At the next town, I was pulled over by a police car (bull horn, hand on gun, full film-level drama). I had no idea why at the time. It was explained to me that the off-duty officer was annoyed, and called the police station in the next town.
I was told that the highway I was on was "not the autobahn" (I have never travelled on an autobahn), and given a ticket for crossing a solid lane marker. I hadn't at any point crossed a double yellow line marker. Not living in the US meant fighting it was hard, so I paid for fear of not being allowed back in the country on my next visit.
Lesson learned: people in positions of power, like this off-duty government agent, will happily use that power if someone pisses them off - and systems are in place to allow it. These systems need to be tested, fought, and abusers penalised. I'm just sorry I didn't fight harder in this instance.
I was actually found at fault, but the officer who responded said the person who hit me would have been found at fault if they didn't have a dash cam. I had entered a busy street that only allowed left turns via U-turns in the median. Traffic was really heavy, and I was having a hell of a time getting over. A bus next to the U-turn lane waved me in. I entered the left turn lane about a car length past where the solid white line began. As I was entering, a teenager in a 500+ hp car floored it in to the lane. As soon as they got around the bus they saw me, but couldn't stop in time as they were nearly going the speed limit.
I was technically breaking the law, and the kid who hit me technically had full control of the lane before I did, so I was at fault.
I know both me and the person who hit me wished we had done things differently there. We were both pretty impatient because of the traffic. It would have been nice to have been found not-at-fault, but I was technically in the wrong, and the dash cam proved it.
Dash cams get a lot of press when it comes to attempted fraud, but I think cases like this are the real kicker. I know other people who have hit people who made lane changes in front of them, and they were all found at fault. Without a video camera, the vehicle behind is almost always going to be found at fault when it comes to one driver's word against another. It's really difficult to prove something like an "unsafe lane change" without video evidence, and dash cams cost far less than a deductible.
I didn't go over the speed limit, and it was a super clear road (beautiful in fact!) - my car just had more acceleration (not being a large truck).
Sadly even with Video Proof it will be a uphill battle as courts have taken a cops word over the video before.
To be fair, most regular citizens can call into the local PD if they have the phone number to report things and then Dispatch will assign/not assign officers based on priority and availability.
I worked at my campus PD when I was a student and we printed both the campus police number and local police number on our ID cards. It wasn't uncommon to get calls asking for escorts, report suspicious behavior, and other miscellaneous things not really suitable for 911.
Some can be quite comical (including some 911 calls). EG::
(Note some of the calls were to 911 and not directly to the PD)
To paraphrase: we didn't find anything to justify the charges, but we're still going to tell everyone that he is guilty.
The unfortunate thing in the US is just that most cases don't make it to court, and a lot of people plead guilty to get a deal. This is not how the system was designed, and not how it works in most other democracies.
Let's be honest: courts in most western countries are only really accessible to upper middle class and/or wealthier people. If you do not have proper representation, you will probably lose in cases like these.
The fact that some random smuck is given this much power is shocking.
Also, good lawyers in the US are more expensive than in most European countries (because university fees aren't as high), so you don't have to be rich to afford a lawyer.
Honestly, it's shocking how prosecutors can force people into pleading guilty, just because you might end up in prison for many years because of minor crimes. No other developed country has more prisoners/capita than the US, and it certainly doesn't make the US the safest country on the planet.
The overwhelming majority of people that go through the justice system are guilty. For every ambiguous charge, there are a dozen instances where someone was caught with drugs on their person, clearly identified in a security tape robbing a store, etc. That's the bread and butter of the justice system.
Like every system, the courts have been optimized for the common case. That certainly has costs in the uncommon case--as optimizing for the common case always does. Maybe those costs are too much to bear. But it's not a simple issue of government being "rotten to the core."
 Whether you think having drugs should or should not be a crime is an entirely separate issue.
legal system, we do not have a Justice system it is a legal system
>The overwhelming majority of people that go through the justice system are guilty.
Guilty of victim less violation of legal Statutes that are not crimes at all. A Crime requires a complaining victim.
