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Visalia Criminal Law Blog

Drunk driving charges filed against Fetty Wap

California residents that are fans of Fetty Wap might be interested in learning that the star was recently arrested by officers with the New York Police Department in Brooklyn. According to news sources, Fetty Wap was charged with drunk driving on Nov. 3.

Law enforcement officers report that Fetty Wap was spotted by the police driving a 2015 Mercedes Benz at speeds of 100 miles per hour in a 50-mile-per-hour zone while engaged in a drag race with another driver. Officers stopped him on the Gowanus Expressway, which is located in Brooklyn, New York.

Alleged drunk driver leads police on slow-speed chase

A California man is facing drunk driving charges after smashing his pickup truck into multiple vehicles on Oct. 25 and refusing to pull over for police. The defendant, age 39, led police on a slow-speed chase that began in Carlsbad and ended in Vista.

According to media reports, the incident began when Carlsbad police received reports about a pickup with a trailer smashing into several vehicles on El Camino Real. At approximately 6:15 p.m., a police officer tried to pull the driver of the pickup over near Faraday Avenue and El Fuerte Street. However, he failed to comply. Multiple patrol cars then followed the pickup from Carlsbad to the 2400 block of Melrose Drive in Vista, where officers successfully deployed a spike strip to bring it to a halt. The driver of the truck exited his vehicle, and officers took him into custody.

Drunk man made young nephew drive car

A California man who was too drunk to drive was arrested on Oct. 22 for allegedly making his pre-teen nephew get behind the wheel of his car. The incident occurred in Port Hueneme at approximately 2:45 p.m.

According to authorities, a patrol officer observed a car that appeared to be driven by a child heading north on Surfside Drive. The driver turned right on Hueneme Road and committed multiple traffic violations. The officer initiated a traffic stop and found an 11-year-old boy operating the vehicle. The defendant, age 29, was slouched in the front passenger seat with an open container of alcohol. The officer said that he appeared to be intoxicated.

Woman facing felony drunk driving charges after crash

A 20-year-old California woman has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and felony drunk driving in connection with an Oct. 13 traffic accident that left her 20-year-old passenger dead and injured three others. Reports indicate that the woman was taken into custody following the accident and transported to the Ventura County Jail. Her bail has been set at $250,000.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the woman was driving with a blood alcohol level that was well in excess of the legal limit when her Lexus sedan strayed into the path of oncoming traffic on Highway 126 near Fillmore. Officers say that the woman's car then struck a sedan and pickup truck that had been traveling eastbound in the vicinity of Spalding Drive. First responders pronounced the woman in the passenger seat of the Lexus dead at the scene. A 38-year-old woman who was behind the wheel of the sedan struck by the woman's car suffered what were described as serious injuries, and she was transported by paramedics to a local hospital along with the woman and three others. The injured included a 2-year-old boy according to police.

Criminalizing drugs is ineffective

Many Californians are arrested for low-level drug crimes. Despite evidence that the criminalization of drug use doesn't work, law enforcement agencies across the nation continue to enforce drug laws to the detriment of the defendants, their families and the community at large.

According to the Uniform Crime Report from the FBI, more than 1.57 million drug-related arrests were made by U.S. law enforcement agencies in 2016, which was an increase of 5.63 percent over the number of arrests in 2015. Of those arrests, 84.6 percent were for simple drug possession, and 41 percent of all of the drug arrests were for marijuana.

Controlled substance schedules

California residents may be interested in how the federal government classifies controlled substances. The term 'controlled substance" is loosely defined as a drug that has the potential to cause harm to a person's health. Since 1970, the government has classified controlled substances by placing each into one of five numbered categories. Technically it is illegal for a person to possess any drug on any of the five classification schedules, but many of the drugs are available by prescription from a doctor, and having a valid prescription for a drug generally exempts people from being prosecuted.

Schedule I drugs are considered to have a high potential for dependency or abuse and are not known to have any medical value. Though much controversy surrounds that issue as it relates to marijuana, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I drug. Other Schedule I drugs include ecstasy, heroin, LSD and peyote. Some Schedule II drugs are available by medical prescription, but all drugs on this schedule have high potential for dependency. These drugs include morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Undercover drug buys in North Bay lead to 5 arrests

An 11-month undercover operation culminated with the arrest of five suspects, two from Petaluma and three from San Rafael, who are accused of possessing and selling cocaine and methamphetamine. Multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the North and East Bay along with the California Highway Patrol participated in the investigation that began when the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force received tips about narcotics distribution in the county.

The drug sales allegedly took place in the Canal area of San Rafael, according to a lieutenant from the Marin County Sheriff's Department. The task force focused its efforts in that area and recorded 21 purchases of drugs by undercover agents. According to investigators, they collected 2 pounds of cocaine and 6 ounces of methamphetamine worth approximately $24,000.

2 charged with possession of meth for sale

Two California men were taken into police custody on Sept. 7 after they were accused of selling methamphetamine and other associated drug crimes. The two men, ages 38 and 39, were arrested after an officer conducted a traffic stop on their vehicle in Watsonville.

The officer pulled over the vehicle for a traffic violation at about 11:13 p.m. in the area of Main Street and Freedom Boulevard. The officer reportedly found that the two vehicle occupants both had outstanding warrants, so they were taken into custody. Investigators then searched the vehicle and recovered methamphetamine and a loaded firearm. Authorities also searched one of the accused individual's residence, where more meth and another firearm were discovered. In total, authorities said that they seized two pounds of meth.

Pre-trial motions set boundaries for trials

Pre-trial motions are an expected part of most criminal cases that go far in court. In California, pre-trial motions are typically filed after the preliminary hearing but before the case goes to trial. Usually, the defense attorney and the prosecutor appear in criminal court and make arguments that the case should be dismissed or that certain testimony or evidence should not be admitted at trial.

Most criminal cases are settled by means of a plea bargain, a dismissal or another order; therefore, they do not make it to pre-trial motions. In these cases, the preliminary hearing or arraignment is the last time the defendant will be in court.

2 charged with drug trafficking

Two California residents were taken into custody on Sept. 1 while deputies were searching for a third person. Initially it was thought that the third person was still in the residence, though it was later determined that the man had already fled.

Deputies reportedly found a vehicle thought to be associated with the third person parked on Oak Knoll Road in Orcutt. While they were observing the vehicle, a 29-year-old individual who lived in a nearby residence got into it. The deputies then conducted a search on the vehicle and reportedly recovered about one pound of methamphetamine. When the deputies went to the residence, they observed a 28-year-old Santa Maria woman attempting to flee from the back of the residence. She was also taken into police custody. During a search of the residence, two firearms and high capacity magazines were taken.

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