Articles Posted in Long Beach DUI Defense Attorney

In a recent Long Beach DUI post, we told the terrible story of 20-year-old Karlie Tomica, a self-described “party princess” in South Beach who allegedly hit and killed a chef while under the influence then fled the scene of the accident. party-princess-dui-los-angeles.jpg

Tomica’s story made national headlines for many reasons. It wasn’t a “typical” DUI hit-and-run homicide case. For instance:

• Tomica allegedly had a BAC of over three times the legal limit for Long Beach DUI, 0.08% BAC, which is already pretty high;
• Tomica ignored a motorist’s frantic plea for her to pull over after the arrest, and police finally arrested her at her condo in Miami Beach;
• She fell asleep at the police station later and allegedly “snored loudly”;
• The 20-year-old called herself a “party princess” on Twitter.

After prosecutors got the toxicology reports in mid-February, they filed a DUI manslaughter charge against her. Now, Tomica’s lawyer is saying that the current judge should not be on her case because, from her statements, she had “pre-judged [Tomica] guilty.” Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens said that Tomica “made choices to drink” — indicating that she [the judge] may not provide the young woman a fair trial.

Without diving deep into the facts and arguments (and counterarguments) of this case, it’s impossible to assess the intelligence of this defense strategy.

As any reputable Long Beach DUI defense lawyer will tell you, there are no one-size-fits-all rules for how to proceed. That’s why you want to find a lawyer who has both the experience and knowledge to help you manage your situation.

If you’re confused about how to proceed with your defense, get in touch with the team at the Kraut Law Group today to discuss your options and to plan an effective, thorough and strategic response. Michael Kraut is a former Long Beach DUI prosecutor who spent 14 years on the other side of criminal cases, as a Senior Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles.

Find out more about Attorney Kraut and his credentials on this site, or call today to set your consultation about your Long Beach DUI.

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You are at your wits’ end and also very sad. Someone you love dearly recently got arrested for DUI in Long Beach, and that person — at least to you — seems to be living in denial. help-after-long-beach-dui-arrest.jpg

As you are no doubt aware, after you get arrested and charged according to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) or 23152 (b) — or per the injury DUI CVC Sections 23153 (a) or 23153 (b) — you need to act quickly, strategically, and decisively to protect your rights.

You may only have days, for instance, to contest the suspension of your California driver’s license. Evidence that could help exonerate the Long Beach DUI defendant — or at least make the prosecution’s case more challenging — may disappear or be forgotten.

So you need to get “on it” quickly. But the person whom you love — who faces the charges — is acting maddeningly nonchalant. Perhaps he or she has yet even to consult with a Long Beach DUI defense lawyer or even begin researching legal options.

You want to help him, but there is only so much control that you can exert over a full-grown adult. Here are some insights to help you make progress:

#1. Strive to empathize with the Long Beach DUI defendant.

Imagine if you had been arrested. No doubt, you’d feel scared, overwhelmed, angry both outwardly and inwardly, and a lot of other feelings, none of them good. Whenever you’d dwell on the arrest, those feelings would come up. So it makes psychological sense (at least) to just pretend like things aren’t really happening.

#2. The person may have a challenging relationship with you.

For instance, maybe you’re the parent of a UCLA or USC student who got arrested for DUI in Los Angeles. That student might worry that you’ll stop paying tuition or take away the car. The person may not even be willing to listen to your plea because of these fears.

#3. You cannot be sure exactly what’s going on.

Scientists have done plenty of research into what motivates us (and what demotivates us) from taking empowering actions. But each situation is different. One defendant might refuse to get help because he’s in denial. Another may refuse to get help simply because she doesn’t realize the nature of her legal bind.

This puts you in a difficult situation. You want to help, but you are not exactly sure how to approach the person or otherwise assist.

Above all else, strive for compassion. Be compassionate with the person. Be compassionate with yourself. You’re going through a lot as well, even though you won’t face jail time or other punishments. Appreciate that you have the kindness and sense of responsibility to offer help. Reflect on the Serenity Prayer.

And consider connecting with Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group, directly, for help with your Long Beach DUI defense. Attorney Kraut can suggest solutions for you and your family.

