Articles Posted in Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol in Burbank, you are probably wondering how you’ll be charged, whether you’ll go to jail, and what you can do, if anything, to battle back. The law regarding marijuana DUI is rapidly evolving. And it’s evolving not just here in California but also in other states. marijuana-dui-long-beach.jpg

Last week, Colorado lawmakers scuttled a bill that would have created a “BAC-like” level for marijuana DUI. Colorado house bill 12S-1005 was defeated by a razor thin margin; had it passed, then Colorado drivers who drove with a THC level of more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood could be charged and convicted of a serious crime. The District Attorney for Boulder County told lawmakers that 15% of the impaired driving cases he sees involve marijuana, and that the vast majority of these cases require a lot of work and time to manage.

The D.A. and others argued that there need to be some standards. Law enforcement officials – and drivers and citizens – need to know what’s allowed and what’s not allowed, so they can make safer decisions and more efficient law enforcement decisions.

Opponents of the measure argued that the 5 nanogram THC level is an unfair standard, for a variety of reasons:

• Some marijuana users have a higher tolerance to the drug than others – thus one could have a high THC level in the blood and still be perfectly sober and capable of driving;
• The chemical THC gets stored in the people’s fat cells, so there is a latency effect. You can be stone sober, but the residual marijuana in the fat cells could screw up your reading and lead to unfair convictions;
• There is no clear method by which marijuana users can test themselves to know whether they are sober enough to drive – like there is with (admittedly flawed) devices like Burbank DUI breathalyzer tests.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested and charged with a marijuana DUI in Burbank or elsewhere in the Southland, Southern California criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut of the Burbank’s Kraut Law Group (2600 West Olive Avenue, 5th Floor, Burbank, California 91505 Phone: (818) 563-9810) can advise you and help you build a responsible, effective strategy to win back your freedom, protect your privileges, and move on with your life.

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Driving under the influence in Pasadena (or anywhere else on earth, for that matter) is a dangerous and reckless act. Countless studies show that drivers who are DUI are less capable of responding to surprises on the road, more likely to get into injury accidents and cause property damage, and so forth. texting-while-driving-pasadena.jpg

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you do not need yet another lesson from a Los Angeles DUI attorney about why this behavior should not be done.

But here’s something interesting! We don’t recognize that other acts that we do behind the wheel may be as dangerous – or perhaps even more dangerous – than DUI. Take texting while driving, for instance. Now, you may be familiar with reports like the famous Virginia Tech study from a few years ago that found that truck drivers who drove while text messaging were something like 20 times more likely than non-texting drivers to get into injury accidents. That’s 20 with a “2” and a “0.” Other studies from reputable institutions (you can Google around if you’re really curious) have basically come to the conclusion: driving while texting is as dangerous as driving under the influence in Pasadena if not significantly more so.

That being said, most people have an extremely difficult time really “grokking” this concept. The legal system certainly has not caught up with the science. Yes, driving while texting in California is illegal, and you can get punished. But compare the punishments for driving while texting with the punishments for DUI in Pasadena: mandatory jail time, interlock ignition device installed in your car, massive fines and fees and other costs, huge insurance inconveniences, loss of reputation, mandatory alcohol school, and so forth and so on.

Imagine if you had even close to similar punishments for driving while texting. Try telling a teenager who text messages 60 times a day that she can’t text for the next six months. See what happens. Or imagine if a driver caught text messaging had to spend 8 weeks at a class about the dangers of texting while driving.

This is not to argue that we should necessarily be more lenient on people who break laws like California Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) but rather that things should be more even handed. If driving while texting is statistically the equivalent (or worse) of driving while DUI, shouldn’t we apply our moral standards appropriately?

Having said all that, if you’ve already been tagged for a DUI, you are probably less concerned with fixing the strange artifacts of our justice system than you are with avoiding jail time, keeping your license, and cleaning up after the stop and arrest.

To that end, talk to Pasadena DUI criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut. As a former prosecutor who established the Kraut Law Group (790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th floor, Pasadena, California 91101 Phone: (626) 345-1899 ) after spending 14 years on “the other side,” Attorney Kraut boasts a terrific reputation not just among clients but among judges and his legal peers. He regularly provides expert commentary for news media like KTLA, the New York Times, Fox News, and the Los Angeles Times.

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As regular readers know, driving under the influence of drugs like marijuana in Burbank is a crime punishable with penalties like jail time, mandatory substance abuse education classes, license suspension, and other penalties. Those direct consequences probably don’t even paint a full enough picture. If you lose your license, you will find it very difficult to get around Burbank –go to your job, attend classes, etc. If convicted of a Burbank drug DUI, your car insurance rates will almost certainly spike, which means that you may pay thousands of dollars extra over the next several years.marijuana-burbank-drug-dui.jpg

In other words, if you’ve been stopped, it’s a big, big deal.

