Articles Posted in DUI Expungements

Los Angeles DUI accidents can claim lives at any time; an awful crash in Redondo recently killed 3 Californians and injured many more.Margo-Bronstein-DUI

According to reports, twelve people suffered injuries, when a woman crashed into a group of Christmas concert-goers in a Redondo Beach church last December. Margo Bronstein had been exiting St. James Catholic Church when she slammed into pedestrians leaving the concert. Three people died; two suffered bad injuries; and seven others suffered minor injuries.

Bronstein, a paraplegic, had a spotless driving record, but she had been taking medication that day. Her car had been outfitted with various technology to assist her driving. She had hand brakes on the steering wheel and special rear-view mirrors.

Police might charge Bronstein with felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. Her attorneys have been urging the public to avoid jumping to conclusions about the accident. It is possible, they argue, that a defect in the hand brakes could have contributed to the accident.

If Bronstein’s lawyers can prove that the incident had been an accident — and that medication had not been to blame – perhaps they can fight or eliminate the charges. Her medications included muscle relaxers and other pain relievers to help her cope with chronic health issues.

Accidents involving prescription drugs can still be charged as DUIs, and the consequences of even non-injury stops can include jail time, license suspension, fines and fees and beyond. If a blood or urine test measures a drug’s present in the bloodstream, a conviction could follow.

What should you do if you or someone you love faces a serious DUI count? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? Call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut immediately to understand your options and craft a strategic response.

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If you’ve been a long time reader of our Los Angeles DUI blog, you’ve read about some relatively radical changes in the scope, nature, and direction of California criminal law over the years.california-proposition-47

The Golden State’s codes are living documents, designed to respond to the needs and concerns of the citizenry in an organic, ongoing basis. Over time, citizens, legislators and judges all regularly seek to amend these guidelines.

To wit, consider the success of Proposition 47, passed on Tuesday by a healthy margin. This proposition attracted intense support and opposition. The goal was to increase equal justice and to prevent certain nonviolent drug offenses from being automatically charged as felonies. On the one hand, citizens, policymakers and those in the judicial system alike are concerned about the legion of people incarcerated in California jail cells — often for relatively minor offenses that did not lead to injuries or harm to others. On the other hand, we recognize that bad behavior needs to be punished and deterred.

Here’s how the Los Angeles Times summarized the fall out of Yes On Prop 47:

“The day after California voted to reduce punishments, police agencies, defense attorneys, prosecutors and even some advocates were scrambling to figure out exactly how it was going to work. The greatest effect, experts said, would be in drug possession cases, noting that California is now the first state in the nation to downgrade those cases from felonies to misdemeanors. Thousands of felons are now eligible for immediate release from prisons and jails.

City attorneys accustomed to handling traffic tickets and zoning violations are now responsible for prosecuting crimes that used to be felonies, including forgeries, theft and shoplifting. District attorneys who used to threaten drug offenders with felony convictions to force them into rehabilitation programs no longer have that as an option. Social workers said they worried that offenders who voluntarily seek treatment will have trouble finding services.”

For help understanding your rights, obligations and legal needs regarding Proposition 47 or CVC 23152, call a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group to get an objective, insightful and strategic analysis of your defense options.

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When someone – a politician, actor, or ordinary Joe – beats a Los Angeles DUI charge “on a technicality,” the peanut gallery often groans.Ted-Vick-DUI

After all, we have come to associate the term “technicality” with a lack of justice being served. A TV movie villain, for instance, might escape a just prison sentence because his lawyer “gets him off on a technicality.”

But technicalities exist in our legal code for a reason: we need our laws to be fair, systematic, and balanced, so that they can adequately protect the population and also ensure the rights of suspects in criminal cases.

With that prelude, let’s take a look at a peculiar story about South Carolina State Representative, Ted Vick, who just successfully beat back a 2013 DUI charge. (Vick still faces other charges stemming from a 2012 arrest on weapons possession charges and DUI.)

