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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 →

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Those facing Los Angeles DUI charges are now in the company of yet another celebrity. Donnell Rawlings, a comedian who appeared on Chappelle’s Show, was arrested at 3:30 a.m. on Friday, July 11 in New York City.Donnell-Rawlings-DUI

Rawlings, who became famous for the “Ashy Larry” character he portrayed on the Comedy Central variety show, was driving the wrong way down a Manhattan one-way street, when police stopped him and conducted a breathalyzer test. According to authorities, his blood alcohol content was more than double the legal limit for driving in California.

Despite the inherent hazards of wrong-way driving while under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement apprehended Rawlings before he could cause any damage or injuries to himself or to others.

This incident represents the latest in a long history of celebrity DUI arrests. Although some individuals may believe public figures enjoy immunity from consequences for such offenses, the reality is much different. Like any other citizens, celebrities arrested for and convicted of DUI driving experience serious legal consequences, as well as damage to their public reputations.

California Vehicle Code section 23152 does not discriminate between celebrities and “ordinary people” when it comes to defining the penalties for driving under the influence. Regardless of one’s profession, income, or personal connections, DUI presents serious risks and consequences to drivers.

In addition to jail time, individuals convicted of DUI may receive community service, probation, fines, and license suspensions. With repeated offenses, the penalties increase. Whether a driver works at a fast food establishment or on a hit television show, his arrest and conviction records indicate a lack of judgment and can lead to problems with employment and reputation.

A qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney possesses extensive knowledge regarding California law and can help individuals present an effective defense. The Kraut Law Group offers free consultations for those facing DUI charges. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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As someone who recently had to endure a field sobriety test for Los Angeles DUI, you can attest to the surprising challenges that you endured:los-angeles-dui-walk-the-line

•    The humiliation of being made to “walk the line” on the side of the road, while other drivers passed and gawked at you;
•    The fear that you were going to fail your breath test and rack up a DUI charge, per California Vehicle Code Section 23152;
•    The anxiety as you contemplated the potential punishments for a conviction, including a mandatory interlock ignition installation, jail time and driver’s license suspension.

At the end of the day, you didn’t exactly pass your FSTs with flying colors, and you may have also failed a breath and/or blood alcohol test.

FSTs are inaccurate, sometimes very misleading gauges, though:

1. Bloodshot eyes – alternative explanations.

Having bloodshot eyes is a symptom of being DUI. But it’s also a symptom of being fatigued, sick or irritated by allergens. You could have sand in your eyes. Or an accident or a sudden stop might have caused the blood vessels to burst in your eyes.

2. Failure to pass the walk the line test – alternative explanations.

If you lose your balance while trying to walk on the line, that could indicate that you were driving DUI, but it could also indicate that you just generally have a bad balance or that you have an ear ache or ear infection. Or maybe you are just a generally uncoordinated person. Maybe you were confused by the slope of the road or by the shadows, and you stumbled. Perhaps you DID walk the line, but the police incorrectly recorded that you stumbled.

3. Slurred speech and having trouble following directions – alternative explanations.

If you slur your speech and you can’t understand and/or abide by police directions, you might be DUI. Or you might be exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed or sick. Or you might have a speech impediment or difficulty hearing. Perhaps the police pulled you over on a very loud section of the freeway, and you couldn’t hear the instructions over the roar of the traffic.

For help managing the aftermath of your Los Angeles DUI crisis, call attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today for intelligent, compassionate, thorough assistance with your charges. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated attorney who racked up a success rate at jury trials of over 99%, when he worked in the Deputy DA’s office.

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Fortunately for police, most Los Angeles DUI arrests are not dramatic and do not threaten the life and limb of the people involved in the process.anna-dittmer-dui

That’s not always the case.

For a spectacular example, we turn our sites to Atlanta, Georgia, where on Monday, a local woman named Anna Dittmer was involved in a catastrophic, freakish accident that sent a police officer to the hospital and left Ms. Dittmer with plate full of criminal charges.

Local officers said they saw her vehicle stopped next to some railroad tracks in the Northwest section of Atlanta. They had reason to believe she was impaired, so two officers approached her. Meanwhile, a train approached at that very moment and blew a warning sign, which woke Dittmer up. She allegedly saw the police come for her and tried to hightail it out of there.

