As more states take steps towards legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use, authorities are beginning to seek a way to detect drug abuse as well as alcohol abuse in inhibited drivers. If an officer makes a stop and suspects impairment due to marijuana use, they will conduct standardized field tests that may qualify a subject for mandatory blood testing. Although states that have fully legalized marijuana have established a legal blood-level limit for driving under the influence, the limit has proven controversial. Each suspect’s individual ability to tolerate and metabolize marijuana makes establishing a definitive and universal limit difficult. In Colorado and Washington, if the blood test indicates that the suspect has more than 5 nanograms-per-milliliter of active THC in their system, charges will follow. Law enforcement departments are seeking a breath test, similar to the Breathalyzer used to detect alcohol levels, to easily detect marijuana impairment on the road.
Researchers have found that the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, THC, can be detected through breath tests. In fact, a Swedish device has been released that uses exhaled breath to detect up to 12 different controlled substances, including marijuana, heroine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and morphine. The problem with this device is that the cannabinoids that it detects can be present in a person’s system up to 72 hours after the intake of marijuana. The designer of the device admitted his surprise at the high detectability of most drugs even 24 hours after their intake. He recommended using the results of blood testing to confirm the results of his breath-testing device. This device may be able to detect drug use; however, it is not a reliable way to prove that a person was high at the time they were operating a motor vehicle.
A patent pending device is being developed that claims to be able to determine THC levels, rather than the less reliable cannabinoid presence. This device will give a positive or negative reading, which could be used to enforce regulations in states with zero tolerance laws regarding driving under the influence of drugs.
There has not been enough conclusive research to yet determine the correlation of breath concentrations of marijuana, or other controlled substances, with urine and blood concentrations. This is why, at this point there is no breath-testing device being used in the field that can come close to negating the demand for blood test results. It is unlikely that any breath-testing device, for drugs or alcohol, will ever be able to provide conclusive and reliable results on their own. These types of devices will most likely never be used as more than a means to indicate a need for blood testing.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated or any other criminal charges, call on the experienced attorneys at Sylvan & Duke, P.C. today.
Although most DUIs and DWIs are a result of the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, the use of over the counter medications or prescriptions may also lead to impaired driving and arrest. Most DUI and DWI definitions and regulations differ from state to state; however, every state legislature considers impairment due to legal drug use grounds for DWI charges.
There are two things that must be true for DUI or DWI charges to be valid: the suspect must have driven a vehicle and he or she must have been intoxicated or under the influence of a substance that significantly affected their ability to operate the vehicle safely at the time. Prescriptions and over the counter drugs can slow your reaction time and impair your ability to think clearly, in the same way that alcohol and illegal drugs do. This means that whether or not the substance in your system is legal, it can still hinder your mental and physical abilities enough to warrant DUI or DWI charges.
Although all 50 states punish driving under the influence of legal drugs the same way they punish driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, there is no standard for the amount of a drug that can be in someone’s system to legally operate a vehicle. Alcohol use has an established standard of 0.08% for the maximum blood alcohol level to legally drive; however, there is no comparable standard for drug use yet. It is important to note that for any case of suspected DWI or DUI, simply displaying signs of impairment are enough to legally justify an arrest and resulting charges. This means that whether or not a breath test was conducted and whether or not that test was passed, officers reserve the right to arrest you if they believe there is sufficient other evidence that your driving was impaired. If law officials observe reckless behavior, such as ignoring traffic signs, weaving, or exhibiting slow reaction times, in combination with evidence that the suspect had a legal drug in their system, charges are likely to follow.
Although drunken driving incidents are steadily decreasing, studies show that up to 16 percent of those who operate vehicles at night have potentially impairing substances in their system. This is why, across the nation, state legislatures are cracking down on any form of impaired driving. Some states, including California, have even established laws that prohibit using the fact that a suspect was “entitled” to use a drug as a defense in court. With the increasing prominence of legal drug related DUI and DWI arrests, other states are likely to follow suit.
If you are taking any prescription medications, it is crucial to read all warning labels and consult a doctor before driving a vehicle. If you have incurred DUI or DWI charges as a result of legal drug use, contact the defense attorneys at Sylvan & Duke, P.C. today. We have the knowledge and experience to ensure that your rights were protected at the time of your arrest and continue to be protected in legal proceedings. DUI or DWI charges can have a serious effect on you and your family’s future. Contact Sylvan & Duke, P.C. today and let us work to earn you the results you and your family need.
An ignition interlock device is a mechanism just larger than the size of an average cell phone that is installed on your vehicle’s dashboard and wired directly to your vehicle’s ignition. The device works similarly to a Breathalyzer and is intended to prevent drunk driving. It requires a breath sample before allowing the engine to be started and further breath samples periodically while the vehicle is being driven. If the mechanism detects alcohol in your breath, it will prevent the engine from being started. Although the threshold BAC for the device to allow the ignition to be started varies from state to state, the average is between 0.02% and 0.04%.
