Registered Nurse Faces DUI Charges, Asks to Be Excluded from Wearing Alcohol Monitor Because of Job

By Tanya Decendario

WOODLAND – Rather than taking a plea offer as happens in most DUI (driving under the influence) cases, a woman late last week pleaded “not guilty” to two DUI counts and requested an exception from wearing an alcohol monitor because she’s a registered nurse and is around alcohol wipes that may set the monitor off.

The woman appeared in her pre-trial hearing here in Yolo County Superior Court late last week, facing two DUI charges with one resulting in a collision.

The defendant’s Deputy Public Defender, John Sage, said she will plead not guilty, and requests a time waiver for the arraignment because he needs time for discovery. Judge Tom Dyer asked if four weeks is enough time to waive time and PD Sage agreed.

In order to release the defendant from custody, Judge Dyer explained, “As conditions of release she would have to get on SCRAM and then no alcohol.” (SCRAM is a device that detects the presence of alcohol in an individual’s body)

PD Sage objected to the installation of SCRAM and addressed the court: “I have no objection to the no alcohol. [the defendant] is a registered nurse and as such her job requires her to be around hand sanitizers and various alcohol swabs.”

He claimed there is a possibility of the SCRAM device mistakenly recognizing hand sanitizer as alcohol, suggesting, “They can’t distinguish between ethyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol and she’s concerned that her job will put her in violation if she has a SCRAM device installed today.”

Deputy District Attorney Alvina Tzang noted, “I’ve never encountered that issue before but I’d like to say that if they in fact register a false positive that she will have proof that she’s actually working at the time.”

Tzang added, “I’m more concerned with when she’s not at work. This is her second DUI, the BAC (BAC: Blood Alcohol Content) is .23. She was involved in a traffic collision so I believe that a SCRAM device is appropriate.”

PD Sage said, “I have no objection if the court would be willing to place her on supervised OR (own recognizance release with no bail) and order her to report to probation and have the device installed.”

Judge Dyer agreed and stated, “We’ll set the next court date and…you’re not to have any alcohol… I’m also placing you in supervised OR, which means you’re on your recognizance but you’re gonna be supervised on probation and that SCRAM device will be installed by the probation department in Yolo County.”

Noting that probation is putting the monitors on between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and the defendant must report soon, as “we’re gonna get a notice from probation for failure to install the SCRAM,” DDA Tzang pointed out.

Judge Dyer turned to the defendant and advised, “So madam, at 12:30 today you’re gonna want to go to Yolo County probation to get that installed.”

The woman nodded her head and complied. Her arraignment is set for March 4 at 9 a.m.

Tanya Decendario is a third-year student studying Legal Studies at UC Berkeley. She is originally from Sonoma, CA, but currently resides in Albany, CA.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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