DUI in a Tesla – What happens when an officer pulls over a self-driving car? Can the officer charge anyone with a DUI in a self-driving Tesla? Some Scholars have written about this and I thought we might review this issue. Tesla automobiles have an autopilot feature. It is not truly self-driving as Tesla has referred to it as semi-autonomous driving. Other car companies have also tried developing autopilot technology.
What happens when an officer pulls over a self-driving car?
Understanding DUI Charges and Self-Driving Teslas
Read on to learn about the legal implications of being pulled over in a self-driving Tesla.
Can an Officer Charge Anyone with a DUI in a Self-Driving Tesla?
Self-driving technology has been gaining momentum in recent years, with companies like Tesla at the forefront of this emerging industry. However, this technology has raised questions about how law enforcement officers will handle DUI charges when it comes to self-driving cars. In the case of a self-driving Tesla, the driver is not technically in control of the vehicle, which complicates matters for law enforcement officials.
Scholars’ Perspectives on the Issue
Legal scholars have written extensively on this topic, and there is no clear consensus on how the law should treat self-driving vehicles. Some argue that the driver is still responsible for any DUI charges that may arise, as they are ultimately in control of the vehicle, even if they are not physically driving it. Others believe that the responsibility should fall on the car’s manufacturer, as they are the ones who designed and produced the vehicle’s self-driving technology.
Navigating the Future of Transportation
As the technology behind self-driving cars continues to develop, it is likely that we will see more legal and regulatory changes in how they are treated under the law. In the meantime, it is important for both law enforcement officials and the general public to educate themselves on the current state of the law and how it may apply in cases involving self-driving vehicles.
Stay informed about the latest developments in self-driving technology and the law by following reputable sources and consulting with legal professionals as needed.
Here are a few sources to support the information presented:
“Self-Driving Cars and the Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Surrounding Autonomous Vehicles” by Bryant Walker Smith, University of South Carolina School of Law
“Autonomous Vehicle Law: An Overview” by Jim Chen, University of Louisville – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
“Regulating Self-Driving Cars” by Matthew W. Daus, Transportation Law Journal
“The End of Traffic Stops? Reimagining Public Safety for the Self-Driving Future” by Bryant Walker Smith, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology
These sources provide in-depth analysis of the legal and regulatory issues surrounding self-driving cars, including the potential implications for DUI charges.
California Highway Patrol Charges Driver With DUI in a Tesla.
In January 2018, in San Francisco, a person in a Tesla car had an alcohol level twice the legal limit. The Tesla’s operator received a DUI. Tesla has instructed drivers using autopilot to maintain consciousness while driving. Also, Tesla tells drivers using autopilot to keep their hands on the steering wheel. In this arrest, the driver explained that the Tesla was on autopilot to the California Highway Patrol. Even with the driver’s explanation, the officer arrested and charged the driver with DUI. The California Highway Patrol tweeted that the car did not drive itself to the tow yard.
Will Florida Officers Charge Drivers With DUI in a Tesla?
Florida law prohibits an intoxicated driver from being in actual physical control of a vehicle. The car does not need to be moving at the time of a DUI arrest. Florida only requires that the vehicle is capable of being moved. The case law discusses the location of the keys and whether or not the car is operable. Under this broad definition of driving that includes the capacity of physical control of the car, it is highly unlikely the operator of a self-driving car would beat a DUI on that defense. It is probable that the court would find the driver was in actual physical control of the vehicle. Hence, some cars equipped with these automatic driving features have contracts that require the user to keep hands on the steering wheel even when the vehicle is in autopilot mode.
Using Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), in FloridaDUI cases and across the nation, law enforcement and prosecutors are trying to circumvent the ability of jurors and Judges to reach their own conclusions as to the impairment, if any, of criminal suspects.
We have obtained training manuals and reviewed the evidence used to support these “experts” and you may also conclude the ability of these witnesses to meet the stringent requirements for admissibility of “scientific” evidence is far from generally accepted within any communities other than law enforcement. Such witnesses should be stricken from Prosecutors’ witness lists. In five minutes you will know: What is the History and Origin of the DRE? What is done during Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) training? Who does the DRE training? What special skills are Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) taught that judges and jurors don’t already have? Does DRE “evidence” meet the standard for admissibility under Florida law and the Daubert standard?
What is the History and Origin of the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE}?
The Los Angeles Police Department developed this area of alleged expertise in the 1970’s. The federal law enforcement agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) soon jumped on the bandwagon. Strikingly, the “certification” is now issued by the cop’s own International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and not by a generally recognized educational or scientific institution.