In the state of Texas, offenders who have 2 or more DWI convictions within a 5 year period and offenders who registered a BAC of 0.15 or higher are required to install an ignition interlock device on all the vehicles they own for a full year following a license suspension period. For subsequent offenders within 10 years, and often for first time offenders, when applying for an occupational license, the court will require that the offender only operate vehicles that have been equipped with an ignition interlock device. Studies have shown that ignition interlock device enforcement in combination with service and monitoring programs have led to a 64% reduction in repeat DWI offenses.
The ignition interlock pilot program was launched in 1986 and today, 22 states require or incentivize ignition interlock device installation for every DWI offender. Last December, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all first time DUI and DWI offenders. The likelihood of first time convicted DWI offenders committing repeat offenses is overwhelming without serious intervention. In fact, studies show that first time convicted DWI offenders have driven under the influence or while intoxicated an average of 87 times prior to their first arrest. Not only do alcohol ignition interlocks have the potential to save thousands of lives per year, but they also grant DWI offenders the ability to continue to operate their motor vehicles without endangering the public.
Studies have found that American public support for ignition interlock devices is soaring at 88%. This could be due to the evident failure of current sanctions alone in preventing repeat DWI offenses. Typically, first time DWI offenders are given license suspensions, fines, and mandatory substance abuse programs; however, research has proven that between 50 and 75 percent of people who are under license suspension periods continue to drive despite potential legal consequences. The probability that these offenders are continuing to drive under alcohol-induced impairment is highly alarming. This is why national organizations such as the NTSB and MADD are aggressively pushing for the requirement of ignition interlock devices for all first time offenders until they can sufficiently demonstrate a pattern of exclusively sober driving.
If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI, call Sylvan & Duke, P.C. today.
Studies show that in 2010, more than 10,000 deaths occurred in the United States alone as a result of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This means that roughly 33 percent of traffic related fatalities over the past fifteen years have been entirely preventable. This is why the National Transportation Safety Board made the suggestion that states across the United States reduce the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle from a blood alcohol level of 0.08% to 0.05%.
Over 100 countries across the world have adopted this new standard and some have even adopted lower limits. Sweden, Russia, Poland, and Norway have set the legal limit as low as 0.02%. A legal limit of 0.05% restricts legal operation of a vehicle to the consumption of one standard drink for a woman weighing 120 pounds or less and two standard drinks for a man weighing 160 pounds. In most states, one standard drink is defined as 1 ounce of 80-proof alcohol, 4 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. Although some organizations claim that lowering the legal limit would target responsible social drinkers rather than those who have been drinking recklessly, studies show that signs of impairment begin to occur before your BAC reaches 0.08%. In fact, driving-related performance impairment has appeared in individuals with blood alcohol levels as low as 0.01%. A BAC of 0.05% has been linked to an increase in the probability of fatal crashes by as much as 4 to 10 times.
The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that lowering the legal limit to 0.05% lowers the risk of a crash by as much as 50%. Australia has reported a 5 to 18 percent drop in traffic fatalities since adopting the lower legal limit. Nevertheless, a legal limit of 0.08% was difficult to achieve in many states, and the proposition for a lower limit is meeting a great deal of opposition. The American Beverage Institute stated “lowering the legal limit will not necessarily reduce drunk driving deaths” but that it will “criminalize perfectly responsible behavior.” However, the National Transportation Safety Board asserts that the safest thing for an individual, who has had even one drink, is to not drive at all. They estimate that between 500 and 800 lives could be saved annually by adopting this new legal limit.
The National Transportation Safety Board asserts that “Alcohol impaired crashes are not accidents. They are crimes.” This initiative is aimed at eliminating drunk driving on American roads. Although the NTSB also recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also provide financial incentives to states that adopt the lower limit, the NTSB is only certified to recommend changes to state or federal legislatures and agencies. Ultimately, the decisions will be left to individual state governments. If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI, contact Sylvan & Duke, P.C. today.
Client was stopped by the Wylie Police Department for weaving on the roadway and speeding. Client failed all field sobriety tests and a blood test showed narcotics to be in the client’s system. Client was arrested for the third time for DWI. The case was no billed by the Grand Jury.
Client was stopped by the Plano Police Department for speeding. Client smelled of alcohol and refused to cooperate with the police. The case went to trial and the client was found not guilty.
Client was stopped by the Frisco Police Department for swerving on the highway. Client failed all field sobriety tests and was arrested. Client was found not guilty at trial.
Client was stopped by the Dallas Police Department for speeding. Client was arrested and found to have a breath alcohol content of 0.15. After a hearing in front of the judge, all charges were dismissed.
Client struck a parked car in Addison. Client was subsequently arrested and taken to jail where the client had a Breath Alcohol Content of 0.22. After a hearing in front of the judge, the police were found to have violated the client’s rights. All charges were dismissed.
Client was stopped by the Frisco Police Department for speeding. Client failed all field sobriety tests and was arrested. The case went to trial and the client was found not guilty.
Client was stopped by the Dallas Police Department for speeding. Client was subsequently arrested and taken to jail where the client had a Breath Alcohol Content of 0.14. The case went to trial and the client was found not guilty.
