Update: Details about Bolts DUI arrest

June 7, 2010

Steve Bolts

San Luis Obispo Undersheriff Steve Bolts is currently on vacation without pay and his DUI arrest Saturday night is scheduled to be the subject of an internal investigation by the Sheriff’s department [Tribune]

Two Atascadero police officers responded to an anonymous phone tip at 8:23 p.m., alleging that Bolts, 56, was driving while intoxicated after leaving a barbecue for a local girls’ soccer team.

According to Atascadero police, the caller identified Bolts by name, rank, and license plate number.

Police intercepted Bolts, driving his personal truck, near the intersection of El Camino Real and Del Rio Road about six minutes after receiving the anonymous call.

The undersheriff was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. Preliminary investigations indicate that Bolts’ blood alcohol content was above the legal driving level.

Bolts was taken to Twin Cities Hospital for a blood test before he was released with a promise to appear in court.

Sheriff Pat Hedges picked Bolts up after he had been released.

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The limit used to be .01 then it went to .08 and now they want to lower it again? Why may I ask? I guess to raise more money for the state. If the bozos in the state legislature vote this through, they are as cooked as a Christmas goose. You can bet more people will only order one glass of wine instead of ordering a bottle. That in turn will lower tax revenues they are trying to increase. Most politicians are a waste of time and money.

I think the intent is nobel but the actual application falls short from the goal. Alcohol impacts each driver is a different way. A heavy man like Bolts who drinks a great deal is likely to be less impared than a thin teenager who rarely drinks. But, for consistent application of the law and a measurable limit to create a automatic presumption of guilt, setting limits is a sound model. The fines are so split and divided that it is not really a revenue source for law enforcement unless an injury is involved. Then, the agency can seek recovery for the full expenses related to the DUI event.

I have to side with public safety first and support the existing and even lower limits. Simply planning a ride home is a better alternative then killing yourself, someone else, or racking up an expensive DUI legal defense.

The BAL limit was .10% percent until 1982 when it was lowered to .08%.

Lowering it to .05% would mean all the people who were borderline (.06-.07%) will now be in violation too. So the number of DUI arrests should go up, which would then be justification to increase spending to combat the scourge of drunk drivers on the road, etc, etc, ad infinitum

Hate to say it but you do need to brush up your math skills , your point is taken but your facts sound like a drunks! We know you mean well in the mean time turn in your license, because 25 mph could mean 75 mph and probably does, to you. P. S. I know you just had a few to many so it’s okay as long as you didn’t blog in on your laptop while driving.

Hey standup – .FYI, .01 is LOWER than .08; not higher.

The level at which someone is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol used to be .10%, and is now .08% in California. Those are presumptive limits, but you can actually be arrested for DUI of alcohol with a blood alcohol level lower than .08%, but higher than .05% right now, if the officer can prove you were impaired to any degree. You’re also misinformed about where fines and bail moneys go for citations and arrests. The vast majority of it goes to the county in which the violation occurred, not into the state coffers. Before posting this kind of nonsense, do your homework and check your math!

Why, you ask, pass stricter DUI legislation? Try this on for size. How about because those who still drink too much and drive don’t get it. How about because they need something more to get their attention, beyond the onslaught of media information and news coverage on DUI drivers injuring and killing people. The bottom line is our society as a whole (minus a few knuckle-heads) is fed up with morons with learning disabilities who still get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. I can say with complete confidence that if the “bozos” vote this through, they’ll be overwhelmingly supported by the vast majority of Californians. We’ve all had it up to our eyeballs with DUI drivers injuring and killing our family members, friends and those who serve to protect us.

Nope, this is some thing new and nor will never appease,” It’s all good it’s all fine, come again, it’s election time! Don’t really care, if this don’t rhyme, it’s time the punishment, fit the crime! , it’s almost a sinking ship,,,,, should we forsake this ship, I think not,,, said they first mate,,, for I am the first to sink,,,,,,!!!!!!! But first, a quick wink!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In closing, what the hell in high water, is going on with our high ranking officials,,,,,like I said, let’s see how much probation he get’s!

Hope, this is some thing new and will appease,” It’s all good it’s all fine, come again it’s election time! Don’t really care, if this don’t rhyme, it’s time, the punishment, fit the crime!

Blues rhythm and and one two three,,, tour beat! IT!

Sorry for those last two comments, the second was a complete mistake. But what about the two kids in the car, according to the anonymous caller, he was correct about the alcohol.

Therefore most likely he would have been correct about the two kids in the car, will everyone look the other way. I’d like the caller to post!

