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Posted on in DUI

Things are likely to get more complicated and more serious for former teen idol David Cassidy of The Partridge Family show. He was recently arrested for the third time for DUI.

The 63-year-old actor registered at .19% on an alcohol test after he was stopped by the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles. That is more than twice the legally permissible blood alcohol concentration limit in California. According to officers, they pulled over the actor after they observed him making a right turn on a red light in clear violation of a sign which clearly indicated that no right turns were allowed at the red light. When the officers approached the door, they noticed the smell of alcohol from the car, and arrested him.

Last year, Cassidy was arrested for DUI in New York, after he registered at .10 on a breathalyzer test. The maximum legally permissible blood alcohol concentration level in New York is also .08.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently unveiled a massive $7.5 million ad campaign, aimed at reducing the incidence of drunk driving over the holiday season. The latest series of ads run by the federal agency feature none other than RoboCop, which the federal agency says it has “enlisted” to crack down on drunk driving this season.

In the ad, the agency teams up with science fiction thriller RoboCop, which is set to be released within the next few weeks to launch a new trailer/public service DUI announcement, that warns drivers that they must drive sober or will be pulled over. As RoboCop appears on the screen, a voice-over states that cops are stepping up in their mission to protect the streets from drunk driving. The same actor who plays the lead RoboCop in the movie, is shown catching a potential intoxicated motorist holding up his car keys, and telling him “I’d put those down if I were you”.

Obviously, this is a gimmicky campaign that is meant to capture eyeballs, and it is likely that it will accomplish its purpose. After all, during the busy holiday season, with a much higher incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol, the federal agency's does find itself strapped for ideas and stressed for resources to help get the anti-drunk driving message out and effectively. This is a unique campaign and is likely to get many people talking, and therefore, raise more awareness about driving under the influence of alcohol.

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Posted on in DUI

A DUI verdict that was delivered in a small juvenile court has reverberated across the country. A judge in a Fort Worth Juvenile Court recently sentenced a 16-year-old boy to 10 years of probation after he confessed to charges arising out of a fatal drunk driving accident that occurred on a rural road. Four people were killed in the accident, and at the time of the crash, the teenager tested positive for a blood alcohol concentration level that was at least three times the legal limit of .08.

His defense lawyers brought to the stand a psychologist who testified in his defense that he suffered from a condition called affluenza. According to the psychologist, this was a syndrome that prevented children like this teenage boy, from learning that bad behavior can have serious consequences. As a result of the syndrome, the boy failed to realize that bad behavior and breaking the rules can have serious consequences, and hence, his poor judgment in driving under the influence of alcohol. The psychologist also brought attention to the fact that the boys parents had failed to punish him for equally poor behavior in the past.

Prosecutors understandably are livid at the judgment, especially since they had sought the maximum sentence in this case, which would have amounted to 20 years in prison. However, the lawyers were very successful in convincing the judge that what the boy needed was not time in prison, but rehabilitation.

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Earlier this year, officials found mistakes in testing at the Orange County Crime Lab that put the results of hundreds of DUI alcohol tests in jeopardy. Now comes news that even more errors have been discovered at the same lab.

The announcement of the earlier errors was made after officials found mistakes in testing that likely produced incorrect lab test results. Those incorrect results are believed to have occurred over at least 5 months. Several persons, who submitted samples for alcohol testing, and whose test results were affected by the error, have already been contacted by the district attorney's office. Prosecutors have also contacted people who were convicted for driving under the influence or pleaded guilty to DUI, as a result of those botched DUI tests. Not surprisingly, these people are extremely upset about the fact that errors in testing, resulted in convictions for them.

The new error is believed to have been discovered during an audit of the lab's operations after the earlier errors were discovered. Under crime lab procedure, a blood test sample is tested twice using two different machines. The average reading is then taken. However, this error is believed to have occurred when the lab calibrated one of the machines, and failed to input the appropriate data in the software. That meant that the results were skewed by as much as .003 percentage points.

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Tagged in: DUI DUI Testing Errors

Public opinion in support of legalization has grown stronger in California, and a recent poll by Gallup estimated that as many as 50% of Americans are in favor of the legalization of pot. Soon, California could legalize marijuana, and companies are already experimenting with so-called pot breathalyzers that would help determine the amount of marijuana in a person’s system.

Obviously, before we have a breathalyzer on the market, it is first necessary to determine the maximum legally permissible marijuana level, similar to the permissible blood alcohol standard that we currently have to determine the incidence of DUI in California. Besides, according to experts, any kind of breathalyzer that is designed to help determine the presence of marijuana in the system is not likely to work like an alcohol breathalyzer, simply because there are several modes of consumption of marijuana. The different modes of consumption could lead to different quantities of marijuana showing up in a person’s system.

As California moves towards legalization of marijuana, it will be looking to other states that have already legalized the drug for lessons in this area. Currently, the only two states that have legalized marijuana are Washington and Colorado. In Washington, for instance, possession of an ounce of marijuana is legal, but it is not legal for a person to drive under the influence of 5 ng of THC per mL of blood. That level is already controversial on Washington, where experts have held that the limit is not scientifically accurate, or reliable. Many experts do seem to agree that it will be very difficult to come up with a standard legal limit that is accurate.

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Tagged in: Breathalyzer DUI
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