Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was found not guilty of drunken driving by Contra Costa County jurors today, ending a trial that lasted nearly two weeks.
The jury found Hernandez not guilty of driving under the influence, and the panel was hung on whether his blood-alcohol content was 0.08 percent, said Cindy Armstrong, clerk for Judge Mary Ann O'Malley.
The West Covina Democrat can return now to the Capitol after missing about a week of work during his trial. Lawmakers are acting on dozens of bills each day as the Legislature prepares to adjourn for the year Friday.
"I'm grateful to our judicial system for a fair and impartial process," Hernandez said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to continuing to focus on my constituents, and the people of the San Gabriel Valley. California faces huge challenges and I intend to be part of positive solutions."
Hernandez and his 29-year-old female passenger were stopped by officers in a state-owned car, a Toyota Camry, about 2 a.m. on March 27. He said he had been in the Bay Area to visit a friend.
Police said they observed Hernandez's car weave in its lane on Concord Avenue, then turn suddenly onto Meridian Park Boulevard without signaling. He was stopped in the parking lot of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The lawmaker was taken into custody after he failed a field sobriety test. A laboratory test later concluded his blood-alcohol level was 0.08 percent, a level sufficient for drunken driving.
Hernandez questioned the accuracy of the test. He told Concord police officers, at the scene, that he had consumed only two glasses of wine between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. before his arrest.
Both misdemeanors at issue in Hernandez's trial stemmed from the same Concord police stop. California law contains separate offenses for driving under the influence and for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent.
Peter Johnson, Hernandez's attorney, said that prosecutors failed to prove the lab results were accurate or that peace officers had handled and tested the legislator's blood specimen properly.
"The reality of it is, he should have been found not guilty on both counts," Johnson said.
Editor's Note: This story was updated with Hernandez's statement. Updated at 1:50 p.m., Aug. 27, 2012.