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Hopefully your Glendale DUI accident and/or arrest was not nearly as horrendous as was 20-year-old Karlie Tomica’s. dui-homicide-los-angeles.jpg

The South Beach, Florida bartender recently pled not guilty to DUI manslaughter charges stemming from the hit-and-run death of Stefano Riccioletti, a chef at the local Shore Club. The Circuit Judge in the case set bail for the so-called “Party Princess” (her Twitter handle) at $77,000 because of the brutal facts about the fatal crash.

Local police from Miami Beach allege that Tomica sped into Riccioletti, while he was walking to work early morning January 28. The following description is pretty graphic, so feel free to skip to the subsequent paragraph if you don’t want to have to read these difficult words: “the impact was so violent that her car was severely damaged, covered in skull fragments and brain matter… A nearby street barricade was painted in blood… Tomica refused to stop, and started driving several miles to her 17th floor condo, even as a good Samaritan followed and tried to get her to stop.”

Ultimately, the police caught up with her and took her to the station, where they gave her a toxicology test. They found that she had a staggeringly high BAC of 0.225%. For you record keepers, that’s nearly three times the legal limit for driving under the influence in Glendale. Meanwhile, they also found she had stolen another woman’s driver’s license (likely to use to buy the alcohol).

It’s really a very sad situation. Not only will this woman now face a DUI manslaughter charge, but she will also face many ancillary charges. It goes to show that DUI drivers often engage in not just one but multiple acts of incompetence or bad decision making — creating a kind of a “bad move” snowball effect.

It would have been bad enough if she just hit and killed the chef while DUI. But she insisted on driving home after the fact, so now she will be saddled with an additional hit-and-run charge.

This “making a bad situation worse” behavior does NOT indicate a fundamental lack of moral fortitude. It just suggests that one bad decision can trigger multiple bad decisions. The famous rock group, Pink Floyd, put it best in their song “A Momentary Lapse of Reason”: “one slip, and down the hole you fall. It seems to take no time at all. A momentary lapse of reason that binds a life to life. It’s a small regret, and we won’t forget, there’ll be no sleep in here tonight.”

Of course, after your momentary slip (or slips) of reason, you still need and deserve a solid defense. Connect with the Glendale DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut now for a free consultation. Attorney Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor who has plenty of experience and tremendous compassion for DUI defendants.

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When you got pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Long Beach, you felt terrible and scared. dui-in-los-angeles-avoid-bribing.jpg

You can be forgiven if you allowed yourself to envision doing “something, anything” to escape the charges, the humiliation, and the punishment. But there is a difference between thinking such thoughts (e.g. “if I hightail it out of here, I could reach the Mexico border by sunrise!”) and actually ACTING on them.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we’re extremely intoxicated or nervous, we can act impulsively on not-so-smart thoughts.

Consider, for instance, the following recent New York City DUI debacle. A 24-year old resident slammed his car into a mailbox in Lower Southampton. Witnesses saw the vehicle driving without its lights on in the middle of the night. When police finally pulled the young man over, he was “slumped in the seat and looked upset when he saw the authorities who stopped him.” The police tried to put him through the paces of a field sobriety test, but “he failed them all” and didn’t even “lift his feet off the ground when [the police] asked him to.”

After police arrested the man and took him into custody, he still failed to cooperate.

He later blew a 0.18% on a breath test (well over two times the legal limit for Long Beach DUI) and agreed to do a blood test at St. Mary Medical Center. But then he recanted and decided not to give blood. Finally, he was thrown back into police vehicle and taken to a station in Lower Southampton, where he shouted at a police officer and even bribed him with $1,000 to let him go.

Ultimately, police showered him with a litany of charges, including hit and run, property damage, DUI and refusal. His parents later picked him up at the station.

When you read a story like this, you probably feel some compassion. Unfortunately, many Long Beach DUI defendants do not get nearly enough empathy from society, from prosecutors, from bosses and colleagues, and even from spouses and family members.

You’ve been through a tremendous amount. You’d really like someone to listen to your concerns and help you develop a battle plan to fight back against the Long Beach DUI charges.

