suhrelaw | August 10, 2016 | Criminal Law
The National Traffic Safety Board or NTSB is again asking states to modify the drinking and driving laws. This is the same thing Ohio did 15 years ago when they amended the legal limit from .10 to .08. I don’t think that it is a good idea. They claim that it is because they have some research that shows a driver is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal auto accident when their alcohol level is over .08, the current legal limit. The article is entitled, ͞End Substance Impairment in Transportation.͟They are calling for a reduction to the lower limit of .05. That is about two beers. That number has nothing to do with impairment of a person’s ability to drive a car safely. I have seen cases where the person blew a .130 and was found not guilty of being under the influence. There is also another way to get a DUI in Ohio. Drugs or prescription medication can impair you. There are some legal limits for drugs too. However, the article concedes a point when they admit that, ͞…for most drugs, the relationship between the amount consumed and crash risk is not well understood.͟Most drugged driving cases involve a urine test in Ohio. I have never heard an expert testify that the amount of drugs or their metabolites in a person’s urine can enable them to form an opinion about a person’s impairment at the time they were operating their motor vehicle. I have spoke to many doctors about their patient’s medication. I ask whether they can safely drive a car while taking their medication as directed. In almost all cases they tell me that it is safe for them to drive. I am a firm believer that testing is irrelevant to prosecute a DUI case. I get really mad when I see the legislature criminalize conduct without any scientific support. One example is the way they fixed the legal limits for marijuana in the urine. People can smoke weed and test over the limit for it for extended periods of time even though most experts will agree that the psychoactive effects or impairment phase will only last from 1-3 hours after consumption. If the legislature criminalized this conduct that essentially says that if a person smokes weed and drives after the high wears off that they can be convicted of a DUI then why would they hesitate to tell a person that would test positive for drinking two beers at dinner you are committing a crime? In my opinion we should do away with the junk science of drug and alcohol testing for criminalizing driving under the influence cases. I mean its called driving under the influence… not driving after smoking weed last week or having two drinks at dinner. Ohio already has in place a drunk driving law that if a person is suspected of consuming drugs or alcohol and there are signs that the person’s ability to drive a car actually is impaired then they can be convicted of DUI. If a prosecutor can’t convince a jury that the defendant is drunk or high and that their ability to drive is impaired they shouldn’t be able to then get a conviction because the person some arbitrary level of drugs or alcohol in their system.I believe that drug and alcohol testing should be limited to just another piece of evidence to be considered by the jury.