In order to seek justice there must be a person seeking said justice thus the need for a victim for there to be a crime. For example Growing the wrong plant does not produce a victim thus should not be considered a "crime"
> Whether you think having drugs should or should not be a crime is an entirely separate issue.
No, far from it. It is the issue, the reason the courts need to be "streamlined" is because they have been over burdened by these non-crimes, as such they needed a process to shortcut due process and extort people into signing their legal rights away so they can persecute more people for more non-crimes
Very true. If we had to actually have a trial it would interfere with the profitability of the criminalization cycle.
> shortcut due process and extort people into signing their legal rights away
Yeah, the prosecutors aren't in it to increase society's safety, or even to enforce laws, they're in it for their conviction stats. They'll do anything to game those numbers higher and it's easier to win convictions for strict liability crimes (possession, etc) so they focus on that.
We have the standard "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a criminal trial, arguably calculated to let some criminals go to help ensure that we don't imprison as many innocent people as possible. With a presumption of innocence, the system should assume innocence even if dealing with 99.9% guilty people, and I would call any other optimization corruption enough.
Just being charged with a felony means you are ineligible for conceal carry in a lot of places, even if you are found innocent in court.
That implies at the very least, that you are and will always be suspected guilty (on some level) even if the court never finds you guilty.
Citation please for the italicized part? That's not only unconstitutional on the federal level, but it's also unconstitutional in most if not all states in the US which issue licenses for concealed carry. It's true that while the felony charge is still pending, the accused temporarily waives their right to carry and may have their licensed suspended, however once the case is closed and the person is found not guilty or the charge is dropped, their license is to be immediately reinstated barring any other disqualification. Here's an example from Florida law, other states have similar provisions.
> have in the preceding five years a history of violent behavior
If you are charged, it'll be assumed that you've had a history of violence (depending on the offense)
Then there's California:
> California law allows Police Chiefs and County Sheriffs to issue a license to carry a concealed firearm if the following requirements are met:
1. Upon proof that the person applying is of good moral character
2. That good cause exists for the issuance
3. The applicant is a resident of the county or city to which they are applying (or the applicant’s place of employment is within the city or county)
4. The applicant has completed a course of training (16-24 hours)
And why people will be denied
> those lacking “good moral character,” and
> people who cannot demonstrate “good cause” to carry a weapon.
I do wish all states would adopt California's training course requirement, though. As much as I am proud of my legal right to bear arms, I cringe at the thought of the untrained masses carrying deadly weapons they have no idea how to handle and care for. I'm also a proponent of mental health checks and domestic violence restrictions on weapons licensing.
There was a young father who worked at the sugar factory that lived in a poor neighborhood. The owner of the house next door had rented it to ex-con meth addicts who liked harassing the mother when the father wasn't home.
Calling the police in this area didn't work because they wouldn't show up. The young man had a felony on his record for doing donuts then running from the police as an 18 year old which precludes him from owning a firearm legally, but out of fear for his family he purchased one.
On a particular bad day three men were stalking the house with his wife inside, he rushed back from work to find them harassing her on his lawn. One looked like he kept reaching for a gun behind his back.
The young father got his firearm and told them all to leave (note the police won't come at this point). The man with a "gun" gets more aggressive and as things escalate, during another sudden movement, the father shoots him once in the side.
Now that a gun has been fired the police come. The man dies on the front lawn. The officers, aware of the degree of harassment, tell the father that he was justified and that it will be okay. They all file reports to that effect.
The Solano County DA prosecutes the father for the manslaughter and felon in possession of a firearm. As a leveraging tool the manslaughter charge is dropped but the felon with a firearm puts him in the penitentiary for 7 years. He had a 6 month old and a 4 year old when he went in.
The Solano County DA knew they could win so they did, there was no benefit to the community. Solano is full of poor people that can be easily victimized, it's a heartbreaking environment.
It's a particularly tough issue to get political movement on because the Left mostly likes helping felons get back to a normal life, but hates any kind of gun rights for anyone, while the Right likes gun rights, but doesn't much like helping felons.
That said, I have no idea how CA'slaw enforcement/county government/judicial/legal system might differ from that of the states I've lived in.
