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Would you be able to tell if someone you knew was at risk for a charge of DUI in Los Angeles? Would you take away a friend‘s or a guest’s vehicle keys if you felt they had consumed too much alcohol to drive?losangelesDUI-survey

Just in time for the holiday season, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility released the results of a national poll it took in September 2015. The purpose was to gauge American’s alcohol awareness.

Apparently Americans still have a lot to learn. More than half of all adults in the U.S. (63 percent) don’t know that the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in their state (and in every U.S. state) is .08 percent.

But 66 percent of people across the U.S. do believe that everyone has a personal responsibility to address impaired driving. (Los Angeles area motorists may be more socially conscious than most; 72 percent of them felt that obligation.)

More than half (54 percent) of those surveyed said they have actually intervened to prevent someone from driving DUI or have refrained from getting in a car with someone who has consumed too much alcohol to drive safely. They say that they look for these signs of alcohol consumption to decide if they should take action:

• Slurred speed (71 percent)
• Impaired coordination (71 percent)
• Number of drinks consumed (61 percent)
• Loud and aggressive behavior (57 percent)
• Getting or feeling sick (57 percent)
• Talking loudly and/or shouting (53 percent)
• Acting silly, sad or emotional (53 percent)
• Length of time drinking (50 percent)
• Sleepiness (46 percent)
• Flirting or hooking up with people (22 percent)

According to the survey, 81 percent of people in the U.S. said they felt confident enough to take action to help a friend or a guest get home safely when they have been overindulging.

Call Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to schedule a free consultation with a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor with nearly 20 years of experience and an excellent track record for getting justice for DUI defendants.

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If the number of arrests for DUI in Los Angeles decreased, would it mean that the roads are getting safer? Maybe not. A recent article in Illinois’ Daily Herald newspaper raised some questions about the real meaning behind a decline in DUI arrests in several suburban Chicago neighborhoods.los-angeles-DUI-law-chicago

Columnist Jack Griffin wrote in a November 18th column in the Daily Herald that DUI arrests in 79 Chicago suburbs have been declining since 2007. Surveys compiled by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) reported that police made 12,166 DUI arrests in 2007 and only 6,955 in 2014.

But what’s the reason for the declining arrests? Griffin spoke with one Chicago area attorney who thinks people simply don’t have the money to go out drinking. The police chief in the Chicago suburb of Lake Hills, however, believes people are becoming more conscious of the need to take a cab or have a designated driver when they plan on drinking. (Arrests in this suburb declined from 100-plus each year between 2007-2012 to 86 in 2014.)

While that all sounds pretty good on the surface, the columnist suggests that other less positive factors may be at play. One is the downsizing of the suburban police departments by 4.4 percent. Although their police chiefs insist they haven’t reduced the number of officers working on DUI enforcement, rank -and-file police officers apparently are telling AIMM a different story. They say the decrease in arrests actually reflects their departments’ reluctance to pursue DUI cases through the court system. With tight budgets and limited manpower, police chiefs don’t want to tie up too many officers by having them waiting in courtrooms to testify against accused DUI drivers.

Please call the experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyers at the Kraut Law Group for substantial and skilled assistance with your case and a free, private consultation.

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As the year winds towards the holidays, and you look back on 2015, you have to admit that this one wasn’t exactly your best. Your Los Angeles DUI arrest, in some sense, was the tip of the iceberg. Maybe you faced rejection at work or financial problems. Perhaps you had a big issue with a personal relationship or suffered a health setback that led you to take refuge in the bottle or in some other compulsive activity.los-angeles-DUI-setback

2015 is a year you would like to forget.

That said, you want to take away valuable lessons from what happened to avoid repeating mistakes going forward. In our society, we are taught to pay attention to our neighbors and friends — to measure our progress in relation to what others do. But it’s more accurate (not to mention more resourceful and compassionate) to measure our progress based our OWN past experiences.

To that end, let’s unpack your year. Ponder the following questions:

• What was happening in my life just prior to my arrest?
• Did a particular emotional or psychological trigger cause the DUI?
• If so, what can I do in the future to avoid those triggers or handle them in more resourceful ways?