Look to the experienced team here at the Kraut Law Group to help you get a handle on your Long Beach DUI defense, and to move beyond this difficult and unexpected chapter in your life.

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Why on Earth would you want to waste time reading or thinking about a meteorite explosion, when you have a serious Long Beach DUI charge on your hands, and your freedom and future literally hang in the balance?russia-meteor-like-long-beach-dui.jpg

There’s a good reason why.

Many defendants, who face charges like driving under the influence in Long Beach, never take the time to process what they go through. As a result, they often make impetuous decisions that backfire, or they fail to “get into gear” early enough in the process. The end result is the same: driver’s license suspension, jail time, harsh probation terms, and worse.

Point is, you really need to take time to process what’s happened to you and come up with new ways to think resourcefully about your situation. Your DUI event was very disruptive and totally unexpected. No one starts off a day saying “I think I’m going go out and get into a Long Beach DUI accident tonight.” Accidents and DUI checkpoint arrests happen totally out of the blue.

Likewise, the meteorite that exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia in the Ural Mountains on February 15 was totally unexpected. The blast literally shocked the world. (Curiously, the event happened around the same time as a 130,000 ton asteroid zipped by the Earth — nipping our whiskers at just 17,000 miles distance). The fireball nevertheless created a mini-disaster, injuring 1,100 people or so (mostly due to glass blown out from the explosion) and damaging 3,000 area buildings.

Russia — and the rest of the world, actually — got lucky.

Had the meteorite gone slightly off course, it could have exploded over nearby nuclear weapons plants or chemical weapons facilities and thus either set off another Chernobyl-type disaster or caused toxic agents to be released en masse into the atmosphere.

Your Long Beach DUI event was very similar to a meteorite strike — it was unexpected and unwanted, and it’s left you dazed and feeling out of control.

To regain some control and perspective, get in touch with the Kraut Law Group today. Michael Kraut is a highly reputable, widely respected ex-prosecutor who now works as a Long Beach DUI defense lawyer. He and his associates can help you respond knowledgably to your crisis and build a sound and structured defense.

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If you’ve recently been arrested for driving under the influence in Long Beach, odds are that you’ve been too busy to read the celebrity gossip news.randy-travis-DUI-long-beach.jpg

To fill you in… last summer, country singer Randy drove his Trans Am off the road in Tioga, Texas, smashed into barricades, and then emerged and fell asleep on the ground… naked! When police found him, they tested him for DUI. Not shockingly, he had a 0.21% BAC — nearly three times the legal limit for driving under the influence in Long Beach (and Texas, for that matter).

Travis also allegedly threatened police officers, netting him a retaliation charge.

Last week, a judge in Sherman, Texas handed down a sentence based on the singer’s guilty plea. Travis will face two years of probation on top of a $2000 fine and a suspended jail sentence of 180 days. In addition, he will need to spend 30 days in an alcohol facility and do 100 hours of community service. During the probation, he must install an interlock ignition device (IID).

If he violates terms, he will go to jail.

These punishments are above and beyond what the typical DUI defendant might get in Texas. According to a local district attorney, Joe Brown, Travis “will be unable to leave the [alcohol treatment] facility for 30 days. His fine and community service requirements are more than double what is usually received, and his probation term is the maximum available, and longer than the usual 18 months. All of that is appropriate in light of his behavior with the officers.”

Travis also made headlines when he placed himself in the middle of an argument between a woman and her estranged husband. Also, back in February 2012, police arrested him for public intoxication near Dallas.

Travis recently split from his wife and ex-manager of many years; undoubtedly he’s going through some super emotionally turbulent times.

And that brings us to a key issue that Long Beach DUI defendants need to know!

If you’re going through an emotional struggle, you are not alone. You may need help not only with your Long Beach DUI defense but also with the core problems causing the helplessness in your life that’s driving you to make bad decisions and self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.

Begin the journey towards healing and rehabilitation by connecting with a Long Beach DUI defense attorney at The Kraut Law Group for a sensible, effective and free case consultation.

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This Glendale DUI blog has long highlighted the shortcomings of breathalyzer tests. As we’ve reported on multiple occasions, most people (including the vast majority of police officers) have far more faith in these machines than the science and research warrant.breath-test-dui-glendale.jpg

Some police are now beginning to pay attention to this research.

