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Conditions that may cause a breath test malfunction

People in Missouri who submit a breath test that shows they have a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit might want to ask to be taken to the police station if they know they are not drunk. Most of the portable devices carried by law enforcement use fuel cell technology, and certain conditions may cause them to report a person as erroneously having a high blood alcohol content. Devices using infrared spectroscopy, which are usually available at the police station, can give a more accurate reading. People can also request a blood test.

A Texas attorney got DUI charges against his client dropped on the grounds that the client was in ketosis. Ketosis is caused from a low-carb diet, and it causes the liver to generate acetone. This substance may be released as isopropyl alcohol as a person breathes. The attorney says the fuel cells in portable breath tests read isopropyl and ethanol alcohol in the same way. According to one study published in 2006, a man who was on a low-carb diet couldn't start his employer's car, which required a breath test to unlock the ignition. It also used fuel cells.

Missouri man faces life in prison for driving drunk

Prosecutors in Missouri say that a 56-year-old Greene County man could be sent to prison for the rest of his life after being charged as habitual drunk driver. The Springfield resident was charged with his eighth DWI in August 2018. On April 22, a warrant was issued for the man's arrest after he had been designated as a habitual offender on April 19. He has been charged with a Class B felony that carries a custodial sentence of between 10 years and life. A records check reveals that he was convicted of his first DWI in 1983.

The man's most recent brush with the law came after concerned citizens called the Springfield Police Department to report a possibly intoxicated driver. The callers told emergency operators that they saw an Isuzu Rodeo SUV strike a parked car as it entered a South Luster Avenue apartment complex parking lot. Responding police officers claim the man was so intoxicated that he was unable to stand without assistance. His blood alcohol concentration was allegedly .256 percent at the time. This is more than three times the .08 percent legal limit in Missouri.

Time spent in prison by innocent people reaches new high

Missouri residents might like to know about the new records regarding exonerations from prison set in 2018. Last year, 151 people were exonerated after serving a combined total of 1,639 years in prison, resulting in an average of 11 years for each person. The National Registry of Exonerations tracks data involving people released from prison after being falsely convicted, and the group said the amount of time spent behind bars is a new record.

Perhaps related to the longer amount of time served, another milestone occurred in 2018 related to the time falsely imprisoned people spent locked up. TNRE tracks exonerations that happened from 1989 to the present, and the length of time spent in prison by all exonerated people has now exceeded 20,000 years.

Do police always have to read your Miranda rights?

Most citizens learn that the police must read you your Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”) when you’re arrested. We learn that if this doesn’t happen, we get to go free. This scenario is possible, but don’t rely on that happening.

In fact, there are a couple of scenarios when the police don’t have to read you your Miranda Rights. This runs contrary to the common misconception that they must read them off.

Man facing drug trafficking and resisting arrest charges

A routine traffic stop in Missouri during the early morning hours of March 23 led to felony drug trafficking charges for a 39-year-old New Franklin man according to a report from the Boone County Sheriff's Department. The man has also been charged with tampering with evidence, resisting arrest and property damage. Media accounts indicate that he was released from the Boone County Jail after posting a $12,000 bond.

According to a BCSD report, the man's vehicle was stopped by deputies on State Route VV in the vicinity of Hinton Road because it was unregistered and its license plate light was not working. During the traffic stop, the deputy involved said that he noticed a glass pipe between the man's legs. The deputy claims that the man resisted his attempts to inventory his possessions but was subdued when more deputies arrived at the scene. Deputies say that they eventually discovered and seized methamphetamine from the man with an estimated street value of $6,000.

How to avoid drunk driving during spring break

Every year, there is an increased push throughout Missouri and the rest of America to combat drunk driving during spring break. Spring break usually means that more young people are vacationing and on the road. Drinking is often involved, and there is a high probability of someone getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

However, getting behind the wheel while drunk on spring break doesn't have to be inevitable. There are steps that one can take to protect themselves from potential dangers.

Bill increases penalties for fentanyl, GHB possession

One bill in the Missouri state legislature aims to increase penalties for certain drug charges. According to the bill, possession or distribution of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate, and some drugs classified as "date-rape drugs" would be classified as first- or second-degree felonies. The legislation would also apply to fentanyl derivatives such as carfentanil. As a result, people could face prison sentences of three years to life if convicted on these charges.

To some extent, the bill comes in response to the growing number of fatal overdoses associated with the opiate crisis. In 2017, over 950 people in Missouri died of opioid overdoses, and many of these deaths have been associated with fentanyl. Fentanyl is often combined with other opiate drugs such as heroin in order to enhance its potency, but it can be particularly dangerous if users do not know the concentration of fentanyl in their drugs. One legislator said that fentanyl dealing has generally been prosecuted under current laws, as it is typically combined with heroin. However, she said that fentanyl on its own is not yet classified as a controlled substance, and it is being sold for combination with other drugs.

What to know about involuntary manslaughter charges

If someone is accidentally killed in Missouri, it could be labeled as involuntary manslaughter. It could also be referred to as criminally negligent homicide. A person could also face such a charge if he or she was in the act of committing another crime and an individual was killed as a result. For example, a person who drives a car while under the influence of alcohol may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if an accident results in someone else's death.

The same could be true if a person is texting and driving prior to causing an accident that results in a person's death. Those who kill another person while operating a boat or car while drunk will be charged with first degree involuntary manslaughter. All other cases will result in a second degree charge. Both can be considered felonies, and it is possible to spend up to 15 years in prison on a first degree involuntary manslaughter charge.

How language and dialect can influence criminal cases

Prisons and jails in Missouri and around the country have a disproportionately high number of black inmates. Civil rights groups say that this is the result of systemic racism in the criminal justice system and have referred to the mass incarceration of African-Americans as the new Jim Crow, but there are situations where the unfair treatment black defendants receive is unintentional rather than malicious.

A study scheduled to be published in the academic journal Language discusses how the way black defendants speak can be difficult for white transcribers and stenographers to understand, and it also reveals that seemingly innocuous mistakes can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Researchers found that transcribers could only paraphrase one in three sentences spoken by African-Americans correctly, and they made errors 40 percent of the time.

Right to an attorney heads to state Supreme Court

Missouri – which has one of the worst records for funding public defenders in the country – will see its public defender system on trial in front of the state Supreme Court.

At issue is decades of underfunding by state lawmakers which causes public defenders to take on three to four times the number of indigent clients than recommended. The situation effectively means poor people who face trial in Missouri have no Sixth Amendment rights.

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I don't stop working just because it's after 5 p.m. My clients can always reach me after hours and on weekends. I also visit clients in jail when necessary. I keep my rates affordable because I know, when facing a criminal charge, you can't afford not to have a criminal defense lawyer. Contact me, criminal defense attorney Andrew Christie, today at 816-533-3456 to schedule a free consultation.

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