For instance, let’s say that you’ve had a chronic battle with your boss for the past 7 years. This relationship gives you heartburn and causes you to “act out,” even when you are not in the office. Deal with that trigger in 2016! Find some other place to work. Or find a better way to discharge your anger and passion. Instead of drinking, go to the batting cage and whack at some balls for an hour.

Also ask:

• What activities or resources in the past have soothed me and prevented me from feeling compelled to drink or do drugs?
• How can I access those resources on a more regular basis?

For instance, create an agreement with a sober friend; he will come and pick you up, no questions asked, if you’re ever trouble. Or set aside money in your budget every month to pay for an Uber whenever you go out to parties or bars.

No matter what happened in 2015, 2016 offers a fresh start. The attorneys here at the Kraut Law Group would love to help you. Please our call an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer today to schedule a private and confidential consultation.

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Drivers arrested for DUI in Los Angeles often have a history of repeated offenses. Taking away their drivers’ licenses doesn’t seem to prevent them from driving while intoxicated; neither does jail time. But each time they get behind the wheel, they not only put other people at risk of injury of death, but they also risk their own welfare and the well-being of any family members who depend on them for support.Sam-Lavorto-DUI-program

What can be done, for real, to solve the problem at its root?

California’s Monterey County Superior Court is attempting a radically different approach that could, if successful, alter how we think about DUI treatment and prevention. According to reports on KSBW and in the Monterey County Weekly, the Court has recently launched a new Driving Under the Influence Court. Judge Sam Lavorto had the idea for this special court, which will operate on a therapeutic model, trying to get help for people who have alcohol problems so that they won’t repeat their offenses.

The program depends upon a collaborative approach by the county’s court, probation office, behavior health department, district attorney, public defenders and sheriff’s office. With a $350,000 grant from California’s Office of Traffic Safety, the county will launch a pilot program for second and third-time misdemeanor DUI offenders who are ready to admit that they have an addiction problem. (Felony DUI drivers won’t qualify for the program.)

Participants will receive treatment (including counseling from substance abuse counselors) as well as strict supervision while they’re taking part in the program. This year’s funding could help up to 39 DUI drivers. This is the ninth special DUI court in California.

Government officials and program participants face a difficult challenge. According to the newspaper report, police arrest 2,000 people each year in Monterey County for DUI, and 600 of them are likely to become repeat offenders. If the program succeeds in reducing those numbers, the court would like to find funding to make it available to more drivers with substance abuse problems.
Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Law Group is standing by to offer critical insight into your case and potential defense options. Call him and his team today to begin regaining control over your case and your life.

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A Halloween night DUI in Los Angeles left 10 people injured and a 40-year old man in jail for allegedly driving while impaired.
According to KTLA channel 5 and other local news reports, Michael Maurice Wilson had cocaine in his possession when police finally caught up with him after his out-of-control driving spree. Wilson, who was driving a rented U-Haul truck, allegedly initially sideswiped a parked vehicle on Seventh Street. But he didn’t slow down, and ended up traveling a short distance in the wrong direction on Seventh Street. He finally crashed into a motorcycle carrying two passengers and a vehicle with four occupants. (The driver of that vehicle was making an Uber run.) Wilson then plowed into a sidewalk, hitting several pedestrians before coming to a stop.dui-los-angeles-halloween-defense

Wilson, who told police he had been heading to the store, abandoned his truck but didn’t get far before police arrived.
Ten people received injuries during Wilson’s scary Halloween drive; three ended up in the hospital, but police said none of the injuries was life-threatening. Wilson allegedly admitted that he was under the influence of marijuana, and police booked him on charges of DUI and possessing cocaine.

Halloween can be a deadly night for DUI drivers and others they involve in accidents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, DUI-related accidents on October 31 killed 119 people nationwide in the years between 2009 and 2013. Close to half (43 percent) of all fatal motor vehicles on Halloween involved motorists who were driving under the influence.

With Halloween on a Saturday night this year, police in many states took extra precautions, setting up DUI checkpoint in several cities. A police crackdown in Napa County yielded five arrests for driving under the influence; a similar effort in San Diego brought in four drivers suspected of DUI after they failed sobriety tests.

Designing and executing an effective defense against DUI charges (even simple ones) is not intuitive. Fortunately, you can trust the seasoned, highly successful Michael Kraut. Call a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles with nearly two decades of experience.

