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DUI-under-21-years-old-los-angelesA Los Angeles DUI conviction can result in severe penalties to drivers over 21. However, individuals who are under the legal drinking age can face even greater legal, social and emotional consequences for driving under the influence.

A Woodridge, IL teenager is learning this lesson the hard way.

On September 14, police arrested eighteen-year-old Hope Brown after an alleged DUI-related “joy ride” resulted in property damage. The young woman apparently lost control of her Mustang while driving south in a residential area. Per news reports, after she struck multiple parked cars, Brown veered into a front yard, where she hit a vehicle in the driveway before colliding with the house itself. The impact further damaged another car in the garage.

Brown fortunately sustained only minor injuries during the accident, but she did require medical treatment. Authorities released her after she posted bail, and she will appear in court on October 21.

What Happens When Underage Drivers Get Arrested for DUI?

In many states (including California), individuals under the legal drinking age face a distinct legal process after a DUI arrest. This process differs from the process that a driver over 21 must face in several important ways:

•    Automatic license suspension. Any underage DUI conviction comes with a license suspension of one year. If you don’t already have a license, you will be unable to receive one for an additional year.

•    Zero tolerance. Drivers of legal drinking age must stay within the BAC threshold of 0.08%, but those under 21 can face serious penalties even for testing at a very low blood alcohol level — just 0.01% or higher.

•    Additional penalties. Besides the required civil repercussions, underage drivers with 0.08% or higher blood alcohol levels are also subject to the state’s regular DUI consequences, such as jail time, fines, probation, and alcohol classes.

If you are under 21 and you face DUI charges — or if you’re a concerned parent or friend of a minor accused of underage DUI — call Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Attorney Kraut can work with you to craft a strong, strategic defense to protect your freedom, your license and your rights. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

 

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Chilean-President-Michelle-BacheleAdhering to Los Angeles DUI laws can keep you and other drivers safe and preserve your freedom. But these laws are always in flux. Authorities are constantly seeking stronger enforcement capabilities to thwart DUI driving and punish offenders. This is true here at home and abroad.

For instance, legislators in Chile just radically revised how that country handles and punishes DUI driving. The new law, which Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed on September 15, decrees that any DUI driver who causes the severe injury or death of another individual must spend at least one year in prison.

Named for a 9-month-old girl who died in a DUI driving accident in 2013, “Emilia’s Law” expands upon established sentencing guidelines. Previously, DUIs involving death or injury in Chile carried a 5-year to lifelong license suspension, but no prison time.

“Emilia’s Law” also defines two additional infractions, including professional drivers caught drinking and individuals fleeing accident scenes or refusing breathalyzer tests. Given that 20 percent of fatal car accidents in Chile have been tied in some way to alcohol use, the President hopes to reduce the devastating impacts of such incidents.

In Los Angeles, most drivers understand that drinking and then driving is unacceptable behavior. However, not everyone realizes how severe the penalties can be. Here are DUI concepts all drivers should understand and internalize:

•    Sentencing guidelines. From six months for a first offense to several years for DUI manslaughter or homicide, a conviction can mean significant time behind bars.

    Substance use. Alcohol isn’t the only drug that can lead to a DUI conviction. Did you know that California authorities check drivers stopped for DUI for illicit drug use (and for the use of some prescription drugs) via blood tests?

•    DUI checkpoints. In the state of California, law enforcement uses DUI checkpoints to randomly examine drivers for signs of impairment.

•    Underage restrictions. Those under 21 with any amount of alcohol in their blood will face penalties.

The best way to avoid the increasingly severe penalties of a DUI is not to drive while DUI. However, people make mistakes. Whether you believe police wrongfully stopped you at a checkpoint, or you got into a crash while allegedly under the influence of drug or alcohol, call a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney at the Kraut Law Group to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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Only a few days ago, San Diego Padres’ shortstop, Everth Cabrera, was arrested in eastern San Diego County. The charge: driving under the influence of marijuana. If you or a love one faces similar charges, Cabrera’s story might be able to provide you pivotal insight into what to do and not to do to manage a marijuana-related Los Angeles DUI case.cabrera-DUI

Cabrera’s Arrest

Border patrol stopped Cabrera and sent him back to the California Highway Patrol office. When he arrived, the star did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and authorities released him to the custody of his mother-in-law.

Cabrera apparently claimed in his defense that he had been using a medical substance and that he didn’t know what was in it. But even if someone’s on a legal drug, such as an over the counter medication, he or she can face serious drug DUI charges for getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

According to the Padres, the investigation is still underway. The team is currently communicating with Major League Baseball about how to handle the situation.

