San Clemente, Garden Grove Hold DUI Stops as Authorities Say Oopsie over Bad Blood Tests

Categories: DUI-yi-yi

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There will be checkpoints running tonight in San Clemente and Saturday night in Garden Grove aimed at removing drunken drivers from the road and putting them before judges.

But for a couple thousand souls who were either arrested of, convicted of or pleaded guilty to drunken driving in Orange County, Christmas has arrived in the form of letters from prosecutors informing them the Crime Lab mucked up blood-alcohol results in some cases.

A routine audit of lab results revealed some data was not properly saved from April through the start of October, according to the Orange County Crime Lab. "The error's been fixed and this won't happen again," Bruce Houlihan, director of the Orange County Crime Lab, told City News Service.

But the revelation led to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) to take another look at 3,000 DUI cases, of which 2,200 led to convictions. Only about 200 cases resulted in slight adjustments when factoring in the correct blood-alcohol percentages, and only 20 of those dropped the magic number below the legal limit of .08 percent, reports the OCDA.

But Farrah Emami, the OCDA spokeswoman, noted that her agency has won convictions even with drivers who blew 0.7 percent. Nonetheless, she told the news service her agency sent letters out to 900 defendants whose cases were resolved and defense attorneys in 1,300 pending cases to inform them of the crime lab errors. And she suggested anyone who was arrested on suspicion of DUI between April and October ask their attorneys how to proceed.

"The large majority of our cases will not be impacted," Emami said.

The crime lab ship will no doubt have been set on the correct course by 6 p.m. this evening, when the Orange County Sheriff's Department runs its DUI/driver's license checkpoint through 2 a.m. Saturday in San Clemente.

The Garden Grove Police Department operation runs from 9 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Sunday.

Neither agency provided the exact locations of their checkpoints, which are funded by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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8 comments
tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

BUT EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT TO THE DA'S OFFICE AND THE COPS. EVERYONE EXCEPT FOR THEM. THEY JUST SENT ME A $75 DOLLAR BILL EVEN AFTER THE CASE WAS DISMISSED. GOES TO SHOW THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

"THE CITIZENS HAVE A RIGHT TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM THE POLICE". = T. RACK

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"80 PERCENT OF ALL COPS ARE CRIMINALS AND VIOLATE THE LAWS WHILE THEY ARE ON DUTY".

Benjamin Cleveland
Benjamin Cleveland

Very nice of them to do the right thing, they could have easily just kept the charge in place and screwed these people.

James Gandy
James Gandy

Would someone please hand out my card?

CRIMECONCERNS
CRIMECONCERNS

This is a DISGRACE!  Lives are ruined because of this type of incompetence and the DA's spokeswoman brags that convictions have been achieved with a .07 alcohol level, which is within the legal alcohol limit. 

The OC Board of Supervisors granted DA Rackauckas' office $1 million in extra funds to prosecute public corruption crimes--maybe it is time for someone to investigate the OC Crime Lab and the OC District Attorney's arrogance as it relates to the civil rights of unsuspecting citizens. Obviously, someone made a lot of money and/or lost money because of these shenanigans.  Sounds to me like the OC Sheriff and OC District Attorney only care about another notch on their belt (CONVICTIONS) versus the public's protection and or uphold the civil rights of all individuals.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

@CRIMECONCERNS BUT EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT TO THE DA'S OFFICE AND THE COPS. EVERYONE EXCEPT FOR THEM. THEY JUST SENT ME A $75 DOLLAR BILL EVEN AFTER THE CASE WAS DISMISSED. GOES TO SHOW THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

"THE CITIZENS HAVE A RIGHT TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM THE POLICE". = T. RACK

daveraines321
daveraines321

@CRIMECONCERNS Wait a minute.  Didn't the crime lab find the problem themselves, admitted it, and is taking action to correct it?  Are you suggesting that they purposefully set the test equipment to read too high?  If so, what's your proof?  And why would they then turn around and back away from it on their own?


Those convictions at .07 BAC likely came about not because of the BAC, which would have been legal, but because of a failed field sobriety test.  The field sobriety test is to see if you are physically and mentally able to safely operate a motor vehicle, whether you are drunk, stoned, on prescription meds, sick, mentally or physically disabled or whatever.


What I am seeing is that those convicted solely on a .08 BAC during that time period are being given the opportunity to revisit their case.

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