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California assemblyman challenges DUI charges in Contra Costa

In late March, an assemblyman from Southern California was charged with DUI after being arrested in Concord. The assemblyman, however, is fighting back.

While many DUI cases seem to be cut-and-dry if police have the right evidence, this one is taking a different route. Police allege that the assemblyman had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent when he was arrested a few months ago. But the assemblyman says he was not drunk.

A recent news report said that he and his attorney plan to prove that the Contra Costa County blood-alcohol analyses process is faulty. Drunk driving charges often rely heavily on the accuracy of a blood-alcohol test, so if the assemblyman can prove his may have been wrong, he could have a strong defense.

Because of these circumstances, the assemblyman's attorney expects the trial to take up to six days. That is twice as long as a normal drunk driving trial. He told a Contra Costa Superior Court judge that the trial could be longer than average because of expert witnesses they will be calling to testify. The trial was scheduled to begin Aug. 8.

As this case clearly shows, strong defenses can be built to challenge DUI charges, you just have to know what to look for. Blood-alcohol tests are a major factor in drunk driving cases, and if they do not hold up, the prosecution's case gets much weaker. Similarly, the accuracy of breath tests and field sobriety tests can be challenged in a trial. A DUI charge does not have to become a conviction.

Source: San Jose Mercury-News, "California Assemblyman's DUI trial begins Wednesday in Contra Costa County," Malaika Fraley, Aug. 8, 2012

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