Archive for the ‘DUI’ Category

DUI Checkpoints and Alcohol Enforcement Planned for Cesar Chavez Weekend in Chico.

Chico, CA.  Avoid the Eight DUI checkpoints are planned, and Chico Police will be in force in the downtown and south of campus areas through Sunday on the look out for violations primarily related to alcohol use, according to an article by Chico Enterprise Record reporter Almendra Carpizo.

According to the article, last year officers made twenty-five arrests for being drunk in public, six arrests for driving under the influence, two citations for being minors in possession of alcohol and two for fighting in public (noting that half of those arrested or cited were identified as students).

Daniel Ledford, Butte County DUI and criminal defense attorney comments, “hopefully the weekend will be relatively quiet and peaceful — as it was a couple of weekends ago for the St. Patrick’s weekend.”

Chico DUI Checkpoints and St. Patrick’s Alcohol Enforcement Beefed Up for Weekend – CSU Chico Students Beware – Avoid the Eight

Chico, California.  The Chico Police Department, Butte County Sheriff, Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), and other law enforcement agencies are gearing up for unruly crowds that have been known to descend on downtown and south of campus neighborhoods for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, according to Chico Enterprise Record.

The glass ban and open container codes will be in effect and enforced from 7 a.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Monday around downtown and the area south of Chico State.  Arrests for minor in possession and public intoxication are likely.

The Butte County Avoid the Eight, which is made up of law enforcement agencies in the county, will be operating DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols to locate impaired drivers or those driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater.

Butte County DUI and criminal defense attorney, Daniel Ledford, commented, “It’s pretty easy to have a good time without getting arrested – don’t drink too much, don’t walk around with a beer, a bong, or anything else in your hand that would draw attention, be polite, and don’t drive.”  If you are arrested, invoke your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer.

Butte County DUI Arrests Down for the Holidays

According to Chico Enterprise Record Staff Reports, in a crackdown of drunk drivers, law enforcement agencies in Butte County arrested 67 drivers in the last 17 days.

The arrests were from Dec. 14 to Dec. 30, throughout the county.

In a similar campaign in 2011, 76 DUI arrests were made over the same period, according to a police press release.

For New Year’s Eve, the campaign added extra officers from the eight agencies involved, and saturation patrols were planned throughout the county.

Butte County DUI Lawyer Daniel Ledford Explains the Modified Helmandollar Plea – Resolving California DMV Driver’s License Suspension and Low Blood Alcohol Concentration BAC Driving Under the Influence Cases

CHICO, CA – Low blood alcohol DUI cases lend themselves to plea deals.  You had a couple drinks with dinner.  On the way home you are pulled over by the police because you were speeding or failed to completely stop at a stop sign.  The officer smells beer, wine or liquor.  You admit drinking.  You perform field sobriety tests.  You blow into a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device held in the officer’s hand.  You are arrested and handcuffed. They take your blood or you blow into a breath machine.  You are booked into jail.  You are released from jail with a date to show up in court for arraignment.  You have ten or fewer days to request a hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to dispute your driver’s license suspension.  You hire a lawyer.  The law enforcement agency responsible for your arrest directly, or through the District Attorney, files criminal DUI charges in the Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred.

As it turns out, the evidence in the case suggests the DA will have a difficult time proving your BAC was 0.08% or greater at the time you were driving.  The prosecutor offers a wet reckless plea pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23103.5 with no jail time and reduced fines.  If you accept, the prosecutor will dismiss the 23152(a) and 23152(b) counts of the criminal complaint.  Problem – your driver’s license is still suspended by the DMV because you were not acquitted of the 23152(a) and 23152(b) charges.

In comes the modified Helmandollar plea.  Helmandollar v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 52.  Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges should embrace modified Helmandollar procedures in appropriate cases where the facts do not warrant a penalty (technically an administrative action) as harsh as a driver’s license suspension.  And the procedure is very simple.  The parties announce a negotiated disposition of the criminal case wherein the defendant enters a guilty or no contest plea to a wet reckless.  Thereafter, the criminal case proceeds to a court trial (also known as a bench trial without a jury) in which the only evidence is a stipulation of the parties that the defendant drove a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.07%.  Based on such evidence, the court finds the defendant not guilty on the 23152(a) and 23152(b) charges.  Counsel prepares, and judge signs, a finding and judgment of acquittal on the DUI charges.  Defendant is sentenced on the wet reckless conviction pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23103.5.  The finding and judgment of acquittal on the DUI charges is filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the licensee significantly improves the odds of getting his or her driver’s license back.  In an appropriate case, the extra time it takes to effect a Helmandollar plea will far outweigh the time it will take to get a hung jury.

