DUI Enforcers!


  • Thursday, December 06, 2012 8:14 AM | Anonymous

    The DEA shows no sign of ignoring state marijuana sales.  Little more than a month ago, a federal jury awarded $1.7 million to the government.   Importantly, the federal judge agreed that federal forfeiture law does not allow reduction for start up costs or operational costs.  The growers were forced to pay the amount they took in sales--meaning they lost their entire investment and all profits.  

    The full article on the case is here: Missoulan Article  

    The ruling points out the precarious position of manufacturers and the State itself.  Nothing forbids the DEA from simply waiting for a year or more, then seizing the entire income from both.  Just as in Montana, the growers and distributers would be bankrupt.  The bigger targer is, of course, the State.  If the State actually collects millions in taxes while violating federal law--that is a pretty easy target.   Note that seizure would take all taxes collected from marijuana--leaving the state with big bills for its new marijuana regulatory agency. 

  • Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:28 AM | Anonymous
    National Forensic Laboratory Information System: 2011 Annual Report

    U.S. Dept of Justice; Drug Enforcement Administration

    Office of Diversion Control; November 2012


    Download the report here


    An estimated 1,660,216 drug reports were submitted to State and local forensic laboratories in the United States from January 1 through December 31, 2011, and analyzed by March 31, 2012.

    This is a decrease of 3% from the 1,713,360 drug reports identified during2010.


    Cannabis/THC was the most frequently identified drug (536,630 reports) in 2011, followed bycocaine (333,645 reports), methamphetamine (160,960 reports), and heroin (119,765 reports).


  • Tuesday, November 20, 2012 1:07 PM | Anonymous

    In California, more drivers are high than drunk


    By Lauren Steussy, NBCLosAngeles.com


    About one in seven drivers on California roadways may be under the influence of drugs, according to a new survey by the state’s Office of Traffic Safety.  The survey released Monday tested more than a thousand drivers on weekend nights in nine California cities.


    Roughly 14 percent of those drivers tested positive for drugs that might impair driving. Half as many of the drivers surveyed by the OTS tested positive for alcohol. Compared to national statistics, the number of drug-impaired drivers has increased throughout the years. It reinforces officials’ belief that driving under the influence of drugs – in addition to alcohol – is a serious and growing problem, said Christopher J. Murphy with the OTS.


    The results highlight the need for more officers who are trained to detect drug-impaired driving. Without blood tests, it’s harder for officers to prove in court that a driver was under the influence of drugs.“But these folks that have been through the drug enforcement expert training -- if one of them can evaluate a driver accused of being under the influence of drugs, that testimony will normally hold up in court,” said OTS spokesperson Chris Cochran.  The office also plans to increase the numbers of District Attorneys dedicated to drug-impaired driving cases, and purchase better lab equipment.

    Of the drugs found in those tested, marijuana was the most prevalent. More than 7 percent of drivers tested positive for the substance.


    The survey also found a significant number of drivers under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. About 23 percent of the drivers who were found to have alcohol in their systems also tested positive for some kind of drug, be it prescription or otherwise.

  • Monday, November 19, 2012 10:23 AM | Anonymous

    At least one DUI defense attorney is already making news by claiming he intends to challenge the 5 nanogram THC level passed in Initiative 502.  The claim is that the level violates Equal Protection provisions in the constitution.


    The challenge isn’t new.  This was already tried in Nevada in 2002 when they passed their DUI marijuana law.  The Nevada state supreme court rejected the argument.  Interestingly, Nevada’s law is much more stringent that Washington’s new law.  Nevada banned 2 ng THC in blood and 5 ng Carboxy-THC in blood.  Washington’s per se level is 5 ng THC and there is no limit on carboxy-THC.  (The new Washington law actually says carboxy-THC is inadmissible.)


    The full text of the Nevada case is here: Williams v Nevada (2002)


    The defense argument is also very similar to what our own State Supreme court rejected in State v. Franco in 1982.  While the drug at issue in Franco was alcohol, the argument was the same: “How can someone know what an illegal amount of drinking is when it varies from person to person?”  The court concluded that drivers had sufficient information that impairment from alcohol varies but drivers have a duty to figure it out and not be impaired or exceed the legal limit when driving.


    The combination of the two cases is compelling:  There is no constitutional right to smoke marijuana, so prohibiting any level of THC is constitutionally defensible.  The kenetics of how quickly or slowly marijuana is eliminated from a person’s system are the responsibility of the driver. 


