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Man Convicted of 9 DUIs Receives Nine-Year Prison Term

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Nine DUIs gets nine years in prison. According to a news release from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office every subsequent DUI conviction can increase your risk of suffering incarceration for a significant time period. The district attorney can add enhancements to the criminal complaint by alleging that you have prior convictions. This is what happened to Alfred Torres Jr., who was sentenced to nine years in state prison last week, on June 21, 2013, after being convicted of his fifth felony DUI in ten years. Mr. Torres has been convicted of DUI nine times since 1986. After his prison sentence has been served, Mr. Torres’ driver’s license will be suspended for ten years.

District attorney Jill Ravitch indicated that the enhanced sentence reflects her office’s “commitment to making roads safer by aggressively prosecuting those who drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.” Mr. Torres’ enhanced sentence was based not only on his prior convictions, but also on his admission of driving with a blood alcohol content exceeding .15 percent, and another enhancement alleging he had suffered three or more prior felony DUI convictions in the last ten years; a felony violation of reckless evading; as well as a misdemeanor violation of driving on a suspended license from a prior DUI. Additionally, Mr. Torres admitted the truth of sentencing enhancements alleging that he suffered six prior prison commitments.

When Mr. Torres was first noticed by police, he was driving on Old Redwood Highway with a tail light out. Individuals who drink and drive increase their risk of encountering criminal liability if they provide police officers with probable cause to detain them by committing minor traffic infractions, such as driving at night with a tail light out. Mr. Torres was also swerving out of his lane. When the police officer attempted to stop him, Mr. Torres attempted to flee by pulling onto a gravel road and making narrow turns near oak trees and farm equipment for approximately one mile. Mr. Torres may have increased his risk of experiencing a heightened sentence by attempting to evade arrest.

Mr. Torres’ case illustrates how California’s sentencing enhancements can be used to turn a simple Sonoma County DUI case into a situation in which an individual defendant experiences a substantial risk of spending a good portion of his life incarcerated. Driving drunk is against the law. That aside, there are several steps that can be taken to minimize this risk of being pulled over, including, but not limited to, ensuring that your vehicle is in good working order, and verifying that all of your tail lights work when driving at night. An observing police officer would then have no cause to suspect that a law is being violated.

A skillful attorney can take a situation in which the officer appears to have lacked reasonable cause to detain a DUI defendant, and use it to successfully argue that the results of a breath or blood test should be suppressed because the arresting officer did not have probable cause to detain the individual. In Sonoma County, Lake County and Mendocino County, some of the most competent and skillful DUI attorneys work at Beck Law, P.C. If you would like a consultation, please contact us.

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