend was less intoxicated.  The two were stopped by the police, and the owner/passenger was taken to a police station — where he refused to take a breath test because ... Read More »

Did You Say Too Much To The Officer, Or Not Enough?

For years, criminal defense attorneys have cautioned people about the perils of talking to the police when they are suspected of violating the law.  It was sound advice, but now that admonition must be refined in light of a recent decision from the United States Supreme Court. The case is called Salinas v. Texas and it was issued earlier this year.  Berkemer v. McCarty is a much older case, and it essentially held that a motorist’s roadside statements are admissible at trial. Salinas goes further, ... Read More »

How Much is Too Much?

In order to prevent over-serving at bars, many states have adopted what is known as the Dram Shop Act. The Dram Shop Act allows victims and the families of victims to sue the bar or establishment that served alcohol to a drunken individual that subsequently injured someone in a drunken driving accident. These alcohol infractions are regulated by the Department of Revenue who will strip bars and bartenders of their licenses if found to be repeatedly over-serving. Georgia is one ... Read More »

Breath Tests and the “Mouth Alcohol” Problem

One of the most common causes of falsely high breathalyzer readings is the existence of mouth alcohol. The breathalyzer’s internal computer is making a major assumption when it captures a breath sample and then analyzes it for blood alcohol concentration (BAC): It assumes that the alcohol in the breath sample came from alveolar air — that is, air exhaled from deep within the lungs. Since we are trying to measure how much alcohol is in the blood, rather than in the breath, the ... Read More »

Try getting past this one!

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are just a few of the many different controlled substances that Swedish researchers have found can be detected by a commercially available breathing test device.  A control group of 47 individuals, who had taken a variety of drugs less than 24 hours prior, were tested to check the accuracy of the device. The test successfully detected drugs in 87% of the people. The device would allow police officers to test suspected drug users and DUI ... Read More »

How to Force a DUI Defendant to Prove His Innocence

The drunk driving laws make it a criminal offense to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or while having a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. It is not, however, a criminal offense to be under the influence or to have a BAC of .08% while taking a breath test in a police station an hour or two AFTER driving. So how does the prosecution prove what the BAC was when the defendant was driving? ... Read More »