San Pedro, Near Head on with Cop, Refusal to Submit to Test

Our client, age 21 and a new widow due her husband’s untimely passing just three weeks prior to her arrest, was driving through San Pedro when she turned a corner and went into oncoming traffic.  The car coming the opposite direction was a police vehicle, which took immediate evasive action to avoid a collision.  Our client also slammed on her brakes.
In a Nutshell:  Near head-on collision with police car, DUI refusal to submit, minimum plea, bargain from 60 days in jail to first-time offender plea.
The police officers at the scene detected the odor of alcohol, noted our client was stumbling around, and asked our client if she had been drinking.  She replied that she had, but refused to state how many she had consumed.  Officers then asked her to submit to a blood alcohol test and she refused.  She also refused to undergo any field sobriety tests.  Officers then promptly arrested her.  

Our client was charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol (Vehicle Code § 23152(a)), a misdemeanor.  She was not charged for her failure to submit for a blood alcohol sample (Vehicle Code Section § 13353) or reckless driving.  The complaint stated that she had a prior conviction for DUI as well.  This was a serious case.

The case was filed in Long Beach.  The handling City Attorney viewed the case as very serious due our client’s tender age, her prior record for DUI and the near head-on collision.  The first offer included 60 days of jail, a $1,000 fine and an 18 month DUI program.

The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates.  Greg Hill then interviewed the client, who explained her husband’s recent death and how she was extremely distraught at the time.  The client also insisted that she had no prior record for DUI and that the City Attorney’s file was erroneous.

Greg Hill presented the City Attorney with the death certificate, identifying our client as the decedent’s spouse, and asked the City Attorney to double-check the prior record of our client.  The City Attorney seemed genuinely empathetic to the young widow’s predicament and immediately sweetened the offer to strike the jail time.  After double-checking the client’s criminal history, the City Attorney also changed the offer to a first-time offender offer, but insisted on onerous terms due to the refusal to submit to testing and the near head-on collision with a police officer.

After more negotiation, Greg Hill was able to prevail upon the City Attorney to strike the refusal and permit the client to simply plead no contest with a first time offender offer: 3 months of the First Time Offender Program (also known as the AB541 program), a $390 fine plus penalties and assessments, three years of summary probation, and attendance in the court’s one day hospital and morgue program.

The client was very happy with the disposition, as without our work, she would have faced jail time and significant fines.

For more information about a refusal to submit to a blood or breath test, field sobriety tests and the punishment for a first-time DUI, click on the following articles:
  1. What Happens If Police Say I Refused a Breath or Blood Test?
  2. What Do DUI Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s) Actually Show?
  3. What Punishment Do I Face for a First-Time DUI?
Watch our video about DUI by clicking here.
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