Do you need a driver license? https://t.co/IYmYhLvjI7
— Jim Forslund (@coloradodui) July 8, 2017
An 18-year-old Newfoundland man is facing an assault charge for allegedly hurling a slice of pizza at a bystander.Police say a property owner in St. John’s was near Thorburn Road at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when somebody in a vehicle passed by.Police say someone in the car threw a slice of pizza at the bystander.It’s believed the slice missed its mark.Police reviewed the property owner’s video surveillance and have charged a teen with assault.
Depending on where you live, it’s known by many different abbreviations — DUI, DWI, OWI — but they are all short for driving (or operating a motor vehicle) while impaired or intoxicated.
Whatever the language, when most people hear these references, they probably first think of someone who has had too much alcohol to drink and then got behind the wheel.
For decades, police and highway safety officials and many other groups have gotten the word out about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Indeed, most people likely know that the legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving in Michigan (and most of the United States) is 0.08 percent. Likewise, they also probably have a pretty good idea about how much alcohol is in various drinks and the notion that the body generally can metabolize about one standard drink per hour.
Despite this, driving under the influence of alcohol remains a very common offense in the court system.
However, there is another section of the “driving under the influence” law that gets far less attention — driving under the influence of drugs. More specifically, in addition to alcohol, the law forbids driving under the influence of “controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance.”
Often when someone does think of “drugged driving,” he or she likely conjures up an image of a someone strung out on methamphetamine or heroin getting behind the wheel.
While that scenario does happen, local law enforcement officials say in recent years the more common scenario is people getting behind the wheel who are impaired by one or more prescription drugs.
In some cases, it could be someone with a long-standing prescription drug abuse problem, in other instances, it could be someone who was just recently prescribed some painkillers for a recent injury or surgery.
Understanding the law
While most people understand the 0.08 percent alcohol limit, there are other ways you can run afoul of the driving under the influence law:
First, even if your blood alcohol content is less than 0.08, you still could be charged with driving while intoxicated or visibly impaired. The police and, ultimately the prosecutor, would just need to show that you had consumed alcohol and that because of it, your “ability to operate a motor vehicle in a normal manner was substantially lessened,” or your “ability to operate the motor vehicle is visibly impaired.”
These more subjective tests are also what applies to driving under the influence of a controlled substance such as a prescription drug.
Although there is no “bright line” test for prescription controlled substances, there is for illegal drugs, or what’s known as “schedule 1” controlled substances.
For these drugs it is illegal to drive with any amount in your system. The list of schedule 1 controlled substances is very long, but generally, they are the illegal drugs that most people think of, such as heroin or methamphetamine.
For prescription drugs, such as some well known painkillers that contain oxycodone, and many more it’s not automatically illegal to drive after you’ve taken them, but also, just because you have a prescription for a drug, doesn’t mean you are OK to drive after taking it either, Emmet County Prosecuting Attorney James Linderman said.
And it’s not just painkillers that can be an issue.
Other drugs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists among drugs that could in cause problems with driving to include:
— Prescription drugs for anxiety
— Some antidepressants
— Products containing codeine
— Some cold remedies and allergy products
— Sleeping pills
— Some diet pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine)
Linderman noted that combining these substances with each other, or with other substances such as alcohol or inhalants, can make it even more difficult to estimate the effects on a person’s ability to drive.
“It’s very subjective to begin with, and it varies widely from person to person,” Linderman said. “With an aging population and poly-substance abusers, it can become very difficult.”
Petoskey Department of Public Safety Director Matthew Breed said his officers are seeing more and more instances of people driving under the influence of prescription drugs.
In fact, he said just within the last week one of his public safety officers arrested a man on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription drugs.
Breed said the incident involved dispatchers at 911 receiving multiple reports of a person driving very badly, who then went off the road twice and was involved in at least one crash. Breed said the man reported that he had taken two prescriptions, and that he was clearly under the influence of them.
He said one tool that has become available for officers is a new type of training that differs slightly from the standard field sobriety tests. The test is known as advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement.
“We’ve seen a significant uptick in the amount of people for are operating under the influence of prescription drugs,” Breed said. “It’s a more significant problem than people realize.”
Breed also said it can be very difficult for people — especially those who are new to taking a particular prescription — to know if its safe for them to drive.
So, what is the best advice for someone taking something that might affect their ability to drive?
First, Breed said, pay attention to warning labels that come on your prescriptions.
“If that label says it may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery, be careful,” he said. “Different people process those chemicals differently.”
Linderman also noted, “You better take the medications as prescribed, too.”
Breed added, “If you feel any type of effect after taking a medication, good judgement would dictate that you don’t drive.”
He noted that research shows that without any effects of drugs or alcohol, it typically takes a person about 3/4 of a second to perceive something while driving and another 3/4 of a second to take action.
