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When you hear a report about someone arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, your immediate thought might be that the person had been drinking too much alcohol before getting behind the wheel. But other substances can cause impairment similar to alcohol’s effects.xanax DUI los angeles

Television station WAFF in northern Alabama reported in June that state police are seeing more and more cases of motorists driving erratically after taking prescription drugs like Xanax. In one case, a man used Xanax and codeine before driving, eventually running off the road in an accident that killed his seven-year-old daughter.

Police officers have a problem when it comes to determining whether a motorist has been impaired because of prescription meds. They can immediately get a fairly good gauge of blood alcohol levels by administering a breathalyzer test. But the breathalyzer can’t detect the presence of prescription drugs. Police officers need a laboratory to conduct those tests, and long waits for processing samples at state labs gums up the system and leads to lots of delays.

Critics say this “how do we stop prescription drug DUI” problem now challenges law enforcement all over the country. In Fresno, California, on Friday, June 5th, police responded to two separate accidents that involved DUI and prescription drugs. ABC 30 reported that Alyssa Gonzales, age 18, slammed into David Torres when he was stopped at a red light. The accident killed Torres and resulted in charges against Gonzales, who allegedly had been taking a prescription for a spinal condition.

A few hours later, 38-year-old Denise Lago, under the influence of prescription drugs, swerved into oncoming traffic. She caused a four-vehicle accident that killed Ken and Jeannine Balderrama, who were riding a motorcycle. In an ironic twist of fate, the defense attorney representing Lago is a cousin of David Torres, the man killed in the earlier accident.

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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People in big cities have grown fairly accustomed to the shenanigans of their elected officials. A politician’s arrest for a Los Angeles DUI might make the headlines one day, but the story would soon disappear to the back page.Dakotah-Norton-DUI

But the same may not be true in smaller jurisdictions around the country. In the Village of Mundelein, a northern suburb of Chicago, DUI charges filed against one elected representative have caused a great deal of controversy, and the story isn’t going away.

Dakotah Norton, age 25, took office as one of the Village’s Trustees last April. (A trustee is the equivalent of a council member in other jurisdictions.) Two months later, a police officer patrolling in a neighboring jurisdiction noticed a car that had only one working taillight. It was Norton’s. The officer followed the car and observed the driver straddling the road’s center line. When

Norton came to a red light, he allegedly failed to stop and instead immediately made a turn. At that point, the cop pulled him over, administered a field sobriety test and took Norton to the police station. His blood alcohol content reportedly measured twice the legal limit.

Per reports, Norton had already earned a reputation as a bit of a controversial figure. His juvenile police record showed charges for retail theft and for possession of cannabis. At the age of 18, Norton served a sentence of probation and community service for a similar marijuana charge.

Although Norton insists he won’t resign because of his DUI arrest, other office holders in the Village have a different idea. The Mayor and three other Trustees have asked him to step down, but they have no legal way to force him out of office.

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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When people are arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, they may harbor the hope that the arresting officer will go easy on them. But it probably won’t help their case if some unpleasant incident—like getting sick all over the back of the police cruiser–occurs during the arrest.Petties-dui-los-angeles

Police in Seminole County, Florida, for example, will probably remember (and not in a good way) 29-year-old Metilia Petties, picked up for DUI in mid-June. Petties had apparently been involved in a fight earlier in the evening, and then she allegedly used nine (nine!) vodka-and Sprite mixed drinks to take the edge off her anger. She eventually left the bar and drove off in her Toyota sedan, but officers spotted her swerving into traffic going the opposite direction on Goldsboro Boulevard.

Petties then hit a sedan that was attempting to make a turn, which sent the driver of that car to the hospital because of neck and body injuries. Petties allegedly fled the scene, but cops eventually caught up and pulled her over. After determining that she was DUI, they put her in the back seat of a patrol car. Petties then threw up everything that she had consumed that evening.
Authorities did not take it easy on Petties, who allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .091. They charged her with DUI, hit-and-run crash with injury, operating a vehicle without a valid license and fleeing/eluding police.

