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Reynaldo Esquivel is no stranger to cops. The 43-year-old East Palo Alto man pleaded no contest Wednesday to felony drunken driving – his ninth DUI charge in a dozen years.
Esquivel’s blood-alcohol level was .25, more than three times the legal limit, when he was pulled over in December. Police say he was driving down the middle of two lanes on Highway 84 then rolled through a stop sign. He failed a field sobriety test, gave cops a false name and refused to take a Breathalyzer exam.
Prosecutors say the Esquivel also was driving without a license because of the eight previous DUIs he racked up between 1992 – 2004.
Esquivel’s plea came on the same day the state Assembly approved a bill to crack down on repeat drunken drivers. The proposed law would allow judges to revoke the licenses of repeat drunken drivers for 10 years instead of the current 3-year penalty.
But Esquivel's lawyer, Jeff Hayden, says the measure would not prevent people like his client from getting behind the wheel after their licenses have been revoked. Hayden says the state needs to focus on the underlying problem -- helping alcoholics recover.
"The key to solving the problem is to help these people stop drinking,” Hayden told the San Mateo County Times. “I don’t see that being addressed."
Esquivel faces up to seven years in prison when he’s sentenced July 6.