Posted by

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.
Continue reading →

Posted by

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.
Continue reading →

Posted by

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.

Continue reading →

Posted by

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.
Continue reading →

Posted by

Police arrested you for DUI in Los Angeles last week or last month. In either case, you might be laboring under the assumption that you can quickly put the DUI behind you.john_abraham_dui

Even if you didn’t hurt anybody, and you were just barely over the legal limit of 0.08%, you can face profound consequences that can hamper your life, your career, your relationships and your finances for months or years. For a real world object lesson, let’s take a look at the story of John Abraham, a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals whom police stopped for DUI back in June.

According to reports, on the afternoon of June 29th, Abraham was driving his black Dodge Challenger in suburban Atlanta, after leaving a strip club called the Pink Pony. When police stopped Abraham, he confessed to having had two drinks. He even told officers that he had been waiting on a designated driver, who never showed. Abraham also allegedly said that he didn’t feel safe getting behind the wheel… but he did anyway.

He bombed out on the walking and balancing tests — presumably similar to the field sobriety tests police give here in Los Angeles, such as walk the line, count backwards by 3s, finger to the nose and stand on one leg. He also refused to take a breath test.

Will the DUI sideline Abraham’s career or create problems in his personal life, such as a license suspension, jail time or just general trouble with his relationships? The answer will depend on the minutiae of his stop and his history:

•    Will his breath test refusal complicate matters and lead to more charges?
•    Can he “explain away” the field sobriety test failures?
•    Did he have a criminal history (or DUI history), or was this his first offense?
•    Can he and his attorneys put together a compelling counter-narrative to challenge the prosecutors’ version of events?

For help understanding your Los Angeles DUI defense options, call attorney Michael Kraut right now for insight. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated DUI lawyer who worked for 14+ years as a prosecutor before switching to criminal defense.

Note to Potential Los Angeles DUI Offenders: Don’t Get Caught on Tape, Like Golfing Legend Dustin Johnson

It’s one thing to get arrested for DUI in Los Angeles and to face unpleasant consequences, such as license suspension, fines and fees, higher insurance rates, jail time, and recriminations from friends, family and colleagues.

It’s another thing entirely to get caught on video doing something dumb behind the wheel… and then watch helplessly as that video goes viral on YouTube. Unfortunately for people like Dustin Johnson (a professional golfing phenom), once humiliating video footage escapes into the blogosphere, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. In March 2009, when police stopped Johnson in his hometown in South Carolina, the golfer began to lose it when officers put him through the paces of field sobriety tests (FSTs).

The video shows Johnson tripping several times during the FSTs. An officer then escorts him into a police vehicle.

Johnson later confessed his regret, saying “I made an error in judgment… I have let myself down and others who support me. I am handling the matter privately and, rest assured, I will definitely learn from my mistake.”

Unfortunately, the pro apparently did NOT learn from his mistake.

Recently, he failed three separate drug tests given by the PGA Tour; he tested positive for marijuana and for cocaine (twice). As a result, the PGA hit him with a long suspension. Again, Johnson made noises of regret: “I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.” The now-30-year-old golfer may have a challenging time scrambling back following his suspension.

Sometimes, DUIs happen “out of the blue.” For instance, someone who has no criminal history or history of alcohol problems makes a bad call at a party and drives when he really shouldn’t.

But when someone gets in trouble repeatedly for alcohol and drugs, he may need help addressing the fundamental reasons for the destructive behavior. As Dr. Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes describe in their new book, The Sober Truth, the conventional wisdom about how and why addictions form may be deeply flawed. People like Johnson — who apparently repeatedly struggle with substance abuse issues — may need a different kind of help than they’ve been getting.

If you or someone you love needs help with Los Angeles DUI defense, contact Attorney Michael Kraut of Kraut Law Group right now to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a former Senior Deputy District Attorney.
Continue reading →

Posted by

Even though you’ve recently been arrested for Los Angeles DUI, you want to keep the Southland streets and freeways safe and to clamp down on dangerous driving behavior.big-data-dui-solutions

In fact, the odds are high that you are a first time offender who only got a misdemeanor — that is, you didn’t seriously hurt or kill anybody else or engage in other reckless behaviors, like hit and run. Odds are also high that you are, generally speaking, a law abiding citizen who never in a million years thought you would wind up sitting in a police station, getting your mug shot taken. You also have a vested interest in eradicating the problem of DUI driving. So what can be done? And what can you do?

We’ve actually come a long, long way with respect to managing our collective DUI problems. In the 1950s and 1960s — before widespread public safety campaigns warned about the dangers of DUI driving — alcohol related accidents caused many more deaths and injuries, relative to the number of cars on the road and miles driven. More people drive today, but fewer people die and get seriously hurt in accidents, at least on a per-mile basis. We are making progress.

