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The recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington – in addition to the widespread and growing approval of medical pot — has spurred some fascinating research. Scientists want to understand how the growing wave of marijuana users is influencing the landscape of DUIs. Many police officers and other professionals working on this problem contend that drug DUI driving could become increasingly disruptive and deadly as marijuana laws soften.drug-dui-pot-los-angeles

Medical marijuana use is legal in California, but smoking and driving can still easily land you a drug DUI in Los Angeles and around the state.

Very few studies have been done to assess the risks of driving while high on marijuana. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the NHTSA are wrapping up one such study — a 3-year investigation that researched the drug’s effects on driving. Using one of the most powerful driving simulators on the planet, researchers gave test participants either a placebo or varying concentrations of the drug and asked them to use the simulator.

The study yielded a surprisingly negative result. The data analysis software can detect subtle changes in driving behavior; and participants on marijuana exhibited hardly any change.

Police officers are not convinced that THC is innocuous, however, and don’t hold your breath waiting for the law to keep up with the science. Roadside THC detection tests are being developed and sold to law enforcement agencies in areas where pot is legal. Drivers pulled over while under the effects of marijuana can still be given a DUI – even in states like California where consumption can be legal. In California, police test for marijuana impairment using blood tests, which can indicate recent use.

As a frequent contributor to respected media, like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Good Morning America, Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group understands what it takes to build successful defenses in complex DUI cases. Contact him and his team today to schedule a consultation.

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Los Angeles DUI accidents can claim lives at any time; an awful crash in Redondo recently killed 3 Californians and injured many more.Margo-Bronstein-DUI

According to reports, twelve people suffered injuries, when a woman crashed into a group of Christmas concert-goers in a Redondo Beach church last December. Margo Bronstein had been exiting St. James Catholic Church when she slammed into pedestrians leaving the concert. Three people died; two suffered bad injuries; and seven others suffered minor injuries.

Bronstein, a paraplegic, had a spotless driving record, but she had been taking medication that day. Her car had been outfitted with various technology to assist her driving. She had hand brakes on the steering wheel and special rear-view mirrors.

Police might charge Bronstein with felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. Her attorneys have been urging the public to avoid jumping to conclusions about the accident. It is possible, they argue, that a defect in the hand brakes could have contributed to the accident.

If Bronstein’s lawyers can prove that the incident had been an accident — and that medication had not been to blame – perhaps they can fight or eliminate the charges. Her medications included muscle relaxers and other pain relievers to help her cope with chronic health issues.

Accidents involving prescription drugs can still be charged as DUIs, and the consequences of even non-injury stops can include jail time, license suspension, fines and fees and beyond. If a blood or urine test measures a drug’s present in the bloodstream, a conviction could follow.

What should you do if you or someone you love faces a serious DUI count? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? Call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut immediately to understand your options and craft a strategic response.

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In September 2014, Los Angeles DUI rates dropped, as did similar rates in several cities across the nation. Many observers credit a new trend in cab services based on apps!uber-DUI

Uber and other mobile friendly taxi services have revolutionized American perceptions of taxis. People no longer have to wait or hope to catch a cab at a certain corner. They can call up a town car at the touch of a button, and they don’t have to carry cash. With GPS location tracking, a taxi can be dispatched to a waiting passenger without that passenger ever placing a call.

Taxi companies are increasingly marketing their services toward younger, affluent adults. They are also focusing on the high-risk demographic that is more likely to go out to bars and clubs more often.

And it’s working.

Two companies in particular have seen a growing demand for their business, Lyft and Uber. They present themselves as trendy companies, marketing themselves on bathroom walls and underneath bar stools. Their goal is to make a taxicab seem cool enough to call.

The arrival of these services and the advent of other so-called “rideshare” programs have had a measurable impact. San Francisco DUI rates have consistently fallen since Uber and other modern taxi companies started service there. DUI arrests have fallen by nearly 10% in Seattle, since the expansion of Uber’s taxicabs. In 2013, Los Angeles saw a 14% drop after a 10% increase in 2012. The difference? The availability of ride-share services.

