Defendant’s payment of a fine for a red light infraction did not bar a subsequent prosecution for driving under the influence because the same act or course of conduct did not play a significant role in both offenses. An officer observed Hendrix make a right turn through a red light without first making a complete stop. When the officer pulled him over, Hendrix smelled like alcohol and performed poorly on a series of field sobriety tests. He was cited for failure to stop at the red light and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). In December 2015, he was charged with DUI with an allegation that his blood alcohol content was 0.15 or higher. In January 2016, he paid the fine associated with the red light infraction, which amounted to a no contest plea and conviction of that offense. In February 2016, Hendrix filed a motion to dismiss the DUI case pursuant to Penal Code section 654 and Kellett v. Superior Court (1966) 63 Cal.2d 822. The trial court denied the motion, and the superior court’s appellate division denied Hendrix’s subsequent petition for writ of prohibition. He entered a no contest plea to the DUI offense and admitted his BAC was 0.15 or higher, and the court placed him on probation. The Court of Appeal granted Hendrix’s petition to transfer the case from the appellate division. Held: Affirmed. Section 654 prohibits multiple prosecutions when the prosecutor either knew or reasonably should know that “the same act or course of conduct play a significant part” in both offenses. (Kellett v. Superior Court, supra, 63 Cal.2d at 827.) Here, the evidence required to prove the red light infraction was sufficiently distinct from the evidence required to prove the DUI. Evidence related to the DUI, such as the officer’s observations, field sobriety test results, and BAC testing, was distinct from the evidence that he rolled through a red light.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C082568.PDF