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Police arrested you for DUI in Los Angeles last week or last month. In either case, you might be laboring under the assumption that you can quickly put the DUI behind you.john_abraham_dui

Even if you didn’t hurt anybody, and you were just barely over the legal limit of 0.08%, you can face profound consequences that can hamper your life, your career, your relationships and your finances for months or years. For a real world object lesson, let’s take a look at the story of John Abraham, a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals whom police stopped for DUI back in June.

According to reports, on the afternoon of June 29th, Abraham was driving his black Dodge Challenger in suburban Atlanta, after leaving a strip club called the Pink Pony. When police stopped Abraham, he confessed to having had two drinks. He even told officers that he had been waiting on a designated driver, who never showed. Abraham also allegedly said that he didn’t feel safe getting behind the wheel… but he did anyway.

He bombed out on the walking and balancing tests — presumably similar to the field sobriety tests police give here in Los Angeles, such as walk the line, count backwards by 3s, finger to the nose and stand on one leg. He also refused to take a breath test.

Will the DUI sideline Abraham’s career or create problems in his personal life, such as a license suspension, jail time or just general trouble with his relationships? The answer will depend on the minutiae of his stop and his history:

•    Will his breath test refusal complicate matters and lead to more charges?
•    Can he “explain away” the field sobriety test failures?
•    Did he have a criminal history (or DUI history), or was this his first offense?
•    Can he and his attorneys put together a compelling counter-narrative to challenge the prosecutors’ version of events?

For help understanding your Los Angeles DUI defense options, call attorney Michael Kraut right now for insight. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated DUI lawyer who worked for 14+ years as a prosecutor before switching to criminal defense.

Note to Potential Los Angeles DUI Offenders: Don’t Get Caught on Tape, Like Golfing Legend Dustin Johnson

It’s one thing to get arrested for DUI in Los Angeles and to face unpleasant consequences, such as license suspension, fines and fees, higher insurance rates, jail time, and recriminations from friends, family and colleagues.

It’s another thing entirely to get caught on video doing something dumb behind the wheel… and then watch helplessly as that video goes viral on YouTube. Unfortunately for people like Dustin Johnson (a professional golfing phenom), once humiliating video footage escapes into the blogosphere, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. In March 2009, when police stopped Johnson in his hometown in South Carolina, the golfer began to lose it when officers put him through the paces of field sobriety tests (FSTs).

The video shows Johnson tripping several times during the FSTs. An officer then escorts him into a police vehicle.

Johnson later confessed his regret, saying “I made an error in judgment… I have let myself down and others who support me. I am handling the matter privately and, rest assured, I will definitely learn from my mistake.”

Unfortunately, the pro apparently did NOT learn from his mistake.

Recently, he failed three separate drug tests given by the PGA Tour; he tested positive for marijuana and for cocaine (twice). As a result, the PGA hit him with a long suspension. Again, Johnson made noises of regret: “I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.” The now-30-year-old golfer may have a challenging time scrambling back following his suspension.

Sometimes, DUIs happen “out of the blue.” For instance, someone who has no criminal history or history of alcohol problems makes a bad call at a party and drives when he really shouldn’t.

But when someone gets in trouble repeatedly for alcohol and drugs, he may need help addressing the fundamental reasons for the destructive behavior. As Dr. Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes describe in their new book, The Sober Truth, the conventional wisdom about how and why addictions form may be deeply flawed. People like Johnson — who apparently repeatedly struggle with substance abuse issues — may need a different kind of help than they’ve been getting.

If you or someone you love needs help with Los Angeles DUI defense, contact Attorney Michael Kraut of Kraut Law Group right now to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a former Senior Deputy District Attorney.
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Even though you’ve recently been arrested for Los Angeles DUI, you want to keep the Southland streets and freeways safe and to clamp down on dangerous driving behavior.big-data-dui-solutions

In fact, the odds are high that you are a first time offender who only got a misdemeanor — that is, you didn’t seriously hurt or kill anybody else or engage in other reckless behaviors, like hit and run. Odds are also high that you are, generally speaking, a law abiding citizen who never in a million years thought you would wind up sitting in a police station, getting your mug shot taken. You also have a vested interest in eradicating the problem of DUI driving. So what can be done? And what can you do?