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Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion famously quipped about the town of Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”no-two-duis-in-los-angeles-alike

This notion – that we all think that we are special – has pretty profound implications for your Los Angeles DUI defense.

Obviously, no two DUIs are exactly alike, and many factors might particularly distinguish your arrest from the pack. But rather than think that you are a unique defendant, it might help to take the opposite approach – to begin with the assumption that your case is standard.

For instance, odds are:

  • You did not hurt someone.
  • You had been at or near the threshold for DUI of 0.08% BAC, as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152.
  • This was your first arrest.

Beyond that, consider your arrest in personal context:

  • Are you someone who engages in risk taking behaviors?
  • Do you push the limits when it comes to things like binge drinking or using recreational drugs or engaging in other behaviors that the average person would say is “over the line”?
  • Was there something special about the day or night of your arrest? For instance, did you just celebrate a milestone in your career or, conversely, experience a loss, such as bad news in your personal life?

By getting to know yourself, you will be able to make more resourceful decisions and avoid driving dangerously in the future. You might even gain insight that you can use to compose your defense against your charges.

Please call the experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyers at the Kraut Law Group for substantial and skilled assistance with your case and a free, private consultation.

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Even if you’ve been consumed by concern over a recent Los Angeles DUI arrest, you’ve no doubt at least been aware of the hand wringing and impassioned discussion about California’s epic drought and the impact that it will have on industry, communities and homeowners.California-drought-and-your-los-angeles-DUI

Despite California’s implementation of water conservation measures, many engineers worry that, with our reservoirs running low and longer concerns about climate change adding uncertainty to the mix, water planning challenges will abound for some time.

  • Will the drought subside as El Nino surges in the Pacific?
  • Will we continue to deplete our aquifers until we are forced to take extreme measures, like cutting off water to almond farmers or forcibly desalinizing the Pacific to keep our cities hydrated?

Dealing with an experience like a DUI arrest creates a similar lack of stability on an individual scale. Your mind constantly generates questions like:

  • Will I go to jail for the DUI?
  • Will I lose my license? (If so, for how long?)
  • What can I do to stop the punishments?
  • Do I need a DUI lawyer? If so, how can I choose among the seemingly infinite number of them I can find online and through referrals?
  • What is the real reason I got arrested in the first place?
  • Do I have a problem with alcohol, or was this a fluke?
  • What’s going to happen to my job?
  • What am I going to tell my kids?
  • Etc.

The task of handling the aftermath of your DUI involves getting clarity on these and many other questions. Developing a tactical roadmap for your DUI defense won’t instantly solve your problems, but it can eliminate anxiety caused by the lack of clear understanding of what’s to come.

California engineers, city planners and homeowners won’t be able to change Mother Nature just by rationing water and allocating resources, but they can forestall some bad consequences and – more importantly — put themselves in a position to react strategically and nimbly to unforeseen events.

Likewise, when you develop a DUI defense the right way, you can forestall some negative consequences and put yourself in a better position to react to the evolving elements of your case.

To that end, please consider calling Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to schedule a free consultation with a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor with nearly 20 years of experience and an excellent track record for getting justice for DUI defendants.

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People who imbibe too much alcohol or operate a vehicle under the influence of illegal drugs in Los Angeles (or anywhere) can be unpredictable in their behavior. Would YOU confront a likely DUI driver if you had a close encounter with him or her?
A man in Chickasha, Oklahoma, did just that when a driver operating the influence threated his family. A report on television station KFOR 4 said that Jared Shepperd made a citizen’s arrest after chasing down the driver who almost hit his family’s vehicle head on.Joley-Schulte-citizens-arrest-DUI

Joley Schulte, age 44, allegedly had been traveling in the wrong direction (going south in the northbound lane) on a bridge over Country Club Road. Shepperd, with his wife and two-year old son in the car, was also traveling northbound, but in the proper lane. A collision seemed inevitable, but Shepperd acted quickly and reversed direction, backing up at 35 miles per hour. Even then, he only narrowly escaped Schulte slamming into his vehicle and his family. (The news report quoted Shepperd as saying his driving looked like something out of a Fast and Furious movie.)

