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Marijuana breath tests may be of little use in the real world

Police officers in Missouri and around the country use portable breath-testing devices to find out if motorists are driving under the influence of alcohol, but they currently have no tools that can effectively identify marijuana impairment. Several companies are attempting to solve this problem by developing devices that measure THC levels using a breath sample, but this kind of equipment may not provide much in the way of reliable evidence even if it functions properly.

Establishing that a driver is impaired by marijuana is a challenge because THC does not affect the body in the same way alcohol does. A blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher is enough to intoxicate even a heavy drinker, but regular marijuana smokers develop a tolerance for the drug. This means that high levels of THC in the blood are not enough to establish intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt.

SUV that struck MSP vehicle allegedly contained heroin

A 30-year-old Missouri man with a long history of run-ins with the police found himself on the wrong side of the law again on the evening of Sept. 2 when his Chevrolet SUV struck the rear end of a police car on Interstate 55. The Bloomsdale resident was initially cited for dangerous driving and driving with a revoked driver's license, but drug and drug paraphernalia possession charges were added after 30 heroin capsules and other items were allegedly discovered in his vehicle.

The incident took place at approximately 6:30 p.m. on the northbound lanes of Interstate 55 near Interstate 270 in St. Louis County. A Missouri Highway Patrol trooper suffered minor injuries in the crash and his vehicle sustained damage that initial reports suggest will cost about $15,000 to repair. The trooper was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. The man, who is said to have refused treatment at the scene, was transported to a police facility in Arnold for processing.

How does constructive possession impact people driving vehicles?

Anyone who has ever gotten in trouble for having something they shouldn't have knows that denial is often the simplest way to avoid responsibility. If your parents walked into the house and demanded to know who ate the last cookie, so long as you and your siblings all insisted it wasn't you, it was possible that no one would get punished.

Some people apply the same strategy toward law enforcement interactions in motor vehicles. Sometimes, due to an individual traffic stop or an enforcement roadblock, multiple people in a vehicle wind up dealing with law enforcement who find something that shouldn't have been in the car. Police may ask to search a vehicle because of a smell or the behavior of the people inside. If they find something illegal, they will likely want to arrest someone.

Missouri men facing gun, drug, explosives and auto theft charges

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has reported that two men were taken into custody on Aug. 7 after allegedly being caught in a stolen car. Initial reports do not reveal the events that led up to the arrests, but they do indicate that the men face a raft of charges including grand theft auto, narcotics and weapons counts. According to an MSHP report, a 33-year-old Villa Ridge man was apprehended at 10:22 p.m., and a 26-year-old Union man was taken into custody at 10:40 p.m.

The men are alleged to have been found in the possession of an unidentified explosive, at least one firearm, approximately 2 grams of a substance believed to be methamphetamine, 3 grams of a substance believed to be heroin and items of drug paraphernalia. A tampering with motor vehicle charge is likely connected to the alleged theft of the vehicle they were traveling in. Both of the men are also accused of resisting arrest. They are being held at the Franklin County Jail according to a media report.

Relying on a witness to identify the suspect of a crime

Many Missouri residents are aware that if a crime occurs, any person who witnesses the crime may be asked at a later time to identify the person who committed the crime from a lineup. While the person who did commit the crime may actually be in the lineup, there are cases where the authorities have identified the wrong person, meaning there could be an innocent suspect included in the lineup.

While the identification of a person in a lineup is just one piece of evidence, it can be common for the witness identification to be the basis of the authorities' case. The problem is that according to a vast array of research, witnesses commonly make errors and regularly choose a person the authorities know to be innocent. As such, it has to be determined if the witness's memory is accurate.

Missouri man facing drug charges after high-speed chase

A 28-year-old Missouri man faces a raft of felony counts including methamphetamine possession and assaulting a law enforcement officer in the first degree after allegedly leading a Livingston County Sheriff's Office deputy on a high-speed chase and then pointing a loaded handgun at him on the afternoon of July 13. The man is being held without bond at the Daviess Dekalb County Regional Jail and could also face federal charges according to media reports.

A LCSO deputy claims that the man fled the scene at speeds of up to 100 mph when he attempted to pull his motorcycle over in western Livingston County at approximately 4:20 p.m. The deputy says that he initiated the traffic stop because he believed that the man was a felony fugitive. The chase became a foot pursuit a short time later when the man lost control of his motorcycle near a church on U.S. Route 36 in Mooresville.

What are your Miranda Rights by law?

Many people are confused about their Miranda rights and what they are. Miranda rights were granted in 1966 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people taken into custody must be read their Fifth Amendment rights prior to being questioned. These were awarded during the Miranda v. Arizona case, so they have taken on the name "Miranda rights."

What are your Miranda rights, and when do they kick in?

Former NFL player charged with drug possession

Former National Football League wide receiver Dorial Gree-Beckham, who had played for the University of Missouri, was formally charged on June 27 with resisting arrest and possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana. The charges stem from a drug raid conducted by police in Springfield in December 2018. The former football star faces a $500 fine for the marijuana charge and up to one year in jail for the resisting arrest charge.

According to media reports, Green-Beckham was observed entering the residence that Springfield Police Department officers planned to raid carrying a backpack. When police entered the home about 15 minutes later, Green-Beckham allegedly attempted to flee by jumping out of a window. He was apprehended a few moments later by a police officer who is said to have used a Taser to subdue him. Police say that Green-Beckham was not the target of the search warrant.

Supervised release violations are a burden on jails and taxpayers

Almost eight out of 10 of the people sent to jail in Missouri are incarcerated for parole or probation violations according to a report released on June 18 by the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Around the country, states spend $9.3 billion each year jailing individuals who have failed to follow supervised release program rules. About a third of this money is spent on jailing people for minor violations like missing a drug test or violating a curfew.

The CSG report provides the most comprehensive analysis of the problem to date as it is based on information gathered from all 50 states, and it reveals that supervised release programs barely achieve a 50% success rate. Advocates for criminal justice reform say that probation and parole makes life extremely difficult for individuals who are trying to get their lives back on track, and they point to rules prohibiting contact with people who have criminal records that can be virtually impossible to follow in many communities.

Can the body really turn food into alcohol?

Recognizing that the legal repercussions of driving while under the influence of alcohol can be quite severe, many people who are convicted often come up with creative excuses for why their blood alcohol content was too high to be behind the wheel.  

Recently, one man claimed that the reason his BAC was more than four times the legal limit when he was involved in a head-on collision was because his body turned food into alcohol. According to an article published on Vice, the Ohio man said that he had only had one glass of wine before getting behind the wheel, and there would be no other reason for his BAC to be upwards of .32. 

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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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