Unfortunately, they are not here in Southern California: they’re all the way out in Pennsylvania, where state police have temporarily stopped using these devices in wake of an appeal on a prominent case. January 9 marked the beginning of the breath test suspension, after a judge in Dauphin County nixed 20 DUI charges. A local lawyer effectively demonstrated that the test calibration procedures used were way off.

Here’s a quote from an article in the Lehigh Valley newspaper, The Morning Call, “Judge Clark wrote in his decision on Thursday that the failure of a manufacturer to use an independent laboratory in the initial calibration of the machines raised serious questions about the accuracy of their results, rendering them inadmissible as evidence in court. Furthermore, Clark said, an oversight in the regulations governing monthly calibration of the machines by police means that breath test results for very low and very high levels of intoxication are also unreliable.”

In the wake of the suspension, police are using DUI blood tests, which can be more accurate but which also have shortcomings.

Here’s the big lesson, if you or a close family member or a friend stands accused of Glendale DUI: avoid assuming anything about your potential defense.

The police may or may not have made a procedural or calibration error with your test. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. But you need to comb through the details of your case to determine what, if anything, you can do to challenge the evidence and charges against you.

Get in touch with Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to develop a thorough and clearheaded defense against your Glendale DUI charges.

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Okay, this is a weird one — one of the strangest Pasadena DUI news stories of 2013, so far. weird-pasadena-dui.jpg

According to CBSLA.com, last Friday, police arrested a 22-year-old suspect in Panorama City for driving under the influence after a late morning slow speed chase. When the young driver pulled over, police observed him inhaling balloons full of nitrous — a recreational drug that can cause hallucinations, problems with depth perception, nausea, and other unpleasantness.

Per Lieutenant Mitzi Fierro, “when the officers initially approached [the driver], he appeared to be greatly intoxicated. He was rocking back and forth in his vehicle. He continued to inhale the gas in the balloon.”

Alarmed and obviously concerned for their own safety, officers eventually shot bean bags through the passenger side window to subdue the 22-year-old. Then broke the window with a baton, dragged him from the vehicle and arrested him for driving under the influence at around 11:15 AM.

The young man was taken to a local hospital for treatment. His father told the media that he has a history of drug use.

The story illustrates what we’ve been discussing a lot recently on this Pasadena DUI blog: namely, that defendants who get into “hot water” with authorities at a DUI checkpoint (or wherever) often make spur of the moment, dumb decisions. These “bad calls” endanger their own lives and the lives of others and also get them into serious legal trouble.

For instance, perhaps you hit someone with your vehicle while coming back from a cocktail party. Instead of stopping and exchanging information – i.e. doing the right thing – you drove off, hoping no one would recognize you. But then the police tracked you down and arrested you not only for the DUI but also for a hit and run. DUI suspects often make less than stellar decisions, like trying to elude police, fighting police, lying to police, and so forth.

It’s human to make mistakes. As human beings, when we get into a hole, sometimes we lack the sense and good judgment to “stop digging.”

This much is obvious. But what is not so obvious — for many Pasadena DUI defendants — is that you may STILL be digging that hole. Even though your arrest is concluded, you still run the risk of doing “dumb things” with respect to your case, such as missing your license suspension hearing.

Appreciate that you have an opportunity, even now, to turn things around.

The team here at the Kraut Law Group understands how stressful and confusing it feels to get arrested. But you might be surprised by your strategic options. This doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Connect with former city prosecutor Michael Kraut about your Pasadena DUI. The Harvard Law School educated Kraut and his team can provide a no nonsense, compassionate consultation about your case.

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You’re a concerned parent whose child was recently charged with a DUI in Long Beach or elsewhere in Southern California. teen_dui_in-los-angeles.jpg

You’re likely feeling a destructive cocktail of emotions right now, including anger, confusion, frustration, and helplessness. You worked so hard to raise a child who would abide by the law. The news of the arrest sent shockwaves through your immediate family. It’s forced you to reflect deeply on your values and parental strategies.

