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Boulder Legal Issues Blog

Review: Alcotest 9510 source code flawed, challenged in courts

The Alcotest 9510, a breath testing machine used by numerous police agencies, has been challenged in court in several states. Now, a report from two software engineering consultants who reviewed its source code has been distributed. That report is no longer available for intellectual property reasons, but the consultants expressed serious concerns about the reliability of the test results.

In 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court tested an Alcotest breath machine using the same underlying code. Although the court found it "generally scientifically reliable," it ordered law enforcement to make some critical changes to the configuration. Although defense attorneys contend that the changes were never made, the court reaffirmed five years later that the machine was reliable and its results were admissible in court.

3 things to know about underage drinking and driving in Colorado

In Colorado, the legal driving limit for Driving Under the Influence is 0.08. This means that if your blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher -- and you are pulled over by police -- you will most likely end up being arrested and ticketed for driving under the influence. If you are stopped and have a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.079, you will likely be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired. However, if you are under the age of 21, even a much lower blood alcohol content will result in a criminal charge.

Dog bites carry serious risk of infection

Dogs are wonderful. They can be affectionate and playful and can quickly become a member of the family. However, it is important to remember that dogs are still very much animals and can react to stimuli in unpredictable ways. When scared or in protection-mode, for example, a normally friendly dog can bite.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 4.5 million dog bites per year. In looking at who is most likely to be bit -- while it can certainly happen to anyone -- children and men are most at risk.

What happens after a loud party is shut down?

Parties can quickly get out of hand. As more and more people show up, the crowd starts to swell. As more people talk, the music gets louder. As more drinks are poured, competing to be heard, voices grow louder and louder. Suddenly, the police are there, asking for the person in charge.

If you were the person -- or one of the people -- responsible for throwing the party, it is not surprising that you are also the now the one having to deal with the criminal charge or charges. While many of the partygoers just went home for the night, you may be the one left to pick up the legal pieces.

What are the potential consequences for a DUI charge in Colorado?

Every year in Colorado, thousands of people are pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired. During the holiday season, police are going to be out in full force, looking for signs of drivers who may have had a few drinks with friends or family.

Since so many drivers end up in this situation -- and almost everyone knows someone with a DUI or DWAI on their record -- many people mistakenly think that a drunk driving charge is not a big deal. This assumption could not be further from the truth.

Understanding Domestic Violence

Dating abuse. Dating violence. Abusive dating behaviors. There are many words that we use to describe domestic violence. Many people think that domestic violence is rare, or that it is not something that occurs in their age cohort, the truth is that domestic violence occurs among college students too. College students can find unexpectedly find themselves the victims of domestic abuse.

Drug overdoses and drug charges

Colorado has seen changes to its drug laws in recent years, perhaps most notably in the area of recreational use of marijuana. Other recent changes have made the opportunity to seal convictions for drug-related offenses available to a wider range of people. Many courts and prosecutor's offices throughout the state have developed more sophisticated and effective ways to address drug-related charges. Still, Colorado's laws continue to impose serious consequences for drug possession and distribution. This evolving area of law reflects the criminal justice system's response to issues related to controlled substances in Colorado's communities.

An upsetting and unfortunate number of people pass away due to drug overdoses in the state of Colorado each year. According to the Colorado Health Department, preliminary data points to an increase in heroin and cocaine overdoses. Some say this increase is due to the crackdown on prescription painkillers, leading many users of hydrocodone and oxycodone to turn to other drugs.

Trump's opioid crisis panel calls for greater use of drug courts

Seven months ago, President Trump launched a commission to develop solutions to the worst drug crisis in American history -- opioids. The commission, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has just issued its recommendations. Among them are more training for doctors who prescribe the drugs, penalties for insurance companies that fail to pay for drug treatment, and the establishment of drug courts in all 93 federal court jurisdictions.

Drug courts are typically diversion programs. In exchange for successful completion of a supervised addiction treatment program, offenders can have their charges and/or sentences reduced or eliminated. The goal is to get desperate people the help they need to get off of the drug rather than pointlessly incarcerating them.

Colorado's Law Against Texting and Driving

In the last few years, texting and driving has become a focus of many transportation and police departments across the country. As studies continue to show distracted driving as a major cause of car accidents, many states have strengthened their laws prohibiting it. Colorado is no exception.

Should wiretap evidence be allowed when it exceeds jurisdiction?

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a 10th Circuit drug case involving wiretap evidence. A federal judge in the District of Kansas issued a wiretap order against two suspects, but the modern wiretap process allowed law enforcement to listen even when the phones were outside that district. Should a Kansas District wiretap order be effective wherever its targets travel? Should evidence collected outside of the Kansas District be allowed against the defendants?

The federal judge in Kansas issued the wiretap under the authority of the Omnibus Crime and Safe Streets Act of 1968, a law written long before modern cellphone technology. It authorizes federal judges to issue wiretap orders within their territorial jurisdiction. When all phones were land lines, there would have been no question of those phones moving outside the judge's jurisdiction.

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