This assumption is based on false premises; to wit, that there is such a thing as a "city DA" with a different geographical focus than the District Attorney of the county in which the city is located, such that offenses in city limits are prosecuted by the "city DA" and those in unincorporated areas are prosecuted by the "county DA". In California, however, DAs offices are county offices which cover all of the county, both incorporated and unincorporated areas; no city has its own DAs office (well, except San Francisco, but that's because the City and County of San Francisco is one entity.)
My father has a felony conviction from the late 70's and has paid a fair amount of money trying to get his second amendment rights restored. California sucks about guns.
If the felony was in federal court, that requires a Presidential pardon.
If it was a California state court, it requires either a state pardon, or an after-the-fact reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor (which is not allowed for all offenses.)
These are all rather exceptional processes; in general, both the federal and state bans on felons having guns are lifetime bans.
- How can it be possible that when someone calls the police and the police ignore them?
- How can it possible that someone who has problems with the neighbors thinks that the most sensible thing to do is to buy a gun?
- How can it be possible that a discussion in the lawn ends with a dead person?
We'll never know for sure if the gun helped or hurt this man's family safety, as the mere presence of a gun can escalate a situation out of control.
But even from the facts that you mention, it's hard to call this unnecessary prosecution.
There are two questions:
1) How much value was provided to society by prosecuting this man so aggressively? (a lesser sentence that allowed him to continue to work and care for his family would have seemed more beneficial for society)
2) Under the circumstances regarding law enforcement availability and his historic transgressions what was a lawful and economically feasible means for this man to protect his family? These men were intimating that they would rape his wife without going so far as to threaten it. When police respond to reports of a man with a gun by saying "call back once someone is shot then we can send someone," what are the options available to this man?
Do you allow your wife to live in fear and pray the police arrive in time?
Or do you go ask your buddy down the street to loan you his pistol, show it to her in case she needs it, and let her know that she is protected?
I simply wasn't raised to be the first man and given the facts as stated by the previous poster don't see any other course of action (assuming he is not wealthy enough to move). How do you live with yourself if she ended up raped?
Would I risk gun ownership if I thought my family was in imminent danger? Without question. I would have even done so even if I risked significant jail time.
But here, it's not just "borrowing" a firearm from a friend, it was an illegal purchase. Did this person look into restoring their gun-rights due to extenuating circumstances?
Was justice served? Hard to said because, as I said, we don't have all of the information.
But it's also hard to say that somebody convicted of felon in possession of a firearm, who was in fact both a felon and in possession of a firearm, was an abuse of the legal system.
IANAL, but jail time is not only protective, but punitive and a deterrent. Illegally obtained firearms are a huge problem in the US.
You and I know only anecdotal details about this case so arguing about societal impacts and fair self-defense are pointless.
They dropped the DUI charges but are still going after him for reckless driving.
“Without a confirmatory test of the specific drug in the
defendant’s system that impaired his ability to drive, we
do not believe we can prove the charge beyond a reasonable
doubt,” said Krishna Abrams, the district attorney.
Second, I'm confused whether he was charged with reckless driving at the time of arrest, or if this is a later charge. Also confused about the "charges were not brought until... nearly 10 months after incident" line in the original article.
I'm assuming the story goes like this:
Man was pulled over for driving erratically (e.g., weaving through traffic). He is given a field sobriety test and fails. He is charged with DUI and reckless driving. The initial blood test reveals no known (i.e., testable) substances of which he could have been under the influence. The sample is sent for a second, more intensive round of testing. It reveals no new information other than caffeine. The DUI charge is not immediately dropped, and the defendant uses the opportunity to push the "charged for DUI for caffeine" story. The DUI charge is finally dropped. The reckless driving charge continues, and will go to court this year.
My opinion is that the DA really wanted to prosecute the DUI charge ("he had to be under the influence of something!"), so they took their sweet time trying to find an angle.
This one screams to me that his main offense was pissing off someone with authority in an unmarked car who went on to do everything possible to make his life miserable.
