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US CA: Column: How Police Officers Determine Impairment In DUI

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URL: http://www.mapinc.or...1/n566/a07.html

Newshawk: Write to Marc: http://www.freemarc.ca/

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Sat, 03 Sep 2011

Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)

Copyright: 2011 Record Searchlight

Contact:male2('letters','redding.com'); letters@redding.com

Website: http://www.redding.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/360

Author: Monty Hight

 

 

 

HOW POLICE OFFICERS DETERMINE IMPAIRMENT IN DUI CASES

 

Q: I have a question about DUIs. I know a person can have a drink or two and, if not impaired, he will not get a DUI for driving. I also know a person can take prescription medications, and even though pharmaceutical companies warn to use caution while driving, a person won't be arrested unless his driving skills are impaired. But what about marijuana? Will someone get a DUI for having used it, even if he is not impaired? How is impairment determined?

 

A: The purpose of an officer having a suspected impaired driver perform a series of field sobriety tests is to help the officer determine a person's physical and mental impairment as it pertains to his ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

 

The objective systems of intoxication, be it from alcohol and or drugs, are displayed in various forms, such as red, bloodshot, glassy, watery eyes, slurred speech, general unawareness of one's location, time, date. Other tips are the ability to remove your license from your purse or wallet, inability to stand still in one location without stepping to regain your balance. These are just a few of the many things an officer becomes aware of just by having a brief discussion with a suspected impaired driver.

 

The actual field sobriety test such as walking a straight line heel to toe, touching the tip of your nose with a finger tip, balancing on one foot, are once again just a way to record a person's ability to perform what under normal conditions are simple tasks.

 

I realize that many folks are very nervous during these tests and some are just plain uncoordinated. What about the person who only has one leg or suffers from some debilitating condition and has a neurological condition? That is the whole purpose of the various questions and tests, so that an officer can establish whether your inability to drive safely is from alcohol, drugs or something other than that.

 

Back to your original question, what about marijuana? If a person has been smoking marijuana, yet he is not impaired based on what the officer has determined through some or all of the aforementioned field sobriety test, then why would he be arrested?

 

If there is marijuana in the vehicle or on his person and he is not lawfully allowed to possess it, he may be cited, but as far as being arrested for driving while under the influence, I don't see it.

 

When an individual has a medical prescription, along with it comes the responsibility of knowing what all of the possible effects that taking this medication can cause.

 

For the most part, when you are taking some type of medication to help relieve pain, chances are that it is going to affect many things in your body. Many of those same things are necessary for you to safely operate a motor vehicle, hence the warning on many medication containers about not mixing with alcohol, not operating heavy equipment ( a car is a heavy piece of equipment ), may cause drowsiness, etc. I haven't been around a lot of medical marijuana containers, but I'm thinking that you're smoking it for a reason and that alone would be reason not to be operating a motor vehicle, but then again that's just me.

 

The bottom line is that if you are self medicating and for some reason you believe that it is necessary for you to operate a motor vehicle, please, please, please, take just an extra moment and realize that although you might feel perfectly all right at that very moment, things change, and it would be far wiser to have a designated driver or make other arrangements so that you do not go out and end your or someone else's ability to enjoy the ride.

MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.

 

 

 

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Edited by greenbuddha
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If you have any medical issues or on any scripts you should fill out a emergency med card

from sec. state. It shows leo your disability,you cannot do the tests. It also shows what meds.

you are taking. There is a box on your drivers lic.I know there is a sticker program for diabetics.

I wonder how we can use this? You can have a advocate assigned to call if you are pulled over due

to your medical conditions.

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