Client struck a curb and blew a tire. The Addison Police Department stopped him as he was pulling off the road to address the flat tire. Client was investigated for driving while intoxicated at this time and subsequently arrested for DWI. The client failed all field sobriety tests and the breath test was twice the legal limit (0.16). After a hearing in front of the judge, we were able to establish that the police violated the client’s 4th Constitutional Right. All the evidence was thrown out of court and the charges dismissed.
Client was arrested and charged by the Frisco Police Department with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Our office was able to successfully negotiate with the District Attorney’s Office. All charges were dismissed.
The Plano Police Department stopped the client who was leaving the Shops at Legacy on a late Friday night. The client refused to perform any field sobriety tests, refused to submit to a breath test, and refused to be cooperative and answer the police officer’s questions. Client was arrested for DWI. The case went to trial and the jury disagreed with the police officer’s version of events. The client was found not guilty.
Client was arrested leaving a club in downtown Dallas. Client failed all field sobriety tests, was belligerent with the police, and refused to submit to a breath test. The case went to trial and the jury agreed with us. The client was found not guilty.
Client had been drinking with friends at various bars and clubs in the Uptown area of Dallas. On the way home client was stopped by the Dallas Police Department. Client failed all field sobriety tests and was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). The case went to trial and the jury found the client not guilty.
Client is a businessman in Dallas and had been at the ballpark in Arlington. On the way home the client was arrested by the Dallas Police Department for DWI. The case went to trial and the jury found the client not guilty.
Client is a well-respected medical doctor in Louisiana who was visiting Dallas on business. Client was involved in a car crash and the police responded. Client failed all the field sobriety tests and was arrested. Despite overwhelming evidence, the case went to trial and the client was found not guilty.
Client was arrested in Dallas after leaving a nightclub. Client failed all the field sobriety tests and refused to provide a breath sample. The case went to trial and the jury was not convinced the client was intoxicated. After less than twenty minutes of deliberation the jury found the client not guilty.
Client was arrested by the Frisco Police Department. His blood alcohol level was was twice the legal limit, 0.16. After a hearing in front of the judge, all the evidence was found to be illegally obtained as the police officer had violated the client’s constitutional rights. All charges were dismissed.
Client had a car accident and was rushed to the hospital. While there cocaine was found in the client’s blood. A DWI was filed and the case was set for a trial. At trial the client was found not guilty.
Client is a Medical Doctor in the Dallas area. He was found at 7am, alone in his vehicle, behind the wheel with the car running and his foot on the brake. He was passed out at a stop sign. When police woke the client they were overcome with the smell of alcohol. Client failed the sobriety tests and he was arrested. A blood test was performed and it was found to be over the legal limit of 0.08. We took the case to trial and our client was found not guilty.
Client was found at 3am at a Plano intersection asleep at the wheel. The police officer watched as the light turned green and then red through five cycles without the client moving. The Plano police officer then approached the window and woke the client. The client admitted to drinking and not knowing where he was. He was arrested for DWI. The case was set for trial and the jury found the client not guilty.
I was wrongfully arrested by the Plano Police Department for DWI. I contacted Brock Duke and thank god I did. Brock set the case for trial because the District Attorney’s Office and the Judge refused to dismiss the case. At trial, I was found not guilty. Brock Duke was amazing and I cannot thank him enough for his help, his kindness, and his ability inside a courtroom. Thank you so much Brock.
The client is a respected Medical Doctor (Radiologist) in Houston. While in town visiting friends, she was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated. She failed every single field sobriety test and refused to provide a breath sample. Despite the odds, I disagreed with the arresting officer and so did the jury. She was found not guilty.
My client had been out drinking with friends. On the way home he ran a red light and collided with another vehicle. Knowing he would be arrested, my client fled the scene. He was later picked up by the Plano Police Department and charged with DWI and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. Through negotiations with the Plano Police Department I was able to convince them to not file any charges against my client. Both criminal offenses were dropped.
“My client had been drinking at the Shops at Legacy when he became confused and drove the wrong way down a one-way street. He was stopped by the Plano Police Department where he failed all sobriety tests and was arrested. The case went to trial and I was able to present evidence and question the arresting officers. The jury became locked and could not reach a decision on whether the client was guilty or innocent. Feeling that they could not win the case, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges.”
“My client was arrested in McKinney, Texas for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). He failed all the field sobriety tests and illegal drugs were found in his pocket. After negotiations with the District Attorney’s Office all charges were dropped. The DWI and the drug charges were dismissed.”
A registered nurse was involved in a severe car accident. Two witnesses saw her get out of the driver’s side of the car. She failed all field sobriety tests and was taken to the hospital for a blood test. Her blood alcohol level was 0.20. That is 2.5 times over the legal limit. An expert for the state testified she was almost at the level of alcohol poisoning. The jury found her not guilty in less than 30 minutes.
“I was on probation in Dallas County for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). The District Attorney’s Office wanted to revoke my probation and send me to jail for up to 6 months. Not happy with my original attorney, I hired Mr. Duke. He convinced them to dismiss the case. I wish Mr. Duke had been my lawyer from the start. I probably would not have been convicted of DWI at all.”
Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.