If I had to bet I'd suspect he got into some mild road rage incident with this state employee, flipped her off or something, and this is the payback.
Just a theory, read the story again and read between the lines of the initial reported incident.
"he was pulled over by an agent from the California department of alcoholic beverage control, who was driving an unmarked vehicle. The agent said Schwab had cut her off and was driving erratically"
Pulled over by an alcohol beverage control agent whom he had cut off. Oy.
Then the court seals the records to hide this, and the main policy change is that a uniformed cop must be present during this (these were undercover cops who'd pulled the guns) instead of - you know - not arresting someone at gunpoint for the pointless crime of buying bootleg liquor even if it was actually liquor.
I don't understand this reading between the lines.
You're disregarding a lot of facts here. If you're in a road rage incident with somebody as a state employee, you'll be wanting to reduce paperwork instead of increase it. You don't want a paper record at all, or if you have a paper record, you'll want it for something like resisting arrest or something vague like that.
Second, an equally valid reading is that this guy was driving erratically, the officer pulled him over because she thought that he was enough of a danger to the public that he should be stopped, and he was acting as though he was too impaired to drive.
Then the DA, based on the officer's testimony, wanted to get the driver for DUI as that's a more serious crime, but settled on reckless driving based on lack of evidence.
That fits the facts far better.
ABC are hiring.
here's the job spec.
The Agent, Alcoholic Beverage Control, is a deep class with three alternate ranges. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, conducting independent investigations of criminal and/or administrative violations committed on or about alcoholic beverage control licensed premises by licensees, their employees, and/or members of the general public; and interpreting and explaining the provisions of the laws, rules, and regulations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, Penal Code, Health and Safety Code, and Vehicle Code.
Agents at Range A are entry level and conduct independent investigations of criminal and/or administrative violations committed on or about alcoholic beverage control licensed premises by licensees, their employees, and/or members of the general public; locate and interview witnesses and persons suspected of violations; collect and preserve evidence to support administrative action and/or prosecution; determine type of case and develop investigation plan; prepare clear, concise, and accurate documents and reports detailing investigation activities and findings; maintain accurate master investigation case files; develop field operation plans, and safely executing them; perform undercover assignments and surveillance operations; provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies and others; make physical arrests; maintain liaison with Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies; and testify in criminal court and/or administrative hearings.
Agents at Range B are journey level and conduct more complex and difficult investigations and demonstrate a broader knowledge and application of investigative techniques and procedures. Agents, in addition to the above, conduct undercover and high-profile criminal investigations; and write, secure, and serve arrest and search warrants.
Agents at Range C are full journey level and conduct or participate in the most difficult and sensitive investigations. In addition to all of the above, investigations include, but are not limited to, vice, gambling, prostitution
Presumably they are sworn law enforcement officers, and as such have the technical ability to enforce the law generally, but it's really clear that the person in question has a job enforcing liquor license law, and was outside their normal job description on this one.
It's equivalent to a fish and game warden grabbing a shoplifter while at the mall. It's allowed and legal, but not normal.
It's abnormal from the beginning, by the end it's pretty clearly abusive.
I think we should start investigating the rest of this DA's cases. To see if everyone she dealt with was railroaded. And if evidence was disregarded in their cases too.
It's also their essential function to prosecute people they believe they can prove guilty. It would be bizarre for a DA to be talking about prosecuting someone they didn't believe to be guilty.
(It's important to consider this possibility because then the fix has to be to the system, not just to try to find different people)
She is doing no such thing. She's just saying that without a positive drug test, she has no ground to prosecute. That's an awfully big step.
> My opinion is that the DA really wanted to prosecute the DUI charge ("he had to be under the influence of something!")
Agreed. Although they did take two blood tests, and sent them out for screening. The penalties for DUI are exponentially worse than the penalties for reckless driving, and it looks better for the DA and all prosecution parties involved if they can get a DUI instead of a lesser charge.
She is doing no such thing. She's just saying that
without a positive drug test, she has no ground to
prosecute. That's an awfully big step.
Your interpretation is: "We don't have a test that shows the presence of any drug that impairs the defendant's ability to drive."