This is not the first time Cabrera has gotten in trouble with the law. In 2012, Cabrera was arrested on a charge of domestic violence misdemeanor assault. That charge was ultimately dropped.

DUI Marijuana Charges in LA

In California, almost all cultivation and possession of marijuana is illegal. Federal and state laws differ with respect to how and when marijuana use or sale constitutes an illegal act. It is unlawful to drive under the influence of marijuana, regardless of whether the driver has a medical justification. Additionally, prosecutors don’t have to show how much marijuana was in the driver’s system; they only need to show that the driver was generally under the influence.

Marijuana stays in the body far longer than alcohol and other drugs. Blood samples can show evidence of metabolites of THC, a psychoactive compound in marijuana.

If you were not under the influence, but you had been in possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. Possession of marijuana for sale is a felony. Whether or not an officer witnesses a sale taking place, he or she can penalize you for having a scale, pager, or large amount of cash along with possession.

If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana-related DUI in Los Angeles, the first thing to do is contact a criminal defense attorney with extensive knowledge and experience about such cases. Michael Kraut is a Los Angeles DUI attorney with years of experience dealing with drug crimes in the region.

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Perhaps police stopped you for DUI in Los Angeles at Wilshire and Rodeo, right after you closed a sweet deal with an international advertising client. Or maybe police arrested you at a checkpoint and hit you with your second DUI in 10 months. In either case, you’re in a bit of a panic. los-angeles-DUI-dos-donts

You need sound advice, but you’ve been getting conflicting information not only from friends and family but also from your internet research. Instead of asking yourself what you “should” do after your DUI, reflect on these 3 things that you should NOT do.

1. Do NOT forget to document evidence or conversations that could be important to your defense.

What words, exactly, did the police officer say to you when he stopped you? What happened during your field sobriety tests and subsequent arrest? Did you notice anything about the breathalyzer tests (or other tests) that struck you as “unfair” or odd? If an accident happened, did you take pictures of the scene, keep a copy of the police report and collect witness statements? The more you document your situation, the easier it will be for your lawyer to figure out what happened and what might be the most appropriate defense strategy for you.

2. Do NOT panic.

You might feel unbalanced, scared, ashamed or angry about what happened. These are all normal feelings. But avoid reacting emotionally; you could make things worse. Some panicked drivers impulsively drive away from the police or leave the scene of accidents — these dangerous/illegal acts can lead to extra punishments. People also act impulsively days or even weeks after DUIs. For instance, let’s say you believe police stopped you unfairly. Out of umbrage, you refuse to go to your DMV hearing and thus lose your California driver’s license for months or longer.

3. Do NOT wait too long to connect with a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney.

An attorney, like the Harvard Law School educated Michael Kraut, may not be able to solve all your legal problems or even get your charges dismissed or plead down. But Mr. Kraut and his team can equip you with tools, resources and strategies to manage the chaos in your life and stay calm, focused, and even optimistic about your future.

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If you’ve received a Los Angeles DUI, take note of the following cautionary tale. Even though it took place thousands of miles away, it contains important lessons for defendants and their familes.5-los-angeles-dui-convictions

In 2011, a driver named Joseph Lawless, who had been stopped for DUI driving four times prior in less than a year, was discovered passed out in his car with a dangerously high BAC of 0.30. Nevertheless, Lawless was allowed to maintain his job without spending more than 90 days total in prison for all five offenses.

In Pennsylvania, DUI laws have been getting tougher and tougher. Regardless, repeat offenders continue to drive, despite the fact that this practice is illegal and risky for everyone. The reason for this is Pennsylvania’s quirky and little-known DUI law, which requires a conviction prior to pulling someone’s license. As a result, Lawless slid by, pleading guilty for being a first time offender all five times.

In California, a driver who fails a sobriety test will have to contend with a license suspension. Not necessarily so in Pennsylvania! That state will soon hold legislative hearings to strengthen existing DUI laws. PA resident Patrick Crowley, whose son was killed in 2013 by a drunk driver with several convictions, believes “more people will die needlessly” without changes to the law.

What to Do in LA

If you were stopped in Los Angeles, odds are you were stopped for a traffic violation, such as weaving in and out of lanes, speeding, or running a traffic light or stop sign. An officer who notices symptoms like watery eyes, smell of alcohol on the breath, or slurred speech might conduct a field sobriety test. If you fail the test, the officer can arrest you.

