Alcohol on Beach, Not Guilty after trial in San Diego (Clairemont Mesa) Court
Client sitting on the beach next to an open can of beer, cold to the touch. Cop approached and asked if it was his, client said it was not, it was his buddy, that was passed out on the sand nearby. Cop wrote up client for the violation.
At bench trial, I appeared without my client (who was out of town), and argued the beer could have been either person's, and thus there was reasonable doubt. We even called my client's friend to the stand, who admitted being there, and passing out on the sand, but invoked his right to remain silent when asked if it was his beer.
Although the officer testified that the beer was closer to my client, (whom he mis-identified as the buddy) and that he believed the beer was his, the Judge wisely understood that because the beer could have been in either person's possession, that reasonable doubt existed, and she found my client Not Guilty of the charges, saving him from a criminal conviction, a fine, and a license suspension.
Practice area(s): Criminal Defense
Court: San Diego Minor Offense Division