We’ve actually come a long, long way with respect to managing our collective DUI problems. In the 1950s and 1960s — before widespread public safety campaigns warned about the dangers of DUI driving — alcohol related accidents caused many more deaths and injuries, relative to the number of cars on the road and miles driven. More people drive today, but fewer people die and get seriously hurt in accidents, at least on a per-mile basis. We are making progress.

That said, when you analyze accident statistics collected over the past 5 to 10 years, it’s clear that we’ve hit a plateau. So how can we reduce the number of DUI incidents further? As Albert Einstein famously noted, you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. A shift in perspective can lead to inspiring new solutions to old, prickly problems.

To that end, what “new solutions” might be able to help us?

Big Data — A Tool for DUI Prevention?

Per Moore’s Law, our computing power continues to increase at an amazing rate, year after year. This means that our ability to simulate traffic safety issues on the computer is also improving. It’s at least conceivable that better data may ultimately make our roads much safer.

For instance, by using certain types of computer analyses, we may be able to figure out which types of DUI drivers are most at risk for becoming recidivists and develop appropriate interventions.

Perhaps a study might show that a DUI driver who fails to complete all his alcohol education classes will be three times more likely to get arrested again for DUI than will someone who completes the program. If that’s the case, maybe a “flag” could automatically go up when a driver misses more than two classes to alert educators to get the student back into the program.

Solutions don’t have to be punitive! The more we understand what drives people to break DUI laws — as well as what keeps them in line — the less we’ll have to rely on brute force methods like jail time and license suspensions.

Of course, you’re probably much more concerned about how to build your defense than you are in these grander issues. For help responding effectively to your Los Angeles DUI charges, call or email the Kraut Law Group today. Mr. Kraut is an ex-Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles; he leverages his Harvard Law School education and connections with people in the Southern California legal defense community to help his clients.

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Picture a “standard” Los Angeles DUI arrest in your mind’s eye.times-square-DUI

You might imagine a driver in a Honda Accord getting escorted into a squad car after a nasty wreck on the 405 or the 101. Or you might picture a Hollywood exec in a BMW stopped at a checkpoint on Sunset after a raucous night out with some potential clients.

You probably do NOT picture a double-decker bus toppled over or an ambulance spun out of control.

But people drive DUI in all sorts of vehicles, including, boats, lawnmowers, and even jerry rigged contraptions that defy classification.

Let’s analyze two such events that were recently in the news.

First, a spectacular DUI-related bus crash rocked New York City. Fortunately, the accident did not cause life threatening injuries, but it certainly created a big ruckus in the Big Apple. The double-decker bus driver smashed into a plaza on Times Square and hurt over 15 people, three of whom suffered serious injuries. Fortunately, no one died.

Authorities arrested 58-year-old William Dalembert, charging him with a DUI. According to reports, Dalembert has a checkered driving history, including a record of multiple license suspensions over the years as well as administrative infractions.

Meanwhile, closer to home in Orange County, a crash at the intersection of Garden Grove and Beach Boulevards between an ambulance and a vehicle in the town of Stanton led to the hospitalization of four people as well as an arrest for DUI. A preliminary investigation led authorities to blame 27-year-old John Dantzler; they booked him on DUI charges and held him on a $100,000 bail. Again, by the grace of God, no one died or suffered critical injuries; things could have been much, much worse.

Do people who drive vehicles like ambulance, double-decker buses, trucks, fire trucks, government vehicles and school buses have special safety responsibilities? Can prosecutors hit them with special punishments for DUI?

The answer depends. Drivers of specialty vehicles can be held to higher standards. Depending on what happened, they can lose special licenses, get fired, face enhanced fines and fees, and more.

No matter what kind of Los Angeles DUI charges you face — or how complicated the matter seems to be – the team here at the Kraut Law Group is here to help you make sense of what happened and develop an appropriate response. Call our offices now to schedule a free consultation.
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Our Los Angeles DUI blog — as well as practically every media organ that covers popular culture — has been keenly attuned to the saga of Justin Bieber’s DUI case.justin-bieber-DUI-mugshot

The latest development is something of a “pass” – prosecuting attorneys requested to reschedule a hearing to determine whether Bieber should be put on trial for DUI and resisting arrest. The judge agreed to this request but didn’t put matters off for long. The hearing will go forward on August 13. Rumors of a plea deal are floating.