Schulte kept driving along—she finally pulled into the right lane–but Shepperd, who is a volunteer firefighter, followed in hot pursuit, eventually catching up with at her at an intersection along Country Club Road. He managed to block her from leaving until the Chickasha police arrived. The police arrived and performed a sobriety test on Schulte.

Police told Shepperd that because they hadn’t seen Schulte driving under the influence, he would have to make a citizen’s arrest and testify against Schulte when her case came to trial. Shepperd said he didn’t mind; after he and his family had escaped without injury, he was worried that Schulte would cause another accident that claimed someone’s life.

To understand what to do to fight back against your charges, call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Michael Kraut of Kraut Law Group. As a former (and highly successful) Deputy District Attorney, Mr. Kraut has fought on behalf of defendants like you for nearly 20 years.

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Everyone knows that driving under the influence in Los Angeles (or anywhere, frankly) puts drivers at an elevated risk of getting into accidents, hurting themselves and others, and causing property damage. However, to understand the true risks associated with dangerous driving of any kind, you need context.el-nino-los-angeles-DUI-risks

Someone just barely overly the legal limit (as established by California Vehicle Code Section 23152) of 0.08% BAC — who is otherwise alert, driving on a sunny, clear road and at a stable, slow speed — is probably far less likely to get into a crash than someone driving with the same BAC level at night, while blasting music and chatting with a girlfriend on a cellphone.

Driving risk factors stack up.

To maximize your safety on the road, be aware not just of your alcohol consumption but also of other elements that could make driving less safe. For instance:

• Your level of distraction – are you fully attentive behind the wheel?
• Are you listening to music or eating?
• Are you chatting with someone on a cellphone? (Even talking on a hands free headset can lead to driving errors comparable to the errors you’d make while DUI, according to research from the University of Utah.)
• How tired are you? (Fatigue is a major factor in auto accidents. One study out of Australia found that someone who stays up 24 hours in a row exhibits a level of impairment commensurate with DUI level of impairment.)
• What are the road conditions like? Are the roads potholed and bumpy or smooth and well-marked?
• Weather – is it dry? Or is it raining? (The first 45 minutes after a rain following a long period of dryness can be quite treacherous.)

As El Niño stirs up trouble in the Pacific, weather forecasters expect serious rain here in the Southland this winter. These bouts of rain will be dispersed with periods of dryness, so we can expect the weather to ratchet up the level of treacherousness on the Los Angeles roads and complicate car accident cases. (For instance, was your wreck caused by DUI driving or by slick conditions or both?)

Call the strategic, respected Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys here at the Kraut Law Group, and recover peace of mind and clarity about your situation.

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As the holiday season approaches, most people are looking forward to Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas presents and 2016 fireworks. But a small percentage of people will face unpleasant surprises, such as Los Angeles DUI arrests. Believe it or not, DUI arrests are not spread out evenly throughout the year. Some days are actually more dangerous for DUIs than others.thanksgiving-dui-los-angeles

Statistical analyses have revealed, for instance, that major national holidays, such Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, the 4th of July, Super Bowl Sunday and New Year’s Eve tend to be more dangerous than average days. In a recent post, we talked about confounders that make easy explanations for this phenomenon hard to identify.

(The “too long; didn’t read” of it is this: just because you notice an ASSOCIATION between two variables — holidays and DUI arrests, for instance — doesn’t mean that you can know what CAUSES what.)

In any event, these analyses, for whatever reason, show that the day before Thanksgiving tends to be a particularly dangerous time. Thanksgiving is also dangerous, but it’s not as dangerous as the eve of Thanksgiving.

Why is this?

One theory is that college students home for break often spend the night before Thanksgiving out with friends, partying. During Thanksgiving, they stay at home with their families and eat and drink inside. But the night before, they go out to bars. Although parents don’t want to hear this, statistics show that children who go off to college often experiment with alcohol and drugs in a fairly predictable manner, even though it’s illegal for minors to do so.

Driving DUI under any circumstances can get you into serious trouble, leading to license suspension, hikes on your insurance rates, and jail time. But driving under the influence while under the age of 21 can lead to special punishments, and the legal system is less lenient. For instance, a minor stopped with a BAC of just 0.05% could lose her license, even though that BAC would be under the legal limit for an adult.

The experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys at the Kraut Law Group would love to learn more about what you are going through and help you develop a sound strategic plan.

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