Articles Posted in Hit and Run

A horrific DUI incident in San Diego may serve as a warning to drivers at risk of DUI in Los Angeles.DUI-felony-homicide-losangeles

Esteysi Sanchez Izazaga, who goes by Stacy Sanchez, had apparently been drinking in two establishments before she headed for home on the morning of June 29th. Sanchez was allegedly speeding when her car left the road and hit a 69-year-old homeless man, Jack Ray Tenhulzen, who was walking on the sidewalk.

The impact was so great that it forced Tenhulzen through the windshield and severed his leg, which flew through the back window and landed on the trunk of Sanchez’s car. Tenhulzen’s body ended up in the passenger seat beside Sanchez.

But Sanchez continued to drive for another mile or so before parking the car and walking two blocks to her home. Witnesses called police to report the incident, and the officers went to Sanchez’s home and arrested her after her live-in boyfriend also called them to report she was there.

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When it comes to stories about driving under the influence in Los Angeles (and elsewhere), strange arrests and odd situations seem to take center stage. Some of the stories are so unbelievable that you have to wonder whether they are just urban legends. Here are three of the decade’s wildest, jaw-dropping DUI stories:

1.   Crocs brand founder arrested in 2012. George Boedecker, the 51-year-old Crocs shoe brand founder, apparently was so intoxicated when police pulled him over that he tried to convince officers that he was dating Taylor Swift. The story gets even crazier; he gave cops obscenity-laced excuses until they decided to arrest him on DUI charges.

2.    Wisconsin man didn’t see repeat offenses as a crime. A 53-year-old from Wisconsin, Daniel Frisch, has a history of DUI. He and about 30 other people in the state have a whopping total of more than 30 DUI convictions apiece. Frisch never killed anyone during his intoxicated excursions, but time in prison may not have changed his outlook much. According to reports, he never viewed himself as an alcoholic and never thought about his drinking and driving as a crime. He does admit, however, that his numerous convictions have taken away his chance at living a normal life.

A Halloween night DUI in Los Angeles left 10 people injured and a 40-year old man in jail for allegedly driving while impaired.
According to KTLA channel 5 and other local news reports, Michael Maurice Wilson had cocaine in his possession when police finally caught up with him after his out-of-control driving spree. Wilson, who was driving a rented U-Haul truck, allegedly initially sideswiped a parked vehicle on Seventh Street. But he didn’t slow down, and ended up traveling a short distance in the wrong direction on Seventh Street. He finally crashed into a motorcycle carrying two passengers and a vehicle with four occupants. (The driver of that vehicle was making an Uber run.) Wilson then plowed into a sidewalk, hitting several pedestrians before coming to a stop.dui-los-angeles-halloween-defense

Wilson, who told police he had been heading to the store, abandoned his truck but didn’t get far before police arrived.

Ten people received injuries during Wilson’s scary Halloween drive; three ended up in the hospital, but police said none of the injuries was life-threatening. Wilson allegedly admitted that he was under the influence of marijuana, and police booked him on charges of DUI and possessing cocaine.

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Motorists involved in a Los Angeles DUI accident sometimes cause property damage and (fortunately, more rarely) death or injury to themselves or someone else. But very few of them are involved in three incidents–one deadly–in the same day.Zoltan-Istvan-Pentek-DUI

A Las Vegas driver who reportedly caused three accidents on Thursday, June 11th–one when he was apparently sober, two when he was allegedly DUI–was sitting in jail without bail a day later. But his incarceration came too late for a 67-year old cyclist, who lost his life when their paths crossed.

The Nevada Highway Patrol’s first contact with Zoltan Istvan Pentek, 22, came around 10 p.m. on Thursday night, when police say he was involved in a crash on Interstate 15. The responding officers later said that Pentek filled out an incident report and showed no signs of impairment, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

About an hour and a half later, at 11:40 p.m., Pentek hit 67-year-old Larry Martinez, who was riding his bike near the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and Mojave Road. Martinez had been wearing a reflective vest when Pentek slammed into him from behind, causing fatal injuries.

Pentek didn’t stop, but fled the scene, per the Review-Journal, leaving behind a piece of trim from his dark green, 1999 Honda Civic. Just 10 minutes later, he allegedly caused another crash at an intersection not far from the fatality scene. The police picked him up shortly after this accident. After matching the trim left at the earlier incident to his car, they eventually charged him with DUI involving death and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

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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injury-DUI-los-angeles-4Among the most severe Los Angeles DUI offenses are those causing injury to passengers or other drivers. As a San Diego man recently discovered, the consequences of a DUI-related crash can last for several years – or a lifetime.

