As most of us are aware, Colorado has de-criminalized the recreational use of marijuana. But of course, it is still illegal, not to mention very dangerous, to drive if you are actually high on marijuana.
The Colorado Department of Transportation [CDOT] has published a few videos that humorously point out some things you can legally do high, such as play basketball, grill steaks, or install a new TV, while reminding you that driving is not one of them.
Check out the videos at www.youtube.com.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits even temporarily detaining a motorist without a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. One exception is that police may set up a roadblock or checkpoint to look for impaired drivers, or even to check for valid license. But the Supreme Court has held that a police checkpoint program that serves the purpose of general crime control violates the Fourth Amendment. In order to survive a constitutional challenge, therefore, the agency conducting the roadblock must show that its policy is limited to an appropriate purpose.
At a hearing before Fayette County State Court Judge Jason B. Thompson last week, the Sheriff’s Roadblock Policy, as revised in July 2012, was examined for its purpose. Because the written policy included “reducing the potential for and incidences of unlawful behavior,” the Court held it to be unconstitutional. As a result, the evidence gathered in eight cases was suppressed, and the charges will be dismissed.
Our Supreme Court has already approved of stopping vehicles at a police checkpoint, with no suspicion of wrongdoing, to check for impaired drivers, or even to simply check for a valid license. You may not be aware that the innocent traveling public is also subject to being directed off the road by police or other government officials at random to participate in a “survey” to establish statistics on impaired driving.
Under the auspices of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is a program in dozens of cities across the country where officials randomly select vehicles to stop and request “voluntary” participation. The goal is to determine, through breath tests or blood and saliva samples, what percentage of drivers are impaired by alcohol, drugs or prescription medication.
The National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving has been criticized in many circles, and even challenged by at least one lawsuit by an aggrieved driver.
Saturday Night Live comedian Chris Kattan was arrested and charged with DUI this past Monday night near Van Nuys, California.
On Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles, Kattan’s car crashed into a highway construction truck.
Kattan allegedly failed field sobriety tests and was charged with a DUI. He was released without bail and will appear in court next month. This is apparently his first offense.
On his Twitter account, Kattan posted Monday afternoon, “Those concerned or just adding gossip: I’m fine, passed all tests, released without bail, have drivers license, cop offered to drive me home”
“May I see your license please?” – that’s the first thing you usually hear from the police officer who just pulled you over. No doubt you should comply.
“How much have you had to drink tonight?” – that’s the next thing you hear; but now it is time to stop and think before you answer.
Rarely does a driver have the courage to tell the police that she does not wish to make any statements or answer any questions. But that is exactly what you should do – regardless of what your answer would have been. IT NEVER PAYS TO GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT.
First, the cop isn’t likely to believe you. Even if you truly only had one beer a couple hours ago, you will be asked to prove it by submitting to a preliminary breath test and/or a series of field sobriety exercises a gymnast would have difficulty with. And then when you politely decline to participate, the officer will begin an argument you cannot win about why if you only had one beer, you would refuse testing.
Second, it is a no-win situation if you answer any questions. Anything you say that might incriminate you can be used in court against you; but your statements that would actually help you are not admissible. And if you lie to a police officer in the lawful exercise of his duties, you could be charged with obstruction or other criminal offense.
The police are actually trained in what they call verbal judo, which should be self-explanatory. Do you really want to verbally tangle with someone who has been professionally trained to get the best of you in any discussion?
So if you find yourself pulled over and being questioned by the police, just politely reply, “I do not wish to answer any questions or make any further statements. Here in Georgia, your pre-arrest silence cannot even be introduced into evidence against you!