Anaheim, Minor Car Accident, 0.17% BAC, Green Card
As he reflected on this social hour gathering later, “I guess I enjoyed seeing former colleagues a bit too much.” Indeed, he consumed five IPA drafts over a few hours while there and then got in his car about 7:00 p.m. to drive back to his home in Rolling Hills Estates.
He was driving a new Toyota Forerunner, which had brakes that required significant pressure to activate, unlike his prior car. In fact, the client had just purchased the Forerunner a few days earlier and was still getting used to it. In coming to a stop at the red light ahead of him, he tapped the rear bumper of another car as he pushed on his car brakes.
No one was injured and there was no visible property damage, but our client pulled over to exchange insurance information with the other driver. The other driver could see our client was quite drunk and called the police.
The Anaheim Police Department arrived on scene and arrested our client on suspicion of DUI. The client later submitted to a blood test. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was measured at 0.17%, or just over double the legal limit.
The client spent the evening in the Anaheim jail and was released the following morning after signing a promise to appear for his arraignment about three months later in the Fullerton Courthouse.
The client, originally from Germany, was a permanent resident here (a green card holder). He had no criminal history. He had been living in the United States for about ten years, or long enough to know our legal system is not a place to represent oneself unless one is naïve or just does not care about the outcome. Compounding this need for counsel was his familiarity with only the German legal system, which he understood was quite different from the U.S. system.
The client called up Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. The client first explained what had happened and his concerns about keeping his driving privileges, as he drove his two kids quite a bit to sports practices in the afternoons.
Greg explained how a DUI case is generally handled in the Fullerton Courthouse, based on one’s BAC, prior criminal history (particularly for DUI in the last ten years) and the case facts otherwise and how Greg expected the client’s case to resolve. The client had quite a few questions because German courts did things differently than U.S. courts and the client wanted to know why. Greg answered each question, one by one.
On the day of the arraignment, Greg appeared for the client while the client remained at work. The Anaheim City Attorney assigned to the case offered our client a minimum terms offer of three years of informal, or summary, probation, upon the following terms and conditions: no jail, but that our client enroll in and complete the six-month alcohol awareness program (the AB 762) program, payment of a court fine of $390 plus penalties and assessments (less credit for two days in custody, or $250 off the $390 base fine, for a total of perhaps $1,000), enrollment in and attendance at the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) victim impact panel and payment of restitution, if any, to the owner of the other car involved in the collision. The Anaheim City Attorney also agreed to strike the excessive BAC allegation of the client driving with a BAC of 0.15% or higher (Vehicle Code § 23578).
Greg explained to the client that the only portion of the offer which really could be any lower was the alcohol awareness program, but that the prosecutor likely would not the three month program because the client’s BAC was quite high and there was a car accident, although minor.
The client had many questions about his driver’s license suspension as a result of a conviction for DUI and Greg explained how long the suspension would be, how installation of an ignition interlock device was required after a conviction and how the client would get credit for the suspension period based on the suspension imposed earlier after the DMV hearing.
The client also wanted to get started on his six-month DUI program, so Greg directed him to Driver Benefits in Torrance to start.