With medical marijuana legal in Washington, D.C., there have been some questions raised about what to do with individuals who drive after smoking. If the individual has some marijuana in his or her system but it is not impairing his or her ability to drive, should that be a crime? At what point does marijuana even affect the ability to drive? These are questions that, up until now, researchers have not been able to answer, but a new study could provide the answers.
With the District of Columbia's history of arresting people who were far from intoxicated for drunk driving, it is likely that residents of Washington, D.C., are somewhat concerned that they will be pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Especially with the District's announcement that it will try to reintroduce breath tests in the near future, District drivers may want to look into a new product called the Breathalyzer Equalizer.
For quite a while, anyone passing through Washington, D.C., had to worry about police and the District's odd drunken driving policies. Though Metropolitan Police stopped using breath tests to check motorists suspected of drunk driving after it was discovered that the breath tests could overestimate the amount of alcohol in a person's system by 20 percent, the D.C. Council has proposed a bill that would resume breath tests. It remains to be seen what will make these breath tests different from the previously erroneous ones.
Since medical marijuana was first approved in 2010, there have been some changes in how the Washington, D.C., government looks at marijuana usage, so much so that the mayor recently said that District officials should keep an open mind about relaxing or decriminalizing recreational marijuana use. As it is, someone charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession can be sentenced to prison for six months and be forced to pay a $1,000 fine. This is double the punishment that someone would face if they had just crossed the border into Montgomery County.
It is a cornerstone of the American legal system that someone is presumed innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she is guilty. One of the ways that the courts protect this right is by only trying someone in front of an unbiased and impartial jury. Trying to defend against a criminal charge in front of anything less puts a suspect in an extremely difficult and dangerous position. A former member of the Taliban's recent extradition to the United States and conviction of serious drug charges in Washington, D.C., calls into question whether he truly had an unbiased and impartial jury.
What would you do if you were being arrested by a Washington, D.C., police officer? If you were originally trying to resist arrest or even just make it more difficult for the officer to put handcuffs on you, is it possible you could be found guilty of criminal assault, too? Luckily, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals recently ruled that the government must show that an arrestee intends to assault a police officer before he or she can be convicted of an additional simple assault charge.
Whenever a young suspect pleads guilty to a crime, it calls into question the voluntariness of his plea. It is tremendously stressful to be charged with murder and nearly everyone would be reasonably afraid of losing at trial. Under such stress and fear, it is possible that a suspect might not make wise choices. He or she may not request legal counsel when it is absolutely vital to speak with a lawyer. He or she may decide to plead guilty when an experienced criminal defense attorney would be able to help. When the suspect is young, however, it is easier for police and the prosecutor to play up a suspect's fears.