Articles Posted in Beverly Hills DUI Defense Attorney

In Los Angeles, DUI offenses can be punished by a few hours in prison or many years – the harshness of the sentencing depends on many factors, such as the nature of the alleged offense, the amount of damage done to people and property, and the history of the alleged DUI driver.Harold-Moore-8-DUI

First non-injury offenses, usually involve minor punishments, like a driver’s license suspension, DUI awareness classes, and probation; whereas repeat DUI convictions can lead to a dramatic escalation in penalties.

A shocking case from Texas illustrates what can happen to super-recidivist DUI offenders. Police recently arrested Harold Moore, a successful janitorial service owner, for his 8th lifetime DUI. Moore had just been released from a four year prison sentence for his 7th DUI.

While in prison, Moore had enrolled in multiple alcohol treatment programs. Authorities released him from prison, pursuant to his participation in a decade long probation period. His prior DUI convictions allowed the presiding judge discretion in determining further sentencing requirements. Moore’s defense attorney stated that his seventh sentencing was mild and “truly a gift.”

Since Moore had been on probation, any BAC conviction would constitute a breach of his punishment. Moore’s BAC was allegedly 0.27%, more than 3 times the legal limit here in L.A. (and in Texas). Moore now might be looking at 20+ years in prison. The prosecution is attempting to add another 10 years for his breaching probation.

Moore’s case may be an extreme example, but repeat DUI offenses need to be aware that courts typically impose harsher penalties and begin adding jail time for every additional DUI offense.

Another important point to remember is that an out of state DUI conviction can still count toward your overall “total.”

In California, after three or more DUI convictions in a 10 year period — or if your DUI causes harm or death — you will likely face felony charges. at should you do if you or someone you love faces a serious DUI count? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? Call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut immediately to understand your options and craft a strategic response.

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What lessons do celebrities learn after getting arrested for DUI in Los Angeles?chelsea-handler-jason-priestly-dui

TV personality Chelsea Handler and actor Jason Priestley (of Beverly Hills 90210 fame) discussed their respective DUI arrests recently on Handler’s talk show, Chelsea Lately. Priestley got arrested in 1999, as a young actor. Handler also got arrested for DUI young — at the tender age of just 21.

So what did they learn from their experiences? Here’s a transcript of their exchange:

Priestley: “what self-respecting Los Angeleno doesn’t have a DUI under their belt? I mean, come on.”

Handler and Priestley then high-fived.

Handler: “The important thing is not to get two.”

Priestley: “You get one. Lesson learned.”

Priestley recounted his experience of meeting a bunch of Russian men in jail, after being arrested. First, they seemed stunned to see the actor — who was quite famous at the time, since Beverly Hills 90210 was a hit show. Then one rough man came up and “grabbed me and hugged me… he picked me and he carried over me over to the table and he put me down, and I just sat down and started playing cards with these guys. I played cards with them for five days. I had no idea what the game was … I got out of there in one piece … that’s all I care about.”

DUIs are certainly no laughing matter, and it’s perhaps a bit disrespectful to chortle about them and high-five about DUI defenses on national TV. But both celebrities have remained out of harm’s way and avoided driving DUI since their arrests — and that’s also important. According to the stereotype, DUI defendants are grizzled and incorrigible. They are doomed to commit other offenses and hurt people on the road.

But most people who get arrested for minor offenses manage to get themselves together, rehabilitate their image, deal with their prison sentence, etc. Even if you caused minor injury to someone — and now face charges per the felony DUI code, 23153, instead of 23152 — with the appropriate strategy, you can rebuild your life and leave your DUI behind you.

The first step is to connect with an experienced, effective Los Angeles DUI defense attorney. To that end, call the Kraut Law Group right now to speak with attorney Michael Kraut about your defense possibilities, so that you can make smarter decisions and get results.

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Imagine a “stereotypical” Los Angeles DUI driver. You might be picturing a young man in his late 20s or early 30s. He returns from a party or a club, and cops pull him over on the 101 for veering across five lanes of traffic in five seconds. This driver is clearly a disruptive influence, and the cops need to get him off the road, stat.70-year-old-dui-los-angeles

But the actual catalogue of DUI offenders is far more diverse.

Consider, for instance, an Illinois hit-and-run DUI case involving a 70-year-old man from the town of Naperville. Local authorities say Mario Perea caused a DUI accident and then hightailed his way from the scene.

Perea allegedly rear ended another vehicle at a stop light on Route 71 and then fled. Fortunately, the accident didn’t cause any serious injuries. Police eventually caught up with Perea a few miles later and hit him with a battery of charges including: leaving the scene of an accident, DUI, improper lane usage, driving without insurance, transporting alcohol illegally and driving with only one headlight.

