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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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You’ve heard our Los Angeles DUI blog pound on the theme of “get help as soon as you can after a DUI” numerous times. Any credible attorney or authority who knows anything about California DUI law will tell you that you need to act rapidly to preserve your freedom and protect your options.Churyumov-Gerasimenko-compared-to-los-angeles

Nevertheless: many, many people recently arrested for the crime exhibit a lackadaisical attitude about the timeframe.

For instance, you only have 10 days after the arrest to contest the license suspension, after which time you may be forced to live without your driver’s license for months or longer. It’s understandable that you might be stunned by the rapid turn of events and overwhelmed by the potential legal ramifications. But when time is of the essence, you absolutely need to act.

It’s hard to get people to understand this theme, however, no matter how many different ways we (and others) bring it up and highlight the need for urgency.

Fortunately, recent news events have given us a golden metaphor to re-explain the problem.

Last week, the European State Agency (ESA) landed a small ship on a comet – the first time humanity has ever landed a probe on a comet. The 2.5 mile wide Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet is about 317 million miles from Earth, and it’s traveling at breakneck speeds of 84,000 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the probe encountered a few technical problems on its way down from its mother ship, Rosetta, and it was not able to clamp down to the surface of the comet.

Unsurprisingly, the gravity on the comet is much, much, much weaker than it is here on Earth. So when the probe landed, it bounced and then landed again in a shadow of a cliff on the comet. While the search for the final landing site is still ongoing, the lander is racing against the clock to meet as many of its core science goals as possible before the primary battery is exhausted.

Scientists had hoped that the probe would land in a sunlit place and be able to access solar power to continue its mission for longer. But now they have to act quickly or lose out on science that researchers have spent billions of dollars trying to procure. The point is that these researchers understand the dangers of failing to act in a timely fashion. When there is billions of dollars at stake and millions of eyes on you, you tend to take your job pretty seriously.

But the consequences of not acting in situations where action is required may not be so clear if you are the only person affected by delay. To that end, please contact the team here at the Kraut Law Group to schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your rights. An experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer can help you understand your next steps and act rapidly and with clarity.

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Perhaps police stopped you and arrested you for Los Angeles DUI last weekend, so you haven’t had a chance to contemplate the latest Hollywood tabloid stories. Or maybe you suffered an injury in a DUI crash but nevertheless still learned about actor Johnny Depp’s awkward (and possibly alcohol fueled) speech at the Hollywood Film Awards.johnny-depp-hollywood-film-awards

The world famous actor — known for iconic roles like Edward Scissorhands, Jack Sparrow, and Willy Wonka from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — has always been known for his eccentricities. But in his speech at the HFA, he left even his fans and admirers scratching their heads. We’re going to take a closer look at what happened with Depp (or what allegedly happened) and use that as a jumping off point to discuss an often poorly understood ramification of Los Angeles DUI law.

Depp had been invited to introduce an award for a veteran record producer, but he could not get through his prepared speech without mumbling, stuttering, starting and stopping, and even cursing a few times for good measure. About 75 seconds into the speech, the network cut him off and went to commercial. Whether Depp had consumed alcohol or drugs or had gotten sick is anyone’s guess. However, the takeaway that we want to emphasize is that even famous, wealthy, articulate and smart people can often find themselves suddenly in deep trouble as a result of a single night’s alcohol or drug fueled mistake.

Depp’s public gaffe obviously will not have legal ramifications, since he didn’t hurt anybody, although it could slightly injure his brand with the public. But a driver who has one too many drinks and then gets behind the wheel and hurts someone can suddenly face an onslaught of unexpected and unwelcomed challenges, ranging from potential driver’s license suspension to mandatory jail time to forced alcohol education classes and so on.

