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Why Is a Refusal a Consciousness of Guilt in a Trial?


What they do have is what’s called consciousness of guilt, and that’s something that can be a big hurdle in a trial. Why would someone who doesn’t feel like they are under the influence of alcohol, or over the limit, refuse to do a chemical test? There can be a lot of reasons for that. People don’t want to do blood test because they’re afraid of needles and some people don’t trust police officers.

There have been so many circumstances where you’ve seen reports of officers doing things that are unethical, that they should not be doing or lying. People just don’t trust officers for good reason. Most officers are great people and great police officers, but not all of them, and we’ve seen that unfortunately. The distrust for police has grown over the years and people realize that.

There are very interesting cases on refusals. They do happen quite often. I have a number of cases right now that are refusal cases in San Francisco, and some are getting closer and closer to going to trial. It’s a battle.

There Is an Increase in the Number of DUI Arrests in San Francisco during Sporting Events and Holidays

Interviewer: Are there annual events that occur where you typically see more DUI arrests?

Attorney Bortel: Yes, especially in San Francisco during 49er football games, Giant’s games, other events, such as the big concerts that they’ll have in Golden Gate Park and festivals. DUIs happen all the time. There are many people that are arrested coming into San Francisco after being up in the wine country. You always see an increase after St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.

We saw a recent increase in the number of people calling us looking for help from DUI arrests after Halloween just recently. During the holiday season we often see a spike in DUIs. There’s just more office parties going on in December as well as around New Years.

In San Francisco, Prosecutors are Likely to Pursue Charges against a Drug-Related DUI

Interviewer: Are you seeing more DUI cases attributed to drugs?

Attorney Bortel: We’ve seen those for years. I haven’t seen a huge increase, but the prosecutor’s offices, when they see those, they go after them. We do see many DUI cases that are attributed to a combination of alcohol and drugs. If it’s just a straight marijuana case, it’s a lot tougher for the prosecution to prove that someone was impaired. They don’t have a level to judge impairment by as opposed to the results from a breath machine or a blood test.

I’ve had cases where my clients are taking legal prescription drugs and they’re driving, according to the police quite erratically, and the level in their body is at or above the therapeutic level. I have seen the DA’s Office charge people with DUIs for that. Those are very interesting cases. Am I seeing more of them? Not really.

In the San Francisco Area, the Amount of Drug-Related DUI Arrests Is Expected to Increase Once New Legislation Is Passed

Do I expect to see more of them in the future? Yes, in fact the legislature is trying to pass laws and so far they’ve been unsuccessful with some ridiculous laws trying to make being for having prescription drugs or marijuana just show up in your system and that being a violation for DUI.

It would be like having an alcohol level of 08. You could marijuana two or three weeks before and the presence could still show up in your system, not an active level, but just that it’s in your system. You could get a DUI with that under a recent a law that was brought before the legislature and did not pass.

My understanding is it got awful close. I expect that at some point, something like that that law will be passed. Then anybody who is on medication, anybody whose smoking marijuana for medicinal and non-medicinal purposes who isn’t even impaired by it because they had it many hours ago or day or weeks before, its subject to a DUI and that’s just wrong.

Interviewer: What would be the best way for prospective clients to contact you?

Attorney Bortel: You just go online and Google my name, Aaron Bortel. That will get you to my website. I have a few different websites, bortelDUIdefense.com or bortel-law.com. You can call my office at 888-373-8000 or my number for local calls is 415-247-0700.

Once I’m representing you, I always give my clients my cell phone number at that point and it’s very easy to get a hold of me. You can go to my website and you can leave a request for me to contact you.

You can leave little information on what’s going on with your case. It is very easy to get a hold of me. You can contact me seven days a week. You can always leave a message online for me 24 hours a day.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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