Articles Posted in DUI Punishment

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.

For as long as mankind has been using vehicles to get around, some people have been unfortunately operating those vehicles while under the influence of some substance—mostly alcohol. At first, no laws were on the books to address the issue, but, as the roads became more crowded, public pressure eventually prompted lawmakers to set standards as to what constitutes driving under the influence (DUI)—also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI)—and what the penalties would be for violating those rules.history-of-DUI-300x241

If you’ve ever been arrested for DUI—especially if you believe you tested “false positive”—you might feel like the laws and standards of intoxication are too strict. Looking into the past often helps give us perspective as to where we are now and where we’re headed. So let’s look back at a few milestones in the history of DUI, and see what we can learn.

First Known DUI Arrest: 1897

You’re driving along a California highway, minding your own business, when you get pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of DUI. It can happen to anyone, even dDUI-complications-los-angeles-300x168rivers who have had nothing to drink—but how you respond in this situation can make things far more difficult for you or, in some cases, much easier. To give you a better chance at the latter, we’ve compiled a list of “don’ts”—eight things you should only do if you are a glutton for punishment or hell-bent on making your DUI arrest more difficult than it needs to be.

1. Don’t be rude to the police.

In this situation, the ancient proverb applies: “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

There’Los-Angeles-DUI-lessons-300x250s a lesson to be learned from every experience, good or bad—even being arrested for DUI. However, we can save ourselves a lot of pain by learning, whenever possible, from others’ negative experiences. No one can better explain what happens with a DUI arrest than someone who has gone through it, so let’s take a look at a few stories of real people and their experiences with DUI, and what they learned in the process.

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“If I’m going to drink at all, just don’t plan on driving. Or don’t drink.”

Fact: You don’t have to be driving a car, truck or motorcycle to be charged with DUI. In fact, people across the world have faced DUI charges for driving all sorts of non-standard vehicles, from boats to riding mowers to…well, let’s not spoil it here. Just take a look at the following crazy DUI stories we scoured from the web recently.drunk-santa-los-angeles-DUI-defense-300x194

Incident on a Bridge: Motorized Wheelchair

According to Florida law, drivers under the influence can be charged for operating any type of motorized vehicle—including, as one man discovered, a motorized wheelchair.

uber-driver-DUIIt’s bad enough that a DUI conviction can wipe out your bank account or drive up your credit card bill. Between the fines, court costs and other associated expenses—like DUI driver school tuition and added commuting costs—you could pay as much as $7,500 out of pocket. But you could also face a longer-term problem of unemployment. When you lose your job because of a DUI or struggle to get a new one afterwards, it adds insult to injury.

If you’ve been earning some extra cash as an Uber or a Lyft driver, you’ll have to find another way to fill your wallet. Uber is already fairly picky about DUIs on a driving record; in California, Uber won’t even hire you if your record shows that you’ve had a DUI within the last 10 years.

But what if you’ve been working as an Uber driver, and then you get a DUI? Will you be able to keep driving?

If statistics alone could get people to change their behavior, drivers might pause before getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But as you know empirically—perhaps because you’ve been arrested recently for DUI, or perhaps because a loved one just called you from jail in emotional distress because of an arrest—it’s not so simple. Why do drivers make poor/reckless decisions? And what can be done about the problem of DUI—on a community-wide or city-wide level—to make things safer for everyone?fix-society-dui-problem-258x300

In this post and a subsequent one, we’ll take an unbiased (well, as unbiased as possible) look at the science and possible solutions.

You probably are already all too familiar with facts like these from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention:

Do you have an extra $7,300 to spare? If you’d have trouble coming up with that kind of cash, you need to think carefully before you get behind the wheel when you’re under the influence!costs-of-a-los-angeles-DUI-calculated

Just paying the fines and court costs for a DUI conviction could leave you struggling to make ends meet. And that doesn’t include the other expenses that you could face along the way for legal fees, spikes in your insurance premiums, lost work time, the installation of an interlock ignition device, and beyond.

For the sake of this analysis, we’ll take a first time DUI—no accident or personal injury involved—as the basis for guesstimating your expenses.

Dealing with the aftereffects of a DUI is never easy. It’s especially difficult, however, when you’re living on the economic edge: if you’re a single mom who’s working two jobs and struggling to make ends meet, a student working your way through school or a veteran or retiree living on a fixed and very limited income. no-car-los-angeles-DUI

You’ll have to find a way to pay the cost of fines and court-mandated DUI classes. If you’re depended on your car to get to your job or to your school, you’ll have to search for an alternate mode of transportation. But one good thing about living in the Los Angeles area is that you may have more options for coping with the crisis than someone who lives in more rural areas.

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