On September 19, a judge sentenced Daniel Castro to nine years and eight months in prison for a felony DUI that led to the serious injury of another driver. The third conviction for Castro came after he jumped bail, escaping to Ensenada, Mexico.

The accident occurred on May 22, 2013, when an intoxicated Castro drove the wrong way down Interstate 5, crashing head-on into 29-year-old Jessica Creed’s Ford Fusion. Creed sustained extensive injuries, including a severed arm, broken pelvis, shattered facial bones, and fractured vertebrae.

According to the judge, Castro failed to show remorse, character, or courage during the court case. As a result, he earned the maximum sentence allowable under California law.

How Authorities Punish Repeat DUI Offenders and DUI with Injury

When individuals receive multiple concurrent DUI convictions or injure others, the consequences increase significantly. For repeat DUIs, these can include:

•    Increased jail time. From 48 hours for a first-time offense to 3 years for a fourth or subsequent offense, continued DUIs often lead to more time behind bars.

•    Driver’s license suspension. Each DUI conviction leads to an additional year during which the individual can lose his or her license.

•    Fines. The amount a person must pay in fines and court fees can increase with each subsequent conviction.

When a DUI includes an injury to another driver or passenger, the related charge automatically becomes a felony, per California Vehicle Code 23153. These charges generally lead to more prison time, forced restitution for victims, job loss, and other life-altering repercussions.

If a pending DUI case with repeat offenses or injuries threatens to destroy your life, contact a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney at the Kraut Law Group today to set up a free consultation.


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Imagine a “stereotypical” Los Angeles DUI driver. You might be picturing a young man in his late 20s or early 30s. He returns from a party or a club, and cops pull him over on the 101 for veering across five lanes of traffic in five seconds. This driver is clearly a disruptive influence, and the cops need to get him off the road, stat.70-year-old-dui-los-angeles

But the actual catalogue of DUI offenders is far more diverse.

Consider, for instance, an Illinois hit-and-run DUI case involving a 70-year-old man from the town of Naperville. Local authorities say Mario Perea caused a DUI accident and then hightailed his way from the scene.

Perea allegedly rear ended another vehicle at a stop light on Route 71 and then fled. Fortunately, the accident didn’t cause any serious injuries. Police eventually caught up with Perea a few miles later and hit him with a battery of charges including: leaving the scene of an accident, DUI, improper lane usage, driving without insurance, transporting alcohol illegally and driving with only one headlight.

It’s a flawed, but very human impulse to flee a crime scene.

But what actually happens if you commit a DUI and then run away, according to California law?

California Vehicle Code Section 20002 outlines the punishments for misdemeanor hit and run in Los Angeles. This CVC will apply if you hit someone else’s property and then leave the scene without identifying yourself or providing information for another person to identify you later. Even if you didn’t cause the crash, you can still be liable per CVC 20002.

You do not have to exchange insurance info, per this code, however. That said, if you don’t, you could be in violation of a separate vehicle code section – 16025. That is a lesser offense — an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor. But you can still be whacked with a fine of $250.

So what are the punishments?

First of all, the California DMV will give you two points on your driving record. Secondly, you can face up to six months in jail, three years probation, fines and fees, and forced restitution to the person (or company) whose property you damaged.

How can you respond effectively these charges?

There are many ways to challenge CVC 20002 charges.

First of all, if you only damaged your vehicle — and not the other person’s property — there is no misdemeanor. Second of all, if you didn’t know that you had been in a collision, you can’t be liable. Third, if you weren’t the driver at the time (e.g. someone else borrowed your car and got into an accident), you can’t be liable.

Connect with the team here at the Kraut Law Group today to get help with a precise strategy to combat your misdemeanor Los Angeles DUI hit and run charges.

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Taken out of context, your Beverly Hills DUI arrest – whether you got pulled over on the 405 after partying with friends or stopped at a checkpoint on Sepulveda – is a “100% negative.” forest-for-trees-los-angeles-DUI.jpg

In other words, there is no silver lining to what happened, other than the fact that you survived the stop and/or accident and that, theoretically, the situation could have been even worse. While that attitude can be technically justified, it’s grim.