Whether your USC undergrad got stopped at a checkpoint on the 405 after an evening of New Year’s revelry; or your teenage daughter caused an injury accident and now faces the possibility of spending over a year behind bars, pursuant to charges under Long Beach injury DUI California Vehicle Code Section 23153, you want practical guidance. You also want to find empathetic, experienced people to help you deal with your own agita that’s been kicked up by the events of the past few days.

Your concern is merited. In fact, by researching and finding an excellent, trusted Southern California DUI criminal defense attorney, you can position your son or daughter to handle the charges better; manage the rehab and penalty phases more maturely; and identify and dispute officer errors and breathalyzer test false positives.

If your grown child can no longer drive to school or work — due to a license suspension stemming from his or her Long Beach DUI — then you may suddenly find yourself chaperoning once again. Likewise, if your child lacks a big savings account, he or she may look to you to pay the steep fines and court costs (which can total in the thousands of dollars). On a more indirect level, the psychological toll of getting arrested and convicted for a Long Beach DUI offense can impact the family for years. If you no longer trust your adult child to make wise decisions, that lack of trust can poison your relationship with the child.

On the other hand, the situation does not have to be grim, even if the offense is dire and the possible punishments manifold.

With the help of a reliable Long Beach DUI criminal defense attorney, like Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group, your child can put up stiff resistance to the charges and tap into a wealth of resources to deal with the various issues we’ve discussed in this blog post (as well as others not yet touched upon). Moreover, the DUI event can be re-framed as a learning and growing experience.

Get in touch with the Kraut Law Group now for a free, confidential consultation about what to do, so you can feel more in control and more empowered.

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In a recent piece we did on this Long Beach DUI blog several months ago, we discussed the peculiar case of Utah Highway Patrol trooper, Lisa Steed, who was fired in November for unfairly arresting innocent people on charges of driving under the influence. lisa_steed_dui-class-action.jpg

Steed had actually been named a Utah Highway Patrol “trooper of the year” – owing in part to her big arrest numbers. Documents filed with Utah’s Third District Judicial Court suggest that she might have wrongfully charged and arrested literally HUNDREDS of people over the years.

Some of these people pled guilty in court because they could not afford to pay for a DUI defense. The class action against Steed argues that State of Utah owes these DUI defendants substantial damages: they lost property and jobs and suffered untold toil. For instance, one of Steed’s victims, Thomas Romero, said he got pulled over because he had a burned out taillight. Steed suspected he was DUI, but a blood alcohol test revealed that he had a 0.00% BAC.

That’s right: 0.00% BAC. Nada.

Nevertheless, Romero lost his truck to the impound lot. He told reporters “that night when I got pulled over, lost my truck, lost everything I have, my motor home, everything. That hurts.”

Another supposed victim of Steed’s zealousness, Julie Tapia, recounted her horrific tale: “[Steed] never did give me a sobriety test on the spot, even though I asked for it, because I’m like, I haven’t done anything wrong unless I’m drunk on a hamburger, fries and a milkshake. I don’t even drink.”

Steed, meanwhile, has appealed with Utah’s State Personnel Office to try to regain her employment in the Police Department.

If you’ve recently been arrested for driving under the influence in Long Beach or elsewhere in the Southland, odds are the trooper who pulled you over did not flagrantly flout rules of conduct, like Steed allegedly did.

However, officer mistakes are less uncommon than you may realize!

For instance, as we have talked numerous times on this Long Beach DUI blog, breathalyzer tests are notoriously troubled. Diabetics, for instance, release chemical compounds on their breath called ketones, which can adversely affect BAC reading. In other words, you can have consumed zero alcohol and still score a positive on a breath test because of those ketones. Likewise, if you are on certain special diets, you can register a false positive.

Other factors that can throw off your Long Beach DUI breathalyzer test results include: your gender, whether you’re on any medications, whether you have certain medical conditions, the depth into which you blow into the machine (super deep breaths can cause an exaggeratedly positive BAC reading), and much more.

Given that the difference between a dismissal of your charge and a conviction according to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 can hang in the balance, you likely can benefit hugely from a creditable, thorough Long Beach DUI Criminal Defense. Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group and his team would be happy to provide a free and confidential case evaluation to help you strategize and make sound decisions regarding your legal future.

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