There’s a positive, direct correlation between decreasing DUI arrests and these services becoming available to young adults. If this trend continues, we’ll likely see these services expand and receive additional media coverage in the near future. If revenue is any indication, rideshare services are here to stay; hopefully, they’ll continue to drive down DUI rates in cities across the country.

Do you need assistance constructing an appropriate response to a DUI charge? Look to the Kraut Law Group’s Michael Kraut for insight and peace of mind. Mr. Kraut is an experience Los Angeles DUI attorney with many relevant connections in the local legal community.

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Los Angeles DUI attorneys are closely watching the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado to see whether that state will soon be cracking down hard on third offense DUIs. A lawmaker in Colorado’s general assembly recently introduced a bill with bipartisan support to treat a third DUI offense as a felony.Lori-Saine

The rules under the new bill stipulate that all DUI offenses would have to be committed within seven years of one another. Lori Saine, the bill’s author, believes her law would reduce the number of inmates in county jails and make Colorado roads safer.

Police officers around the state are not sold on the idea. Some in the police community contend that increasing penalties for repeat DUI offenders doesn’t address the heart of the issue. Police say that jails throughout the state don’t offer inmates what they need to recover from their alcoholism, citing a growing need for substance abuse therapy. They say that individuals who leave prison depressed are more likely to abuse alcohol and other substances. Substance abuse and incarceration beget one another in a vicious cycle.

Bill opponents within the CO general assembly point to increased expenses from felony charges and extended prison sentences. State funding for prisons is already tight; funding for the increased costs associated with the bill might have to be pulled from valuable social services.

These law changes mean that if you live in Colorado and have two DUIs, a third could mean serious prison time.  State laws in California already allow for a DUI conviction to turn into a felony under certain circumstances, including:

•    You caused harm or death to another individual while DUI.

•    You have 3 or more DUI convictions in 10 years.

•    You have a history of felony DUI convictions.

Locating a seasoned and qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer is a critical part of the process of reclaiming your life, your time and your peace of mind. Call ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut for a free consultation right now.

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The Los Angeles DUI community (and the rest of the country) may be focused on the NFL playoffs, but football fans have been temporarily distracted by yet another NFL DUI arrest.Tim-Jennings-DUI

Police say that Tim Jennings, a member of the Chicago Bears, had been speeding while DUI – he allegedly had been zipping along at 99 mph on a 65 mph highway in Georgia. The trooper that pulled him over said that Jennings had alcohol on his breath and that his eyes were a little red. Jennings admitted to the officer that he had consumed alcohol but had waited nearly ten hours before getting behind the wheel.

Jennings refused both a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer. The officer reported that the football star laughed through questioning and told him that he had been speeding to attend a parent-teacher conference.

In California, excessive speeding can lead to more complicated DUI charges. Calfornia law defines the crime of “driving recklessly” but leaves some ambiguity about what actually constitutes recklessness. Driving 20 to 30 mph over the speed limit will likely net you a “driving recklessly” charge, which can lead to harsher sentences, more jail time and longer license suspension.

Research confirms intuition: speeding is very dangerous. For every ten miles per hour increase after 55 mph, the average vehicle requires an additional hundred feet to make an emergency stop. Jennings, for instance, would have needed a football field’s extra space to avoid an accident.

Fleeing the scene of a DUI hit-and-run accident — especially after causing damage to property or hurting someone else — can result in a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. But even if police stopped you for a standard misdemeanor DUI, you could face diverse punishments, including jail time, mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device in your car, spikes in your insurance premiums, loss of your license and intense probationary terms.

Respond strategically to your arrest and charges by calling a former Senior Deputy D.A. and highly successful Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group today for a complimentary consultation.

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This blog spills plenty of virtual ink about celebrities arrested for Los Angeles DUI. But celebrities can be victims in DUI crashes as well.jennifer-lopez-dui-accident

Consider, for instance, the harrowing recent ordeal of Jennifer Lopez, who survived a collision with an allegedly DUI driver in Malibu in September… with her children in the vehicle.