Daniel Ledford is a former Butte County Deputy District Attorney.  He now represents defendants and remains committed to doing justice.

(530) 354-4066 Chico             (530) 534-6100 Oroville

Butte County DUI & Public Intoxication Arrests – Labor Day Weekend Nets Multiple CSU Chico Student Arrests

Chico Enterprise Record Staff Writer Katy Sweeny documents arrests made over Labor Day Weekend in Butte County in her piece entitled Dozens of Arrests Made Over Labor Day Weekend.  DUI and Public Intoxication pursuant to Penal Code section 647(f) are par for the course on the Sacramento River every year during the Labor Day Weekend river float from Irvine Finch in Glenn County to Beer Can Beach and to the take out at Scotty’s Landing in Butte County.

“Being arrested is not the same as being guilty,” commented former Butte County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Ledford who now represents criminal defendants as a private defense attorney.  Ledford estimates around twenty-percent of the arrests will not result in the filing of criminal charges by the District Attorney.  “Police only have to have probable cause to arrest you; that’s a much lower standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is required to prove guilt,” Ledford added.

Public intoxication charges can lead to harsh consequences (including loss of driver’s license, jail, costly treatment programs and fines, and professional and employment repercussions).

(530) 354-4066 Chico               (530) 534-6100 Oroville

Butte County DUI Jury Acquits CSU Chico Student

OROVILLE, CA – A unanimous jury of Butte County citizens, following a two day DUI jury trial, acquitted a California State University Chico student on all charges.  Evidence included testimony by the arresting California Highway Patrol CHP Chico officer that the defendant, around 10 p.m. in the middle of May, drove several blocks with the headlights off.  The officer also testified the student admitted drinking beer, had slurred speech, and had a noticeable sway when he walked from his car toward the patrol vehicle and during field sobriety tests.  Forensic Toxicologist Jeffery Zehnder, of Drug Detection Laboratories, testified as an expert for the defense.  Jon Knapp, of Valley Toxicology Service, testified as an expert for the prosecution.

The Chico State student’s DUI trial attorney, Daniel Ledford, commented after the verdict, “We are very satisfied – my client was not guilty and the jury recognized that.”  The jury, comprised of six men and six women, deliberated for about 3 hours, during which it sent questions to the judge, the Honorable Michael Candela, Superior Court of California for the County of Butte, on two separate occasions.  Daniel Ledford, the defendant’s criminal defense lawyer, met with jurors following the not-guilty verdicts.  “Their comments show they did their duty – they took in all the evidence, listened to the opposing arguments, followed the judge’s instructions on the law, reviewed the exhibits, deliberated and asked for clarification where needed,” said Ledford.

(530) 354-4066 Chico

(530) 534-6100 Oroville

Butte County DUI Checkpoint – Paradise Police Arrest 15 Fourth of July Weekend

According to Chico Enterprise Record Staff Reports dated July 8, 2012, Paradise Police arrested 15 people at a DUI checkpoint through the course of Friday night in Butte County, California.  Only two motorists were arrested under suspicion of drunk driving, said Lt. Steve Rowe. Two were arrested on drug related felony charges and another 10 were arrested under suspicion of driving with a suspended license. At least one misdemeanor arrest was made.  “I didn’t expect to be that busy, but it was busy,” he said. “I was surprised, quite frankly.”  The checkpoint was held on Skyway near Boquest Boulevard, Rowe said.  It was part of Butte County’s “Avoid the Eight” task force, which is a DUI prevention project funded by the Office of Traffic Safety that includes major law enforcement agencies throughout the county.

Avoid the Eight’s next checkpoint is planned for the Labor Day weekend.

Fourth of July Saturation and DUI Checkpoints AAA Offers Tipsy Tow Service

It’s time again.  Holidays typically bring about increased focus on driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement.  And checkpoints. And saturation patrols.  Chico Enterpise Record (or Chico ER) and Oroville Mercury News had stories earlier today.  According to Staff Reports, California AAA will again be offering its “tipsy tow” service for drinking drivers on the Fourth of July.  Members and nonmembers can call 1-800-222-4357 for a free tow of up to 10 miles.  The service is available from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday in Northern California.  The service is restricted to a one-way ride for the driver and the vehicle to the driver’s home.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the best way to avoid a DUI or boating under the influence (BUI) on Lake Oroville  arrest and criminal charges is to not drink alcohol or use drugs or marijuana before driving or boating.  It’s not illegal to drink and drive or boat — it’s illegal to drink too much and drive or boat.

