Tuesday, June 30, 2009

California "Driving" Defense Questions in DUI cases arise as Cop denies "Driving" in drunk driving trial

California "Driving" Defense Questions in DUI cases include:

1) Did California police officer actually observe the person driving the vehicle?
2) Does the officer have first-hand knowledge of the person driving?
3) Was the vehicle lawfully parked when the officer arrived on the scene?
4) Is there a reliable witness who can actually identify the person as the driver? 5) Could there have been another person driving?
6) Can competent witnesses establish the vehicle moved within 3 hours of the chemical test?
7) Is corpus delicti for a DUI offense (actual driver + driving of vehicle, etc.) established?
8) Was the warrantless DUI arrest lawful?

A former Merced County sheriff's deputy began his California DUI trial yesterday.
The cop maintains he's not guilty. He was not driving.

He was arrested on suspicion of California DUI after another deputy spotted a white Pontiac with the engine running parked on the side of Childs Avenue near Whealen Road around 10:30 p.m., said California DUI prosecutor Rita Patel.

The California DUI deputy knocked on the window and saw Metz in the passenger seat of the car with his girlfriend, the California DUI prosecutor said. After seeing the officer, Metz allegedly crawled into the driver's seat, inadvertently putting his foot on the car's accelerator, revving the engine.

Believing that the cop was DUI, the California DUI deputy (who recognized Metz as a former deputy) notified the California Highway Patrol. CHP claims Metz's eyes were watery and his speech was slurred. Metz then told the officer that he wasn't driving under the influence, saying, "I'm not deuced (California DUI)."

Metz's girlfriend supposedly asked the CHP officer to "cut him a break" because of the defendant's previous employment with the sheriff's department. The jury may cut him a break if they believe the California DUI prosecution has failed to prove driving beyond a reasonable doubt.

He submitted to a California DUI field sobriety test and a California DUI breath test. His California DUI BAC read .08%. Metz allegedly told the officer that his girlfriend couldn't drive the Pontiac away after his arrest, because she was allegedly intoxicated.

Patel dismissed Metz's explanation that he wasn't driving the car that night. "The true culprit is right here before you," the prosecutor told California DUI jurors.

California DUI criminal defense attorney Meagan Melanson argued there's no evidence pointing to Metz as the driver. The Pontiac was registered in the name of his girlfriend's father -- and not a single witness saw him driving it.

"The car doesn't even belong to him," says his California DUI criminal defense lawyer. "No one saw anybody ever driving that car -- let alone, Justin Metz."

If convicted of California DUI, Metz could face six months in jail. The California DUI trial is expected to end pretty soon.

If you need help, do not wait. Investigation needs to begin by your attorney.