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NHTSA Finds No Significant Increased Crash Risk with Cannabis Use

NHTSA, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is a pro-law enforcement national agency that develops the standards for DWI investigations in North Carolina and nationwide. As a result, NHTSA is known for extreme bias and sloppy pseudoscience in its reporting of the effects of alcohol. One classic example is the “standard battery of field sobriety tests,” which cops...

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Red/glassy eyes? You’re probably not impaired.

The Setup I can’t count the number of police reports I’ve read that start with a routine traffic stop for speeding, at some classic Raleigh Police speed trap like Glenwood Avenue by the Carolina Country Club or south of downtown on S. Dawson Street, and then it all escalates into a DWI investigation because the cop-on-duty “detects an odor...

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Driving with a cellphone is more dangerous than DUI with a .08 BAC*

* According to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, in a hyperbolic defense of his state’s imposition of a new law that gives the police yet another reason to intrude on your ability to travel freely without interference by law enforcement. They’re calling it “E-DUI” — driving under the influence of electronic devices.  Meanwhile in every city in America: It will...

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Happy Fourth of July?

As we celebrate this symbolic day in the land of the free, pay no attention to fact that the Raleigh Police set up a DWI checkpoint on Saturday night in which every single driver was stopped and interrogated by the long arm of your local government without suspicion of any wrongdoing. Twelve people were arrested for DWIs, despite, presumably,...

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Colorado Judge: Breath Test Results Tainted by Widespread Fraud

A Colorado judge issued an order barring the use of breath test evidence in cases originating from July 2015 to the present, following a hearing requested by defense attorney Danny Luneau on behalf of a client.  Luneau established at the hearing that the calibration records of breath test instruments in the county had been falsified by state employees seeking...

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State v. Scaturro: Leaving the scene of an accident intentionally is not necessarily a crime

The NC Court of Appeals issued an opinion in State v. Scaturro (PDF) on Tuesday that clarified an important point relating to the obligations of an individual involved in a car crash pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-166.  Scaturro was a case in which the defendant struck a boy on a bicycle with his vehicle, after the boy made a change of...

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Sitting in judgment of DUIs one day, on trial the next

A judge in Fairfax County, VA was arrested on a DUI charge and subsequently removed from presiding over DUI cases in the county. The scale of the hypocrisy that infects our entire judicial system is difficult to fathom until you see it up close, and realize that prosecutors routinely commit crimes for which they prosecute others (examples from 2017 alone:...

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How reliable is the Intox EC/IR II Breathalyzer? Part II.

In Part I of this series, I looked at the inherent inaccuracies of the Intox EC/IR II Breathalyzer instrument even as it attempts to measure the alcohol concentration of a known control sample produced in a lab (TL;DR: it tolerates an inaccuracy range of at least .02, which is deeply problematic when that number is relied upon in threshold cases...

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How reliable is the Intox EC/IR II Breathalyzer? Part I.

Over 50,000 people in North Carolina were charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI) or a related offense in the fiscal year 2015/2016.  Many of them were charged (and most later convicted) based largely on a reading from the Intox EC/IR II breathalyzer instrument manufactured by Intoximeters, Inc.  In many of those cases, the BAC reading registered at or near...

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Retrograde Extrapolation Inadmissible in DWI Case Without “Fit” to Facts

The North Carolina Court of Appeals today in State v. Babich (PDF) ruled that the admission of expert testimony on “retrograde extrapolation” in a DWI case was error, because the State offered no evidence that the defendant in that case was in a “post-absorptive” state that might render a retrograde extrapolation calculation relevant.  In Babich, the expert merely assumed that...

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