Articles Posted in DUI Field Sobriety Tests

Would the number of DUIs in Los Angeles decrease if drivers and/or police officers had an easier, more reliable way to measure blood alcohol content? los-angeles-DUI-sweat-test

Researchers at the University of San Diego have developed a wearable, flexible sensor that can accurately measure a person’s BAC from sweat. The device, a temporary tattoo, actually induces sweat and then detects the alcohol levels electrochemically. The device communicates the information to a mobile device—laptop, tablet or phone—via Bluetooth.

Nano engineering professor Joseph Wang and electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier led the team that developed the sensor. “This technology provides an accurate, convenient and quick way to monitor alcohol consumption to help prevent people from driving while intoxicated,” said Wang. He envisions interfacing the device with an ignition interlock device, or people using it to monitor their own alcohol levels so they could refrain from driving if they were legally under the influence.

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Road construction workers have fairly terrifying jobs. They not only operate and move around heavy equipment weighing 10 tons or more (often much more); they also must work while vehicles just a few feet away hurtle past them at 50 and 60 miles per hour. Add to that mix a driver who’s operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol—enough to qualify him/her for a DUI in Los Angeles—and you’ve made a difficult situation even more dangerous.  freeway-dui-los-angeles-construction

According to New Orleans’ Times-Picayune, Earl William Maugham, Jr., caused serious injuries to four people at a construction site on US 61 in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. He first sideswiped an unoccupied Ford Truck, which he should have noticed, since it was flashing white and amber strobe lights marking the work zone. Then he slammed into a John Deere backhoe. The backhoe driver wasn’t injured, but Maugham continued on, jumping two raised center median curbs and eventually hitting four workers. Emergency workers took them to the hospital with moderate to severe injuries.
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As someone who recently had the unpleasant experience of getting arrested and handcuffed for charges of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, you vividly recall the feelings of fear, frustration and hopelessness that accompanied your stop/accident and subsequent jailing.

VODKA-BOTTLES-open-container-los-angeles-DUIYet you also know that the situation could have been worst. For instance, hopefully you did not seriously injure or kill someone while DUI. And at the very least, you personally survived the incident – not necessarily a given, particularly if you had been seriously impaired.

Even if police found an open container (or two or three) in your vehicle, you have nothing on 26 year old James M. Woodward, a Massachusetts man stopped last Sunday afternoon on Route 24 in Freetown, MA for “moving vehicle violations.”

Massachusetts State Police say they found not just one or two but 42 (!!) nips of open vodka in Woodward’s truck; they arrested him and hit him with multiple charges, including lane violations, negligently driving a motor vehicle, driving DUI, and, of course, having open containers of alcohol in his vehicle.

Driving DUI under any circumstances can be devastating, even if you didn’t violate multiple laws or engage in dubious or reckless behavior after your stop. Even if this is your first time, you can still face a panoply of charges, such as:

•    Driver’s license suspension
•    Forced alcohol school
•    Probation
•    Fines and fees
•    Legal costs
•    Spike in your insurance rates
•    Job loss
•    Mandatory installation of interlock ignition device (IID) in your car
•    Enhanced punishments if you hurt someone

Of course, all is not lost. You may be able to get the charges dismissed entirely or plead them to down to lesser charges, such as wet reckless. Call a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group right now to set up a time to speak with attorney Michael Kraut about what you can do to defend your interests, protect your rights, and minimize the punishments and other negative repercussions in your life.

 

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You may be at the beginning of the end of the worst part of your Los Angeles DUI arrest.inertia-after-dui-arrest

How so? After all, you feel downright miserable and scared about what’s happened to you, and you haven’t even found a lawyer yet. You have so much to do – and so much is at stake both for you and your family – that things almost by definition have to get worse before they’ll get better.

Right?

Not necessarily.

Consider this. What’s causing you so much agitation and worry is not the punishments or potential punishments, per se, but rather the UNCERTAINTY of your situation.

•    You don’t know whether you will be jailed for several months, several days, or not at all.
•    You don’t know whether you will face massive fines of thousands of dollars or no fines at all or somewhere in the middle.
•    You don’t know whether the prosecution will negotiate a plea bargain that you can live with or whether you will have to fight in court;
•    You don’t know whether the DMV will suspend your license for a few days, or a few months, or indefinitely;
•    You don’t know whether you will find a DUI defense lawyer who has good values and who has an effective track record.

These and other uncertainties piled on top of one another and create a kind of inertia. That inertia can you weigh down and prevent you from getting the guidance you need to start to answer the questions. It’s a kind of a Catch 22.

So how do you break through the inertia?

When you take action to solve problems, it becomes easier to follow through and do what that needs to be done. For instance, if you ever procrastinated on cleaning out your garage or doing a big stack of dishes, you’re familiar with this concept.

The thought of actually getting into the muck of the work is repulsive. But once you start, the job becomes easier. It’s a lot easier to think: “hey, I’ve been washing this big pile of dishes for 15 minutes, and I’m halfway through, so I’ll keep going” than it is to “pull the trigger” and to decide to spend the INITIAL 15 minutes on the troubling task.

