Compton, Client Age 21, Car Crash, 0.19% BAC, No Jail
Our client had been over at a friend’s house drinking Old English 800. He was nineteen years old. At about midnight he decided to drive home. As he was driving south on Main Street, he ran into two parked cars, next to each other. No one was in either car.
The collision caused his right front tire of our client’s car to deflate, but our client kept driving until all the air was let out and he came to a stop. This was about a half mile away.
Witnesses to the collision called 911 and described our client.
The Carson Sheriff’s station responded to the call and found our client still in the car, behind the wheel, sleeping. Witnesses to the collision were taken to the scene to positively identify our client, who was then arrested.
When released, the client called Greg Hill & Associates. He came to our office with his parents, nervous and concerned. Greg listened to the client describe what happened. The client recalled drinking four Old English 800’s in the large 22 ounce cans. He remembered nothing about the collisions or continuing to drive. He was quite nervous about going to jail.In a Nutshell: Nineteen year old hit and run into two parked cars, later arrested with 0.19% BAC, Compton case resolved for no jail, minimum fine and six-month alcohol class, summary probation.
Greg assured him that because on one was injured, our client probably would not face any jail time, but he may be punished quite severely because of his high BAC and the two collisions.
However, he explained that in such cases, an issue often arises of when the driver last drove and whether the blood alcohol content (BAC) measurement is legally relevant. Under Vehicle Code § 23152(b), Greg explained, the prosecution enjoys a presumption that the BAC measured is the BAC when defendant last drove if the BAC is measured within three hours of defendant driving. In car accident cases involving DUI, the officer usually does not witness the collision, so the time of the collision is estimated, sometimes accurately and sometimes as a pure guess. In this case, the time of the 911 call might be a problem or a help to our client.
Greg recommended that the client begin attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, preferably one every day until the arraignment. Greg explained that it was not because he believed the client was an alcoholic. The reason was to improve his credibility with the judge and prosecutor so as to allow a more favorable resolution in the case.
While an entire month had passed since the arrest, Greg Hill & Associates still tried to reserve a DMV hearing for the client to prevent the one year license suspension for the client. The DMV refused to make an exception to the ten-day deadline for reserving such a hearing.
Greg Hill & Associates then ordered the police report from the Carson’s Sheriff Station and Compton DA’s office. The Carson Sheriff’s Station produced the police report, but not the 911 call.
At the arraignment, the initial offer from the DA was 45 days of county jail, five years of summary probation, completing a nine month alcohol awareness program, payment of a $500 fine, plus penalties and assessment (totaling close to $2,400), attending the Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel (VIP), as well as three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week until the case was resolved.
Greg also received the 911 call on cd-rom and listened to it once back at the office. The audio recording was vague as to the time of the collision, but suggested the caller had just heard the collision before calling 911 and had seen our client driving away.
At the next court appearance, Greg discussed the call with the prosecutor, explaining that he thought a motion to suppress the blood alcohol content was viable due to the legal relevance of a BAC that did not have a time of driving associated with it.
The prosecutor then listened to the audio recording and lowered her offer to three years of summary probation, a six month alcohol awareness program, a $390 fine plus penalties and assessments (about $1900 total), no HAM, and no MADD VIP.
Greg presented the offer to the client, candidly saying that he thought we would lose on the motion to suppress. Therefore, he thought the offer made by the prosecutor was best to accept, which the client did.
The client was happy that Greg had used his experience to spot a threshold issue to negotiate a plea bargain that was far better than the prosecutor initially proposed.
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