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The tenth edition of this casebook — which began in 1973 with Professor Fred E. Inbau— includes two new chapters that modernize the study of criminal law. The first new chapter analyzes the law of drug possession and distribution and includes cases about the law of constructive possession, the line between possession and distribution, and the challenge of computing drug quantity. The tenth edition also includes a new chapter on driving while intoxicated, a crime that is central to the criminal justice system but which is absent from every other criminal law casebook. We challenge students to unpack each element of DWI statutes by determining what constitutes a vehicle, what qualifies as operation, what it means to be intoxicated, and what counts as a public road. In addition, the new DWI chapter also explores the difficult statutory interpretation issues created by the texting while driving statutes that have recently been enacted across the country. This is the first casebook to offer an in depth exploration of these modern offenses that account for millions of arrests and citations each year. At the same time, the book retains the core common law crimes and classic cases that are a staple of traditional criminal law courses.

Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: University Casebook Series
Publication Date: 07/06/2017

Gerald G. Ashdown, West Virginia University College of Law

Ronald J. Bacigal, University of Richmond School of Law

Adam M. Gershowitz, William and Mary Law School


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Changes to the 10th edition

The 10th edition includes a new chapter about DWI and Texting While Driving that explores the following issues:

  • What counts as operating a vehicle? Are people who are passed out behind the wheel in parked but running cars guilty of DWI? What if the key is in the ignition but the motor is off?
  • What is a vehicle? Do motorized scooters count? What about bicycles or horses? How do courts figure out the answer?
  • How do prosecutors demonstrate that someone is intoxicated?
  • If the statute requires the driver to be on a public road, what qualifies? Does a grocery store parking lot count? What about a private driveway used by two neighboring houses?
The 10th edition includes a new chapter on Drug Possession and Distribution that explores the following issues:
  • Who is in constructive possession of drugs? In an open-air drug market, can we hold the lookout, runner, and “the muscle” responsible for the drugs if they are not caught touching them?
  • How do courts draw the line between mere possession and possession with intent to distribute? Is a large quantity of drugs enough to demonstrate intent to distribute? What if the defendant has a modest amount of cocaine in his pocket, but also has a lot of cash on his person? Does it matter if the cash is in many small bills? Can the defendant avoid the distribution conviction if drug paraphernalia (such as a pipe) is found nearby? Conversely, does having multiple separate bags of drugs on his person make the defendant guilty of distribution? How many bags is enough?
  • How do courts determine the drug quantity for sentencing purposes? Should courts excluding the weight of any cutting agents such as baking soda or lidocaine?

Learn more about this series.