Oregon SC: .09% not enough to convict for drunken driving


Ruling: John Hedgpeth may have been legally sober when he was stopped

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A breathalyzer (KOIN, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that a driver whose blood alcohol content registered .09% nearly two hours after he was stopped should not have been convicted of drunken driving.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the legal limit for driving is .08 percent, but the Supreme Court said Thursday it’s unclear what 62-year-old John Charles Hedgpeth’s blood alcohol content was at the time he was pulled over along the Oregon coast in Coos County.

The high court affirmed a 2018 decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals, which said it’s possible Hedgpeth was legally sober when he was stopped, but that over the next nearly two hours, more liquor entered his bloodstream and raised his alcohol content to an illegal level.

The problem, the Supreme Court noted, is that the prosecution failed to provide evidence that supported the theory that Hedgpeth’s blood alcohol level had decreased from the time since the officer pulled him over.

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