It’s a flawed, but very human impulse to flee a crime scene.

But what actually happens if you commit a DUI and then run away, according to California law?

California Vehicle Code Section 20002 outlines the punishments for misdemeanor hit and run in Los Angeles. This CVC will apply if you hit someone else’s property and then leave the scene without identifying yourself or providing information for another person to identify you later. Even if you didn’t cause the crash, you can still be liable per CVC 20002.

You do not have to exchange insurance info, per this code, however. That said, if you don’t, you could be in violation of a separate vehicle code section – 16025. That is a lesser offense — an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor. But you can still be whacked with a fine of $250.

So what are the punishments?

First of all, the California DMV will give you two points on your driving record. Secondly, you can face up to six months in jail, three years probation, fines and fees, and forced restitution to the person (or company) whose property you damaged.

How can you respond effectively these charges?

There are many ways to challenge CVC 20002 charges.

First of all, if you only damaged your vehicle — and not the other person’s property — there is no misdemeanor. Second of all, if you didn’t know that you had been in a collision, you can’t be liable. Third, if you weren’t the driver at the time (e.g. someone else borrowed your car and got into an accident), you can’t be liable.

Connect with the team here at the Kraut Law Group today to get help with a precise strategy to combat your misdemeanor Los Angeles DUI hit and run charges.

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Let’s say you’re pulled over for a Los Angeles DUI, after drag-racing on Olympic (between Bundy and Lincoln) in a rented Lamborghini — all while allegedly under the influence of marijuana, prescription medications, and alcohol. What if the police offered you a plea deal? You can clear your DUI, if you submit to drug testing, serve some community service, and complete an alcohol education course. Would you take the deal?Justin Bieber-DUI-plea-rejected

Many people would. Many people, in fact, would consider that deal rather lenient, particularly in light of the fact that the very act of driving under the influence can, under certain circumstances, lead to punishments like months behind bars, a lengthy license suspension, spikes in your insurance rates (which can cost you thousands of dollars over several years), and so forth.

And that’s if you didn’t hurt anybody or aggravate the situation by resisting arrest or refusing a breath or blood test.

Nevertheless, 19 year-old pop icon, Justin Bieber, just rejected a similar plea deal, stemming from his January 23rd arrest for allegedly drag-racing a Lamborghini while DUI in Miami. TMZ reports that Bieber decided that he will “not accept any plea that has probation” because he and his legal team worry that the “Baby” singer’s probation will turn into a spectacle and attract a lot of unwanted media attention and damage his brand.

The Florida State Attorney had been prepared to drop Bieber’s charges of DUI and resisting arrest, had he only agreed to perform 40 hours of community service and undergo testing for substance abuse. (In addition, Bieber would have had to install an interlock ignition device (IID) in his car for just three months.) Per the deal, Bieber would have had to attend a Victim Impact Panel and listen to stories of victims of DUI driving.

The ever cheeky TMZ insinuated that Bieber’s latest song – Broken – contains lyrics that speak tellingly to his situation: “I cannot be broken/they can’t take what’s mine/someone like me is hard to find.”

Further complicating an already messy situation, reports suggest that Miami Police had taken a video of the pop star peeing in his jail cell after his DUI arrest. TMZ reported that a source told the online tabloid “the stumbling and going to the bathroom is obviously reason enough for his attorneys’ request for it to be sealed… if I was trying to paint a picture that my client was innocent… I wouldn’t want a video of him stumbling around and looking out of it to go public either.”

Bonus Information: What If You Refuse Your Chemical Test?

Before a DUI arrest, you cannot refuse a chemical test, if you’re on probation or if you’re under 21 years old.

After you’ve been arrested for DUI, you MUST submit to a blood or breath test, no matter who you are (i.e. even if you’re over 21 and you’re not on probation). If you’ve been arrested under suspicion of drug DUI, you need to submit to a urine test.

For help understanding the dynamic nature of your charges and developing an effective defense, connect with the team here at the Kraut Law Group today for a free, confidential consultation with Attorney Michael Kraut, a former deputy district attorney and Los Angeles DUI prosecutor.
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Early this month, actor David Cassidy faced his Los Angeles DUI charges in court.David-Cassidy-DUI-los-angeles

Police arrested the Florida resident at LAX in January. It was Cassidy’s third DUI arrest and his second in less than six months. Cassidy allegedly blew a 0.16% BAC on his breath test – twice the California limit.

