Articles Posted in Los Angeles DUI Criminal Defense

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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Conscientious drivers often believe they know everything there is to know about avoiding a Los Angeles DUI. However, changing California DUI laws sometimes make understanding and compliance seem like a moving target.south-dakota-DUI-law-los-angeles-dui-implications

The same is true in South Dakota, where the state’s Supreme Court recently ruled to eliminate the “implied consent” law, allowing police to obtain blood samples from DUI suspects. Previously, officers could use probable cause to administer breathalyzer tests, sobriety exams, and (if the suspect failed the first two) a blood test.

The principle of implied consent asserted any driver pulled over during a DUI stop was also consenting to a blood test. However, several South Dakota counties have rejected this notion, requiring a search warrant before a suspect had to provide a blood sample.

Under the new enforcement procedures, authorities must use one of three methods to obtain a suspect’s blood test, including:

•    Actual consent. The driver freely agrees to take the blood test.

•    Search warrant. Once the court provides a search warrant, the suspect must provide his or her blood.

    Exigent circumstances. This represents a muddier legal area, as such scenarios remain up to the officer’s judgment.

South Dakota represents only one of the many states implementing new DUI arrest and conviction procedures. In the state of California, the major issue in 2014 is the inclusion of drug use in DUI charges.

California Vehicle Code Section 23152 now stipulates a driver using any amount of substances – illegal or otherwise – potentially impairing motor, neural, or other functions is subject to arrest and conviction for driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID. Those unaware of the change to the law may find out the hard way when pulled over and tested for intoxication.

The safest way to remain compliant with changing California DUI laws is to avoid driving in a situation where alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications may impact one’s ability to drive. However, mistakes can occur due to misunderstandings or ambiguities in the law. When this happens, defendants need a Los Angeles DUI attorney to stand up for them in court.

If new California DUI laws have caught you by surprise and you need a lawyer, contact the Kraut Law Group today.
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Few individuals facing Los Angeles DUI charges can say they experienced or caused as harrowing an accident as one that recently shook the Bay Area.san-jose-crash-los-angeles-DUI-lawyer-examines

At 9:28 p.m. on Sunday, August 17, police witnessed a black Mercedes speeding down Ocala Avenue in San José. The vehicle ran a red light, broadsided another car, and rolled over repeatedly, striking multiple cars and a light.

Although the Mercedes had been traveling eastbound, the vehicle ended up in the westbound lane and promptly burst into flames. The driver exited the Mercedes and tried to escape before police apprehended him.

The three passengers in the Mercedes all sustained “life threatening injuries” in the San José accident. The driver, an unidentified man in his 20s, also received medical treatment. However, he was released from the hospital and immediately arrested for a felony DUI charge.

Six other individuals experienced injuries from the accident; fortunately, they all appear likely to survive. All told, the crash involved 8 cars and injured 10 people.

Firefighters referred to the collision as a “mass casualty accident.” Two alarms summoned one air ambulance and seven ground ambulances.

Authorities have not yet released the driver’s identity. However, considering the severe nature of the accident, the number of injuries, and the involvement of alcohol, this individual will likely face considerable legal ramifications.

California law takes DUI accidents with injuries extremely seriously. When a driver’s blood alcohol level is at or above 0.08 percent, and this coincides with an injury-causing collision, a judge may sentence the DUI driver to one or more years in prison for each person harmed.

Should any of the injured parties sustain “great bodily injury” or fall into a coma, potential sentences may increase by three to five years.

Regardless of whether your DUI driving charges involve one or ten injuries, a Los Angeles DUI attorney with the Kraut Law Group can help you build a strong defense. Contact us today to learn how we can put our experience in California DUI law to work for you.
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Our Los Angeles DUI blog — as well as practically every media organ that covers popular culture — has been keenly attuned to the saga of Justin Bieber’s DUI case.justin-bieber-DUI-mugshot

The latest development is something of a “pass” – prosecuting attorneys requested to reschedule a hearing to determine whether Bieber should be put on trial for DUI and resisting arrest. The judge agreed to this request but didn’t put matters off for long. The hearing will go forward on August 13. Rumors of a plea deal are floating.

As you might recall from following the seemingly endless barrage of news footage about Bieber’s arrest, the “Baby” singer allegedly was drag racing illegally on Miami streets in a rented Lamborghini. Police said he had alcohol on his breath, although he apparently tested below the 0.02% BAC cut-off for underage drivers. However, some evidence suggests that he had been on Xanax (an anti-anxiety medication) and that authorities found marijuana in his system. The arresting officer noted: “I immediately smelled an odor of alcohol emanating from the driver’s breath… the driver had slow, deliberate movements and a stupor look on his face. These are all indicators of an impaired driver.”

In addition to dealing with the fallout of his January 23 arrest, Bieber has faced other legal problems this summer. In July, for instance, he plead no contest to misdemeanor vandalism charges and paid over $80,000 in restitution to his next door neighbors in Malibu, after he egged their house and damaged their wood exterior.

If you’re an under-aged driver, and you police catch you beyond the wheel with even a trace amount of alcohol in your system, you can lose your license and face other penalties that make it much more difficult for you to drive to school, keep your job and build your life and career. Call the team here at the Kraut Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation about your potential Los Angeles DUI defense.
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Those facing Los Angeles DUI charges are now in the company of yet another celebrity. Donnell Rawlings, a comedian who appeared on Chappelle’s Show, was arrested at 3:30 a.m. on Friday, July 11 in New York City.Donnell-Rawlings-DUI

Rawlings, who became famous for the “Ashy Larry” character he portrayed on the Comedy Central variety show, was driving the wrong way down a Manhattan one-way street, when police stopped him and conducted a breathalyzer test. According to authorities, his blood alcohol content was more than double the legal limit for driving in California.

