SAN DIEGO, Nov. 1 2004 LAWFUEL – Law, legal, attorney, law firm newsSome pop stars reportedly drink it to get pregnant. If you drink enough of it, it may get you unjustifiably arrested for DUI, warned one prominent San Diego defense attorney.
What is it? Kava, the herbal, national drink of Fiji.
Eugene Ellis, better known as “Mr. DUI,” (MrDUI.com) said the threat of
arrest is real, even though kava is non-alcoholic and is not classified as a
drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Driving under the influence of herbal tea is not a crime,” he said,
noting that California Vehicle Code Section 23152 only prohibits driving under
the influence of drugs or alcohol, not tea.
Ellis is particularly troubled by published comments by San Mateo County
Deputy District Attorney Chris Feasel, who won a recent kava conviction.
Feasel was quoted in news reports as saying that he planned to crack down on
DUI, adding, “Whether it’s driving under the influence of kava, or a good
merlot or Advil, you’re going to be prosecuted.”
Ellis contends that arresting people for kava, which is not a crime, is a
violation of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees “fair
notice” as part of the due process of law. He says that notifying the
citizens of what is a crime is done by passing legislation, not by making
flamboyant pronouncements to the media.
“When a runaway D.A. tries to create new law, instead of enforcing the law
that is on the books, he is usurping the duties and responsibilities of the
legislature, and that is a very dangerous precedent,” said Ellis.
Meanwhile, as some stars allegedly drink kava for the kids’ sake and
Fijians may imbibe for religious reasons, Ellis urges moderation, especially
if you don’t want a ride downtown in a police cruiser.
Ellis received his Juris Doctor (JD) in 1976 from WSU University and has
more than 20 years of experience defending DUI cases. He is recognized
nationally as an authority on DUI and has been featured in numerous articles
and broadcasts, including NBC’s “Today.” He lives in San Diego.
For further information, contact:
Office: (619) 563-1010 (9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Cell: (619) 787-8008 (24 hrs.)