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Tag Archives: driving under the influence

Outdated Breathalyzer Keeps Police Work Cheap in St. Louis

DWI enforcement in St. Louis, Missouri, has come to rely increasingly on the estimated Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) number produced by an aging technology. The Alco-Sensor IV (ASIV), manufactured by Intoximeters, is a portable breathalyzer device used by police officers to test driver’s the police suspect are intoxicated. At 1/3 the price of other evidentiary devices, police departments love the ASIV. The other advantage St. Louis area police find in the ASIV is that it is portable. All other evidentiary ... Read More »

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT REGARDING BREATH TEST ADMISSIBILITY IN MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts defense attorneys and prosecutors have reached a tentative agreement, pending approval and modification by the court, regarding sanctions imposed against the government for refusing to disclose court-ordered evidence during state-wide litigation challenging the reliability of the Dräger 9510 breath test machines. Under a previous court order, breath tests results were presumptively excluded from evidence at trial if the machine had last been calibrated between June 1, 2011 and September 14, 2014. As a result of government misconduct, however, where ... Read More »

MASSACHUSETTS PROSECUTORS AND DEFENSE BAR CONTINUE BREATH TEST NEGOTIATIONS

District Attorney offices throughout the Commonwealth continue negotiations with representatives of the defense bar regarding the admissibility of breath test results at trial. Some possibilities include expanding the time of presumptively excluded breath tests to include all tests performed since the Dräger 9510 machines were put into service in 2012 through at least 2017. Another potential outcome is to give both prosecutors and defense counsel online access to all maintenance and service records for each machine. We expect that all ... Read More »

Drugged Driving Now More Dangerous than Alcohol

The crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI, DWI, OWI, etc.) may be committed by driving while impaired due to any intoxicant or combination of intoxicants.  These include, among other intoxicants, alcohol, prescribed medication or illegal drugs.   A 2016 study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (“GHSA”) shows a trend in fatal drug related crashes surpassing deadly accidents involving alcohol. Experts say this trend derives from states legalizing marijuana combined with the current opioid epidemic in America. According to ... Read More »

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 »