Posts Tagged ‘Blood alcohol content’

Changes To Ohio’s Field Sobriety Test Manual – Part One

January 16th, 2014

field sobriety testOhio has adopted a new Field Sobriety Test manual as of 2013.  This post is part of a multi-article look at the Field Sobriety Test manual changes.

1. Let’s Change The Name

The first change to the Field Sobriety Test manual is the name.  Prior to this year the training class for law enforcement officers studying the Field Sobriety Test regimen was called A.D.A.P. (Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program) and used the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “manual.”  The new class will simply be called Field Sobriety Test or SFST class and will use a “guide.”

Remaining from the previous training materials is the familiar “Session” approach allowing instructors to focus the students on different aspects of DUI enforcement. The structure of the “guide” incorporates training slides and the overall look of the information from a book-type format to a Power-Point layout.  The Field Sobriety Test Guide also incorporates new information on “Drugged Driving.”  Students taking the Field Sobriety Test class will now be required to complete a four hour block on Drugged Driving designated for it to be added to the Police Officer Basic Training Curriculum.

If there is one overriding takeaway that you can take away from the changes to the Field Sobriety Test Guide, it is that there is going to be a major focus on driver’s suspected of being impaired by illegal drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol and/or a combination of all of these substances.  Let’s begin by taking a look at the changes to Session One.

2. Changes To Session One

The introductory material contained in Session One updates the previous 2008 data and statistical information with 2010 and 2011 information using the NHTSA Fact Sheets and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Data.

3. Changes To Session Two

The definitions and data related to “alcohol-related crash” was revised to read: “Alcohol-impaired crash so as to be consistent with NHTSA.  It refers to a driver with a .08 percent BAC or higher.  The Guide also reflects that all states now have a .08 percent BAC limit.  It changes the word “many” to “all” when referring to states with a .08 DWI limit.  Additional alcohol facts are added to reflect the most current statistics and the involvement of high BAC drivers.  The Guide revises the information on traffic fatalities, changing the Guide to say that a traffic fatality occurs every 51 minutes.  The Source for this information is listed as the NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, 2010 Data, Alcohol Impaired Driving, DOT HS 811 606, April 2012.  They also add, In 2010, 28 percent of all fatalities on motorcycles, the operator had a BAC of .08 percent or higher; and, In 2010, 25-34 year olds constituted 34 percent of all alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the U.S. citing NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, 2010 Data, Alcohol Impaired Driving, DOT HS 811 606, April 2012.

4. Changes To Session Three

Session Three of the Field Sobriety Test Guide was changed to include major court decisions regarding the admissibility of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.  More details were added regarding the adoption of illegal per se laws by the various states. Again, this is a focus on preparing officers to make arrests for alcohol and drugs.

5. Changes To Session Four

No major changes.  Additional slides were added concerning note-taking and report writing.

6. Changes To Session Five

Throughout the Field Sobriety Test training, the acronym “DUI” was changed to “DWI” to be consistent throughout the training guide. Changes were also made to include more information about a vide called “Sliding Sports Car.”  This information is included to allow instructors to solicit information from students regarding the driving and stopping sequence.

7. Changes To Session Six

Again, a name change.  The term “roadblock” was removed and replaced with the word “checkpoint.”  We also see a description and additional information about the training video “Busy Businessman.”

There were no major revisions to Sessions IX, X, XI, XII, or XIV except the removal of any mention of the excised training video “Extras.”  Otherwise, no significant changes were made.  As you may recall from my previous articles, the NHTSA author’s have decided to take out one of the basic factual components of the entire Standardized Field Sobriety Test scheme – the preface.  Yep, that’s right; the preface has been targeted for change.  Recall the following preface to the most recent NHTSA manual.

The procedures outlined in this manual describe how the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) are to be administered under ideal conditions. We recognize that the SFSTs will not always be administered under ideal conditions in the field, because such conditions will not always exist. Even when administered under less than ideal conditions, they will generally serve as valid and useful indicators of impairment. Slight variations from the ideal, i.e., the inability to find a perfectly smooth surface at roadside, may have some affect on the evidentiary weight given to the results. However, this does not necessarily make the SFSTs invalid.

