Wednesday, November 27, 2013
As shown in the News Tribune there will added emphasis patrols over Thanksgiving looking for DUI drivers.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Numbers are out from the first half of the year by the Washington State Patrol showing the number of drivers who tested positive for Marijuana. The total number of drivers testing positive for THC was 745. However, as reported by the Seattle Times:
Of the 745 people who tested positive for marijuana in the first half of this year, the State Patrol says a majority tested above the legal limit of 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. The exact number was 420.
Sure, that makes a majority, but doesn't this also mean 325 drivers who were suspected of driving while high or under the influence of marijuana, were not actually above the legal limit. That equates to roughly 44% who were under legal limit, but were still suspected of driving under the influence.
Certainly, under the influence doesn't necessarily entail being over the legal limit and we deserve to have safe streets, but there is something to be said about the so-called science behind this. It is also likely the 44% under the legal limit will still be prosecuted, along with having their car mandatorily impounded.
View the story here: More Washington drivers testing positive for marijuana Posted by John de Leon
Friday, November 8, 2013
Place this story in the bizzare overreaching police news category. A man in New Mexico was forced to undergo numerous rectal exams and an x-ray following a routine traffic stop by police. After failing to come to a complete stop, while exiting a Wal-Mart, police made a routine traffic stop of David Eckert. Later when Mr. Eckert exited his vehicle police noted he clenched his buttocks, giving the impression he may be concealing narcotics in his anal cavity.
After obtaining a search warrant, police then proceeded to make him "undergo two digital anal probes, three enema insertions and ultimately a colonoscopy". Ultimately, no drugs were found. A real fine job on this one guys. Looks as though, Mr. Eckert will be filing a lawsuit on this one.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Sobriety checkpoints are used by law enforcement as a means to catch drunk drivers. Currently, Washington law prohibits the use of sobriety checkpoints along our roads and highways. The sentiment among Washington lawmakers has historically been opposed to sobriety checkpoints as an invasion of citizens' privacy. However, with the induction of a new governor and some high profile DUI related deaths over the past couple years, it appears Washington legislature may look to add sobriety checkpoints.
Here is a link to a story in the Seattle Times, Random sobriety checkpoints? Lawmakers look to act next year.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Some infractions or vehicle violations will have a negative impact on your insurance rates based upon whether they are a "moving" violation or "non-moving" violation. For instance, a parking ticket is a non-moving violation and your insurance company will not increase your rates based solely on a parking ticket. On the other hand, most of us know a speeding ticket is a moving violation and will likely have a negative impact on insurance rates and rating. Conceivably, these two examples of non-moving and moving violations are pretty straightforward and make sense.
However, sometimes the answer is not that clear. What about a seat belt violation? What about having taillight out? Or more importantly, what about the dreaded red light camera a/k/a the automated traffic safety camera ticket? Seemingly, these are, or could be, committed while driving. So, what are they?
To find the answer here is a list of "moving" violations as shown in the Washington Administrative Code: WAC 308-104-160 Moving and nonmoving violations defined.
As for failing to wear a seat belt, it is also spelled out in the statutory language that is not available to insurance companies: See RCW 46.61.688 Safety belts, use required — Penalties — Exemptions. "A finding that a person has committed a traffic infraction under this section shall be contained in the driver's abstract but shall not be available to insurance companies or employers."
RCW 46.63.170(2) also specifies any infraction detected or issued by an automated traffic safety camera is the equivalent of a parking ticket and does not go on the owner's driving record.
(2) Infractions detected through the use of automated traffic safety cameras are not part of the registered owner's driving record under RCW 46.52.101 and 46.52.120. Additionally, infractions generated by the use of automated traffic safety cameras under this section shall be processed in the same manner as parking infractions
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The Washington Supreme Court recently issued an opinion in State v. Byrd, which further strengthened and defined law enforcement parameters to search belongings of arrested persons. In a split decision of 5 to 4, the Court found a purse belonging to the defendant was lawfully searched by a police officer, when she was initially found holding the purse prior to her lawful arrest.
Absent a warrant, police may not search a person or their personal belongings pursuant to the protections of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Washington State Constitution, Article I, section 7. An exception to this rule is a search incident to arrest. Under this exception, police are generally permitted to search a person or their belongings to ensure officer safety and prevent destruction of evidence. The exception is generally curtailed to items directly on the person lawfully arrested or in the very near vicinity.
In Byrd, the defendant's purse was searched following her arrest and drugs were found. The court reasoned, the purse was found on her person, at the time of the lawful arrest, and was considered a search of her person or belongings incident to the arrest.
However, a review of the facts suggests the exception was not logically applied by the Court. The purse was not actually on or with Byrd when she was arrested. Byrd was a passenger in a car and was initially seen holding the purse. The purse was set aside by the officer and Byrd was later arrested. Byrd was handcuffed and placed in the back of the officer's patrol car. Hence, Byrd did not have access to the purse at the time of her arrest. Nor was she able to access the purse once she was placed in handcuffs and in the back of the patrol car. Thus, it would seem there was no need to ensure officer safety or destruction of evidence.
Another interesting note in this decision is that both the trial court and court of appeals agreed with the defendant Byrd and suppressed evidence found in the purse. Unfortunately, for Byrd she could not gather the support of just one more justice to turn the tide on this decision.
Friday, October 11, 2013
To assist in drunk driving or driving under influence (DUI) patrols, the Washington State Patrol is using a mobile DUI processing station a/k/a the Mobile Impaired Driving Unit (MIDU).
The MIDU is a self contained 36-foot motor home that travels across the state in support of all law enforcement efforts during Driving Under the Influence emphasis’s. The MIDU is equipped with three breath test instruments and two holding cells to effectively and efficiently process impaired drivers in a faster manner which subsequently gets the patrol officer back on the road in minutes.
Want to take a video tour of the MIDU, click here.