United States v. Reed

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 08-22-2013
  • Case #: 12-10420
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Anello for the Court; Circuit Judges O’Scannlain and M. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

Assimilation of state’s drugged driving law with federal DUI regulation is proper where there is a gap in the federal law relating to drugged driving and the defendant was driving on a federal road within that state.

Cameron Reed was observed driving erratically on a road in the Lake Mead Recreation Area of Nevada, a national park. When stopped by a park ranger, Reed admitted to having consumed alcohol and to having smoked marijuana. Reed failed three out of four sobriety tests and was arrested. Blood tests later showed that Reed 3.7 ng/ml of marijuana in his bloodstream, over the limit of 2 ng/ml pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. § 484C.110(3)(g). Reed was charged with violations of four federal laws, as well as the previously mentioned Nevada statute and one more state statute violation, assimilated using the Assimilative Crimes Act ("ACA"). Reed conditionally pleaded guilty to one federal count, unsafe driving, as well as the Nevada marijuana statute, but preserved for appeal a challenge to the Nevada statute that the state law should be precluded from assimilation because there is a federal regulation that punishes his conduct. For assimilation to be proper under Lewis v. United States, a court must look to see if the act has been made punishable by Congress, and if not, whether or not Congress intended to punish the conduct to the exclusion of state statute. The Ninth Circuit found that federal regulation punished driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but did not provide a limit for the amount of marijuana present in the bloodstream to constitute a violation, but that limit was contained within related state statutes. Additionally federal regulation regarding the National Park Service adopts state law for traffic and the use of vehicles on federal roads within the parks in those states. Finding Reed’s conduct punishable under federal DUI regulation, and no conflict between federal and Nevada law, the panel held that assimilation of Nevada law was proper under the ACA. AFFIRMED.

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