It may also be misleading, because it prevents you from seeing the forest for the trees.

Most people who get stopped and charged with a crime like Beverly Hills DUI, for whatever reason, refuse to consider the charges in a broader context. They see it as a “fluke” – either an out of character one-time mistake or an injustice perpetrated by a biased or irresponsible police force.

It’s certainly true that the police can make mistakes. For instance, we’ve spilled a great deal of digital ink cataloguing the whys and wherefores of DUI breath test failures.

But the Beverly Hills DUI criminal defense lawyers at the Kraut Law Group also believe that defendants should spend time introspecting — trying to figure out what, if anything, the DUI crisis means for them. For instance:

• Perhaps you only started getting in trouble (e.g. collecting DUIs) after you started to hanging out with certain friends. Upon reflection, maybe you should stop hanging out with those people!
• Perhaps you turned to alcohol and prescription medications after you hit a slump with your career. Perhaps you need to restrategize with respect your business, so you can deal with the helplessness and thus feel less seduced by the need to use the substances;
• Perhaps the police pulled you over multiple times because your car is missing a tail light and looks like a hunk of junk. Perhaps if you just fixed up your car, you would be less of a target for authorities (and you would be a safer driver, as well)

The point of this article is not to blame you, unnecessarily, for your Beverly Hills DUI arrest. As discussed above, you might be completely innocent – just like the 60-year-old Surprise, Arizona man who was arrested for DUI, despite blowing a 0.000 % BAC on his breath test!

But no matter what happened, by drilling down to figure out what went wrong in your case, you can feel more empowered and more excited to move on with your life. To start making progress, talk to the thorough, sensitive Beverly Hills DUI defense lawyers at the Kraut Law Group now to schedule a free evaluation of your case.

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Your Burbank DUI arrest might have been pretty “garden variety.” burbank-dui-134.jpg

Maybe you blew a 0.13% BAC on a breath test, after spending the night drinking and playing pool at Burbank Town Center. A sheriff saw you swerve on Hollywood Way, while you were driving to an after-party at an acquaintance’s house.

Or maybe you crashed into a sign while getting off the 134.

Your case is a huge deal to you. Depending on what happens with the charges, you could have to confront the loss of your California driver’s license, and you may face substantial jail time, fees and fines, hikes in your insurance rates, and other mayhem.

That said, odds are that your case is pretty “run of the mill.” In fact, you might be surprised by how similar your Burbank DUI case is to others. When you study large numbers of Burbank DUI cases, the results are stunning. People tend to misbehave in the same ways.

So is there anything new under the sun?

Definitively: yes! The details of each case ALWAYS matter.

• Tiny details can determine, for instance, whether the court accepts or rejects the results of a blood alcohol test that found that you had twice the legal limit for Burbank DUI, per CVC 23152(b);
• Tiny details can mean the difference between whether the court will let you off with or without jail time;
• Tiny details can mean the difference between whether this will be your one and only Burbank DUI arrest… or whether this event will signal a downward spiral in your life towards more criminal behavior.

Understand these two paradoxical truths about Burbank DUI:

1. Most DUIs are pretty similar to one another;
2. The details always matter in DUI cases.

So what should you do?

The answer is simple: sweat the details. Understand that no one can predict which small choices that you make (or fail to make) will affect your life. So to the extent that you can make good “little choices,” do so!

• Take time to be selective about your Burbank DUI criminal defense lawyer. Don’t just choose the first random name that you find on Google or choose an attorney that your third cousin recommended because he saw an advertisement several years ago.
• Choose a DUI defense law firm that has good values and credentials.
• Take action immediately to begin your defense. Don’t wait several days or weeks.
• Understand your arrest in context. Spend some time mulling over why you got in trouble. Address the root cause of your arrest, not just the superficial cause, so you can avoid trouble next time.

In life, if you get the “little things” moving in the right direction, the big things will often, spontaneously, move in that direction too. Connect with a Burbank DUI defense lawyer at the Kraut Law Group today to build your effective defense.

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Joe Morgan, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, was arrested recently for driving under the influence (not in Burbank) but in way out in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. joe-morgan-dui-burbank.jpg

The 25-year-old had been driving without a license on Earhart Expressway. when his vehicle became disabled. A state trooper found Morgan asleep in his car, near Causeway Boulevard. The trooper woke up the football star and asked him to get out of the vehicle. Police said that Morgan appeared intoxicated: he swayed on his feet, smelled of alcohol, and had bloodshot eyes. As regular readers of our Burbank DUI blog know, those are the precise symptoms that indicate that someone’s been driving under the influence in Burbank.

