By Alexander Ramirez
WOODLAND, CA. – While driving under the influence cases are fairly normal in court, the possibility of a false positive is rarely, if ever, brought up. This was the case, however, for TOM DOE* and his public defender last week.
* (TOM DOE is not a real name. The Vanguard does not publish names of misdemeanor suspects in most cases)
Doe was in Yolo County Superior Court for a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence with an enhancement for excessive blood alcohol or refusal to test and another misdemeanor charge of drunk driving with the same enhancement as the first charge.
His supervised own-recognizance was revoked on Jan. 5 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Nevertheless, Deputy Public Defender Eric Arias requested an OR release with another monitoring device placed on Doe’s person because he argued that, since Doe has no car, the risk that was the original purpose for a device is no longer applicable.
PD Arias also argued that Doe heavily uses medication which could lead to the possibility of a false positive for alcohol checks using alcohol monitoring devices like SCRAM.
Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor, however, argued that since this is Doe’s second DUI and he was allegedly found passed out in an aisleway in Walmart with additional alcohol, she was opposed to an OR release.
“My concern is that he continues to drink even with a SCRAM device on and he is a public safety risk,” said Zambor.
As for evidence, PD Arias said the monitoring device (SCRAM) website acknowledges things like mouthwash can set off the monitor if it had been accidentally ingested.
But when questioned by Judge David Reed about whether or not the website listed any of the medication that Doe takes, Arias said that the website doesn’t include an exhaustive list.