If you’ve been arrested, you may face an array of scary charges, including license suspension. If this has happened to you, don’t try to represent yourself. Ensure fair and accurate results by hiring an experienced and qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney like Mr. Michael Kraut.
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Receiving a Los Angeles DUI can be a life-changing event, even if you hurt no one and avoid getting arrested on multiple charges. But the consequences become even more severe when the other party sustains serious or fatal injuries. A Huntington Beach motorist is now learning that lesson the hard way.mercedes-dui-crash-los-angeles

On September 1 around 6:30 p.m., a 55-year-old man was riding his motorized bicycle down Bolsa Chica Street, when a driver struck him near the intersection with Oahu Drive. Although multiple witnesses tried to help the injured man, he died shortly after admission to UCI Medical Center.

Police found a 2013 Mercedes-Benz C250 near the crash site and later arrested its driver, a 51-year-old Huntington Beach man, for a suspected DUI. Eyewitness accounts indicate the Mercedes struck the bicyclist while both were traveling southbound on Bolsa Chica.

In the state of California, DUI charges involving injury to another party carry significantly more weight than when no one has been harmed. The potential penalties for someone convicted of DUI with injury or manslaughter include:

〈    Higher degree of charges. Rather than a misdemeanor, a manslaughter or injury-related DUI is a felony charge that carries hefty penalties for each individual harmed or killed.

〈    Longer sentences. If convicted of a DUI with one or more injuries, you may face an additional 3-8 years in prison. Manslaughter sentences may be even longer, up to 10 years for each fatality.

〈    Loss of license. Injuring or killing another driver while intoxicated increases the likelihood of losing your license for an extended period.

〈    Job loss. Extended incarceration and a record of DUI with injury or manslaughter may lead a convicted individual to lose current employment or have difficulty gaining it in the future.

At the Kraut Law Group, we understand the gravity of your Los Angeles DUI charges, especially when they coincide with the injury or death of another person. We can craft a powerful, strategic defense, regardless of the complexity of your charges.

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Conscientious drivers often believe they know everything there is to know about avoiding a Los Angeles DUI. However, changing California DUI laws sometimes make understanding and compliance seem like a moving target.south-dakota-DUI-law-los-angeles-dui-implications

The same is true in South Dakota, where the state’s Supreme Court recently ruled to eliminate the “implied consent” law, allowing police to obtain blood samples from DUI suspects. Previously, officers could use probable cause to administer breathalyzer tests, sobriety exams, and (if the suspect failed the first two) a blood test.

The principle of implied consent asserted any driver pulled over during a DUI stop was also consenting to a blood test. However, several South Dakota counties have rejected this notion, requiring a search warrant before a suspect had to provide a blood sample.

Under the new enforcement procedures, authorities must use one of three methods to obtain a suspect’s blood test, including:

•    Actual consent. The driver freely agrees to take the blood test.

•    Search warrant. Once the court provides a search warrant, the suspect must provide his or her blood.

    Exigent circumstances. This represents a muddier legal area, as such scenarios remain up to the officer’s judgment.

South Dakota represents only one of the many states implementing new DUI arrest and conviction procedures. In the state of California, the major issue in 2014 is the inclusion of drug use in DUI charges.

California Vehicle Code Section 23152 now stipulates a driver using any amount of substances – illegal or otherwise – potentially impairing motor, neural, or other functions is subject to arrest and conviction for driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID. Those unaware of the change to the law may find out the hard way when pulled over and tested for intoxication.

The safest way to remain compliant with changing California DUI laws is to avoid driving in a situation where alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications may impact one’s ability to drive. However, mistakes can occur due to misunderstandings or ambiguities in the law. When this happens, defendants need a Los Angeles DUI attorney to stand up for them in court.

If new California DUI laws have caught you by surprise and you need a lawyer, contact the Kraut Law Group today.
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The problem of Los Angeles DUI, on some level, seems intractable.robot-car-dui-prevention

After all, even if we collectively could reduce DUI incidences as low as possible, we’re never going to eliminate the problem completely. Even the very definition of the problem changes over time. How much marijuana do you have to smoke before you will be over the limit for a drug DUI, for instance? Will the National and Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) succeed in lowering the legal DUI limit to 0.05% BAC from 0.08% BAC, as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b)?

Human beings – and our laws – are both unpredictable and ever-changing. The best we could ever hope for, in terms of reducing DUIs, is probably some low, but non-zero number.

