Gardena, Non-Alcohol DUI, Plea to Vehicle Code § 12500
Our client, age 47, was driving his rather expensive, new car in Gardena at about 1:00 a.m. He was spotted by police turning from a side street onto southbound Western Avenue. Police claimed our client made an unsafe left turn, although our client did not cause any other car to use its brakes or swerve to avoid our client.
Our office is familiar with this particular area of Gardena, where the Gardena police make many arrests.
When police stopped our client, they claimed he began sweating profusely and was twitching. They claimed his pupils were constricted and that he was talking so fast they could not understand him. That said he was sweating profusely. He failed many of the field sobriety tests, police claimed. He was on parole for a prison sentence he served for possession of methamphetamine. The physical symptoms described by police suggested he was high on methamphetamine because they could not detect any odor of alcohol.
Our client’s passenger had a small baggie of methamphetamine in his pocket. Our client’s passenger also spoke at a high rate of speed and was generally incomprehensible, although he could not stop talking to police. Police suspected he was high on meth, too.
Police quickly concluded that our client was under the influence of methamphetamine and engaged in either buying or selling methamphetamine. They arrested him and took him to the Gardena Police Station.
Summary: Client arrested for DUI in Gardena for non-alcohol DUI, DUI dismissed and case resolved for a violation of Vehicle Code § 12500, driving without a license, fine, one year summary probation.
At the station, police had our client submit to a blood and urine test to test for the presence of illegal drugs. Our client insisted he was not high, just nervous, as he had been to prison five times over the last twenty years, which was true.
He was then cited and released for non-alcohol DUI, Vehicle Code § 23152(a) (this is now a new code section, Vehicle Code § 23152(f)).
The client called our office within days. Our office reserved a DMV Hearing and contacted the Gardena City Prosecutor about the case (there no longer is such a prosecutor, the Torrance District Attorney having taken over this role).
At the arraignment, the laboratory results of testing our client’s blood and urine were unavailable. Our client was charged with one count of driving under the influence, Vehicle Code § 23152(a), and one count of driving without a valid driver’s license, Vehicle Code § 12500.
At the second hearing, the prosecutor showed us the laboratory results. Our client did have methamphetamine in his system.
However, Greg explained that the reason for the stop was pretextual. Our client was driving an expensive car in a rough area of town at 1:00 a.m. He allegedly made a turn onto Crenshaw Boulevard without using his turn signal. Greg showed the prosecutor a copy of People v. Carmona, which specifically ruled on the same factual scenario – a turn without the use of a turn signal.
As in Carmona, our client and the police car were the only cars on the road. Also as in Carmona, our client turned without affecting the safety of any other car. Therefore, no vehicle code violation took place, even assuming our client failed to use his turn signal. Therefore, the traffic stop was improper.
Greg also described how a conviction for DUI for our client would cause him to lose his job, a job he just got after many years in prison. If he were to lose this job, it was unlikely he would find another for quite some time, as he had over five felonies on his record.
Reluctantly, the prosecutor agreed, allowing our client to plead to the remaining charge, driving without a valid license, a violation of Vehicle Code § 12500, which is no points with the DMV.
The client was more than happy to pay a $150 fee, plus penalties and assessments (total about $750) and agree to one year of informal, or summary probation.
For more information about non-alcohol DUI and driving without a valid license, click on the following articles:
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