My alternate (but semantically valid) read was: "There was a drug in the defendant's system, we just don't know which one because nothing we tried tested positive."
Combine that with the valid but underhanded: "... prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt". Again: "We don't have a case" vs. "this guy is guilty but we just can't prove it legally".
The direct, unequivocal re-write would be: "We do not have a confirmatory test of any drug in the defendant's system that would impair his ability to drive. As such, we do not believe there is a valid case on this charge."
The DA should be saying "There's no evidence of that", not "There isn't enough to prosecute". She's lying by implying that there's a body of evidence that is just not quite sufficient to convict, as opposed to the FACT that all evidence points to not-guilty. Not insufficient, but directly contradicting the charges.
They're also prosecuting him for reckless driving. Reckless driving witnessed by an officer is also (some) evidence of driving while impaired.
> FACT that all evidence points to not-guilty. Not insufficient, but directly contradicting the charges.
You can be impaired while on legal substances that don't show up on drug tests. The officer's testimony makes the DA's statement perfectly valid. And the evidence aside from the chemical test tends to bolster the state's case.
Right, but they aren't just a lack of evidence for coked-up-driving, they're actually evidence FOR clean driving.
> They're also prosecuting him for reckless driving.
Well, they're using the reckless driving charge as a license to fish, falling back to it only when they've exhausted other avenues.
> "Without a confirmatory test of the specific drug in the defendant’s system that impaired his ability to drive, we do not believe we can prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt,”
The DA is taking for granted that he was on something and is blaming the tests for failing to show that, not using that as evidence that she might be mistaken.
They go on to say "not believe we can prove the charge beyond" when they should be saying "believe there is no evidence whatsoever for this charge."
The tone of the article is that this man is guilty and the system is simply unable to prove it.
You stated that there was no evidence for impaired driving. Based on reported observed behavior it was.
> Well, they're using the reckless driving charge as a license to fish, falling back to it only when they've exhausted other avenues.
That's a huge assumption to make. What are they "fishing" for? They already have an officer making a statement that he was driving erratically. That's pretty much him dead to rights.
> they should be saying "believe there is no evidence whatsoever for this charge."
There is no chemical test evidence. There is plenty of behavioural evidence, evidence that warrants a reckless driving test.
> system is simply unable to prove it.
The system is very able to "prove" that he was driving poorly and he will be punished accordingly.
The only 'evidence' is the uncorroborated word of an officer. Yes, that counts, but no it's not evidence in any way. And more and more we're having officer testimony proved to be a lie on the evening news.
> That's a huge assumption to make. What are they "fishing" for?
Charges that will stick. The same as when they say they see erratic driving and demand to search your car. Something that will justify the cop-rage that resulted in the guy being pulled over.
> There is no chemical test evidence.
Oh no, in fact there's plenty of test evidence that he wasn't intoxicated. And all else being equal, a citizen who had a clean test is less likely to have been driving erratically than one who hasn't.
It's a logic error to assign weight to the accusation in absence of any positive evidence, and then use that weight to suggest that the negative evidence now doesn't apply.
> The system is very able to "prove" that he was driving poorly and he will be punished accordingly.
The system is able to punish him despite the lack of evidence. The word prove doesn't apply in any way. And in fact in proper terminology the system merely "finds" him guilty, it doesn't claim to prove guilt.
So it counts as evidence, but it's not really evidence? The word of an officer holds weight in court. Heck, the word of any eyewitness is evidence.
> Something that will justify the cop-rage
Instead of projecting feelings on the officer, how about the driver was driving so erratically that the officer felt as though the lives of bystanders were in danger?
> Oh no, in fact there's plenty of test evidence that he wasn't intoxicated.
No. There is no test you can take to prove that you weren't intoxicated. He was not intoxicated on any of the substances he was tested on.
> It's a logic error to assign weight to the accusation in absence of any positive evidence
The evidence in this case the the observation of the witness, an officer, which is evidence whether you see it that way or not. We're not talking about chemical tests here.
> The system is able to punish him despite the lack of evidence.