But while the science of how alcohol impairs driving is pretty well established, the science of how marijuana use changes driving is far younger.

The latest battle field over drugged driving is the Rocky Mountains, where Colorado lawmakers are vigorously debating Senate Bill 117. On the surface, 117 is a pretty straight forward law. If it passes, then drivers in Colorado who test to have five nanograms or more of the active substance in marijuana (THC) in a blood sample will be subject to penalties. The five nanograms cut off is not novel. Pennsylvania uses a similar limit. Ohio actually has a stricter limit – two nanograms. Certain states, such as Rhode Island and Illinois, have a zero-tolerance rule for THC.

Colorado might not be as “progressive” in its attitude towards marijuana as is California (or at least certain parts of California). But it’s definitely a “purple state” in terms of the marijuana debate. It’s home to a lively and robust conversation about marijuana’s dangers and benefits.

On Monday, a Senate panel in Colorado voted in favor of sending Senate Bill 117 to the full chamber for a vote. If it passes, it will cost around $500,000 to implement. This law could have ramifications for other states considering similar measures. Marijuana advocates, such as Dr. Paul Bergman, argued that the recommended blood test should not be used: “nobody…wants to have drug driving policies, but there is a disagreement of per se limits in chronic users.” People who use medicinal marijuana regularly may have elevated THC levels due to the fact that THC is stored in fat tissue, for instance.

A different expert from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Cynthia Burbach, pushed the other way. She pointed out that law enforcement officers are requesting more and more THC tests every year.

This short blog post obviously cannot examine, parse and weigh in on the fundamental science behind the recommendations, arguments and counter-arguments. But the debate is certainly lively.

Of course, if you are searching for a Los Angeles drug DUI lawyer, you are probably less concerned about what’s going on remotely in Colorado and more concerned about what’s going on in your case. Will you have to serve jail time? What should you do to be preparing for your case? Were the tests used on you valid? If so, what do you do next? If not, how can you refute the results?

For help with all these questions and more, turn to Burbank drug DUI criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut. Attorney Kraut served for nearly a decade and a half as a LA prosecutor – going after people who committed crimes like drug DUI – before becoming a criminal defense attorney and founding the Kraut Law Group (2600 West Olive Avenue, 5th Floor, Burbank, California 91505 Phone: (818) 563-9810). He is an extremely respected lawyer and thinker with a great record at jury trials and history of getting results in difficult circumstances.

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You recently got stopped for driving under the influence in Pasadena. Whether you got tagged at a checkpoint or pulled over on the 5 or 210, the arrest has thrown your life into chaos. It wasn’t as if your life was “perfectly in order” before. But now, you’re faced with challenges like a potential driver license suspension, jail time, huge court costs and other fees, spiked insurance rates, trouble at work, and the pain and embarrassment of having to explain what happened to your friends, colleagues, and family.why-pasadena-DUI.jpg

As any experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer will tell you, putting out all these fires can be a complex and emotionally difficult business. However, in your rush to put out the fires, you may forget to do the deep, penetrating analysis that you need to do to prevent additional troubles, including future Pasadena DUI arrests.

You probably don’t need to be reminded that Pasadena DUI “recidivists” get punished more than first timers do. Each time you get rearrested, you face stricter punishments with respect to license suspension, alcohol school, fines and fees, jail time, and beyond. To get at the root cause of what created your situation, you need to be honest and objective – you need to be able to think and do some introspection.

The typical Glendale DUI defendant often has a lot to complain about. Sketchy police behavior, a daunting bureaucracy, and less than sympathetic colleagues and family members can make your situation more complicated and fraught than it already is. However, the real problem may lie even deeper.glendale-DUI-treatment.jpg

Say you have substance abuse issues. You might diagnose yourself as “addicted” to substances like alcohol, narcotics, pain killers, prescription drugs, et cetera. So the question of whether you’re being “treated fairly” has a double meaning. Are you being “treated fairly” by the Los Angeles DUI defense system? Are you being “treated fairly” for Glendale DUI rehab?

Addiction: Caused by Powerlessness… or a Misplaced Attempt to Empower?

As any Los Angeles DUI attorney will tell you, the dominant treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is the 12 step program. One animating principle behind this approach is that addicts must admit that they are “powerless” over drugs and alcohol to regain control. Most treatment approaches build off this assumption. We believe that behaviors like drinking too much or eating too much or doing anything else in excess stem from impulse control. Unless you acknowledge that you are “acting out” in a destructive way – and work towards suppressing that “acting out” – you’ll likely fail to get your problems under control.

