Jury convicts local man of seventh DUI

Ramiro Lemus Tapia faces three years in prison for drinking and driving on a suspended license and without an ignition lock device

TULARE COUNTY – A man was convicted of his seventh DUI last week after he failed to convince the jury he could have achieved a blood alcohol ratio twice the legal limit from drinking just one beer.

On Sept. 11, a Tulare County jury convicted Ramiro Lemus Tapia, 48, of one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while having a .08% or higher BAC. Prior to trial, Tapia pleaded no contest to misdemeanor driving on a suspended license and unlawful vehicle operation.

On July 14, 2019, around 8:15 a.m., a California Highway Patrol officer was patrolling the area of Highway 65 and Avenue 112 south of Porterville when he observed a truck travelling 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. The officer conducted a traffic stop and contacted Tapia in the driver’s seat. The officer noticed signs Tapia was intoxicated and had Tapia step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. Tapia failed those tests and provided two breathalyzer samples showing his blood to alcohol ratio to be 0.18 and 0.19.

Tapia was arrested for driving under the influence and later provided two evidentiary breath samples of 0.19 and 0.20, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. Tapia was driving on a suspended license for DUI and did not have an ignition interlock device installed. He admitted his license was suspended for prior DUI and claimed he drank one beer.

Tapia possesses six prior DUI convictions beginning in 2005. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30 in Department 6 of the Tulare County Superior Court in Visalia, where he faces up to three years in state prison.

The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol and was prosecuted by deputy district attorney Nima Vakili of the South County Division.

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