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BAY AREA MEDIA PERPETUATES THE DUI GUILT MYTH


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5/2/2012
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Last week, I blogged about a Southern California lawmaker arrested in Concord for driving under the influence.  Last Thursday, the San Jose Mercury News published an unfortunate editorial spouting their uninformed nonsense regarding the case.  The editorial was titled “Arrogance unlimited for lawmakers who break the law.” The author struck at Mr. Hernandez for having the nerve to expect the Constitution to apply to him.  Mr. Hernandez has claimed his belief that the officer who arrested him did not have adequate reasonable suspicion to pull him over in the first place.  This is a right that we all have, whether we are a legislator or a newspaper editor.  If a judge finds that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull Mr. Hernandez over we should all rightly disregard the evidence and afford him the presumption of innocence. 
The author of the editorial also arrogantly claims that “the evidence is overwhelming”.  In fact, we don’t know how Mr. Hernandez did on any field sobriety tests.  Also, his blood results came back at .08%.  Anybody with 10 minutes of experience handling DUI cases can tell you that .08% is anything but overwhelming.  All testing methods have an accepted error rate.  Also, it is incredibly speculative to extrapolate what someone’s BAC was at time of driving from a later blood test.  It is not only possible, but likely, that Mr. Hernandez’ BAC was rising when he was pulled over, and his BAC was actually below .08% when he drove. 
This editorial is yet another example of a misinformed media taking the government’s evidence at face value, and presuming that anyone arrested for DUI must be guilty.  Don’t fall into the same trap yourself.  If you have been arrested for DUI, hold the government to their burden, and require them to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt with admissible evidence. 


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