Prosecutors just charged 53-year-old Robert John Reitz, a Las Vegas man, with slamming her Rolls Royce from behind with his pick-up truck at a stoplight. Prosecutors hit him with a variety of counts, including driving nearly two times the limit for DUI in California (0.08% BAC, as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152). A conviction could lead to a $1,000 fine as well as six months behind bars. Lopez was not driving the Rolls Royce at the time; Leah Remini, another actress, was behind the wheel.

Although the crash occurred back in September, it took over three months before Reitz’s arraignment.

Lopez’s situation highlights an important aspect of DUI cases that’s rarely discussed, and that’s that DUI cases can take a long time to play out in the courts. That waiting can feel interminable for defendants (and their families).

Especially if you stand accused of complex charges that involve significant property damage or accusations that you hurt another person, your legal “fireworks” could last for months if not longer. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this alone. To prepare effectively and strategically, call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group today to get insight into your potential options. In addition to having served as a prosecutor of DUI crimes for nearly a decade and a half, Mr. Kraut maintains excellent relationships with diverse stakeholders in the Los Angeles DUI discussion, including prosecutors, judges and police officers.

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If you’ve recently been arrested for Los Angeles DUI — e.g. if police stopped you on Mulholland after you attended a fancy soiree at a Hollywood producer’s house — you’re probably dreading the potential legal and financial ramifications.16-dui-los-angeles-attorney

Even if you didn’t hurt anybody or cause any property damage, you could have to pay fines and fees of $1,000 or more, deal with a six month (or longer) license suspension, and face time behind bars… among other punishments.

Hopefully, the arrest was your first. The more times you get arrested and convicted for DUI in California (over a 10-year period), the more intense your punishments become. For instance, a misdemeanor DUI may land you a few hours (or a day or so) behind bars. But if you’re pulled over and convicted for that same crime three times within a 10 year span, on the third time, you could face half a year behind bars (or longer!). Plus, prosecutors can try to elevate your charge to a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Given that context, let’s take a look at a sad story out of Farmington, New Mexico, where 30-year-old Lawrence Pine got nabbed for his 16th DUI just as the New Year rung in.

According to reports from local station, KRQE, police showed up at Pine’s home after a call suggested possible domestic abuse at the house. Pine took his two children into his car and fled. Allegedly, he slammed into a parked car with the children in the vehicle. Police stopped him at a gas station and arrested him on a bevy of charges, including possession of drug paraphernalia, driving with a revoked license, child abuse and DUI. They’re holding him on a $200,000 bail.

Investigators also alleged that Pine “repeatedly kicked and hit the children while they were in the vehicle.” The situation sounds absolutely awful, and we hope that the children are getting excellent care and that Mr. Pine gets the assistance he needs to deal with his demons.

If you or someone you love needs help after an arrest — whether it’s your first or your fifth — please call a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney with the Kraut Law Group for insight into your rights and legal options.

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New Year’s Eve witnesses more than its fair share of Los Angeles DUI

Between 2002 and 2008, at least 140 people were killed in DUI crashes on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. In fact, 42% of traffic-related deaths during New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are consistently related to DUIs. This statistic includes intoxicated pedestrians who inadvertently walk in front of cars.

Russ Rader of the Institute for Highway Safety cited New Year’s as “the worst day for impaired drivers” in a recent article. In fact, half of fatal New Year’s crashes involve a driver who is DUI. Statistics have only increased since this article was written in 2011, with one person killed every half hour due to DUI and one person injured every minute. These statistics also tend to skyrocket after midnight on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, when people are likely traveling home from celebrations.

In recent years, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) found that, out of the 300,000 people who receive DUI charges every day including New Year’s, 4,000 or fewer wind up arrested. MADD also reports that over half of high school sophomores admit to drinking alcohol. Thus, parents should be particularly vigilant about their teens’ consumption during the holiday season.

To avoid DUI fatalities and harsh sentencing, people should limit their alcohol consumption over the holidays. A good rule might be one drink per party, or perhaps two if glasses are less than standard size. Sober drivers should always be designated before parties, and everyone should have the number of a cab company (or Uber app) saved in his or her cell phone.