Petties had one additional problem as well. The police found that she was wanted on a grand-theft charge in Seminole County.
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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Wallethub.com’s recent ranking of the strictest states for DUI enforcement (California came out 31st) also contained some interesting statistics about impaired driving. If California follows the national trend, for example, the number of people killed in incidents involving a DUI in Los Angeles should be going down. DUI-related fatalities have declined throughout the U.S. by 52 percent from 1982 to 2013.making-sense-of-los-angeles-DUI-stats

Here are some more facts and statistics offered in the Wallethub study:

• Almost half of all states now require some people convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. In 24 states, it’s mandatory after a first offense; 14 states require them after a first offense where the blood alcohol content is above .15. Seven states will make offenders install the device after a second offense. Six states never require the device.
• The federal government estimates the use of these devices has cut the DUI re-arrest rate by 67 percent.
• First-time offenders in the U.S. spend an average of one day in jail for a first arrest; second-time offenders will spend an average of three weeks.
• Local police in 39 states regularly set up DUI checkpoints.
• Georgia is the toughest state when it comes to license suspension; you can lose it for up to 12 months if you’re arrested on a DUI charge. The average suspension time throughout the U.S. is three months.
• In almost three-quarters of the states (37), anyone arrested for a DUI will have to undergo mandatory alcohol abuse assessment and/or treatment.

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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People picked up for a DUI in Los Angeles may be luckier than they think. If they were arrested in other states, the penalties could be much higher, especially for repeat offenders.los-angeles-DUI-statistics-2015

The website WalletHub.com recently released the results of its study on the strictest and most lenient states for DUI punishment. California ranks in the bottom half for the harshness of its penalties, coming in at 31st.

The study looked at 15 key metrics, such as minimum jail time for first and subsequent offenses, minimum fines, the number of DUI offenses it takes before a defendant is charged with a felony and whether or not there are more severe penalties imposed if a defendant’s blood alcohol content is very high.

WalletHub gave Arizona the nod as being the strictest when it comes to DUI enforcement. The Grand Canyon State has a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail and requires a mandatory ignition interlock for a first offense. Second-time offenders must serve 90 days, and third-time offenders are looking at automatic felony charges. In South Dakota, which has the dubious distinction of being the most lax when it comes to DUI penalties, there’s no minimum sentence for any DUI offenses (first or subsequent), and no provision at all for an ignition interlock device.

In California, the minimum sentence for a first-time DUI offender is two days in jail and 10 days minimum for repeat offenders. Felony DUI charges aren’t mandatory until the fourth offense, and there’s no statewide law requiring a mandatory ignition interlock device for a DUI offense.

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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Motorists involved in a Los Angeles DUI accident sometimes cause property damage and (fortunately, more rarely) death or injury to themselves or someone else. But very few of them are involved in three incidents–one deadly–in the same day.Zoltan-Istvan-Pentek-DUI

A Las Vegas driver who reportedly caused three accidents on Thursday, June 11th–one when he was apparently sober, two when he was allegedly DUI–was sitting in jail without bail a day later. But his incarceration came too late for a 67-year old cyclist, who lost his life when their paths crossed.

The Nevada Highway Patrol’s first contact with Zoltan Istvan Pentek, 22, came around 10 p.m. on Thursday night, when police say he was involved in a crash on Interstate 15. The responding officers later said that Pentek filled out an incident report and showed no signs of impairment, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

About an hour and a half later, at 11:40 p.m., Pentek hit 67-year-old Larry Martinez, who was riding his bike near the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and Mojave Road. Martinez had been wearing a reflective vest when Pentek slammed into him from behind, causing fatal injuries.

Pentek didn’t stop, but fled the scene, per the Review-Journal, leaving behind a piece of trim from his dark green, 1999 Honda Civic. Just 10 minutes later, he allegedly caused another crash at an intersection not far from the fatality scene. The police picked him up shortly after this accident. After matching the trim left at the earlier incident to his car, they eventually charged him with DUI involving death and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

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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You’ve got to admire people who try to do their jobs in the face of all difficulties. That’s especially true when it comes to bus drivers and trash collectors, who provide services that we all rely on. But there is a point when it may be better to take the day off–when you’re at risk of getting charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, for example. Unfortunately, the two gentlemen featured below didn’t stay home and out of trouble when they had too much to drink but instead reported for work as usual.garbage-truck-DUI_los-angeles

50-year-old Joe David Stanley allegedly had been driving a school bus in Fort Worth, Texas, at about 1 a.m. in the morning of June 1st, when he ended up stuck in the mud in a highway median. Fortunately, he was not carrying school children at the time; the company he works for, which provides transportation for Joshua Independent School District, also contracts out for special events. (Reports say that Stanley was supposed to provide transportation for a wedding party.)

Cops called to the scene smelled alcohol on Stanley, and they ended up tagging him for DUI.

