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Monthly ArchiveMarch 2008



DUI Defense &DUI Enforcement hudson on 30 Mar 2008

Cautionary Tale

This article recently appeared in an Arizona newspaper. It relates the story of a woman who appeared to be under the influence by a citizen informant. He watched the woman drink glass after glass of white wine then load up her car with her 4 year old son and head out onto the highway. The citizen informant called the police when she ran a stop sign. The woman drove over to a local mall and the informant followed her, even pointing her out when the police arrived.

The police conducted a dui investigation which the overweight woman had trouble completing, finally she provided a breath sample which measured .04. Still, she was arrested, her child taken away from her as she was taken to jail. At the jail she provided a chemical test that was below the .04 she provided in the field. That didn’t stop the District Attorney from filing charges for DUI instead of apologizing for the conduct of law enforcement.

The truth of the matter was that she was driving home from dental surgery, she stopped for lunch and ordered a mimosa which she didn’t finish as it irritated her mouth, she then switched to water… which was served in a wine glass, repeatedly.

This article is a statement of the sad reality of how one person, who wasn’t doing anything wrong, ended up in a legal pickle.

Uncategorized hudson on 25 Mar 2008

The Robing Room

If you are ever curious about the what other lawyer’s think about a particular judge you may choose to go to this site to investigate your judge. Unfortunately, many (most) judges aren’t rated but perhaps over time this could become a valuable resource for defendant’s and lawyers alike.

Uncategorized hudson on 22 Mar 2008

Prosecutors on Trial?

Three Northern California prosecutors are facing trial in the State Bar court for allegedly abusing their authority or violating the law. The prosecutors are from Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County and Sacramento County. Earlier this year a fourth Deputy District Attorney from Sonoma County was suspended for four years for intentionally withholding documents that could have helped a physician defend himself against murder charges. A judge dismissed the case based on the attorney’s misconduct.

The DA in Santa Clara has been accused of concealing evidence, misleading a judge and ignoring a judicial order. His conduct included suppressing evidence that could have cleared two accused rapists. The two rapists were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from nearly 19 years to more than 37 years. The convictions were overturned six years later. It is also alleged that he concealed evidence that would have repudiated an eyewitnesses testimony relating to a murder.

The DA in Santa Cruz’ charges stem from a drunk driving incident in 1995 where he claimed that another person was driving the car involved in an accident, State Bar lawyers believe that he was the driver and the “other driver” was a lie. In 2002 it is alleged he contacted a judge who was sitting on a hit and run insurance fraud case in which his girlfriend was the defendant. The State Bar lawyers are seeking disbarment in this case.

The DA in Sacramento is alleged to have withheld exculpatory evidence in a murder trial.

These prosecutions are part of a growing area of law for the State Bar as prosecutor conduct has come under more scrutiny in light of the misconduct and subsequent disbarment of former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.

Alcohol Issues hudson on 19 Mar 2008

MADD’s Legislative Goals

Recently I was surfing the Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers website and found the page that delineates the legislative goals for each state. Simply click on the state and it will send you to the state MADD chapter and a description of the current strategy.

As part of this individual state strategy, MADD also has a national goal to force persons convicted for DUI to install an Ignition Interlock Device on their car(s). This goal is funded by the manufacturer’s of these devices although there is very little evidence to support that the installation of this equipment actually reduces DUI. Quite simply, if a person wants to drink and drive, they will, unfortunately the real cost of this program will be born by automobile manufacturer’s who will lose lease revenue as the installtion of the equipment permanently damages the car.

Uncategorized hudson on 15 Mar 2008

Washington State tosses Breath Tests

In an on-going scandal that is shaking the Washington State crime lab regarding simulator solutions the Chalan County District Attorney agreed to not use the breath testing results from 2007. The decision will affect any DUI case using breath testing evidence from December 2006 through January 2007. Unfortunately, there are only 10 unresolved cases from this period, the balance have the option of filing an appeal to get their cases re-opened. Attorney’s involved think that most of the affected cases will not choose to file an appeal as many of the cases rest on officer observations of intoxication to bolster the breath test results.

The decision stems from a finding that the breath testing program run out of the State Toxicology Laboratory was marred by ineptitude from the leadership down to the analysts. The ineptitude lead to a panel of judges concluding that the results were unreliable.

DUI Defense &DUI Enforcement &DUI Law hudson on 07 Mar 2008

Underage License Ramifications

Many times we are confronted with an under age driver who may be charged with a violation of Vehicle Code section 23136 or 23140 NOT 23152 which is the adult DUI statute. It raises the spector of avoiding the one year suspension, The accused has the right to request a hearing prior to the DMV imposing a one year suspension. The case can base the suspension on either a PAS test or an evidentiary test at the police station, jail, or crime laboratory. In truth, VC 23136 is an infraction which means that it is subject to fines in court but no suspension from the court, however, the under 21 year old driver has a very slim chance of winning the APS hearing as the burden of proof born by the DMv is very low, while they must lay a foundation to use the PAS device (sometimes challenging as the law enforcement agencies frequently fail to comply with accepted standards for maintaining and calibrating the hand held device) and frquently we are able to preclude that number, the subsequent evidentiary test is much more difficult to defeat.

Uncategorized hudson on 05 Mar 2008

Not Your Parent’s Wine

Think your wine seems a little boozier? Well, the simple fact is that it is… if you drink reds. In the past, cabernet savignon and other red wines rated 12 to 13 percent alcohol, however the current trend has been toward using later more mature fruit. The reason for using late harvest fruit is a tastier and arguably fuller bodied wine. Additionally, the gradual warming of the climate in grape growing regions may also contribute to the increased sugar levels in the fruit. Unfortunately, a side effect of the later harvested fruit is increased sugar which, in turn, increase the alchol levels of the wine. The alcohol concentrations in these newer wines are 15 to 16 percent. The higher alcohol concentrations make the wine feel “hot,” hence the term “hot wine.”

If you are shopping for wine, labels may be confusing, “wines containing 7 percent to 14 percent alcohol can be labeled just “table wine” or “light wine,” as opposed to listing the alcohol content, under federal regulations. When a percentage is listed it can be off by up to 1.5 percent, a tolerance granted because one batch of wine may differ from another, said Art Resnick, spokesman for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in Washington, D.C. Wines over 14 percent alcohol, which fall into a higher tax category, must list alcohol levels with a tolerance of plus or minus 1 percent.”

Obviously, the problems with labeling can lead to difficulty determining how much alcohol a glass or bottle of wine may contain. This presents challenges for people who are consuming wine prior to driving and want to remain below the legal limit.