Oh this is rich, “subject of an internal investigation by the Sheriff’s department.” Too bad they don’t have an internal investigations unit anymore!

Let this be a lesson to everyone. It doesn’t take much booze to be over the .08% blood alcohol limit.

Three or four beers, 3 cocktails, 3 glasses of wine without eating will put you over the limit. Have a big dinner and they’d place you at or just below the limit.

More alcohol than this and you better call a cab.

These are all small towns in SLO County and there is no place to hide from the police, even for a law man like Steve Bolts.

The state provides grants to pay for overtime to enforce the drunk driving laws.

They buy billboard space and TV time to encourage us to inform them of suspected drunk drivers.

Who needs road rage, just call the cops on that A-hole that cut you off and tell them you think he or she is drunk driving. Give them a description of the vehicle, license plate number and location and then kick back and watch the fun.

AND, the State Legislature is considering a bill to lower the limit to .05%. At that level, the amount of booze mentioned above would definitely put you over the limit food or no food. No more sharing a bottle of wine with your sweetie at dinner. No more martini lunches, no more partying at all.

Next will be zero tolerance.

And then when there is still no decrease in automobile accidents maybe people will learn to differentiate between correlational and causational relationships.

What is this nonsense about being on vacation without pay? The guy is on salary, no? How can he be on vacation without pay? Does law enforcement ever provide straightforward information anymore? I’d still like to get a straight consistent story about last week’s shooting.

mkaney, Bolts is one of those retired sheriffs that went back to work and is triple dipping. He is no longer an Employee, he is a contractor. Contractors don’t get paid when they take a vacation.

That makes sense now… but it’s almost an insult for them to qualify his vacation as unpaid given the amount of money he takes in. It’s also irrelevant and smacks of a talking point “oh but he was on an unpaid vacation.”

Hummmm, “Senior Officer Matt Chesson and the night’s watch commander, Sgt. Robert Molle, responded to an anonymous call”

Officer Chesson, that name kept bothering me this morning, it was way in the back of my mind someplace but now I know why it bothered me. He is the officer that didn’t arrest the criminals that he encountered in Atascadero with Lisa Solomon’s stolen gun!

Oh My, I was reading the updates this morning and the following just slapped me right in the face.

“Officers arrested the undersheriff after he failed a field sobriety test to determine dexterity and coordination, Mulhall said, as well as a preliminary alcohol-screening device one breathes into but is different than a Breathalyzer.”

“After Bolts’ arrest and subsequent trip to Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton for a blood test, he was released Saturday night from department headquarters on a citation requiring a promise to appear in court.”

The key words here are – ” a preliminary alcohol-screening device one breathes into but is different than a Breathalyzer.”

It is my understanding that when a citizen fails the “field sobriety test to determine dexterity and coordination”, they are then offered either a “breathalyzer” or a blood test. They can not take a “breathalyzer” and then decide that they don’t like the result and ask for a blood test. I have never heard of this device that Mulhall describes as a, “screening device one breathes into but is different than a Breathalyzer.” I contacted a person who recently was arrested for DUI and inquired, they had no idea what I was talking about and they were never offered to check and see what they might be “blowing” before they decided which test to take..

The concern here is that the more time that passes between an arrest and a BAC test the more time the person is afforded to allow the BAC to drop. I would be interested in the time sequence between when Bolts took this (unknown and generally not offered to the general public) test that is “different than a Breathalyzer”, and the time that lapsed before he was blood tested at Twin Cities Hospital.

Maybe this is something new? Does anyone know anything about this device that is not a Breathalyzer but measures the BAC in your breath and allows a suspect a choice, where a choice, otherwise would not have been legally afforded the suspect?

Cindy with all due respect (as I like your postings) weren’t you the one yesterday telling us on the other post of this, that we were looking to much into this and it was all pretty straight forward?? Just wondering.

Yes I was saying that not taking Bolts to jail was straight forward because I knew that it was common not to take a person charged with DUI to jail.

I didn’t know or ever hear about the field breathalyzer that wasn’t a breathalyzer. It had been mentioned in the paper but I had glossed over it the first time and didn’t take note of it until reading this mornings update. I have since learned that it is a standard part of the field test and everyone gets it. So now I am back to the same opinion I had yesterday. Everything was done according to standard procedure and Bolts didn’t receive any preferential treatment. Unless I hear that it was more than 30 to 40 minutes that he was blood tested after his arrest, I will continue to be of the same opinion.