The bottom line: you’re likely to become a Glendale DUI recidivist. As we have talked before on this blog, the more times you get arrested for Glendale DUI, the more trouble you can get into – a person who gets a third misdemeanor conviction within 10 years, for instance, can see their charges bumped from misdemeanor to felony.

An alternate point of view suggests that addictive behaviors are rooted in our need for empowerment. Think back to the last time you “craved” a drink or a smoke or even some time to play video games on the internet. Odds are, you probably had an unhappy or frustrating thought prior to that impulse. Maybe you fought with your boss or spouse. Or maybe you got cut off in traffic.

Once you make the decision to have a drink — to do the addictive behavior — you automatically start to feel better. Taking this action reestablishes your sense of power and control over your life. Think about what that means! You are inspired to take these destructive actions because you need MORE power over your life – not less! Thus, treatment approaches rooted in trying to strip you or your power are going to encounter resistance, since they’re approaching the situation backwards. You need better STRATEGIES for finding how to get/maintain control that don’t involve alcohol or dangerous substances or behaviors.

For help dealing with a charge like driving under the influence in Glendale, connect with a prominent Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group (450 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 600, Glendale, California 91203 Phone: (818) 507-9123 ) now.

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It’s one thing if you or a neighbor or a co-worker gets arrested for Glendale DUI. That, in and of itself, is kind of disturbing. But what if one of the nation’s top safety experts gets arrested for driving on the wrong side of the road while under the influence of alcohol? How would you feel? Would you feel dismayed? Flabbergasted? Outraged? All of the above?Randy-Babbitts-mugshot-DUI.jpg

This is not a theoretical example. It actually happened the weekend before last, when 65-year-old Jerome Randolph Babbitt, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, was arrested for DUI in Fairfax, Virginia, then taken to an adult detention center.

According to the Washington Post, Babbitt has requested a leave of absence from his position in the wake of the arrest. He had been serving a five-year term. Michael Huerta, the Deputy Administrator of the FAA, will take over in Babbitt’s absence.

On some level, the jaded among us have grown to expect this kind of behavior even from our highest elected and appointed officials. On another level, we also recognize the inherent dangers of driving under the influence in Glendale and elsewhere. We find ourselves caught up in paroxysms of anger and despair as we contemplate these misdeeds.

Here is another way to think about Glendale DUI arrests – and arrests for DUI elsewhere in America including Fairfax, Virginia and beyond. It is a far more empathetic, compassionate, and non-judgmental way to think. This way probes the fundamental causes of misbehavior and bad judgments. This way asks questions like: Why might someone like Babbitt drive under the influence or drive on the wrong side of the street? What circumstances might have influenced this decision? What can we do to prevent Glendale DUI injury accidents? What incentives, disincentives, social pressures and educational resources will make the roads safer and instill a sense of community among drivers?

This discussion may be a bit theoretical if you or someone you care about faces a scary charge of Glendale DUI pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) or 23152(b). Fortunately, you need not fight this battle all on your own. An aggressive, results-focused Glendale DUI criminal defense attorney from the Kraut Law Group (450 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 600, Glendale, California 91203 Phone: (818) 507-9123) can help you assess your situation and fight the charges against you. Mr. Kraut is an experienced former prosecutor with a Harvard Law School background, and he has served as a legal expert for the Los Angeles Times, KTLA, and even US Weekly.

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When you read about celebrities (or even relatives of celebrities) arrested for driving under the influence in Long Beach or elsewhere in the Southland, you have to feel a certain amount of sympathy and sadness. Celebrities, actors, politicians, well-healed CEOs and others who get into trouble with the Long Beach DUI laws inevitably face not only protracted legal troubles but also embarrassment and shame because, as important figure heads, they “should have known better.” So guilt and shame likely compound the already stressful situation.griffin-oneal-dui.jpg

Last week, Griffin O’Neal – son of actor Ryan O’Neal and daughter of the late great actress Farah Fawcett – pled guilty to felony charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and driving under the influence, according to a San Diego Union Tribune report. The 47-year-old had a strike on his record for a 1992 vehicular shooting in Los Angeles. He didn’t hit anyone with the bullets, but he did shoot up a car, apparently.

Griffin collided head first with a car in San Pasqual, CA last August. The Union Tribune reports that “toxicology test revealed that O’Neal had amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and Xanax in his blood at the time of collision…(in addition) raw cocaine and loaded weapons were found in (his) vehicle.”