To put the puzzle pieces of your case together, call an experienced and highly qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group. Michael Kraut is widely respected as a DUI news commentator, and he has been quoted by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Good Morning America, and other respected media sources for his opinion about DUI matters.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or you’ve been so totally overwhelmed by your Los Angeles DUI that you haven’t checked CNN or your Facebook feed in months – you probably are keenly aware of the explosive Ebola outbreak in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.ebola-lessons-for-los-angeles-DUI

In mid-October, officials with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other prestigious bodies panicked and worried that the epidemic could explode outside of West Africa and create a worldwide pandemic that could lead to the infection of hundreds of thousands if not millions of individuals. Thanks to alert action on part of the U.S. Military, health authorities, and philanthropists, it at least appears that we are finally staunching the Ebola tide. However, the Ebola outbreak – in particular, how it played out in the media – holds powerful lessons for DUI defendants. Here are three.

1.    We tend to fear the disturbing and exotic as opposed to the mundane and realistic.

For instance, if you have been arrested for DUI, you might be terrified about going to jail for 2+ days. While staying in jail is not a picnic, you might be overlooking far more profound consequences… such as losing your California driver’s license for a year or longer. Imagine not being able to drive to work, take your kids to school, and even go on simple errand runs.

2.    When things go wrong in life, it’s easy to spiral out of control into a panic, but overreacting can make problems worse.

For instance, despite statistical and epidemiological evidence that closing off the U.S. borders to West African countries would not stop the spread of Ebola in the U.S. — and potentially even impede efforts to contain disease, because rescue workers and doctors could not as easily travel back and forth — many people choose not to hear these rational arguments. Likewise, many DUI defendants react in nonstrategic fashion by, for instance, waiting way too long to hire attorneys to represent them and guide them through the process.

3.    The right kind of help at the right time can make a huge difference.

If you look at the projections for Ebola before and after the massive international reaction, the data are stark. Our intervention really seems to have made a big difference. Likewise, if you find the right people, such as a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group, you may be able to powerfully affect your future, win back your freedom, and avert personal catastrophe.

Call the Kraut Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation.

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Last week, voters ratified Proposition 47, which will likely have profound, if still not very well understood, ramifications for criminal defense trials in the Golden State for years to come.proposition-47-cartoon

How, specifically, might this new proposition impact your Los Angeles DUI defense options?

The answer obviously depends intimately on the details of your arrest as well as your criminal history. The purpose of the law, basically, was to partially decriminalize certain nonviolent offenses, like drug possession crimes. Supporters of the proposition hoped to restore a level of racial equality to California law. Advocates of the proposition argued that draconian drug possession laws punished African-Americans and Latinos in a lopsided fashion. They also said that our state’s harsh drug laws had contributed to prison overcrowding as well as to a deterioration of certain communities and neighborhoods.

Prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys alike will soon be puzzling over — and arguing over — how this new proposition will change the course of business in the world of criminal defense.

Defendants who have questions and concerns about their rights should get in touch with an experienced Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group ASAP to explore their options. Whether someone you know or love has been imprisoned for DUI or for a nonviolent drug offense; or whether police recently arrested you — and you’re trying to figure out how to preserve your freedom and understand your legal options — call a former prosecutor with a rock-solid record (99+% success rate jury trials as a prosecutor) and excellent connections in the Los Angeles legal defense community.

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If you’ve been a long time reader of our Los Angeles DUI blog, you’ve read about some relatively radical changes in the scope, nature, and direction of California criminal law over the years.california-proposition-47

The Golden State’s codes are living documents, designed to respond to the needs and concerns of the citizenry in an organic, ongoing basis. Over time, citizens, legislators and judges all regularly seek to amend these guidelines.

To wit, consider the success of Proposition 47, passed on Tuesday by a healthy margin. This proposition attracted intense support and opposition. The goal was to increase equal justice and to prevent certain nonviolent drug offenses from being automatically charged as felonies. On the one hand, citizens, policymakers and those in the judicial system alike are concerned about the legion of people incarcerated in California jail cells — often for relatively minor offenses that did not lead to injuries or harm to others. On the other hand, we recognize that bad behavior needs to be punished and deterred.

