A Parker man has been convicted of Aggravated DUI after a jury trial at La Paz County Superior Court last week.
Rick Malin, 67, was arrested in July 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol by La Paz County Sheriff’s Deputy Roger Rosado in the Lakeside 5 area north of Parker. Malin challenged the traffic stop, arguing in court that he was unfairly targeted by Rosado and pulled over for no valid reason.
In February, Malin’s attorney Robin Puchek filed a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the traffic stop was warrantless, but Judge Samuel Vederman denied the motion and the case proceeded to trial. Although two breath tests and blood test revealed a blood alcohol content greater than the legal limit of 0.08, Puchek argued that there was little evidence of impairment and reasons to doubt the accuracy of the tests.
In cross-examination, Deputy Rosado told the jury of eight that Malin had made a “wide right turn without a signal” and had then failed the field sobriety test after he was stopped. But Puchek pointed out that Rosado had followed Malin for 1.1 miles without pulling him over, and had not noted any other infractions or problems during the drive.
“You allowed this man to drive for 1.1 miles after you became suspicious of his driving?” Puchek asked Rosado. “And he drove perfectly for that period of time?”
Rosado replied that there are not many safe places to pull Malin over on Rio Vista Road, which prompted Puchek to refute this statement by entering into evidence a sequence of photographs showing places that he argued Malin could have been pulled over.
Puchek also revealed to the court that Malin’s mother lives next door to Rosado’s mother in the Lakeside area, and asked the jury to consider whether some animosity related to the family connection was the real reason for the traffic stop.
The case made by a new prosecutor with the La Paz County Attorney’s Office was straightforward: that Malin had been drinking, had attracted the attention of a police officer doing his job on a DUI detail that night, and had failed field sobriety tests and three blood alcohol tests.
Ultimately, the trial was shorter than the court expected and the jury came back from deliberations with a ‘guilty’ verdict after a relatively short time. Malin was convicted of a class four felony, because he had been required to have a vehicle interlock device installed in his car, and was pulled over driving a car which did not have the device installed. This lifts a DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony, and carries a maximum of 3 years in prison, with aggravating factors up to 3.75 years. A period of probation is also an option for Judge Vederman in the case.
Malin is free as he awaits sentencing proceedings, which are currently scheduled for November 9th. Public records show that Malin was also charged in a separate case with possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia in March 2015.