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California Supreme Court clears fringe evidence to back DUI claims

We've talked about the extensive punishment that is associated with driving under the influence on this blog before. There are so many effects and consequences involved with a DUI charge that the accused person can have his or her life turned upside down even if there are mitigating circumstances or inconclusive evidence. And along these lines, things just got even worse for people in California who are accused of driving under the influence.

The California Supreme Court made a recent ruling that makes it even easier for the state to revoke or suspend your license in the wake of a DUI charge. The case in question is an interesting one: a woman was pulled over on the suspicion of driving under the influence. She failed a field sobriety test and was eventually given a breath test, but that didn't occur until an hour later.

When the breath test was administered, the woman had a blood alcohol content of 0.08. A few minutes later, the breath test was given again and it showed a 0.09 BAC. A blood test was then administered, which showed a BAC of 0.095.

The woman pleaded guilty to a DUI-related charge, but she contested her license being suspended. A toxicology professional would testify that the evidence shows her BAC was rising at the time of the tests, and since she blew a 0.08 initially (an hour after the arrest), it would stand to reason that the woman actually was not over the legal limit when she was pulled over.

Still, a DMV officer (where the license appeal goes when an accused person decides to appeal) disagreed and allowed the license suspension to proceed. Appellate courts upheld this decision, and the California Supreme Court went a step further: allowing circumstantial evidence to substantiate the DUI claims against a potentially intoxicated driver.

Source: Press Enterprise, "CALIFORNIA: Ruling makes it easier to take driver's license in DUI cases," Kelly Puente, April 6, 2015

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