Articles Posted in DUI Checkpoints

dui-motorcycle-wreck-los-angelesWhen it comes to Los Angeles DUI crashes, authorities often implicate drivers who test to have illegal blood alcohol levels after a collision. However, authorities sometimes struggle to determine fault in cases involving multiple variables.

A September 21 accident in Santa Ana provides an example of how DUI crashes can occur due to other factors besides a driver’s alcohol-related impairment. The incident – a combination of two crashes – left a motorcyclist dead and another driver injured.

The series of crashes began when a motorcyclist collided with the back of a car on southbound 55. After veering off the freeway and striking a chain-link fence, the motorcyclist flew from his vehicle, landing on adjacent Ritchey Street.

As a good Samaritan approached the motorcyclist, Jesus Mendoza Hernandez struck both individuals, severely injuring the Samaritan and killing the motorcyclist. Hernandez now faces DUI driving charges; whether authorities will charge him with DUI manslaughter or DUI murder remains unclear.

Factors that Can Complicate DUI Accidents

The tragic accidents in Santa Ana highlight how aggravating circumstances can complicate a DUI accident. Considerations making it more difficult to assign responsibility include:

•    Multiple drivers. The more vehicles collide in an accident, the more complicated questions of liability become.

•    Two DUI drivers. Although uncommon, when both drivers involved in a collision are over the legal limit, the case can lead to surprising complexities.

•    Unusual intersections. Intersections with confusing traffic patterns – or those lacking adequate lighting or signage – often increase the likelihood of accidents, DUI or not.

Even when your Los Angeles DUI case involves one or more of the above complexities, simply having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit places extra responsibility on your shoulders. An experienced defense attorney with an understanding of California DUI laws can analyze the circumstances of your case to determine how to help you form a defense. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.

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Perhaps police stopped you for DUI in Los Angeles at Wilshire and Rodeo, right after you closed a sweet deal with an international advertising client. Or maybe police arrested you at a checkpoint and hit you with your second DUI in 10 months. In either case, you’re in a bit of a panic. los-angeles-DUI-dos-donts

You need sound advice, but you’ve been getting conflicting information not only from friends and family but also from your internet research. Instead of asking yourself what you “should” do after your DUI, reflect on these 3 things that you should NOT do.

1. Do NOT forget to document evidence or conversations that could be important to your defense.

What words, exactly, did the police officer say to you when he stopped you? What happened during your field sobriety tests and subsequent arrest? Did you notice anything about the breathalyzer tests (or other tests) that struck you as “unfair” or odd? If an accident happened, did you take pictures of the scene, keep a copy of the police report and collect witness statements? The more you document your situation, the easier it will be for your lawyer to figure out what happened and what might be the most appropriate defense strategy for you.

2. Do NOT panic.

You might feel unbalanced, scared, ashamed or angry about what happened. These are all normal feelings. But avoid reacting emotionally; you could make things worse. Some panicked drivers impulsively drive away from the police or leave the scene of accidents — these dangerous/illegal acts can lead to extra punishments. People also act impulsively days or even weeks after DUIs. For instance, let’s say you believe police stopped you unfairly. Out of umbrage, you refuse to go to your DMV hearing and thus lose your California driver’s license for months or longer.

3. Do NOT wait too long to connect with a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney.

An attorney, like the Harvard Law School educated Michael Kraut, may not be able to solve all your legal problems or even get your charges dismissed or plead down. But Mr. Kraut and his team can equip you with tools, resources and strategies to manage the chaos in your life and stay calm, focused, and even optimistic about your future.

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The problem of Los Angeles DUI, on some level, seems intractable.robot-car-dui-prevention

After all, even if we collectively could reduce DUI incidences as low as possible, we’re never going to eliminate the problem completely. Even the very definition of the problem changes over time. How much marijuana do you have to smoke before you will be over the limit for a drug DUI, for instance? Will the National and Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) succeed in lowering the legal DUI limit to 0.05% BAC from 0.08% BAC, as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b)?

Human beings – and our laws – are both unpredictable and ever-changing. The best we could ever hope for, in terms of reducing DUIs, is probably some low, but non-zero number.

So can we ever get to a zero-DUI society?

Every few years, futurists speak grandly of the promise of “robot cars” and “robot drivers.” Some of this speculation is idle. Some of it involves good science and promising engineering (e.g. Google’s automated car experiment).

Unlike humans, robots are never tempted to drink alcohol or do drugs or take prescription medications. They do not fatigue, although their batteries can run out. They are not susceptible to road rage or depression, and they would never take their eyes of the road to text their robot friends behind the wheel.

In theory, therefore, if we all collectively switched to robotic driving (a la Google cars), we could probably get the DUI accident rate down to zero. Unfortunately, this utopian scenario may never come to pass, since even if a company like Google develops a perfect autonomous vehicle, human hackers may render the project fundamentally and intrinsically dangerous.