According to news reports, Vick had consumed wine at a local restaurant in May 2013. On his way to the car, an officer allegedly saw Vick struggle to get a pebble out of his shoe. This alerted the officer’s suspensions, and he followed victim to garage, where he said the state rep drove over a traffic cone. The officer stopped Vick and arrested him after a struggle.

During the trial, before prosecutors could show the tape of the struggle, Vick’s attorney asked the court to dismiss the case, because the video camera did not show the officer reading Vick his Miranda rights. The court agreed and dismissed Vick’s charges.

The news reported this story as an “escape by technicality” situation, but the Miranda rights are crucial. They exist to prevent people from self-incriminating; we need to protect and preserve them.

If someone you love stands accused of a similar crime, an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group can help you understand what your charges mean and respond effectively and strategically to them.

Call a former prosecutor today to schedule a consultation about your defense.

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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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Police arrested you for DUI in Los Angeles last week or last month. In either case, you might be laboring under the assumption that you can quickly put the DUI behind you.john_abraham_dui

Even if you didn’t hurt anybody, and you were just barely over the legal limit of 0.08%, you can face profound consequences that can hamper your life, your career, your relationships and your finances for months or years. For a real world object lesson, let’s take a look at the story of John Abraham, a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals whom police stopped for DUI back in June.

According to reports, on the afternoon of June 29th, Abraham was driving his black Dodge Challenger in suburban Atlanta, after leaving a strip club called the Pink Pony. When police stopped Abraham, he confessed to having had two drinks. He even told officers that he had been waiting on a designated driver, who never showed. Abraham also allegedly said that he didn’t feel safe getting behind the wheel… but he did anyway.

He bombed out on the walking and balancing tests — presumably similar to the field sobriety tests police give here in Los Angeles, such as walk the line, count backwards by 3s, finger to the nose and stand on one leg. He also refused to take a breath test.

Will the DUI sideline Abraham’s career or create problems in his personal life, such as a license suspension, jail time or just general trouble with his relationships? The answer will depend on the minutiae of his stop and his history:

•    Will his breath test refusal complicate matters and lead to more charges?
•    Can he “explain away” the field sobriety test failures?
•    Did he have a criminal history (or DUI history), or was this his first offense?
•    Can he and his attorneys put together a compelling counter-narrative to challenge the prosecutors’ version of events?

For help understanding your Los Angeles DUI defense options, call attorney Michael Kraut right now for insight. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated DUI lawyer who worked for 14+ years as a prosecutor before switching to criminal defense.

Note to Potential Los Angeles DUI Offenders: Don’t Get Caught on Tape, Like Golfing Legend Dustin Johnson

It’s one thing to get arrested for DUI in Los Angeles and to face unpleasant consequences, such as license suspension, fines and fees, higher insurance rates, jail time, and recriminations from friends, family and colleagues.

It’s another thing entirely to get caught on video doing something dumb behind the wheel… and then watch helplessly as that video goes viral on YouTube. Unfortunately for people like Dustin Johnson (a professional golfing phenom), once humiliating video footage escapes into the blogosphere, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. In March 2009, when police stopped Johnson in his hometown in South Carolina, the golfer began to lose it when officers put him through the paces of field sobriety tests (FSTs).

The video shows Johnson tripping several times during the FSTs. An officer then escorts him into a police vehicle.

Johnson later confessed his regret, saying “I made an error in judgment… I have let myself down and others who support me. I am handling the matter privately and, rest assured, I will definitely learn from my mistake.”

Unfortunately, the pro apparently did NOT learn from his mistake.

Recently, he failed three separate drug tests given by the PGA Tour; he tested positive for marijuana and for cocaine (twice). As a result, the PGA hit him with a long suspension. Again, Johnson made noises of regret: “I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.” The now-30-year-old golfer may have a challenging time scrambling back following his suspension.

Sometimes, DUIs happen “out of the blue.” For instance, someone who has no criminal history or history of alcohol problems makes a bad call at a party and drives when he really shouldn’t.

