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California clergyman facing DUI charges after checkpoint arrest

When anyone in California chooses to get behind the wheel of a car after even one or two drinks, they face the risk of drunk driving charges if evidence indicates that they have exceeded the legal limit under our state laws. This is true for anyone, no matter what their profession, as was seen in one recent case involving the future archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco that now faces DUI charges. He was arrested recently while driving his mother home after he went through a sobriety checkpoint and police suspected he had been drinking.

The man, a 56-year-old Diocese Bishop from Oakland reportedly appeared intoxicated, leading to his arrest. He posted bail in the amount of $2,500 and was released from. He now faces a misdemeanor charge for which he will be arraigned in October. The details of any sobriety tests or breathalyzer results were not disclosed other than officials alleging that he was over the legal limit.

Reports indicate that the man and his mother were visiting friends and had enjoyed a drink during their afternoon out. Having an otherwise clean driving record, it does not appear that any conviction - if obtained - would bar him from continuing to fulfill his church duties. If he is convicted, however, he will face up to the three years on probation as well as fines.

Although preliminary reports state that this man's career in the clergy will not be affected by the DUI charges against him, it is too early to tell for sure. Often, being charged with such a crime in California comes with both criminal and societal consequences. There is a lack of information regarding whether police conducted the proper tests to determine that this man was in fact over the legal limit. Even if it is true that he admitted to having a drink before getting behind the wheel, that does not in itself prove that a crime was committed, as he may not have surpassed the legal limit. As he prepares a defense against the charges, he will likely weigh any issues in relation to his legal rights and his position of importance with the Catholic Church.

Source: sfgate.com, "DUI charge for future SF archbishop," Kevin Fagan, Sept. 5, 2012

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