He noted that in 1.5 seconds a vehicle traveling at 55 mph travels about 120 feet, and anything that adds to that response time could have tragic consequences.
A duck walks into a bar and asks, “Got any grapes?”The bartender, confused, tells the duck no. The duck thanks him and leaves.The next day, the duck returns and asks, “Got any grapes?”Again, the bartender tells him, “No — the bar does not serve grapes, has never served grapes and, furthermore, will never serve grapes.” The duck thanks him and leaves.The next day, the duck returns, but before he can say anything, the bartender yells, “Listen, duck! This is a bar! We do not serve grapes! If you ask for grapes again, I will nail your stupid duck beak to the bar!”The duck is silent for a moment, and then asks, “Got any nails?”Confused, the bartender says no.”Good!” says the duck. “Got any grapes?”
Hendrix Caje Johnston was driving through Ranchos de Taos on Monday (July 3) when members of New Mexico State Police pulled him over for allegedly speeding and crossing traffic lines. He was initially only charged with DWI, but after a search warrant approved for the driver’s vehicle led to the alleged discovery of narcotics, multiple felony charges were added to Johnston’s rap sheet.
The suspect, whom police have identified as a Taos County resident, was stopped by a state police officer around 4 p.m. while traveling along State Road 68. According to a state police press release, Johnston, 25, “did not pull over immediately” and traveled a short distance before stopping at the side of the road. The release, however, did not specify whether Johnston was confused as to whether his was the vehicle the officer intended to pull over or whether he was in an unsafe area to comply when given the command.
When the officer approached the vehicle, he stated that he could smell a “strong odor” of marijuana that seemed to be coming from within the suspect’s vehicle. Johnston’s eyes were allegedly “red” and he appeared “sluggish,” according to the arresting officer. The suspect admitted to having consumed marijuana, but said that he did so only the day before. He also allegedly admitted to having marijuana inside the vehicle.
He then agreed to take a sobriety test, leading the officer to determine that “Mr. Johnston appeared to be impaired and unable to safely operate the vehicle.” He was immedietely arrested for DWI.
Upon further inspection, the officer said they could see drug paraphernalia in the console of the suspect’s vehicle, which was then towed to the New Mexico State Police office in Taos. A request for a search warrant was approved, leading officers to allegedly discover “containers and bags consistent with the trafficking of narcotics, as well as scales, devices commonly used for the production of narcotics, and other drug paraphernalia.” Police also claimed to have located heroin and methamphetamine, leading to additional drug possession charges – both felonies.
Public Information Officer Elizabeth Armijo stated that officers had performed initial field tests on the suspected narcotics with drug testing kits, “thus giving [probable] cause for those charges,” she said. The drugs, however, have not been submitted to the State Crime Lab for “further, specific testing,” she said.
While the initial tests may have provided probable cause to levy the charges, a failure to send drugs to the lab in a “timely manner” may lead to charges being dismissed. Such was the result in one of Johnston prior cases from 2016. Just this year, the fourth-degree felony drug possession charge stemming from the case was dropped “on the grounds that the drugs in this matter were not sent to the State Crime Lab in a timely fashion,” according to court records. The decision on the matter came less than one month ago: June 14. Prior to the charge, Johnston’s record included only relatively minor traffic violations, according to New Mexico court records.
A Jacksonville High School teacher has been charged with a DWI after she allegedly blew 0.19 over the holiday weekend.Laura Ashley Beard, 26, of Davis Street in Jacksonville was arrested Sunday by the Highway Patrol and charged with driving while impaired and civil revocation of her driver’s license.When the Highway Patrol pulled Beard over on Ramsey Road near Waterstone Lane in Jacksonville at 2:10 a.m., there was a strong odor of alcohol, according to the findings report in the court documents.Beard allegedly admitted to the trooper that she’d drank two beers before driving; she’s accused of having a blood alcohol level of 0.19, according to the breathalyzer test results listed in her court file.Her license is now attached to the inside of her court folder.Beard was set with a $500 bond and court documents stated she could be released to a sober and responsible adult.When asked if she’d like to make a comment, Beard said she wanted to call her boss first. Her lawyer, Bob Warlick, then reached out to The Daily News and said he was advising her not to comment at this time.Beard is listed as a 10th grade English teacher with Jacksonville High School on the school’s website.MORE VIDEO:Earlier today took a visit to Grainger Stadium in Kinston, home of the Down East Wood Ducks.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:01/Duration Time 0:13Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%FullscreenAutoplay ToggleShe’s an AVID elective teacher who graduated from the high school herself in 2009 and earned her teaching degree at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, according to the website.“She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and is thankful to be working back in Onslow County, especially at the greatest high school in Jacksonville!” according to her teacher’s page on the school’s website.Suzie Ulbrich, the public information officer for Onslow County Schools, said Beard was still an employee of the schools as of late Thursday.“Repercussions vary depending upon circumstances — it can range from a letter of reprimand to termination,” Ulbrich replied when asked about the school’s policies for DWI charges.The policies also require employees to divulge information about an arrest to their supervisor within five days of the incident, Ulbrich said, adding that whether the school knew about the arrest prior to The Daily News asking about it was not a matter of public record.Beard’s next court date is scheduled for Sept. 5, according to N.C. Courts.
