If you've ever been pulled over in a traffic stop in Tennessee, you know there's no way to predict how such events will unfold. Sometimes, a police officer simply issues a type of warning to a driver then frees him or her to drive on to the intended destination. Other times, detainment lasts much longer and may even result in an arrest for suspicion of drunk driving or some other criminal offense. The law protects motorists, so police can not simply file random charges against them for no apparent reason.
Last week we featured a blog entry seeking to answer the question, can you be tested for marijuana during a DUI stop? The quick answer to the question is that there's not enough data to provide a solid answer. Every state, including Tennessee, has blood alcohol content limits beyond which impairment is legally presumed. The same can't be said, however, for marijuana. The science isn't well established.
In Tennessee, driving while impaired is a serious offense. If a law enforcement officer suspects that you are driving while under the influence of an impairing substance, the officer will likely pull you over and ask you to perform field sobriety testing. There are three standardized tests utilized nationwide, one of which is the one-leg stand test.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a reputation as a drug warrior. He is on record as having once said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was: "OK until I found out they smoked pot." He insists he was joking, but more recent statements reinforce the view that he holds a get-tough attitude when it comes to prosecuting individuals charged with drug crimes.
More and more states across the country are entertaining the idea of legalizing marijuana, whether for medical purposes or recreationally. As marijuana consumption has moved from the shadows and into the mainstream, serious questions are being raised about how to police it and how to enforce it. However, there are also questions being raised on how to track its impact in cases involving driving while under the influence.
Who reading this right now ever took a drink of alcohol before they were old enough? Underage nipping is not a rarity in Tennessee or any other state. Every state outlaws it, though some states provide some exceptions depending on location or whether parents or guardians give their consent. In Tennessee, though, there are no exceptions.
With the current legislative term nearing its end, it can safely be said that the last few months have been anything but dull in the Tennessee General Assembly. Indeed, the state Senate and House of Representatives have been busy debating and voting on legislation covering everything from school bus safety and rural broadband access to road funding and school vouchers.
Long-time fans of "Law and Order" will know the character Det. Lennie Briscoe, portrayed by actor Jerry Orbach. Many's the time he had confrontations with superiors and attorneys as he worked to build his case. He often would say, "Yeah, but we got an eyewitness," as if that was some sort of trump card.