Interestingly enough, Griffin’s half brother, Redmond, had been stopped and arrested in Santa Monica the day of his crash, after police officers found heroin in Redmond’s car.

Once you’ve been arrested for a drug DUI in Long Beach, multiple alarm bells should probably go off. You don’t have to be Dr. Drew or a licensed psychotherapist to at least postulate that significant demons must be plaguing poor Mr. O’Neal. The question for anyone concerned with Long Beach DUI safety is: what should be done to treat people who are convicted for Long Beach drug DUI? And within the context of “what’s best for the defendant,” what can we do collectively to make our roads safer and more DUI driver proof?

These are obviously two huge questions – bigger than this blog post can tackle effectively. However, it’s at least helpful to raise them. The more we collectively think deeply about the news – not just scan it and gulp it down, but actually take the time to process its meaning and introspect on it – the better strategic thinking we will develop as a result.

On a more, specific, pragmatic note, if you need a Long Beach DUI criminal defense attorney, consider talking to Harvard Law School educated former prosecutor Michael Kraut of Long Beach’s Kraut Law Group (444 West Ocean, Suite 800 Long Beach, California 90802 Phone: (562) 531-7454). Attorney Kraut is a well regarded and well connected attorney who has excellent knowledge of the system and a deep and practical understanding of what it takes to win a DUI defense case.

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Obviously, anyone charged with a serious crime like driving under the influence in Pasadena needs to take proactive, responsible, strategic action. The consequences of a less than stellar Pasadena DUI defense could mean anything from extensive and unnecessary jail time to catastrophic destruction of your personal and professional reputation.michael-jackson-propofol-doctor-trial.jpg

But in the grand scheme of things, you can at least be thankful that you are not sitting in the hot seat currently occupied by the late Michael Jackson’s erstwhile physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. Last week, Jacko’s personal physician squared off against prosecutors at Los Angeles County Superior Court (Judge Michael Pastor presiding). Drama started the day before opening statements, when the judge two made pivotal rulings – one that Murray’s attorneys no doubt cheered and one that they jeered.

Defense Attorneys Cheered (Probably):

Prosecutors will not be allowed to tell jurors that investigators contacted Murray four times to re-interview him. According to a Los Angeles Times report: “The physician and his lawyer met with police for a lengthy interview two days after Jackson died, but an e-mail and phone calls to the attorney and Murray’s office were not returned.”

Defense Attorneys Jeered (Probably):

Jurors will not get to see a video of Michael Jackson’s last ever news conference. Murray’s lawyers wanted to include the footage, which allegedly “showed Jackson “under the influence” in public three months before his death and…established that the singer had agreed to a comeback concert series of just 10 “This Is It” shows and not the 50 ultimately scheduled.”

The 58-year-old Murray faces up to four years in jail as well as the loss of his license to practice medicine if the jury convicts him of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors are trying to build a case that Murray gave Jackson propofol, an anesthetic used in surgery, to help the pop star sleep – a clear and scary violation of physician norms. Murray’s camp, however, contends that the King of Pop dosed himself to death.

Jacko’s doctors legal woes notwithstanding, if you face Pasadena DUI charges, your mind is likely completely consumed with your potential punishments and possible opportunities to fight back. What strategies should you adopt? What Pasadena DUI criminal attorney can you trust to protect your rights and ensure that you get the best possible outcome?

These are important questions to think about. Attorney Michael Kraut of Pasadena’s Kraut Law Group (790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th floor, Pasadena, California 91101 Phone: (626) 345-1899) would be happy to speak with you about what you might be able to do to improve your legal situation. Not only does Attorney Kraut have a Harvard Law School education, a great record at jury trials, and experience as a former prosecutor (14+ years as a Deputy DA for Los Angeles) but he’s also been featured as a legal expert for Legal Broadcast Network, U.S. Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, and KTLA Channel 5.

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From Perez Hilton on downwards, bloggers and other media players who cover stories about driving under the influence in Long Beach (and elsewhere in SoCal) love to obsess over, speculate on, and pontificate about celebrity DUI arrests. The blogosphere lights up whenever a politician in Oregon is busted for riding his lawn mower while DUI, a pop star princess is busted for a Long Beach drug DUI on a return trip from Vegas, or a football player embarrasses his franchise by hitting three parked cars in one night after partying with his pals at a fancy South Miami club.perez-hilton-celebrity-DUI.jpg

Obviously, these cases are entertaining, though theories abound as to why. Some deep thinkers suggest that the whole “let’s take a celebrity down a notch or two” attitude has its roots in the nature of the American myth. Others point to more simplistic Freudian and other physiological reasons. Irrespective of why we engage in voyeurism over celebrity DUI arrests, we do it.

