Santa Cruz Criminal Law Blog
A California DUI suspect is often hauled down to the jail for processing in the media accounts, and frequently the court of public opinion kicks in after a story is published.
Our system of justice includes checks and balances to protect constitutional rights, including due process concepts such as the presumption of innocence. Criminal defense lawyers act to challenge the government to help protect statutory and constitutional rights--protecting the integrity of the justice system. Criminal charges are properly dealt with in a court of law, rather than in the court of public opinion.
A recent story out of Oakland, California highlights how an initial DUI arrest is not evidence of guilt.
The California Highway Patrol pulled Oakland wide receiver Jacoby Ford on March 14. CHP officers spotted a Mercedes and believed that the tinted windows were too dark and decided to follow the car. Officers later claimed that the Mercedes was driving 75 in a 55 zone, based upon "pacing" the car, leading to a traffic stop. The CHP says that Ford was the driver and was alone in the car.
Law enforcement claimed that the smell of alcohol emanated from the car during the stop, so the CHP requested that Ford perform field sobriety tests. Officers apparently were not impressed in the performance and arrested the football player on suspicion of DUI. The football player was taken to the North County Jail on suspicion of DUI.
Prosecutors announced Wednesday that Ford will not face formal DUI charges after reviewing the case. Alameda County officials have declined to make public any information regarding what authorities believe Ford's blood alcohol content measured after the arrest.
Source: Contra Costa Times, "Oakland: DA declines to file DUI charge against Raiders wide receiver Jacoby Ford," Erin Ivie, April 12, 2013
Law enforcement in California set up a number of DUI checkpoints over the Memorial Day holiday. Police say three people were arrested for DUI at a checkpoint that was set up over a four hour period Monday night in Salinas.
Police reportedly stopped a total of 652 vehicles during the checkpoint operation. Seven people were subjected to field sobriety tests, with three drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI. Law enforcement agencies set up a number of DUI checkpoints all over Monterey County and Santa Cruz County throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The DUI checkpoints often result in a variety of charges related to alleged motor vehicle code violations. During the Salinas DUI checkpoint operation, a 21-year-old man was stopped for alleged traffic violations. Police say the man has previously been deported twice. Law enforcement says the man has a felony record. Police say they contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and placed the 21-year-old on an immigration hold.
Any experienced Santa Cruz defense attorney knows that law enforcement in the state frequently uses DUI checkpoints to investigate potential violations of the California motor vehicle code. The checkpoints must follow strict guidelines as defined under California law. An experienced DUI defense attorney can review the facts surrounding an arrest at a DUI checkpoint and evaluate the best defense available under the specific facts of an individual case.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Orange County officials say a 26-year-old Irvine man ran a red light around 1 a.m. Sunday. His pickup truck reportedly crashed into a Mercedes Benz occupied by four teenagers. A 14-year-old girl reportedly died in the wreck. The man allegedly driving the pickup truck was arrested for DUI. Police say the man previously pled guilty to a separate DUI charge in 2009.
Source: KSBW The Central Coast, "Police: Man Caught at DUI Checkpoint To Be Deported," 31 May 2011
A 21-year-old Victorville man allegedly was speeding in a large SUV Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. Witnesses claim that the young man attempted to pass a Toyota that was traveling in the same direction. Witnesses say the 21-year-old crossed into the center lane of the roadway to make the pass.
A Mitsubishi Outlander was traveling in the opposite direction on the same road. Witnesses say the 21-year-old avoided hitting the Mitsubishi head-on. The SUV then rolled over and crashed into the fence of an elementary school. After a short investigation the 21-year-old was arrested on suspicion of violating California DUI law.
The 21-year-old reportedly insisted to a San Bernardino deputy that it was Sunday and not Tuesday. Law enforcement claims that the man was acting confused and belligerent after the crash.
At the scene of the accident, deputies reportedly administered a field sobriety test to the 21-year-old. Deputies placed the driver under arrest for driving under the influence after the field sobriety test.
No two California DUI cases are exactly the same. Traffic stops for minor violations or equipment issues often leads to further law enforcement investigation. Similarly, DUI arrests following traffic accidents are not uncommon. Confusion after a traffic accident is equally not uncommon. A qualified DUI defense attorney can review each case individually.
Source: Victorville Daily Press, "Man arrested for DUI after crashing through school fence," Beatriz Valenzuela 4 Jan 2011