Category Archives: DUI Case
Prosecutors say no but the plain language of the new misdemeanor judicial diversion statute PC 1001.95 clearly states that it applies to all misdemeanors except those specifically excluded. DUI offenses are not specifically excluded in the language of the statute.
The Legislative intent of a statute as determined by the plain language of the statute is discussed in detail in Burden v. Snowden, (1992) 2 Cal. 4th 556:
The rules governing statutory construction are well settled. We begin with the fundamental premise that the objective of statutory interpretation is to ascertain and effectuate legislative intent. (Kimmel v. Goland (1990) 51 Cal.3d 202, 208 [271 Cal.Rptr. 191, 793 P.2d 524]; California Teachers Assn. v. San Diego Community College Dist., supra, 28 Cal.3d at p. 698.) “In determining intent, we look first to the language of the statute, giving effect to its ‘plain meaning.’ ” (Emphasis added.) (Kimmel, supra, 51 Cal.3d at pp. 208-209, citing Tiernan v. Trustees of Cal. State University & Colleges (1982) 33 Cal.3d 211, 218-219 [188 Cal.Rptr. 115, 655 P.2d 317]; California Teachers Assn., supra, 28 Cal.3d at p. 698.) Although we may properly rely on extrinsic aids, we should first turn to the words of the statute to determine the intent of the Legislature. (California Teachers Assn., supra, 28 Cal.3d at p. 698.) See also People v. Lawrence (2000) 24 Cal.4th 219, 230, 99 Cal.Rptr. 2d 570, 6 P.3d, 228; People v. Lopez (2003) 31 Cal 4th 1051, 1056, 6 Cal.Rptr. 3d 432, 79 P.3d 548.
The Court in Khajavj v. Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group, (2000) 84 Cal. App. 4th 32 , 34 further explained that:
the most powerful safeguard for the courts’ adherence to their constitutional role of construing, rather than writing, statutes is to rely on the statute’s plain language.
Furthermore, although the direct issue in question in Tellez v. Superior Court of Riverside was mental health diversion, the court discussed PC 1001.95 Misdemeanor Diversion in anticipation of the question as to DUI eligibility for the newly enacted PC 1001.95. That court stated in pertinent part:
“…Misdemeanor diversion already exists. In 1982, the Legislature enacted two sets of statutes providing for misdemeanor diversion programs. (Pen. Code, §§ 1001-1001.9, 1001.50-1001.55; Davis v. Municipal Court(1988) 46 Cal.3d 64, 75.) When the Legislature did so, it expressly excluded DUI offenses from eligibility. (Pen. Code, §§1001.2, subd. (a), 1001.51, subds. (b), (c)(6).) In view of that history, the Legislature’s failure to expressly exclude DUI offenses this time around is a good indicator that it intended DUI offenses to be eligible for the new misdemeanor program.” (Emphasis Added). (Tellez v. Superior Court of Riverside, Filed Oct. 23, 2020, from the Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, Case No. E074244, Superior Ct. No. INF1800977).
Despite opposition from California prosecutors, PC 1001.95 misdemeanor judicial diversion applies to misdemeanor DUI offenses.
Is it Possible to be Extradited for a DUI?
Each state handles charges for driving under the influence. However, leaving a state after being charged with a DUI does not necessarily mean you will escape prosecution. This is because sometimes states can extradite you for DUI charges. Extradition is the process by which a person is arrested in one state to face charges in another. This can become a costly process and for this reason, most state court systems only pursue extradition proceedings in cases involving felony charges. It is important to note however, that there are some cases where individuals can be extradited on misdemeanor charges.
DUI Charges and Extradition in California
As aforementioned, felony charges are generally when states pursue extradition. While most DUI charges are commonly treated as misdemeanors, some DUI offenses in California are prosecuted as felonies. The court can use felony DUI charges to prosecute you if you committed at least four DUIs within a span of 10 years, the DUI accident you caused resulted in serious bodily harm, and/or if the DUI accident resulted in a death. Likewise, if you have received a felony DUI charge in the past, your new DUI will also be charged in California as a felony. Either of these alternatives could easily cause you to be extradited by the state to face charges.
You can still face serious consequences even if you are not extradited to face prosecution for a DUI in California. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, your life will still be affected. In particular, California initiates an automatic license suspension when you are arrested for DUI that goes into effect within 30 days of your arrest. This still occurs even if your DUI case is dismissed by a judge. The only way to possibly stop this is by requesting a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. In the event that you fail to respond to the notice of the hearing, the California DMV will suspend your license for a minimum of four months and does not only apply in California, but across state lines.
If you fail to appear in court to address a DUI charge, a bench warrant for your arrest can be issued by the court. This has no statute of limitations so any return trip to California will come with the knowledge that every police officer will be able to identify you as a wanted individual and will likely arrest you immediately.
