I received a press release from the office of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, and it’s related to his amazing work in calling for the review of thousands of DUI cases going back years and because of the San Francisco Police Department’s failure to maintain its breathalyzer machines, in turn causing them to give false readings. One of those cases was mine in 2006, which was reduced to what is called a “wet wreckless after I worked to have it dismissed because of the way the charge was given.
This is what I wrote to Mr. Adachi today:
Hi Jeff. I’m going to blog this in a minute, but in 2006, I was charged with a DUI in San Francisco. What happened was that I was driving home via the Bay Bridge, entered on the Bryant St. side, where you have to turn to see the on-coming bridge traffic – but saw nothing but air. I thought the bridge was taken out! It was because of the construction on the bridge at the time. Anyway, my attention was turned away from what was in front of me. Normally, the car in front would have been on the bridge and gone – but he stopped. So I ran into him. A small dent at 8 MPH. But we both called the police – they came. And asked to do a field sobriety test. I did. BUT. They tested me THREE times, the first two times the machine came up 0. Then the second deputy PATTED ME ON THE BACK to get me to cough harder, and then said “NOW he’s over the limit.” No kidding. My lawyer Bill DuBois challenged this, and the DUI was reduced to a wet wreckless. In light of your findings, I want this removed from my record entirely. Best to you, Zennie Abraham
At that, I was hovering around .077 or something like that – not only totally borderline, but when you consider the machine reading problem, not accurate at all. And thankfully I had a great lawyer helping me at the time.
It’s really sad that thousands, if not millions, of people have been harmed by police organizations failing to keep their field sobriety equipment up to date. How many have been jailed and had to pay thousands in fines and also deal with a rather questionable “DUI course” system that at times looks like a total racket.
Bravo to Jeff!