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Tag Archives: driving under the influence

MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT CLARIFIES PENALTIES FOR DRIVING ON LICENSE SUSPENDED FOR BREATH TEST FAILURE OR REFUSAL

In Commonwealth v. Nascimento, SJC-12442 (June 5, 2018) the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently corrected a long-standing practice of the lower courts sentencing drivers operating on a license suspended for administrative reasons related to OUI (such as breath test failure or refusal) to the same mandatory jail time required for someone operating on a license suspended for an OUI conviction. The statute mandates a minimum sixty-day sentence for anyone convicted of operating on a license that has been suspended on ... Read More »

UPDATE ON THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE TO THE DRÄGER 9510 BREATH TEST MACHINE IN MASSACHUSETTS

The latest hearing regarding the Massachusetts defense bar’s challenge to the Dräger 9510 breath test machine was held by Judge Brennan in Concord on Thursday, February 15, 2018. At that hearing, both Brennan and the defense bar, represented by Joseph Bernard, expressed their dismay that discovery previously withheld by the government continued to trickle out or had even been lost “due to dysfunction at the OAT [Office of Alcohol Testing].” The government pressed Brennan for a schedule that would give ... Read More »

MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME COURT LIMITS EVIDENCE OF MARIJUANA USE IN PROSECUTION OF DRIVERS

In September 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled that police cannot give testimony that, in the officer’s opinion, a driver was under the influence of marijuana based on their on-scene observations, including sobriety tests. The court found that there is no consensus in the scientific community that roadside sobriety tests prove someone is under the influence of marijuana. The judges noted that the effects of marijuana “vary greatly from one individual to another, and those effects are as ... Read More »

DUI Technology—The DRUID App

The effects of alcohol intoxication are relatively well-known, and they are also relatively universal among different people. The amount of alcohol concentration in one’s bloodstream that causes these effects differs among each of us (e.g. tolerance). Moreover, the amount of time it takes to experience these effects is dependent upon a number of factors such as how quickly the alcohol is consumed, the amount of food in one’s stomach, etc. Nonetheless, all states[1] in the U.S. have adopted the 0.08% ... Read More »

MASSACHUSETTS CLOSER TO REQUIRING IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE FOR ALL OUI/DUI OFFENDERS

The Massachusetts Senate approved a measure that would require an ignition interlock device for all drivers found to be operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Massachusetts is currently the only New England state that does not require the device for first offenders. The measure is now in the House where a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving testified in support of the legislation that is similar to laws enacted in 30 other states. The law would replace the ... Read More »

The Newest in BodyCam Technology

Officers may not particularly like recordings of traffic stops and DUI investigations—after all, who wants all their actions recorded for review by their supervisor and potentially the public? Nonetheless, body cameras are invaluable in protecting both officers and citizens during non-routine encounters because the video footage provides a complete and unbiased recordation of the full situation. In DUI cases, though, the recordings provide experienced defense counsel the opportunity to detect Constitutional violations and procedural mistakes. In particular, lawyers scrutinize the ... Read More »

Nurse Arrested for Protecting Unconscious Patient from Illegal Blood Draw

United States Supreme Court decisions sometimes have a greater impact on daily life than citizens may realize. On June 23, 2016, the decision Birchfield v. North Dakota[1] changed the procedure on how law enforcement is supposed to request a blood draw from those suspected of committing a crime such as driving under the influence. The key phrase here is that it changed how law enforcement is “supposed to” handle drawing blood. As a recent news story from the Washington Post ... Read More »

STATE POLICE CRIME LAB WITHHELD EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE

The Massachusetts State Police Office of Alcohol Testing (“OAT”) intentionally withheld documents showing breath test machines may have provided at least hundreds of flawed results, according to defense attorneys. This latest revelation could ultimately affect over 58,000 cases since 2011, when the Commonwealth first began using the Dräger 9510 machines. As a result, District Attorneys throughout the Commonwealth have again suspended the use of breath test results in trials and plea negotiations. Furthermore, the Secretary for the Executive Office of ... Read More »

To Blow or Not to Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law – Part 2

This is the second in a series of blog posts about recent changes to Tennessee’s Implied Consent Law.  If you missed Part 1, you may read it here: “To Blow or Not to Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law –  Part 1.” As discussed in Part 1, effective July 1, 2017, Tennessee made sweeping changes to its Implied Consent Law in an apparent attempt to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 ... Read More »

To Blow or Not To Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law – Part 1

Effective July 1, 2017, Tennessee is making sweeping changes to its Implied Consent Law[1] in an apparent attempt to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016).  The Implied Consent Law and the Birchfield decision both address legal issues surrounding chemical tests to determine the alcohol and/or drug content in a person’s system. Specifically, they deal with the question of when and under what circumstances a blood or breath test may be ... Read More »