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.
Hillsborough County has consistently been ranked the worst or near the worst in Florida for DUI crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Given the dangers of impaired driving and the importance of reducing recidivism to promote long-term Community safety, the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office has established the reducing impaired driving recidivism initiative. The program seeks to aggressively target and reduce impaired driving by imposing enhanced sanctions like alcohol monitoring devices and DUI education programs on first-time, non-aggravated DUI offenders. This First-Time DUI Diversion program also promotes consistency in the prosecution of DUI cases by eliminating the incentive for offenders to refuse to provide a breath sample during the investigation.
Who Is Eligible for First-Time DUI Diversion Program?
To be eligible for the First-Time DUI Diversion program, first, the case must be a misdemeanor DUI. There can be no children in the vehicle. Also, the breath alcohol concentration must be below .200% and there cannot have been a crash. Additionally, there cannot be a prior DUI alcohol-related reckless driving, driving while license suspended with serious bodily injury or death, leaving the scene of an accident with injury or death, or vehicular homicide charges in the driver’s past. Finally, there cannot have been a prior DUI diversion program, more than one non-DUI diversion program as an adult, or in the five years prior to the date of offense the driver cannot have had a prior adjudication withhold or any portion of a sentence on a felony.
What Is The Process For Selecting Cases In This DUI Diversion Program?
The state attorney’s office will evaluate all cases on an individual fact-specific basis. The state attorney’s office solely determines the individual’s eligibility for the RIDR First-Time DUI Diversion Program. There will be three sanction levels for eligible cases. Level one cases will have a breath level below .15%. Next, Level two will have breath alcohol levels above .15% but less than .20% or there has been a refusal to provide. Last, Level 3 will be for drug-related DUIs.
Why Would Someone Want To Accept A Plea Offer Under The New DUI Program?
Mainly the driver will be offered a reduced charge of reckless driving and withhold adjudication. There will be 12 months probation. Individual must pay standard court costs and cost of supervision. They will have their vehicle immobilized for 10 days. The first-time DUI offender cannot possess or consume alcohol, illegal drugs, or non prescribed drugs during that 12 month period. Also, the offender must successfully complete the DUI school and any recommended treatment.
First of all, some of the confusion of this process is shown below. Since each county has developed their program independently, the demands on the DUI driver differ. Therefore for help, call (813) 222-2220. In Orange and Osceola Counties, only legal U.S. residents can join the DUI Diversion Program. As a result, a tourist, a foreign national or someone on an F1 student visa charged with a DUI could never enter the DUI Diversion program in the Ninth Circuit Court. In Miami-Dade County, there is no upper limit on your breath alcohol concentration (BAC) to make you ineligible. But that same county requires that you sign a statement of guilt before entering. Three of the Circuit Courts (8th, 11th, and 15th) will refuse your admission if a child or animal was with you in the vehicle at the time of the charge. Another difference is that only the 8th Circuit Court will use drunken aggression as a reason to deny your access to the program.
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.
DUI attorneys and people who have been arrested call me and sometimes ask: What happens when there is a DUI arrest, a .000 breath test, followed by a urine screen that is positive for drugs? Here is the answer. We use a toxicologist to testify about the limitations of urinalysis in the following fashion:
A urine drug screen takes place in a laboratory setting and involves multiple chemists and technicians. The process entails a battery of tests over the course of several days utilizing different instruments that represent a comprehensive examination for controlled substances. These tests include the “immunoassay presumptive test,” the “thin layer chromatography test,” the “gas chromatography test” and “mass spectrometry.” Some of these tests are “quantitative” which reveal concentration levels.
However, in a urine test, the results are always reported in a “qualitative” fashion. (Meaning that the results are reported in such a way that they are limited only to confirm the presence or absence of a drug.) The reason for this is quite legitimate since concentrations detected in urine do not correlate with concentrations found in the blood. Thus, urine concentration levels have no meaning in and of themselves since they represent a number related to what is found merely in the urine and not in the bloodstream. (And of course, it is only what is found in the bloodstream that directly relates to the issue of impairment at the time of driving.)
Usually, the State’s toxicologist can only testify that while the presence of a controlled substance was detected in the urine sample, it is impossible to determine based on this method of testing whether a driver was actually feeling the effects of that substance at the time he was operating the vehicle. Usually, the State’s expert witness will also have to admit that such uncertainty is due to the length of time that it takes for most prescription and illegal drugs to be processed or “eliminated” from the human body.