    Moral of the story:  Keep of the Grass LONG before driving!


  • Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:02 AM | Anonymous

    I-502, decriminalizing state marijuana possession under 1 oz., was approved by Washington voters.  The text of the new law is here. Some are wondering what this means in the short term for law enforcement.  In other words, what happens December 6th?  The Seattle Police Department promptly published a Police Blotter outlining some thoughts on the issue:SPD Police Blotter

    The Blotter isn't legal advice and it doesn't say who provided the legal analysis, but it gives us some idea for how the new law is going to be interpreted.   Of course, there will be disagreement with some of the conclusions. 

    For example: Is it legal under state law to possess less than an ounce of marijuana after December 6?  The Blotter says yes, but the new law has multiple requirements suggesting that conclusion is wrong. 

    Not all marijuana becomes legal on December 6. What becomes legal is marijuana from a "validly licensed marijuana retailer."  Those retailers won't exist until sometime in late 2013. 

    Arguably, there is no "legal" marijuana anywhere in Washington until these legal outlets are established.   While the use of medical marijuana is also permitted, the use of medical marijuana is a defense against conviction--not arrest.  Medical marijuana laws mean an officer can investigate the fact that an illegal substance is suspected and it doesn't invalidate probable cause to arrest.     The intersection between R-502 and Medical Marijuana laws is confusing, but police authority to arrest based on marijuana posssession probably still remains in place after December 6, 2012.  

  • Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:22 AM | Anonymous

    As of October 21, 2011 - Methylone was banned under an Emergency DEA order.


    The DEA proposes to placement of Methylone Into Schedule I permanently:


    SUMMARY: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposes placing 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone (methylone) including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers whenever the existence of such salts, isomers, and salts of isomers is possible, into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This proposed action is pursuant to the CSA which requires that such actions be made on the record after opportunity for a hearing through formal rulemaking.


    The complete text of the proposal can be found in the Federal Register here


    Methylone is a relatively recent synthetic concoction that produces symptoms similar to several drug classifications, including amphetamines, cathinones, and entactogens (pychoactive drugs with particular qualities).  Users state this drug is similar to MDMA (ecstasy)-but not precisely--with more of a depressant effect.   Methylone is marketed over the internet and in drug shops in 5 ml tubes as a "room odorizer" under the name "Explosion."  The tubes cost between $13 and $17 each--far in excess of other products designed to actually mask odors.  


  • Wednesday, October 24, 2012 1:35 PM | Anonymous member

    On December 4, 2012, the Mason County Sheriff's Office and the Mason County Target Zero DUI Task Force will host an 8 hour Motorcycle Enforcement and Safety training course.


    The course will be held in Shelton, at 100 Public Works Drive.  If you wish to get additioal information or register for the course, please contact Target Zero Manager Michele Baumgart at 360.432.5143.


    Note: This is NOT a TSRP event, so no per diem or lodging scholarships are available.

  • Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:16 AM | Anonymous member

    Crashes, Commercial Vehicles & Courts Webcast Series presents

    "Masking and Other State Court Challenges"

    The  National Center for State Courts is pleased to announce a series of six webcasts addressing critical commercial driving issues facing state courts.  

    Join the Commercial Driving Resource Center for the first webcast in the monthly series entitled, "Masking and Other State Courts Challenges" to be broadcast on October 17 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

    This webcast series is funded by a grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the Department of Transportation.  (Because this is not a TSRP-sponsored webinar, we will not be applying for CLE credits for this webinar.)

    Register: http://survey.confirmit.com/wix2/p2288591532.aspx

  • Monday, September 24, 2012 10:47 AM | Anonymous

    Sign up for MADD Washington's 5k Walk Like MADD on October 13, 2012 at Seattle Center Founders Court.  Join a team!  Build a new Team!  But be there!!

    For more information visit: www.walklikemadd.org/seattle

    Strong teams are made up of players with different skills, attitudes and abilities. 
Teamwork makes for success!

  • Monday, September 24, 2012 9:02 AM | Anonymous

    Amy Freedheim, traffic crimes prosecutor for King County, was interviewed and honored for her work in Vehicular Crimes.  She deserves every bit of the acknowlegement!  THANK YOU AMY!

    A link to the full article can be seen here.    


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