Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado and they’re spending one million dollars of taxpayer money on the ad campaign “Drive High, Get a DUI” (catchy), perhaps officials in Colorado could take a few minutes to rethink how they are training officers to spot a stoned driver.
According to Headline News, Colorado law enforcement officers give drivers suspected of driving stoned roadside sobriety tests. Now, which of those 3 words tips you off that perhaps “roadside sobriety tests” were never designed to identify stoned drivers? These tests were meticulously researched and designed by scientists at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) back in 1977 and 1981 to identify drivers who had drunk too much alcohol. As it is, when administered to a driver who has been drinking alcohol, these tests are only reliable in 65-80% of cases (even if the officers give them correctly). These tests have not been designed for anything other than alcohol. What is Colorado doing using them for pot?
When can the cops place a GPS tracking device on your car? Depends who you ask. The Duluth PD thinks they can do it to fleeing suspects or when they’ve spotted someone who has just committed a crime. They call it “probable cause.”
How can they place a GPS on a car that is fleeing the scene?
Since July 1, 2013, anyone arrested for a drug violation automatically qualifies for an expungement after successfully completing probation under the provisions of Conditional Discharge. This is different than First Offender Act, which is available to any crime. CD is only applicable when you enter a guilty plea to drugs, misdemeanor or felony.
However, I get calls each month from people who thought that a background check would not turn up an older case resolved using a CD plea. In this case, you need to take the extra step to fill out an expungement application. Expungement is not automatic, you have to request it. I've seen very rare instances where a prosecutor has objected to expungement.
Have you ever seen the inside of a car after a police search? It’s not pretty. Everything is open and thrown around. The police are not allowed to tear upholstery or carpeting, but sometimes there’s a little damage. Drug dogs may scratch the outside paint, or the dashboard inside.
Georgia law allows an officer to search your car if he or she smells marijuana. I don't know how an officer is qualified or trained to smell unburnt marijuana, but this is what they write in their reports. If an officer asks your permission to search, you don’t have to grant it or consent (or offer to just hand over the weed). If you hand over the weed, you might have no defense to possession of the drugs, even if someone else in the car says it’s his.
If your driver’s license was suspended, revoked or cancelled, you can now work on getting it back from your own computer.
If you know your license number, just go to dds.ga.gov and create an online account. From there you can access your personal suspension information and obtain all in the information you need in order to get your license back-- even your citation number(s) and court information. You can print or email the requirements for reference (or for your lawyer), and even pay fees online. The most exciting part of this process: “automatic reinstatement of the driver’s privileges occurs when all requirements are met.”
The DDS processes 200,000 license reinstatements every year. Allowing the driver to do this online is going to really free up those lines!
No quota for speeding tickets insists Bartow Sheriff Clark Millsap.
But I’d suggest you slow down anyway. Bartow County just received a Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grant for a Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic unit (HEAT). The three officers of the unit drive brand new Dodge Chargers and focus on reducing impaired driving crashes, excessive speeding, increasing seat belt usage and educating the public on traffic safety. Officers receive special training in DUI Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, drugs, and aggressive driving law. If you are stopped by an officer in Bartow County driving a smoky blue Charger, expect a HEAT officer to come to your window.
By Jessica Towne
I warn college kids every year about what can happen if they are caught using drugs or drinking on campus. It’s not good. Depending on the offense, you can be kicked out of school, lose scholarships, or called up to face the student government. Many colleges don’t wait for a conviction-- they can throw someone out of school just based on an arrest.
Add one more thing that can happen: have your name and picture plastered across the AJC sport section (if you happen to play on a major college sports team).
Ah, pity the poor kids. They had to trick-or-treat on a school night, but for so many young adults, tonight is a second Halloween of sorts. You can wear your costume out tonight too! But if you do, please have a plan for how you are getting home.
Gallup has been asking “Should marijuana be legal in the US?” since 1969. Nearly 45 years later, the answer is finally a resounding “YES!”
38% of people admit to having tried marijuana at least once, a factor Gallup claims is pushing the legalization trend.
Gallup also claims that since several states have legalized marijuana, the drug is now more tolerated. However, just because marijuana has been made legal in Colorado and Washington, don’t think an excuse of “But I smoked it in Washington!” excuses you from DUI marijuana. DUI lawyers across the nation see the decriminalization of marijuana as a two edged sword. Yes, you can smoke it, but there will be punishments if you smoke and then drive. DUI attorneys expect stricter laws governing the use of marijuana and operating motor vehicles to be prevalent across all states. For instance, Colorado recently passed a “stoned driving bill” which says anyone with five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood can be considered an impaired driver, and guilty of a DUI.