Labor Day Weekend

Summer is coming to an end and to celebrate it, we have the long awaited Labor Day weekend. A weekend where state police will be working twice as hard to keep drunk drivers off the road. In 2015, California High Patrol made 1,094 DUI arrests statewide and reported 17 DUI-related deaths. In order to lower those numbers, California High Patrol has been working nonstop all summer to increase checkpoints in order to prevent fatalities caused by drunk driving.

Police stations statewide have made it especially known that they are not going to tolerate any drinking and driving. Fourth of July weekend accounted for 948 arrests statewide and 23 DUI related fatalities.

If you are thinking of going out and drinking alcohol this weekend, be responsible. Don’t drink and drive. If you are going out with friends, make sure to have a designated driver who will not drink so your group can get home safely. Be aware of the checkpoints happening throughout the city so you can be prepared in case you have to show proper documentation. There are many options available for those who do not want to drive. Lyft and Uber drivers will be available in surplus to take you home safely. For those that have car insurance and do not want to pay for ride-sharing services, AAA will be providing rides home during holiday weekends through the holiday safe ride program. Please check online before calling as this program is not available everywhere.

There are many options out there for those who want to enjoy the weekend and spend some time with friends. As always, we have to remember to drink responsibly, we are all human and sometimes have a little too much to drink but we must always use our better judgement.

If you find yourself dealing with DUI don’t hesitate to contact Taylor and Taylor, California’s premier DUI defense attorneys since 1979.

Leave a comment read more

Do I have to Stop at a DUI Checkpoint?

Simply put, if you pull up to a California DUI checkpoint, yes you must stop. This is an exception to the rule that officers generally need probable cause that you did something wrong before forcing you to stop.

However, you don’t necessarily need to pull up to the checkpoint.

First off, there are ways to avoid checkpoints from the get-go. Many times, the locations of checkpoints are published and can be found on the web social media sites:

Second, if you’re unaware of the locations before getting into your vehicle, the California Supreme Court in the case of Ingersoll v. Palmer said that California DUI checkpoints must be visible to oncoming motorist. This gives motorists the opportunity to turn away from the checkpoint prior to pulling up to it.

Yes, it is legal to turn away from a checkpoint.

However, if you’re going to turn away from the checkpoint, be sure you do it legally. You can bet that there will be law enforcement officers waiting idly by for an oncoming motorist to break a traffic violation in turning away from the checkpoint.

That minor traffic violation gives law enforcement the probable cause needed to stop you, not on suspicion of driving under the influence, but because they violated a traffic law. But once they stop you, it opens the door to allow the officers to observe other indicators, whether true or not, that you may be driving under the influence.

In short, avoid the checkpoint if you can before you get in your vehicle or by turning away legally. If you can’t and you pull up to the checkpoint, you must stop.

Leave a comment read more

13-Year-Old Designated Driver was Also Drunk

A Sheriff’s officer from Santa Fe County, New Mexico was in for a shock when he pulled over an erratic driver last week. Expecting to see a drunk adult driver, instead he found a 13-year-old driver who appeared to be intoxicated.

The teen was driving his grandmother, Sanjuana Mercado-Mendez, who was intoxicated and his 15-year-old sister who was sober.

In addition to admitting to drinking a beer that found on the front floor boards of the car, officers had the boy perform field sobriety which he failed. A subsequent breathalyzer revealed that the teen had a blood alcohol content of 0.14.

Mercado-Mendez is facing several charges including child abuse. According to KRQE, police said that Mercado-Mendez has a prior criminal history which includes a 2015 charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license and 2014 charges of larceny and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In the latter incident, it was alleged that she took her two sons along with her to steal scrap metal.

"The child will be facing DWI — aggravated DWI — because he failed to perform the field sobriety test for the officer. And traffic laws, which are roadway lane for traffic, so basically not staying within his lane. And also driver to be licensed. He’s 13 years old. He can’t possess a valid New Mexico driver’s license," said Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Captain William Pacheco.

When the suggestion is made to find a designated driver after having too much to drink, it does not mean find someone who is just as, if not more, intoxicated than yourself. And it certainly does not mean having someone who isn’t even old enough to drive, let alone drink, drive you home.

Leave a comment read more

Repeat DUI Offender Arrested After Being Found Asleep at Wheel

Earlier this month, South San Francisco police arrested 53-year-old William Aguero on suspicion of a California DUI after they found him asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle.

Aguero’s vehicle was halfway up on the sidewalk with the engine running and in gear. Police and paramedics attempted to remove Aguero from the vehicle when they noticed that he could not walk unassisted. It was then that police suspected that Aguero was driving under the influence.

Police also learned that Aguero was on the California Department of Motor Vehicles and California Office of Traffic Safety’s DUI Hot List. The list was created as a California DMV program intended on discouraging repeat DUI offenders whose licenses are suspended from driving.

Aguero’s case raises a question often asked regarding the California DUI: Can you be arrested, charged, and convicted if the police don’t actually see you drive?

California is unlike other states in that it actually requires driving, or slight volitional movement, of the vehicle. Other states only require that a person be in “dominion and control” of the vehicle with the mere ability to drive the vehicle.

Unfortunately, California’s driving requirement can be proven through circumstantial evidence of movement.

Circumstantial evidence doesn’t by itself point to guilt, but allows the jury to infer guilt through the circumstances surrounding of the arrest.

Although the officers did not actually see Aguero drive his vehicle, the circumstantial evidence they will use to prove he drove will likely be the fact that his vehicle was up on the curb, the fact that his vehicle’s engine was on, and the fact that the vehicle’s transmission was in gear.

Leave a comment read more

The Country with the Most DUI-Related Fatalities Is…

I’ve talked a number of times on the worst states in terms of drunk driving. I’ve also talked about the worst California counties for drunk driving. But I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the worst countries. And, well, if you thought the United States would be the worst, you’d be wrong.

According to the WHO’s Global Status report on Road Safety for 2015, South Africa is the worst country in terms of fatalities from drunk driving. According to the report, South Africa suffers 25.1 vehicle-related fatalities per 100,000 people per year. What’s more, nearly six out of ten vehicle-related fatalities were the result of drunk driving. That amounts to a whopping 58 percent.

Second on the list? Our neighbors to the north. Of all deaths on Canadian roads, the rate of DUI-related fatalities in Canada is 34 percent. This number is down 43 percent since 2000.

The United States came in third with 31 percent of its traffic fatalities coming from drunk driving. Australia is fourth at 30 percent. France is fifth at 29 percent. Italy is sixth with 25 percent. The United Kingdom, excluding Northern Ireland which was at 17 percent, was seventh at 16 percent. South Korea was eighth at 14 percent. Germany was tenth at nine percent. India was eleventh at five percent. Last, but not least, China came in twelfth at 4 percent.

Coming in at the very bottom are Costa Rica and Oman with less than one percent.

Only 53 countries test drivers who have died in a traffic accident for alcohol. Only 95 countries have any data on the proportion of DUI-related traffic deaths.  

The study concluded that more needs to be done to collect data on drunk driving.

Leave a comment read more