Articles Posted in DUI Trials

As of January 1, 2013, the Marin County Superior Court has changed the way misdemeanor charges including Driving Under The Influence cases are handled. Prior to 1/1/13 all misdemeanor matters were heard in front of a court commissioner in department M of the the historic Marin County Civic Center and cases only went before a judge for motion hearings and for jury trials.

Now, DUI cases are arraigned in department N or at the clerk’s office by attorneys and are then assigned for all purposes to a judge. However, motions to suppress evidence will be calendared to be heard by a commissioner in department M on Friday mornings until the end of March 2013.
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Last week Marin County DUI Lawyer John Stanko concluded a jury trial on a 3rd offense case in Vallejo, Solano County. The trial began on February 3 and concluded on February 4, 2010.

Attorney Stanko convinced the court to not allow the prosecution to introduce the testimony of any forensic toxicologist and the breath alcohol results, .08/.09 were excluded due to a lack of foundation. In excluding the testimony and breath results the court ruled that the prosecution had failed to provided the name of their toxicologist to Mr. Stanko in a timely fashion and did not comply with a court order to furnish that information.

The trial proceeded on charges of driving under the influence, vehicle code section 23152(a), and driving with a .08 % or more blood alcohol level, vehicle code section 23152(b). At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case in chief, Mr. Stanko made a motion for the entry of a judgment of acquittal on the 23152(b) charge. That motion was granted.

Thus, the jury was asked to decide only whether the defendant was driving under the influence. Unfortunately the jury found the defendant guilty of that charge. According to one juror, the jury believed that the .09/.09 result on a preliminary alcohol screening device (PAS), was sufficient to show that the defendant was at least a .08 and under the influence. Defense motions to exclude the PAS results were denied by the court.
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