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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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We’re going to look north today, to Idaho, for insight into the often misunderstood arena of Los Angeles DUI blood tests. In an Idaho Supreme Court decision on December 3, 2014, a judge ruled that police must get a warrant before performing a DUI blood test if a suspect refuses to give blood or perform other sobriety tests.DUI-blood-test-for-los-angeles

Former Idaho Supreme Court decisions have stated that a warrantless blood law is permissible under an “implied consent statute.” However, 1st District Court Judge Benjamin R. Simpson reversed these decisions based on two local cases in which men suspected of DUI had their blood drawn to test for alcohol under protest.

Cases such as the McNeely case of 2013 — as well as Judge Simpson’s two most recent decisions — cite the fact that “the natural metabolization of alcohol in the bloodstream does not alone present an urgent need [for a blood draw],” according to the Spokesman-Review. However, the attorneys at Kraut Law Group want readers to know there are pros and cons to a blood draw, consensual or otherwise.

Pros of a Blood Draw

A blood draw is the most specific and accurate DUI test. If a driver believes he or she was under the legal alcohol limit, a blood test may unequivocally prove it. Blood draws are also less subjective than traditional sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line, and they can result in fewer misunderstandings between the officer and the driver. For example, in a traditional sobriety test, an officer might think a physically disabled driver was intoxicated because of stumbling related to the disability.

Cons of a Blood Draw

Refusal to submit to a blood draw may result in automatic license suspension, particularly in states where a warrantless blood draw is considered permissible. Failure to cooperate with a blood draw may also make an arresting officer think the driver is belligerent or dangerous, thus giving him or her more reason to make an arrest.

Can a Blood Draw Decision Be Fought?

Yes. Blood tests can be compromised in DUI cases or otherwise shown to be inadmissible as evidence. The collection and storage of blood can easily influence the amount of alcohol determined to be present in a sample. For example, if the officiating nurse cannot find a vein and must prick the driver several times, the blood sample could be compromised. This kind of compromise can also happen if blood is stored at the wrong temperature or in a carelessly sealed container. Faulty forensic equipment can also result in compromised draws and ultimately in wrongful convictions. Drivers who suspect their blood draws were compromised can and should fight the conviction to avoid unjust consequences.

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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Los Angeles DUI attorneys and pundits have been following the story of Nora Longoria, a judge for the 13th Court of Appeals in Texas, who was charged with a DUI in July 2014. Recently, prosecutors dropped her charges. McAllen police say that Longoria “begged for special treatment” when faced with sobriety tests, but Justice Rolando Cantu threw out the case based on “lack of evidence,” marking “other” as his reasoning on formal paperwork.Nora-Longoria-DUI

Longoria was originally pulled over for driving 69 MPH in a 55 MPH zone, but the arresting officer claimed she “smelled of booze and had slurred speech.” Longoria allegedly admitted she’d had five beers that evening but that she consumed her last one three hours before driving. She allegedly told the officer, “I live a couple miles away… You are going to ruin my life.” Longoria also refused to take a breath test. Social media exploded after Longoria’s DUI charge. People made comments such as, “Resign, you drunk” and “You are a disgrace to the court system, to the legal profession, and the citizens of Texas.”

Despite the angry comments and the evidence presented in court, Longoria eventually beat her DUI charge. Several people, including regular Kraut Law Group blog readers, may be wondering how and why. Our attorneys hypothesize a few possible reasons:

•    Lack of a conclusive test. A breath test and other sobriety tests are not generally as conclusive as a blood or urine draw, neither of which Longoria underwent. In fact, some experts believe traditional sobriety tests are “designed to make [people] fail.”

•    Unclear video evidence. The prosecution was able to obtain a video allegedly showing the circumstances of Longoria’s DUI arrest. However, the tape’s footage did not clearly show whether her speech had been slurred. Thus, the evidence that she “smelled of booze” essentially consisted of the arresting officer’s opinion.

•    Lack of other evidence. Besides the unclear video, the prosecution brought no conclusive evidence against Longoria.

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 drug arrests may become increasingly common over the next few years, as an increasing number of Californians turn to legal medicinal marijuana for treatment.LeVon-Bell-DUI

In August 2014, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Von Bell was arrested on charges of DUI and marijuana possession. According to Pittsburgh’s Channel 11 News, Bell will participate in a program for first-time offenders and will face a two-game suspension sometime within 2014 or 2015. A two-game suspension is “standard punishment” for NFL players convicted in a DUI case.

