As a former Prosecutor of 10 years I can tell you there is a lot of questionable actions between the lines in the recent arrest of a San Diego Police Officer on San Diego DUI charges.
Another San Diego police officer has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving (San Diego DUI), this time a relatively new hire who was ticketed by the California Highway Patrol and released.
Amanda Estrada, 27, was pulled over about 1:20 a.m. Nov. 3 along Rancho Bernardo Road just east of Interstate 15, CHP Officer Jake Sanchez said.
The officer suspected Estrada was under the influence of alcohol and administered a field sobriety test. Estrada was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. She was not taken to jail upon her arrest.
The CHP publicizes that anyone who drinks and drives is taken to jail.
"If you're gonna go out and drink and drive, expect to go to jail," Officer Kevin Pearlstein told CBS8 going into last week's holiday enforcement period.
Several media outlets around the state were told the same thing.
A CHP sergeant allowed Estrada to be released to a responsible adult on the promise to appear in court at a later date, Sanchez said.
Sanchez said that Estrada was expected to appear in court Monday. A spokesman for the City Attorney's Office said the citation "was received late" and remains under review for possible San Diego DUI charges.
"The case is currently in the judicial process," San Diego police spokesman Gary Hassen said. "After adjudication there will be an internal investigation. Administrative and personnel matters are confidential."
Here, two things stand out. One, the officer was cited and released. The CHP has a program that allows persons to be released without being arrested and booked for a San Diego DUI. Most, if not all citizens are arrested. A great majority of these individuals have to bail out (and spend several hundred dollars for their San Diego DUI arrest). CHP Misdemeanor Cite and Release Program
Second, the report was received by the prosecution "late"... Most officers write the San Diego DUI report within 24 hours. It goes to a Sgt, who reviews the report. Usually, the paperwork makes it to the prosecution within a few weeks. The prosecution usually has several weeks to review the San Diego DUI report to determine if they will issue San Diego DUI charges. The prosecution then files the San Diego DUI complaint with the court if they decide to issue charges.
When the report is received "late" the prosecution cannot meet the deadline to review the case adequately and file the San Diego DUI complaint to the court. The individual shows up to court like they were supposed to find charges have not been filed. The prosecution then has to file a variety of "notify" letters and warrants to get the individual back to court on a later date for their San Diego DUI.
This creates a lot of potential hiccups with the process because paperwork can be lost. People can say they never received the letters, etc. I spent years issuing cases and when it happens some flags are raised.
In the end, we hope the government treats everyone fairly. If someone committed a crime then prosecute. However, call the balls and strikes fairly for all.
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