If you are arrested for DUI or BUI you should hire a Butte County DUI Lawyer in Chico or Oroville, California as soon as possible.

(530) 354-4066 (Chico)

(530) 534-6100 (Oroville)



Boating Under the Influence – Saturation Patrols Begin Today on Lake Oroville

Boating Under the Influence – Saturation Patrols Begin Today on Lake Oroville

According to Chico Enterprise Record Staff Reports dated June 21, 2012, a four-day campaign to educate people on the risks of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs (BUI or the DUI of Boating) begins today at Lake Oroville.  The BUI campaign is called 2012 Operation Dry Water and is going on nationwide through Sunday. It is sponsored by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.  California State Parks and other agencies will participate in the effort at Lake Oroville.  A State Parks official stated in a press release on June 21st that the number of recreational boating fatalities last year jumped to the highest levels since 1998, and alcohol was considered a contributing factor.  In a phone message, Oroville State Parks official Kirk Coon did not say whether there had been any fatalities at Lake Oroville last year from boating under the influence.  Last year during a BUI operation, State Parks rangers and Butte County sheriff’s deputies stopped 75 boats on Lake Oroville, contacted 204 people, issued 10 citations and made one arrest.  Rangers and officers will be out in force today through Sunday looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.  The campaign includes focused enforcement, saturation patrols, chemical tests, voluntary vessel inspections and boater education.  Reportedly, boating accidents are more probable and more deadly for passengers and boat operators when they’re impaired by alcohol.  Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe. In California the consequences for BUI include, among other things, fines, boat impoundment and jail.  According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics, alcohol was a contributing factor in 6 percent of boating accidents overall, but figured in 16 percent of boating fatalities in the United States last year.  The report also indicates alcohol was a factor in 13 accidents, 3 fatalities and 13 injuries in California last year.

Arrested for DUI Memorial Day Weekend in Butte County

Arrested for DUI Memorial Day Weekend in Butte County

Memorial Day weekend in Butte County, with Chico and Oroville being the largest two cities, seems to always result in several driving under the influence (aka DUI, DWI or drunk driving) arrests. Despite all the warnings about DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols looking for drunk drivers, there have been 18 DUI arrests so far (according to Chico Enterprise Record Staff Reports as of 2 p.m. on May 28, 2012). As a DUI and criminal defense attorney, people often ask me what they can do to avoid a DUI. Well, the safest approach is: if you drink, don’t drive; and if you are going to drive, don’t drink. Despite this cautious approach, it’s not the only legal one. After all, there is no law that makes it a crime to drink and drive. That’s right, it is completely legal for a person over 21 years of age to drink before driving (unless the person is on probation or parole with no alcohol terms). What is unlawful is drinking too much before driving. How much is too much? There are two answers that correspond with the two vehicle code sections dealing with drinking and driving. Vehicle Code section 23152(a) makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. A person is under the influence if, as a result of drinking alcohol or taking drugs, or both, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. So, under Vehicle Code section 23152(a), a lightweight (i.e., a person who gets stumbling drunk after just one drink) may be found to be DUI. Contrast this with Vehicle Code section 23152(b), in which it is unlawful to drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or greater. Here, a person with high-tolerance to alcohol who is driving just fine (i.e., not impaired) but who is stopped for a brake or tail light that is out, may find themselves arrested for violating Vehicle Code section 23152(b). The penalties for either are the same and lay people tend to refer to both as DUI, although that’s not technically correct. If you find yourself arrested for DUI, you should be given a pink sheet of paper which is a temporary driver’s license that informs you that if you fail to request within 10 days of the arrest a hearing with the DMV to challenge the arrest, your driver’s license will be suspended. The DMV action is separate from the criminal DUI charges you will face in court. The key is to take your DUI arrest seriously and promptly retain a Butte County DUI Lawyer in Oroville or Chico to represent you. Your attorney will evaluate your case, explain your options, and may provide you with some guidance for avoiding a DUI arrest in the future.

For additional information and appointment, please call:

(530) 354-4066 CHICO
(530) 534-6100 OROVILLE