Late Friday afternoon in Department 6 of the Tulare County Superior Court in Visalia, a jury convicted Ramiro Lemus Tapia, 48 of Porterville, of one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while having a .08 percent or higher BAC.

Prior to trial, Tapia pleaded no contest to misdemeanor driving while privilege suspended and unlawful vehicle operation.

On July 14, 2019, around 8:15 a.m., the California Highway Patrol was on patrol in the area of Highway 65 and Avenue 112 just south of Porterville when the officer observed a truck traveling 71 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. The officer conducted a traffic stop and contacted Tapia in the driver’s seat. The officer observed objective signs of intoxication and had Tapia step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests.

Tapia failed those tests and provided a preliminary alcohol screening sample of .186/.191. Tapia was arrested for driving under the influence and later provided two evidentiary breath samples of .19/.20. Tapia’ was driving on a suspended license for DUI and didn't have an ignition interlock device installed. He admitted his license was suspended for prior DUI and claimed he drank one beer.

Tapia possesses six prior DUI convictions beginning in 2005. Sentencing is scheduled for September 30 where he faces up to three years in state prison.

The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol and was prosecuted by deputy district attorney Nima Vakili of the South County Division.

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