But when someone gets in trouble repeatedly for alcohol and drugs, he may need help addressing the fundamental reasons for the destructive behavior. As Dr. Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes describe in their new book, The Sober Truth, the conventional wisdom about how and why addictions form may be deeply flawed. People like Johnson — who apparently repeatedly struggle with substance abuse issues — may need a different kind of help than they’ve been getting.

If you or someone you love needs help with Los Angeles DUI defense, contact Attorney Michael Kraut of Kraut Law Group right now to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a former Senior Deputy District Attorney.
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After getting arrested for DUI in Los Angeles recently, you’ve had time to ponder the incident and “tell yourself stories” about why it happened and who/what should be blamed.dui-excuses-los-angeles

You might be tempted to put the full weight of blame on outside forces:

•    The police officer who stopped you at a check point;

When facing a Los Angeles DUI case involving an injury to the other party, consider the story of Samuel Silva, who was recently arrested in Panama after ten years on the run.samuel-silva-dui-arrest

In April 1998, Silva struck the patrol car of Florida Highway Patrol trooper Marissa Sanders, who was conducting a routine traffic stop. The impact pushed Sanders’ cruiser into the stopped car in front of it, causing that vehicle’s gas tank to explode. Sanders sustained extensive third-degree burns to her legs, the severity of which ended her highway patrol career.

Silva, whose blood alcohol level had tested at double the legal limit, was sentenced in 2001 to 9 months and 5 years in prison. After his appeal and its subsequent denial, the judge ordered him to surrender in 2004 to serve his sentence; however, he never reported.

Instead, Silva used fraudulent passports to escape the country. According to investigators, he traveled throughout Spain, Mexico, and other countries before settling in Panama City. There, U.S. Marshals found and arrested him in May 2014 and brought him back to South Florida.

Although Sanders is surprised Silva has been brought to justice – again – after all these years, she expressed disappointment at his unwillingness to “take responsibility” for his actions.

In California, driving under the influence results in harsher sentences when they lead to injuries of another party. Under California Code Section 23153 (a), driving under the influence is a misdemeanor; with a resulting injury, it becomes a felony. This can cause penalties such as:

•    Prison sentences
•    Restitution to victims
•    Extensive court fines

These punishments increase depending on how many people were injured and the severity. A conviction can also result in job loss, loss of professional licenses, and increased penalties for any future DUIs.

Although facing a DUI with injury is difficult, taking responsibility for your actions is always preferable to running away. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can work to identify mitigating factors and build a defense that will help resolve your case.

Michael Kraut’s comprehension of California law and relationships with law officials can help you build a powerful case to avoid a wrongful conviction or harsh sentence. For your free consultation, contact the Kraut Law Group today.
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Quick quiz: let’s say an officer stops you on suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles and asks to see your license and registration. Should you:vodka-dui-los-angeles

A) Give him or her your license and registration?

B) Give him or her a receipt for a bottle of vodka that you just bought?

If you answered A, you are correct.

If you answered B, you might want to reexamine your beliefs, in light of what happened to 60-year-old Brenda Drinkwater (her real name), of Revere, Massachusetts.

According to reports, officers said that Drinkwater had been driving the wrong way on Summer Street late Monday afternoon, forcing other cars off the road. Police Chief, Fredrick Ryan, pulled her over and asked to see her license and registration… which is when she handed him a receipt for a bottle of vodka she had just purchased.

Per news reports: “[Ryan] then saw an open bottle of vodka in her passenger seat and could clearly smell the odor of liquor on her breath.” He put her through the paces of field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed, and arrested her for driving under the influence – her 7th lifetime DUI.

Drinkwater also faces charges of not keeping to the right, drinking alcohol from an open container, and negligently operating her vehicle with endangerment. She was held without bail until a hearing on Friday.

It’s easy for the general public to laugh or scoff at someone for getting 7 DUI arrests. And no one — not even the most staunch DUI defense advocate — wants to see driver who have been convicted six or seven times for DUI driving wildly all over the roads. There needs to be a balance.

That said, most people want the punitive solution for recidivists. They labor under the impression that these people “can’t help themselves” and “are hardened criminals” who “don’t care about themselves or the society.” These judgments are hurtful, and they don’t necessarily stop the problem. Obviously, we need to keep the roads safe and prevent DUI drivers from hurting people and themselves. But we also owe it to ourselves to find more compassionate, inventive and successful ways of keeping the streets safe.

