If there is one device or object that has become synonymous in people's minds with driving under the influence, it is likely to be the portable breath testing device. These hand-held units have become almost ubiquitous for law enforcement, along with their larger and more rigorous counterparts housed in police stations around the country. As more data is gathered on their operation and use, it's becoming apparent that they are not as accurate as was once believed.
Texas residents may have heard that Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 330 people convicted of drug crimes on his last day as president. The federal sentences were cut short as part of his final act before leaving office on Jan. 20. In total, Obama commuted the sentences of 1,715 people, which was the most by any president. While in office, he commuted the sentences of 568 inmates who had been sentenced to life in prison.
Drug possession charges against a 24-year-old Texas man were dismissed by a Harris County judge on Jan. 4 after forensic tests revealed that he had been arrested for possessing about a pound of what turned out to be quite legal cat litter. The Harris County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to the news or offer an apology to the man for releasing his mugshot and name in a press release following his arrest on Dec. 5.
On Jan. 1, Texas police officers arrested a man from out of state for possessing medical marijuana. The 67-year-old grandfather, who lives in California, was initially pulled over for speeding. During a search of his vehicle, police found 4 ounces of marijuana and edible cookies in his trunk. The man has been charged with two felonies. He was released from jail after posting bond.
Texas motorists may find it interesting to learn that the U.S. drunk driving rate fell to a 13-year low in 2014, according to statistics released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Meanwhile, the number of people driving while under the influence of drugs also dipped slightly.