Until the time when we can solve all robot-car-related safety issues, we’ll be stuck with vexing human-driving issues, like DUI. As a defendant, you can trust the effective, ethical services of the Kraut Law Group. Find out more about what sets Los Angeles DUI lawyer Michael Kraut apart, here on our website, or call or email the firm today to schedule your free consultation.
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Even though you’ve recently been arrested for Los Angeles DUI, you want to keep the Southland streets and freeways safe and to clamp down on dangerous driving behavior.big-data-dui-solutions

In fact, the odds are high that you are a first time offender who only got a misdemeanor — that is, you didn’t seriously hurt or kill anybody else or engage in other reckless behaviors, like hit and run. Odds are also high that you are, generally speaking, a law abiding citizen who never in a million years thought you would wind up sitting in a police station, getting your mug shot taken. You also have a vested interest in eradicating the problem of DUI driving. So what can be done? And what can you do?

We’ve actually come a long, long way with respect to managing our collective DUI problems. In the 1950s and 1960s — before widespread public safety campaigns warned about the dangers of DUI driving — alcohol related accidents caused many more deaths and injuries, relative to the number of cars on the road and miles driven. More people drive today, but fewer people die and get seriously hurt in accidents, at least on a per-mile basis. We are making progress.

That said, when you analyze accident statistics collected over the past 5 to 10 years, it’s clear that we’ve hit a plateau. So how can we reduce the number of DUI incidents further? As Albert Einstein famously noted, you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. A shift in perspective can lead to inspiring new solutions to old, prickly problems.

To that end, what “new solutions” might be able to help us?

Big Data — A Tool for DUI Prevention?

Per Moore’s Law, our computing power continues to increase at an amazing rate, year after year. This means that our ability to simulate traffic safety issues on the computer is also improving. It’s at least conceivable that better data may ultimately make our roads much safer.

For instance, by using certain types of computer analyses, we may be able to figure out which types of DUI drivers are most at risk for becoming recidivists and develop appropriate interventions.

Perhaps a study might show that a DUI driver who fails to complete all his alcohol education classes will be three times more likely to get arrested again for DUI than will someone who completes the program. If that’s the case, maybe a “flag” could automatically go up when a driver misses more than two classes to alert educators to get the student back into the program.

Solutions don’t have to be punitive! The more we understand what drives people to break DUI laws — as well as what keeps them in line — the less we’ll have to rely on brute force methods like jail time and license suspensions.

Of course, you’re probably much more concerned about how to build your defense than you are in these grander issues. For help responding effectively to your Los Angeles DUI charges, call or email the Kraut Law Group today. Mr. Kraut is an ex-Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles; he leverages his Harvard Law School education and connections with people in the Southern California legal defense community to help his clients.

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As someone who recently had to endure a field sobriety test for Los Angeles DUI, you can attest to the surprising challenges that you endured:los-angeles-dui-walk-the-line

•    The humiliation of being made to “walk the line” on the side of the road, while other drivers passed and gawked at you;
•    The fear that you were going to fail your breath test and rack up a DUI charge, per California Vehicle Code Section 23152;
•    The anxiety as you contemplated the potential punishments for a conviction, including a mandatory interlock ignition installation, jail time and driver’s license suspension.

At the end of the day, you didn’t exactly pass your FSTs with flying colors, and you may have also failed a breath and/or blood alcohol test.

FSTs are inaccurate, sometimes very misleading gauges, though:

1. Bloodshot eyes – alternative explanations.

Having bloodshot eyes is a symptom of being DUI. But it’s also a symptom of being fatigued, sick or irritated by allergens. You could have sand in your eyes. Or an accident or a sudden stop might have caused the blood vessels to burst in your eyes.

2. Failure to pass the walk the line test – alternative explanations.

If you lose your balance while trying to walk on the line, that could indicate that you were driving DUI, but it could also indicate that you just generally have a bad balance or that you have an ear ache or ear infection. Or maybe you are just a generally uncoordinated person. Maybe you were confused by the slope of the road or by the shadows, and you stumbled. Perhaps you DID walk the line, but the police incorrectly recorded that you stumbled.

3. Slurred speech and having trouble following directions – alternative explanations.

If you slur your speech and you can’t understand and/or abide by police directions, you might be DUI. Or you might be exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed or sick. Or you might have a speech impediment or difficulty hearing. Perhaps the police pulled you over on a very loud section of the freeway, and you couldn’t hear the instructions over the roar of the traffic.

For help managing the aftermath of your Los Angeles DUI crisis, call attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today for intelligent, compassionate, thorough assistance with your charges. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated attorney who racked up a success rate at jury trials of over 99%, when he worked in the Deputy DA’s office.