With 1,689 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns, Le’Von Bell has been one of the Steelers’ best players this season. However, as many celebrities find out, fame and status will not grant Bell complete immunity from his charges. He will be on probation for fifteen months.

Driving under the influence of marijuana can be equally as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, but differences exist in how such a charge is handled. The Los Angeles DUI attorneys at the Kraut Law Group want readers to be aware of the following differences:

•    There is no “sobriety test” for marijuana. Often, officers have to rely on questions such as, “Let me look at your eyes.” They then have to ask the driver if he or she is willing to perform a voluntary field sobriety test, and many drivers refuse.

•    Marijuana levels cannot be measured the way alcohol levels can. A breath test will not prove specific levels of marijuana in one’s system.

•    There is not a “comparable offense” to driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or greater related to marijuana and other drugs.

•    Many DUI cases involving marijuana and other drugs, but not alcohol, are based at least partially on the arresting officer’s opinion.

•    Marijuana usage can often only be proven through blood or urine samples, which must be processed through a lab.

With states such as Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana, many Los Angeles residents wonder whether California will be next, and if so, what that could mean for future cases like Le’Von Bell’s. Since many people also use marijuana for medicinal purposes, there is a distinct possibility that potential marijuana DUI cases could be thrown out, because they don’t fit the “DUI per se” definition or because of medical personnel testimony.

Do you need help defending against a drug or DUI charge? Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group is a trustworthy, highly qualified former prosecutor. Call a Los Angeles DUI attorney today to strategize for your defense seriously.

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One of the peculiar aspects of Los Angeles DUI cases is that arrests and convictions can touch dozens, even hundreds, of people and organizations.johnny-manziel-dui

In other words, a single bad decision made by one driver at a single point in time can propagate and create problems – even huge crises – for many other people. For instance, when a star football player gets in trouble with the law, not only can he and his family suffer legal and monetary consequences, but people not connected with the accident – teammates, fans, people who depend on a football team’s revenue to power local businesses – can also be indirectly impacted.

Consider that concept in light of a recent story out of Cleveland. Browns QB Johnny Manziel’s bodyguard recently got arrested for DUI while driving Manziel’s vehicle. The arrest might not have made national news, had Manziel and his friends not just recently been involved in an altercation with an aggressive fan, who approached the star and his entourage with an attitude that allegedly was “very aggressive” and “very intoxicated.”

Per the quarterback’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, “Johnny and his roommate had been out to dinner earlier in the evening with Johnny’s mother, who was staying with him this week. There was no entourage. Johnny and his roommate were trying to get on the apartment elevator at his home, when they were accosted by a very aggressive man and his associates. It was an unfortunate situation.”

Under certain circumstances, an associate or friend or spouse or a relative can make a mistake — or engage in aggressive or dangerous behavior behind the wheel — that can redound to affect you and your family. To understand your rights and develop an appropriate legal response, connect with an experienced Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney, like Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. In addition to serving for nearly 20 years as both as Deputy District Attorney and a defense lawyer, Mr. Kraut regularly appears as a commentator on shows like Good Morning America and newspapers like the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

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The diverse circumstances in which people get arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles (and other places) never cease to surprise.bizarre_car-dui-los-angeles

A few years ago, we blogged about a spate of lawnmower DUIs that defied common sense – and earned more than a few snickers from the peanut gallery in places like Reddit.

Snide comments about lawnmower DUIs aside, it’s useful to understand that California DUI law can be applied to broad and unusual circumstances. Consider, for instance, the legal situation facing 41-year-old Criss E. Gruber, who stands accused of multiple charges, including violating light regulations and bicycle DUI, after he crashed a few weeks ago in the town of Enola.

Fortunately, no one got seriously hurt in the crash, although Gruber himself got banged up when he hit a road construction sign on Route 11/15 on November 16th. Investigators believe that he hit the sign because he lacked safety lighting on his bicycle. Blood alcohol tests revealed that he had a 0.16% blood alcohol concentration. For those of you who are keeping score, that’s twice the legal limit for DUI, per California’s Vehicle Code Section 23152.