It seems like you're saying the word of an officer is somehow less than the word of a non-officer. If anybody gives eyewitness testimony to erratic driving, that's evidence. I don't see why you're talking around that.
No amount of eye-witnesses to recklessness amount to proof of intoxication. Let alone one uncorroborated, counter-factual, claim.
> Instead of projecting feelings on the officer,
If there was credible evidence of recklessness they'd have charged him with it. The fishing expedition is because the pretext is barely credible. It's possible that the officer alone witnessed this behavior, and there also isn't any corroborating evidence, but it's more likely just a false allegation.
How handy that an off-duty officer, whose camera wasn't running, noticed him instead of the myriad of on-duty officers on the same road.
> how about the driver was driving so erratically that the officer felt as though the lives of bystanders were in danger?
Right, and in other news the officer felt their life was in danger so they shot the person. We've seen how these are lies so I don't know why you would give the police witness any more credibility than anyone else's, which is to say essentially zero. But yes, it's not physically impossible just improbable.
> No. There is no test you can take to prove that you weren't intoxicated. He was not intoxicated on any of the substances he was tested on.
Right, but wrong. He was selected without knowledge of his state of intoxication, but because of suspicion, and with no prior association with the officer or other reason for being picked. If he's clean of all tested substances (which are of course the primary intoxicants which is why we test for them) he's likelier than a control person to actually be clean for all tested substances.
We've established that he's not in the group of drinkers, tokers, snorters, etc. He may be in the group of obscure tweakers on drug X that we can't detect, but he's much more likely just clean.
> The evidence in this case the the observation of the witness, an officer, which is evidence whether you see it that way or not. We're not talking about chemical tests here.
Right. But we gave the chemical tests weight, had they been positive he'd have been convicted on that evidence, because of the officer's testimony. He must have been on something... And now we dismiss the tests similarly because they contradict the officer's testimony. He must have been on something the tests don't catch... The test is being given undue weight based on its ability to prove or contest the officer's story.
For rigor, the test and the weight placed on it must be part of the proposition, not the conclusion. If the tests could provide evidence to convict for intoxication they must also provide substantial evidence of non-intoxication. (In randomly selected individuals. We could stack the deck by supplying just Drug X users, but he wasn't selected from a population likely to be high in Drug X usage.)
> It seems like you're saying the word of an officer is somehow less than the word of a non-officer.
Yes, absolutely. As long as an officer's word is given extra weight in court, I as a citizen and a logician must discount it and all evidence based on it proportionally.
> If anybody gives eyewitness testimony to erratic driving, that's evidence.
Some evidentiary weight, yes. Enough to get someone breathalyzed, maybe, but not enough for the charges to stick despite that. This example has the eyewitness testimony being proof enough for the DA who laments the failure of the tests, instead of recognizing the proper findings from them.
> I don't see why you're talking around that.
I'm not trying to talk around it, I'm addressing it directly.
Police testimony has an incredibly low bar and we've seen 1) a tremendous number of lies that contradict recorded fact, and 2) an almost total cover-up and complete defense of lying officers. It's an ad-hominem to say that someone is a liar and therefore dismiss their conclusion, but it's perfectly reasonable to say they're a known liar so it's likely they're lying, and discount appropriately.
Such a strange insistence in journalism to use obtuse, inconsistent, useless definitions for the word "drug", often that change within the same article.
Anyway, at the end of the day, if the dude was driving recklessly, which the LEO says he was, then charge him with that. This is a great example of why it doesn't make sense to attach criminal liability to blood/brain chemistry.
You sure as hell got that right...
The DUI charges were dropped subsequently because they had no proof of drugs. The article is sensational, trying to imply that one can get arrested for caffeine use.
The prosecution believed (and maintains) that he was under the influence of some other, unknown drug.
This is the reason that an impairment standard, rather than a chemical standard, makes more sense for criminal liability.
If someone's driving ability to impaired such that they are, say 70% more likely to cause an injurious or fatal accident, what does it matter whether it's because they were on Drug A or Drug B or talking on their phone?
