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Drunk Driver Avoids Mandatory Prison Term As Prosecutor Fails To Prove Prior DUI’s

burden.jpgAn alleged five-time drunk driver avoided the mandatory two year prison sentence, according to thesunchronical.com. Brian Hand, 55, of New Hampshire, was found guilty of DUI in a Attleboro District Court in Massachusetts last week. However, the jury did not hear evidence regarding the defendant’s alleged priors.

In a hearing on Monday, the judge ruled the prosecutors failed to prove the defendant was the person in some of the Registry of Motor Vehicle documents that were presented to the court and they lacked proper certification. Hand allegedly had two prior DUI convictions in New Hampshire and two others in Massachusetts before this current conviction. The court found that only two prior driving under the influence convictions were proved.

The prosecutor asked for the maximum 2 1/2 year jail term but instead Hand was ordered to serve only six months in jail, with the remaining 2 years suspended for 3 years of probation.

In every criminal case the burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove each element of each charged crime and any special allegations or enhancements beyond a reasonable doubt, (see California Criminal Jury Instructions, CALCRIM, 103). If they fail to do so, the jury/court must find the defendant not guilty.

Because the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, the defendant is not required to prove their innocence. This right is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, the defense does not have to cross examine witnesses, call any of their own witnesses, or present any evidence. All the defendant has to do is argue that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the trier of fact finds that the burden has not been met, the defendant is entitled to an acquittal under California Penal Code Section 1096.


If you are charged with drunk driving in San Diego and you want to fight your case, contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman, an exclusively DUI defense firm, for a free consultation. To schedule an appointment use the “Contact Us” form on this page or call 619-260-1122 today.