Bicycling with DUI can be tragically dangerous for many reasons – some obvious, some not so obvious:

•    When you’re under the influence of alcohol (or fatigued or angry or distracted by a cellphone), your timing gets worse. In other words, you are less likely to brake in time to avoid accidents or swerve to avoid hazards, etc.

•    When people with certain personalities drink, they tend to be more likely to take risks, such as driving without a helmet or driving on a busy surface street or freeway;

•    Bicycles are already at a mechanical disadvantage on the road. While everyone who uses the roads should be vigilant, bicyclists and motorcyclists need to be particularly vigilant because of the extra risks caused by the mechanical disadvantage.

If you caused an accident while DUI on your bike, you can face a slew of very serious criminal penalties, including felony charges.

No matter what happened to you or what charges you face, a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group can assist you with constructing an appropriate, sensible and meticulous defense. Contact attorney Kraut today to schedule a free consultation.

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Getting arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles – especially if you are a celebrity – can lead to horrendous brand management problems as well as legal issues like potential jail time, forced probation, and mandatory fines and fees… not to mention indirect hassles like hikes in insurance rates and driver’s license suspension.Jionni-LaValle-DUI-los-angeles

It can also lead to a cascade of internet traffic.

For instance, Jionni LaValle, the 27-year-old husband of Jersey Shore’s “Snooki” (a.k.a. Nicole Polizzi) found himself in handcuffs a few months ago after police pulled him over on his honeymoon on Interstate 80. Authorities hit him with multiple charges, including careless driving, unsafe lane changes and DUI.

Last week, LaValle pled guilty into Totowa Municipal Court to DUI (he managed to get the other two charges dismissed). His sentence includes a three month driver’s license suspension, a $614 fine, and mandatory DUI education classes.

LaValle and Polizzi are parents to two young children – a two-year-old boy, Lorenzo and a two-month-old girl, Giovanna.

Snooki has had her own issues with the law. Four year ago – before she became a mom – police arrested her on the (actual) Jersey Shore for creating a public nuisance.

Whether you are a celebrity facing a complex and potentially highly embarrassing series of charges or an “ordinary citizen” who believes that police wrongfully pulled you over, you may need the help of an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney to understand your charges and figure out what to do about them. Contact attorney Michael Kraut with the Kraut Law Group today for the effective insight you need to make forward progress.

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In the wake of a recent Los Angeles DUI accident or arrest, you have been reflecting a lot on how to be a better driver and just become more generally conscientious and mindful in your life.better-habits-stop-los-angeles-DUI

You recognize (wisely) that poor driving habits can affect you not just in acute terms but also over the long term. There is a reason why insurance adjusters and officials at places like the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) measure the risks of DUI driving in terms of hundreds of millions of miles.

For instance, if you drive averagely, you can expect to die one time for every 100 million miles you travel – roughly the distance from the Earth to the sun. Fortunately, most drivers do not drive anywhere close to that amount of miles, so the risk of dying from a car crash is obviously less than 100%. But the point is that if you can engage in better driving habits, you can reduce your lifetime risk for accidents and injuries. Here are some ideas about how to slash your odds of future arrests, crashes and mayhem:

•    Keep the radio at a very moderate to low volume. High volume radio can cause distractions and prevent you from hearing critical signals from the road;

•    Never ever talk or text or even chat on a mobile device when you are behind the wheel. Even using a hands free headset can be a major distraction, because it mentally forces you to be “someplace else” and not behind the wheel. Consider swearing off using a cellphone in any capacity behind the wheel.

•    Avoid driving while fatigued, angry or in an emotional “state.” Research from Australia shows that fatigue can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence if you are tired enough. Likewise, driving while angry or depressed or otherwise in a bad emotional way can increase the likelihood that you will get into a crash, because your head is not fully “in the game.”

•    Talk to a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer not only about how to construct an appropriate response to your current problem but also about how to develop the tools and habits you need to be safer going forward.

Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group has seen all sorts of cases over the past nearly 20 years, as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. He would be happy to talk with you in-depth and in confidence about your case. Call now to schedule a consultation to get his strategic insight to move forward.