Other common symptoms include:

• Acting in an emotionally volatile manner;
• Telling contradictory stories;
• Failing field sobriety tests, like the stand on one leg test, the horizontal gaze test, the walk the line test, and the count backwards by 3s from a 100 test.

Police also use more “scientific” methods to determine whether you’re drivingDUI in Burbank. But even blood tests and breathalyzer tests are not fool-proof. Errors, mis-calibrations, misinterpretations, and misreporting can throw off results substantially.

Getting back to Morgan’s case…the trooper arrested him after finding that his blood alcohol concentration was 0.218%. That’s 2.5 times the Burbank DUI legal limit (as defined by CVC 23152(b)). Morgan was booked at Gretna Jail and released later after making a $1,150 bond.

When public figures, like professional football players, break Burbank DUI laws, they are often excoriated in the news. That’s understandable. Sports figures and celebrities are role models. When they break the law, it leaves a bad taste in the public’s mouth. Of course, there’s an incredibly diverse spectrum of DUI offenses, ranging from the obviously egregious and terrifying to the “innocent and just barely across the line.”

What to Do about Your DUI Defense in Burbank
First of all, no matter what happened, you’re entitled to a sound and fair defense. The team here at the Kraut Law Group can help you effectively strategize to protect your rights and maximize your chances of a positive outcome. Attorney Kraut is by no means an apologist for DUI drivers. In fact, he worked for 14 years as a prosecutor, during which time he actively and passionately prosecuted crimes like DUI.

In fact, police officers often call on attorney Kraut at the Kraut Law Group for help when their close family and friends need help with issues like Burbank DUI defense. Get in touch with the Kraut Law Group today. We can help you understand your rights and advocate for a successful outcome in your case.

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Getting arrested for driving under the influence in Burbank is a monstrously embarrassing and challenging experience. burbank-dui-arrest-again.jpg

You probably don’t want to think about the assortment of punishments that prosecutors can seek, such as extensive jail time, weeks of compulsory alcohol school, mandatory IID installation in your car, fines and fees, intensely restrictive probation terms, and, of course, the suspension of your California drivers license for a year. And that’s just if you committed a minor crime — one that did not involve injuries, other charges, or a past criminal history!

You can obviously understand why someone would want to celebrate the lifting of such restrictions – the finalizing of a Burbank DUI case. Unfortunately, some people take such celebrations too far.

The results can be quite ironic.

Consider, for instance, what happened to Riverside Illinois resident Erin James, a 58-year-old woman on the verge of getting her driver license back — a court suspended it back for a 2012 DUI. But James got ahead of herself, according to CBS Chicago. Riverside police pulled her over for speeding at around 2 a.m., the night of the end of her suspension. The officer suspected that she was DUI, and he put her through the paces of field sobriety test. She failed and later tested to have a BAC of 0.15%. (For those of you keeping score, that’s nearly twice the Burbank DUI limit of 0.08%.)

The bad news did not end there, for James.

After checking her driver’s license, police found that it was suspended in 2012. James also did not have a mandated interlock ignition device (IID) in her car, which was supposed to stop her from driving while under the influence.

Police handcuffed and arrested the woman and hit her with the charge of felony aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. A very serious charge. As you probably already know, a felony can be punished with a jail sentence in excess of a year. Convicted felons permanently lose many rights that most people take for granted, such as the right to vote in elections. Plus convicted felons often struggle to get loans, secure housing, find employment, et cetera.

Depending on the nature of your Burbank DUI charge, you, too, may face a felony, particularly if you hurt someone else while behind the wheel. The California Vehicle Code has actually a special section just for injury DUIs – 23153(a) and 23153(b). This CVC section is very similar to 23152 (the standard DUI misdemeanor), except that it elevates what would normally be misdemeanors to felonies.

Whether your Burbank DUI arrest was “ironic” or not, or “newsworthy” or not, you have a lot of work to do, legally speaking and otherwise. You want to forge an effective, appropriate, responsible Burbank DUI defense, but you’re not sure exactly how to start the process.

Get in touch with the reputable, results-focused team here at Burbank’s Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is an ex-prosecutor who has a long, successful track record of helping defendants like you meet their charges effectively and smartly.

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