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Concerned citizen calls police about drunk driver

Police in California say that a call from a concerned citizen led them to a seriously impaired driver on the evening of Nov. 11. After receiving the call at approximately 11:19 p.m., emergency operators dispatched officers from the Petaluma Police Department to a fast food restaurant on East Washington Street. Upon arrival, the officers took a 36-year-old Sonoma County man into custody on suspicion of drunk driving charges.

According to media accounts, the 911 caller became concerned after observing a vehicle being driven erratically on Highway 101. The caller is said to have told operators that the car was swerving across the roadway. The caller claims to have followed the vehicle to a restaurant parking lot and observed its driver drinking from an open container and urinating on the pavement.

A breath test conducted at the scene is said to have revealed the man's blood alcohol concentration to be at least three times the .08 percent legal driving limit in California. According to reports, officers used the results of the breath test to obtain a search warrant that authorized them to draw the man's blood. Officers at the scene say that they noticed several open containers of alcohol in and about the man's vehicle. A records check later revealed that the man has faced drunk driving charges on two prior occasions and was operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys would likely seek to resolve DUI cases at the negotiating table when presented with facts like these. Prosecutors with two toxicology reports, an eyewitness account and the testimony of several police officers may feel that a conviction is assured, but they might still choose to reduce the charges or penalties in return for a guilty plea and a swift resolution.

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