Beware of Cannabis Blows 2017

respirator     Washington State University (WSU) researchers say they are about a year away from having a portable breath test that police can use to detect if someone has recently consumed weed and is driving under the influence.
Roadside breath tests already exist to detect whether drivers have consumed alcohol. But currently, officers have no similar device to test drivers for marijuana use. WSU researchers have completed their first round of testing of the marijuana breathalyzer and are making improvements.      The second round of testing is about to begin and the plan is to make the device available for police to use in the field sometime next year.
While police would still need to get a warrant and draw a person’s blood to see if they meet the legal definition of impairment under the state’s marijuana laws, a breath test could be a more reliable way to detect marijuana impairment than field sobriety tests that officers use now.
Initiative 502, which voters approved in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana use, said drivers are considered impaired if they test positive for at least 5 nanograms of delta-9 THC per milliliter of blood. The marijuana breath test under development at WSU is designed to test for delta-9 THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes someone to get high- not the metabolite that can stay in someone’s system for days or weeks. Right now, the test determines only whether delta-9 TCH is present in someone’s system, and not what level is in their blood.
Out of 30 times the test was recently used on someone before and after they smoked marijuana, it accurately detected TCH in the person’s system about half of the time. The test turned up only one false positive during the trials. Researchers are continuing to refine the breath test and will only improve on those results. The research team had already made changes that will help make the test more accurate going forward.

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Drunk Driving Starts Young

Study of 12-Year-Olds’ Views Hint at DUI Risk.

Drunk DrivingA study of kids in the Los Angeles area suggests a specific way to reduce the risk that they will drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol as teenagers. This is accomplished by challenging their beliefs about marijuana as early as sixth grade. The 12-year-olds who believed that marijuana could help them relax or be otherwise beneficial were significantly more likely to drive under the influence when they were 16 than 12-year-olds who had negative views of marijuana. They were also significantly more likely to ride with someone else who was buzzed, drunk or high behind the wheel, according to the study. This study was published October 5, 2015 in the journal Pediatrics.

The study indicates that youth view marijuana use as less dangerous than drinking. Driving under the influence is common among American teenagers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10 percent of high school students drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs in any given month, and more than 20 percent have been passengers of someone driving under the influence. Researchers from Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, California and Arlington, Virginia looked for risk factors in middle school that could predict these dangerous behaviors in high school. Using statistical models to control for the student’s age, gender, race and ethnicity, school and whether their mothers had graduated from high school, the researchers identified several factors that seemed to predict unsafe driving, include drunk driving, at age 16.

Kids who had warmer, fuzzier ideas about marijuana use when they were 12 were 63 percent more likely than their peers to admit either driving under the influence themselves or to ride with someone who was driving under the influence, according to the study. In addition, 12-year-olds who felt most confident that they could resist marijuana use wound up being 89 percent more likely to mix alcohol and drugs with cars, motorcycles or other vehicles.

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DUI and Retrograde Extrapolation

Delayed Blood-Alcohol Estimates Draw Criticism in Cases.

The way prosecutors saw it, the Defendant was driving while intoxicated when he raced own a Long Island freeway at 100mph this summer and slammed into a car carrying a family home from church. The fiery wreck killed a father and his two children. The defendant’s blood-alcohol reading, taken Retrograde Extrapolationabout four hours later, was 0.06 which is below the legal limit of 0.08. The Defendant was still charged with Driving under the influence and vehicular homicide because a forensic technique estimated that his blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was actually 0.12.

This technique is known as retrograde extrapolation and has been used to win convictions in DUI cases nationwide for decades, but has increasingly come under scrutiny by drunken-driving experts as an unreliable measure of a person’s intoxication. Some defense attorneys have even labeled it junk science. A former prosecutor who is representing the Defendant stated that, “Retrograde extrapolation is about as scientifically reliable as astrology. It relies on the assumption that a person’s blood-alcohol content peaked prior to the arrest without any basis to prove that.”

While there are no national statistics to document the use of retrograde extrapolation, prosecutors in many states have offered evidence of estimated intoxication levels at trial, whereas, courts in other states have severely restricted its use requiring prosecutors to use only blood-alcohol readings taken at the time of arrest. Prosecutors who have used retrograde extrapolation swear by it as a proven technique that doesn’t reward DUI suspects for fleeing the scene and avoiding immediate blood-alcohol testing. Experts say the intoxicating effects of alcohol are not experienced until it is absorbed into the blood stream. After a person stops drinking, the blood-alcohol level peaks when the most alcohol has been absorbed and the least amount of alcohol has been eliminated. Defense attorneys argue that alcohol absorption and elimination rates vary widely depending on a person’s gender, drinking habits, the type of beverage, what a person ate and how much, and whether a person had experienced trauma, which sometimes slows the rate.

Don’t trust the junk science. If the police “expert” says a person was drunk, you need to hire an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to attack drunk driving, and DWI, charges. The experienced DUI attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates will meet with you for free and explain your options. Call today, and ask about our convenient payment plans and military discount – 253-683-4180.

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