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Compton, Accident on the 105, Client Not Driving, Set Aside

Our client, age 26, was going back home with friends. He had been out at a bar until about 12:30 a.m. and was getting tired. It was a Sunday night / Monday morning and he had to work the very next day, so he needed sleep.

His friend was on DUI probation and volunteered to be the designated driver. He had sworn-off alcohol, but still wanted to be with his friends.

Synopsis: When there is a car accident or a car with a flat tire, often the soberest person, perhaps even a designated driver, will leave the scene to get help, leaving the drunk passenger with the car. When the police arrive, they arrest the drunk person as the driver. This happened in the following case, except we submitted a declaration from the true driver to the CHP and the DMV reinstated our client’s driving privileges.

There were two other passengers. Our client was in the rear left seat as the car approached Wilmington Avenue, near the exit for Lynwood, the women’s only jail in Compton. The car was making this gentle right turn, heading eastbound, when another car suddenly switched lanes towards our car and the designated driver had to make a quick right turn to avoid a collision.

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Unfortunately, the quick right turn caused the driver to lose control and then wildly brake before heading onto the shoulder, over a curb and blowing out two tires. Luckily, no one was injured.

No one in the car had AAA or any way of hailing help, so the driver walked to the next off-ramp, leaving our intoxicated client to wait with the car on the roadside.

The CHP arrived within minutes and our client explained to the police that he was not the driver, but just a passenger and that the driver had left on foot to find help.

The CHP did not believe this because the registered owner of the car was our client.

Accordingly, once they smelled the odor of alcohol, they ordered our client to submit to field sobriety tests. Our client was outraged that the police did not believe him, but he complied.

Our client was then arrested and taken to the Torrance CHP station, where he blew into a Datamaster breath alcohol machine. It was not a bad dream. It was actually happening. The CHP did not tell our client his blood alcohol content.


Our client then called our office, confused as to what he could do. Greg listened to the Client tell him what had happened. Our office then contacted the DMV and reserved a DMV hearing for the client to preserve his driving privileges, at least until a ruling at the DMV hearing.

Greg then got a declaration from the actual driver, who admitted to being the driver and stated how he had left on foot to get help.

Greg then hand-delivered the declaration to the CHP in Torrance and asked to speak with the investigating CHP officer, who took the declaration, but asked the designated driver to go to the CHP office to sign another form. The designated driver was hesitant to do this, but finally agreed.

The declaration from the designated driver, as well as his declaration, were then included in the CHP report, which the DMV received and reviewed.

A whole month before the DMV hearing, however, our office received notice from the DMV that it had decided to set aside the suspension of our client’s driver’s license and reinstate his driving privileges. The client was happy that justice had prevailed and that Greg had personally delivered the declaration of the designated driver to the investigating officer on the case to ensure it was properly considered and included in the CHP report.

For more information about DMV Hearing issues, please click on the following articles:

  1. What Is a DMV Hearing for a DUI?
  2. I Lost My DMV Hearing for My DUI- Now What?
  3. License Suspended at DMV DUI Hearing Despite Improper Calibration of Breath Test Device
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