In many states, cannabis DUI laws are treated like alcohol DUI laws.But a cannabis DUI and an alcohol DUI should be treated differently for many reasons. One example of their difference is how THC and alcohol levels are metabolized. THC stays in the body for weeks after consuming while alcohol is purged in several hours. Yet the highs last about the same amount of time.Getting pulled over weeks after smoking results in drivers getting charged with a DUI. That’s because it’s difficult for cops to determine how recently a driver smoked a bowl. Traditional sobriety tests don’t correspond to cannabis effects either. For example, a stoned driver can stand on one leg while a drunk driver cannot.Scott Leist was a Seattle police officer, and a defense attorney for the Washington Traffic Defense. Leist agrees that Washington’s Cannabis DUI laws are a problem. In Washington, there is a .08 limit for alcohol and THC, but THC is nothing like alcohol.Leist said, “some studies suggest that driving with moderate levels of THC in one’s system can actually improve driving performance.” There is simply no good science about what determines impaired driving with weed and what doesn’t.THC doesn’t metabolize quickly and completely like alcohol.Leist found that alcohol can metabolize quickly, meaning that it is easy to test when the last time alcohol was consumed. Marijuana is different because a person can consume weed and be impaired for a few hours. But THC stays in the system long after the consumption and high phase.How quickly and completely THC metabolizes depends on a few factors. Namely; how it was consumed and when, how often the person consumes, and the potency of the substance. Small amounts of THC can be found days or even weeks after consumption. At the other end, a heavy consumer can test over the 5ng/mL limit long after they are sober.Alcohol has more exact prediction than weed. What is the marijuana equivalent of two beers? How much THC at what age and weight will get a person to 5ng/mL levels? How fast does THC wear off for each person? Nobody knows the answers to these questions because cannabis research is hampered by federal scheduling. Alcohol has no scheduling restrictions to prevent accurate studies so much more research is available.There are no accurate field sobriety tests for THC intoxication.Police Officers don’t have a lot of experience or training for marijuana DUI detection’s. Smell alone is not a good clue for recent intoxication. Physical signs like red eyes is not enough to prove that a person is THC impaired.There are a variety of reasons a driver might experience the ‘signs of THC intoxication’. A person crying or struggling with allergies causes red eyes. Fatigue can also reproduce the short-term memory issues associated with weed.The best method cops have available is a warrant granted blood test. But blood tests don’t reveal when the last time the driver consumed weed. Unlike alcohol, there is no way to check if a person has had too much THC. There is no breathalyzer that would reveal THC impairment. A person can’t give themselves a field sobriety test like the alcohol tests.Abby McLean drove sober and received a DUI.Northglen, Colorado resident Abby McLean went through a DUI roadside checkpoint on her way home. She is 30, had nothing to drink or smoke that night and had no worries. When the cop walked up to her car he saw that she had blood shot eyes and smelled weed in the car.The cop pulled out his handcuffs to arrests McLean when she exclaimed that she was on her way home to her children. McLean was forced to take a blood test which tested positive for THC intoxication. Her blood test was 5 times over the legal limit. She didn’t go to jail that night but she did go to court. It was a hung jury, but McLean settled for a lesser punishment.Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at New York University. Kleiman said, “you can be positive for THC a week after the last time you used cannabis. Not subjectively impaired at all, not impaired at all by any objective measure, but still positive.”It didn’t matter that McLean hadn’t smoked at all that night. If she smoked a week ago, she still got a cannabis DUI. Denver, Colorado’s District Attorney Mitch Morrissey says that Colorado won’t completely throw out the THC blood test. He then explained how it gives courts an extra piece of evidence during trials.How to travel with cannabis in the car.Scientists at UCSD are researching a new generation of cannabis field sobriety tests. One of these tests is called critical tracking. A person moves their finger around a square on a tablet to measure time distortion, because time can slow down when a person is high.
A guy walks into a bar and announces that he can close his eyes and name what kind of alcohol he is drinking and how old it is, just by taste and smell.A drunken guy at the bar says, “I bet I can give you a drink that you can’t name.””You’re on,” replies the guy, “as long as you pay.”So the drunken guy puts a drink on the table. The guy sips it, gags and spits it out. “This tastes like piss!””Yeah,” says the drunken guy, “now guess how old I am.”