The first step involves reaching out for help. If you have yet to retain a lawyer for DUI in Los Angeles, call Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to figure out your next steps. Mr. Kraut is a respected, established lawyer with a track record of success. He can answer your questions and help you feel more calm and controlled about your situation: call now to start building positive momentum to obtain closure.
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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 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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Recently, we discussed a controversial tool that’s divided the Los Angeles DUI community: a popular cell phone app called “Mr. Checkpoint.”los-angeles-dui-Mr-Checkpoint

Mr. Checkpoint alerts drivers in real time to the presence of checkpoints throughout the Southland. The app has bloomed into a social media sensation. Sennett Devermont — the man who created the app — recently told the LA Weekly about his very peculiar experiences with DUI law. Devermont claims that one arrest led to his car’s impoundment, and police then took his two dogs to the pound. (Blood tests later totally cleared Devermont of wrongdoing.)

Rightly or wrongly, many Southlanders may be tempted to use Mr. Checkpoint to avoid police traps. But what other tools/strategies can drivers use to protect themselves from DUI arrests?

Here are four:

1. Plan ahead.

Every partygoer knows the rule: when you drink, arrange alternative transportation, such as a designated driver or a taxi cab. That’s sound, good advice. But this advice of “plan ahead” should be construed in a broader sense, too: become a student of your habits and proclivities.

When do you make bad decisions? What people influence you badly? When and why do you behave impulsively or recklessly? Understand your own idiosyncrasies. Pay attention to them.

2. Err on the side of caution.

If you have to ask yourself whether you’re at risk of driving DUI, just assume that you are. Be conservative. It just makes sense.

Think about it. Let’s say you’re technically at 0.04% BAC — half the legal limit, as defined by California Vehicle Code 23152. You decide to “ruin your night” and avoid following your friends to the next club. The next morning, you spend $50 to take a cab back to your car. Are those things inconvenient? Sure. But they pale in comparison to what could happen if you actually HAD BEEN over the limit — punishments could include jail time, fines, license suspension, the potential that you could seriously hurt or kill yourself or someone else, the list goes on. You don’t have to be a genius actuary to see the risk imbalance there.

3. Come up with simple rules to follow about drinking and partying.

Simple rules are easy to follow and easy to remember. Don’t overcomplicate or overthink this.

4. Deal with your current DUI.

If you’ve been arrested recently for a crime like DUI in Los Angeles, get in touch with an attorney at the Kraut Law Group for sensible, sensitive insight into your case.
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The statistics paint a scary picture. If you’re arrested just one time for driving under the influence in Pasadena, your odds of getting arrested again for the same crime spike — a lot.pasadena-dui-vortex.jpg

A week ago, prior to your arrest, you might have had a 1% chance of ever being arrested for DUI. Today, your chance of getting re-arrested might be 4%. (Those numbers are made up to illustrate the point).

Every DUI arrest is different. Perhaps you will “learn your lesson” (if, indeed, you have a lesson to learn). But to understand your Southern California DUI arrest in context, you need to focus attention not just on the past but also on the present and the future.

Even if you didn’t hurt someone while driving DUI in Pasadena, you likely found the whole experience traumatic and a bit weird. If you’ve been replaying the stop/accident in your head, over and over again, don’t worry. You’re not going crazy. This is a natural cognitive response many people have.

To construct an effective defense — and at the same time reduce your risk for getting in similar trouble in the future — you may need to investigate the DUI in great detail. Sometimes, this close analysis can lead to evidence that can exonerate you. For instance, perhaps your breathalyzer test malfunctioned. Or perhaps you drove off the road because of a man-made obstructed or bad signage. A Pasadena DUI criminal defense attorney can help you with this investigation and analysis.

Moving on with Your Life — Safely — After Your DUI

Recognize that the past is past. Perhaps you screwed up. Perhaps you were just unlucky. Focus not on the past but rather on your current and future decisions. What steps can you take to fix your problems with alcohol (if you have any) and prevent future run-ins with the law?

To start the process, get in touch with a seasoned Pasadena DUI criminal defense lawyer. The team at the Kraut Law Group has the wherewithal, sensitivity and track record to deliver results. Find out more about what we do on our website, or call us to schedule a free consultation now.

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To prevent a Beverly Hills DUI arrest, you should rely on designated drivers. Right? designated-driver-beverly-hills-DUI.jpg

That’s the conventional wisdom.

But a new study out of the University of Florida in Gainesville is putting that conventional wisdom to the test. According to a June 10th article at LiveScience.com, “roughly 40% of designated drivers still imbibe when they go out, many to a level that would impair them behind the wheel.”

Researchers surveyed club goers in a college town. They gave breath tests to over 1,000 people, including 165 people who labeled themselves “designated drivers.” They tested these people twice – once at 10 P.M and once at 2:30 A.M. 40% – that’s 4 out of 10! – of the so-called designated drivers drank. 70% of these people had BACs of between 0.02% and 0.049%. 18% – nearly a fifth of all designated drivers — had BAC levels in excess of 0.05%.

As regular readers of this Beverly Hills DUI blog might remember, that 0.05% figure has been in the news a lot recently. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants to lower the DUI cut-off down to 0.05%. (Currently, the Southern California DUI cut off is still at 0.08% for most adults).

Adam Barry, an Assistant Professor of Health Education, helped run this study. He told reporters that many designated drivers probably think that they’re all right to hop behind the wheel… even when they shouldn’t. Barry issued a sobering statement: “if you’re going to be a designated driver, you should abstain from alcohol use completely.”

That may be easier said and done. But if you’ve already been arrested for driving under the influence in Beverly Hills, what can you do now to contend with your charges and make better decisions about your future?

Rather than relying on intuition or building your Beverly Hills DUI defense based on what you read on the web or hear from friends, connect with the team at the Kraut Law Group to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Attorney Michael Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor who has earned a reputation as an extremely experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. He’s helped many clients just like you deal with complex DUI in Beverly Hills charges.

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