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Broken chain, top view.

As human beings, we are connected in ways we don’t always realize—especially within our family units. We like to tell ourselves that we alone pay the price for our mistakes, but those mistakes can potentially make a deep impact on the people we love. To give an uncomfortable example, a growing body of research strongly suggests domestic violence can be passed down generationally. In other words, children who are exposed to domestic violence have an increased likelihood of repeating the pattern in adulthood.

The Urban Child Institute summarizes the issue plainly. “Children who witness domestic violence grow up to have a greater risk of living in violent relationships themselves, whether as victims or as perpetrators,” they say. “Without more awareness of this problem and help for these families, the burden of domestic violence will continue to be passed from one generation to the next.”

understanding-DV-arrest-300x300If we were to classify domestic violence as an illness, by all standards it would be an epidemic. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 9 men, becomes a victim of DV at some point in life—affecting as many as 10 million Americans each year.

What isn’t always clear is: Why?

Any act of domestic violence, no matter how “minor” it seems in the moment, can wreak great havoc in your life. Just one occurrence can fracture your relationships and potentially take your freedom. Understanding why it occurs can be a key to preventing it. If you can identify the driving factors or triggers behind your behavior, you have a better chance of addressing it so domestic violence doesn’t occur—or doesn’t occur again. So let’s explore some of the most common factors experts have identified as driving forces behind DV.

rebuilding-after-DV-chargeBeing accused, arrested and/or charged with domestic violence can be a highly disruptive moment in your life, to say the least. Any allegation of domestic violence can cause a rift in your family and close relationships, not to mention the stress that comes with arrest and the fear of what comes next.

However, a domestic violence charge can do much more than cause immediate stress to you and your family; it can have a ripple effect with far-reaching implications for many other parts of your life, some of which have nothing to do with whatever altercation may have prompted the accusation. Let’s discuss a few of these sometimes-surprising effects and talk about what you can do to address them.

Effects on Career/Finances

second_chance-after-DUI-300x171Between the embarrassment, the stigma and the uncertainty, a DUI arrest can be a traumatic experience in and of itself. The following days and weeks may offer little relief as you face the prospect of jail time, fines and license suspension—not to mention possibly jeopardizing your job if you can’t get to work.

If you’re facing this kind of situation in the wake of a DUI arrest, however, the real question isn’t what will happen if you’re convicted, but what happens after your case is closed. Regardless of whether you’re convicted or how severe the penalties, the DUI arrest is a moment in your life, and at some point it will be behind you. The question is whether you will find yourself in this situation again, or whether you will let it be a teaching moment. As a point of inspiration and encouragement, we’ve hunted down a few real-life stories of people who allowed their DUI arrest to become a turning point in their lives.

Second Time’s a Charm

wet-recklessIf you’ve ever been arrested for DUI, or if you know someone who has, you have possibly heard the term “wet reckless” thrown around. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the prosecution may offer to allow a DUI defendant to plead guilty to “wet reckless” as a reduced charge. If you are offered this kind of plea deal and agree to the terms, accepting it can provide you more leniency compared to a DUI conviction, but there are still some nuances in the law and some consequences you need to be aware of. Let’s discuss some of the key differences between a “wet reckless” charge and a DUI charge to help defendants make an informed decision in the event of a plea deal.

What Is a “Wet Reckless” Charge?

“Wet reckless” is simply a colloquial term for reducing a DUI charge to a reckless driving charge under California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC, with the additional note on the defendant’s record that alcohol was involved. (Hence the term “wet reckless.”) The unique thing about a wet reckless charge is that it only occurs in a plea deal situation, as a reduction down from DUI. In other words, prosecutors would never charge a defendant initially for “wet reckless driving” because technically it’s the same offense as reckless driving. You’ll only have a “wet reckless” charge on you record if you accept a plea deal in response to a DUI and agree to plead guilty or nolo contendere to the lesser charge.

like-father-like-son-los-angeles-DUIIn June, we celebrate Father’s Day—a day set aside for appreciating what fathers have done for us, the example they set, etc. But like everyone else, fathers have feet of clay, and sometimes they don’t always set the best example. Sometimes our fathers fail us, and sometimes we as fathers fail our children. So let’s explore a rather loaded question: If a father has a proclivity toward repeated DUI offenses, does that mean the children will, as well?

The answers here can be complex because many dynamics are at work in the relationship between parents and children—including genetics, parents’ example and the overall way we are raised. Let’s begin by stating that when we view DUI as a crime, we’d be hard pressed to say that any criminal activity is an inherited trait. Our mistakes are our own, and we can’t blame them on our parents. However, many underlying factors can make people more prone to making bad choices, including the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence. If we understand some of these underlying factors, we may be able to compensate and make better choices. Let’s look at some of these dynamics.

Addiction and Genetics

IID-debate-300x157Over the past several years use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) has been growing in momentum and popularity as a deterrent to DUI. At the beginning of 2019, California became the 33rd state to expand its IID technology program, requiring the installation of IIDs for repeat DUI offenders and offering IIDs to first-time offenders in exchange for a reduced license suspension. Now, some members of Congress are opening up a debate about whether IIDs should be required in all vehicles, regardless of a driver’s history with DUI.

While IIDs do seem to be effective in reducing incidents of DUI, the technology is not without controversy, especially as the government seeks to expand its use. Some see it as a powerful safety feature not unlike the seat belt or the air bag; others view it as an unnecessary invasion of privacy. Let’s take a closer look at the different sides of this debate to see what we can learn.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

Bizarre-DUI-stories-2019-300x222Driving under the influence can lead to some strange occurrences—none of them working in the driver’s favor. At the time of this writing, we’re only three-and-a-half months into 2019, and already we’re hearing reports of DUI cases ranging from the ironic to the unbelievable. Let’s explore a few of the most bizarre DUI stories of the year to date, and see what we can take away from them.

Sunk Until Spring

In early March, witnesses say a 37-year-old man from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, drove his vehicle twice off a boat launch onto a frozen lake. On the second time, the vehicle broke through the ice and sank. Law enforcement arrived on the scene to see the man walking off the frozen lake in wet clothes while his vehicle disappeared under the surface. The man, John W. Hamilton, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. He claimed he was alone in the car when the ice broke, officials tested the site via sonar to verify that no one else was stuck in the car. Deputies estimated the vehicle was on the lake floor 17 feet below. Not only does Hamilton face DUI charges, but his vehicle will likely not be retrieved until later in the spring when the ice has melted.

hit-and-run-los-angeles-DUI-300x169Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be disruptive and traumatic, both for you and for everyone involved. But if you decide to leave the scene of the accident before police have arrived, you make the situation even worse. Now, you have added hit-and-run to any other offenses you might have been charged with, punishable by possible fines and jail time.

People may commit hit-and-run offenses for a number of reasons, some less obvious than others. For instance:

• They might not have realized they made contact with another vehicle or person.

boating-under-the-influence-300x225From gorgeous harbors and miles of coastline to hundreds of lakes, reservoirs and waterways, there are plenty of places in California to enjoy time out on a boat. But if you think operating a boat exempts you from California DUI laws, think again. Last spring, Dean Allen Payne came face to face with the full force of California law after running his boat over two ladies in innertubes, seriously injuring both of them. After being convicted operating the boat while intoxicated, Payne was sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

While DUI boating laws differ only slightly from those covering automobiles on the road, the consequences of breaking them can be no less severe. If you operate a boat and choose to indulge, here’s what you need to know about boating and DUI.

Boating Under the Influence: An Overview

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