7 Days to a Better You (DRE)
What is done during DRE training?
A Seven (7) day school is supposed to cover a 706-page manual. The curriculum begins by citing the Frye standard for admissibility, a standard that was abandoned in Florida in 2013 (see discussion below: Does DRE “evidence” meet the standard for admissibility under Florida law and the Daubert standard ? ).
During the 7 day romp, cops are allegedly trained in the following areas: Eye examinations; Physiology; Vital signs; the Central Nervous System; Depressants; Stimulants; Physician’s Desk Reference; Dissociative Anesthetics; Narcotic Analgesics. That is only half of the allegedly scientific in-depth training.
Let’s visit the second half of this highly accelerated educational program: Inhalants, Vital Signs, Cannabis; Signs and Symptoms; Drug combinations; Writing a resume (Curriculum Vitae); and wrap it up with a list of questions defense attorneys will ask when the newly minted expert tries to spew this garbage in court.
Seven days to a better you – In short, street cops become quasi-medical professionals in only one week.
Who does the Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) training?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
What special skills are Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) taught that judges and jurors don’t already have?
None. Generally, witnesses are not allowed to opine on the guilt or innocence of the accused. When police try to use these “experts” they are attempting to tell the jury how to rule and why. Since the alleged expert issues a highly prejudicial opinion on an ultimate issue in the case, courts must allow only legally admissible evidence to reach jurors.
Does Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) “evidence” meet the standard for admissibility under Florida law and the Daubert standard?
No. In July 2013, Section 90.704, Florida Statutes, was amended to read: “Facts or data that are otherwise inadmissible may not be disclosed to the jury by the proponent of the opinion or inference unless the court determines that their probative value in assisting the jury to evaluate the expert’s opinion substantially outweighs their prejudicial effect.” Since, 2013, there is little guidance from courts and judges on the validity of this testimony.
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220 requires disclosure of “reports or statements of experts made in connection with the particular case, including results of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests, experiments, or comparisons . . . .” The rules also discuss, “expert witnesses who have not provided a written report and a curriculum vitae or who are going to testify . . . .” In 1996, the rules also contemplated, “experts who have filed a report and curriculum vitae and who will not offer opinions subject to the Frye test.” FRCP 3.220 at 151 Note ( July 1, 2014).
Florida Drug Recognition Experts DRE are only alleged experts who issue highly prejudicial opinions on ultimate issues in the case, courts must allow only legally admissible evidence to reach jurors under the 2013 amendments to Florida law and the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), General Electric Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136 (1997), and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999), and to no longer apply the standard in Frye v. United States, 293 F.2d 1013 (D.C. Cir 1923) . See generally, http://laws.flrules.org/2013/107 .
Standardized 12-Step Drug Recognition Experts Protocol
The 12-Step Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) Protocol is standardized because it is conducted the same way, by every drug recognition expert, for every suspect whenever possible. In the above video, the 12-Step Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) Protocol is not shown.
1. Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Test administered to suspect
2. Interview with the Arresting Officer about BAC, the reason for stop & suspect’s behavior, appearance, and driving.
3. Preliminary Examination and First Pulse. DRE asks questions about health, recent food, alcohol, and drugs, including prescribed medications while DRE observes suspect’s attitude, coordination, speech, breath, and face. DRE examines pupils uses horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) and takes suspect’s pulse. If needed seek medical assistance immediately. Otherwise, the evaluation continues.
4. Eye Examination. behavior, appearance, and driving. DRE uses HGN, vertical gaze Nystagmus (VGN), and looks for a lack of convergence.
5. Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests. DRE administers the Modified Romberg Balance, the Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand, and the Finger to Nose test.
6. Vital Signs and Second Pulse. DRE takes the subject’s blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
7. Dark Room Examinations. DRE measures at pupil sizes under three different lighting conditions.
8. Examination of Muscle Tone. DRE examines the subject’s skeletal muscle tone (normal rigid, or flaccid).
9. Check for Injection Sites and Third Pulse. DRE looks for injection sites and takes suspect’s pulse.
10. Subject’s Statements and Other Observations. DRE reads Miranda, asks questions about drug use.
11. Analysis and Opinions of the Evaluator. DRE forms an opinion as the suspect is impaired. If DRE believes there is impairment, then the category of drugs will be indicated.
12. Toxicological Examination. DRE requests a urine, blood and/or saliva for toxicology lab analysis.