Officer Kevin Thigpen reached in to try to stop her, but she took off and dragged him along with her car and then smashed into a telephone pole. Fortunately, Thigpen survived, but he did suffer abrasions and lacerations over all his body as well as a broken left hand. Medics treated him at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Other officers, meanwhile, arrested Dittmer on a laundry list of charge, including: reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, possessing methamphetamines, felony obstruction, aggravated assault, giving a false name to police officers, causing a serious injury with a motor vehicle, and drug DUI.

Prior to the incident, police had a warrant out for her arrest on possession of dangerous drugs.

The whole situation is obviously very sad and disturbing. Just a charge of hurting someone while DUI can elevate a standard misdemeanor (per California Vehicle Code Section 23152) to a much more serious felony charge (per California Vehicle Code Section 23153).

And if you hurt a police officer, drove on a suspended license, or did any of the other crazy things that this Atlanta woman allegedly did, your charges can be more intense, and your defense can become more complicated.

No matter what charges you face, you can turn to the team here at the Kraut Law Group for effective, fair and responsible Los Angeles DUI defense help. Call or email us now for assistance.
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Not all Los Angeles DUI incidents are terrifying.dui-truck-crash-on-101

But when truck drivers get behind the wheel while DUI or under the influence of drugs — and then drive recklessly — they can endanger not just themselves but also dozens of people.

Witness what happened earlier this year, when a FedEx truck driver careened out of control on the 5 near San Francisco and hit a school bus, leading to dozens of injuries and many fatalities. Fortunately, a Sunday evening accident on the 101 at Lindero Canyon Road did not lead to fatalities, but it certainly could have.

The big rig driver — who was later arrested on suspicion of DUI — allegedly had some serious driving issues on Sunday night prior on the 101. According to California Highway Patrol Officer, Monica Posada, “the big rig was eastbound with an empty trailer and prior to the collision was reported reckless… the driver drifted to the right shoulder and travelled left across all lanes, colliding into the center divider. The driver exited the big rig, and it caught fire from the spilled diesel.”

In addition to burning up to concrete divider, the big rig spilled debris and diesel fuel all over the road, creating a big mess, not to mention serious hazards for police and cleanup crews.

Luckily, emergency workers did not have to navigate that hellish complex of obstructions and dangers to rescue anybody. However, in other similar accidents, the situation can be far grimmer.

If you’re a truck driver accused of driving DUI, you can lose your license, your job and your ability to drive other commercial trucks. Your insurance rates can spike, making you less hirable, and you can go to jail. You can also be subject to special approbation, if you drove a commercial or government vehicle.

The point is that you may face an amalgam of trouble.

Fortunately, the team here at the Kraut Law Group can provide a confident, thorough and compassionate defense for you. Please contact us immediately to schedule your Los Angeles DUI truck defense, or peruse Mr. Kraut’s website to learn more about him, his team, and their approach.
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After getting arrested for DUI in Los Angeles recently, you’ve had time to ponder the incident and “tell yourself stories” about why it happened and who/what should be blamed.dui-excuses-los-angeles

You might be tempted to put the full weight of blame on outside forces:

•    The police officer who stopped you at a check point;
•    The breath test that gave you a false positive;
•    The friend who promised to be your designated driver but who bailed the party at the last minute, leaving you stranded;
•    Etc.

But consider looking inward as well as outward. You may in fact have just been the victim of bad luck – a defective PAS test, for instance, or police entrapment. However, you might have created/worsened the situation:

•    Perhaps you carelessly got behind the wheel after consuming three alcoholic beverages at a Caltech party, even though you sensed that you were a bit buzzed;
•    Perhaps you impulsively drove away from the site of your crash because emotions overtook you and you couldn’t stop yourself;
•    Perhaps you drove on a suspended license, even though you understood the dire potential punishments.

It’s difficult to examine excuses and to take responsibility for what happened.

We are not trained to know how to process bad events, like DUI arrests, and to learn from them. Instead, from a very early age, we are trained to punish “bad” behavior and reward “good” behavior, without much thought as to why we acted “badly” or “good.”

