Sunday, 14 August 2022

DUI prosecution unit gets first conviction

LAKE COUNTY – The District Attorney's Office's new unit created to prosecute cases involving driving under the influence has just won its first conviction.


The DA's Office, led by District Attorney Jon Hopkins, successfully prosecuted Anthony Francisco Moreno, who was found guilty on Feb. 22 of felony driving under the influence of alcohol, felony driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08 percent and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license, according to a statement from the DA Office's Victim-Witness Division.


The charges were felonies because Moreno had been convicted of at least three previous driving under the influence cases, including one felony for which he was on probation in Sonoma County.


The jury further found that Mr. Moreno willfully refused a blood or breath test.


Moreno crashed his vehicle on Highway 175 near Mathews road on Thanksgiving night, and refused to submit to a blood test even after the California Highway Patrol officer explained to him that he was required by law to submit to the test.


Upon Moreno's refusal to take the test, the CHP officer called for additional officers to meet him at the hospital where a blood sample was obtained without Moreno’s consent.


That test showed that Moreno had a blood alcohol level of 0.14.


This was the first felony DUI jury trial for the Lake County District Attorney’s new DUI Vertical Prosecution Unit.


The unit’s primary focus is the investigation and prosecution of all DUI cases in Lake County. Members of the unit also provide community outreach to raise public awareness on the dangers of driving under the influence.


Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


“This is the type of case we had in mind when we applied for the grant from OTS, and this is the type of defendant we want to target in order to make the streets of Lake County safe to drive,” Hopkins said. “I want to commend our team, and we plan on them having this same success in the future.”


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