Judge Throwing Out DUI Cases: Unconstitutional
Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog
As regular readers know, I've railed in past posts about the "DUI Exception to the Constitution" -- the willingness of legislatures and judges to ignore the Bill of Rights in drunk driving cases. Examples of this are the presumptions of guilt that apply in all 50 states, as I pointed out in a post entitled "Whatever Happened to the Presumption of Innocence?".
In yesterday's news is a story about a judge who has apparently had enough and has decided to start following the Constitution in DUI cases:
Va. Judge Disputes Constitutionality Of DUI Law- District Court Judge Dismissing DUI Cases
FAIRFAX, Va. -- A Fairfax County judge is dismissing cases against drivers charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
District Court Judge Ian O'Flaherty said the law prosecutors use to convict drunken drivers is unconstitutional.
A Virginia state trooper sent News4 an e-mail saying police are upset about the dismissals. Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Horan confirmed that the judge is ruling against prosecutors, making it harder to get drunken drivers off the road.
The judge is challenging one of the powers police and prosecutors rely on for arrests and convictions: the results of breath tests given to suspected drunken drivers. Virginia law says that anyone with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or more is presumed to be driving under the influence of alcohol. It is then up to the driver to rebut the presumption or prove he or she wasn't drunk.
O'Flaherty began dismissing DUI charges two weeks ago, ruling that the law is