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A New Jersey appellate court recently reversed a woman’s 2013 conviction for vehicular homicide. The court concluded that the Somerset County Superior Court erred in not allowing into evidence a note from the defendant’s husband stating that he, not she, was the driver in the 2010 crash that killed a 22-year-old man. The court remanded the case for a new trial.

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A 43-year-old woman was sentenced to seven years in prison in May 2014. The collision occurred on Route 78 in Warren Township. Her 2011 BMW struck the man’s 1998 Subaru as the two traveled eastbound. The impact of the crash sent the man’s car spinning across a mound of grass and into a tree, killing him. A chemical test indicated that the woman’s BAC was .087 — just above the legal limit.

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Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed charges against Breathometer, Inc.–a company that markets two smartphone accessories designed to measure consumers’ BAC–and its CEO in federal court, claiming they lacked scientific evidence to support their claims. The complaint, filed on January 23, 2017 in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, seeks a permanent injunction, rescission of contract, monetary damages, and other equitable relief in connection with the marketing and sale of the applications Breathometer Original ($49) and Breathometer Breeze ($99). The company and its CEO recently settled with the FTC.

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Both are devices operated in conjunction with the Breathometer smartphone app. While the Original attaches to a smartphone via the audio jack, the Breeze is operated by Bluetooth. The devices work by blowing into the device. Within seconds, a BAC level is displayed on the phone. The company even had a deal with Uber in which Uber would pick up riders whose BACs were too high to drive.

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The Idaho Supreme Court recently vacated a defendant’s DUI conviction because it was enhanced based on a prior conviction obtained in violation of the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

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The State charged Farfan-Galvan with felony DUI on November 3, 2014. The DUI was charged as a felony because Farfan-Galvan had two prior DUI convictions, one from 2008 in Jerome County and one from 2010 in Twin Falls County. Farfan-Galvan moved to dismiss or remand the charge, based upon his claim that one of the 2010 convictions upon which the State relied to enhance the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony was obtained in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights. The district court denied the motion.

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After a jury trial, defendant Jeannine Jenkins was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Following Jenkins’ direct appeal, the Illinois Court of Appeals for the First District remanded the case to the trial court for a hearing on Jenkins’ pro se motion for a reduction of her sentence. On remand, the trial court denied the defendant’s motion. Jenkins appealed. The appeals court affirmed the judgment against the defendant in an unpublished opinion.

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At trial, the evidence established that in April 2012, the defendant picked up her granddaughter from daycare. The daycare workers reported that the defendant was possibly intoxicated. The Palatine police were called and located the defendant within minutes. The defendant appeared to be under the influence. The defendant’s granddaughter was not strapped into a car seat and was “sitting loose” in the car. The defendant was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty of aggravated DUI.

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Defendant Mary Osborne was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated in a manner that endangers a person and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08. Before trial, Osborne filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the warrantless traffic stop preceding her arrest was constitutionally invalid. The trial court denied her motion. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the police exceeded their Fourth Amendment authority in stopping Osborne’s car out of an alleged concern for her medical state.

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On interlocutory appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion and reversed the trial court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress, holding that the government failed to show that the stop was justified by an exception to the warrant requirement.

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The Illinois Court of Appeals for the Third District recently held that suspicion aroused by bloodshot eyes, unless confirmed by another factor (such as poor driving, stumbling, or an inability to communicate), does not rise to the level of probable cause that a DUI was committed. red eye

At the hearing on the defendant’s petition to rescind the summary suspension of his driver’s license, Officer Lopez testified that on the morning of the December 2014 incident, he observed defendant Anthony Day driving safely. Lopez pulled Day over because excessive noises were emanating from his exhaust system.

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In West Virginia, people often drive their ATVs on their own property after drinking a few beers. The West Virginia Supreme Court, however, struck down this common cultural practice in a decision last month.

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In a 4-1 opinion, the state high court ruled that the DMV can lawfully revoke driving privileges for drivers caught driving under the influence on private, as well as public, roads. The case came up to the state high court from the Monroe County Circuit Court.

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A recent study suggests that blood tests are not an accurate method to measure whether an individual is driving while impaired by cannabis. The current legal blood levels can lead to impaired drivers going without punishment, while others are wrongfully convicted. red eye

The study was released last month by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The AAA found that drivers can have a low amount of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in their blood and be impaired, while others can have higher levels and be fit to drive.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court recently held the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to secure a warrant before requiring its citizens to submit to a blood or urine test, meaning Minnesotans can now lawfully refuse such a search when law enforcement doesn’t have a warrant. The Minnesota ACLU heralded the decision.

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Late one evening in April 2012, an Owatonna police officer watched patrons leaving a bar at closing time. The officer saw a vehicle, which police later determined appellant Thompson was driving, jump the curb and then stop quickly before reversing and leaving the parking lot. As the vehicle turned onto the street outside the bar, it cut the corner short and crossed the center line. The officer initiated a traffic stop.

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At the close of Tennessee’s 59th special legislative session last month, the state legislature approved changes to a DUI law that did not comply with federal law. The federal government said the statute, unaltered, could cost Tennessee $60 million in federal funding.

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The Tennessee law was out of compliance with federal law because the legislature had eliminated a provision that rendered the allowable BAC as .08. The bill’s purpose was to add stiffer penalties for underage drinkers. The federal government found that the law did not comply with the federal zero tolerance law, which requires states to set the allowable BAC at .02 for drivers under 21. The federal government reacted stringently, giving Tennessee until October 1 to align the state’s BAC limit for 18-year-olds to 21-year-olds with the federal law.

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