Articles Posted in DUI/OWI/DWI

In Boston, Massachusetts, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is pushing for legislation that requires first time Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenders to drive with an interlock device system. An interlock device requires drivers to blow into a breathalyzer in order for the automobile to start. If the interlock system detects alcohol in the driver’s system the vehicle will not start.

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving group believes this particular law will reduce the casualties of drunk driving. Mary Kate DePamphilis, a program director for MADD, claims other states have seen a 50% decrease in drunk driving related casualties since implementing an interlock device law. The state of Massachusetts, which does not have interlock legislation in place for first time offenders, saw 120 drunk driving casualties in 2017 and 148 drunk driving casualties in 2016.

Interlock devices have reduced drunk driving fatalities by seven percent in participating states. Currently 32 states require an interlock system to be installed if an individual’s BAC is .08 or higher.

Drugged driving – driving while under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol – has received a lot of recent attention from law enforcement.

In 2017, a pilot program for a roadside saliva drug test was tested in five counties. This program involved the use of a quick drug test designed to see if a driver had certain drugs in their system. The test is similar to a preliminary breath test for alcohol. The test gives the police probable cause to make an arrest for an OWI.

This year the use of the roadside saliva test will expand statewide.

Currently, a person cannot drive after drinking if they have a blood alcohol content of .08 or over. Right now, there is no “legal limit” for marijuana.

For the last year or so, the Michigan Impaired Driving Safety Commission has researched whether the law should have a legal limit for marijuana.

The Commission declined to create a legal limit for marijuana.

Lawmakers in Michigan have introduced proposed legislation that would lower the legal limit from .08 to .05. Utah recently became the first state to lower its legal limite to .05.

It is currently against the law to drive after drinking when a person has a .08 blood alcohol content. Many safety groups are unsatisfied with the .08 amount.

What Would This Mean Legally Speaking?

Right now, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or over. The law assumes a person is intoxicated at this level. A driver with a .08 BAC can be convicted of operating while intoxicated.

Technology is always changing our lives, for better or worse. Congress recently held a hearing to discuss whether every car should be equipped with a device to measure if a driver has been drinking. Safety advocates strongly encourage such a move, but the reality of this seems very far away.

What Would This Mean?

These safety advocates would want to see an ignition interlock device in every car. An ignition interlock device is technology where a driver blows into a tube and it measures the driver’s blood alcohol content. The car won’t start if the person registers a blood alcohol content.

There are several companies that are working on less invasive alcohol-measuring devices. These include a device that detect alcohol through the fingertips or a device that measures the normal breathing of the person behind the wheel. These companies acknowledge that these newer technologies are not yet complete and are still in the early stages of development. The ignition interlock is still the go-to device for alcohol-measurements for drivers.

Police are expanding the use of a roadside saliva test statewide for drivers suspected to be under the influence of drugs. This expanded use of the test coincides with the legalization of recreational marijuana. The roadside saliva test began as part of a one-year pilot program in five Michigan counties.

Roadside Saliva Tests

These saliva tests are similar to the preliminary breath test (PBT) given to drivers suspected of drinking alcohol. A positive test will give the police officer cause to arrest the person for drugged driving. Like the PBT, the test needs to be confirmed by a more reliable test – which means a blood test.

The saliva test is designed for limited types of drugs – amphetamines, benzodiazepines, marijuana, methamphetamines, and opiates. The big one police are looking for is marijuana.

The New York Police Department sent a letter to Google demanding it remove DUI checkpoints from its WAZE App. The NYPD is concerned the Waze App enables people to circumvent a critical police function.

What Happened

WAZE is an App on which drivers share information about traffic, weather, accidents, etc. Users can post information so that other drivers can make good decisions. For example, a user might post information about a traffic backlog from an accident. Then a WAZE user would know to take another route.

Lately, users have been posting police DUI checkpoints on the App.

A person arrested for operating while intoxicated (DUI) will be given what’s called a chemical test. The purpose of a chemical test is to see if a person has alcohol or drugs in their system and how much.

This chemical test will either be in the form of blowing into a machine at the police station or will be done through a blood draw. The test could be a urine test as well but that’s not common.

When is the Chemical Test Given?

Your general OWI fact pattern goes like this. A person is pulled over by a police officer. The officer has the person go through a series of field sobriety tests. The person is then given a preliminary breath test if the officer believes the person has been drinking.

Yes, any driving under the influence conviction will make you ineligible for a commercial driver’s license. The length of ineligibility will depend on the type of DUI conviction.

Any Driver’s License Suspension Leads to 36 Months of CDL Eligibility

For starters, any type of driver’s license suspension or revocation will make you ineligible for a CDL for 36 months (3 years).

Two of the most common DUI charges carry a driver’s license suspension. The standard DUI charge, operating while intoxicated, carries a 30-day driver’s license suspension. Operating while intoxicated with a high BAC carries a 45-day driver’s license suspension. So a conviction for either of these two offenses means you cannot apply for a CDL within 3 years from the date of conviction.

Many people ask me what’s the difference between a DUI and an OWI. I don’t lessen any confusion because I use both acronyms a lot on my website.

DUI stands for driving under the influence. OWI stands for operating while intoxicated.

Both phrases mean the same thing, which is a term for the crime drinking and driving (or drugged driving). The phrase operating while intoxicated is the correct term from a legal standpoint. However, the phrase driving under the influence is used so often that people use it for operating while intoxicated. Perhaps other states have a law called driving under the influence on the books.

Contact Information