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Tables Turned: Prosecutors Arrested for DUI

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Jan 20, 2016 | 0 Comments

When a driver is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, they quickly learn that their adversary in the courtroom is the county prosecutor. It is the job of the prosecutor in Contra Costa or Alameda to present the state's evidence against the driver charged with a DUI. However, sometimes the prosecutors find themselves on the other side of the law when they are the ones pulled over for drunk driving.

Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Ocain was more used to prosecuting DUI cases than defending them. The 39-year-old San Diego County prosecutor pleaded guilty to a DUI last year, and is now facing charges for her second DUI. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Ocain ran a stop sign, and crashed into a retaining wall. She got out of the car, and left the scene. After she was stopped by a sheriff's deputy, she appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, and was arrested on suspicion of DUI, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of greater than 0.30%.

Kevin Pearlstein, a CHP officer, said Ocain was treated just as any other misdemeanor DUI suspect. Although, instead of being prosecuted by the local county office, her case will be handled by the state Attorney General's office, to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. Her prior DUI was handled similarly. She now faces charges for DUI, hit-and-run, and leaving the scene of an accident.

A prosecutor in Delaware was also surprised to find himself facing a DUI, and he made no secret about it. Donald Roberts told the arresting sheriff, “You can't arrest me, I'm a prosecutor.” Despite Roberts' declaration, he was arrested for driving under the influence. The DUI stems from an incident where he allegedly drove off the road and hit two mail boxes. When officers arrived, they found an empty bottle of whiskey in the car, and Roberts' BAC came in at 0.33% BAC, more than four times the legal limit.

Roberts was placed on leave from his position with the Attorney General's Office. While his DUI charges were still pending, he had another run in with the law when a woman called police to report someone was trying to get into her house. Police found Roberts who said he was lost and had mistaken the house for the one across the street. He now faces additional charges for burglary and trespassing.

A state prosecutor in Florida may have attempted to get special treatment by flouting his position with state troopers. Brent Riggle, 34, was confronted by officers when his car was found smashed into a bus. Despite the visual evidence, Riggle denied he had been in an accident. The trooper noticed slurred speech and the smell of alcohol on Riggle's breath. When the officer was about to place him under arrest, Riggle flashed his badge, identifying himself as a prosecutor. Nevertheless, Riggle was arrested and taken to jail. He has since resigned.

At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with driving under the influence in the East Bay. With over 30 years of DUI experience, she understands the serious criminal penalties, and knows how to deal with the prosecutor so that your arrest doesn't have to mean a DUI conviction. Contact your local East Bay criminal defense attorney who will make sure you get the justice you deserve.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 38 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.


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