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breathalyzer-1240974This July, the Montana Supreme Court decided whether the intermediate court erred in concluding that the state’s 24/7 Sobriety Program was unconstitutional. The high court concluded that, while the 24/7 Program did not, on its face, violate the state or federal constitutions, the statute was unconstitutional as applied to the defendant because the trial court did not conduct an individualized assessment to determine whether he was an appropriate candidate for the program.

Montana enacted the 24/7 Sobriety Program Act in 2011 in response to high levels of drunk driving in the state. The Act’s purpose was to protect the public by reducing the number of people on Montana’s highways who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and to strengthen the options available to prosecutors and judges in responding to repeat DUI offenders.

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breathalyzer-1240974With marijuana’s increasing popularity and acceptance, it was only a matter of time before the advent of a handheld device to measure the presence of THC in an individual’s system. A THC breathalyzer would supplant blood and urine tests, which are currently the only available method to determine whether someone is under the influence of THC, the psychoactive element of cannabis.

Vancouver’s Cannabix Technologies, one of several companies developing a THC breathalyzer, hopes to be the first to unleash such a product on the market. The device uses a technology that can identify recent consumption of THC. Cannabix has not revealed when the product will go on sale, but it has stated that a patent is pending.

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Louisville, Kentucky Metro Corrections officer Liliana Hernandez has been suspended after being accused of lying under oath last month. According to court records, Hernandez falsely claimed on a form that a suspect refused to take a breath test, for which the suspect’s license was automatically suspended. She repeated the same fabrication while testifying in court under oath. A video recording from the jail shows that the suspect expressed an unequivocal willingness to take the test. jailhouse-1-1232950

An internal investigation is looking into other potential misconduct, which could jeopardize hundreds of drunk-driving cases.

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Based on close to 700 surveys given to law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) compiled crucial statistics regarding DUI arrests in Illinois.

drunk-drive-1171456AAIM, a non-profit citizens’ action group, was founded in 1982 with the aid of former Secretary of State and former Governor Jim Edgar, who has headed a number of legislative efforts to reduce drunk driving. The survey has been collecting data since 1990 and is funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

AAIM Executive Director Rita Kreslin has said that stricter enforcement of DUI laws and community awareness efforts in Illinois have significantly reduced the annual number of DUI-related deaths. Fatalities peaked, she says, in the 1980s. Since then, she said, with directed efforts and the help of law enforcement agencies, traffic safety advocates and communities have prevented numerous accidents and saved thousands of lives.

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Hundreds of court cases in Orange County, California are under review amid allegations that someone forged court records to fix DUI and other traffic cases. Brown Envelope Money Bribe 003

The FBI and Orange County prosecutors are investigating close to 600 superior court cases going back as far as 2006. It has been suspected that a court employee recorded fake sentence reductions and dismissals and incorrectly made it appear that at least one defendant had served jail time. All of the cases appear to be tied to a specific clerk who left his job in recent months.

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A bill setting 15 nanograms as the THC threshold for DUI-marijuana is awaiting the governor’s signature. Governor Rauner has 60 days to decide whether to sign it or veto it.

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Under the current law, a driver caught with any amount of marijuana in his system is considered legally impaired. Opponents believe the current law is unfair because THC stays in a person’s system for weeks without causing impairment, a fact even the federal government acknowledges. The proposed bill sets a legal amount of THC in the system to account for the drug’s lingering effects and allows police to conduct roadside saliva tests to determine whether the driver is over the 15-nanogram limit.

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The Illinois Supreme Court recently held that an officer’s objectively reasonable mistake of law may form the basis for a constitutionally valid vehicle stop. trailer-ball-167796-m

Police officers stopped defendant Jose Gaytan, believing his car’s ball-type trailer hitch obstructed his car’s license plate in violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code. During the stop, officers discovered a diaper bag containing cannabis, which the defendant agreed was his. The defendant was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of cannabis and unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

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Plaintiffs Mitchell Katz and Hasan Aksu sued Stephen Tanabe of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office for helping private investigator Christopher Butler set up a “dirty DUI” sting of which they were both victims. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California held that Tanabe did not violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping the plaintiffs because they were in fact driving while intoxicated.

police-cruiser-1066864-mTanabe and Butler met while they were both working as police officers for the Antioch Police Department in the mid-1990s. Tanabe left for the Danville Police Department in Contra Costa County, and Butler left to start his own private investigation firm. In October 2010, Butler and Tanabe agreed to participate in a dirty DUI scheme to catch plaintiffs with DUIs to use against them in Butler’s clients’ cases in family court. According to the court, Butler agreed to pay Tanabe for his help with cash, cocaine, and a Glock firearm.

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In People v. Guthrie, a New York appellate court decided whether there exists constitutionally viable probable cause to effectuate a traffic stop when the stop is justified by an officer’s mistaken belief. The court concluded that when the officer’s mistake is objectively reasonable, the stop does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

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Just after midnight on September 27, 2009, a Wayne County police officer stopped Rebecca Guthrie’s vehicle after observing her fail to stop at a stop sign in Newark Village. While effectuating the stop, the officer noticed the odor of alcohol. The officer performed several field sobriety tests and a breath test, which suggested the defendant was intoxicated. The officer arrested the defendant, charging her with failing to stop at a stop sign in violation of New York law.

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Last month in Williams v. State, the Georgia Supreme Court remanded a defendant’s DUI case after the trial court erroneously failed to address whether the defendant gave actual consent to his blood test.

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After a bench trial, defendant John Cletus Williams was convicted of DUI and failure to maintain lane in violation of Georgia law. Prior to trial, he unsuccessfully moved to suppress the results of his blood test on the grounds that it was obtained without a search warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment. He argued that Georgia’s implied consent statute was unconstitutional as applied to him because it did not amount to voluntary consent for Fourth Amendment purposes.

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