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Tag Archives: DWI

How Accurate are Field Sobriety Tests?

There are typically three so-called field sobriety tests that Hawaii police officers use when trying to determine if a person is impaired by alcohol.  They were thought up by social scientists pursuant to government grants decades ago.  The science behind them has been examined for years.  There are significant problems.  Besides the fact that many people, completely sober, would fail the tests, the federal government set the bar for employing the tests very low.  The question that was asked was ... Read More »

Tennessee Adopts a (Limited) Good-Faith Exception to the Warrant Requirement

On November 3, 2016, Tennessee joined the ranks of over a dozen states that have adopted a limited good faith exception to the search warrant requirement in a Tennessee DUI case that involves a warrantless blood draw.[1] A blood draw for the purpose of determining a person’s blood alcohol content is a search under the Fourth Amendment, and a warrant is required unless an exception to the search warrant requirement applies.[2] For example, some exceptions include consent to the blood ... Read More »

Introduction to Post-Conviction Travel to Canada

Every year, millions of travellers enter Canada to visit relatives, check out the sights, and engage in international business. No matter your reason for visiting, every traveller must be processed by immigration authorities upon arrival. Border Services Officers are responsible for conducting examinations and deciding on admissibility into the country. Examinations can be as simple asking a couple of questions or as rigorous as an in-depth investigation. There are many reasons why a person may be inadmissible to Canada. Canadian ... Read More »

Tennessee Repeals New Underage DWI Law

July 1, 2016 was a highly anticipated day for many in Tennessee: for the very first time, wine was available for purchase in grocery stores. Gliding in under the radar, perhaps because of all the hype surrounding the grocery store wine revolution, were many other changes to Tennessee’s alcohol-related criminal laws. One such legislative update changed the way that Tennessee handled a small and categorically difficult class of individuals: underage DUI defendants. These are people ages 18 to 20, who ... Read More »

An Alcohol Monitoring…Tattoo?

As DUI defense practitioners are well aware, a transdermal monitoring device such as a “SCRAM” device (a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring Device) is a prevalent but sometimes onerous tool in the bond condition, plea bargaining and sentencing processes. A client may be ordered to wear a SCRAM device ankle bracelet prior to trial, during probation, or as part of a compromised resolution of the case. The transdermal monitoring device continuously monitors a person’s blood alcohol level through skin contact ... Read More »

Blood, Breath and Birchfield v. North Dakota — Why it matters

On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court published an important decision affecting our right of privacy.  Birchfield v. North Dakota[1] was presented to the highest court in the land due to the enactment of legislation in several states that penalize DUI  suspects who refuse to submit to a chemical test with not only drivers’ license suspension or revocation, but also criminal penalties. Such laws present the accused with an impossible choice—forgo the constitutional right to be free from warrantless ... Read More »

Tennessee Increases Jail Time for DUI Offenders with Six or More Convictions

Tennessee is again increasing penalties for multiple DUI offenders.[1] The 2016 Tennessee General Assembly amended Tennessee Code Annotated §55-10-402 to penalize more severely those who are convicted with six or more DUI convictions. This change applies to anyone committing an offense on or after July 1, 2016. As the law currently stands, a conviction for a 4th or subsequent DUI offense is a Class E Felony, which has a punishment range of 1-6 years. Accordingly, the law does not change ... Read More »

DUI and “The Scarlet Letter”

A “Scarlet Letter” bill designed to shame repeat DUI offenders into compliance with the law has recently been proposed in Mississippi. State Rep. Gary Chism drew attention for suggesting a “Scarlet Letter Tag bill” that would require individuals convicted of two or more DUI’s in the State of Mississippi to have a “Scarlet Letter” tag on their license plate.[1] The tag would be yellow with red writing on it and the idea behind the bill is to use social stigma ... Read More »

Two States Considering Lowering the National Drinking Age

In a recent Inquisitr article, Scott Falkner discusses two states that are considering lowering the legal drinking age from 21years of age to 18 years of age. Minnesota and California are considering the change because of the litigation of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in the United States Supreme Court. Before jumping into the reasons Minnesota and California may lower the legal drinking age, a brief recap of why the legal drinking age was raised from 18 to to ... Read More »

A Marijuana Breath Testing Device?

Breath testing devices are commonly used by police officers in their pursuit to enforce Driving Under the Influence (DUI/DWI/OUI, etc.) laws across the nation. These devices not only detect the presence of ethanol, but also attempt to quantify the amount of alcohol in one’s blood. Every state has adopted a per se limit of .08 percent of alcohol in the person’s blood. This means that if a person has a blood alcohol level (breath tests are also commonly used to ... Read More »