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A California Assemblywoman says the state needs a way to collect data on marijuana related fatal crashes. She says that, "One of the problems we faced as we continue to research this issue is that data specifically related to marijuana is not being collected." She apparently now hopes to have California drivers charged with DUI in order to have a new method to collect data.

She has introduced a proposal that essentially eliminates the necessity of the state to show impairment in marijuana cases. Currently, California laws on driving under the influence prohibit drugged driving. However, the Assemblywoman wants to change DUI laws in the state to allow convictions to be based upon any detectable level of marijuana compounds, or cannabinoids, in a driver's system. Marijuana compounds can remain detectable for weeks after a person uses marijuana.

Advocates for the legalization of marijuana are vehemently opposed to the new proposal. The measure would essentially make it a crime for drivers to get behind the wheel for weeks after using pot. The Assemblywoman who has introduced the concept to essentially eliminate impairment in marijuana related DUI cases admits that the language of the bill "is not perfect." She says she does not intend the proposed measure to impact Californians who have a prescription for medical marijuana.

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California law allows prosecutors to elevate charges for driving under the influence based upon prior convictions in the past ten years. That is, prior convictions within that 10-year period can elevate new DUI charges to a higher level offense and increase potential exposure to jail or prison time. A recent case involving a Soquel man looked directly at the issue.

The 21-year-old Soquel man was accused drunk driving after a solo-vehicle car accident in November 2010. The accused suffered injuries in the crash. Police claim he had been speeding before losing control of his car. Authorities say the driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent after the crash. The man was originally charged with misdemeanor DUI after the crash. However, prosecutors sought to elevate the charge to a felony DUI based upon the Soquel man's juvenile record.

Roughly four years ago, police accused the Soquel man of crashing his car on Laurel Glen Road while traveling more than 80 miles per hour. Law enforcement claims the man lost control, and the vehicle rolled over, leaving the young man's two cousins dead.

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Tagged in: DUI Felony DUI

Posted on in DUI

Speculation that Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman James Loney may have been driving under the influence is making its rounds in the media. The California Highway Patrol says the baseball player was involved in a series of accidents on the 101 freeway in Sherman Oaks Nov. 14.

Three drivers say that Loney sideswiped their cars in his Maserati and then came to an abrupt stop in the fast lane. The drivers say "he appeared to be unconscious" in his vehicle. The witnesses claim that Loney then woke up and "attempted to flee the scene," according to the Los Angeles Times. News reports say Loney crossed over all the lanes of traffic before hitting another car and eventually ran into the sound wall along the right shoulder.

A CHP officer claims that Loney displayed "objective symptoms of being intoxicated or being under the influence of something," after being involved in the freeway accident. The CHP officer reportedly arrested Loney on suspicion of DUI. However, law enforcement did not transport the ball player to the police station. Emergency medical personnel reportedly were concerned about the baseball player's behavior after the accident. Loney was released to a hospital to undergo testing to determine whether he was suffering from a severe medical condition.

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Three Gavilan College basketball players were injured in a tragic accident Sunday. Reports indicate that the driver of the car filled with the ball players and two female passengers swerved to avoid a tire in the road just prior to the crash. The car spun out and came to a stop facing the wrong direction on Highway 101. A Nissan then slammed head-on into the student's car.

Reports indicate that the group of students was at a San Francisco nightclub before the 1:30 a.m. traffic accident. Police reportedly arrested the 22-year-old student who was driving the car that initially spun out on suspicion of driving under the influence before he was released to San Francisco General Hospital, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP suggests that the young man could face felony DUI charges related to the traffic accident, apparently based upon the injuries involved. California law allows prosecutors to pursue felony DUI charges, even on a first-time offense, based upon allegations that a drunk driver was involved in an accident causing injuries. The driver and two of his teammates suffered serious injuries when the car they were in was struck by the Nissan. Two women, who were passengers in the Nissan, reportedly sustained minor injuries.

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What began as a traffic stop for an alleged speeding violation turned much more serious recently for a Garberville man. The California Highway Patrol claims the 41-year-old Garberville man was speeding on U.S. Highway 101 near Miranda last week. During the traffic stop, the man apparently was arrested on suspicion of DUI. A news report on the incident in The Times-Standard does not address the alleged evidence that the CHP is relying upon to support their suspicion that the driver was under the influence.

CHP officers say they conducted an inventory search of the 2007 Dodge Ram that they say the Garberville man was driving last Tuesday. The officers apparently decided to have the vehicle towed after the DUI arrest. CHP officers say they conducted an inventory search of the Dodge prior to towing. That search reportedly has led to serious California drug charges against the driver of the vehicle. The CHP says that a 23-year-old passenger in the Dodge was released at the scene of the original traffic stop.

The CHP claims they found roughly 30 pounds of processed marijuana hidden from view somewhere in the vehicle during the inventory search. The CHP estimates the street value of the pot to be more than $90,000.

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A multi-agency police chase took place on Oct. 2 when a man allegedly stole a police cruiser from the annual "Tour de Poway" cycling event and drove it -- possibly while under the influence -- to the Carmel Valley area of northwest San Diego. Law enforcement booked the 30-year-old man into the San Diego County Jail after the 38-minute chase on suspicion of felony theft and felony evading, drunk driving, and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Authorities claim the man stole a police cruiser that was being used by volunteer officers assisting with traffic control during the annual cycling event. Police claim the man took the vehicle while two volunteer officers were standing nearby. A Sheriff's deputy spotted the vehicle moments later and began the police chase. The SDPD and the California Highway Patrol also joined in the ground pursuit.

A Sheriff's helicopter was called in to assist in tracking the vehicle, allowing law enforcement on the ground to back-off in their pursuit. Authorities say that after roughly 38 minutes, the man found himself blocked into a cul de sac in the Carmel Valley area and attempted to drive through a fence in order to reach an adjacent street.

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Tagged in: DUI felonies

A number of Californians appearing for arraignment in DUI cases were recently the focus of a so-called police sting operation in Walnut Creek. News reports indicate that roughly 97 people appeared in Superior Court for arraignment on DUI charges on Sept. 26. Nearly all of the accused reportedly had suspended licenses.

Police say the judge warned each of the accused not to drive with a suspended license. News reports say most of the defendants did not drive, but police claim a number of people leaving the courthouse did drive away from their arraignments. Undercover officers reportedly watched as the defendants left the courthouse in Walnut Creek after the arraignment.

Law enforcement arrested 12 people leaving the courthouse. The undercover officers at the courthouse apparently radioed information to motorcycle officers waiting nearby. The motorcycle officers reportedly conducted traffic stops based upon the undercover officer's observations.

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Tagged in: DUI
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