Marijuana and DUI: What Californians Need to Know

California continues its seemingly inexorable march toward marijuana legalization, but even if weed becomes legal, driving under the influence won’t. Tens of thousands will still be prosecuted for allegedly driving when their ability to see, think or operate their motor vehicle is impaired by any psychoactive substance, including weed. Here’s a run-down on current California drugged driving law, how people get popped for it, what the punishments are, and how to act right. What is a DUI for Marijuana? A DUI for drugs is considered driving under the influence of drugs (in this specific case, marijuana). Sometimes, it can be difficult to prove what constitutes a “DUI” for marijuana, since blood tests can’t prove when you consumed marijuana, just that you did at some point. “It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects,” the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) writes. According to California law, in order to be convicted of a DUI for drugs, you must be impaired to such an extent that you lack the “ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.” Thus, the charge and conviction can be rather subjective and usually takes into account some combination of your driving pattern, physical appearance, performance

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Georgia Eliminates DUI Refusal Loophole

Georgia Court of Appeals rules that forced blood draws can by performed, with a warrant, when a breath test is refused. The Georgia Court of Appeals last week confirmed that police can conduct a forced blood test on a suspected drunk driver if a judge issues a search warrant, deciding that the state legislature had overruled the 2006 state Supreme Court decision on the topic. Daniel J. McAllister was driving his white Cadillac on March 30, 2012, when he ran into a roadblock set up by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office just after 10:30 pm. Deputy George Rose decided McAllister was suspicious because the Cadillac’s left turn blinker was active. He also noted it was out-of-the-ordinary that McAllister asked what was going on while he was being stopped in the middle of the road, that he had to pause before answering questions and that McAllister fumbled while retrieving his license from his wallet. Slurred speech and a smell of alcohol set up McAllister for roadside sobriety tests, which he failed. He was taken to jail where he refused a breath test. A warrant was brought to a local judge who was on standby to sign the order. Deputies brought McAllister to a hospital where his blood was drawn and tested at 0.12 blood alcohol content. On trial for driving under

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What Will a DUI Cost You?: Part 1

By Richland County DUI Task Force “What’s the big deal..I’ve driven home lots of times drunk, nothing has ever happened.” Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you will be able to do it safely again. Ask anyone who has been charged with a DUI, with a DUI crash involving damage, injuries, or deaths…or ask the families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to a DUI crash. IT IS A BIG DEAL! Yes everyone in our community can do something about it…. Financially a DUI is costly…but do you really know how costly? • Fines: up to $5000 or more • Court costs/fees: $135 (if there is no trial) • Jury/witness costs: $400-$500 (for a trial) • Attorney fees: $150 for public defender & $70/hour if it goes to trial or $100-$300/hour for private counsel • Vehicle impound and towing • Chemical dependency assessment and mandatory alcohol classes: $325 or more • Driver license reinstatement fee: $200 Additional options that the Judge may order: • Victim’s Impact Panel: Cost varies • Ignition Interlock: $75-$120 installation plus $70/month • Transdermal alcohol monitoring device: $10-12/day or $300-360/month • 24-7 Sobriety Program: $4 per day or $120/month Do you think it’s a big deal yet? If the alcohol assessment mandates treatment, you could pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

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Tougher DUI penalties proposed in Washington Legislature

Jim Camden             The Spokesman-Review OLYMPIA – Drunken drivers could face prison on their fourth conviction if the Legislature can find a way to pay for the extra burden on state prisons and county jails. One possible source of money: taxes the state currently collects on alcohol, and some of what it expects to collect for legal marijuana. With victims recounting stories of devastated families and law enforcement officials asking for tougher laws, a Senate panel agreed Monday that drivers should face a felony charge if they are arrested a fourth time in 10 years for driving drunk or under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. “Lives will be saved and hearts won’t be broken forever,” Linda Thompson of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council told the Senate Law and Justice Committee. Impaired drivers kill more people than guns, said Amy Freedheim, King County’s DUI prosecutor, who added that one recent repeat offender told officers his license has been suspended for years but he won’t stop driving, likening it to sex as “something people just have to do.” Washington is also about to allow people to sell another “impairing drug,” recreational marijuana, which when combined with alcohol could have a synergistic effect on drivers, Freedheim said. Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, said he suspected all members of the committee would support SB 6090, but that’s only

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Drunk driver to police: “I’m an owl”

The suspect was hiding in a tree WCVB NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — An alleged drunken driver arrested while hiding 30 feet up a tree Friday on Interstate 290 “rambled on about being an owl” when confronted, police wrote in court documents. Troy A. Prockett, 37, of Hudson, was arraigned Monday on a slew of — including third-offense drunken driving — after town firefighters had to use a bucket truck to bring a cop 30 feet into a tree to arrest him, the MetroWest Daily News reported. Documents in Westborough District Court provide additional details about the unusual arrest, including the fact that police at one point feared the man’s daughter might have been ejected from his vehicle. Full Story: Police: ‘I’m an owl,’ says drunken driver hiding in tree