Gone Viral: The Story of an SDSU Student Passed Out While Driving

As I have blogged before on the status of California’s DUI laws, last week saw a perfect illustration of what happens when one is caught drinking and driving.  A 25-year-old San Diego State student by the name of Amber Dlaine McKinney Morgan was rescued by California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers who broke her window to get her out of her car.

Recently, the defendant was believed to be drunk and passed out in her car while it was stopped in the middle of I-805 northbound in San Diego’s Kearny Mesa area.  KGTV photojournalist Paul Anderegg stopped to see what was going on and called 911. While waiting for a response, he ran out and tried to awaken the driver when there was a break in traffic.  When CHP arrived, they found Ms. Morgan’s car locked, and were unable to revive her.  The car then started rolling as traffic was speeding by, so CHP Officer Sergio Flores broke her window and dragged her out.  Ms. Morgan was arrested about 1:20 a.m. on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in the area of Interstate 805 and Clairemont Mesa.  However, Ms. Morgan was freed from the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility after posting the bail that was set at $2,500. Her photo has gone viral on the internet.

The Bail and Criminal Process

The amount of bail (defined as the “money or other security deposited with the court to insure that you will appear”) is set by a schedule in each county so it varies according to the crime and location.  It is known as the amount of money you must post in order to be released from jail.

In some cases, you may be released on your own recognizance (commonly referred to as an O.R. release).  Simply put, O.R. release is a no-cost bail if a defendant (typically first-time offenders) signs a promissory note to appear in court on his or her court date.  O.R. releases are a right to those who are not charged with a criminal offense, unless their release will 1) compromise the public safety or 2) will not reasonable ensure your appearance in court.

If you are not eligible for an O.R. release, you must post the amount specified at the time of arrest.  If you fail to appear in court, your bail will be lost and a new warrant will be issued for your arrest.  This can be done through cash, a bail bond, or through a property bond (which means that the court may place a lien on your property if you fail to appear in court as instructed).  Once you are freed on bail, you must show up for the rest of your court processes (ie. arraignment and trial).  If you fail to do so, a new warrant for your arrest will be issued.

San Diego Drunk Driving and Bail Process Lawyer

If you have been arrested and/or charged with a DUI or other alcohol-related crime, it is important that you hire a drunk driving defense lawyer who will aggressively represent you.  The fight does not stop just because you have made bail and can leave the jail.  The Law Offices of David M. Boertje regularly represents those who are charged with a DUI or an alcohol-related crime in the San Diego area.  Do not try to navigate your case alone. We will aggressively litigate all issues that might lead to you avoiding a conviction. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.