A California man who had 12 previous DUI convictions was found guilty of DUI on April 14 after he was accused of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. It was reported that the 54-year-old Watsonville man was scheduled to be sentenced May 10 for his latest conviction.
On July 23, 2016, authorities conducted a traffic stop on the man's vehicle in Gonzales after he was observed swerving. During the traffic stop, the man reportedly refused to take a breath test and a blood test. He also refused to submit to field sobriety tests. A blood test was taken after a Gonzales police officer obtained a search warrant. The blood sample found that he had a blood alcohol level of .17 percent approximately four hours after the traffic stop was conducted. He could be facing a maximum of seven years in prison. The man has previously served four terms in prison due to his prior DUI convictions.
Drunk driving convictions are taken very seriously in the state of California. Even a first DUI conviction can result in 48 in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, a suspension of the person's driver's license and the requirement to complete a three-month alcohol education program. If a person gets three or more DUI charges and convictions within a 10-year period, the potential maximum prison sentence rises to 16 months in a state prison and approximately $18,000 in fines.
People who are facing these types of charges should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In some cases, a challenge can be mounted to the traffic stop itself as being made without the requisite reasonable suspicion.
Source: KSBW, "Watsonville man with 13 DUI's sentenced", April 14, 2017