Hawaii Court Upholds Implied Consent Law

The facts of the recent Intermediate Appellate court case of Hawaii v. Won read that Yong Shik Won was allegedly driving his vehice at 55 MPH in a 35 MPH zone when Honolulu police officer pulled him over. It was clear to the officer that Won was tipsy, so he was brought to the police station and handed a form that explained he had given his "implied consent" to provide a breath or blood sample. "You are not entitled to an attorney before you submit to any test or tests to determine your alcohol and/or drug content," the form explained. Refusal of the test is a crime punishable by 30 days in jail, a $1000 fine and license suspension. Won refused to initial the form, objecting to the denial of a lawyer. He blew a 0.17 on the breathalyzer, double the legal limit. Won argued that the arresting officers misinformed him about his rights and that he had a right to a Miranda warning before submitting to the breath test. The appellate panel was not convinced, counting fourteen other states that impose criminal sanction for refusing a breathalyzer test while denying Miranda warnings and access to lawyers.

California Partnership Brings DUI Courts to Schools

On April 7, 2014 the California Friday Night Live Partnership, supported by the Tulare County Office of Education, announced the award of $240,000 to support the implementation of DUI Courts in Schools programs to Friday Night Live county programs across the state. The new grants will be used by FNL programs across California to build upon the DUI Court in Schools assembly program that features an actual DUI trial in a school assembly format. Through this program, young people in FNL programs will implement campaigns that focus on reducing underage drinking to improve roadway safety. Additionally, the grant will support the implementation of the statewide Youth Traffic Safety Summit held in Anaheim. This is a two-day event that draws 500 high school-aged youth from across California to develop youth-led traffic safety campaigns to bring back and implement in their schools.

Constitutionality of Minnesota's Implied Consent Law set to Be Challenged

A suspected drunken driver can still be charged with refusing to take a breath or blood test if arresting officers believe there is enough evidence to get a search warrant to require the test — even if they don’t obtain the warrant. That’s the gist of a ruling published March 17, 2014 from the Minnesota Court of Appeals assessing whether Minnesota's criminal implied consent statute is constitutional. A lower court dismissed the test refusal charge against Bernard, reasoning that it was unconstitutional for Minnesota to criminalize a refusal to submit to a breath test when that same test could not ordinarily take place without a warrant. The lower court relied on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Missouri v. McNeely, saying that the case made clear that the dissipation of alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream is not enough to justify a warrantless search. The matter was then appealed and the decision ultimately overturned. Defense attorney, Steven Grimshaw, was quoted as saying, “We’re obviously going to the Supreme Court with this”.

Denver's "Medina Alert" Protocol for Hit-and-Run Accidents Extended Statewide

The bill creating a statewide Medina Alert for hit-and-run drivers has passed the legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper. The bill, which passed the state Senate Tuesday by a 30-1 vote, is aimed at trying to stem what is being described as an epidemic of hit-and-run injuries and fatalities that have plagued the state in recent years. The legislation instructs the state Department of Public Safety to set up a statewide alert system though television and radio, billboards and text messages whenever police need help locating a car and driver involved in a hit-and-run accident that led to a fatality or serious bodily injury. The Medina Alert will be comparable to the Amber Alert for missing children.

NY Officials Convene for Distracted Driving Awareness Month

More than 300 NY officials attended a two-day conference on traffic safety initiatives with a focus on the dangers of reckless and distracted driving as a part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. State and local law enforcement are participating in stepped up traffic safety enforcement efforts including “Operation Hang Up” announced by Governor Cuomo today. “Operation Hang Up” will consist of high visibility, stepped up cell phone and texting enforcement statewide April 10 – April 15. In addition to the enforcement efforts, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has the distracted driving message “Smart phone. Dumb choice. Don’t Text and Drive” displayed on more than 250 billboards throughout the state.

Drugged Driving Essentials Course

The National Judicial College is offering a “Drugged Driving Essentials” course on May 14-16, 2014 in Reno, Nevada. Given that drugged driving has no bright-line test for impairment, cases require a judge to utilize a variety of tools to effectively adjudicate.  After this course, participants will be able to describe the major classes of drugs and how they affect driving; discuss the role of a drug recognition expert (DRE) and qualify him or her as an expert; identify effective and efficient sentencing options; and prepare legally sufficient orders for continued court supervision. Scholarships are available to traffic judges.

Upcoming Events

  • April 27-29, 2014: Lifesavers Conference, Nashville, TN
  • May 14-16, 2014: Drugged Driving Essentials For The Judiciary, The National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada.  Scholarships are available for interested applicants. Please email Irene Hart at ihart@judges.org for more information.
  • October 6-9, 2014:   Traffic Issues in the 21st Century, The National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada. Scholarships are available for interested applicants. Please email Irene Hart at ihart@judges.org for more information. 
  • ICM course calendar

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