In August, the North Carolina Supreme Court weighed in on drug identification once again in State v. Osborne, ___ N.C. ___ (August 16, 2019). I wrote about the earlier Court of Appeals decision in the case, here. The new Osborne decision clarifies the application of drug identification rules as well as sufficiency of the evidence in this context.
Back in February, I blogged about State v. Bridges, ___ N.C. App. ___, 810 S.E.2d 365 (Feb. 6, 2018), and drug identification. In short, Bridges held that the defendant’s out-of-court admission to an officer that a substance was “meth” was sufficient to meet the State’s burden of proving the identity of the substance, at least where the defendant failed to object to the testimony. This decision arguably signified an expansion of the Nabors exception to the Ward rule that a chemical analysis is generally required to establish drug identity (subject to other exceptions covered in the post). For a more thorough review of the topic, see that previous post. The Court of Appeals recently decided another drug ID case, State v. Osborne, ___ N.C. App. ___ (October 2, 2018), adding a new wrinkle to the rules.
The easiest way for the State to prove impairment in a prosecution for impaired driving is by introducing the results of a test of the defendant’s breath. Such test results are admissible without the foundation that would otherwise be required for this kind of scientific evidence so long as the testing was carried out in accordance with statutory and administrative rules governing implied consent testing. G.S. 20-139.1(b). Because the rule allowing breath test results to be introduced into evidence is relied upon so often, I thought it might be helpful to review the admissibility rule and the requirements for such tests.
No legislative session would be complete without amendments to the state’s DWI laws. The 2016 short session upholds this tradition by amending the procedures that govern the admissibility of chemical analyses in impaired driving trials in district and superior court.
DWI law scholars, answer the following question. Are the results of all breath tests that were administered to the defendant admissible in an implied consent case? Yes, if the results from any two consecutively collected breath samples do not differ from each other by more than 0.02. No, only the two consecutively collected breath samples … Read more
A six-year battle in Minnesota regarding the reliability of breath test results in impaired driving cases in light of alleged defects in the testing instrument’s source code ended last summer. The State mostly won, though the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that machine-generated reports of a deficient breath sample were unreliable absent corroborating evidence. The case … Read more
The usual way for the State to establish that a person drove while impaired under the per se prong of G.S. 20-138.1 is to introduce the results of a chemical analysis demonstrating that the person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at any relevant time after the driving. Not only are the results … Read more
Stan Speedy is charged with impaired driving. He has filed a motion to suppress evidence of blood test results based on a violation of his Fourth Amendment and his statutory rights under Chapter 20. At the suppression hearing, a sheriff’s deputy testifies to the following facts: At 10 p.m. on the evening of May … Read more
Dan Defendant is charged with and arrested for driving while impaired. He is taken to a law enforcement center for administration of a chemical analysis. At 2:00 a.m., the chemical analyst informs Dan of his implied consent rights, as set forth in G.S. 20-16.2. Dan indicates that he wishes to call a witness. Dan calls … Read more