Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged to assist a client whose driver license was in jeopardy of being revoked for two years following a traffic accident and DUI arrest in Jurupa Valley, CA. Our 24 year old client was accused of driving under the influence which resulted in a solo vehicle accident in which he and his passenger were injured. By the time the investigating Sheriff’s Deputy arrived at the scene, our client was already in a local hospital and in a medically induced coma. At the hospital, the investigating deputy ordered the seizing of a blood sample that revealed our Client’s blood/alcohol concentration to be .22%.
The investigating deputy also ordered the seizure of a blood sample from our client’s passenger which revealed his blood/alcohol concentration to be .24% along with the presence of marijuana. Because our client was in a coma, the deputy was only able to interview the alleged passenger who stated that our client was driving the car at the time of the crash.
Our client’s case was further compounded by the fact he was on probation for a previous DUI conviction in Los Angeles County. Being on probation for a previous DUI creates a “Zero Tolerance” standard where a person may not drive a motor vehicle with any alcohol in their blood stream.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. Under the “Official Duty Presumption,” the DMV Hearing Officer presumed the investigating deputy had a lawful reason to detain our client and to order the seizure of a chemical blood sample. The hearing officer also presumed that the deputy conducted a thorough and fair investigation, that he documented everything accurately and honestly, and that the blood/alcohol concentration was accurate.
Entering the hearing, we faced a hearing officer who was already convinced of our Client’s guilt and challenged us to prove them wrong. Essentially our client was “guilty” until proven innocent.
Our Defense: The proper preparation of a DMV hearing requires that we look beyond the police reports. Police officers are trained to prepare their reports in such a fashion as to guarantee a conviction. Also, veteran officers will become jaded and can often ignore evidence that could take a case in a different direction. Everything the arresting deputy wrote in his reports indicated that he was justified in arresting our client and was further justified in believing he was the driver; especially since he was on DUI probation. We issued a number of subpoenas for additional items of evidence that were not included as part of the DMV Discovery. Through diligent investigation, we discovered that the alleged passenger was actually the true driver. Our client was the passenger in the car when his friend crashed it into a ditch. When our client and his friend got out to examine the damage to the vehicle, our client was actually struck by a passing car, which caused his injuries. At the hospital our client was unconsciousness and unable to speak for himself, so when the friend alleged our client was the driver, the deputy took him at his word.
Fortunately, when we cross-examined the deputy, he was honest and admitted to the weaknesses in his case.
Outcome: At the conclusion of the Hearing, the hearing officer dismissed the deputy from the hearing and then returned to tell us that we had prevailed. Our client suffered no APS suspension, no “Zero Tolerance” suspension, was not required to attend a DUI school, and was not required to purchase an SR-22 Form. This is similar to being found “Not Guilty” by a jury.
As a result our client is safely driving and committed to remaining a sober driver.
Call CDA Today. Let Us Go to Work on Your Case. The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been fighting and winning DMV Administrative Per Se and Zero Tolerance hearings for years. We excel at every type of administrative hearing handled by the DMV and have a history of winning. Call us and let us get you back on the road.