As you might recall from following the seemingly endless barrage of news footage about Bieber’s arrest, the “Baby” singer allegedly was drag racing illegally on Miami streets in a rented Lamborghini. Police said he had alcohol on his breath, although he apparently tested below the 0.02% BAC cut-off for underage drivers. However, some evidence suggests that he had been on Xanax (an anti-anxiety medication) and that authorities found marijuana in his system. The arresting officer noted: “I immediately smelled an odor of alcohol emanating from the driver’s breath… the driver had slow, deliberate movements and a stupor look on his face. These are all indicators of an impaired driver.”

In addition to dealing with the fallout of his January 23 arrest, Bieber has faced other legal problems this summer. In July, for instance, he plead no contest to misdemeanor vandalism charges and paid over $80,000 in restitution to his next door neighbors in Malibu, after he egged their house and damaged their wood exterior.

If you’re an under-aged driver, and you police catch you beyond the wheel with even a trace amount of alcohol in your system, you can lose your license and face other penalties that make it much more difficult for you to drive to school, keep your job and build your life and career. Call the team here at the Kraut Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation about your potential Los Angeles DUI defense.
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Ever since your arrest for DUI in Los Angeles, you’ve been (outwardly, at least) in denial about the seriousness of the implications of your charges.los-angeles-dui-denial

Or perhaps you’re the spouse or significant other of someone with an alcohol or drug problem who recently got stopped for DUI at a checkpoint or arrested after a crash. You’re frustrated because he/she seems to be minimizing the gravity of the situation.

In either case, you might find it resourceful to examine the roots of the denial.

Our Needs for Psychological Consistency

Human beings generally do not behave “randomly.” We may not understand the strategies we employ when we get into trouble, and we might not choose the best strategies — or even very good ones. But the reasons that motivate us are not without logic.

Consider that when someone says, in effect “I’m going to pretend this DUI will go away on its own, and nothing about this is my fault at all,” that person is actually making an attempt to solve a problem. We bury our heads in sand because we want to avoid pain and stress and anxiety. These are not pleasant feelings. Denial is the psyche’s subtle way of protecting itself.

If you “don’t want to talk about” the DUI, your hesitation probably has less to do with your wanting to ruin your life than it does with wanting to protect yourself against painful situations, such as:

•    Having to admit to other people that they were right — that you DO need help managing an addiction to prescription medications, drugs, or alcohol;

•    Having to take time out of an already complicated and emotionally full life to deal with DUI defense;

•    Having to contemplate the battery of punishments that may await you, such as loss of your California driver’s license, jail time, costly fines and fees, higher insurance premiums, etcetera;

•    Having to confront emotionally unsettling truths about your life and your past;

Denial is by no means an intentionally self-destructive impulse. It’s a very understandable unconscious tactic we all use to retain psychological equilibrium and a sense of control. In fact, if you just recognize that denial is okay – that it is not intrinsically unhealthy or irrational – then you are already on the path to moving past it to get the help you really need.

The most challenging part of any Los Angeles DUI defense is that very first phone call.

Picking up the phone and calling an experienced attorney — like the Harvard Law School educated Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group — requires courage, because the act involves leaving your comfort zone. But once you cross that threshold, things do get easier! Give yourself the opportunity to get a fresh start. Connect with attorney Kraut and his experienced team today for assistance.
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Your Los Angeles DUI charge has thrown your world way out of balance.los-angeles-dui-process

For the first time, you probably feel oddly connected to Lindsay Lohan and Nick Nolte – you know how humiliating, frustrating and scary it can be to stand accused of violating California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (or 23153, if you hurt someone).

All of a sudden, you’re no longer laughing at unfortunate celebrity DUI mug shots. In fact, you can’t stop ruminating about the potential punishments in the offing (e.g. big fees, time behind bars, loss of your driver’s license, diminution of your professional reputation, probation, and other idiosyncratic penalties that court may decide to thrust upon you).

