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Jacoby Ford will not be charged after March 14 DUI arrest in Oakland

Posted on in DUI

News reports frequently print stories about arrests of people accused of driving under the influence in California. The media accounts often relay police suspicions that led to a traffic stop, field sobriety tests and other common allegations found in police accounts--the media serves a role in publishing important information.

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

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