A better question is: Is this media coverage helping people, harming them, doing both or doing neither? Let’s take a look at each of these possibilities.

Helping People

When the blogosphere exposes the latest careless or negligent celebrity, he or she is often painted as a clown or a danger to society. In other words, you don’t want to emulate that person. Thus, one can argue that Long Beach celebrity DUI news serves as a social deterrent.

The coverage also raises discussions about the perils of DUI driving by ruminating over the punishments (jail time, license suspensions, destruction of reputation, you name it), and thus these stories can serve as cautionary tales.

Hurting

On the flipside, one could make a compelling argument that these stories cheapen the problem of DUI. Since these stories circulate so often, our impression is that this is a relatively common thing to do. If people we look up to are doing it, we can probably do it ourselves.

Then there is also the problem of celebrities “getting off” relatively easily. For every story about Lindsay Lohan being tearfully condemned to a jail sentence, you can find three or four Long Beach celebrity DUI stories about football players, politicians, pop stars, etc. getting off with a proverbial slap on the wrist. Readers might be led to believe that driving DUI is (relatively) inconsequential.

The Neutral

Some readers might think this analysis is unnecessary, that a news story is just a news story. Drivers don’t really “take their cues” from what celebrities do or do not do on the roads. And there might be some truth to this side as well.

All of the Above

We also need to consider that there might be some truth to all three positions. Depending on the circumstances –the celebrity involved, the nature of the offense, your ability to relate (or not) with the celebrity, etc. –a news story might be helpful, harmful, or neutral to you.

For practical help with a Long Beach DUI, turn to an experienced attorney: Mr. Michael Kraut of Long Beach’s Kraut Law Group (444 West Ocean, Suite 800 Long Beach, California 90802 Phone: (562) 531-7454). Attorney Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated former prosecutor who can give you powerful advice about how to deal with any charges, no matter how complex.

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What causes people to drive under the influence in Burbank, and what can stop them?ignition_interlock-Los-Angeles_DUI.jpg

These questions obsess lawmakers, policymakers, police, and analysts who cover news about DUI in Los Angeles, Burbank DUI, Pasadena DUI, and Glendale DUI.

Most solutions concentrate on driver behavior. Policymakers try to deter drivers from consuming alcohol, narcotics, and prescription medications before getting behind the wheel. And they punish people who violate these rules and laws — not only to send a message but also to “clear the roads” of dangerous drivers.

A new movement has cropped up that’s focusing on looking beyond behavior. This new crop of DUI analysts believes that technology may be able to play a vital role in terms of reducing the number of crashes and the severity of injuries.

A recent story in the Washington Examiner analyzed a proposed Maryland law that would compel anyone convicted of driving DUI with a BAC of 0.15% or greater to install an interlock ignition device (IID). (0.15% BAC is nearly twice the BAC for Burbank DUI, as specified in California Vehicle Code Section 23152).

As this blog has discussed at length, California has started a mandatory IID installation program of its own – and Los Angeles County is one of the test counties.

This technology-centered approach to ending DUIs makes some sense.

But rather than getting mired in the debate about the rightness or wrongness of this conclusion – one could probably also paint an argument that first time offenders are penalized too much – let’s think bigger picture.

Maybe correcting behavior alone is not enough. And maybe technology won’t solve our problems either. Maybe we need a solution that is more humanistic, diverse and social science based. In other words, instead of continuing to trust old broken systems or shooting for the moon and hoping that some random new technology will solve all our problems, let’s take a deeper look at what makes drivers do the things they do.

One hard to ignore factor is social contagion.

Human beings like to fit in. That’s a deep human need. Peer pressure is an enormously powerful factor. And policymakers surely do not leverage this factor well enough.

For instance, we all know that Burbank DUI arrests spike around national holidays, like New Year’s Eve, the 4th of July, and the Super Bowl. This is because there is a social contagion effect going on. More people party. More people drink. More people get behind the wheel.

Thinking in terms of social contagion leads us to cool new solutions. For instance, what if we focused on making DUI behavior look less cool? We need not necessarily increase punishments. Rather, we need only source and address the core, often counterintuitive motivating factors. Perhaps we would make better progress.

In any event, from a practical point of view, if you have a question about a Burbank DUI, you likely want to speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Mr. Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group (2600 West Olive Avenue, 5th Floor Burbank, California 91505 (818) 563-9810) has ample experience – not just as a defense attorney but also as a former prosecutor. His experienced on both sides of cases gives him a profound and unique vantage, which he can bring to bear to deliver strategic results for you.

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