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German Supreme Court Rejects "Zero Tolerance" Drugged Driving Law in Cannabis Case

Drug War Chronicle #371; DRC-Net; 1/21/2005
Originally posted: 1/26/2005; [
www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD/GermanCourtRejectsDruggedDriving05 .htm].
Also available from:
[http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/371/germany.shtml]


Germany's Federal Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, has ruled that tiny traces of THC in a driver's bloodstream are not sufficient to convict him of driving while intoxicated and punish him by revoking his driver's license, the German news web site Tagesschau reported. Until the ruling, any trace of illegal drugs in one's system would have been sufficient for a conviction. The January 13 ruling overturned a lower court ruling in Karlsruhe.

In that case, an unnamed Karlsruhe man was convicted of driving under the influence after having smoked hashish the previously night -- 16 hours before he was arrested. Police tested and arrested him after he came to a police station on an unrelated matter. The test showed he had less than 0.5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in his system. But the German high court held because advances in drug testing technology allowed the most minuscule traces to drugs to be detected, German courts must reinterpret what constitutes drug driving. It suggested a level of 1.0 nanograms of THC may be a reasonable cut-off point.

The German court ruling contradicts model drugged driving laws crafted by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy and a private drug testing firm, the Walsh Group. That model law calls for a "per se" assumption that any amount of an illicit drug is evidence of impaired driving and is being pushed in state legislatures across the country.

[END]

 

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Alexander DeLuca, M.D., FASAM

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Originally posted:  1/26/2005

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