Articles Posted in Los Angeles DUI Criminal Defense

In California, penalties for a first time DUI can take a big chunk out of a bank account—at least $1,800 in penalties and fines, plus the cost of attending DUI driving school (if required), and the expense of installing an ignition interlock system, which courts can now require for even first-time offenders. DUI-los-angeles-effect-on-auto-insurance-300x199

But there’s another expense that some drivers convicted of DUI don’t immediately consider—the huge rise that they’re likely to see in their auto insurance premium rates. According to the financial website nerdwallet.com, average good drivers in California can expect their insurance premiums to more than double if they are convicted of DUI. The nerdwallet research revealed that a 25-year old with a DUI would pay about $1,300, while one with a DUI on record would pay about $4,000. A 50-year-old who normally paid about $1,060 could expect to pay $3,275 after a DUI conviction.

The extra cost of auto insurance as a result of a DUI will depend upon:

Courts don’t hold a city responsible when an off-duty employee drinks too much and faces charges of DUI. But if that city employee is DUI in Los Angeles when on the job, the result could be costly for his/her employer.

firefighter-DUI_los-angeles-attorney

One recent example comes from San Francisco. The City is about to approve a $5 million settlement in the case of firefighter Michael Quinn. In June 2013, Quinn was driving a fire truck in the city’s South of Market district when he collided with motorcyclist Jack Frazier. The crash, which left Frazier with serious injuries, took place around 11:30 p.m.

TV station KRON 4 reports that police arrested Quinn on suspicion of DUI and on  leaving the scene of the crash. The grand jury indicted him almost nine months later on three felony counts of driving under the influence causing injury, driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher causing injury and driving a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04 percent or higher causing injury.

In March 2015, a judge ruled that the BAC evidence against Quinn was inadmissible because the fire department’s breathalyzer used by to measure Quinn’s BAC was not calibrated to police standards. Prosecutors are still pursuing the case against him, however.

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If a judge had accepted your guilty plea case involving a Los Angeles DUI, and new evidence turned up, would you take the time and spend the money to have that verdict overturned? What if your conviction dated all the way back to 1986? Some people in Massachusetts who pleaded guilty to DUI are willing to do it.

District Court in session. Edgartown.

District Court in session. Edgartown.

A recent article in the Vineyard Gazette (the newspaper for the upscale Martha’s Vineyard) reported that attorneys who practice in the Edgartown District Court are taking a look at the operating under the influence (OUI) cases handled by Judge Brian Rowe over his 20 years in office. When accepting an accused DUI driver’s guilty plea, Judge Rowe apparently neglected to follow a procedure called colloquy. According to the Gazette, the judge was supposed to advise the guilty party that he/she had the right to a jury trial if desired and to ask each defendant if he or she fully understood the consequences of the decision to make a guilty plea. There’s a box on some court forms that the judge should have checked if the discussion had taken place.

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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.

Drivers convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles face a variety of penalties, including fines, loss of license and time in jail. A judge may show some leniency but usually reserves the right to reinstate punishments (including jail time) if the person violates the terms of parole.Carol-Ferdigan-dui

This summer, Carol Ferdigan pled guilty to charges of vehicular homicide in the horrific deaths of her husband and her son-in-law. The judge released her pending sentence this fall, but she had to promise to refrain from drinking alcohol and to wear a transdermal alcohol sensing device. In early October, that device showed that Ferdigan had been drinking and that her blood alcohol content tipped 0.16% BAC, twice the legal limit, per California Vehicle Code section 23152(b).

That violation sent Ferdigan back to King County Jail to await sentencing on October 23rd.

The deaths occurred in May 2014, when Ferdigan had been enjoying a meal with several family members in her home in Sammamish, Washington. Ferdigan left the table to move her Jeep, but she apparently had consumed so much alcohol that she mistook the accelerator for the brake. She pressed the gas repeatedly, plowing through her home, smashing the table where her family sat and continuing into Lake Sammamish. The crash killed her husband and her son-in-law and badly injured her daughter.

Ferdigan wasn’t hurt; neither was her young grandson, who had been sitting on her lap while she went on her deadly drive.

Ferdigan’s blood alcohol content measured 0.16%, and she allegedly was also driving under the influence of Ambien.
The 69-year-old grandmother ended up taking a guilty plea on charges of reckless endangerment-DUI, with a recommendation

that the court sentence her to six years in prison instead of the 10-13 years she might otherwise have faced.
The justice system isn’t taking any chances with Ferdigan this time; the court denied her bail request. This incident could also influence the judge, who may—but does not have to—follow the sentencing recommendations in her plea deal.

Respond strategically to your arrest and charges by calling a former Senior Deputy D.A. and highly successful Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group today for a complimentary consultation.

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Los Angeles DUI accidents can claim lives at any time; an awful crash in Redondo recently killed 3 Californians and injured many more.Margo-Bronstein-DUI

According to reports, twelve people suffered injuries, when a woman crashed into a group of Christmas concert-goers in a Redondo Beach church last December. Margo Bronstein had been exiting St. James Catholic Church when she slammed into pedestrians leaving the concert. Three people died; two suffered bad injuries; and seven others suffered minor injuries.

Bronstein, a paraplegic, had a spotless driving record, but she had been taking medication that day. Her car had been outfitted with various technology to assist her driving. She had hand brakes on the steering wheel and special rear-view mirrors.

Police might charge Bronstein with felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. Her attorneys have been urging the public to avoid jumping to conclusions about the accident. It is possible, they argue, that a defect in the hand brakes could have contributed to the accident.

If Bronstein’s lawyers can prove that the incident had been an accident — and that medication had not been to blame – perhaps they can fight or eliminate the charges. Her medications included muscle relaxers and other pain relievers to help her cope with chronic health issues.

