Interesting Court Decisions in DUI Cases
Prosecutors sometimes use a “relation-back” calculation to determine blood alcohol content when charging someone with a Los Angeles DUI. The theory is that chemists or other experts can look at the results of a blood test taken a few hours after an arrest and calculate what the BAC content would have been at the time the police officer pulled the driver over.
Now a judge in Vermont has ruled that the state can’t use such evidence.
According to WCAX and NECN (New England Cable News), Judge Howard Van Benthuysen of the Orleans County Criminal Court ruled that the “relation-back” calculations are unreliable. He cited scientific evidence that shows alcohol leaves people’s bloodstreams at very different rates.
With his decision, Judge Van Benthuysen threw out the BAC in 25 DUI driving cases before the court. There’s no word yet about whether or not the prosecutor will appeal the ruling to a higher court. In Michigan, meanwhile, the state’s appeals court has ruled that operating your car in a driveway while under the influence does not constitute DUI.
The case started when police responded to a complaint about loud music in a backyard in Northville. They arrived at the scene to find an unidentified man, allegedly intoxicated, sitting behind the wheel of his Cadillac. The man had backed his car out of the garage and then backed into it. Officers charged him with DUI.
A lower court judge had ruled that driving a car in a driveway did not meet Michigan’s definition of DUI, which involves driving on a pavement that’s “generally accessible” to other vehicles. Prosecutors appealed that decision, but the appeals court sided with the defendant in a 2-1 decision. The judges pulled out a dictionary during the court session to explain their reasoning.
If you need to develop a sound, systematic defense to a Los Angeles DUI charge, call experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Law Group.