Articles Posted in DUI and Child Endangerment

In the United States, an average of 20 people a minute suffer physical abuse at the hands of a spouse or an intimate partner. That’s equal to more than 10 million men and women each year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Although intimate partners of both sexes suffer abuse, the majority of those abused are women; every nine seconds in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten.domestic-violence-los-angeles

But domestic violence includes more than physical abuse. The U.S. Department of Justice’ Office on Violence Against Women defines it as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship to gain or maintain power over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten terrorize, to coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.”

What causes someone to inflict this kind of pain on the people they are supposed to love the most? Writing on medicinenet.com, Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards notes that domestic abuse can involve partners of all races, religions, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation. But certain risk factors do appear to be associated with domestic violence, including lack of a high school education, poverty, witnessing family violence as a child and attitudes of male domination.

Some drivers charged with DUI in Los Angeles have had a life-long struggle with alcohol. No matter what the consequences, they can’t stop drinking. DUI-with-children

Michelle Colby of Valparaiso, Indiana, may have such a problem. After making bail on a DUI charge stemming from a crash involving five children last April, she is now back in jail after failing a home breath test.

On April 29th, Colby was carrying five young passengers, including two of her own children, when she failed to yield to another vehicle when making a turn. The driver of the other car and all of Colby’s passengers ended up in the hospital. The crash threw a child and a dog out of Jeep; the child survived, but the dog did not. Police at the scene said that Colby had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on her breath; a breathalyzer test showed a 0.22 blood alcohol reading.

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You can be arrested for Los Angeles DUI whether you’re an out-of-state tourist tooling around in a rented convertible or a homegrown Angelino driving a car you’ve owned since high school. However, no matter what vehicle you drive, your legal problems will be significantly compounded if underage kids or teenagers are in the car with you.school-bus-dui-in-los-angeles

Consider the following situation out of Tennessee. Police responded to a request for help from a high school band: their charter bus, parked in front of a museum, apparently had a problem with one of its tires. Allen Newcomer, 51, allegedly drove the students on a trip from California Area High School in Western Pennsylvania to Nashville, Tennessee. His passengers included members of the high school band and their chaperones–38 students (all but seven under age 18) and 17 chaperones and teachers.

As they spoke with Newcomer, Nashville police officers began to suspect that the bus driver had a problem. Their first clue? He had “an obvious amount” of white powdery substance in his nostrils.

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Police officers may arrest multiple drivers for a Los Angeles DUI within a short period for time when they’re conducting sobriety check points, but it’s not as usual for them to nab two DUI drivers at a time at a traffic stop.singing-in-car-dui-los-angeels

When a Florida Highway Patrol officer pulled 31-year-old Josue Moncado over for reckless driving on I-75 near Ocala, he smelled alcohol on his breath. The officer had just arrested Josue when his sister, Ercilia Moncado, pulled up and began arguing with the trooper. Another officer called to the scene ended up arresting the woman for DUI as well; she allegedly tried to escape from the patrol car, but officers managed to quickly recapture her.
No word on whether the Moncado siblings got adjoining cells.

Also a nominee in the category of “drivers who appear to be begging for a DUI arrest” is a woman recently arrested by the California Highway Patrol. The unnamed driver had allegedly stopped her car in the middle of the freeway, climbed up on the roof and began dancing. She apparently was a real entertainer; as the CHP troopers approached, she began singing as well.

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People charged with DUI in Los Angeles come from many different professions, including schoolteachers, college professors, principals and other educators. Since the public usually holds educators to a higher standard of behavior–they are supposed to be role models for our children–their arrests for DUI generally get a fair amount of coverage in local media.
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In Meriden, Connecticut, Platt High School Principal Robert Montemurro took sick leave after news of his arrest for DUI hit the news. The 56-year-old Montemurro had been involved in an accident on the main street of town. Police arrived, investigated and charged the principal with DUI.

Matthew B. Lucchini, 26, a Phys ed instructor at a Chicago, Illinois, elementary school, faces more serious charges. He hit sisters Jazmine Oquendo, 14, and Ava Oquendo, 7, while they were walking in a marked crosswalk. He fled the scene with the sisters lying in the road. But police soon caught up with Lucchini and charged him with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and negligent driving.

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Drivers convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles face a variety of penalties, including fines, loss of license and time in jail. A judge may show some leniency but usually reserves the right to reinstate punishments (including jail time) if the person violates the terms of parole.Carol-Ferdigan-dui

This summer, Carol Ferdigan pled guilty to charges of vehicular homicide in the horrific deaths of her husband and her son-in-law. The judge released her pending sentence this fall, but she had to promise to refrain from drinking alcohol and to wear a transdermal alcohol sensing device. In early October, that device showed that Ferdigan had been drinking and that her blood alcohol content tipped 0.16% BAC, twice the legal limit, per California Vehicle Code section 23152(b).