Impairment standards are far too subjective given the stakes. How exactly are you supposed to completely objectively measure "70% impairment"? You need a baseline, and the baseline driving ability of a person varies radically based upon time of day, emotional state, etc.
Impairment standards also lack any mechanism for differentiating between actors who know and don't know they're behaving recklessly. A cop friend of mine gave me a roadside sobriety test after a week-long period of intense work and very little sleep; I failed miserably. Now, should I have been driving? No. (And I wasn't!) But should "driving while tired" be treated the same way as "driving while piss drunk"? I'd argue not. Now, what about "got a cell phone call telling you that your parents just died, and you think you're OK, but you're not"? Jail time again?
Or, consider this case, which IMO amounts to "cut off the wrong person".
If this were a $20 ticket, I might be more sympathetic to your viewpoint. But the penalties baked into DWI laws are usually significant. We shouldn't be throwing people in jail because they were a little off-balance and jittery when pulled over on their way home from work. And especially not because they were perfectly fine but pissed off the wrong person who then lied about the results of an entirely subjective test.
I have an eye condition that makes the gaze test, in my opinion, unreliable and the two times I've been pulled over after drinking, the police noted this prior to my doing the test. In both instances I did fine in the one-leg test and the walk-a-line test (at least I assume I did fine). To avoid inconvenience, I did decide to allow the portable breathalyzer one of those times and I think the reading came up 0.0015. I knew I wasn't seriously impaired or over the legal limit and had only had 2 or 3 beers over a 3 or 4 hour period. If you're not sure if you're over the legal limit or not, I wouldn't submit to the roadside breathalyzer (obviously though you shouldn't be driving if you're not sure or think you're impaired).
Don't refuse the test. Refuse to submit to searches, seizures, or interrogations without the assistance of legal counsel instead. Then sit down and shut up. You will be arrested, and taken to the cop shop, but you will be more likely to prevail in court after you get your administrative punishment at the police station.
There are no objective standards for passing a field sobriety test. They exist solely to give officers plausible justification for whatever they decide to do next. If they give you one, they probably haven't yet decided whether to arrest you. In that case, if you do well enough, you will probably be free to go. If they have already decided to arrest you, you could juggle flaming chainsaws on a unicycle and still fail the test.
Once the cops even hint that they may be building a DUI case against you, stop helping them do it!
If you've not been drinking, it seems a bit of a waste of time to have to stand on one leg (etc.), when you could just use the breathalyzer and have the question answered straight away.
The roadside tests are only accurate to a certain degree, whereas a properly calibrated breathalyzer provides much stronger evidence.
Also, the defendent's attorney has an excellent response to this claim in the article:
"Barrett counters that if the prosecution has evidence of a different drug in her client’s system, it should have to provided that to her, based on the rules governing criminal procedings."
Basically, "either you're charging my client for caffeine, or else you're charging my client without anything even close to resembling a reasonable evidentiary basis, or else you're not following the rules governing criminal proceedings. In each of those cases, the charges should be thrown out."
There are other charges applicable to that situation, namely reckless driving, and in some states a lesser offense of careless driving. Schawb was additionally charged with reckless driving, a charge that does fit his alleged conduct.
It matters if he is charged with an applicable law, and if that applicable law makes any sense
I think we are arguing that he wasn't charged with an applicable law, no matter if 20 other crimes were committed, the state messed up its case.
But if they think he was driving tired they should have charged him with that.
In an "average" adult, it would require a lot of caffeine to trigger these symptoms -- dozens of cups over a very short period of time. Caffeine pills or powder would be a far more likely explanation. And yeah, driving after popping a significant number of caffeine pills is probably as dangerous as driving after ingesting a small dose of cocaine. TBF if the caffeine concentrations were such that this were a likely explanation, I bet we'd be hearing about it.
I'm not sure how dangerous those symptoms are in the context of driving. Someone should do a study.
I was referring to these symptoms, which are unarguably dangerous in the context of driving: "tweaking", paranoia, mania, even psychosis.
I am a caffeine addict, at about a pot per day at the time of this story.
There's your problem. When you have vaguely defined laws, you have a system that can criminalize even the most ordinary and innocent behaviors.