Back in August 2013, police in New York arrested the actor and hit him with a felony DUI charge. Tragically, Cassidy had just finished a stint at rehab. His manager said the actor had felt overwhelmed after being deposed.

But Cassidy’s DUI trouble started way before that. In February 2011, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor DUI in Florida. He got off with a year’s probation and a relatively short (six month) license suspension. Police had stopped him on a Florida parkway, and he blew a 0.14% on a breath test. Police also said he had had a bottle of Bourbon open in his vehicle.

After this latest arrest, Cassidy released a statement from rehab: “this has been a very difficult time for me battling this deadly disease, like millions of others in our country. I will remain in treatment for as long as necessary, and I am getting the best care I can possibly get anywhere. I am working as hard as any human being to live a sober life.”

What happens when someone’s convicted a second time for DUI in Southern California?

If you’re convicted of DUI in CA twice within a 10 year period, you face mandatory jail time — up to six months! You will also need to spend a year and a half in alcohol school (up to 30 months, in some cases). The court can suspend your California driver’s license for two years and impose what’s known as “formal probation.” This means you’ll need to check in with a probation officer on a regular basis. Alternatively, you may face “informal probation.” This means you won’t have a probation officer, but you will need to hew to certain standards. You may also need to install (and pay for) an Interlock Ignition Device on your car and face massive fines, fees, and court costs – on top of a likely spike in your insurance rates.

To make sense out of your Los Angeles DUI charges, connect with the team here at the Kraut Law Group today for sensible, sensitive insight and a free consultation.
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As someone who’s recently been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, you probably have a negative opinion towards the police right now. As you reflect on the night (or day) of your arrest, you may ruminate about the punishments on deck for you, possibly including:Police-Officer-saves-DUI-driver.jpg

• Suspension of your California driver’s license;
• Forced installation of an Interlocking Ignition Device (IID) in your car or truck;
• Fines, fees, legal fees, and other sundry costs;
• Forced alcohol school;
• Restrictive probation terms;
• Jail time;
• Major spikes in your auto insurance premiums;
• Etc.

Consider, though, a tremendous story out of South Carolina. A Sumter police officer dove into a freezing pond to rescue a DUI driver, who had driven his vehicle into a pond. Officer Quentin Eley saw several cars gathered by the side of Second Millpond Bridge flashing their hazard lights. He approached and discovered that a car had driven into the water, and a person was trapped inside.

Officer Eley then made a daring decision to strip off his protective equipment and dive into the freezing pond, where he rescued 38-year-old Ioan Marcell Cimpean from what would have almost certainly been a drowning death. (Cimpean did not need any treatment at the hospital; authorities subsequently sent him to a local detention center on a DUI complaint. Cimpean secured his release, after paying a $2,267 bond.)

The Chief of the Sumter Police, Russell Roark, sung Officer Eley’s praises “he dove into the water without regard for his own safety… he was able to open the door and find Mr. Cimpean… for someone to take off their weapon and as much of their equipment as they can, and dive into freezing cold water to save somebody, it’s hard to put into words how proud I am actually of him and of the Sumter Police Department.”

This isn’t to say that the Beverly Hills police officer who arrested you for DUI was a hero. Police officers – like everyone else – can make egregious mistakes and even intentionally do things wrong to complicate DUI cases. However, it does illustrate the depth of humanity that many officers have… and the lengths to which good people will go to serve and protect.

If you’ve been struggling with Los Angeles DUI charges, what are your next steps? Will you go jail? What kind of defense can you put up? For help about answering those questions, connect with Harvard Law School educated, ex-Deputy District Attorney, Michael Kraut, today for a free consultation about your legal needs.

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You recently got a Beverly Hills DUI charge. Ever since the cops’ red and blue flashing lights went off in your rear view mirror, you’ve been preoccupied with “what’s next?”beverly-hills-dui-did-it-happen.jpg

For instance:

• Will I have to go to jail? If so, for how long?

At what point should you plead guilty to your Pasadena DUI charges? plea-deal-pasadena-dui.jpg

How do you know whether to fight all the way to trial or whether to cut your losses and accept a reduced set of punishments?

Believe it or not, the answers to these questions are not clear cut. Plea bargaining a Pasadena DUI case is an art and a science… although you neglect the “science part” at your own risk.

Here are two factors to weigh heavily:

1. The opinion of an experienced successful Pasadena DUI defense attorney.

Your attorney should have lots of practical experience dealing with cases like yours. So if he or she suggests that you plead guilty to a lesser offense, consider that advice strongly. Of course, not all attorneys will always agree on the best tactics and strategies to be used. If you want a second opinion about your case, please connect with attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today. Not only is Mr. Kraut a well regarded Pasadena DUI attorney, but he’s also a former prosecutor, so he’s spent time negotiating DUI cases on both sides.

