Monday, February 27, 2012

Alcohol and Global Regulation

The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented alcohol abuse and has made recommendations on how to reduce alcohol related incidents and death. According to one health policy expert Devi Sridhar, an expert at Oxford University WHO, we should regulate alcohol at a global level. Such enforcements would regulate a minimum drinking age, zero tolerance for drunk drivers, and bans on unlimited drink specials. According to this article from Yahoo news, alcohol kills more than 2.5 million people a year and is the top health risk factor for the middle class. Alcohol ranks as a higher risk factor than obesity, smoking, and inactivity.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Update on Source Code Litigation

            For years prosecutors and defense attorneys in Florida have been battling over the use of breath testing instruments. Defense attorneys have vigorously sought release of the intoxilzyer “source code”. Most judicial circuits in Florida have held that the “source code” is a trade secret and exempt from release. What the source code contains is scientific terms on how these devices gathers and interprets evidence gathered during a breath sample.

            Recently, the 3rd District court of Appeals affirmed a lower courts ruling that the intoxilyzer results cannot be used as “presumptive evidence” of an intoxication until the device’s reliability is revealed and explained. According to this article in Keys News, prosecutors must call expert witnesses to explain how the machine works.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Violation of Florida Administrative Code may compromise DUI cases in Hernando County

            The administration and operation of breath testing instruments throughout the State of Florida is governed by the Florida Administrative Code. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is entrusted with the responsibility of: (1) the regulation of the operation, inspection and registration of breath test instruments; (2) the regulation of the individuals who operate and inspect evidentiary breath test instruments; and (3) the regulation of blood analysts who conduct blood alcohol testing. The mission statement of FDLE states they strive “to enhance public safety by ensuring the accuracy and scientific reliability of evidentiary blood and breath alcohol tests, facilitating enforcement of Implied Consent Laws and Administrative Rules, and promoting the qualifications and professionalism of persons responsible for blood and breath alcohol analyses in the State of Florida”. A certified breath test operator in Hernando County resigned after she could no longer vouch for the accuracy of the instruments she oversaw. Fran Greifenberger resigned on May 19th because deputies entered her office without permission and tampered with instruments and viewed evidence without her knowledge. It is a violation of Florida Administrative Code for unlicensed individuals to come into contact breath testing instruments. This security breach may now affect pending and recently resolved DUI’s in Hernando County. See this article from the St. Petersburg Times for the details and the response from the State Attorney’s Office.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Drinking and the Individual

In Florida and throughout the United States it is illegal to drive with a blood or breath alcohol of .08 or higher. How many drinks does it take before a person reaches that level? The answer is not as simple as a per hour drink calculation. The usual factors such as gender, height, weight, and recent food consumption are what we normally take into consideration. But recent reports indicate there is much more to consider. Factors such as ethnicity, fatigue, stress, illness, depression, and prescribed medications all play a part in how alcohol can impact person’s normal faculties.  According to this article in the Wall Street Journal weight factors more heavily than height, and age plays a pretty significant role in how the liver metabolizes alcohol. If you or someone you know has been charged with D.U.I give us a call for a free consultation.