Third-Time DUI, Hit & Run, Long Beach, 30-30 Program
Our client had celebrated the completion of the work by giving his friend a bottle of Don Julio tequila. The friend enjoyed several shots and told the client to keep the bottle. The client told us that he took just a small sip of the tequila and left with the bottle in a tied-up grocery bag in his back seat.
As our client fell asleep, while driving his 2016 Lexus, he hit a parked 2007 Chevy Avalanche. The collision took place on Clark Avenue in Long Beach. The impact inflated the air bags on the client’s car and startled him. A passerby in a pick-up truck stopped to make sure our client was not injured. The client believed the man was going to beat him up, so he ran away from the scene, only to be stopped by police about a half-mile away while hiding under a children’s slide in an elementary school parking lot.
Police had summoned about two dozen police officers and a police helicopter to find our client. Remarkably, our client was uninjured.
Our client was then taken to the hospital, where an officer asked the client to submit to a blood test. The client told the officer that he needed to think about what to do, but was deliberate in telling the officer that he was not refusing. After about an hour at the hospital, after being asked multiple times to submit to a blood test, our client agreed to instead submit to a breath test, but stated “I just don’t like needles, but I’m not refusing. I’ll take a breath test.”
The officer insisted upon a blood test and when the client again refused, the officer, frustrated, told the client he would face a DUI. After another thirty minutes of further contemplation, our client agreed to submit to a blood test. This was confirmed on video at the very end of an hour or more of bodycam video and the fact that the officer did not apply for a McNeely warrant to draw blood. Missouri v. McNeely (2013) 569 U.S. 141.
The client was then taken to the Long Beach Police Department police station, where he was booked and held about five hours before being released. The client was driving on a suspended license, still suspended from his prior DUI.
Upon being released, the client called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill about his collision, arrest and the blood test. Greg had represented the client previously.
In fact, this case was the client’s third DUI in the last ten years. His first conviction (actually a wet reckless, Vehicle Code § 23103.5) was suffered in 2012 in Bellflower Superior Court based on an incident date in December 2011 or within ten years of this most recent arrest. His second conviction (also a wet reckless) was suffered on in Torrance Superior Court in 2015.
Greg explained that, as the client suggested, it would be important to see if the client’s blood was drawn within three hours of when he last drove (the reported time of the collision) because if it were drawn more than three hours later, the DMV would have to present testimony to reverse extrapolate the blood alcohol content to the time of the collision.
Greg also explained how in a third DUI, the minimum punishment by law was 120 days in county jail. The expected refusal allegation would add ten days to the sentence by law as well.
Greg further explained how in a third-time DUI, the judge can permit the client to opt for a 30-month DUI program rather than the 18 months required by statute, with a reciprocal decrease in the county jail to 30 days. This 30 month / 30 day resolution is known as the “30-30” program, but many prosecutors and judges did not know about it.
The client hired Greg and Greg appeared in court for the arraignment. The People provided over six hours of bodycam and dash-cam video tape (also known as mobile video audio recording system, or MVARS) from the search for our client in the area surrounding the crash and his arrest, as well as his time in the hospital. There was also nearly an hour of videotape from witness interviews. Greg watched all the video.
At the arraignment, the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s office made an offer of 240 days in county jail for our client, based on the case being a third-time DUI, with a high BAC (0.17%), a refusal, a hit and run and driving on a license suspended for a DUI, as well as the SB-38 18 month alcohol awareness program, fines of $500 plus penalties and assessments, as well as attendance at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel and the Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program.
Over the next several appearances, Greg was able to negotiate the offer down to the 30-30 program plus ten more days in county jail for the refusal (technically it was a refusal for the belated consent, as our client did not agree at first, which is regarded legally as a refusal), a $390 fine, plus only the MADD victim impact panel.