Supreme Court of Miss. Upholds Drugged Driving Charge

In the October 2015 case of Parish v. State, the Supreme Court of Mississippi upheld a lower court judge's decision which held that the prosecution had provided sufficient evidence to show the defendant was under the influence of marijuana.  The decision to charge Parish was based on roadside observations, a blood draw showing active metabolites for marijuana and discussions had between the defendant and the police.

Issue Brief: Sobriety Checkpoints

In a recent Issue Brief, created by the NCSC Traffic Resource Center staff, we looked at Sobriety Checkpoints. Specifically, the Brief looks at which states permit sobriety checkpoints by Statute, and which permit them by case law. Alternatively, the Brief also identifies which states prohibit sobriety checkpoints by both statute and case law. The brief also takes an in-depth look into the cases which have led to the permission and prohibition of sobriety checkpoints, and the consitutiional considerations which courts assess in making their decisions.

Law Review: Medical or Recreational Marijuana and Drugged Driving

This 2015 article published by the American Criminal Law Review titled, Medical or Recreational Marijuana and Drugged Driving, looks at the challenges associated with new legislation legalizing the use of marijuana both for recreational and medical uses. The author, Paul Larkin, explores the complexities the new laws present as relates to highway safety and incorporates much of the existing literature on the issue into his research.

Issue Brief: DUI Pretrial Diversion Programs

In an Issue Brief from early in 2015, we look at DUI Pretrial Diversion Programs. The article looks at how 4 states (Pennsylvania, Kansas, Florida, Oregon) are using pretrial diversion programs for DUIs in a side-by-side comparison. Specifically, the Brief shows the statutory language enabling the programs, criteria for entry, as well as conditions to which the participant is subject to.

Upcoming Courses at the National Judicial College

The following courses are offered by the NJC in Reno, Nevada in the coming months. A limited number of scholarships are available through generous funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Please contact Rebecca Bluemer at for more information.

Traffic Issues in the 21st Century. May 16-19. Reno, NV: This course is designed to provide judges with an overview of the impaired driving issue, and will provide insight into several pertinent areas, such as impairment detection methods, the pharmacological effects of drugs and alcohol on the human body, and effective sentencing methods. The arena of traffic-related legal matters is constantly evolving, and as such, it is necessary for traffic adjudicators to stay abreast of the newly emerging issues. Our Traffic Issues in the 21st Century course will delve into the most up-to-date, pertinent traffic topics that are appearing in our courts today. This years’ topics will include: the fundamentals of alcohol and drug testing; understanding addiction issues; marijuana legalization and related traffic issues; the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) information and demonstration; distracted driving issues; elder driver issues; self-represented litigants; and Commercial Driver’s License issues.

NCSC Traffic Resource Center

The Traffic Resource Center is a cooperative effort between the Department of Transportation and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to establish a resource for judges, court administrators, court clerks, and other court staff on issues related to traffic adjudication. It is an integrated clearinghouse of information as well as a training and technical assistance resource to improve court decision-making and processing of traffic cases involving impaired driving, drugged driving, distracted driving, and commercial driving. The purpose of the Traffic Resource Center website is to provide a useful, ready reference for judges new to the bench or recently assigned to traffic cases, who may need quick access to accurate and timely information until they can receive more formal, structured education.

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