There is one lesson that you can cling to, despite this chaos, that will make the journey towards putting the DUI behind you easier and more certain.

And that lesson is this: moving beyond your DUI is a process, not a onetime project.

Even though you may have “collected” your DUI in a flash, the solution may not come bundled in a simple package. This isn’t to say that you can’t resolve your crisis rapidly and permanently, in somewhat short order. For instance, depending on your case, your lawyer might be able to…

•    Challenge and refute the breathalyzer test results or blood test results;
•    Challenge the Constitutionality of your stop or arrest;
•    Plea-bargain the charges down;
•    Stop the license suspension;
•    Connect you with other resources, so you feel more in control of your life;
•    Structure your defense, so that you can effectively get back to “business as usual,” even while your case is pending and the outcome is uncertain.

View your “post DUI” experience in a “process oriented” way.

When you have a process-oriented view of things — as opposed to a “product-oriented” view — you can learn to see setbacks with your case as opportunities. You can even look beyond issues of punishment and reward and see the DUI as a chance for self-improvement and self-development. In retrospect, the DUI could even be viewed as a good thing, in that it helped you make needed changes. For instance, it could catalyze more productive thinking and action about a drug or alcohol addiction problem.

Call a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group today to get a new perspective on your options. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated former prosecutor, and his common sense, solid treatment of DUI cases has won him fans not just among clients but also among prosecutors and judges.
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Drivers facing Los Angeles DUI charges may not relate to the high-profile status of the individuals in these recent news stories, but they can certainly relate to their legal situations.lil-twist-dui

On Sunday, July 3, Tuscaloosa police arrested Jarran Reed, Alabama defensive lineman, and charged him with DUI. The North Carolina native recently transferred to Alabama from East Mississippi Community College and had high hopes for receiving playing time in the upcoming season.

Unfortunately, Reed isn’t the first Alabama player to face criminal charges since last season ended. Little Rock, Arkansas, police cited another running back, Altee Tenpenny, for possessing a controlled substance back in April.

With the disciplinary futures of two of their players currently up in the air, Alabama is likely scrambling to figure out their lineup for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile in Calabasas, California, performer Lil Twist recently narrowly escaped DUI charges related to his arrest on July 11, 2013. Although Twist admitted he had been smoking marijuana (the evidence of which remained smoldering next to him) and failed to pass a sobriety test, his THC blood levels were insufficient to classify him as impaired.

However, Twist did not walk away from the arrest unscathed. He received citations for running a red light, speeding, and possessing less than one ounce of marijuana.

High-profile run-ins with the law involving DUI serve as a reminder to drivers that no one is immune to the consequences of this dangerous act. Although athletes and celebrities seem to receive lesser sentences than their “civilian” counterparts, this is likely due more to the caliber of their legal counsel than to their status.

In the state of California, individuals caught driving under the influence face misdemeanor charges with possible penalties including jail time, fines, interlock devices, and license suspensions. With the help of a Los Angeles DUI attorney, defendants stand a better chance of minimizing their sentences while taking responsibility for their actions.

To discuss your case in a free consultation, contact the Kraut Law Group today.

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Los Angeles DUIs often cause unintended and tragic consequences. Consider, for instance, a horrible recent Las Vegas collision that caused the death of a man and injuries to his 2-year-old son.dancer-dui-accident

On the morning of March 23, 2013, exotic dancer Shauna Miller left her job at the Spearmint Rhino strip club. Her Hummer SUV struck a Ford Escort driven by 33-year-old James White; White’s son was also riding in the vehicle.

White perished in the accident, while his son sustained significant injuries. Authorities tested Miller’s blood alcohol levels and found them to be over two times the legal limit. In addition, she had a significant amount of marijuana in her system.

On Thursday, July 11, Miller pleaded guilty to a felony DUI charge; a second charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Considering the details of this case, Miller likely made the right choice in accepting a plea deal. In most states, including California, DUIs that include the death of another individual represent one of the most severe charges a driver can face. Regardless of whether the charges include gross vehicular manslaughter or second-degree murder, a conviction often means significant jail or prison sentences, among other penalties.

