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Articles Posted in DMV Issues

People v. Escareno (Cal. Ct. App., May 24, 2021, No. A160209) 2021 WL 2069434, at *1–4

Summary: Escareno pleaded no contest to two felonies, four misdemeanors and an infraction arising from a single incident of driving under the influence of alcohol and without a valid license. The  trial court refused  to dismiss the misdemeanor and infraction counts pursuant to Vehicle Code section 41500 after sentencing him to prison on the felony counts. Escareno appealed and the Court affirmed.

Escareno was charged with felony driving under the influence of alcohol after two prior felony convictions for the same (Veh. Code,1 §§ 23152, subd. (a), 23550.5) (count 1); felony driving with .08 percent or higher blood alcohol after two prior felony convictions for the same (§§ 23152, subd. (b), 23550.5) (count 2); misdemeanor unlawful operation of a vehicle not equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device (§ 23247, subd. (e)) (count 3); misdemeanor driving when privilege suspended for driving under the influence, with priors (§ 14601.2, subd. (a)) (count 4); misdemeanor driving while license suspended or revoked, with priors (§ 14601.5, subd. (a)) (count 5); misdemeanor driving without a valid license (§ 12500, subd. (a)) (count 6); and possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage while driving, an infraction (§ 23222, subd. (a)) (count 7).

People v. Walker (Cal. Ct. App., May 6, 2021, No. A158423) 2021 WL 1811648, at *1–4

Summary: Walker appealed following his convictions for felony evasion of a peace officer (Veh. Code, § 2800.2)1 and other crimes. In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal rejected Walker’s contention that reckless driving (§ 23103) is a lesser included offense of felony evasion.

Facts: In June 2019, Walker was charged with felony evasion of a peace officer (§ 2800.2); misdemeanor driving under the influence (§ 23152, subd. (f)); and misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)).

WILLIAM LEE GERWIG, JR., Plaintiff and Appellant, v. STEVE GORDON, as Director, etc., Defendant and Respondent. (Cal. Ct. App., Feb. 19, 2021, No. D076921) 2021 WL 650274

 Summary: When the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) holds an administrative hearing to consider whether to suspend a driver’s license, it can usually support its case by relying on an Evidence Code presumption that chemical blood tests were properly conducted, and the results are thus reliable. Here, the Court of Appeal concluded that licensees rebut that presumption only when they cast doubt on the integrity of the test. A violation of governing regulations that has only a tenuous connection to the accuracy of the results is not enough. Here,  plaintiff proved a regulatory violation with only an indirect and speculative relationship to the manner in which the blood test was conducted, and to the reliability of the test results. The Court affirmed.

BACKGROUND

The California DMV resumed behind-the-wheel testing beginning Friday, June 26.  Drivers and DMV instructors will be required to wear face masks and drivers will be asked to lower two windows to increase air flow in the car. Pre-test instructions will be given  outside the car. DMV examiners will also wear gloves and place plastic covers on the passenger seat and floorboard as precautions against transmission of the coronavirus. Applicants will be required to wear a face covering and answer screening questions before starting the exam. Temperature checks will be added to safety protocols  in the coming weeks.

There has been a  three month backlog of behind-the-wheel testing as a result of  the DMV closing all of its 169 field offices and cancelling  all appointments in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some offices were reopened in May and the rest resumed operations in June, but no behind-the-wheel tests have taken place since mid-March.

The DMV will automatically reschedule all canceled driving test appointments and  anticipates it will take several weeks to complete testing for previously canceled tests. Appointments for new behind-the-wheel tests will not be available until previously canceled tests are completed.

The decrease in traffic during the COVID-19 shelter in place, has seen an increase in speeding tickets for driving over 100 mph.

‘From March 19, when the state’s stay-at-home order began, to April 19, the CHP issued 2,493 citations for speeding more than 100 mph, as compared with 1,335 during the same period last year.” (100-mph speeding tickets soar statewide: Gary Richards, Roadshow

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/04/23/100-mph-speeding-tickets-soar-statewide-roadshow/)

Except in cases involving a commercial license, attending traffic school should mask the conviction pursuant to Vehicle Code section 1808.7

Vehicle Code section 1808.7 and traffic school

Vehicle Code section 1808.7 provides for masking of infractions for which a driver attended traffic school. It states that:

People v. Tran, 2019 WL 5958335 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.) (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2019)

Background:

Robert Tran was convicted of reckless driving, in violation of Vehicle Code section 23103, subdivision (a) and was sentenced to three years’ probation with 30 days in custody.

Evans v. Shiomoto (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 21, 2019, No. D073969) 2019 WL 5886970, at *1–7

The DUI stop, arrest and suspension

Evans was pulled over for driving with his off-road-only lights illuminated while on a “highway,” in violation of Vehicle Code section 24411. The officer observed signs of intoxication and Evans consented to a chemical breath test that registered a blood alcohol level above 0.08 percent.

People v. Cooper (July 18, 2019, No. B286201) ___Cal.App.5th___ [2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 648].

A jury convicted defendant and appellant Sheila Cooper of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of a prior driving under the influence offense. On appeal, Cooper contends the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress statements she made to police during field sobriety tests administered at the police station. Cooper claimed a violation of her Fifth Amendment rights under (Miranda).

The accident and Cooper’s demeanor

Governor Newsom has selected a technology consultant from Silicon Valley, Steve Gordon, to modernize the DMV’s decades old computer system which is in part responsible for the long wait times and dysfunction which has beset the agency. Anticipating long wait lines as Californians obtain Real ID’s- federally mandated identification cards-the Governor aims to restore trust in DMV operations after the agency mishandled the rollout of an automatic voter registration system.

Governor Newsom is thinking outside the box in not appointing a career bureaucrat to head to DMV, but a Silicon Valley outsider. It should be interesting to watch. Often times when people with business backgrounds enter government service, they run into trouble because they are not used to dealing with the general inherent governmental bureaucracies and inefficiencies. The DMV has long been mired in bureaucratic missteps and poor access.

Gordon applied for the job on the DMV website and the Governor credited his initiative and background at Cisco systems, where he was Vice President of technical services from 1993-2011. Gordon’s experience addressing things that were going wrong should help improve customer service at the DMV where wait times in excess of two hours is a regular occurrence. DMV Director Jean Shiomoto retired in December.Newsom took office in January and formed a “strike team” to fix the DMV, calling the department “chronically mismanaged.”

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