NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #17

Turn Signals, Ticket Cameras, and Breathalyzers

Just a few positive bits of news from around the country:

The West Virginia Supreme Court dismissed a DUI conviction where the original reason for the stop was failure to use a turn signal. The court ruled that it is not necessary to use a turn signal if there is no other traffic affected by the turn.

In this instance the driver was virtually alone on the roadway (except for the trooper a block or more behind the defendant) and the court ruled that he was not required to use his turn signal under those circumstances. Because the turn signal “violation” was the sole reason for the stop (no erratic driving involved) the subsequent DUI charge was overruled.

The Florida Legislature adjourned without passing legislation that would have allowed statewide use of ticket cameras. However, they couldn’t resist the federal dollars that came with passing a primary seat belt law.

In Minnesota the State Supreme Court decided that DUI defendants, under specific rules, have the right to inspect the source code for computerized breathalyzers.

This issue has popped up in several states where Defendants’ attorneys have requested the source code and the prosecution has refused to release it, primarily because their contract with the companies that sell these breathalyzers prohibits the release of the source code. The companies claim the source code is a trade secret.

The whole issue is a bit of a legal sideshow that unfortunately detracts from the more important aspect of the breathalyzer controversy; i.e breathalyzers do not provide accurate determinations of blood alcohol content. This failure has nothing to do with computer source code

Many state legislatures are still in session and we hope many will follow the lead of Mississippi and Montana and prohibit the use of ticket cameras in their states. Don’t forget to let your legislator know what your opinions are on the subject of ticket cameras.

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