If you are aware of an outstanding DUI in California, it would be wise to seek legal counsel as opposed to waiting it out. Contacting a DUI attorney will place you in a much better position in regards to handling your pending charge. An experienced attorney can possibly negotiate for an alternative penalty that allows you to stay in your home state instead of returning to California to serve a jail sentence.
Chelsea Annmarie Stiles, 27, was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in a DUI crash that left an elderly man dead in 2019 in San Luis Obispo, California. This week, District Attorney Dan Dow announced that Stiles has been sentenced to serve 15 years and eight months in state prison.
In December 2020, the San Louis Obispo County jury convicted Stiles of numerous offenses. However, after several days of deliberation, the jury was initially unable to reach an unanimous verdict on the most serious charge—murder. Stiles was convicted of the following felonies: gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of a drug causing death, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon using an automobile, fleeing the scene of a vehicle collision causing injury, child abuse, and a misdemeanor possession of cocaine.
The deadly crash sequence occurred on December 1, 2019 at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Highway 227. According to investigative reports, Stiles, while under the influence of cocaine, seemingly lost control of her vehicle and rear-ended an automobile carrying a family of four at over 70 miles per hour, disabling the vehicle as a result. Moments later, Stiles inexplicably drove into the opposite lane and struck a 77-year-old San Luis Obispo man identified as Terry Tilton head on at 68 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the impact of collision was severe and killed Tilton instantly. Stiles’s 18-month old daughter and her two dogs were also in her vehicle at the time of both collisions.
Stiles suffered from moderate injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment along with her young daughter who thankfully only sustained minor injuries.
During trial, court testimonies suggested that prior to the deadly crash, Stiles cut her daughter’s scheduled visitation with the father short. The father told investigators that Stiles’ strangely aggressive behavior lead him to believe that she was under the influence of drugs.
A CHP officer Trevor Ashton testified that Stiles was generally incoherent as she was being transported into the ambulance. At the hospital, Stiles admitted to intentionally crashing her vehicle into the two cars she hit but gave no explanation as to why.
Since government stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns, there has been a significant drop in the number of cars on the road. If you think this has led to a significant decline in the number of DUIs, you’re right. Data from local and state agencies show showed DUI arrests have decreased significantly since the pandemic arrived. There has been a 42% decrease in DUI rates in California post-pandemic. However, while DUIs have decreased, substance abuse has increased.
The pandemic has caused many Americans to:
-Be isolated from their friends and family
-Fear and worry about their health and the health of their loved ones
-Lose their job or fear losing their job
-Lose the support services they rely on
This has lead to changes in sleep and/or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating and functioning, and worsening of chronic health problems which leads to depression and anxiety and increased substance abuse. Those who already struggle with alcoholism and addiction are at even higher risks of substance abuse during these difficult times.
“I would definitely say the depression, the anxiety, the uncertainty, the loneliness, the isolation, all of those factors aren’t good for mental health,” Sheila Vakharia, deputy director of research and academic engagement at Drug Policy Alliance, told Yahoo Finance. “What we do when we’re feeling that way is that sometimes we shut down, but sometimes we reach out in different ways to cope. Reaching out to your drug of choice, whatever that might be, is one strategy.”
“A lot of this depression and anxiety is also related to the fact that people have lost their jobs,” Vakharia said. “We’ve got unprecedented rates of unemployment, employment instability, the loss of benefits, or other things that your business might do to employees to stay open. I think people do things to cope with the circumstances that they’re in. People are struggling with all these other forms of instability and confusion and lack of information from the top down about what’s going on, when we’re going to get out of this, what they can expect, and how to stay safe.”
In April of this year, one-third of Americans couldn’t make their rent payments. While there’s no comprehensive date, many states report sharp upticks in homeschooling. The unemployment rate stood at 6.7 percent in December, well above pre-pandemic levels of 3.5 percent.
“Are you supposed to be happy when you lose your job?” Ms. Vakharia goes on to say. “Or when your kids are at home and you can’t make ends meet?”
According to the CDC, there were over 81,000 deaths from substance abuse in America in the 12 months ending in May 2020. That the highest number of deaths from substance abuse ever recorded in a 12-month period. According to the market research by Nielsen, online sales of alcohol rose to 234 percent in March of this year compared to March of last year. In-store purchases of tequila, gin, and pre-mixed cocktails increased to 75 percent. Wine sales soared to 66 percent. Beer sales rose to 42 percent.
If you are struggling with a mental health condition such as depression and anxiety, please do not resort drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. This will only create more problems for yourself and your loved ones. Instead, please consider these healthy tips on how to cope:
-Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Constantly hearing about the pandemic can be stressful.
