Man tests positive for drugs while appearing in Pierre court

Lawyer Interviews

A Rapid City contractor has tested positive for drugs while in a Pierre court pleading guilty to assault.

The Capital Journal reports that 30-year-old Jesse Lange pleaded guilty to felony assault of a worker for the grain bin business Lange operates with his father. His attorney, Brad Schreiber, says there was an element of self-defense in the motel room altercation last year.

But state Judge Mark Barnett, watching Lange, asked a court official to get a urine test kit and said Lange appeared high. An official said the test was positive for meth and ecstasy.

Lange's guilty plea couldn't be accepted, and he was jailed for violating the conditions of his bond for the assault charge. Barnett says another arraignment could be held once the drugs have left Lange's system.

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Texas Adopts Statewide Texting-While-Driving Ban

Effective September 1, 2017, Texas will become the 47th state to pass a statewide ban on texting while driving. Governor Abbott’s signing of House Bill 62 is an effort to unify Texas under a uniform ban and remedy the “patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”

The bill specifically prohibits drivers from reading, writing, or sending an electronic message on a device unless the vehicle is stopped. That includes texting and emailing. It does not, however, prohibit dialing a number to call someone, talking on the phone using a hands-free device, or using the phone’s GPS system.

Violations would be punishable by a fine ranging from $25 to $99, to be set by each municipality. Although penalties could rise to as much as $200 for repeat offenders.

Studies have found that a driver’s reaction time is half as much when a driver is distracted by sending or reading a text message. According to state officials, in 2015 more than 105,000 traffic accidents in Texas involved distracted driving, leading to at least 476 fatalities.

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