WALNUT CREEK -- The drunken driving trial for state Assemblyman Roger Hernandez is scheduled to begin Aug. 7 in Contra Costa Superior Court.
Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges, reiterated Monday his defense that he was not drunk at the time of his arrest and had "no more than three glasses of wine."
Hernandez, D-West Covina, said Monday that Contra Costa had "problems" with its analysis of his blood-alcohol level, which is based on a blood sample taken shortly after his March 27 arrest in Concord.
Concord police arrested Hernandez in the parking lot of the Crowne Plaza Concord hotel at 45 John Glenn Drive. He was driving a state-issued white 2007 Toyota Camry at the time.
The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office charged Hernandez with driving under the influence and driving with a .08 blood-alcohol level. Both are misdemeanors.
Hernandez said he was just having a few drinks with a friend before the arrest. He denied a report that he was with a woman who works for Kaiser Permanente as a lobbyist.
"We were just hanging out. We were talking over some drinks. I was never out with a registered lobbyist or anyone to influence me. She's not a lobbyist," Hernandez said, though he acknowledged she does work for Kaiser.
"I'm a single man, I don't have children, I've never been married. I don't have a girlfriend," he added.
Concord police Chief Guy Swanger said an officer followed
Swanger said the officer pulled over the assemblyman and noticed signs of intoxication. He would not say what those signs were.
Swanger said Hernandez was asked to perform a field sobriety test based on the smell of alcohol in the car.
"Based on the totality of everything, the driving, the objective signs of alcohol and the results of the field coordination tests, the officer felt he should arrest him (for DUI)," Concord police Lt. Bill Roche said.
Results showed Hernandez had a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent at the time of the test, Roche said.
The blood sample was taken shortly after Hernandez's arrest, he added. Having .08 blood alcohol qualifies as legally intoxicated under state law.
Hernandez believes his blood-alcohol level was lower than .08. He said his attorney has reviewed the test done by Contra Costa and an independent lab and is comfortable that Contra Costa has problems with its analysis.
He didn't say whether he had an independent lab conduct a test and deferred that question to his lawyer. The attorney didn't return a call for comment Monday.
"I drank no more than three glasses of wine over the course of a minimum of four hours," Hernandez said. "I personally went to the DMV, and I looked at their blood-alcohol charts and following their rules I am lower (than .08 blood alcohol)."
Hernandez's trial date, initially scheduled for Aug. 7, was for a short time changed to July 31 at the request of the defense. Contra Costa deputy district attorney Bruce Flynn said defendants have a right to an earlier trial date.
Hernandez said voters are entitled to a speedy resolution of the matter.
"I feel very committed and obligated that we resolve this matter as soon as possible," Hernandez said Monday.
But the trial was moved back a week to its original date.
Hernandez said there was a scheduling conflict. His attorney has another case that was ordered to trial this week.
The defense filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case that was scheduled to be heard Monday but was continued. Flynn said the motion will now be heard before the trial.