DUI driving is seen as a behavior to be avoided at all costs, so we rarely explore the unmet needs underneath our dangerous actions. For instance, let’s say that you drove while buzzed, because you really wanted to hang out with some cool new girls you met at fraternity party. You knew “it was stupid,” but you overrode your instincts. Why? Perhaps you were lonely. Or perhaps you were having a great time after a stressful semester of classes, and you just really needed to some fun.

Our fundamental needs for companionship and fun are not “bad” – they are very human and very essential. You just chose a poor strategy (driving DUI) to try to meet those needs. Considered in this way, the DUI event was neither bad nor good but rather an inelegant strategy to meet needs.

For actionable insight into what to do after your Los Angeles DUI, connect with attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor with ample experience and lots of connections.

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One of the most feared punishments for the crime of driving DUI in Los Angeles involves the so-called Interlock Ignition Device, or IID. According to a law passed a few years ago, DUI offenders in L.A. often must (at their own expense) install IID devices in their vehicles. This device makes it impossible for you to start your car, unless you first blow a sober breath into a breathalyzer type device. The theory is pretty simple: if you can’t make safe decisions about driving, just outsource the decision-making to an automated arbiter, like a machine.iid-device-los-angeles-dui

Many DUI defendants bristle at the thought of putting in an IID, which is not just an expensive encumbrance but also an embarrassing talisman. For instance, let’s say you go out to a party and meet a new potential girlfriend or boyfriend. And then you invite this person into your car for a ride. If your prospective suitor sees the IID, the conversation will inevitably turn to your Los Angeles DUI, and then things could get uncomfortable and hurt the potential relationship.

Critics have voiced other concerns. What if the machine malfunctions, when you’re in a bad part of town, and you can’t start your car? What if the IID automatically notifies police, when you didn’t even do anything? Etc.

That being said, the reality of having an IID is often less awful than most people fear. Some folks actually enjoy having the device in their vehicles, because it helps them stay out of trouble, and they don’t trust themselves to make good judgments in the moment.

For instance, let’s say that your tolerance is pretty low: if you have two normal sized drinks at a party, you’ll be over the limit. Having an IID can help you avoid making a mistake that would put yourself and other people at risk. An IID CAN be a benign, helpful tool for providing structure and managing risks.

Ideally, you want to construct a defense to maximize your sense of control. The Kraut Law Group is a Los Angeles DUI defense law firm started by Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor, Michael Kraut. Mr. Kraut worked for 14 years as a Deputy District Attorney. He and his team have abundant resources and a great track record to help you develop your case. Continue reading →

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Quick quiz: let’s say someone pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles. Should you:arrested-for-dui-spit-at-police

(a) Cooperate with the officer and avoid making your situation worse?

(b) Spit in the officer’s face?

If you answered (a), you are correct. If you answered (b), you may have something in common with 47-year-old Gabriel Fenteany, a chemistry professor at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Police in Vernon, Connecticut busted Fenteany Saturday night for allegedly driving under the influence, after officers noticed him failing to signal as he drove into a parking lot.

Officers said he failed field sobriety tests, and they set his bond at $2500. In California, police administer diverse types of field sobriety tests (FSTs), such as:

•    Finger to the nose test. While closing your eyes, you reach your arms out on both sides and then try to touch your nose with the tips of your fingers.
•    Horizontal nystagmus test. A police officer shines a light in your eyes to look for delayed pupil reactions, which can be signs of DUI.
•    Count backwards by threes test. This test measures your mental acuity. If you’re DUI, you should be less capable of sustaining the concentration it takes to subtract numbers in your head;
•    Walk the line test. This is the most famous DUI test. The driver must walk on a painted line, like a balance beam, to demonstrate equilibrium and coordination.

Professor Fenteany’s bust was actually just another unfortunate event in a long stream of unpleasant events for him. Back in December, the Assistant Professor of Chemistry got in trouble with the law, after he damaged cars in the town of Greenwich and urinated in the parking lot. In wake of that incident, UConn placed him on administrative leave. Meanwhile, last month, police came to his apartment to enquire about a welfare check, and he allegedly used a racial slur and kicked and spit at the police officer who showed up.

There is no reason to make your legal situation worse than it is.

Unfortunately, if you are already in difficult straits, you may not understand what you need to do to straighten your situation out and get the help you need. Contact with the team here at the Kraut Law Group for a free and thorough consultation about your possible Los Angeles DUI defense options.
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