A DUI bicycle arrest this week in Pennsylvania highlights the risk of riding a bicycle after consuming alcohol. Herman Ray Milke was arrested yesterday on charges stemming from a July 13 incident where he crashed his bicycle. Police waited for the results of his blood alcohol test before arresting him. State DUI laws usually prohibit riding a bicycle while intoxicated, either by including bicycles in the definition of “vehicle” for DUI purposes, or–as California’s Vehicle Code section 21200.5 does–by creating a special DUI bicycle arrest statute. In California, the penalties for cycling under the influence are much less severe than for the corresponding DUI case, but a rider under 21 may have their license suspended. If you or anyone you know suffer a DUI bicycle arrest, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.
An Italian immigrant is suing the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles for refusing to translate the written driver’s license exam or allow for an interpreter. Federal law requires any agency receiving federal funds to accommodate folks with limited English proficiency. Apparently Rhode Island’s DMV will only allow the motorist to take the exam in English, Spanish or Portuguese.
Thanks to CBS News for this item, originally reported by Univision in 2013. In 1988, California’s DMV issued a driver’s license to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman under his “Max Aragon” alias. The license showed the Sinaloa drug cartel leader’s picture, height, age and his alleged Los Angeles address.
Demanding bail for traffic trials happens all across California. Let’s say you get a ticket for running a stop sign, but you know you didn’t to it. You go to court and ask the clerk or judge for a trial so you can put the officer to their proof. In most California courts, you will be asked to post “bail” before they will give you your day in court. Though flatly unconstitutional, courts from San Diego to Del Norte routinely force motorists to “pre-pay” the amount of the violation’s fine in order to set their traffic case for trial. We have always considered bail for traffic trials illegal and unconstitutional, and DMV lawyers usually advise their clients to refuse. Sadly, many motorists are unaware that charging bail for traffic trials is illegal, and they allow themselves to plead guilty to violations they may have beaten. The outrageous fines that can accumulate–coupled with the driver’s license suspension that often may accompany them–make this an access to justice issue. No less than the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court agrees. On Monday, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye asked the Judicial Council to expedite the creation of a statewide rule that make it clear that Californians do not have to pay for a traffic infraction before being able to appear in court.
A DMV hearing officer guilty of accepting $5,000 in bribes was sentenced yesterday to three months in federal prison. Alva Benavidez, 51, a Mission Valley branch DMV hearing officer guilty by plea in February in a San Diego federal court of one count of conspiracy to accept bribes, will serve six months of house arrest after her custody time. Benavidez was a hearing officer whose responsibilities included determining whether motorists accused of DUI could drive or not. She was accused of setting aside some suspensions and providing unauthorized temporary licenses. In exchange for those favors, Benavidez accepted bribes worth more than $5,000, including meals, designer purses and sunglasses, prosecutors said. She retired last year after the FBI searched her home and Mission Valley office. A DMV hearing officer guilty of such crimes is prosecuted in federal court.
A driverless semi is still years from production, but German automaker Daimler Trucks unveiled a working model today in Nevada. The driverless semi traveled (albeit with a driver steering) the length of the Hoover Dam. Nevada, which issued a full license for the truck, aims to be a national leader in driverless vehicles. “We are really showing that we’re at the cradle of innovation,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday after helping affix the state’s automated vehicle license to the truck. The license is valid and would allow Daimler to use the driverless semi to ship goods within the state’s borders. “We’re far from that. We’re just getting people inspired,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the board of management of Daimler AG.