Why target the preface?  It is this author’s opinion that the preface was being used by DUI defense attorneys to place the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in proper context before the jury in DUI prosecutions.  Just like other areas, the government would rather hide behind words rather than give attorneys defending citizens’ freedom something that has proven to aid jurors in laying bear the problems with these tests. Now more than ever, it is important to have an attorney who understands what they are doing and why they are doing it.  Sadly, many attorneys will never know of the change and more innocent people will be convicted based on pseudo-scientific stupid human tricks.

Please check back as my review of the changes to the NHTSA Guide will continue.

Ohio DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

 Find information on the standardized field sobriety test Guide and other city-specific info at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

MADD and NHTSA Push For Expanded Use of Ignition Interlock Devices

December 30th, 2013

 ignition-interlock

Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their government partners at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration want 2014 to be the year that all states expand the use of ignition interlock devices to include anyone convicted of a drunk driving offense.

Currently, ignition interlock devices are used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, states vary widely in how the ignition interlock devices are used and which drivers are required to install them. In West Virginia, for example, interlock devices are only ordered at a judge’s discretion while Michigan mandates their use for drivers who are found with a BAC more than twice the state’s legal limit.  In Ohio, ignition interlock devices are required for any driver accused of a second OVI (drunk driving) offense and are otherwise discretionary to the judge.  NHTSA and MADD want to eliminate these discrepancies and urge the adoption of a model rule which covers first-time offenders with a BAC just over the legal limit and would require the installation of ignition interlock devices on hundreds of thousands more vehicles.  Currently, only 20 states require the devices for anyone convicted of a drunken driving-related offense.

Studies show that ignition interlock devices are about 75 percent effective in keeping those previously convicted of drunken driving from repeating their behavior. While there are numerous different designs, the typical ignition interlock requires the driver to blow into a tube that measures breath alcohol levels. If a person fails he or she may try again, for up to three attempts before the vehicle is locked down.  Other versions may also use cameras to record a person’s behavior behind the wheel. Courts may access the data recorded and, in some jurisdictions, a motorist who blew over the limit may face additional penalties.  Ignition Interlock devices typically cost about $75 and may run $50 a month or more to maintain.

 

Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

 Find information on Ignition Interlock devices on this blog, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

 

OVI Breath Tests: Faulty Assumptions

July 31st, 2013

English: Bronchial anatomy detail of alveoli a...

Why do Ohio OVI attorneys question OVI breath tests?

Each of our lungs contain about 300 million small air sacs called “alveoli” that are responsible for the air exchange that keeps us alive.  In the alveoli, oxygen from the inhaled air is exchanged for carbon dioxide.  Air finds its way to the alveoli via the trachea which divides into the two main stems (bronchi) of the lungs.  From there, the air passes through sub-bronchi that may subdivide over 23 times.  As the air is passing through the lungs it passes over a rich layer of mucus which warms and humidifies it.

Like the exchange of carbon dioxide, when ethanol (drinking alcohol) is present, it too is exchanged in the lungs via the alveoli.  It is an inefficient system of exchange and we know this because you can smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage if a person has recently consumed.  The amount of alcohol that leaves the blood to via alveoli exchange is critically dependent on the blood alcohol concentration and the peculiarities of the person’s lung.

Drunk driving defense attorneys have long argued that the differences between human breathing and the dynamics of alcohol exchange at the alveoli level make the comparison questionable for purposes of evidential breath testing.  This exchange and its proposed value is based on Henry’s law, a chemical law which states that the proportion of alcohol contained in an air sample is comparable to the amount of alcohol contained in the blood.  Henry W., Experiments on the Quantity of Gases Absorbed by Water at Different Temperatures and Under Different Pressures. Philos Transcripts of the Royal Society 93:29-42, 1803.

If you have ever opened a cold beer you are familiar with Henry’s Law.  As the drink is poured small gas bubbles escape into the atmosphere.  Why? It is due to the decrease in pressure caused by opening the bottle and the increased if you pour the liquid into a glass which is hotter than the refrigerated beer bottle.

We can attack the operation of Henry’s Law in the accusation of drunk driving when a person is over-heated due to an illness or physical exertion like dancing.  The higher the temperature, the higher a breath test will be according to science.  Breathing patterns can also affect the concentration of alcohol in a breath sample.  This variation is primarily caused by the difference between the ambient air temperature and that of the human body.  Since it is impossible for any breath testing device to sample the air exchange at the alveolar level, it has to assume that the air coming out is of an equivalent alcohol concentration based on Henry’s Law.  It cannot and does not take into account any differences in the individual, the individual’s lungs or the differences in temperature between the ambient air and the sample.

