DUI Lab Error Affects Thousands of DMV Suspensions

More than 2,200 DUI cases are under review by Orange County prosecutors after it was disclosed that the OC crime lab overstated blood alcohol tests, the Los Angeles Times reported today. The “human error” occurred over a five month period, and was discovered by a routine audit on October 10, 2013. Both the OC D.A.’s office and the crime lab downplayed the effect of the errors, noting that the “calibration error” responsible won’t affect the actual reported results all that much because those results are averaged from the values of two machines.  Some 200 cases will see the BAC change by 0.01, for example, making a 0.08 case a 0.07.   “When you arrest a person and they have a 0.07 two hours after arrest, they had a 0.08 at the time of arrest. We have obtained convictions in those cases,” said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the OC D.A. The are not going to dismiss every case with a bad blood test. As outrageous as that attitude seems to a motorist accused of breaking the law, the DMV side of things is at once worse and better. The “worse” part is that DMV is offering NO relief for motorists whose licenses were suspended based on the faulty results. The “better” part for motorists is that EVERY case affected should result in a set aside (reversal) of the suspension because DMV needs to call a toxicologist to the stand to say under oath that the “human error” did not affect a particular case. The story has been widely reported elsewhere, including the Orange County Register, on KTLA, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Photo courtesy Francine Orr, Los...

Gov. Brown appoints new DMV executives

Governor Jerry Brown made several appointments to the Department of Motor Vehicles this week, including the permanent appointment of acting director Jean Shimoto as Director. The Governor chose Hugo Lopez to serve as Chief Deputy Director, and Mike McGowan, a 21-year veteran Yolo County supervisor, to helm Strategic Planning and Policy. Finally, attorney David Harris was appointed Chief Counsel though like Ms. Shimoto, already had been serving in that capacity. Below, former DMV Director George Valverde is presented a resolution recognizing his years of public service....

Survey says “Privatize the DMV”

SBWire reports today the results of a survey conducted over a four month period by the folks at DMV.com. While all the headlines say people want to privatize the DMV, the actual question posed was “Would you consider having private 3rd parties provide DMV services?” 65% said yes to the question as...

Driving while Google Glass-ing

In what might be a case of first impression in California, a San Diego woman was ticketed Tuesday for driving while wearing Google Glass, supposedly a violation of VC 27602. The section prohibits TVs and monitors from being turned on and facing a driver. She posted her ticket on...

San Jose jacks up $36 ticket to $800

Kurtis Ming‘s Call Kurtis piece on Sacramento’s CBS affiliate reports a Carmichael man’s nightmare after the City of San Jose lost the payments he sent for a traffic ticket. Apparently #DMV was no help even though he showed proof of payment by certified check. Eventually the tab exceeded $800, and he had his tax refund seized and his wage,...