DUI Offender on Bail Caught Drinking on Courthouse Lawn

By Mary Ann

Martin Ruiz of Nevada may be living proof that actions speak louder than words.

In January of this year, Ruiz was arrested for DUI after an accident in which he and his passenger were injured, as well as the other driver.  Ruiz was driving 70 mph with a blood alcohol level of 0.104.

After pleading with the judge at his court date to release him and promising never to drink another beer again, he released from the Douglas County Courthouse on his own recognizance.

And then he was caught drinking a 12-pack of beer on the courthouse lawn.

This time, the judge set his bail at $100,000, saying that releasing him on his own recognizance would be “completely inappropriate.”



Update on Washington State DUI Toxicology Problems

By Mary Ann

Earlier this week, Total DUI detailed how problems at the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory, including questions about a mixture solution testing the accuracy of breathalyzers, could affect certain DUI cases.

For more of a back story, Washington DUI attorneys had begun arguing for the dismissal of DUI cases or at least the reduction of charges after it was learned that the manager of the state toxicology lab had been signing papers saying that she had tested the ethanol-water solution when in fact she hadn’t done so.

With that said, Eastern Washington Whitman County prosecutors, fearing that certain DUI charges wouldn’t hold up in court, have agreed to plea bargains in 30 of 80 Washington DUI cases.

This decision on Wednesday could loom large throughout the state, as other county prosecutors may be forced to make similar concessions in wake of the problems at the state toxicology lab. It has been estimated that this initial hearing about the breathalyzer results in Whitman County could affect hundreds of DUI cases in the state.



Blogger Misunderstands Kiefer Sutherland’s DUI Charges and DUI Law

By Guest Attorney

Lea Anna Cooper suggests, on the American Chronicle Web site, that Kiefer Sutherland may face double jeopardy when tried for his recent DUI charges. Her claim of double jeopardy is simply a misunderstanding of DUI law.

Sutherland, star of the controversial hit show “24,” was arrested in September and charged with driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) above 0.08 percent and driving under the influence.

Cooper asserts that the two charges against Sutherland would amount to “double jeopardy.” Strangely, Cooper also reprints portions of a California criminal case that explains how she misunderstands DUI law, People v. Cosko, 152 Cal. App. 3d 54, 199 Cal. Rptr. 289 (1984).

As Cosko explains, Sutherland has been charged with two crimes; one is a “lesser included offense” of the other. In other words, the charge of driving with a BAC above 0.08 percent includes the elements of the misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence plus the element of having a blood alcohol level above 0.08 percent.

Cosko points out that a prosecutor has the right to charge a defendant with a crime and lesser included offenses to assure that she gets a conviction. A court cannot, however, actually convict a defendant of both the charged offense and the lesser included offenses.

Sutherland does actually face revocation of his probation stemming from his plea to driving under the influence in 2004. He was sentenced to 60 months probation and could now face up to 18 months in jail for violating his probation. However, it is very unlikely he will see any more than the 96 hours in jail required under California DUI law.