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It did not take long for a group of former cops, prosecutors and judges to voice their opinion of a proposed measure that seeks to create a zero tolerance type policy for driving under the influence charges involving pot. This blog discussed the new proposal last week, and members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition have written the assemblywoman who introduced the bill, urging that she immediately withdraw the measure.

Ten retired police officers, deputies, prosecutors, judges and other criminal justice professionals signed the letter calling for withdrawal of the DUI drug-related bill, saying that the draconian measure would criminalize driving by any California medical marijuana patient, even if the patient was not impaired at any time near the time of the arrest.

The criminal justice veterans acknowledge that California law already prohibits driving under the influence of drugs, based upon evidence that the pot, prescription medications or other drugs have caused impairment of the driver. The group says that the current flawed California DUI bill prohibiting pot-based driving without the need to show impairment would make driving illegal for up to 30 days after a medical marijuana patient lawfully smokes pot.

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Tagged in: DUI medical marijuana

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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In 2010, California began a limited pilot project in driving under the influence cases to test whether ignition interlocks should be used in sentencing for a DUI conviction. The pilot project is being conducted in four counties, and is expected to run through 2016. Sources say that many states are testing the devices in a variety of ways, and roughly 15 states require ignition interlocks in all DUI cases, even for first-time offenders.

Now lawmakers in the nation's capitol are seeking to force states to mandate the use of ignition interlocks in all DUI cases. Ignition interlocks generally are small devices that attach inside the car. The devices act as a portable Breathalyzer-like machine that drivers must use to start the car. The machines come with steep installation fees and monthly charges. If a driver fails the breath test, the car will not start.

Representatives in the U.S. House introduced a measure that would encourage states to require interlocks in all DUI cases. The measure was unveiled Tuesday as part of a transportation spending bill. The federal government cannot tell states directly what criminal laws to pass in individual states, but Congress can dangle money as a carrot to get their way.

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Tagged in: ignition interlocks

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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Prosecutors are now seeking murder charges against a Northern California woman whose son died last November due to "methamphetamine toxicity," according to a report in the Times-Standard. In July, the woman appeared in court for a preliminary hearing to defend against an involuntary manslaughter charge.

The judge reportedly ruled that the state had sufficient evidence to support the manslaughter charge. However, prosecutors recently refiled the case charging the woman with murder, claiming that the evidence presented during the preliminary hearing showed the mother acted with "implied malice" when she breast-fed her child after allegedly smoking methamphetamine.

The woman is now vigorously defending against the murder charge arguing that there is no evidence that she acted with a conscious disregard of a danger to human life. Implied malice murder charges are complicated animals under California law.

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