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Police: California lawmaker tests 0.08 percent BAC in DUI blood draw

 Posted on April 30, 2012 in DUI

Most, if not all, drivers know that California law prohibits driving under the influence. California law, like every state in the union presumes impairment based upon a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. Many drivers, however, are surprised to hear when a chemical test returns a result of presumed impairment after a DUI arrest.

A recent story in the news that highlights the situation involves a Southern California Assembly member who was arrested in late March on DUI charges. The assemblyman, who has the right to remain silent under the law, reportedly told reporters after this arrest that he was not drunk the night of his arrest.

He reportedly said that he had some wine with dinner, but was not drunk. He also reportedly told the news media that law enforcement lacked probable cause to conduct a traffic stop.

The allegations arose in Concord when a police officer claims that the assemblyman failed to use his turn signal and was allegedly weaving just after 2:00 a.m. March 27. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the alleged minor traffic violations, and claims the assemblyman refused a Breathalyzer test and failed a field sobriety test.

A blood sample was reportedly drawn at the Concord police station after the Southern California assemblyman was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Authorities announced last week that the blood test results came back showing a 0.08 percent BAC.

The lawmaker says that he looks "forward to fully looking into the specifics of the test for more information. I hope that others can learn from how dangerous it could be to drink any amount of alcohol prior to driving, as I have." Investigators are seeking misdemeanor DUI charges related to the incident.

It is important for Santa Cruz area residents to remember that anyone suspected of a crime has the right to remain silent. In our culture, many are aware that that right exists when questioned by police. Dealing with the police is not necessarily the only situation where the people can make statements against their interest when facing criminal charges.

Generally, statements made to any third party, even reporters, can be used against a person in a criminal trial. Those voluntary statements are generally considered fair game for prosecutors at trial, since constitutional protections generally limit the government's authority.

It vitally important for a person who is suspected, or accused, of a crime to consider speaking with an experienced Santa Cruz criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed in the face of the serious allegations or government suspicions.

Source: Chico Enterprise-Record, "SoCal assemblyman apologizes after blood test reveals he was drunk during Concord stop," Robert Salonga-Contra Costa Times, April 25, 2012

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