Articles Posted in DUI Crime and Punishment

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

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

IID-debate-300x157Over the past several years use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) has been growing in momentum and popularity as a deterrent to DUI. At the beginning of 2019, California became the 33rd state to expand its IID technology program, requiring the installation of IIDs for repeat DUI offenders and offering IIDs to first-time offenders in exchange for a reduced license suspension. Now, some members of Congress are opening up a debate about whether IIDs should be required in all vehicles, regardless of a driver’s history with DUI.

While IIDs do seem to be effective in reducing incidents of DUI, the technology is not without controversy, especially as the government seeks to expand its use. Some see it as a powerful safety feature not unlike the seat belt or the air bag; others view it as an unnecessary invasion of privacy. Let’s take a closer look at the different sides of this debate to see what we can learn.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

hit-and-run-los-angeles-DUI-300x169Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be disruptive and traumatic, both for you and for everyone involved. But if you decide to leave the scene of the accident before police have arrived, you make the situation even worse. Now, you have added hit-and-run to any other offenses you might have been charged with, punishable by possible fines and jail time.

People may commit hit-and-run offenses for a number of reasons, some less obvious than others. For instance:

• They might not have realized they made contact with another vehicle or person.

2019-DUI-300x205It’s not how you envisioned kicking off the New Year. Perhaps you’ve made resolutions; perhaps you’ve set goals. You were looking forward to the prospects of a new year with new possibilities. Certainly, kicking off 2019 with a Los Angeles DUI arrest was not on the agenda. Now you are facing potential charges that could spoil your momentum and derail all your plans for the year. What do you do now, and what steps can you take to get your year back on track?

First, regardless of the specific circumstances of your case, realize that you’re not the only person in this situation. The holiday season of 2018 in general, and New Year’s Eve in particular, has been record-setting for DUI arrests in California. Consider the following:

• Over the Christmas weekend 2018, California law enforcement officers made more than 1100 DUI arrests. That’s nearly 200 more than the 917 arrests made during the same time in 2017.

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.

marijuana-DUI-defense-300x224In January of this year, California became the ninth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. (It has been legal for medicinal use since 1996.) However, the Adult Use Marijuana Act (aka Proposition 64) has actually done little to simplify the rules surrounding when and how pot may be bought, sold and used; if anything, the rules are now more complicated. In fact, as Time magazine points out, Prop 64 is so packed with details that it’s over 60 pages long!

Obviously, those who indulge should be aware of the ins and outs of the new law to avoid inadvertently doing something that could get them ticketed or arrested. The following overview can serve as a guide to help you stay within the bounds of the law so if you do use pot, you can do so legally, safely and without endangering others in the process. Let’s explore what is now legal under California’s marijuana laws, and what is not.

It is LEGAL to use pot, but only if you’re 21 or older.

DUI-drug-los-angeles-defense-300x172On September 7, 2017, Stergios Economos was driving in Burbank, CA when he struck Michelle Ann Landes, age 64, who was walking to her job at Walt Disney Studios, striking three other vehicles and injuring at least one other person in the process. Landes was rushed to the hospital but soon died from her injuries. Last month, as KTLA reports, Economos was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of a drug.

While tragic stories like these are far too common, this incident in particular holds several important lessons because of the details surrounding it. Let’s unpack this story and see what we can learn.

Alcohol Is Not the Only Substance that Can Impair You.

One term you’re likely to hear in the context of California criminal law than in other states is the term “wobbler” or “wobbler offense.” While other states do have “wobblers,” California law is known for them; in fact, there are over 100 “wobbler” offenses documented in the California penal code, including some related to DUI. What are these “wobbler DUIs,” what do you need to know about them, and how can your attorney address them in a way to help you obtain the most positive possible outcome?DUI-wobblers-los-angeles

“Wobbler” Defined

A wobbler is simply a crime that can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony. The decision to pursue one or the other is usually left to the prosecuting attorney who takes into account the circumstances surrounding the case to decide which is the more appropriate charge—or which he believes carries the best likelihood of a conviction.

doctor-license-and-DUI-los-angelesOn February 20, 2016, Dr. Rex Lloyd Patrick Rhoten, a neurosurgeon with Kaiser Permanente, was driving his Tesla along a stretch of road in Rancho Santa Fe, supposedly on his way to work, when official documents state he crashed his vehicle into some trees, according to NBC 7 in San Diego. The responding officer noticed possible signs of intoxication which were confirmed with several field sobriety tests. His BAC level was registered as .26, over three times the legal limit. A few months later, Rhoten was convicted on charges of DUI; shortly after, the California Attorney General filed a Matter of Accusation with the state Medical Board, putting Rhoten’s professional license in jeopardy.

According to official documents filed one year after the incident, Rhoten is prohibited from the solo practice of medicine for five years pending an evaluation—his medical license revoked, but stayed, during the five-year probation.

A DUI conviction can cause widespread repercussions, including jail time, fines, required treatment, driver’s license suspension and social embarrassment—but for people whose jobs involve professional licensing, a DUI can have even more serious repercussions. Licensing boards may invoke disciplinary action on members who receive DUI convictions—anything ranging from official reprimands to fines, mandatory treatment, suspensions and even permanently revoking their licenses.

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