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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

July 2017 Archives

Future may bring marijuana breathalyzers to Washington

Scientists with the National Institute of Standards and Technology have been working on the problem of finding an easy way to detect when a driver is under the influence of marijuana. A legitimate roadside breathalyzer test that could determine if a person is driving while intoxicated by THC, the main chemical in marijuana, would be useful to police officers.

Studies show drug-positive driving on the rise

Washington motorists may be interested to learn that the number of drivers who were found to be under the influence of marijuana has increased while the number of drivers who drove while under the influence of alcohol has decreased. According to a study, the percentage of drivers under the influence of alcohol decreased 77 percent from 1973 to 2014. The number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana increased by 50 percent.

Basic rules about when police can search people or property

Residents of Washington possess a legal right to a reasonable level of privacy, which applies to searches by law enforcement. In situations where no expectation of privacy exists, police may conduct searches without a warrant. For example, a stolen weapon in plain view on the hood of a car could be taken by police. This action would not be considered a search.

Alcohol education programs are alternatives in DUI cases

In Washington and across the United States, mandatory alcohol education and treatment programs are used in some deferred prosecution agreements for people accused of driving under the influence. These programs are used to substitute for some harsher penalties, especially for first-time offenders.