Hollywood, Second Time DUI, Defense Verdict at Jury Trial

Our client, age 32 and with a prior record for murder as a juvenile, was charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol (Vehicle Code Section 23152(a)), a misdemeanor, and one count of violation of driving while having a 0.08% or higher blood alcohol level (Vehicle Code Section 23152(b)).
In 50 Words or Less:  Hollywood, second-time DUI, defense verdict at jury trial in Metropolitan Courthouse.
He was arrested after fighting in a Hollywood bar and fleeing to his nearby car as almost ten bar patrons chased him, even kicking his car doors as he fled.  One video, taken from a security camera outside the front entrance, showed our client literally being thrown out the front door several feet in the air and rolling on the concrete sidewalk to a stop inches from the street edge.  This was especially amazing because our client stood perhaps six feet, four inches tall and weighed a solid 240 pounds.

Our client told the police who later arrested him, “I feared for my life, so I drove my car drunk.”  These grounds for a necessity defense were in the police report.

Police helicopters and several police cars were used to stop our client, as the bar called 911 and mistakenly told 911 that our client was armed with a knife.  One of his hands had a broken finger, which was in a splint, which someone mistook as a knife.

There was little doubt that our client’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit when he was driving (section 23152(b)), as his BAC was 0.13%.

However, as to the section 23152(a) charge, officers never actually observed him driving, as they arrested him at a nearby gas station after helicopters spotted him stopped there getting gas.  In other words, the arresting officers at the scene lacked the ability to testify about whether our client’s “mental and physical abilities were so impaired that he could no longer drive with the caution of sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.”  This quoted portion is from the jury instructions for the Vehicle Code § 23152(a) charge.

At the DMV hearing, the DMV reinstated our client’s license, finding that the necessity defense was a complete defense to our client driving at all.  The DMV viewed the video and realized our client had no alternative, but to drive to save his life.

The District Attorney at the Metropolitan Courthouse was not as easy to persuade of this and the case proceeded to a jury trial.  Trial lasted five days.  The jury was shown the security camera videos from the bar several times.  They heard the police officers testify that they never observed any compromise in how our client operated his vehicle.  They had no idea that he was intoxicated until after they detected the odor of alcohol in his breath and had him submit to a breath test.  The jury was instructed about the necessity defense.

After several hours of deliberating, they returned a defense verdict on the section 23152(a) count.  Our client was very happy.

For more information about the punishment for a second-time DUI, a trial tax and what to wear to court, click on the following articles:
  1. What Punishment Do I Face for a Second DUI?
  2. What Is a “Trial Tax?”
  3. What Should I Wear and Bring to Court?
Watch our video about DUI by clicking here.
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