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Fact: You don’t have to be driving a car, truck or motorcycle to be charged with DUI. In fact, people across the world have faced DUI charges for driving all sorts of non-standard vehicles, from boats to riding mowers to…well, let’s not spoil it here. Just take a look at the following crazy DUI stories we scoured from the web recently.drunk-santa-los-angeles-DUI-defense-300x194

Incident on a Bridge: Motorized Wheelchair

According to Florida law, drivers under the influence can be charged for operating any type of motorized vehicle—including, as one man discovered, a motorized wheelchair.

Every 51 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. Everyone—DUI defendants included!—agrees that we need to “do something” to dramatically reduce this number, but there’s no agreement on what that solution should be. Traditionally, our system has been heavy on the sticks, light on the carrots. We punish DUI drivers tremendously—by stripping them of driving privileges, fining them, sending them to jail, hiking their insurance rates, and beyond. How well is this “heavy on the punitive” system working? Well, take a look at the first sentence in this paragraph—one death every 51 minutes. If we want to do better—and we can—we need to look beyond the punitive and consider other ways to shore up our system, deter unwanted behavior, reward compliant behavior and solve the (challenging and often deeply psychologically rooted) issues that encourage unfortunate behavior behind the wheel.DUI-51-minutes-300x94

In a previous post, we looked at the current and future technologies that could address DUI deterrence. Now we’ll consider some of the other proposed solutions.

Lowering the BAC limit?

Breath, blood and urine–law enforcement officials use a variety of tests to determine if they should charge a driver with DUI. Here’s a look at the science behind the various types of tests and what you should know about the pros and cons of each in the event that police arrest you for driving under the influence.DUI-breath-urine-blood-tests-los-angeles-300x169

Measuring your breath

Although the word breathalyzer is actually a trade name for a specific type of breath testing device, people now use it generically to describe all types of alcohol breath tests. There are differences in the way each of these tests work, however.

The last thing you want after a DUI arrest and/or conviction is another traffic infraction on your driving record. While some difficult driving situations might be unavoidable (you can’t control what other drivers are doing on the road), there are some ways that you can reduce your risk of another citation by practicing safe driving behaviors. Here are some suggestions culled from various online sources.drowsy-driver-DUI-los-angeles-300x166

•    Don’t drink (or do drugs or smoke pot) and drive again.

This one may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people don’t seem to learn from their first DUI arrest.

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…

Advocates for legalizing marijuana in California seem to be gaining supporters, and state voters are likely to see an initiative to change the state’s current ban on the November ballot. If the measure passes, police officers in California are going to have to find a better way to determine whether a driver is guilty of DUI in Los Angeles.marijuana brownies dui attorney los angeles

Oregon passed laws permitting the recreational use of marijuana in 2015, the state only recently okayed the sale of marijuana edibles. Police in Salem, Oregon, stepped up their DUI patrols over the first weekend in June, when stores started selling marijuana brownies and other delicacies containing THC.

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Traffic safety organizations repeatedly warn that DUI in Los Angeles greatly increases accident risk. But how dangerous is DUI compared to other types of distracted behavior, such as texting or reading or just fiddling with the controls on your dashboard?
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute tracked 3,500 drivers who had agreed to have cameras and sensors monitoring speed, acceleration and GPS location placed in their vehicles. The New York Times reported that DUI was the most dangerous behavior, increasing crash risk by 36 times. Dialing a phone increased crash risk by 12 times; reading and writing by 10 times; reaching for an item by nine times; and reading texts or emails by three times.36-thirthy-six-DUI-los-angeles-risk

When you’re on the road, it’s probably safest to assume that the drivers around you are impaired or distracted in some way. In a recent survey of drivers by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study, 87 percent admitted that they had engaged in some type of risky behavior behind the wheel within the previous 30 days. A whopping 70 percent said they had talking on the cell phone, and about one-third said they did it on a regular basis. Forty-two percent said they read texts (12 percent regularly); almost one-third said they sent texts as well. One in three of the drivers said they were driving while drowsy (so tired they had trouble keeping their eyes open) and almost half admitted that they exceeded the speed limit by 15 mph or more.