-Go for a run or a hike.
-Take deep breaths, stretch, or do yoga.
-Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
-Get plenty of sleep.
-Avoid alcohol and drug use.
-Make time to unwind. Try to do activities you enjoy.
-Take time to journal.
-Make a list of things that you are grateful for.
-Make a list of songs that put you in a positive mood and listen to them when you are down.
-Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
-Do something kind for someone, such as posting a kind comment on someone’s social media page.
-Connect with your community or faith-based organizations via online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
-Another way to cope with depression is to focus on the 5 P’s: 1) People- connect with the right people whom you trust, who make you happy, and who can provide support; 2) Physical Needs- be sure to get enough sleep, eat right and exercise; often we neglect our physical needs when we are depressed and this only increases the depression; 3) Purpose- recognize that we are all put on this planet for a purpose. Find an activity that makes you connect with your life purpose and gives your life an sense of meaning such as joining a community service organization; 4) Positive outlook- recognize that pain is gain and any challenge is just an opportunity for personal growth; and 5) Power- recognize that you have the power to overcome any challenge that comes your way.
-Lastly, know you are not alone and there is help if you need it. Here are a few resources if you are considering harming yourself:
– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
– Crisis Text Line: Text NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message
– NAMI HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm, ET
This Coronavirus pandemic shall pass and you have the power to overcome anything that comes your way. Stay strong.
If you end up abusing alcohol or drugs and are caught committing a DUI, please contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Whether a driver faces DUI charges in California or any other state, there is one potential consequence that is likely to be of concern to the person: incarceration. There is good reason for such concern: even a few days spent in jail can lead to a reduction in income or job loss. Not only this, but any time that a parent spends away from their child or that a spouse spends away from their partner can cause emotional hardship. All of this is on top of the harm to one’s reputation that might result from serving time for a DUI conviction.
First-Time DUIs Do Not Usually Lead to Jail Time
A person is unlikely to face jail time for their first DUI conviction. While the maximum sentence for a first-time DUI includes six months in jail, this outcome is not likely in many cases. Most first-time DUI offers include a period of three years of informal probation, approximately $2,000 in fines and fees, a 3-month DUI program, the MADD VIP program, and restitution if there was a collision.
Drivers convicted of their first DUI and whose cases involving aggravating factors are more likely to face jail time. Such factors can include:
· Causing injuries
· Excessive speeding
· Reckless driving
· Driving on a suspended license
· Having a blood- or breath-alcohol concentration that is significantly higher than the legal limit.
Thus, drivers convicted of their first DUI may need not worry about having to serve jail time. Instead, they will likely placed on a period of informal probation. If there are aggravating factors involved, however, then the driver faces a greater risk of incarceration
Once a person is convicted of a subsequent DUI in California within a 10 year period, courts are required to sentence the person to some period of incarceration. Under these circumstances, it becomes even more important to challenge the prosecution’s case. There are several areas where the prosecutor’s case may be vulnerable:
· Lack of evidence of essential elements: The prosecution must be able to prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle. If there are no witnesses who saw the person driving and there is little circumstantial evidence suggesting the person drove a vehicle, the prosecutor may not be able to win their case.
· Suppressed breath or blood test results: If law enforcement officers did not follow the proper steps in collecting, preserving, and testing a person’s breath or blood sample, then a court may rule that any results obtained from testing of those samples are to be suppressed (kept out of court). Test results may also be suppressed if they were obtained in violation of the person’s constitutional rights. Without being able to present test results showing the driver’s blood or breath alcohol concentration, the prosecutor may lack the evidence they need to show the person was impaired at the time they were driving a vehicle.
· Inaccurate or inconclusive breath or blood test results: There are a number of reasons why a breath testing machine may not give an accurate result, especially if the driver has an underlying medical condition or follows a ketogenic diet. Similarly, a blood sample may not be suitable for testing if the individual who collected the sample did not follow the proper protocol in collecting, storing, or analyzing the sample.
· No evidence of prior convictions: If the prosecutor is alleging that a person charged with DUI has one or more prior convictions, then the prosecution must be prepared to present evidence of those prior convictions. An erroneous entry on a person’s driving history or criminal record that cannot be substantiated may mean the difference between a second DUI conviction and mandatory jail time and a first DUI conviction and informal probation.
Drivers Charged With A DUI Should Seek Legal Assistance
While a first-time DUI will most likely not lead to incarceration, there are no guarantees. Even a person’s first DUI conviction, when accompanied by a high BAC, a collision involving injury, and/or other aggravating factors, may result in a jail sentence. Motorists with subsequent convictions within a 10 year period will face incarceration. Therefore, any individual who is facing a California DUI charge and who is concerned about incarceration should speak with an experienced California DUI defense lawyer about their case as soon as possible.