- posted: Nov. 05, 2014
We are only a few weeks from Thanksgiving gatherings and the start of the Christmas and New Year's 2015 parties and of course THE SUPERBOWL. Unfortunately these events often generate people who party and drink more than they realize.
We are all protected by the same laws and have the same rights, but not everyone understands what they mean. Most people do not intend to drive drunk but rather do not realize the two drinks they consumed would make them "drunk". Most of us do not understand that you do not have to be drunk to be arrested for a DRUNK DRIVING. You merely have to be Under the Influence, Impaired or Buzzed.
There is technically no such thing as a Drunk Driving. The correct charge is a Driving Under The Influence (DUI). The term Drunk Driving is truly a misnomer. In California you are under the influence if your ability to drive is impaired. Your ability to drive is impaired when your blood alcohol reading is .08 or higher. Thus if you are driving on a California road with .08 or higher the burden of proof almost reverts back to the driver to show that s/he weren't under the influence and/or that their blood alcohol was not .08.
A year ago as a result of my client Celena Nava being hit and killed by a drunk driver while jogging, I spoke before CVAG and suggested the formation of a blue ribbon ad hoc committee to study Drunk Driving. The CVAG members agreed and selected me to be the attorney working with the head of all law enforcement units and the representatives from each city. On top of that the Clinton Foundation's Health Matters asked me to join them as the attorney member and decided to also focus on Drunk Driving. On October 20, 2014 on the anniversary of my client's death, we had our first joint meeting on DUI. In the ensuing years we hope to focus on educating students and the public on the information herein.
I had suggested to both groups the need for education. All too often our neighbors have a few drinks and drive and they do not realize they consumed enough alcohol to be under the influence. The number of drinks needed to get to this reading varies depending on one's body weight, what you ate, when you finished drinking and most importantly how much alcohol was in each drink. Thus it is not the number of drinks but rather the amount of alcohol in each drink that counts.
When we talk of a drink we are referring to about 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer and 1 ounce of alcohol. The problem is that many drinks are made with more alcohol than we realize. Many bartenders think they are doing us a favor and without our knowledge pour 3 or more ounces in our drink. Thus instead of one drink you have consumed three or so, and when you think you have just had two drinks you really have had six.
We all have rights and fighting a DUI case almost always makes more sense than simply pleading guilty... if you can't get a reasonable offer and can afford a trial. For instance, did you know that there are more than 100 interfering substances, medical conditions and equipment malfunctions that can cause DUI breathalyzers to generate falsely high readings?
The bottom line is that DUI blood testing is prone to error. When we make a motion to the Judge for the DA to release a small portion of the blood that was take from our client for retesting at our independent laboratories, we frequently get different results...and sometimes find that the original sample was contaminated?
In addition Police officers are supposed to follow a standardized set of procedures in DUI roadside investigations...and very few of them do? Thus the Bill of Rights kicks in and those charged with a DUI are well advised to pursue all their rights.
The issues presented by a DUI are confusing to the uninitiated and the same questions are asked of me. Most people do not realize an arrest for a DUI kicks in two separate proceedings. One is the court and the other is DMV. You should not confuse the two. The outcome of one does not affect the other.
Next week I will try to expand on these two separate proceedings to prepare my readers for the holidays and warn them not to Drink and Drive.
The bottom line is
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI.........IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN HIRING ME!
Dale Gribow has been selected every year as a "TOP LAWYER" by Palm Springs LIFE, and is also AVVO PEER rated SUPERB by fellow attorneys. Gribow has been named Man of the Year 7 times by both The City of Hope and the City of Palm Desert.
For more than 30 years, Dale Gribow Attorney at Law has been committed to protecting client's civil and constitutional rights. Regardless of whether the matter concerns a Serious Accident, DUI, Business, Real Estate or Estate Planning issue every case is diligently handled with the utmost of respect and care. The Gribow firm offers clients decades of experience and success, thus making Gribow the attorney of choice for thousands of clients.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his NEW number 760-837-7500.