Despite the inherent hazards of wrong-way driving while under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement apprehended Rawlings before he could cause any damage or injuries to himself or to others.

This incident represents the latest in a long history of celebrity DUI arrests. Although some individuals may believe public figures enjoy immunity from consequences for such offenses, the reality is much different. Like any other citizens, celebrities arrested for and convicted of DUI driving experience serious legal consequences, as well as damage to their public reputations.

California Vehicle Code section 23152 does not discriminate between celebrities and “ordinary people” when it comes to defining the penalties for driving under the influence. Regardless of one’s profession, income, or personal connections, DUI presents serious risks and consequences to drivers.

In addition to jail time, individuals convicted of DUI may receive community service, probation, fines, and license suspensions. With repeated offenses, the penalties increase. Whether a driver works at a fast food establishment or on a hit television show, his arrest and conviction records indicate a lack of judgment and can lead to problems with employment and reputation.

A qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney possesses extensive knowledge regarding California law and can help individuals present an effective defense. The Kraut Law Group offers free consultations for those facing DUI charges. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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One of the most feared punishments for the crime of driving DUI in Los Angeles involves the so-called Interlock Ignition Device, or IID. According to a law passed a few years ago, DUI offenders in L.A. often must (at their own expense) install IID devices in their vehicles. This device makes it impossible for you to start your car, unless you first blow a sober breath into a breathalyzer type device. The theory is pretty simple: if you can’t make safe decisions about driving, just outsource the decision-making to an automated arbiter, like a machine.iid-device-los-angeles-dui

Many DUI defendants bristle at the thought of putting in an IID, which is not just an expensive encumbrance but also an embarrassing talisman. For instance, let’s say you go out to a party and meet a new potential girlfriend or boyfriend. And then you invite this person into your car for a ride. If your prospective suitor sees the IID, the conversation will inevitably turn to your Los Angeles DUI, and then things could get uncomfortable and hurt the potential relationship.

Critics have voiced other concerns. What if the machine malfunctions, when you’re in a bad part of town, and you can’t start your car? What if the IID automatically notifies police, when you didn’t even do anything? Etc.

That being said, the reality of having an IID is often less awful than most people fear. Some folks actually enjoy having the device in their vehicles, because it helps them stay out of trouble, and they don’t trust themselves to make good judgments in the moment.

For instance, let’s say that your tolerance is pretty low: if you have two normal sized drinks at a party, you’ll be over the limit. Having an IID can help you avoid making a mistake that would put yourself and other people at risk. An IID CAN be a benign, helpful tool for providing structure and managing risks.

Ideally, you want to construct a defense to maximize your sense of control. The Kraut Law Group is a Los Angeles DUI defense law firm started by Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor, Michael Kraut. Mr. Kraut worked for 14 years as a Deputy District Attorney. He and his team have abundant resources and a great track record to help you develop your case. Continue reading

Our Los Angeles DUI blog strives to humanize the experience of being arrested and prosecuted for driving under the influence.dui-jail-los-angeles

DUI charges can be isolating and scary. Many defendants feel like they are “in it alone.” So it can be helpful to survey the vast catalogue of DUI events that happen every day and put those events into context. To that end, let’s take a close look at two poignant June DUI stories.

First, let’s head up to Montana, where 63-year-old Rick Fincher of Big Sky recently got hit with his third DUI charge… while en route to bail his wife out on charges of DUI!

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Fincher got word that police stopped his 44-year-old wife, Stacey Joe Fincher, and arrested her for DUI. She allegedly tested at 0.201% BAC – more than 2.5 times the legal limit here in California.

Police then pulled over Fincher’s pickup truck near the jail; his BAC allegedly tested at 0.159% – nearly twice the legal limit.

Meanwhile, an alleged DUI driver hit and killed 81-year-old Edward Salkin in Corona Del Mar on June 12, near Morning Canyon Road. Officers arrested a Costa Mesa resident, 23-year-old Robert Greaney, in connection with fatal accident. Salkin had been a Professor of Pedatric Dentistry at USC, and he operated a thriving practice in Huntington Beach.

Whether you face manslaughter charges or less serious but still scary charges, like a misdemeanor count per CVC 23152, call the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer.
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A competent, motivated Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer can do a lot to help you fight your charges and help you get your life back together. For instance, he or she can:lawyer-superhero

•    Contest evidence in your case;
•    Challenge the Constitutionality of your stop or arrest;
•    Nitpick (to your benefit) the documentation or procedures that the police used before, during, or after your arrest;
•    Engage in sensitive but effective negotiations with prosecutors to reduce your sentence and potentially get you into an alternative program, so that you can avoid the most nasty types of punishments, such as license suspensions, long jail sentences, mandatory IID installation in your car, and the like;
•    Connect you with resources to manage congruent problems in your life that might have caused you to drive DUI;
•    Act as a coach and mentor and answer your questions throughout your case, so that you feel in control and ready for whatever the prosecution throws your way.

But although a properly equipped Los Angeles DUI defense attorney can do a lot for you, he or she is ultimately limited. For instance, if you have a serious problem with alcohol or drugs — and, for whatever reason, you do not respond well to therapy or treatment — your attorney can’t compel you to make smart decisions and avoid putting yourself in harm’s way.

If you’ve “gotten in with a bad crowd” — If your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you — if your boss fires you — if your school expels you — your attorney can’t do much. And if your auto insurance company takes a look at your DUI conviction and decides to double your rates, unless the insurance company violated the law… again, there is little that your attorney can do.

The point in highlighting these limitations is not to dissuade you from getting in touch with somebody but rather to hammer home that you need to take responsibility for your situation.

That said, you can benefit hugely from connecting with Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut of the Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group today for a free consultation about your Los Angeles DUI defense.

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