2. What you’ll risk if you lose vs. what you’ll get if you win.

If you fight the charges tooth and nail and lose, what would the worst case outcome be? How would that be different from what would happen if you accepted a plea arrangement? Will you have to spend several more weeks in jail? Will you lose your license for a full year instead of a month or two? Weigh the pros and cons of the extreme outcomes against one another. Consider them in the context of the probabilities.

For instance, speaking frankly, your attorney might think that you’ll only have a 15% chance of prevailing at a trial. Is that risk worth it to you? Is the expense of going all the way to trial worth it? There is no one right answer for everyone.

To deal with your Pasadena DUI charges, turn to the thorough attorneys at the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is a widely respected Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor. He amassed a track record of over 99% success at jury trials when he was with the DA’s office.

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On some level, you recognize that your Burbank DUI arrest could have lingering effects for months or even years. what-if-burbank-dui.jpg

You can’t help but wonder: “what if?”

• What if you had taken a different route home and avoided the checkpoint on Olive?
• What if you’d had one fewer drink, and you only blew a 0.06% on the breath test… instead of a 0.10% on the breath test, like you did (thus putting you over the legal limit, per California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b))?
• What if you had stayed in that night instead of partying with your friends?

These kinds of scenarios — known as counterfactuals — can drive anyone a bit crazy. If you had done a few small things differently, you wouldn’t have a huge Burbank DUI defense crisis on your hands.

To protect your sanity — and to ensure that you stay focused on what needs to be done — put the counterfactuals aside. What happened, happened. You got a Burbank DUI. That’s reality.

If this was your first arrest — and you didn’t hurt anybody — prosecutors might only try to tag you with a misdemeanor. If convicted, you can still face punishments like jail time, probation, and California license suspension. If you committed a more serious crime — like hit-and-run or an injury DUI — prosecutors can ask the court for harsher penalties, such as longer jail time and long-term restrictions on your driver’s license and other rights.

Regret is a natural emotion. But it’s only useful if it helps to direct your activities and your thoughts. Rather than focus on what you should have done, focus on what you’d like to happen now.

Imagine if everything “went your way.” What would that future look like? Would it mean that all your charges would be dismissed? Would it mean that you’d get away with a relatively minor punishment? If you caused an injury DUI in Burbank, would it mean that the person you hit fully recovered and forgave you?

Try to get as clear as possible about what you’d love to happen. Then direct your energies to that end. There is a strategic reason for doing this exercise. When you have a crystal picture of what you want to accomplish, you will find it easier to get motivated and to take the actions you need to take to make that inviting vision a reality.

Let the Kraut Law Group help you on this journey by providing a free, private consultation. We can help you understand your charges and construct and deliver a sound Burbank DUI defense.

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To prevent a Beverly Hills DUI arrest, you should rely on designated drivers. Right? designated-driver-beverly-hills-DUI.jpg

That’s the conventional wisdom.

But a new study out of the University of Florida in Gainesville is putting that conventional wisdom to the test. According to a June 10th article at LiveScience.com, “roughly 40% of designated drivers still imbibe when they go out, many to a level that would impair them behind the wheel.”

Researchers surveyed club goers in a college town. They gave breath tests to over 1,000 people, including 165 people who labeled themselves “designated drivers.” They tested these people twice – once at 10 P.M and once at 2:30 A.M. 40% – that’s 4 out of 10! – of the so-called designated drivers drank. 70% of these people had BACs of between 0.02% and 0.049%. 18% – nearly a fifth of all designated drivers — had BAC levels in excess of 0.05%.

As regular readers of this Beverly Hills DUI blog might remember, that 0.05% figure has been in the news a lot recently. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants to lower the DUI cut-off down to 0.05%. (Currently, the Southern California DUI cut off is still at 0.08% for most adults).

Adam Barry, an Assistant Professor of Health Education, helped run this study. He told reporters that many designated drivers probably think that they’re all right to hop behind the wheel… even when they shouldn’t. Barry issued a sobering statement: “if you’re going to be a designated driver, you should abstain from alcohol use completely.”

That may be easier said and done. But if you’ve already been arrested for driving under the influence in Beverly Hills, what can you do now to contend with your charges and make better decisions about your future?

Rather than relying on intuition or building your Beverly Hills DUI defense based on what you read on the web or hear from friends, connect with the team at the Kraut Law Group to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Attorney Michael Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor who has earned a reputation as an extremely experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. He’s helped many clients just like you deal with complex DUI in Beverly Hills charges.

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