CHP Officer Charged in DMV Bribery Case, Accused of Giving Temporary Licenses

A California Highway Patrol officer has been charged in a bribery scheme that helped people accused of DUI keep their driver’s licenses, according to federal court documents.

Carlos Ravelo, a 13-year veteran of the CHP, is accused of giving unauthorized temporary driver’s licenses to two people on Sept. 25, 2013, and Jan. 7, 2014.

His indictment said he did so “knowing that such document and features were produced without lawful authority.” Circumstances around the exchanges have not been released.

Ravelo has pleaded not guilty to two counts of unlawful transfer of document or authentication feature.

On Thursday, Ravelo asked a judge to release him between now and his trial. The judge granted his request, as long as he follows the conditions of his pre-trial release.

Another court document ties Ravelo’s case to that of Alva Benavidez, a former Department of Motor Vehicles officer who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes -- including money, gift certificates and designer handbags – in exchange for helping people charged with DUI.

In her plea deal, she admitted to setting aside driver license suspensions and giving temporary licenses to those who had been arrested on DUI counts. The driver safety officer said she stole arrest packets from the DMV before the information could be entered into the database.

In her position, Benavidez presided over hearings that determined if DUI suspect should have their license suspended.

According to her plea, Benavidez admitted to giving favorable treatment to six attorneys, six of their staff members and their various clients between 2005 and mid-2014, taking more than $5,000 in cash and gifts in exchange.

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