What they are referring is to a hand-held device most cops carry these days in their cars. It’s basically the same as a breathalyzer but smaller. Breathalyzers are big units that sit on a desk. They both work the same by measuring the aspiration of alcohol through your lungs and calling it a blood alcohol level. And yes the level goes down over time but it takes hours, not minutes to sober up.

The hand held models are usually used by cops to test people in the field who are borderline but can be used in court too. Usually if you blow less than .08 into one of these, the cop lets you go. If you are over the limit with the hand held device you’re probably going to jail for an official breathalyzer test.

In the police report it should say what he blew with the hand held device, as well as what the blood test results are but those tests take a few weeks to get back.

If both are above .08% then he’s toast. If one is at or even below .08%, then he will probably be able to plea bargain it down to a wet and reckless, which is not much better and carries most of the same penalties as a first offense DUI (except no jail time).

First offense misdemeanor DUI is 2 days in jail and a $500 fine (plus added court costs to total about $850 or more). Three years unsupervised probation is normal too.

The DMV treats a wet-reckless the same as a DUI, a 1 month hard suspension, Drug & Alcohol Services First Offender Program completion and a restricted license for several months too.

Bolts is in trouble. He’s lucky that he already retired. He should plead guilty and try and get on with his life. His days at the Sheriff’s Office are over now.

Thumbs Up.

“aspiration of alcohol through lungs”- great point, and that’s why all those myths about eating mints, etc. to fool the test don’t work. See:


By the way there are also new monitoring devices that measure the alcohol coming from the perspiration form your skin. These are not DUI type tests but ankle monitors similar to a house arrest type:


Ok Cindy Dear a little help…there are different tests an officer can do…now you have your normal FST’s (stupid human tricks) when those are done there is a prelim. alcohol screening test (PAS) now that is basically an “In field” breathalyzer..now you can refuse that test..(you cant if your are under 21 though)..If you are arrested you can choose to take breath or blood..blood you go to the hospital..breath you go to the jail..some departement’s have a system called Point of Arrest…which is bascally the same as the PAS but it counts as your offical breath test..this system was developed to give an accurate reading of what you are right after driving not a half hour or hour later like what happens after the person is transported to jail…If you refuse the official breath or blood..your license is atoumatically suspended for a year no matter where youe BAC is…if you refuse also some agencies will do a forced blood draw where they are authorized to hold you down so they can obtain a blood sample..I know …you will say how horrible that is..but you actually signed consent that you would submit to it when you get your license..if you dont like it walk or ride the bus..like Bolts should have…and pretty much everyone is offered and takes the PAS

One a different note…Bolts is not tripple dipping..he is an hourly employee that has limited hours per year..his hours re-up here in July..he his getting his retirement which is probably 90% of the under sheriff’s pay plus the hourly wage of the undersheriff..so double dipping..yes…but that money would be going out anyway…

Cindy – The device you’re referring to is called a PAS device. It stands for “Preliminary Alcohol Screening” device. It’s a small hand-held device that gives the officer a preliminary reading of a person’s blood alcohol content after they blow into it. It is usually considered a field sobriety test, and usually doesn’t meet the requirements of a legal BAC test. The PAS has been used for years by law enforcement, but in most jurisdictions it does NOT constitute a breath test like the Breathalyzer does. If arrested for DUI after a PAS device test, a person usually still has to take either a breath test (Breathalyzer) or a blood test to comply with the law.

You’re mistaken about not being able to take a blood test after a breath test. You actually can initially select a breath test, and if you don’t like the results, can then request a blood test. It’s usually a bad idea to do so, since a breath test usually reads anywhere from .01 to .02% lower than a person’s actual blood alcohol content. A blood test is the most accurate of the tests, and will read a person’s true BAC (blood alcohol content). In other words, if you didn’t like the results of the breath test, you REALLY aren’t going to be happy with the results of the blood test. Hope that helps.

The story headline should read “Nice Man Falls Victim to Power and Ultimately Self Destructs.” A sad situation but totally self induced. Bolts has paid the price for being Hedges puppet and once he is out of the office, there too will go all of the people he thought were friends. But the list of victims in his wake is long including his children, the Hug family, the Smart family, and a long list of quality employees that he has destroyed without thought.

But today is a good day. One filled with hope and promise that the terrorism from within will soon be over with Hedges and Bolts but a memory of an ancient corrupt culture that once ruled the land. This is a day of pride for the community as we elect our next Sheriff and should be a day of shame for Hedges and Bolts. While doubtful, should either of you receive an invitation to a campaign party tonight, please take a cab home and not place anyone in danger. Lame ducks and cold duck don’t mix.