COURT WATCH: Military Diversion Denied to Man with Misdemeanor DUI, Despite Lack of Prior Criminal History 

By Audrey Sawyer

WOODLAND, CA — A Woodland man with misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence with an enhancement alleging excessive blood alcohol content had his request for military diversion denied this week at a preliminary hearing in Yolo County Superior Court, despite a defense argument the accused had zero past criminal history. 

According to Deputy Public Defender David Martin, the accused currently had no prior history aside from the current DUI before the court, and the accused had not started to consume alcohol until he joined the military. 

DPD Martin told the court that the accused started to drink alcohol as a result of the “stressors of the military.”

Judge Sonia Cortés inquired about the amount of time the accused had served—it was established the accused had his military contract for eight years. The accused spent his first year on active duty (where he then began to drink significantly, the defense insisted) and spent his remaining seven on inactive reserves. 

Among other comments from DPD Martin were that the accused has had no further violations and the accused has not shown any negative contact with law enforcement. 

Deputy District Attorney Aaron Rojas objected to the suggestion the accused should receive military diversion, arguing: “Defense has not connected the alcoholism to his military service. It is not sufficient enough to show eligibility for this type of diversion.” 

Rojas countered the defense by stating the accused had “almost caused a collision” and recorded an excessive blood alcohol content. 

Judge Cortés concurred with the prosecution’s claims and denied military diversion, stating there was no “connection established between his military service being the cause of the accused’s substance or alcohol abuse.”

The case is set to go to trial March 25 at 9 a.m. 

About The Author

Audrey is a senior at UC San Diego majoring in Political Science (Comparative Politics emphasis). After graduation, Audrey plans on attending graduate school and is considering becoming a public defender.

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