Analysis

Synopsis:

 House Bill 4 (HB 4) make several changes to driving while intoxicated and road safety statutes to address the use of cannabis. HB 4 allows for testimony by interactive video and establishes regulations regarding blood testing of drivers who may be impaired and clarifies that ignition interlock requirements only applies to offenders under the influence of alcohol.

Analysis:

 House Bill 4 (HB 4) makes changes to driving under the influence (DUI) statutes regarding the use of certain drugs. Unlawful provisions of DUI are expanded to include specific measures of controlled substances or metabolites (byproduct of parent drugs that are present while causing intoxication at the time of operating a vehicle) in a person’s blood.

HB 4 establishes minimum concentrations of controlled substance or metabolite in blood within three hours of driving as illegal for the following drugs: amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine (also known as meth), and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also known as MDMA, Ecstasy). The bill clarifies that it is not illegal to drive if the substances are below the minimum concentrations. However, it is illegal for a person to drive under the influence of any drug not named in the statute regardless of the apparent ability to drive safely. 

Officers are authorized to charge drivers that exceed the concentrations of controlled substances in addition to alcohol. It is not necessary for a driver to have caused the death or serious injury or appeared to commit a felony while driving under the influence to require a judge to issue a search warrant if a person refuses a blood test. As in the case of alcohol, the bill allows driver’s license revocation for drug related DUIs. 

HB 4 limits the requirement to install an ignition interlock on a vehicle to offenders who are guilty of only alcohol related DUIs, not other drugs. 

In addition to physicians, nurses, and hospital technologists that are currently permitted to chemically test blood for drugs, HB 4 authorizes emergency medical technicians and certified phlebotomists too.

HB 4 allows laboratory analyst to testify at court by interactive video. Video testimony must allow opportunity to question and cross-examine the witness as if they were appearing in person. All parties must be able to clearly hear and see the proceedings. When an analyst is subpoenaed, the defendant is considered to have consented to video appearance of the expert.


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