That violation sent Ferdigan back to King County Jail to await sentencing on October 23rd.

The deaths occurred in May 2014, when Ferdigan had been enjoying a meal with several family members in her home in Sammamish, Washington. Ferdigan left the table to move her Jeep, but she apparently had consumed so much alcohol that she mistook the accelerator for the brake. She pressed the gas repeatedly, plowing through her home, smashing the table where her family sat and continuing into Lake Sammamish. The crash killed her husband and her son-in-law and badly injured her daughter.

Ferdigan wasn’t hurt; neither was her young grandson, who had been sitting on her lap while she went on her deadly drive.

Ferdigan’s blood alcohol content measured 0.16%, and she allegedly was also driving under the influence of Ambien.
The 69-year-old grandmother ended up taking a guilty plea on charges of reckless endangerment-DUI, with a recommendation

that the court sentence her to six years in prison instead of the 10-13 years she might otherwise have faced.
The justice system isn’t taking any chances with Ferdigan this time; the court denied her bail request. This incident could also influence the judge, who may—but does not have to—follow the sentencing recommendations in her plea deal.

Respond strategically to your arrest and charges by calling a former Senior Deputy D.A. and highly successful Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group today for a complimentary consultation.

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It’s hard to imagine police arresting your friendly neighborhood ice cream man for a DUI in Los Angeles. However, police officers in one Oregon city had to perform that not-so-sweet duty one day in early July.ice-cream-man-DUI-los-angeles

Residents of the Corneilus community had been accustomed to buying ice cream cones, popsicles and other frozen treats from Noe Andrade-Silva, age 38. They knew him by his distinctive ice cream sales vehicle, a 1994 Plymouth Voyager with a sliding door covered in colorful pictures of his products.

While neighborhood kids might have been keeping a hopeful eye out for Andrade-Silva on Friday, July 10th, adults in the area didn’t like what they saw his Voyager doing on the road. They called police, reporting that the colorful van had turned into oncoming traffic and had hit a curb twice.

Police pulled Andrade-Silva over, and the ice cream man allegedly failed several sobriety tests. Officers then took him to Washington County Jail after charging him with a DUI. Fortunately, the police did permit Andrade-Silva’s wife to take the van home, so that she could save the stock of ice cream treats that the vehicle carried.

In a related article on KATU.com, neighbors expressed concern about the ice cream driver operating under the influence in an area where so many children play. They thanked officers for responding so quickly and worried that, had Andrade-Silva’s truck gone out of control, neighborhood kids might have suffered injury.

It’s unlikely that Andrade-Silva will find many customers if he decides to return to that neighborhood. As one resident commented, “Nobody wants any DUI ice cream.”

How should you respond to your recent and disarming charges? Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer (and ex-prosecutor) with nearly two decades of relevant legal experience.

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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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bus-driver-dui-los-angelesObviously, we are of the opinion that the crime of driving under the influence in Los Angeles is a complex issue and that many people who stand accused of this charge need compassion and insight as opposed to punishment and neglect.

However, we also deeply believe in protecting our community and making sure that the roads are safe for everyone. The whole point of what we aim to do (and also what police officers and prosecutors aim to do) is to make our city safe and livable.

To wit, the arrest of 59-year-old Robert E. Murphy of Ashland, Massachusetts raises profound questions about how and when convicted DUI drivers should be allowed to engage in certain types of commercial driving activity.

Mr. Murphy was a school bus driver who had been convicted twice of DUI. Police just arrested him yet again for allegedly driving DUI with a bus full of high school age cross-country athletes. According to local reports from the Boston Herald, police arrested him Saturday evening in the parking lot of a local high school after a coach alerted authorities. Police put Murphy through a series of field sobriety tests and arrested him on charges of operating a motor vehicle to endanger and a third DUI offense.

Obviously, Murphy’s story is less dramatic than the tale we covered a few weeks ago about the Utah bus driver who allegedly drove DUI for nearly 40 miles on the freeway, weaving around the road, while carrying elementary school kids.

In both Murphy’s case and the case of the Utah bus driver, no kids suffered injuries, fortunately.

Murphy’s arrest raises questions about how and when convicted DUI drivers should be allowed to engage in commercial driving again. Imagine you’re a truck driver or a bus driver who has no job skills other than your commercial driving ability. What if you lose your driving privileges because of the DUI? How would you earn a living? If you got your driving privileges back, how could you ensure that you won’t make similarly dangerous decisions again?

These and other questions can keep you up at night. Fortunately, you don’t have to ponder them all alone. The team here at the Kraut Law Group can help you establish an effective plan to deal with your charges and rebuild your life. Call a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group right now to schedule a consultation with an ex-prosecutor about your strategy.

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