A recent court ruling out of Kansas will likely lead to important changes in the way drunk driving cases are handled in the state. For years, law enforcement agencies have conducted a series of three field sobriety tests during traffic stops involving suspected drunk drivers. The failure of any one of the three tests could serve as justification for administering a breathalyzer test and for potentially making an arrest. Thanks to the Kansas Supreme Court, that will no longer be the case.
Those that are bound and determined to drink and drive can almost always find a way. Though most people think of trips to the local liquor store as a place to pick up supplies, the reality is that even a quick trip to the grocery outlet will suffice, if the intention is to find something with enough alcohol to get wasted.
As proof that there are lots of surprising things that can get a person drunk, a 46-year-old woman from Seneca Falls, New York was arrested last week and has since been charged with drunk driving after consuming, of all things, vanilla extract. According to police reports, the woman was spotted by officers driving erratically in a Walmart parking lot.
An officer then approached the car and began questioning the woman who admitted, almost immediately, that she had been drinking vanilla prior to getting behind the wheel. Officers say the woman explained how she had consumed two regular-sized bottles of pure vanilla extract not long before getting in her car. She soon became disoriented and was unable to navigate her way out of the Walmart parking lot. Read more
A recent news article out of California has gotten some attention and raised the question of whether NyQuil could be responsible for someone being charged with drunk driving. While many people think of the cold medicine as relatively harmless given that it is available over the counter, the reality is that, given the right set of circumstances, it can prove quite powerful and potentially destructive. The case at issue involves a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant whose BAC was more than twice the legal limit when he was involved in a deadly accident on a wet roadway. The crash occurred back in February of 2012 in Dana Point, CA and left three of the sergeant’s fellow servicemen dead.
With recreational marijuana being legalized in Washington and Colorado, medical marijuana being legal in over 20 states and the District of Columbia, and various forms of marijuana legislation pending in areas such as Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia, the risk of accidents resulting from driving under the influence of marijuana are likely to increase. In an effort to make the roads safer given the trend towards the outright adult-use of marijuana, tens of millions of drivers face the possibility of a Breathalyzer test specifically for weed in the coming years. Read more
A recent opinion out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that a series of legal actions can collectively create the necessary suspicion needed to justify a vehicle stop and search. The case, U.S. v. Valdes-Vega, was decided by the full Ninth Circuit earlier last week and authorized a widely criticized traffic stop by Border Patrol agents that led to the discovery of drugs and the arrest of a Mexican man, Rufino Ignacio Valdes-Vega. Read More