That said, when you analyze accident statistics collected over the past 5 to 10 years, it’s clear that we’ve hit a plateau. So how can we reduce the number of DUI incidents further? As Albert Einstein famously noted, you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. A shift in perspective can lead to inspiring new solutions to old, prickly problems.

To that end, what “new solutions” might be able to help us?

Big Data — A Tool for DUI Prevention?

Per Moore’s Law, our computing power continues to increase at an amazing rate, year after year. This means that our ability to simulate traffic safety issues on the computer is also improving. It’s at least conceivable that better data may ultimately make our roads much safer.

For instance, by using certain types of computer analyses, we may be able to figure out which types of DUI drivers are most at risk for becoming recidivists and develop appropriate interventions.

Perhaps a study might show that a DUI driver who fails to complete all his alcohol education classes will be three times more likely to get arrested again for DUI than will someone who completes the program. If that’s the case, maybe a “flag” could automatically go up when a driver misses more than two classes to alert educators to get the student back into the program.

Solutions don’t have to be punitive! The more we understand what drives people to break DUI laws — as well as what keeps them in line — the less we’ll have to rely on brute force methods like jail time and license suspensions.

Of course, you’re probably much more concerned about how to build your defense than you are in these grander issues. For help responding effectively to your Los Angeles DUI charges, call or email the Kraut Law Group today. Mr. Kraut is an ex-Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles; he leverages his Harvard Law School education and connections with people in the Southern California legal defense community to help his clients.

Continue reading →

Posted by

Picture a “standard” Los Angeles DUI arrest in your mind’s eye.times-square-DUI

You might imagine a driver in a Honda Accord getting escorted into a squad car after a nasty wreck on the 405 or the 101. Or you might picture a Hollywood exec in a BMW stopped at a checkpoint on Sunset after a raucous night out with some potential clients.

You probably do NOT picture a double-decker bus toppled over or an ambulance spun out of control.

But people drive DUI in all sorts of vehicles, including, boats, lawnmowers, and even jerry rigged contraptions that defy classification.

Let’s analyze two such events that were recently in the news.

First, a spectacular DUI-related bus crash rocked New York City. Fortunately, the accident did not cause life threatening injuries, but it certainly created a big ruckus in the Big Apple. The double-decker bus driver smashed into a plaza on Times Square and hurt over 15 people, three of whom suffered serious injuries. Fortunately, no one died.

Authorities arrested 58-year-old William Dalembert, charging him with a DUI. According to reports, Dalembert has a checkered driving history, including a record of multiple license suspensions over the years as well as administrative infractions.

Meanwhile, closer to home in Orange County, a crash at the intersection of Garden Grove and Beach Boulevards between an ambulance and a vehicle in the town of Stanton led to the hospitalization of four people as well as an arrest for DUI. A preliminary investigation led authorities to blame 27-year-old John Dantzler; they booked him on DUI charges and held him on a $100,000 bail. Again, by the grace of God, no one died or suffered critical injuries; things could have been much, much worse.

Do people who drive vehicles like ambulance, double-decker buses, trucks, fire trucks, government vehicles and school buses have special safety responsibilities? Can prosecutors hit them with special punishments for DUI?

The answer depends. Drivers of specialty vehicles can be held to higher standards. Depending on what happened, they can lose special licenses, get fired, face enhanced fines and fees, and more.

No matter what kind of Los Angeles DUI charges you face — or how complicated the matter seems to be – the team here at the Kraut Law Group is here to help you make sense of what happened and develop an appropriate response. Call our offices now to schedule a free consultation.
Continue reading →

Posted by

Our Los Angeles DUI blog — as well as practically every media organ that covers popular culture — has been keenly attuned to the saga of Justin Bieber’s DUI case.justin-bieber-DUI-mugshot

The latest development is something of a “pass” – prosecuting attorneys requested to reschedule a hearing to determine whether Bieber should be put on trial for DUI and resisting arrest. The judge agreed to this request but didn’t put matters off for long. The hearing will go forward on August 13. Rumors of a plea deal are floating.

As you might recall from following the seemingly endless barrage of news footage about Bieber’s arrest, the “Baby” singer allegedly was drag racing illegally on Miami streets in a rented Lamborghini. Police said he had alcohol on his breath, although he apparently tested below the 0.02% BAC cut-off for underage drivers. However, some evidence suggests that he had been on Xanax (an anti-anxiety medication) and that authorities found marijuana in his system. The arresting officer noted: “I immediately smelled an odor of alcohol emanating from the driver’s breath… the driver had slow, deliberate movements and a stupor look on his face. These are all indicators of an impaired driver.”