Read more about the breath machine’s assumptions at Halstala, M.P. Physiological Errors Associated With Alcohol Breath Testing. The Champion 10:16-39, 1985.
 
Much of the information in this article comes from the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists.  Specifically the Proceedings of the 27th International Meeting held in Perth, Australia on October 19-23, 1990.
 

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in DaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg, Huber Heights,Beavercreek, and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook,www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.comor write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

Alcohol’s Impact On Motorcycle Operation

July 8th, 2013

Motorcycle Parking DSC_0015

It is harder to control a motorcycle than it is to drive a car.  The motorcycle requires a need for greater coordination and balance.  Motorcycle accidents also carries a considerably greater risk of injury or death.  An assessment of operating performance of experienced motorcyclists using a motorcycle simulator reveal positive correlations between potentially fatal errors and breath alcohol levels well below the then-accepted legal limit of intoxication of 0.10 g/dL (Colburn et al., 1993).  Performance decrements were noted as BAC increased from 0.038-0.059 g/dL (Robinson et al., 1990).

Motorcyclists drink at a higher percentage than car/truck drivers, but the motorcycle operators have an overall lower BAC than those arrested for impaired driving in a car or truck (Watson et al.,  1992).  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes are 2.5 times more likely to have consumed alcohol than passenger vehicle drivers.  In 2007, the number of alcohol-impaired motorcyclists in fatal crashes increased by 10 percent while the number of alcohol-impaired drivers of passenger cars declined 6 percent.  (NHTSA defines “alcohol impaired” for vehicle operators over 21 with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) measured over the 50-state legal limit of 0.08 grams/deciliter.)

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also developed a guide specific to motorcycle operators.  The basis of this motorcycle guide are based on a 1993 study, The Detection of DWI Motorcyclists, DOT HS 807 839, March 1993; Jack W. Stuster, Anacapa Sciences Inc., wherein police reports were used to identify “cues” of impaired drivers.  Over 100 “cues” were narrowed down to 14.  NHTSA lables 7 of these “cues” as “excellent” predictors of impairment and 7 are considered “good” predictors of impairment.  According to NHTSA “excellent” is defined as having a greater than 50% predictive capability.  ”Good” means that the tests are 30-50% predictive (much less than a coin toss).

The “cues” that police officers look for when investigating impaired motorcycle operators are:

Excellent Cues (50% or greater probability)

  • Drifting during a turn or curve
  • Trouble with a dismount
  • Trouble with balance at a stop
  • Turning problems (unsteady, sudden corrections, late breaking, improper lean angle)
  • Inattentive to surroundings
  • Inappropriate or unusual behavior (carrying or dropping and object, urinating at roadside, disorderly conduct)
  • Weaving
Good Cues (30-49% probability)
  • Erratic movement while going straight
  • Operating without lights at night
  • Recklessness
  • Following too closely
  • Running stop light or sign
  • Evasion
  • Wrong way
The guide does not tie the cues to any correlated BAC.  Instead it simply uses the cues to say that a driver is “DWI” without defining what that means in terms of BAC or impairment.  Another glaring problem with the study is the fact that experienced police officers do not think it is valid.  At page three the guide states, “…some officers, even those with many years of experience reported they believe there are no cues that can be used to distinguish DWI from unimpaired motorcycle operation.”  My own anecdotal evidence suggests that, given the increased possibility of grievous injury,  police officers hold motorcyclists to a higher standard and are more likely to assess any alcohol consumption on a motorcycle as dangerous.  Given the studies, this bias may be well-founded.
DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

Dayton DUI: Don’t Pay Your Reinstatement Fee Until Your Case Is Over…

June 10th, 2013

Charles M. Rowland II may be able to get your reinstatement fee lowered from $475.00 to $40.00.  Whether or not he can do this is not decided until the end of the case.  So Don’t Pay Right Away!

In Ohio, any person who operates a vehicle within the state of Ohio is legally presumed to have given his or her consent to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine to determine alcohol content if arrested for OVI (drunk driving).  According to Ohio Revised Code 4511.191, if probable cause exists to believe that you are operating a vehicle while impaired (commonly called a DUI) and you refuse to take a chemical test at the request of law enforcement, your license will be suspended immediately. Depending on previous offenses or refusals, you can have your license suspended for a period of 1 year to 5 years.  After a second offense your vehicle may also be immobilized.  If you take the evidential chemical test and receive a BAC result of .08 or higher, you will receive an Administrative License suspension (ALS) for a period of 90 days – 5 years, depending on how offenses you have on your record.  See, Ohio’s Implied Consent Law, here.  Issues involving juveniles, CDL operators, felony offenses, accident cases and repeat offenders require special attention and should be thoroughly discussed with your DUI attorney.

