Los Angeles County, California is receiving $1.1 million in federal funding for DUI Checkpoints and other traffic safety measures for the current fiscal year (October 2013-September 2014). The county is receiving an extra $1.419 million from UC Berkeley. The state Office of Traffic Safety funds DUI saturation patrols and overtime pay for personnel who work under the grant.
According to the California Office of Traffic and Safety website, California has the highest number of DUI and sobriety checkpoints annually than any other state in the country. A statewide survey claimed that almost 90% of those surveyed were in support of sobriety checkpoints.
Does law enforcement have the right to use search warrants in order to obtain a blood sample from a suspected impaired driver? The constitutionality of this question is being considered by the Minnesota Supreme Court this week. In Stearns County and in the city of St. Cloud, search warrants are required for drivers who will not voluntarily submit to a chemical test that will measure their blood alcohol content.
The Minnesota Statues under Minnesota DWI laws have an implied consent advisory which state that the refusal to a chemical test is a crime. Opponents say that the law is unconstitutionally coercive because of the criminal penalty that is administered to those who refuse to take a test when suspected of impaired driving.
In the summer of 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments from a similar case coming from Missouri. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that a law enforcement officer must consider more than the dissipation of alcohol and potentially destroyed evidence when deciding to obtain a search warrant.
Minnesota is a state that considers the dissipation of alcohol enough reason to obtain a search warrant and a legal blood draw by law enforcement.
The case of Minnesota v. Brooks was sent back from the U.S. Supreme Court after the case of Missouri v. McNeely was heard.
A Phoenix attorney has started a petition to the State’s Supreme Court asking to make the marijuana DUI laws more specific. According to Michael Alarid, the laws on Arizona’s marijuana DUI laws will implicate a driver who has used marijuana in the past thirty days. He claims that Arizona’s laws have not kept up with the loosening of restrictions of marijuana use. Arizona is one of eighteen states which has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Alarid said that it is possible to be convicted of DUI when a blood test proves that the driver is not impaired. He is fighting to overturn a client’s 2010 DUI conviction based on the grounds that his client was indeed not “high” when he was pulled over for making an unsafe lane change. He argues that the psychoactive element in marijuana may not to present in a person’s system, but the metabolite Carboxy-THC may be, which can remain in a person’s system for up to one month.
The Supreme Court was petitioned last week, and it may be a couple of months before the justices even hear the case.
House Representative Champ Edmund Proposes Orange License Plates for DUI Convictions
Montana State Representative Champ Edmunds sponsored a new DUI bill, HB 276, which seeks to require DUI offenders to use orange license plates on their vehicles. Similiar to Ohio’s yellow license plate practice, an orange Montana license plate would identify a driver as one who has been previously convicted of drunk driving.
KFBB.com said some may view the orange license plates as a scarlet letter. The license plates would be in use by the DUI offender for five years, and the license plate number would begin with “DUI”. The bill would also require everyone with a past drunk driving conviction to change out their license plates for the new orange plates. The supporters of the bill say that offenders should put their criminal history on display in an attempt to shame them.
Opponents of HB 276 say the financial strain of a drunk driving conviction is enough punishment for DUI offenders. In addition to the orange license plate suggestion, HB 276 also adds $100 in additional fines for the special orange DUI plate.