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Most arrests for DUI in Los Angeles don’t make the headlines. That’s actually good, because it means that the driver did not kill anyone, injure anyone seriously or cause extensive property damage.

But news reports from all around the country do carry stories every day about a DUI driver who has caused irreparable harm. In just a one-week time period, media sources reported on these incidents:

• A judge in Springfield, Massachusetts, revoked bail for a woman accused in an August crash that left a 16-year-old paralyzed from the chest down. The court had initially released Jomaris Colon on $2,000 bail. After Colon’s second probation violation, a judge ordered her back to jail for at least 90 days.191.5-DUI-Los-Angeles

MASS Live reports that the victim, Alex Scafuri, had been skateboarding home from his school’s volleyball tryouts when Colon hit him. The 26-year old driver, who didn’t have a license, allegedly fled the scene after the accident.

The prosecutor claims to have videos from various stores that day that show Colon making alcohol purchases. Meanwhile, MASS Live website reports that Scafuri’s family is performing the painful task of clearing out all of the sports equipment that the teen will no longer be able to use.

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Wallethub.com’s recent ranking of the strictest states for DUI enforcement (California came out 31st) also contained some interesting statistics about impaired driving. If California follows the national trend, for example, the number of people killed in incidents involving a DUI in Los Angeles should be going down. DUI-related fatalities have declined throughout the U.S. by 52 percent from 1982 to 2013.making-sense-of-los-angeles-DUI-stats

Here are some more facts and statistics offered in the Wallethub study:

• Almost half of all states now require some people convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. In 24 states, it’s mandatory after a first offense; 14 states require them after a first offense where the blood alcohol content is above .15. Seven states will make offenders install the device after a second offense. Six states never require the device.
• The federal government estimates the use of these devices has cut the DUI re-arrest rate by 67 percent.
• First-time offenders in the U.S. spend an average of one day in jail for a first arrest; second-time offenders will spend an average of three weeks.
• Local police in 39 states regularly set up DUI checkpoints.
• Georgia is the toughest state when it comes to license suspension; you can lose it for up to 12 months if you’re arrested on a DUI charge. The average suspension time throughout the U.S. is three months.
• In almost three-quarters of the states (37), anyone arrested for a DUI will have to undergo mandatory alcohol abuse assessment and/or treatment.

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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A police officer in southern Texas may be recalling the old saying about people who live in glass houses never throwing stones. We don’t know if Devon Brittany New, a member of the Nixon, Texas, police force, ever arrested anyone for driving under the influence. But after her own recent arrest, New may be a little more sympathetic towards anyone accused of DUI in Los Angeles, in Texas, or in any other jurisdiction.2015-Dodge-Challenger-DUI-los-angeles

An article on the San Antonio Express-News’ website said that Officer New was suspended from duty for a week following her DUI arrest on March 9th. She had a narrow escape; after running a red light at 1 a.m., she stalled her vehicle on nearby railroad tracks. Fortunately, she was sober enough to get out of her 2015 Dodge Challenger, because a freight train coming down the track hit her vehicle and totaled it.

Although New is back at work until her April 9th court date, it’s not clear if she’ll be able to remain on the job if she’s found guilty.
Los Angeles police officers have also been charged with DUI in some rather high-profile cases. One notable incident occurred just about a year ago, when an off-duty officer lost control of his vehicle after getting off the westbound Pomona Freeway in Diamond Bar. What made the crash more unusual was that the 29-year-old officer traveled over a 50-foot area (not a road) separating the freeway from a McDonalds restaurant. He ended up crashing in the restaurant’s drive-through lanes.

The officer probably had little interest in the restaurant’s menu at that point, since he landed in the hospital with moderate injuries.

Do you need help defending against a drug or DUI charge? Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group is a trustworthy, highly qualified former prosecutor. Call a Los Angeles DUI attorney today to strategize for your defense seriously.

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