The arresting officer will forward a copy of the Administrative License Suspension to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  The Ohio BMV will then send you a letter advising you of the suspension and giving you information on how to reinstate your license.  What they don’t tell you is that upon entry of a plea in your case, the Automatic License Suspension will terminate.  If you plead guilty to OVI (drunk driving) or enter a no-contest plea to OVI (drunk driving) the automatic license suspension will terminate. O.R.C. 4511.191.  Ohio law requires the court to suspend your license upon entry of a plea to an OVI offense (example: a first-time OVI offender has a mandatory license suspension of a minimum of six (6) months).  Effectively, your ALS suspension will end and a court suspension will begin.  After serving the term of your suspension, reinstatement of your license is required before you can legally drive.  If, however, your attorney is successful in garnering a reduction to Reckless Operation, O.R.C. 4511.20, and getting the court to agree to terminate your ALS suspension, your reinstatement fee may be dramatically reduced (from $475.00 to $40.00).  Thus, paying the reinstatement fee prior to the end of your case may be unnecessary and unduly expensive.  If you find yourself facing the loss of your license due to an ALS/refusal suspension, it is important that you speak to a DUI attorney right away.

Protecting Your License After Your DUI Is Over

OK, your DUI/OVI case has been resolved… Now what? Here are ten common-sense rules that will guide you through any difficulties that arise after your case.  By following these rules you will reduce the chance that you will have continuing issues with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  Your attorney is your best source of help if you do encounter any problems and should be the first person you call.

  1. Make sure the Ohio BMV knows how to reach you. The burden is upon you to notify them of any address change. Courts will accept their statement that they sent you information at your last known address as valid even if you did not get it.
  2. Make sure the court knows how to reach you.  As with the BMV, the court will send valid notices to your last known address.  Not keeping this information current can be disastrous.  If your probation officer cannot reach you, he/she may issue a warrant for your arrest.
  3. Follow the rules!  If you are required to attend a weekend intervention program and/or sign up for treatment, please do so.  Not attending a program and/or missing a schedule evaluation usually results in a letter being sent to the court.  The court, in turn, schedules a hearing on why you have disobeyed.  The hard work of your attorney can be undone.  It is also important to realize that most weekend intervention programs run on a tight schedule.  They can and will lock you out of the program for being late.
  4. Follow all the rules!  It is much easier for your attorney to obtain a new driving privilege order than to defend you for driving under suspension.  Please drive only on valid privileges. If your job and/or hours change, make sure the changes are reflected on your order.  You should also only drive at the time and to the location provided for in your order.
  5. Show proof of insurance to everyone, all the time, every where…at least twice.  The police officer can mark proof of insurance.  Your attorney can show proof of insurance prior to the disposition of your case.  The judge can mark proof of insurance on the file and the proof can be maintained in the file.  However, the BMV should be sent a separate notice of proof at least two weeks prior to filing for reinstatement.
  6. Pay your reinstatement fee.  At least two weeks prior to the end of your suspension arrive at the BMV with your proof of insurance and your reinstatement fee.  I have abandoned giving the advice to mail it in.  Suck it up and go to the BMV in person.  You are likely to have proof that day and all issues will be solved.  You are not valid until the reinstatement fee is paid.
  7. Pay your court fees and costs on time.  Failure to do so may result in jail time, driving suspensions and/or monetary fines.  The failure to pay fines may also impact your probation.
  8. Renew your license on time even if you are under suspension.  Many times people will avoid paying the renewal during a suspension.  This is not a good idea.  To be valid at the end of your suspension, you must have a valid license.  Unwittingly, you may put yourself in the awful position of having to re-test.
  9. If you need identification during a DUI case, please contact the BMV for a “temporary” i.d.  Do not under any circumstances get a state issued identification because this will cancel your license and you will be required to re-test.
  10. Keep my number.  We pride ourselves on providing services to our clients after their OVIcases have been concluded.  Contact Charles M. Rowland II at 937-318-1DUI (318-1384) if you run into any problems with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter@DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI.”