So can we ever get to a zero-DUI society?

Every few years, futurists speak grandly of the promise of “robot cars” and “robot drivers.” Some of this speculation is idle. Some of it involves good science and promising engineering (e.g. Google’s automated car experiment).

Unlike humans, robots are never tempted to drink alcohol or do drugs or take prescription medications. They do not fatigue, although their batteries can run out. They are not susceptible to road rage or depression, and they would never take their eyes of the road to text their robot friends behind the wheel.

In theory, therefore, if we all collectively switched to robotic driving (a la Google cars), we could probably get the DUI accident rate down to zero. Unfortunately, this utopian scenario may never come to pass, since even if a company like Google develops a perfect autonomous vehicle, human hackers may render the project fundamentally and intrinsically dangerous.

Until the time when we can solve all robot-car-related safety issues, we’ll be stuck with vexing human-driving issues, like DUI. As a defendant, you can trust the effective, ethical services of the Kraut Law Group. Find out more about what sets Los Angeles DUI lawyer Michael Kraut apart, here on our website, or call or email the firm today to schedule your free consultation.
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Attending a Los Angeles DUI hearing is a stressful and sometimes frightening prospect. However, facing the hearing officer is a better idea than avoiding the situation altogether. Rapper Chief Keef is currently learning this lesson the hard way.Chief-Keef-DUI-arrest

The 19-year-old Chief Keef’s predicament began in March 2014, when police pulled him over on suspicion of DUI. When a potent marijuana smell prompted officers to administer a sobriety test, Keef failed and was placed under arrest. Keef sustained additional charges for failing to provide proof of insurance and driving on a suspended license.

The troubled rapper’s previous legal problems include involvement in a shooting, rehab stints, and child support disputes. Perhaps his aversion to the law is what caused him to skip his August DUI hearing. Currently, a warrant for Keef’s arrest is pending, and authorities plan to arrest and hold him on $50,000 bail.

In California, the DUI hearing is an important procedure, setting the tone for the remainder of the court process. The accused may choose a phone or “live” hearing, the latter of which gives him or her the best chance of presenting a compelling legal defense. A DUI attorney and witnesses may speak for the defendant, as well.

Missing a DUI hearing not only gives you no chance to state your case, but it also shows disrespect and disregard for the legal process. Should you choose to skip the hearing, you may be arrested and held until your arraignment. Further risking your freedom is an unwise way to begin a defense.

The Los Angeles DUI attorneys at the Kraut Law Group understand how intimidating a DUI hearing can be; in fact, attorney Michael Kraut once acted as a prosecutor in such cases in his role as Senior Deputy District Attorney. Rather than running away from the court, contact us today to learn how we can put our knowledge of California law and experience with DUI cases to work for you.

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Few individuals facing Los Angeles DUI charges can say they experienced or caused as harrowing an accident as one that recently shook the Bay Area.san-jose-crash-los-angeles-DUI-lawyer-examines

At 9:28 p.m. on Sunday, August 17, police witnessed a black Mercedes speeding down Ocala Avenue in San José. The vehicle ran a red light, broadsided another car, and rolled over repeatedly, striking multiple cars and a light.

Although the Mercedes had been traveling eastbound, the vehicle ended up in the westbound lane and promptly burst into flames. The driver exited the Mercedes and tried to escape before police apprehended him.

The three passengers in the Mercedes all sustained “life threatening injuries” in the San José accident. The driver, an unidentified man in his 20s, also received medical treatment. However, he was released from the hospital and immediately arrested for a felony DUI charge.

Six other individuals experienced injuries from the accident; fortunately, they all appear likely to survive. All told, the crash involved 8 cars and injured 10 people.

Firefighters referred to the collision as a “mass casualty accident.” Two alarms summoned one air ambulance and seven ground ambulances.

Authorities have not yet released the driver’s identity. However, considering the severe nature of the accident, the number of injuries, and the involvement of alcohol, this individual will likely face considerable legal ramifications.

California law takes DUI accidents with injuries extremely seriously. When a driver’s blood alcohol level is at or above 0.08 percent, and this coincides with an injury-causing collision, a judge may sentence the DUI driver to one or more years in prison for each person harmed.

Should any of the injured parties sustain “great bodily injury” or fall into a coma, potential sentences may increase by three to five years.

Regardless of whether your DUI driving charges involve one or ten injuries, a Los Angeles DUI attorney with the Kraut Law Group can help you build a strong defense. Contact us today to learn how we can put our experience in California DUI law to work for you.
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