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California mayor charged with suspicion of DUI

A California mayor was accused of drunk driving on Oct. 16. Police claim that the 44-year-old mayor of Murrieta was under the influence of alcohol when his truck struck the rear of a vehicle containing four cheerleaders from an area high school. He was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI following the collision, which took place at the intersection of Lily Avenue and Jefferson Avenue.

Police officers arriving at the scene say that they determined that the mayor showed signs of impairment. Officers claimed he performed poorly during a number of standard field sobriety tests. However, a subsequent breath test revealed that the mayor had a blood alcohol level lower than the .08 percent legal limit. Authorities say they are waiting for the results of a blood test, which will be used to determine the mayor's exact level of impairment.

The four teenagers in the car suffered what were described as moderate to major injuries, and the mayor's attorney says that his client remained at the scene and performed first aid on the injured girls before cooperating with first responders. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 11.

This case demonstrates how performing poorly during a field sobriety test could lead to drunk driving charges even if a subsequent breath test yields a blood alcohol level of less than .08 percent. It also shows how even allegations of driving under the influence may impact an individual's life and career. A criminal defense attorney might question the behavior of police officers when presented with facts such as these, and he or she could seek to have charges dismissed or reduced during plea discussions with prosecutors.

Source: NBC Southern California, "Murrieta mayor arrested on suspicion of DUI in crash that injured high school cheerleaders", Jonathan Lloyd and Rosa Ordaz, October 17, 2014

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