For help developing a smart, effective defense to your charges – and to rebuild your life following your arrest – contact a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group right now. Schedule a free consultation with Harvard Law School educated attorney Kraut.
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It hasn’t exactly been the best of times, since your Los Angeles DUI stop. But at the very least, you survived the stop and/or accident. Now you’re trying to figure out what you need to do to protect your rights and minimize the collateral damage to your life and freedom.los-angeles-dui-license-suspension

One of the biggest inconveniences you face is the loss of your California driver’s license. Whether you lose it for a few days, a few months, or a few years, inconveniences abound:

•    How are you going to drive to and from work or school?
•    How are you going to shop at places like IKEA, Vons, etcetera?
•    How will you drive to social events, like dates and parties?
•    How will you get to LAX?

If you lived in D.C. or New York, your situation would be substantially easier. You could take buses, taxis and trains to go basically anywhere you wanted to go. But in LA, going from “car” to “no car” is not a simple, nor intuitive transition.

Is there a solution? Are there workarounds you can use to get results?

Los Angeles does boast a few train stations and a thriving bus system, so you can “get around.” But you might find yourself stranded, isolated, and generally far more dependent on friends and family members. If you are a student, maybe this means that you’ll need to drop out for a semester until you get your license back. Or maybe you’ll need to move closer to school, so you can walk to classes. If you are a single parent, who is already stretched, you may need to take your kids out of day care or hire yet more help to drive your kids to and from their schools.

The duration of the suspension can also be hugely impactful. If you’re only going to be without a drivers license for a few weeks, that might be manageable. For instance, you could ask your boss to let you take your vacation early this year.

The moral is that the outcome of your upcoming California Department of Motor Vehicles hearing could prove pivotal — not just for your short term interests but also for your long term future. If you must move to another part of the city – or quit a job or break off a relationship – due to the Los Angeles DUI inspired license suspension – the ramifications could literally change your life… and not in ways that you’d be particularly excited about!

There is a very short window of time that you have to act to fight your Los Angeles DUI arrest and protect your California drivers’ license. Get in touch with experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Law Group right now to set up your free consultation about how to proceed, strategically.
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You just got arrested for DUI in Los Angeles. Your mind is racing with questions:deja-vu-los-angeles-dui

•    “What attorney should I hire?”
•    “What can I do, if anything, to fight the automatic drivers license suspension?”
•    “How will I manage my life, if I have to spend substantial time behind bars or spend months without a valid license to drive to work?”
•    “What will my friends and parents think about me?”

You’d love to concentrate on solving those issues, but your mind just can’t stay focused. You keep getting drawn back into remembering the drama of what happened. Perhaps the event was actually dramatic, in an objective sense. For instance, maybe your car flipped on the 210, and you hit a concrete barrier. Or maybe you almost ran into (and killed) some pedestrians.

You can’t stop yourself from thinking about the different ways the accident or arrest could have “gone worse.”

Or maybe you keep recalling the feeling of fear that jolted through your body when the red and blue lights flashed behind you, or the maddening conversation you had with the arresting officer.

In any case, the following lesson is abundantly clear: you need to manage this non-stop, destructive mental monologue.

To the extent that you feel out of control about you case is to the extent that your mind will likely “hold onto” these negative thoughts and drive you nuts. But once you know what to expect about your case — and what to do in the next few hours and days — you’ll likely find yourself spontaneously letting go of the looping mental chatter. So that’s one key: get clarity on your case!

Here’s another suggestion. Practice deep breathing and meditation exercises. And/or get therapy, particularly if you were involved in a traumatic incident.

Lastly, connect with a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer here at the Kraut Law Group. Attorney Michael Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated former prosecutor – he used to work as a Senior Deputy District Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, during which time he obtained a 99%+ success rate at jury trials. He’s won respect as a criminal defense lawyer not just from clients but also from his peers, such as judges and prosecutors.
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