In addition to dealing with the fallout of his January 23 arrest, Bieber has faced other legal problems this summer. In July, for instance, he plead no contest to misdemeanor vandalism charges and paid over $80,000 in restitution to his next door neighbors in Malibu, after he egged their house and damaged their wood exterior.

If you’re an under-aged driver, and you police catch you beyond the wheel with even a trace amount of alcohol in your system, you can lose your license and face other penalties that make it much more difficult for you to drive to school, keep your job and build your life and career. Call the team here at the Kraut Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation about your potential Los Angeles DUI defense.
Continue reading →

Posted by

Ever since your arrest for DUI in Los Angeles, you’ve been (outwardly, at least) in denial about the seriousness of the implications of your charges.los-angeles-dui-denial

Or perhaps you’re the spouse or significant other of someone with an alcohol or drug problem who recently got stopped for DUI at a checkpoint or arrested after a crash. You’re frustrated because he/she seems to be minimizing the gravity of the situation.

In either case, you might find it resourceful to examine the roots of the denial.

Our Needs for Psychological Consistency

Human beings generally do not behave “randomly.” We may not understand the strategies we employ when we get into trouble, and we might not choose the best strategies — or even very good ones. But the reasons that motivate us are not without logic.

Consider that when someone says, in effect “I’m going to pretend this DUI will go away on its own, and nothing about this is my fault at all,” that person is actually making an attempt to solve a problem. We bury our heads in sand because we want to avoid pain and stress and anxiety. These are not pleasant feelings. Denial is the psyche’s subtle way of protecting itself.

If you “don’t want to talk about” the DUI, your hesitation probably has less to do with your wanting to ruin your life than it does with wanting to protect yourself against painful situations, such as:

•    Having to admit to other people that they were right — that you DO need help managing an addiction to prescription medications, drugs, or alcohol;

•    Having to take time out of an already complicated and emotionally full life to deal with DUI defense;

•    Having to contemplate the battery of punishments that may await you, such as loss of your California driver’s license, jail time, costly fines and fees, higher insurance premiums, etcetera;

•    Having to confront emotionally unsettling truths about your life and your past;

Denial is by no means an intentionally self-destructive impulse. It’s a very understandable unconscious tactic we all use to retain psychological equilibrium and a sense of control. In fact, if you just recognize that denial is okay – that it is not intrinsically unhealthy or irrational – then you are already on the path to moving past it to get the help you really need.

The most challenging part of any Los Angeles DUI defense is that very first phone call.

Picking up the phone and calling an experienced attorney — like the Harvard Law School educated Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group — requires courage, because the act involves leaving your comfort zone. But once you cross that threshold, things do get easier! Give yourself the opportunity to get a fresh start. Connect with attorney Kraut and his experienced team today for assistance.
Continue reading →

Posted by

Your Los Angeles DUI charge has thrown your world way out of balance.los-angeles-dui-process

For the first time, you probably feel oddly connected to Lindsay Lohan and Nick Nolte – you know how humiliating, frustrating and scary it can be to stand accused of violating California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (or 23153, if you hurt someone).

All of a sudden, you’re no longer laughing at unfortunate celebrity DUI mug shots. In fact, you can’t stop ruminating about the potential punishments in the offing (e.g. big fees, time behind bars, loss of your driver’s license, diminution of your professional reputation, probation, and other idiosyncratic penalties that court may decide to thrust upon you).

There is one lesson that you can cling to, despite this chaos, that will make the journey towards putting the DUI behind you easier and more certain.

And that lesson is this: moving beyond your DUI is a process, not a onetime project.

Even though you may have “collected” your DUI in a flash, the solution may not come bundled in a simple package. This isn’t to say that you can’t resolve your crisis rapidly and permanently, in somewhat short order. For instance, depending on your case, your lawyer might be able to…

•    Challenge and refute the breathalyzer test results or blood test results;
•    Challenge the Constitutionality of your stop or arrest;
•    Plea-bargain the charges down;
•    Stop the license suspension;
•    Connect you with other resources, so you feel more in control of your life;
•    Structure your defense, so that you can effectively get back to “business as usual,” even while your case is pending and the outcome is uncertain.

View your “post DUI” experience in a “process oriented” way.

When you have a process-oriented view of things — as opposed to a “product-oriented” view — you can learn to see setbacks with your case as opportunities. You can even look beyond issues of punishment and reward and see the DUI as a chance for self-improvement and self-development. In retrospect, the DUI could even be viewed as a good thing, in that it helped you make needed changes. For instance, it could catalyze more productive thinking and action about a drug or alcohol addiction problem.

Call a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group today to get a new perspective on your options. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated former prosecutor, and his common sense, solid treatment of DUI cases has won him fans not just among clients but also among prosecutors and judges.
Continue reading →