Accidents involving prescription drugs can still be charged as DUIs, and the consequences of even non-injury stops can include jail time, license suspension, fines and fees and beyond. If a blood or urine test measures a drug’s present in the bloodstream, a conviction could follow.

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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full-moon-duiOne of the consistent themes we’ve discussed on this Los Angeles DUI defense blog is the tragic observation that drivers often make their legal situations far, far worse after getting stopped for DUI. We’ve covered stories about drivers who have attacked police, driven off in a panicked rage from a stop, and even charged through DUI checkpoints.

Unfortunately, one “bad night” can lead to a series of criminal charges, which can land you in jail for many months or even years, depending on what you did, whom you hurt, and whether you have a criminal record. To wit, consider the case of 49-year old Michele Ann Rivera of Coral Springs, Florida. Per a local paper, she and her husband, Stancel Ganus Kinsley, 68, had been driving home from Kinsley’s birthday in the early afternoon on Sunday, when some kind of “road rage” incident broke out. One motorist called the police and reported that Rivera had been winding all over the road on North University Drive in her Toyota 4Runner.

Allegedly, the 49-year-old got out from the driver seat and screamed at a driver for tailgating her. Meanwhile, Kinsley took the driver seat. Police alerted by the ruckus determined that both Kinsley and Rivera had symptoms of DUI, including bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a distinct smell of alcohol. Authorities also allegedly found an open bottle of Vodka in her purse. Police put her through the paces of field sobriety tests, which she allegedly couldn’t complete. Police then arrested both her and Kinsley for DUI, at which time she apparently became abrasive and loud and mooned a police officer, yelling “this is the best you will ever have.”

In Los Angeles, if you are arrested more than three times in a 10-year period for driving under the influence, authorities can charge you with a felony, even if you committed what would ordinarily only be a misdemeanor DUI. To protect your rights and make smart strategic choices about your Los Angeles DUI defense, contact a lawyer with the Kraut Law Group immediately to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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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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Chilean-President-Michelle-BacheleAdhering to Los Angeles DUI laws can keep you and other drivers safe and preserve your freedom. But these laws are always in flux. Authorities are constantly seeking stronger enforcement capabilities to thwart DUI driving and punish offenders. This is true here at home and abroad.

For instance, legislators in Chile just radically revised how that country handles and punishes DUI driving. The new law, which Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed on September 15, decrees that any DUI driver who causes the severe injury or death of another individual must spend at least one year in prison.

Named for a 9-month-old girl who died in a DUI driving accident in 2013, “Emilia’s Law” expands upon established sentencing guidelines. Previously, DUIs involving death or injury in Chile carried a 5-year to lifelong license suspension, but no prison time.

“Emilia’s Law” also defines two additional infractions, including professional drivers caught drinking and individuals fleeing accident scenes or refusing breathalyzer tests. Given that 20 percent of fatal car accidents in Chile have been tied in some way to alcohol use, the President hopes to reduce the devastating impacts of such incidents.

In Los Angeles, most drivers understand that drinking and then driving is unacceptable behavior. However, not everyone realizes how severe the penalties can be. Here are DUI concepts all drivers should understand and internalize:

•    Sentencing guidelines. From six months for a first offense to several years for DUI manslaughter or homicide, a conviction can mean significant time behind bars.

    Substance use. Alcohol isn’t the only drug that can lead to a DUI conviction. Did you know that California authorities check drivers stopped for DUI for illicit drug use (and for the use of some prescription drugs) via blood tests?

•    DUI checkpoints. In the state of California, law enforcement uses DUI checkpoints to randomly examine drivers for signs of impairment.

•    Underage restrictions. Those under 21 with any amount of alcohol in their blood will face penalties.

The best way to avoid the increasingly severe penalties of a DUI is not to drive while DUI. However, people make mistakes. Whether you believe police wrongfully stopped you at a checkpoint, or you got into a crash while allegedly under the influence of drug or alcohol, call a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney at the Kraut Law Group to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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Receiving a Los Angeles DUI can be a life-changing event, even if you hurt no one and avoid getting arrested on multiple charges. But the consequences become even more severe when the other party sustains serious or fatal injuries. A Huntington Beach motorist is now learning that lesson the hard way.mercedes-dui-crash-los-angeles

On September 1 around 6:30 p.m., a 55-year-old man was riding his motorized bicycle down Bolsa Chica Street, when a driver struck him near the intersection with Oahu Drive. Although multiple witnesses tried to help the injured man, he died shortly after admission to UCI Medical Center.

Police found a 2013 Mercedes-Benz C250 near the crash site and later arrested its driver, a 51-year-old Huntington Beach man, for a suspected DUI. Eyewitness accounts indicate the Mercedes struck the bicyclist while both were traveling southbound on Bolsa Chica.

In the state of California, DUI charges involving injury to another party carry significantly more weight than when no one has been harmed. The potential penalties for someone convicted of DUI with injury or manslaughter include:

〈    Higher degree of charges. Rather than a misdemeanor, a manslaughter or injury-related DUI is a felony charge that carries hefty penalties for each individual harmed or killed.

〈    Longer sentences. If convicted of a DUI with one or more injuries, you may face an additional 3-8 years in prison. Manslaughter sentences may be even longer, up to 10 years for each fatality.

〈    Loss of license. Injuring or killing another driver while intoxicated increases the likelihood of losing your license for an extended period.

〈    Job loss. Extended incarceration and a record of DUI with injury or manslaughter may lead a convicted individual to lose current employment or have difficulty gaining it in the future.

At the Kraut Law Group, we understand the gravity of your Los Angeles DUI charges, especially when they coincide with the injury or death of another person. We can craft a powerful, strategic defense, regardless of the complexity of your charges.

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