Next, consider the parallel situation of 45-year-old Johnny Gentry, who showed up early one morning in June for his job as a trash collector in Scott County, Kentucky. That go-getting behavior would be commendable, except reports say that Gentry had been overindulging in alcohol. About two hours into the workday, he hit a retaining wall with the garbage truck, then overcorrected, turning the truck over into someone’s yard. Cops called to the scene measured Gentry’s blood alcohol content at three times the legal limit, earning him some time off–in jail on a charge of DUI.

How should you respond to your recent and disarming charges? Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer (and ex-prosecutor) with nearly two decades of relevant legal experience.

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A new technology introduced by the DADSS program (the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) holds the potential for eliminating arrests for DUI in Los Angeles and all over the country.DADSS-DUI-los-angeles

DADSS is building prototypes of an alcohol detection system (ADS) that would prevent a car from moving if the blood alcohol content of the driver exceeded 0.08. That’s the legal limit in all states. DADSS is experimenting with two types of technology to determine BAC. One is a breath-based system that automatically measures the alcohol level in a driver’s exhaled breath. (No breathalyzer needed.) The DADSS website said the technology would “accurately and reliably distinguish between the driver’s breath and that of any passengers.”

The second technology DADSS will be testing is a touch-based system. This measures blood alcohol levels under the skin’s surface by shining an infrared-light through the fingertip. DADSS said automakers could integrate this system into a vehicle’s start button or steering wheel, making it possible to take multiple accurate readings in less than a second.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), which represent automakers, have formed a public/private partnership to sponsor the DADSS research. Their plan is to make the ADS an optional safety feature on vehicles, like automatic braking and lane departure warnings.

If and when the ADS technology becomes commercially viable and available to car buyers, it could help save some of the 10,000 lives lost to DUI incidents each year.

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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If you were to see someone driving erratically down a street in your neighborhood, hitting other cars, what would you do? For most people, the instinct would be to get out of the way; they would want to avoid getting in the path of a DUI driver or in the path of anyone who appeared so out of control that they might face arrest for a DUI in Los Angeles.machete-dui-los-angeles

But Californian Kevin Johnson is made of sterner stuff. When Johnson felt the safety of his neighbors was at risk, he took action to ensure that an alleged DUI driver couldn’t stay on the road.

The unidentified driver of a green SUV was causing damage in Bay Terraces in San Diego around 8:30 p.m. on the night of May 31st. According to TV news reports, the man was swerving all over the road and finally crashed into a fire hydrant and then several parked cars. But that didn’t faze him–he tried to keep going.

Johnson’s black Nissan Altima was one of the cars hit–and Johnson was in it. He decided enough was enough and blocked the road with his damaged vehicle so the suspect couldn’t flee.

Despite Johnson’s efforts to talk the driver out of his car, the man continued to try to leave the neighborhood, hitting Johnson’s Altima several more times on purpose. Eventually the DUI driver gave up. Johnson, who has three kids, said his main concern was for the safety of his neighbors.

When police arrived they found the driver had several liquor bottles, pot and even a machete in his vehicle. They arrested him on suspicion of DUI.

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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Even when no one is injured, drivers involved in crashes related to DUI in Los Angeles can impact the lives of others in a fairly significant way. When an out-of-control motorist crashes into a home or another car, for example, the owners of those homes and vehicles have to spend time (and sometimes their own money) to repair the damages before they can resume their daily activities.pinball-dui-crash

A man in East Windsor, Connecticut, has made life a little more difficult for no less than seven people—owners of the vehicles that he hit while allegedly driving under the influence on one Tuesday in May.

According to FOX CT, Jordan DeSousa, age 61, hit seven cars in two separate locations before police found him sitting behind the wheel of his pickup truck. DeSousa first smashed two cars in parking lot for Geisler’s Plaza, prompting numerous emergency calls to police. Even as they were responding to that scene, however, officers received reports that a truck had taken out another five vehicles in the parking lot of the next door merchant, Maine Fish. DeSousa, who was identified by witnesses, apparently caused so much damage to four of the vehicles that tow trucks had to haul away them away.

It could have been much worse, however; three people standing close to their vehicles jumped out of the way in time to avoid being struck.

DeSousa, who reportedly was drinking because his wife had just announced she was leaving him, had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit. He faces charges of DUI, evading responsibility, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
Do you or a family member need insight from a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney? Contact Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to set up your free consultation.

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