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Thanksgiving should be a time for celebration, communion, and reconnection with friends and loved ones. However, as we discussed in an adjacent post, the day before the Thanksgiving is also the worst day of the year for Los Angeles DUI arrests and accidents. So how can you protect yourself, your loved ones and other people on the road from injuries (and worse) this holiday? Here are 4 tips.Thanksgiving-and-DUI

1.    If you are going to drink, make a plan well in advance of partying.

Studies suggest that once someone is the throe of merrymaking, judgments tend to go out the window. After you have already had two or three drinks is not the time to start to think rationally about how to get home. You need to “pre think” your exit strategy by identifying a designated driver in advance, hiring a taxi cab or just walking from place to place.

2.    Be careful to avoid walking while DUI as well.

Most people assume that if you walk instead of drive after consuming alcohol, you should be fine. However, as authors Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt point out in the book SuperFreakonomics, when you crunch the numbers, walking under the influence is, mile per mile, potentially more even dangerous than driving under the influence. The reason is that, when you make bad decisions as a pedestrian – particularly at night if you are wearing dark clothing — you can easily get seriously hurt or killed. If you are in a car and you get into collision, you at least can hopefully rely on the car’s safety mechanisms, like airbags and seatbelts, to protect you against the worst of the impact. As a pedestrian, you have nothing shielding you.

3.    Pay attention to near misses in the past.

Have you ever gotten into a DUI wreck before? Do you plan to hang out with anyone who has been arrested for that crime or who has gotten into serious injury accidents? The best predictor of future accidents is past driving behavior. Pick up on clues left by the past, so that you can more effectively manage your own behavior and minimize risk. For instance, say your cousin Arnie comes to town and wants to go bar hopping with you. But you know that cousin Arnie has two DUI priors on his record; you might want to aggressively suggest that everyone take a cab.

4.    Organize Thanksgiving events in a way that requires less driving overall.

One of the best ways to prevent problems is to negate temptations altogether. For instance, maybe you and your family typically go out to a restaurant that serves copious amounts of alcohol. Consider changing your plans this year, so that you all stay at someone’s house, so that you are not tempted to drink and then get behind the wheel.

For help dealing with the aftereffects of a crash or arrest, call a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney with the Kraut Law Group today for a free consultation with a former Deputy District Attorney with nearly two decades of experience fighting on both sides of these types of cases.

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We’ve actually touched on this issue before in previous posts, but even if you are a regular reader, you might have forgotten. What is the most dangerous day for Los Angeles DUI in the calendar year? Common (but wrong) guesses might include:thanksgiving-DUI-in-Los-Angeles

•    New Year’s Eve;
•    Super Bowl Sunday;
•    Fourth of July;
•    Memorial Day Weekend;
•    Labor Day Weekend;
•    Christmas Eve;
•    Halloween;
•    St. Patrick’s Day.

All these days actually do witness an above average rate of DUI driving, and you need to take special precautions during those holidays, whether you are driving or walking around as a pedestrian. But there is one day that’s actually substantially more dangerous – and that day is the day before Thanksgiving.

That might strike many people as strange.

Why would the day before Thanksgiving be a time for DUI driving? The answer probably has to do with the behavior of college kids who are returning home from college to their families for the Thanksgiving holiday. For college students who have left home to go to college, Thanksgiving break is often the first time that they get reunited with their high school friends. And even though young people cannot legally consume alcohol until they are 21-years-old, many people who go off to college find ways around these restrictions and end up experimenting substantially with alcohol during their first 2.5 months of college. So when they come home, they may be still in a giddy experimental stage with alcohol. These young college students come home to meet up with their friends who are also experimenting. Thus, things can get a little haywire. Some statistics suggest that the spike in DUI rates over Thanksgiving can be at least partly attributed to this kind of “college student effect,” although more research is needed to determine the real truth.

So why would the night before Thanksgiving be more dangerous than Thanksgiving itself?

The answer again comes back to patterns of behavior. On Thanksgiving, most people stay in with their families and eat and watch football and talk. In other words, there is not a lot of mobility. So even if people might be consuming lot of alcohol on Thanksgiving, they are staying in. On the night before Thanksgiving, however, many people who have already returned home for the holidays, but they are not necessarily hanging out with their families. Hence, we see this spike in DUI accidents on the day before the holiday.

So what can you do if you or someone you love got arrested for DUI driving during the Thanksgiving holiday?

Your first step should be to contact a reputable Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, like Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut has an extensive track record of success as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney; he previously served as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles for nearly 15 years. He and his team can provide critical guidance you need to make your decisions. Call today for a free consultation.

 

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