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Police to use new tools to curb impaired driving

Lackawanna County police departments and the county district attorney have announced a new enforcement program that they argue will curb driving by persons intoxicated by alcohol or by other substances. The new tactics involve additional blood tests for anyone arrested for DUI and harsher sentences for those who are convicted.

The first step will be to subject anyone arrested on suspicion of DUI and whose blood alcohol content is less than 0.16 percent to additional blood tests for the presence of drugs that can also impair a person's functioning behind the wheel. Officers with special training in recognizing the effects of drugs other than alcohol will be called on to evaluate both the conduct of the accused person and assist the prosecutor in determining both the specific conduct of the accused and the propriety of various sentences.

In addition to the blood tests, the police are pondering other tactics that they have not yet been willing to reveal. The new program was expected to begin on Labor Day weekend.

Some tests are not always reliable, and, as a result, defenses may be available to raise on behalf of an accused person that challenge the validity of the tests in question. Because the penalties for DUI offenses are becoming more severe, in Pennsylvania as well as throughout the rest of the country, anyone charged with a DUI or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by other drugs will probably want to get as much information as possible about the available criminal defense options in their particular case.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Lackawanna County cops using new tactics to bust drunken, high drivers," Peter Cameron, Aug. 23, 2014

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Lackawanna County cops using new tactics to bust drunken, high drivers," Peter Cameron, Aug. 23, 2014

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