It's been a few weeks now since the federal government's announcement that it will seek to encourage states to lower their blood-alcohol content (BAC) thresholds to .05 for drunk driving. But the debate about it will continue for months to come, right into state legislative sessions next year and beyond.
Blood Alcohol Tests Archives
In cases of suspected drunk driving, police officers generally rely on breath tests, not blood tests, to determine blood-alcohol content (BAC). But if someone refuses to take a breath test, can officers force someone to take a blood test if they have not obtained a search warrant?
When police suspect drunk driving, they usually use breath tests rather than blood tests or urine tests. To a great extent, this is for reasons of convenience. Having someone exhale into a device is less intrusive than sticking a needle in their arm to extract blood.
Virginia drivers must be careful when on the roadways in order to avoid being charged with traffic violations. One serious charge that can be placed against an individual is driving under the influence. To avoid this, many people employ the use of designated drivers so that at least one person in a group remains sober and can operate a vehicle.
A Virginia man recently received a five-year prison sentence. The man had three previous convictions for driving under the influence, as well as several other convictions. This conviction came during a four-year suspended sentence that the man received for another driving under the influence conviction.
Driving while impaired is a serious social concern, in Virginia and across the nation. When an individual makes the decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, serious injury or even death can result. Making matters worse, the negative repercussions associated with driving under the influence of drugs often affect innocent people who happen into the path of an impaired driver. One recent case demonstrates the gravity with which Virginia courts approach such accidents, as well as the legal options available to those accused of driving while impaired.
Until recently, one man living in Virginia led a quiet life as a mechanic. Everyone described him as being a kind person. When someone could not pay for an auto repair, he would fix their vehicle for free. He also grew a garden and donated produce to people who needed it. Last year, this man described as being so kind and giving was charged not only with driving under the influence, but also with providing a false name to police officers and possession of marijuana. The man was arrested after going through a Virginia DUI checkpoint while allegedly driving under the influence. His blood alcohol content was .09, barely over the legal limit of .08. The man did not have a license with him at the time, and police said that he spelled his alias in two different ways. Police fingerprinted him to obtain his identity and found an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
A Petersburg, Virginia police officer, whose father is also the Petersburg police chief, was recently arrested by Henrico police and reportedly refused to take a breath test. He now faces a DWI/DUI arrest and other allegations. These include driving with expired plates and endangering lives.
An important issue regarding implied consent for blood alcohol testing was recently decided by the Virginia Court of Appeals. The issue arose following a fatal motor vehicle crash in December 2011 that left two teenage girls dead. A 34-year-old soldier from Fort Eustis is said to have caused the crash. Law enforcement personnel arranged for a blood draw at a hospital to determine his intoxication levels. At issue is the admissibility of the certificate of analysis of the blood samples for use as evidence in the man's upcoming criminal trial.
Idaho Senator Michael Crapo had a legal mishap in Alexandria, Virginia over the holidays. Police arrested Sen. Crapo for driving under the influence on Dec. 23 when Crapo allegedly ran a red light. However, police said that results of a field test showed Crapo's blood alcohol level was .110. His BAC was different when taken at a detention center later, but police are uncertain why that was the case.