Here’s how the Los Angeles Times summarized the fall out of Yes On Prop 47:

“The day after California voted to reduce punishments, police agencies, defense attorneys, prosecutors and even some advocates were scrambling to figure out exactly how it was going to work. The greatest effect, experts said, would be in drug possession cases, noting that California is now the first state in the nation to downgrade those cases from felonies to misdemeanors. Thousands of felons are now eligible for immediate release from prisons and jails.

City attorneys accustomed to handling traffic tickets and zoning violations are now responsible for prosecuting crimes that used to be felonies, including forgeries, theft and shoplifting. District attorneys who used to threaten drug offenders with felony convictions to force them into rehabilitation programs no longer have that as an option. Social workers said they worried that offenders who voluntarily seek treatment will have trouble finding services.”

For help understanding your rights, obligations and legal needs regarding Proposition 47 or CVC 23152, call a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group to get an objective, insightful and strategic analysis of your defense options.

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When someone – a politician, actor, or ordinary Joe – beats a Los Angeles DUI charge “on a technicality,” the peanut gallery often groans.Ted-Vick-DUI

After all, we have come to associate the term “technicality” with a lack of justice being served. A TV movie villain, for instance, might escape a just prison sentence because his lawyer “gets him off on a technicality.”

But technicalities exist in our legal code for a reason: we need our laws to be fair, systematic, and balanced, so that they can adequately protect the population and also ensure the rights of suspects in criminal cases.

With that prelude, let’s take a look at a peculiar story about South Carolina State Representative, Ted Vick, who just successfully beat back a 2013 DUI charge. (Vick still faces other charges stemming from a 2012 arrest on weapons possession charges and DUI.)

According to news reports, Vick had consumed wine at a local restaurant in May 2013. On his way to the car, an officer allegedly saw Vick struggle to get a pebble out of his shoe. This alerted the officer’s suspensions, and he followed victim to garage, where he said the state rep drove over a traffic cone. The officer stopped Vick and arrested him after a struggle.

During the trial, before prosecutors could show the tape of the struggle, Vick’s attorney asked the court to dismiss the case, because the video camera did not show the officer reading Vick his Miranda rights. The court agreed and dismissed Vick’s charges.

The news reported this story as an “escape by technicality” situation, but the Miranda rights are crucial. They exist to prevent people from self-incriminating; we need to protect and preserve them.

If someone you love stands accused of a similar crime, an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group can help you understand what your charges mean and respond effectively and strategically to them.

Call a former prosecutor today to schedule a consultation about your defense.

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As someone who recently had the unpleasant experience of getting arrested and handcuffed for charges of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, you vividly recall the feelings of fear, frustration and hopelessness that accompanied your stop/accident and subsequent jailing.

VODKA-BOTTLES-open-container-los-angeles-DUIYet you also know that the situation could have been worst. For instance, hopefully you did not seriously injure or kill someone while DUI. And at the very least, you personally survived the incident – not necessarily a given, particularly if you had been seriously impaired.

Even if police found an open container (or two or three) in your vehicle, you have nothing on 26 year old James M. Woodward, a Massachusetts man stopped last Sunday afternoon on Route 24 in Freetown, MA for “moving vehicle violations.”

Massachusetts State Police say they found not just one or two but 42 (!!) nips of open vodka in Woodward’s truck; they arrested him and hit him with multiple charges, including lane violations, negligently driving a motor vehicle, driving DUI, and, of course, having open containers of alcohol in his vehicle.

Driving DUI under any circumstances can be devastating, even if you didn’t violate multiple laws or engage in dubious or reckless behavior after your stop. Even if this is your first time, you can still face a panoply of charges, such as:

•    Driver’s license suspension
•    Forced alcohol school
•    Probation
•    Fines and fees
•    Legal costs
•    Spike in your insurance rates
•    Job loss
•    Mandatory installation of interlock ignition device (IID) in your car
•    Enhanced punishments if you hurt someone

Of course, all is not lost. You may be able to get the charges dismissed entirely or plead them to down to lesser charges, such as wet reckless. Call a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group right now to set up a time to speak with attorney Michael Kraut about what you can do to defend your interests, protect your rights, and minimize the punishments and other negative repercussions in your life.

