While a Breathalyzer test can accurately report the amount of alcohol in a person's system (allowing police to determine a driver's level of intoxication), there hasn't been a roadside test available for detecting marijuana or other drugs. Scientists across the nation have been working for years to develop such a test for marijuana that goes beyond the usual behavioral indicators police tend to look for in someone who is intoxicated.
If one isn't careful, a DWI arrest can happen to just about anyone. Recently, a Pawling Village Court justice was arrested and now faces the possibility of a second DWI conviction.
A recent decision from a federal appeals court in another state might be of interest to our readers here in Poughkeepsie, New York. The court decided that a woman could pursue her case against a state trooper who stopped her, conducted field sobriety tests and then arrested her for drunk driving. Urine tests proved that she was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol of any kind.
When determining your motor skills and ability to drive during a traffic stop, New York police use the same field sobriety tests, whether they believe you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of other drugs. If police believe you are under the influence of prescription drugs or narcotics they can still conduct a battery of tests to determine your ability to drive and arrest you for Driving While Ability Impaired or DWAI.
New York is one of 38 states that conduct checkpoints to canvass drivers who may be operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The other 12 states do not conduct sobriety checkpoints because they are prohibited by law, based on that state's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In Alaska, officers do not conduct checkpoints because the legislature simply has not given them authority to do so.