Monday, March 24, 2014

Interesting article from American Bar Assoc Journal on DUI cases and McNeely

The American Bar Association recently posted an article in the April edition discussing the future of DUI laws in light of the McNeely ruling.  It's not too often that the ABA journal takes up issues in DUI defense and/or prosecution, so as a Seattle DUI Lawyer I had to check it out.  Additionally it has been making its way around the Prosecutors office as well, so that was another reason I wanted to read it.  

In case you're not familiar with the McNeely ruling by the US Supreme Court.  The Court held police officers may not take blood samples from drivers who refuse to provide them voluntarily, unless they have a warrant or some kind of "exigent circumstance" exists.  The Court also went on to state that the dissipation of alcohol from the drivers blood is not an exigent circumstance, although it is a factor to consider.  

The ABA journal discussing some interesting insight into the future of DUI cases and how the McNeely ruling may affect DUI laws going forward.  The article started off discussing a DUI case in King County, WA (where I happen to practice).  Basically the Prosecutors in that case decided not to offer the defendants blood test in their case and chief due to the McNeely ruling and reached a plea deal to a misdemeanor down from a felony. 

The article then went on to discuss possible ramifications with States that have implied consent laws and whether or not they would be valid still.  Since some DUI Attorneys believe States won't be able to make waiving that right a condition of driving privileges.  And if that is the case then Prosecutors won't be able to use a drivers refusal as a consciousness of guilty and argue to a jury the reason they refused the test was because they knew they were over the legal limit.  

The article then went on to discuss issues like the time it takes to get a warrant.  Whether some jurisdictions have the resources to actually get the warrants, what happens if they do and done.  Some of the hurdles these jurisdictions will have to overcome, etc.  

Overall I thought it was an interesting article.  Another interesting topic it raised was Marijuana DUI cases and how the warrant requirement would affect those cases.  The Prosecutors interviewed from the article discussed how Marijuana exists an individuals blood stream relatively quickly assuming they are not a regular user.  Additionally the Prosecutors said most people don't immediately use marijuana and then get into their car, but wait several hours.  

I think the Marijuana portion of the article was kind of BS.  But you can read it yourself.  Here is a link to the article and if you get the ABA journal it will be in their April edition.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  Rated as one of the best Seattle DUI Lawyers by and repeatedly recognized as a Rising Star in DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor only 2.5% of all Lawyers in Washington State receive.  You can check out his bio here.   

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