Individuals such as Miller, who may work in environments conducive to excessive alcohol and/or drug consumption, should be aware of the risks of driving home after engaging in such behavior. Using a designated driver or taxi service can help prevent tragedies such as this.

Those facing Los Angeles DUI charges, with or without additional factors such as gross vehicular manslaughter, may wonder what they could have done differently. Although there is no way to go back in time, it is possible to take responsibility for your actions and move forward with your life.

For a free consultation to discuss your DUI defense, contact the Kraut Law Group today.

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You may be at the beginning of the end of the worst part of your Los Angeles DUI arrest.inertia-after-dui-arrest

How so? After all, you feel downright miserable and scared about what’s happened to you, and you haven’t even found a lawyer yet. You have so much to do – and so much is at stake both for you and your family – that things almost by definition have to get worse before they’ll get better.

Right?

Not necessarily.

Consider this. What’s causing you so much agitation and worry is not the punishments or potential punishments, per se, but rather the UNCERTAINTY of your situation.

•    You don’t know whether you will be jailed for several months, several days, or not at all.
•    You don’t know whether you will face massive fines of thousands of dollars or no fines at all or somewhere in the middle.
•    You don’t know whether the prosecution will negotiate a plea bargain that you can live with or whether you will have to fight in court;
•    You don’t know whether the DMV will suspend your license for a few days, or a few months, or indefinitely;
•    You don’t know whether you will find a DUI defense lawyer who has good values and who has an effective track record.

These and other uncertainties piled on top of one another and create a kind of inertia. That inertia can you weigh down and prevent you from getting the guidance you need to start to answer the questions. It’s a kind of a Catch 22.

So how do you break through the inertia?

When you take action to solve problems, it becomes easier to follow through and do what that needs to be done. For instance, if you ever procrastinated on cleaning out your garage or doing a big stack of dishes, you’re familiar with this concept.

The thought of actually getting into the muck of the work is repulsive. But once you start, the job becomes easier. It’s a lot easier to think: “hey, I’ve been washing this big pile of dishes for 15 minutes, and I’m halfway through, so I’ll keep going” than it is to “pull the trigger” and to decide to spend the INITIAL 15 minutes on the troubling task.

The first step involves reaching out for help. If you have yet to retain a lawyer for DUI in Los Angeles, call Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to figure out your next steps. Mr. Kraut is a respected, established lawyer with a track record of success. He can answer your questions and help you feel more calm and controlled about your situation: call now to start building positive momentum to obtain closure.
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Few Los Angeles DUI drivers face charges as complex or extensive as Justin Bieber. The 20-year-old singer’s Florida court case began on Monday, July 7 for a litany of charges he received on January 23.beiber-dui-arrest

Allegedly, Bieber had been drag racing with Khalil Amir Sharieff, a fellow performer, when authorities arrested him. Although his blood alcohol content tested below the legal limit, a blood test revealed concurrent drug use. Besides the drug and alcohol use, police charged Bieber with nonviolently resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

Media sources predict authorities will drop the other charges pending a plea deal for the DUI offense. However, the court case has been delayed for several months, allegedly due to a disagreement between the judge and Bieber’s lawyers regarding whether or not Bieber should appear in an anti-DUI driving public service announcement.

Chances are Bieber will receive a minor sentence – if any – for this Florida incident, but this is only one in a slew of recent accounts regarding Bieber’s reckless behavior. Although the singer has achieved significant fame over the course of his career, such incidents appear to be damaging his reputation among young fans as well as their parents.

Individuals following this case may believe Bieber is fortunate to have fame and fortune on his side, but his continued offenses indicate he may not fully comprehend the weight of his actions.

Under California law, penalties for DUI driving convictions include jail time, fines, probation, license suspensions, and community service. These punishments are meant to serve as deterrents– to discourage convicted individuals not to make the same mistake again.

Have you recently been charged with DUI in Los Angeles? If so, you may have questions regarding the law and how best to present your defense. Experienced attorney Michael Kraut can answer those questions. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to learn more. Continue reading →