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If you got stopped for DUI on Whitworth in South Beverly Hills, you might have been charged with Beverly Hills DUI or Los Angeles DUI, depending on which side of the street you had been driving.beverly-hills-or-los-angeles-dui

The pavement tells the story: the north side is Beverly Hills territory, while the south side belongs to the City of Los Angeles. In practice, this slight distinction almost never causes any legal issues. After all, the City of Beverly Hills and the City of Los Angeles have very similar laws with respect to DUI driving and punishment. But the jurisdiction of your case can matter in some pretty important ways. For instance, it can help determine the judge and prosecutorial team in your case. It can influence the logistics of the trial.

Here’s the broader point, however, and you probably didn’t see this coming: if you’ve spent any time really thinking about this issue (or similar issues), you’ve almost certainly been wasting your time!

It’s not that jurisdictional issues don’t matter. Rather: you almost certainly lack the experience, knowledge, and resources to make sound legal decisions about such subtleties of the law. You don’t want to spend your very limited time and energy on the wrong things.

For instance, you may be fretting about the potential jail time (totally natural) but not paying much attention to your license suspension. After all, it’s scarier to think about spending a week behind bars than it is to contemplate the difference between a one and three month driver’s license suspension.

In terms of real costs, though, two extra months without a license can be a tremendous, costly inconvenience. For instance, let’s say that, without a license, you’re going to need to take a cab to work every day until you get your license back. Thus, you might spend literally thousands of dollars in cab fees just to keep your job.

So fighting a license suspension could be hugely important. But because you don’t have the experience to prioritize your DUI defense items, you might wind up missing or mishandling your DMV hearing and thus getting a less than ideal outcome.

Fortunately, an astute Los Angeles DUI attorney with the Kraut Law Group can help you make more effective choices. Get in touch with Mr. Kraut and his team for a free consultation today.
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It’s a common question with a surprisingly subtle answer: How many alcoholic drinks can you consume before you’re over the Los Angeles DUI limit of 0.08% BAC – the cutoff point for misdemeanor DUI, as defined by the California Vehicle Code?CA-DUI-limit-los-angeles

As you might remember from driver’s ed, you can roughly calculate the answer based on your gender and body weight. Key variables involved include your weight, the number of drinks you consume, and the time that elapses between drinking.

The following assumptions are usually correct:

•    The heavier you are, the more you’ll need to drink to become intoxicated;
•    The more drinks you consume, the more intoxicated you’ll be;
•    The more time that elapses after you start drinking, the less intoxicated you’ll be, since your liver will have more time to process the alcohol and clear it from your system.

As a general gauge, this system does a pretty good job. But these estimates are really just ballpark figures. You can follow the system to the letter and STILL wind up with a high blood alcohol concentration and a DUI on your record.

In some ways, this system is similar to the one that your doctor might use that shows the relationship between your BMI (body mass index) and health. In general, you want to avoid being obese – just like you want to avoid consuming massive amounts of alcohol and spiking your blood alcohol level above 0.30%.

But there is a lot of room in the middle. For instance, studies have shown that people who are moderately overweight may actually live longer than overly thin people. Likewise, a bodybuilder who has very low body fat and a lot of muscle may have the same BMI as someone who is very unmuscular but who has a lot of visceral adipose tissue (not a good thing). So just looking at BMI alone doesn’t give you enough good information. Likewise, just looking at the amount of alcohol you consume and the amount of time in between drinks may not give you enough good information. Other meaningful factors could include:

•    Whether you’re a man or woman (men and women process alcohol at different rates);
•    Your general alcohol metabolism;
•    Whether you’ve consumed other substances, such as prescription drugs or marijuana;
•    Whether you’re familiar with the vehicle that you’re driving and the roads that you’re driving on;
•    Whether you’ve consumed food or not;
•    Whether you’re sick or not;
•    Whether you’re fatigued, stressed, angry – or well-rested, calm, and in good spirits.

The moral is that trying to calibrate an ideal formula for everyone to prevent DUI driving is a bit silly and naïve; it ignores all the complexities of human biochemistry and the complex dynamics of safe driving.

For help dealing with your Los Angeles DUI arrest, look to the Harvard Law School educated Attorney Michael Kraut and his team at the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is an ex-prosecutor with tremendous experience – in his capacity as Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles, he racked up a very impressive 99-plus percent success rate at jury trials.

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Certain holidays seem to “breed” Los Angeles DUI driving

These include the big summer weekends – Memorial Day and Labor Day – as well as Thanksgiving, Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, Cinco De Mayo and the 4th of July. Whether police busted you over Memorial Day weekend at a checkpoint or arrested you after a scary crash, you may have only been dimly aware of the vast scope of law enforcement’s push to contain DUI driving over the holiday.

A recent LA Weekly article explained the byzantine systems used to flag and contain DUI driving. For instance, on the 23rd, the LAPD set up DUI checkpoints at:

• Florence Avenue and Main Street in South L.A.;
• Highland and DeLongpre in Hollywood;
• Osborne and Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Pacoima;
• Ventura Boulevard and Big Oak Drive in Sherman Oaks;
• Undefined locations in Santa Clarita;
• Undefined locations in the Picos Rivera Area.

In addition, the Avoid the 100 DUI Task Force set up saturation patrols and checkpoints elsewhere in San Gabriel, Pamona, Arcadia, El Segundo, Pasadena, East LA, South LA, Lancaster, Hawthorne, Huntington Beach, Inglewood, Torrance, Vernon, Signal Hill, Palmdale, Azusa, Whittier, and beyond.

The “100” refers to the number of law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County devoted to stopping DUIs in the Southland.

Remember: all that fuss and bother was just for Friday night!

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Avoid the 100 set up several dozen operations, some of which were publicized some of which weren’t. For instance, the Sheriff’s Department said that operations were set up in Manhattan Beach, Whittier, Antelope Valley, Baldwin Park, West Valley, Downey, San Gabriel, Alhambra, El Camino College, Azusa, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Montebello, and beyond.

With so much law enforcement “buzz” going on over the Memorial Day weekend, it’s worthwhile to wonder what can be done to improve the system, so that police do not have to pull a code red every time a major holiday comes around.

Can citizens be taught to use designated drivers and/or to patrol themselves during the holidays? Can some of this process be automated or simplified? Maybe law enforcement officials have ideas. Maybe former DUI defendants have ideas. But right now, this process seems to consume so many resources and lead to so many arrests. It all seems profoundly wasteful.

Of course, if you wound up in the dragnet somehow, you are probably less concerned about fixing the system than you are with protecting your own rights and freedoms. To that end, call former Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group for insight and a free consultation about your case. Mr. Kraut is a renowned, respected Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer.
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Getting a DUI in Los Angeles – and announcing it to the world – is a lot like getting pregnant or going on a diet. Everyone seems to have tons of advice for you, even if they have never experienced the situation themselves. Think about all the ridiculous advice non-parents give parents on airplanes about how to keep their kids quiet.los-angeles-dui-defense-opinions

•    “Feed him some popcorn”
•    “Give him another bottle”
•    “Give him a toy”
•    “Take away that other toy”
•    “Don’t listen to that jerk”
•    “They are ready to fly at Y months, not X months… so you shouldn’t be on the plane”

And so it goes with many things in our life – we are forced to take unsolicited advice from people who don’t know what they are talking about. It can get frustrating.

In the case of your Los Angeles DUI defense, this random noise can be pretty destructive as well as distracting. For instance, there are certain myths about DUI defense that just will not die, such as the idea that chewing on a penny or drinking mouthwash will substantially change your breath test results.

There is no need to rehash the science (again) that refutes such myth. But they persist. If you take advice from the wrong people, you could make your situation worse and simultaneously miss out on more effective solutions.

The moral is this: leave the nuts and bolts of your defense up to experienced people. Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group can explain your Los Angeles DUI defense options and build you a sound and reasonable defense.

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We live in a world that, through no fault of any one person, has created stiff and unfair challenges for DUI defendants in Los Angeles.confusion-los-angeles-DUI-defense

Why? Because we are all totally blitzed with marketing messages about DUI defense (and everything else under the sun). We have limited, attention and skills to tell truth from fiction.

For a dramatic illustration of just how many DUI-related marketing messages are out there — and how conflicting these messages are — do a Google search about the effectiveness of breathalyzer tests.

We won’t discuss their merit (or lack thereof) now — we’ve already spilled plenty of virtual ink on the subject. Just recognize that just trying to parse the truth about that debate alone can take you hours and hours and hours.

And if you’re someone who has been recently arrested, you may not have hours and hours and hours. In fact, you may not have much time at all before “bad things” start to happen in your life, such as a CA driver’s license suspension, your boss firing you, your girlfriend or boyfriend breaking up with you because of your Los Angeles DUI, and so forth.

As a result, many defendants make decisions based on hearsay, random materials they find online or elsewhere, or intuition borne not out of science but out of desperation.

It’s tricky because, when you take bad advice about your Los Angeles DUI, based on some random snippet of news or argument you read online, the consequences could be severe. You could face massive jail time, fines and the your loss of your driver’s license – all of which, in retrospect, might not be strictly necessary.

So how can you break out of this morass? The simplest and easiest method, always, is to find a very experienced, highly qualified person or company — one who has demonstrated results in situations similar to yours — and retain that person or company to help you.

The good news is that, in the case of Los Angeles DUI defense, attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group is available for consultation. Mr. Kraut has a great track record of success. Please connect with him and his team today to set up your effective, efficient defense. Continue reading

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