DC DUI Lawyer

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Driving While High -- The Effect of Marijuana vs. Alcohol When Getting Behind the Wheel

recent New York Times article took an in-depth look at the effects of marijuana on an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.  Specifically, the article cited a number of studies, including this one from 2012, that analyze the effect of marijuana versus alcohol on drivers.

The article examined the effects of marijuana on a driver’s ability to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), which are designed to detect impairment caused by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.  Validation studies have revealed that the SFSTs can accurately predict intoxication from alcohol anywhere between 70-90% of the time, depending on testing conditions.  However, according to studies, the SFSTs only correctly identify individuals under the influence of marijuana 30% of the time.

Read more . . .

Friday, August 23, 2013

DUI Sobriety Testing Explained

I have previously written about what to expect if a police office suspects that you may be driving under the influence.  A major part of any DUI investigation is the administration of what are known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. These tests, commonly referred to by law enforcement as SFSTs are a series of tests designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in order to aid law enforcement in their assessment of whether an individual is operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.  Validation studies indicate that if administered properly by a trained law enforcement officer, the tests can accurately predict around 80-90% of the time whether someone's blood alcohol content is above the legal limit.  As the numbers indicate, these tests are by no means infallible, and when administered incorrectly (which is often the case) or by inexperienced officers, the accuracy of the tests is much lower.  Even when administered perfectly by a seasoned veteran, the results of this test do not support a definitive determination that an individual is guilty of DUI.  In fact, the training manual provided during the certification course for SFSTs clearly states that these tests are designed to aid an officer in determining whether there exists a basis to make an arrest, not whether someone is ultimately guilty.  

Read more . . .

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What Happens After I am Pulled Over for DUI in DC?

Most DUI traffic stops start off like every other traffic stop with some kind of traffic infraction.  Generally speaking, police officers do not pull over cars specifically because they believe the driver of the car is under the influence.  Obviously there are situations where an individual's driving is so erratic that the police's first thought is DUI, but that is usually not the case.  Because most DUI stops start with a traffic infraction, one of the best ways to avoid being arrested for DUI is to ensure that you are following ALL traffic regulations.  Obeying all traffic laws will go a long way when trying to avoid a DUI arrest.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Proposal Could Toughen DC DUI Laws

The National Highway Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that all 50 states and the District of Columbia adopt a stricter threshold for DUI laws.  The board recommended lowering the legal limit from .08 to .05 in order to allegedly reduce the number of DUI related fatalities.  This recommendation is a part of a larger initiative that is aimed at eventually eliminating drunk driving altogether.  The Safety Board estimates that between 500-800 DUI related fatalities would be eliminated if the lower threshold were applied nationwide.

Read more . . .

Friday, April 5, 2013

DC Court of Appeals Ruling Could Affect DC DUIs

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Robert C. Young for a violation of Mr. Young's 6th Amendment rights.  The full opinion can be seen here.  

The sixth amendment issue involved the testimony of an FBI examiner who testified that Mr. Young's DNA matched DNA evidence found at the scene of a rape in NE Washington, DC.  Mr. Young argued to the Court that it was reversible error to admit the FBI examiner's testimony without calling the lab technicians "who derived and identified the two DNA profiles and performed the calculations on which the testifying examiner based her conclusions."  To permit the FBI examiner's testimony was a clear violation of the Confrontation Clause.

Read more . . .

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