 

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halloween-dui-arrestIntuitively, you might suspect that the numbers of Los Angeles DUI arrests spike during Halloween, simply because so many people take time off of work, drink spiked cider, and engage in goofy costume parties and parades. But while Los Angeles is home to some wild Halloween traditions, including the West Hollywood parade and spooky movies at Hollywood Cemetery, fortunately, the denizens of our city often drive rather soberly on this holiday… at least when you compare Halloween DUI statistics with stats from much more dangerous holidays, like Super Bowl Sunday, Labor Day, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving and The Day Before Thanksgiving.

Maybe it’s the fact that everybody knows that kids will be wandering in the streets wearing dark, unwieldy costumes that makes drivers act with more caution. Whatever the case, you want to avoid winding up arrested and in dire need of the services of a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney, like Michael Kraut of Kraut Law Group. Here are some tips:

1. Plan your evening.

Be spontaneous, but don’t be so spontaneous that you put your life and the lives of other people at risk.

2. Don’t hang around (or heaven forbid get in the car with) people doing dumb things.

Halloween is a time of surprises, but you want those surprises to be ideally to be non-lethal ones. If you meet strange people at a party or at the Santa Monica parade, and you want to hang out and grab a burger with them afterwards, fine. Just avoid getting unduly influenced by potentially dangerous or unstable folks you meet trick or treating.

3. Learn from your mistakes.

How did Halloween go for you last year? Have you ever almost gotten in trouble while driving or almost gotten arrested for DUI? Consider your habits and your track record, and continuously develop plans to avoid getting into trouble again in the same ways. Know thyself.

If you or someone you love does ultimately need help with a Halloween-related Los Angeles DUI charge, contact attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group for an immediate, judgment free, through and confidential consultation. Mr. Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney – a high-level prosecutor – who understands what it takes to build winning defense cases.

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dui-manslaughterLos Angeles DUI manslaughter charges are incredibly serious but also surprisingly diverse.

Let’s say you’ve never driven DUI before, and you didn’t engage in an act of gross negligence, like driving 100 miles the wrong way on the freeway. But you did get into a DUI accident that caused someone to die. You could still go to jail for a long time, lose your license, and face an array of other punishments.

However, prosecutors could try to convince the court that you engaged in a more serious crime — “gross vehicular manslaughter” — which can lead to even steeper punishments.

And if you had been convicted of a prior DUI — and you had signed a document known as a Watson Advisement, which indicates that you understand the lethality of driving DUI –prosecutors can even go after you for an even more intense count, known as DUI Murder.

Bearing that in mind, let’s reflect on a tragic case in Anaheim. On October 18, a 10-year-old boy died in a multi-car DUI-related collision at North Euclid Street and West Oklahoma Avenue, per Anaheim Police Department reports. A black pickup truck smashed into the boy’s Toyota Camry from behind, throwing the vehicle into another car. Everyone in the Camry suffered critical injuries, and the 10-year-old boy died at a local hospital. Los Angeles police later arrested Gary S. Hunt, the driver of the black pickup truck.

The accident moderately injured the driver of the third car.

Whether Hunt actually had been under the influence of alcohol or not, he could face serious criminal and civil charges. The media coverage understandingly focuses on the awful tragedy that befell Ramirez and his family, but it’s important to appreciate that DUI crashes also devastate the lives of people charged with crimes.

For instance, perhaps Hunt also has children, who now may be forced to deal with the fact that their dad could go to prison for many years.

To respond conscientiously, compassionately and effectively to complex criminal charges, contact a Los Angeles DUI injury defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group right now to schedule a consultation with former prosecutor, Michael Kraut.

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