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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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Illinois law is clear that the state need not prove impairment to convict a driver under the influence of drugs of aggravated DUI . The area of disagreement is whether the driver can offer evidence to counter the presumption of impairment. Last month, the issue was argued before the Illinois Supreme Court. People v. Ida Way is one of 21 cases (nine criminal) that the Illinois Supreme Court heard last month.

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Way was charged with aggravated DUI in January 2012. The crash injured Way’s son, her passenger, and a woman in another car, who happened to be pregnant. Her 14-year-old son told police that his mother “fell asleep” shortly before the crash.

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On July 29, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2228, which decriminalizes minor marijuana possession. The new law–filed by Senator Heather Steans and sponsored by Representative Kelly Cassidy–renders possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil, rather than criminal, offense. The civil citation is punishable by a fine of between $100 and $200.

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More than 100 local Illinois governments–including Chicago–have decriminalized possession of small quantities of marijuana. SB 2228, however, will extend decriminalization across the entire state. SB 2228 marks Illinois’ progress toward criminal justice reform. Last year, the Republican governor vetoed a bill that sought to decriminalize slightly larger amounts.

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The Illinois Court of Appeals recently affirmed a defendant’s conviction for aggravated DUI despite his argument that the trial court erroneously allowed the officer to testify as to the admonitions given before he refused a chemical test. However, the appeals court vacated the lower court’s order requiring the defendant to pay a $450 public defender fee.

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Following a jury trial, defendant Weston Romanowski was convicted of aggravated DUI. On appeal, Romanowski contended that his conviction should be reversed because the circuit court erroneously permitted the arresting officer to testify that he was told of the potential civil penalties if he refused to submit to a blood-alcohol test. Romanowski further contended that the circuit court’s order requiring him to pay a public defender fee in the amount of $450 should be vacated, since no hearing was held concerning his ability to pay such a fee.

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The Illinois Appeals Court for the Fourth District recently upheld a defendant’s DUI conviction, reasoning that the trial court did not err by refusing to appoint new counsel following her claims of ineffective assistance. car keys

In May 2012, Thelma G. Lawson was charged with two counts of DUI. At trial, officer Sean Bowsher testified that at approximately 11 PM on May 8, 2012, he responded to a call of disorderly conduct in a residential neighborhood. There, he encountered Lawson, who was “loud and disorderly” and appeared intoxicated, holding a 40-ounce beer in her hand. Officer Bowsher left the scene after Lawson agreed to stay in her house for the rest of the night.

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Based on a new guidance released by the U.S. State Department (State Dept.), people who have nonimmigrant visas in the U.S. may face grave results if they are arrested for DUI or a DUI-related offense. In March of this year, the State Dept. publicized all material that is not classified within Volume 9 of its Foreign Affairs Manual, the State Dept. policy manual. Volume 9 authorizes the State Dept. to revoke a visa when it is notified of an arrest or conviction of a DUI or DUI-related offense.

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The new policy is based on the State Dept.’s escalating concerns over drunk driving and DUI offenses. It reflects a significantly more stringent approach to addressing these issues than past policies. Under the new policy, the State Dept. can revoke an otherwise legitimate nonimmigrant visa instantly upon being notified of the DUI arrest. This can occur even when the person is physically within the U.S. The rationale is that the person is ineligible for the visa for mental or physical health-related reasons.

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The Washington Supreme Court recently held in Washington v. Mecham that the Fourth Amendment does not authorize a defendant to refuse a roadside sobriety test. In a divided opinion, the state high court held that a police officer may stop any motorist he believes to be inebriated and ask him to perform roadside tests such as standing on one leg, the “stop and turn,” and the horizontal gaze nystagmus, which tests eye movement. If the driver refuses, the district attorney is permitted to tell the jury that his refusal is proof of his guilt. red eye

Defendant Mark Mecham would not take the allegedly “voluntary” field sobriety tests after being pulled over in Bellevue, Washington in May 2011. The officer did not think Mecham was driving while intoxicated. Instead, he stopped Mecham because he was driving with an outstanding warrant, which the officer learned after looking up his license plate number. After stopping the defendant, however, Officer Campbell observed signs of Mecham’s inebriation and found a beer can in the vehicle. Officer Campbell then took Mecham to the police station, and Mecham refused a breath test.

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