Newly released California Highway Patrol dashcam video shows an impaired California State Senator Ben Hueso undergoing sobriety tests and answering questions before his August arrest.
In the footage, the San Diego senator is seen driving the wrong way onto a one-way street in Sacramento on Aug. 22. He quickly U-turns, but a CHP officer is quickly on his tail, pulling him over at a nearby gas station.
Hueso gets out of his car and is asked to do field sobriety tests. At the officer’s request, he walks back and forth in a straight line.
He is then asked to do a voluntary breathalyzer test.
“But I’m also a politician,” said Hueso, “and I work with politicians that have been through this process, that have not been given a fair process.”
The CHP officer argues that he has been very honest. He explains Hueso will have to submit to either a blood test or breathalyzer at the station if he is arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Hueso tells the officer that he has to be careful what he does from a legal perspective.
“Whether you decide tonight, you know what, I’m under the influence or not, I have seen some of my colleagues be dragged out to a really horrible legal process,” he is heard saying.
While he says the officer has behaved professionally, Hueso admits he’s worried about his ulterior motives.
When asked if he knows what the legal limit is in California, the senator says it’s not about his blood alcohol content – it’s about whether the officer finds him impaired to drive.
“I admit that I made a wrong turn because there wasn’t – I’m not that familiar with this town. And I was trying to find a way to get back on the freeway,” said Hueso.
When he again refuses the extra test, the CHP officer informs Hueso he is being arrested for DUI. CHP officials later said he had a BAC of 0.08.
However, months later, Hueso pleaded guilty to a lesser “wet reckless” charge because prosecutors have a hard time proving DUI when a defendant only registers a 0.08.
The day after he was released on bond, Hueso released a statement that said, in part, “I am truly and profoundly sorry for the unacceptably poor personal judgment which I demonstrated last night.”
In December, he was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to undergo a six-week alcohol program.
Hueso currently represents California's 40th District, which covers southern San Diego County, as well as parts of Riverside and Imperial counties.