Real California DUI Trial Held at High School

By Mary Ann

A Chico California women charged with DUI and driving the wrong way down a one-way street was tried at Las Plumas High School. She had agreed to participate in a California program where DUI trials are held at high schools with students acting as mock juries. This was the first of seven trials to be held at California high schools this year. The presiding judge delivered the real verdict of guilty and sentenced the woman to three years probation, a $1,735 fine, and 96 hours in the county jail. The jail time was suspended due to her participation in the program.

The evidence presented was complete. The prosecution presented the police officer’s reason for the stop, results of road-side tests, two breath tests, expert testimony regarding the reliability of the breathalyzer tests and the physical affects of excess alcohol consumption. The woman had failed more than one of the road-side tests and her breath tests showed a minimum of 0.16 BAC. The woman’s defense attorney attempted to show a reasonable doubt, but both the mock jury and the judge found her guilty of DUI.

The presiding judge said most DUI cases are resolved with pleas or dismissed.   Out of 1,500 DUI cases in the County last year, only three had gone to trial. The Chico area has seen a 15 percent increase in DUI cases this past year. Butte County now sees a DUI arrest for every 100 drivers in the County each year.

The program will continue with trials at different high schools. An official involved in the program said that they “want students to be more aware of the consequences of driving under the influence and use the knowledge they get today to save people’s lives.”

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