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State v. Pinder

Supreme Court of Montana

June 9, 2015

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
TAYLOR NELSON PINDER, Defendant and Appellant

Submitted on Briefs: April 15, 2015.

Released for Publication June 25, 2015.

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Second Judicial District, In and For the County of Silver Bow, Cause No. DC-13-77. Honorable Kurt Krueger, Presiding Judge.

For Appellant: Jennifer A. Giuttari, Law Office of Jennifer A. Giuttari, PLLC; Missoula, Montana.

For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Tammy A. Hinderman, Assistant Attorney General; Helena, Montana; Eileen Joyce, Butte-Silver Bow County Attorney, Michael Clague, Deputy County Attorney; Butte, Montana.

MICHAEL E WHEAT. We Concur: MIKE McGRATH, BETH BAKER, PATRICIA COTTER, JIM RICE. Justice Michael E Wheat delivered the Opinion of the Court.

OPINION

Page 378

[379 Mont. 358] Michael E Wheat, Justice.

[¶1] Taylor Nelson Pinder (Pinder) appeals from the order of the Second Judicial District Court, Silver Bow County, denying his motion to dismiss the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge against him. We affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶2] On February 14, 2013, Pinder crashed a truck into a light post outside the Super 8 Motel on Harrison Avenue in Butte, Montana. Butte-Silver Bow County police officers responded to the scene and, with the help of witnesses, located Pinder exiting a bathroom in the dining room of the motel. Pinder appeared intoxicated and was having difficulty standing, walking, speaking, or following verbal commands. The officers called for an ambulance to take Pinder to the hospital.

[¶3] Shortly thereafter, a motel employee gave the officers a can of aerosol dust-remover that had been discovered in the same bathroom Pinder had exited earlier. The officers knew that dust-remover can be used as an inhalant.

[¶4] At the hospital, Pinder was arrested for DUI. Pinder then consented to a blood draw for toxicological testing. The toxicology report revealed that Pinder's blood contained 6.2 mcg/ml of 1,1-Difluoroethane (DFE), a chemical found in dust-remover.

[¶5] Because Pinder had three prior DUI convictions, he was charged with felony DUI in violation of § 61-8-401(1)(c), MCA, and misdemeanor reckless driving in violation of § 61-8-301(1)(a), MCA. He pled not guilty to both counts.

[¶6] On September 30, 2013, Pinder filed a motion to dismiss the DUI charge. An evidentiary hearing was held on October 31, 2013. At the hearing, the court heard evidence that DFE is a recognized substance [379 Mont. 359] of abuse and its use can result in symptoms including lightheadedness, disorientation, loss of inhibition, dizziness, hallucinations, delusions, impaired judgment, cardiac arrest, and death. However, Pinder argued that

Page 379

Montana's DUI statutes do not define " drug," and therefore the District Court should have used use the definition of drug from § 37-7-101(16), MCA, (the " Pharmacy" chapter of Title 37, " Professions and Occupations" ) because it is the only section in the MCA that defines the term " drug." According to Pinder, DFE does not fit within that definition of " drug" and thus the DUI charge against him should be dismissed. The court ...


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