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National Traffic Safety Board Recommends “the Sniffer”

The National Traffic Safety Board has initiated a recent program called “the Sniffer.”  This recommendation has been overshadowed by reeves-locationsanother recent recommendation that proposes to decrease BAC levels from 0.08% to 0.05%.  However, the second (“Sniffer) recommendation may also have serious implications if enacted.

“The Sniffer” relates to the high visibility enforcement of DWI laws that have been enacted recently such as well publicized media campaigns, visible enforcement efforts such as saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, and swift and certain penalties for drivers arrested for DWI.  Now, none of these adequately explain the Sniffer.  What is the Sniffer?

When officers employ traditional methods of determining driving impairment at a sobriety checkpoint, only about half of all drivers with BAC’s above the legal limit are identified.  The NTSB has recommended that officers use passive alcohol sensors which can tip them off to the presence of alcohol.  These sensors are housed within a flashlight or a clipboard and they detect alcohol vapor sampling the drivers exhaled breath, as well as the air in the car.  Further, it analyzes the sample for alcohol and provides some information about the relative amount of alcohol detected.

The display on the Sniffer ranges from green to red, corresponding to BAC ranges, and they have been used by law enforcement officers across the country for years. In the past, however, law enforcement officers have been prevented from using the device to determine probable cause that a driver has committed an implied-consent offense.  Now the question is whether the Sniffer, if implemented, is a violation of one’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Various techniques that are already in place to detect whether someone has been drinking such as an officer’s own personal perceptions, it may not be too difficult for the NC legislature to enact passive alcohol screening devices.  However, the fact that the device is held within inches of a potential offenders face may be similar to a dog sniff of a person; and the fact that the device detects from within the car may also add some legal implications.

The constitutional inquiry may also implicate the US Supreme Court case, Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001), where law enforcement use of a thermal imaging device to detect heat within a private home implicated the Fourth Amendment.  The holding stated that “obtaining sense-enhancing technology information regarding the interior of a home that could not have otherwise been obtained without physical intrusion into a constitutionally protected area is a search, at least where ‘the technology in question is not in general public use.'” Therefore, the major question is whether the heat sensing technology in Kyllo is similar to the alcohol sensing devices and thus not in general public use.

If you have been charged with a DWI in North Carolina, or a DUI in South Carolina contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP for a confidential consultation.  You can contact our North Carolina office at 704-499-9000, or our Fort Mill, South Carolina office at 803-548-4444.

Woman Charged After Striking Bridge During Drunken Collision

Police in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina have arrested a woman for driving under the influence after she allegedly lost control of her vehicle onCar Accident Attorney the Shem Creek Bridge, smashing concrete and metal railing into the creek.  This occurred around 2:00 a.m., and officer report that they arrived to discover the woman’s SUV on the sidewalk, facing the southbound lane.  The vehicle was also reported to be dangerously wavering off the bridge.

The report states that the SUV had collided with a palm tree in the median before veering back into the railing of the bridge.  Thereafter, the concrete and metal railing splashed into the river.  The 20-year-old driver suffered no injuries, and she reported to police that she had only consumed one alcoholic beverage.  She refused to take field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, according to the police.

She is being charged with driving under the influence, and was taken to the Charleston County Detention Center, where she was issued a $997 surety bond.  Further, according to Mt. Pleasant police, she was previously arrested in late March and charged with public drunkenness, and having a fake driver’s license.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision and DWI charges were issued, it is extremely important for you to call an attorney.  For a confidential consultation, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP at our Baxter Village office located in Fort Mill, South Carolina at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-4444.

Clover SC Man Charged in Connection with a Charlotte Shooting

A Clover, South Carolina man has been charged in connection with a shooting which happenedBlog-Handcuffs in east Charlotte along the 5300 block of Independence Boulevard.  According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the man allegedly fired his gun, at least two times, and struck a 25-year-old in the arm and the leg.

The victim was taken to Carolinas Medical Center for treatment, and the suspect was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm into occupied property, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflict serious injury. He is being held in the Mecklenburg County Jail under a $154,500 bond.

If you someone close to you has been charged with a criminal offense call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP.   If you have been charged in North Carolina, contact our Charlotte office at 704-499-9000; and, if you have been charged in South Carolina call our Baxter Village office in Fort Mill at 803-548-4444. You can also visit our website here.

Over Twenty Homes Raided in Rock Hill, SC Racketeering Bust

More than twenty homes were raided this past July in North and South Carolina as suspected members of the Rock Hill City Nomad Chapter of the Hells Angels were arrested after a two-year federal investigation.  Nineteen alleged members were arrested as a result.  They were arrested after a 91 count indictment was returned charging Hell’s Angels Associates with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, narcotics violations, money laundering, and firearms violations. 

 Arrest and search warrants were issued throughout North and South Carolina where the police uncovered cocaine, marijuana, pills, and roughly 100 firearms. The arrests were carried out by the South Carolina Hells Angels Task Force through efforts to dismantle organized crime, and criminal organizations. picture of motorcycle

 If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious Felony, or criminal offense, call the lawyers who know your rights.  The law offices of Reeves Aiken & Hightower have attorneys licensed to practice in both North and South Carolina, and federal courts.  Contact our North Carolina office at 704-499-9000, our South Carolina office at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-5999.