Teenagers should not drink at all during the holiday season or otherwise. If a teen suspects that party drinks have been spiked, he or she should seek help from an adult chaperone. Teens should never leave their drinks unattended. They should also educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning and call 911 if they suspect poisoning has occurred.

What should you do if you or someone you love faces a serious DUI count? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? Call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut immediately to understand your options and craft a strategic response.

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Although stories about celebrities facing Los Angeles DUI charges are reported every day, average citizens often act surprised when people in authority face similar charges. The attorneys at the Kraut Law Group have seen plenty of people in positions of authority deal with DUI charges and want to set the record straight on the prevalence of this problem.Bryce-Marlatt-dui

Oklahoma Senator Charged

Republican senator Bryce Marlatt was recently charged with a subcategory of DUI known as actual physical control, or APC. APC indicates the vehicle was actually moving when the suspect was pulled over for the DUI. Woodward, OK, police found Marlatt asleep in his moving car. When asked how many beers he had, Marlatt replied, “None – I had what you call a bourbon and Coke.” He also said he had consumed “no more than anybody else” when asked further about his alcohol consumption.

Senator Marlatt’s attorney claims that Marlatt had been having sleep problems and that he took a prescription sleep aid before getting behind the wheel last Monday night. He had imbibed a mixed drink and had been concerned about the effects of the mixture, so allegedly pulled over to sleep off the aid and the alcohol. However, the charges of APC indicate Marlatt’s vehicle may have been moving without his knowledge.

Auto President Faces DUI

Another authority figure recently charged with a DUI is Robert Butler, president of the Butler Automotive Group in Indianapolis. Allegedly, Butler had been driving DUI on Interstate 465 and hit a vehicle parked on the emergency shoulder. The accident caused “serious leg injuries” to 25-year-old Latin McKinney, according to The Indy Channel. McKinney and his sister had apparently been trying to jump-start McKinney’s stalled car on the emergency shoulder.

Butler admitted he had four glasses of wine while watching a ball game in downtown Indianapolis before getting on the interstate. Police measured his blood alcohol level at twice the legal limit. However, Butler pleaded not guilty to DUI charges even after admitting he’d been drinking.

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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Statistics show that the majority of people who face Los Angeles DUI charges stand a good chance of having those charges dropped. Unfortunately, being declared innocent does not mean that you won’t face consequences. The Kraut Law Group is familiar with “DUI defense blowback” – when some people may resent your legal success — especially among celebrities and authority figures.embarrassed-DUI-los-angeles

DUI defense blowback can be painful and embarrassing. Several exonerated people have been lambasted on social media and in public. For example, Texas judge Nora Longoria was angrily told she should resign and was a “disgrace to the… legal system” after her July 2014 charges were dismissed. These people may also face guilt, anger, and depression.

Victims of DUI defense blowback need not wallow in their circumstances, however. Instead, they can use valuable tips to help deal with the fallout. These include the following:

•    Know the facts of the case. Many people are wrongfully convicted of DUI because of faulty sobriety tests or inconclusive blood or urine draws. The law also varies from state to state regarding whether “warrantless search” blood or urine samples are legal. People whose cases involved these circumstances can find peace in the fact that they were not at fault.

•    Separate the person from the circumstance. One of the reasons people facing DUI blowback feel depressed is the absorption of the idea, “I was charged with a DUI; therefore, I am a horrible person.” Even people who commit actual DUIs are not horrible people. They are human, and humans make mistakes. Although mistakes have consequences, the person must be separated from the deed itself. Learn to say, “The DUI was a horrible thing I do not want to do again.”

•    Ignore the lambasting. People who use abusive language toward such drivers are venting anger and often being judgmental. Allow them to vent, but do not retaliate or argue with them about the circumstances of the case or what “really” happened. Angry people are not likely to listen, and in the end, one’s own perception of self and circumstances matter more.

Locating a seasoned and qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer is a critical part of the process of reclaiming your life, your time and your peace of mind. Call ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut for a free consultation right now.

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