Case Conclusion Date:July 5, 2013
Practice Area:DUI / DWI
Outcome:Dismissed on Jury Trial Date
Description:Police were dispatched to investigate a call regarding a hit-and-run and a call about a separate hit-and-run and a drunk driver. The 911 dispatcher communicated the vehicle description to the police and relayed that a 911 caller had observed the drunk driver trying to park the van. Upon their arrival, police found a damaged and improperly parked van matching the description given in both 911 calls. Client was slumped over in the driver's seat and another male slumped over in the passenger seat. The van was off and the keys were in the center console. Both men were awoken and ordered out of the van by the police. Despite Client's high level of intoxication he was able to realize that the police suspected him of DUI and hit-and-run. Client explained that he had not been driving and specifically stated that it was his passenger who had been the one driving. Client's statement of innocence was wholly disregarded and the police arrested him for DUI and hit-and-run. The passenger was arrested for public intoxication, placed in the "drunk tank" and released without charges. The passenger was never asked whether he ever drove the van, or questioned at all for that matter. Mr. Flores obtained an audio copy of the actual 911 call made by caller #2. The 911 caller stated that he heard a loud bang and went to his window to see two guys who looked intoxicated outside of the van "trying to figure out how to park it". Despite the caller's pretty clear explanation that he had not seen the van in motion or who was driving the van, the dispatcher proceed to ask the caller for a description of the driver. The caller responded with a physical description of both men. The dispatcher then asked the caller to estimate the driver's age. The caller responded by giving his estimate of the age of each of the two men. Attempts to show the District Attorney's office that the case against Client was not as strong as it appeared to be on the face of the police report fell on deaf ears. The DA countered that the car was registered to Client's address and that the claim that the passenger was driving was a fabrication. The DA's plea bargain offer was rejected and the case was set for trial. Without advance notice from the DA, all charges were dismissed on the jury trial date.