UKIAH - A Mendocino County man whose blood alcohol content level was .357 the day he was arrested for driving under the influence in May of 2017 was convicted of DUI on April 17, 2019.
Margarito Fuentes Ruiz, 58, of Ukiah and Willits, was found guilty of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater, both as misdemeanors. The jury also found true a special allegation that his blood alcohol was .15 or greater at the time of driving.
Ruiz admitted outside the presence of the jury that he had suffered a prior DUI conviction in May 2015 when his blood alcohol was .26.
When he was arrested in 2017, he was driving on a suspended driver license, suspended for his prior DUI conviction.
As the May 2017 DUI case was progressing slowly through the court system, Ruiz also picked up three separate arrests (7/17/17, 11/29/17, and 2/10/18) for being drunk in public. The People's motion for for Ruiz to be remanded into custody as a public safety risk was each time denied by the court. He was eventually convicted by plea to these three offenses on 4/3/2019.
The attorney who presented the People's evidence at trial was Deputy District Attorney Melissa Weems.
The investigating law enforcement agency was the Willits Police Department and the California Department of Justice forensic laboratory.
“The criminalists at the California Department of Justice forensic labs are a vital component of cases such as this,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Their work and their testimony in court is crucial to convicting those guilty of crimes, those who might otherwise walk if not for science and the lab work criminalists to.”
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Cindee Mayfield presided over the three-day trial.