Massachusetts law enforcement officers can now arrest suspected drugged drivers based on their observations of their behavior.
The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts recently ruled that law enforcement officers have the right to arrest people on drugged driving charges based strictly on the officer’s observations, reports Boston 25 News.
The ruling comes after a case involving Mark J. Davis who was pulled over for speeding and erratic driving on the Mass Pike in 2015. The trooper who stopped him detected an odor of marijuana, searched his car and found cocaine, oxycodone and a handgun, according to the report
Ultimately, Davis was arrested for impaired driving. He was acquitted of the drugged driving charge at trial, but challenged the lawfulness of the arrest, reports the Boston Globe.
However, the court said the arrest for drugged driving was fair and lawful, based on the officer’s observations during the incident, according to reports.
In the ruling, the court noted that the defendant told the officer he had smoked marijuana earlier that day. Therefore, the judge was warranted in finding that the police had probable cause to believe Davis had operated a motor vehicle while impaired, reports the Globe.
Recreational marijuana became legal in Massachusetts in late 2016 and retail pot shops opened their doors for business in November 2018 – upping the odds for more drug-impaired drivers on the roads.
Earlier this month, Massachusetts was one of five states to receive funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support drug recognition and advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement training for its officers.