5/29/2014: ALAMEDA COUNTY (PLEASANTON) .10% BAC 1st OFFENSE DUI
Outcome: DUI DISMISSED for RECKLESS DRIVING & NO LICENSE SUSPENSION, NO SR-22
Description: This case had so many wrinkles that I think I could write about several different tactics for the best DUI case resolution. Nevertheless, this case involved a DUI arrest by the Pleasanton Police Department of my fifty-something year old client, and mother. The situation was an unusual one in which client went to dinner with husband and a double date when the couples were separated. Blocks away from the restaurant, one of the men has physical complications that required an ambulance to be called. Thinking it an emergency, Client drove from the restaurant the few blocks to where the paramedics were treating her dinner companion.
After he was determined to be OK, client was subsequently investigated and arrested for DUI by the Pleasanton Police Department. Client refused the PAS test, but performed OK on field sobriety tests. After arrest, Client submitted to two breath tests of .09% and .10% BAC. Although Client was charged with a DUI, I was able to get the District Attorney to agree to dismiss the DUI charges in exchange for a plea to lesser offense of Reckless Driving. This was OK, however, this client's number one concern was the ability to drive, being a working mom. Although we could have accepted this offer at the first Pre-Trial Conference, I felt that we could do better so we continued the case for a further Pre-Trial Conference, all the while keeping the DMV Administrative Per Se case alive so client could continue to drive on her DMV Temporary License.
The decision to continue the case turned out to be a critical one. At the next Pre-Trial Conference we were received by a different District Attorney, who I seem to remember from USF Law School, who agreed to a Helmandollar resolution. You see, pursuant to
Helmandollar v. DMV, 7 Cal.App.4th 52, the court or judge can acquit a licensee on the Driving with a BAC in Excess of .08% charge (Vehicle Code Section 23152(b). It was no easy task getting the judge to agree to do this, but we did. As a result, the District Attorney reduced the DUI charge to Reckless Driving, for a sentence of three years informal court probation, fine of $925, and a 12 hour DUI school.
This result saved client thousands of dollars and countless hours of DUI School and most importantly DID NOT RESULT IN LICENSE SUSPENSION. We then held a bench trial on the Driving with BAC in excess of .08% charge and the judge found the client NOT GUILTY. I happened to have a court order on hand for the judge to sign and obtained a certification from the court clerk. Once DMV Sacramento processes the order, clients' DMV case will be SET ASIDE, meaning that she will suffer NO LICENSE SUSPENSION and will
NOT NEED SR-22.
Indeed, Client suffered as a result of this DUI arrest and will learn a lot through the punishment handed out in this sentence. For my part, I'm glad that the great weight of civil and criminal penalties were tempered for an individual who may have technically violated the law, but did so under extreme circumstances and even then was barely over the legal limit.