New DWI Defense? Auto-Brewery Syndrome

The Buffalo News reports that the Erie County District Attorney’s office will appeal a judge’s recent ruling and seek to have the charges against the driver reinstated. The case involving a 35-year-old school teacher is believed to be among the first of its kind in New York state. On the night in question, the driver’s BAC was measured at .33 percent by the Breathalyzer and .30 percent in a later blood test administered. "Essentially, her digestive system has so much yeast that it functions like a “brewery,” defense attorney Joseph J. Marusak said. “It’s also known as gut fermentation syndrome,” Marusak said. “She can register a blood alcohol content that would have you or I falling down drunk, but she can function,” Marusak said. Hamburg Police Chief Gregory G. Wickett said he is confident his officers made the right move in charging the woman with DWI. “She was highly intoxicated, as shown by the Breathalyzer. Our officers did the right thing in getting her off the road.”

Law Review: Does Fla. Need a Statutory DUI Pretrial Diversion Program?

This 2015 law review article by Judge Karle Grude takes an in-depth look at DUI/DWI diversion programs in the his home state of Florida. He gives a comprehensive assessment of diversion programs nationwide and looks at how they function and effect prosecution of first-time offenders. Lastly, he examines whether changes in the way DUI cases are presently diverted in Florida could "improve delivery of justice and improve the safety and welfare of Floridians".

Issue Brief: Women and Drunk Driving

In the most recent Issue Brief we look at Women and Drunk Driving. The article looks at the recent research that seems to show that, statistically, men are drinking a little less while women are drinking a little more. Readers might find it surprising to see the statistics both domestically and internationally that seem to support the theory.  Further, this Issue Brief identifies the different considerations courts need to take with treatment programs in order to factor in the unique needs of women in order to be effective.

ABA: Traffic Court Seminar. New Orleans, La. March 16-18

The upcoming Traffic Court seminar hosted by the American Bar Association at the Hotel Monteleone is designed for judges, judicial officers, prosecutors,  and defense attorneys appearing in these courts.  Attendance will provide you with an opportunity to meet and network with others from throughout the country to discuss the latest developments in traffic court law, technology, and scientific evidence.

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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