Articles Posted in DUI Punishment

New technologies will be changing the approach to dealing with DUIs in the coming years. Drivers will have better ways to monitor their own blood alcohol levels, and the vehicles they drive could come equipped to prevent them from driving if they’ve overindulged. Meanwhile lawmakers and law enforcement officers may gain at least one new tool to help them detect DUI drivers and get them off the road.tostitos-dui-prevention-tech

Determining sobriety

Suppose you’ve gone to a bar with a few friends and had a couple of drinks over the course of an evening. When it comes time to leave, you feel completely sober…but you have to wonder, since you’re a responsible driver, if it’s really safe to be behind the wheel. (As you probably know, alcohol impairs your ability to make good decisions.)

Most DUI arrests don’t get a lot of attention from the general public or news media unless they involve a celebrity and/or result in a horrendous accident. Over the last two decades, however, there have been several arrests for DUI that have attracted widespread media notice and/or gone viral because they are simply so outrageous or bizarre.crazy-los-angeles-DUIs-of-21st-century-300x144

Here’s a sampling.

The family that drinks together…

California driving under the influence (DUI) penalties are harsh. Complex state statutes control DUI driving penalties, with a range of possible sentences. A DUI can result in thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, mandatory alcohol treatment programs, and loss of driver’s license. The maximum penalty for a first DUI conviction in California is $3,600 in expenses, six months in jail, six-month license suspension (10 months for blood alcohol concentration [BAC] levels of 0.15% or more), vehicle impoundment for 30 days, and a mandatory interlock breath device in your vehicle. If you’re about to lose your driver’s license or driving privileges after a DUI in Los Angeles, here’s what you need to know.california_driver_license_los-angeles-DUI-suspension-300x226

Understanding DUI License Suspension Penalties in California

Speak to a qualified DUI attorney to avoid or minimize penalties, such as the following:

Some drivers charged with DUI in Los Angeles have had a life-long struggle with alcohol. No matter what the consequences, they can’t stop drinking. DUI-with-children

Michelle Colby of Valparaiso, Indiana, may have such a problem. After making bail on a DUI charge stemming from a crash involving five children last April, she is now back in jail after failing a home breath test.

On April 29th, Colby was carrying five young passengers, including two of her own children, when she failed to yield to another vehicle when making a turn. The driver of the other car and all of Colby’s passengers ended up in the hospital. The crash threw a child and a dog out of Jeep; the child survived, but the dog did not. Police at the scene said that Colby had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on her breath; a breathalyzer test showed a 0.22 blood alcohol reading.

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Drivers convicted of DUI in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare Counties are no longer the only Californians required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for a first-time DUI. On Wednesday, September 28th, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1046, which extends the four-county pilot programs to the entire state. Motorists do have some breathing room, however; the law won’t go into effect until January 1, 2019.Senate Bill 1046

Senator Jerry Hill, who sponsored the legislation, said that the new law will save lives. “We’ve already seen this to be true in the four counties conducting the pilot program: Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) have saved lives by preventing more than 1 million attempts to drink and drive since 2010,” he noted.

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Some drivers at risk of an arrest for a Los Angeles DUI may think that curling up in the back seat and taking a nap may help them avoid the charges. But it doesn’t always work that way.nap-in-car-los-angeles--DUI

Pennsylvania’s Superior Court has ruled that Michelle Starry of Westmoreland County should face charges for DUI. Westmoreland County President Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. had dismissed the charges, perhaps because Starry wasn’t actually behind the wheel when they arrested her.

According to pennlive.com, Starry had been drinking heavily when she slammed her Hyundai into a tree in Loyalsock Township in January 2014. Emergency responders who arrived at the scene of the crash a short time later found her sound asleep in the back seat.

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Most police officers in the City of Angels take very seriously their responsibility to get Los Angeles DUI drivers off the road. Occasionally, however, some law enforcement officials may turn a blind eye to someone’s drinking and driving offense. When authorities discover their actions, those officers find that they’re got legal troubles of their own.boyle-heights-los-angeles-DUI-police

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on two officers, Rene Ponce and Irene Gomez, accused by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office of filing a false report and conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public.

The case against the officers involves an incident from two years ago. On the night of October 26, 2014, a Mustang driven by an unnamed driver slammed into two cars parked on a neighborhood street. When the driver tried to flee, people in the neighborhood who had been awakened by the crash gave chase. Larry Chavez, who held the driver down until the officers arrived, said that the man was very drunk.

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California could soon be among the 25 states that require drivers with a first DUI conviction to install ignition interlock devices in any vehicles that they drive. The new law would not affect the penalties for anyone convicted of DUI in Los Angeles, since Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare Counties have been operating under a pilot program that requires an IID for first-time offenders since 2011.Senate-Bill-1046-los-angeles-DUI

Senate Bill 1046, championed by Senator Jerry Hill, passed the Senate in late August; the California State Assembly approved a similar bill earlier in the year. The legislation now sits on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk; he must decide by September 30th whether or not to approve the bill or veto it.

If the bill becomes law, a first DUI offense would require installation of an IID for six months, with lengthier periods for increasing offenses. (Second DUI – one year; third DUI – two years; fourth and any subsequent DUIs – three years.)
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Court rulings and new laws in other states don’t have an immediate impact on California DUI laws and the outcome of arrests for DUI in Los Angeles.  But it’s always interesting to take a look and see how other states are dealing with challenges and updates to DUI law.TennLegislature-DUI-law-debate

•    The Tennessee State Legislature has taken the extraordinary step of going into special session to amend a law that they passed that raised the BAC limit for 18 to 20-year olds to 0.08 percent.  The legislature had reasoned that since the new penalties for drivers in that age group were the same as for drivers over 21, the BAC limits should be the same. But that put them in conflict with federal law, which mandates a 0.02 limit for those under 21. Since the federal government threatened to withhold federal highway construction funds from the state, the state legislature had to hold a special session (at a cost of at least $75,000) to amend its law and bring it into conformity with federal law. (The federal government refused to waive an October 1st deadline to allow the state to amend the law at its next scheduled legislative session in January 2017.)

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Drivers arrested for DUI in Los Angeles usually have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. But there are times when a DUI suspect’s BAC measures much higher—so high that you wonder how they ever managed to even get behind the wheel of a vehicle, much less drive it.high-bac-level-dui-los-angeels

In Henrico County, Virginia, 44-year-old Angela Gittings faces DUI charges after she hit several vehicles outside an area high school. Police measured her blood alcohol content at 0.38, more than four times the legal limit.  Gittings was also driving without a license; the DMV had revoked it because of previous DUIs.

According the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a BAC of 0.31 to 0.45 poses a “significant risk of death in most drinkers due to suppression of vital life functions.” People with this level of alcohol may lose consciousness and/or suffer from life-threatening alcohol poisoning.

The NIAAA also states that a BAC reading of 0.16 to 0.30 significantly impair a person’s speech, memory, coordination, attention, reaction time and balance. It also has a very negative impact on a person’s driving-related skills, judgment and decision making.

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