Georgia Hospitals Refuse Blood Tests for DUIs

Georgia Hospitals Refuse Blood Tests for DUIs

Several Georgia hospitals refuse blood tests for conscious DUI suspects unless the suspect consents to the test. In Georgia, as in California and most states, if police get a search warrant they can take blood from a DUI suspect by force against their will. What the police cannot do–as they are learning in Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Cherokee Counties–is force a hospital to do the work. Now that several Georgia hospitals refuse blood tests even if the police have a warrant, it will fall to law enforcement to employ its own staff of phlebotomists to perform these forced blood...

Forced catheterization alleged; suit says cops wanted quicker urine sample after traffic stop

Posted May 13, 2014 6:56 AM CDT By Debra Cassens Weiss An Indiana man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging police and hospital officials subjected him to a forced catheterization because he didn’t provide a urine sample quickly enough after a traffic stop. William Clark of Crown Point says in the suit that a Schererville police officer held him down while hospital personnel at Franciscan St. Margaret Mercy Health inserted a catheter, NWI.com reports. Clark says the officer pulled over his car last May on the belief that Clark was driving erratically. The officer falsely claimed that Clark’s breath test result was .11, and the town never provided proof of the test result during discovery, the suit alleges. When Clark submitted to a blood test at the hospital, the blood alcohol was within the legal limit, according to the suit. The suit seeks $11 million plus punitive...

DUIs For Even a Trace of Weed Being Considered in California

click to enlarge                                               Timothy Norris for LA Weekly A proposal in the state legislature could mean DUIs for drivers who aren’t stoned but who toked a few days ago. It would also target motorists who have even a trace of such prescription drugs as Ambien, Vicodin or even phentermine, a diet drug, in their systems when they’re stopped by cops who think they’re impaired. Medical marijuana supporters are aghast. And they might have good reason to be: Weed’s main ingredient, THC, can stay in your bloodstream for a few days, even if you’re long past being stoned. The cannabis community says laws like this (which was also proposed last year, unsuccessfully) will have the effect of persecuting regular medicinal users. The bill, AB 2500, was recently introduced by Assemblyman Jim Frazier. It would mean that any detected amount of any controlled substance, including some prescription medicines, would be cause for a drunk-driving conviction. We reached out to Frazier’s people for his take on this, but we had yet to hear back. According to the language of the legislation:   This bill would make it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle if his or her blood contains any detectable amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol of marijuana or any other drug classified in Schedules I, II, III, or IV of the California Uniform Controlled Substance Act. Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, told us the bill “gives you a DUI if you have any controlled substance in your blood stream. It’s pretty extreme.” As it works its way through the legislature, it’s possible AB 2500 could be amended to apply only to marijuana,...

‘Drive High, Get a DUI’ campaign launches in Colorado to stop stoned driving

DENVER - Colorado is launching a new “Drive High, Get A DUI” campaign to remind drivers that newly legal weed should be treated like alcohol and not consumed before driving. The campaign includes radio and TV ads and new posters to be displayed in dispensaries. The other part of the effort is enforcement. Right now, 200 officers of various agencies are trained recognition experts. Another 20 graduated with that certification Thursday. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper calls this a top priority, and wants at least 300 officers to be trained with this certification by next year. During 56 hours of training, officers are taught a 12-step process for recognizing the symptoms of drivers who may be impaired by a variety of drugs or alcohol. With marijuana, the officers are taught to look for enlarged pupils, sniff for the drug’s odor and look for small tremors in the driver’s body. “We teach them to look at certain things, and it is kind of an elimination process,” said Sgt. Rodney Noga from the Colorado State Patrol. Officers also check blood pressure, muscle softness and look for injection sites for other kinds of drug use. If drivers fail the observation test, a blood test is the next option to confirm or deny the presence of drug or alcohol impairment. The effort from the Colorado Department of Transportation comes as Colorado struggles to keep accurate statewide records on marijuana-impaired drivers. State police chiefs told lawmakers this week that they need more money to train officers in recognizing stoned drivers. The chiefs wrote a letter saying, in part, that they “have diverted staff from other...

Ads launched warning people who drive high will get a DUI

DENVER — The state of Colorado is using humor to drive home the point that drivers who smoke marijuana will get a DUI if they drive High. State officials with CDOT, CSP and the Governor’s office, joined the members of the marijuana industry to unveil the new “Drive High Get a DUI” campaign. The campaign includes three television ads, which poke fun at people who are high after smoking marijuana recreationally. One of the ads shows a man who is struggling to ignite his grill, only to discover that he has no propane tank attached. The ad simply says… “Grilling high is now legal. Driving to get the propane you forgot isn’t.”Despite the humor, state officials say history shows that the public awareness campaigns are effective. “Programs such as “Drive High Get a DUI” will make a difference,” said Andrew Freedman, Director of Marijuana Coordination for the Governor’s office. “We know that it will save lives.” The ads will be broadcast in English and Spanish across the state. Marijuana industry members, who helped with the campaign, are also going to be posting print ads in their stores. “I think most importantly we need to, as responsible vendors, be sparking that conversation that carries on outside of our stores,” said Elan Nelson, Vice-Chair of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group. Stats on high driving are scarce because Colorado hasn’t kept track of them until this year. In January the Colorado State Patrol issued 61 Total DUIs for alcohol and other drugs. 31 of those were for marijuana only. That’s why the state is also investing more in drug recognition training. Thursday...

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 of field sobriety tests, and a blood test for marijuana. How You Can Get Charged with a DUI If you are pulled over or encounter a cop who expects you are under the influence of marijuana, he will call in a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) to the scene. The...