Our client, age 31, went up to Modesto for a wedding, with dinner afterwards in San Jose. Our client was born in India and was in the United States working as a truck driver on a work permit. He had a Class A license so he could drive 18-wheel tractor trailers.
After the wedding, our client and his passengers were headed to San Francisco. Our client had had several glasses of wine during dinner, but felt fine to drive.
As our client was headed northward along the freeway in his Mercedes, passing Redwood City, he began racing a Honda Civic. The two cars raced along at over 100 miles per hour.
Our client’s fun came to an end when he saw a California Highway Patrol car’s flashing pink and blue lights in his rear view mirror. Our client immediately pulled over.
The officers asked him to submit to a breath test on the roadside by giving a breath sample into a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device. Our client refused, as is his right.
The police then took him into the San Mateo Police Station which is near Redwood City and our client submitted to a blood test.
Our client then spent about ten hours in the San Mateo Police Department and was released. This was a big shock to the client because he had never been arrested before and had no criminal history at all.
The very next day, the client was back in Los Angeles and called Greg Hill & Associates. He met with Greg Hill and described his experience up in Redwood City.
The client insisted upon hiring Greg Hill instead of an experienced DUI attorney from San Francisco because Greg had represented the client’s friend in an earlier case.
Greg explained how the criminal case in court would be handled and explained that even though the client was driving a personal vehicle, not a commercial truck, if he was convicted of DUI, he would have his Class A commercial driver’s license suspended for a year with no option of obtaining a restricted license.
If the client lost at the DMV hearing, he would receive the same suspension with no option for a restricted license. Greg further explained that if a person has a commercial drivers license and receives a second DUI, that person faces a lifetime suspension of one’s Class A license.
Consequently, Greg explained that the client could “downgrade” his Class A license to a non-commercial Class C license if he lost at the DMV hearing so he could apply for and receive a restricted license for 120 days after 30 days of actual suspension to at least drive to and from work, where he would have to work in a role not involving driving a commercial vehicle, perhaps as a dispatcher or other administrative worker.
Greg also explained that after the year, if the client were to lose at the DMV Hearing, he would have to retake the written test and the driving test to requalify for his Class A license.
The client was somewhat relieved to know that since he was not driving a commercial vehicle, the 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) limit applied (California Vehicle Code § 23152(b)), not the 0.04% BAC limit that would be the limit if the client had been driving a commercial vehicle (California Vehicle Code § 23152(d)).
Greg then asked further questions of the client, who explained that during the blood draw, the person taking his blood (a person called a phlebologist) seemed to rub a lot of alcohol onto his skin and then inserted the needle rather quickly into the client’s vein. Greg explained that this could result in the needle capturing a small amount of the rubbing alcohol and cause the client’s BAC to be much higher than if the phlebologist let the alcohol evaporate before drawing the blood.
Greg explained that if the client’s BAC was extremely high, our office would have the client’s blood retested through a process called a “blood split,” wherein the judge orders the law enforcement laboratory to release a portion of the client’s blood for retesting at a laboratory our client would identify to receive the blood sample and retest it.
The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and our office reserved a DMV hearing to prevent the automatic suspension of the client’s driving privileges until a ruling after the DMV hearing.
Luckily for our client, however, about two months later, the DMV received the blood results and reinstated our client’s driving privileges without even a DMV hearing. This was a major relief to the client, who needed to keep driving his big rig.
Our office believes that the blood results must have been deemed unreliable due to the contamination of the blood by the rubbing alcohol the phlebologist captured in the needle when taking our client’s blood.
For more information about DMV Hearings for DUI, please click on the following articles: