Articles Posted in DUI Chemical Test Refusal

Most people are fairly familiar with the effects that drinking alcohol can have on their driving performance. Alcohol loosens inhibitions, so people are apt to take more risks even as their reaction times are slowed, and they can become more easily distracted and unable to concentrate on driving. Alcohol can also impact a driver’s sense of direction and their ability to judge situations on the road and make good decisions.drug-dui-los-angeles-defense-attorney

Other types of drugs have similar, although not identical effects. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers found that the number of drivers with alcohol in their system had declined by nearly one-third since 2007. But there wasn’t much cause for celebration; the survey also found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs. Nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect their safety on the road, according to the NHTSA.

Here’s a look at how several other types of drugs can impact drivers’ performance.

With Election Day just a few weeks away, proponents and opponents of California’s Proposition 64 are weighing in on how the legalization of marijuana could impact the incidence of DUI in Los Angeles and other jurisdictions throughout the state.prop-64-los-angeles-DUI

Proposition 64 would decriminalize the use of marijuana in California by adults 21 years of age or older. The law would allow people to grow up to six marijuana plants in their own homes, as long as the public couldn’t see those plants. The state would reap big financial benefits, collecting a tax on the sale of marijuana (15 percent) and on the cultivation of marijuana flowers ($9.25 per ounce) and marijuana leaves ($2.75 per ounce).

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When someone arrested for DUI in Los Angeles is under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement officials have a fairly easy way to measure the degree of intoxication with a breathalyzer test and/or a blood alcohol concentration test. But it’s not that easy when it comes to measuring how marijuana affects a person’s ability to drive. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, remains in the bloodstream for a long time and there are no good ways for police officers in the field to measure its presence in the bloodstream.THC-test-DUI-los-angeles

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Advocates for legalizing marijuana in California seem to be gaining supporters, and state voters are likely to see an initiative to change the state’s current ban on the November ballot. If the measure passes, police officers in California are going to have to find a better way to determine whether a driver is guilty of DUI in Los Angeles.marijuana brownies dui attorney los angeles

Oregon passed laws permitting the recreational use of marijuana in 2015, the state only recently okayed the sale of marijuana edibles. Police in Salem, Oregon, stepped up their DUI patrols over the first weekend in June, when stores started selling marijuana brownies and other delicacies containing THC.

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Eleven U.S. states have now legalized or decriminalized marijuana. California, which approved of the use of the drug for medical purposes, also seeks to legalize the drug completely in the next few years. But the move to legalization raises the question of how marijuana impacts a driver. How much THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) would have to be in the bloodstream before police could charge someone with a DUI in Los Angeles?marijuana-DUI-test-los-angeles

A Florida state legislator, Dave Kerner of Lake Worth, believes that there should be a standard for determining marijuana intoxication when it comes to driving, just as there is a blood alcohol content for people who drink. He thinks that at 5 nanograms of active THC in the bloodstream, the courts should presume that the person is driving under the influence of cannabis.

Kerner introduced a bill into the Florida Legislature to make this standard the law in the Sunshine State. He named the bill the Naomi Pomerance Victim Safety Act in honor of a 16-year-old girl killed in a crash caused by a person high on marijuana. Kerner isn’t a marijuana opponent, however; he supports medical marijuana.

Other states are addressing this issue as well. Colorado, where marijuana is legal, already has a law that presumes that someone is operating under the influence if the THC level in the bloodstream is 5 nanograms or higher.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says that data from road traffic arrests and fatalities indicate that after alcohol, marijuana is the most frequently detected psychoactive substance among drivers. Marijuana has been shown to impair performance on driving simulator tasks and on open and closed driving courses for up to approximately 3 hours.
“Decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, inability to maintain headway, lateral travel, subjective sleepiness, motor incoordination, and impaired sustained vigilance have all been reported,” according to the NHTSA. The organization has not taken a position, however on the use of THC levels to measure driver impairment.

Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Law Group is standing by to offer critical insight into your case and potential defense options. Call him and his team today to begin regaining control over your case and your life.

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repeat-dui-offender-has-funTo defend against a Los Angeles DUI charge effectively — particularly if you actually committed a crime — you want to express remorse at the appropriate time. You need to show that you understand that what you did was dangerous and could have resulted in severe injuries or even the loss of life.

What you DON’T want to do is to brag that you are “going to do it again,” like Willissa Harris allegedly told police in Tulsa, after she smashed into a cable barrier on a local freeway, Highway 75. According to local media, after Harris hit the barrier, police helped her out of her vehicle and observed that she had red, bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech – classic signs of DUI.

Per reports, Harris had been arrested twice prior for DUI, and she decided to chat with the police about her background on the way to the station. They recorded her apparently self-incriminating statements: she told police that she enjoyed “doing this” [causing the DUI wreck] and that she intended to “do it again.” Police took her to the Tulsa County Jail for processing.

Obviously, it’s no secret that people do and say very dumb things after being stopped for DUI – we’ve come back to this theme again and again on this blog. But there are limits to how and when you can self-incriminate. For instance, let’s say the police fail to read your Miranda Rights — these include the caveat that “anything you say or do can be held against you in the court of law.” If so, you can fight back against the charges by making the argument that the court shouldn’t consider any self-incriminating statements that you made because police didn’t remind you of your rights before you said them.

The court will assess your complete history, including both admissible statements that you have made and your actions. In Harris’s case, the fact that she has two DUIs under her belt will probably matter more than the fact that she boasted under duress that she was “going to do it again.”

If you or someone you love needs to defend effectively against a similarly complex suite of charges, please call an experienced Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group immediately to schedule a free consultation with highly respected former prosecutor Michael Kraut

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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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Your Los Angeles DUI charge has thrown your world way out of balance.los-angeles-dui-process

For the first time, you probably feel oddly connected to Lindsay Lohan and Nick Nolte – you know how humiliating, frustrating and scary it can be to stand accused of violating California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (or 23153, if you hurt someone).

All of a sudden, you’re no longer laughing at unfortunate celebrity DUI mug shots. In fact, you can’t stop ruminating about the potential punishments in the offing (e.g. big fees, time behind bars, loss of your driver’s license, diminution of your professional reputation, probation, and other idiosyncratic penalties that court may decide to thrust upon you).

There is one lesson that you can cling to, despite this chaos, that will make the journey towards putting the DUI behind you easier and more certain.

And that lesson is this: moving beyond your DUI is a process, not a onetime project.

Even though you may have “collected” your DUI in a flash, the solution may not come bundled in a simple package. This isn’t to say that you can’t resolve your crisis rapidly and permanently, in somewhat short order. For instance, depending on your case, your lawyer might be able to…

•    Challenge and refute the breathalyzer test results or blood test results;
•    Challenge the Constitutionality of your stop or arrest;
•    Plea-bargain the charges down;
•    Stop the license suspension;
•    Connect you with other resources, so you feel more in control of your life;
•    Structure your defense, so that you can effectively get back to “business as usual,” even while your case is pending and the outcome is uncertain.

View your “post DUI” experience in a “process oriented” way.

When you have a process-oriented view of things — as opposed to a “product-oriented” view — you can learn to see setbacks with your case as opportunities. You can even look beyond issues of punishment and reward and see the DUI as a chance for self-improvement and self-development. In retrospect, the DUI could even be viewed as a good thing, in that it helped you make needed changes. For instance, it could catalyze more productive thinking and action about a drug or alcohol addiction problem.

Call a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group today to get a new perspective on your options. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated former prosecutor, and his common sense, solid treatment of DUI cases has won him fans not just among clients but also among prosecutors and judges.
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Certain holidays seem to “breed” Los Angeles DUI driving behavior.memorial-day-dui-los-angeles-checkpoints

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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In a recent blog post, this Los Angeles DUI defense blog summarized some of the dramatic anti-DUI recommendations proposed on May 14th by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The Board, together with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), wants states like California to institute a rash of enforcement and policy measures, including: NTSB-Los-Angeles-DUI.jpg

• Mandatory interlock ignition installation for anyone convicted of DUI;
• More research on administrative license revocation (which lets police seize your license during an arrest);
• Most dramatically, lowering the DUI legal limit from 0.08% to 0.05%.

According to uncontested statistics, 30% of all fatalities on U.S. roads are tied to DUI driving. Three decades ago, 21,000 people annually lost their lives to DUI. That number has plummeted to around 10,000 deaths a year. That’s still 10,000 too many, but we’re certainly headed in the right direction.

President Obama has gotten behind strong anti-DUI laws. Since he committed to making U.S. roads safer, we’ve seen a substantial national decline in DUI accidents. But when taken in international context — over 100 other countries on the planet have DUI limits of 0.05% BAC or lower — our current laws and Los Angeles DUI limit of 0.08% seem downright lax by comparison.

Bill Maher sarcastically tweeted: “Nanny-staters, enough! Now they want to lower the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05? I’m just glad George Jones isn’t alive to see it.”

But is there another side to this story?

Unsurprisingly, the American Beverage Institutes does not like the NTSB recommendations.

The group worries that lowering the BAC way down to 0.05% would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior. Depending on your height, genetics, metabolism, sex, and dozens of other factors, you could reach 0.05% after just one drink!

On the surface, the NTSB recommendations sound smart. They could very well save lots of lives, if they were implemented effectively. But would the recommendations create more criminals? Would they criminalize normal and safe behavior?

Furthermore, are we focusing too much on Los Angeles DUI behavior? Why not crack down on people who chat and text on their cellphones while driving — or who drive while extremely fatigued? After all, many studies (such as a famous one done at Virginia Tech several years ago) suggest that texting while driving is actually MORE dangerous than driving DUI in Los Angeles.

Should texters be given the same punishments as DUI drivers? Should they be forced to spend years behind bars, pay thousands of dollars in fines, go through “texting behind the wheel rehabilitation” programs, and so forth?

This blog obviously cannot resolve or even articulate all the challenging questions raised by the NTSB recommendations. That said, you’re probably less interested in this general discussion and more keen on getting practical help with your DUI arrest and defense.

Look at the team here at Kraut Law Group for sensible, sensitive insight into your case. Call attorney Kraut and his team to help structure a DUI defense today.

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