Articles Posted in Driving Under the Influence

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

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

notorious-ingrid-bergman-cary-grant-300x225Continuing our examination of DUI as reflected in popular culture and media, let’s shift our focus from music and television to the film industry.

DUI in Film

While the depiction of DUI on TV drastically changed in the 1980s, and while DUI in popular music has been both consistent and prolific, the film industry perhaps falls somewhere in the middle of these extremes. While the movies certainly don’t shy away from this topic, neither does the industry as a whole appear to carry any particular agenda—which makes an examination of this medium a bit more complex. Perhaps the best approach is to look at a few specific examples of DUI in films—both classic and modern—to see what we can learn.

DUI-myths-vs-realityAs much as we are bombarded with media messages and warnings to avoid drinking and driving—and the consequences if we ignore those warnings—it’s remarkable how much the public doesn’t understand about DUI, especially here in Los Angeles. In particular, people who get pulled over on suspicion of DUI frequently have inaccurate preconceived ideas about what officers can and cannot do, what might cause an arrest, whether or not the charges will stick, and so on.

To be clear, you should never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking, and nothing we’re about to say should be construed as suggesting otherwise. However, people frequently misjudge their own thresholds, and even people who haven’t been drinking sometimes find themselves under roadside investigation for DUI. Let’s dispel a few commonly held myths about DUI in Los Angeles (and the rest of California, for that matter) and replace them with the facts.

MYTH: Only people who have been drinking are arrested for DUI.

DUI-child-endangerment-CA-300x199Here in California, a single DUI can disrupt your life significantly. Even if you’ve been arrested for your first DUI, it can cost you fines, jail time and license suspension if you are convicted.

However, if you were arrested for DUI with children in the car, your world is about to get a whole lot more complicated. If you drive under the influence, you are considered a threat to public safety, let alone yourself. But if your kids are in the car when you do it, now you’re looking at possible child endangerment—a whole other issue that can add mandatory jail time and more to your sentence.

The repercussions of driving DUI with kids in the car extend well beyond the arrest itself. Let’s look at the numerous possible consequences of doing so.

As the Ne2018-habits-to-improve-driving-for-DUI-defedants-300x150w Year gets underway, millions of people are trying to keep those resolutions they made over the holidays. Some of the most common resolutions are health related (e.g., get in shape, quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthy). However, let me propose an alternative resolution if you haven’t picked one yet: What about learning better driving habits (especially if police recently stopped you for a Los Angeles DUI)? Becoming a safer driver could be the healthiest choice of all—because it affects not just you, but everyone around you. Here in California where good driving habits seem scarce, why not become the exception to the rule? Let’s take a look at three smart driving habits you should consider adopting this year.

1. Know When Not to Drive

Ironically, one of the most important decisions you can make as a driver is the decision to let someone else get behind the wheel. If you’ve ever been arrested for DUI, this issue should be top-of-mind. However, avoiding DUI begins long before you find yourself in a bad situation. It starts with a quality decision not to drive if you indulge in alcohol or drugs, and moves forward from there.

self-driving-car-DUI-300x169Few people these days would dispute the idea that fully autonomous vehicles are in our future, probably sooner than we think. Many of our cars are already parking for us, many are equipped to brake automatically to avoid collisions, and many self-driving prototypes are already in development. But what will these advancements do to our current DUI laws? Will our cars truly be so autonomous that intoxicated drivers will be able to use them as taxis? Will DUI laws become obsolete?

Not so fast.

At the annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which took place in Louisville, KY in September, autonomous vehicles dominated the conversation, particularly in the context of open container laws. “Autonomous vehicles can be a designated driver,” said Russ Martin, director of government relations for the GHSA in comments after the meeting. “But at a certain point the law is going to have to draw a line somewhere as when it’s safe to do so…Right now, in most states it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol while you’re driving…What about open container laws? Do they need to be modified or qualified, depending on the level of automation?”

With just two months to go until 2018 arrives, it’s a good time to take a look at some of the highlights—or lowlights—of DUI arrests that have been reported around the country this year.tiger-woods-DUI-300x168

1. Off course

Tiger Woods, once the most celebrated golfer in the world, hasn’t been at the top of his game for some time. But his May arrest for DUI may have marked an unfortunate new low in the athlete’s life.

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