Police officers are all too familiar with injuries and deaths caused by a driver who is both speeding and DUI in Los Angeles. A few hours south of LA, a race between two young and allegedly intoxicated drivers in the San Diego area has left a passenger in one car dead.Los-Angeles-DUI-and speeding

Residents along East H Street in Chula Vista have often complained to authorities about the vehicles that race along that road. In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 8th, Jose Molina Ramirez, 22, and Nicholas Nesbitt, 22, pitted their vehicles against each other with fatal consequences. While traveling at 100 mph, Ramirez lost control of his car, went careening across the median (cutting two magnolia trees in half) and then moving across the traffic lanes opposite from the ones he had been traveling on. (Fortunately he did not hit any vehicles traveling in this direction.)

While Ramirez and his front seat passenger managed to escape unharmed, the back seat passenger, 22-year-old Sergio Isai Ramirez, was not wearing a seatbelt. He was killed on impact.

Neighbors reported hearing screeching tires and a loud crash at the time of the accident.

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Some drivers charged with DUI in Los Angeles have had a life-long struggle with alcohol. No matter what the consequences, they can’t stop drinking. DUI-with-children

Michelle Colby of Valparaiso, Indiana, may have such a problem. After making bail on a DUI charge stemming from a crash involving five children last April, she is now back in jail after failing a home breath test.

On April 29th, Colby was carrying five young passengers, including two of her own children, when she failed to yield to another vehicle when making a turn. The driver of the other car and all of Colby’s passengers ended up in the hospital. The crash threw a child and a dog out of Jeep; the child survived, but the dog did not. Police at the scene said that Colby had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on her breath; a breathalyzer test showed a 0.22 blood alcohol reading.

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Drivers convicted of DUI in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare Counties are no longer the only Californians required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for a first-time DUI. On Wednesday, September 28th, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1046, which extends the four-county pilot programs to the entire state. Motorists do have some breathing room, however; the law won’t go into effect until January 1, 2019.Senate Bill 1046

Senator Jerry Hill, who sponsored the legislation, said that the new law will save lives. “We’ve already seen this to be true in the four counties conducting the pilot program: Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) have saved lives by preventing more than 1 million attempts to drink and drive since 2010,” he noted.

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Some drivers at risk of an arrest for a Los Angeles DUI may think that curling up in the back seat and taking a nap may help them avoid the charges. But it doesn’t always work that way.nap-in-car-los-angeles--DUI

Pennsylvania’s Superior Court has ruled that Michelle Starry of Westmoreland County should face charges for DUI. Westmoreland County President Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. had dismissed the charges, perhaps because Starry wasn’t actually behind the wheel when they arrested her.

According to pennlive.com, Starry had been drinking heavily when she slammed her Hyundai into a tree in Loyalsock Township in January 2014. Emergency responders who arrived at the scene of the crash a short time later found her sound asleep in the back seat.

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When Uber wants to move into an area, one claim it often makes is that its service will cut down on the number of DUIs. The reasoning is that people who have consumed enough alcohol to risk charges of DUI in Los Angeles and other cities would rather pay the lower Uber fare than go to jail.uber-los-angeles-DUI-prevention

In January 2015, Uber released a report conducted in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) that seemed to show the ride-sharing service was making an impact on DUIs. It stated that “In California, Uber’s home state and largest market, DUI crashes fell by 60 per month among drivers under 30 in markets where Uber operates following the launch of uberX.”

But researchers from the University of Oxford are disputing such claims. A study in a recent issue in the American Journal of Epidemiology found no noticeable impact on the number of DUI driving fatalities in cities where Uber operates.

David Kirk and Noli Brazil analyzed the DUI driving statistics from 2009 through 2014 in the 100 most populated metro areas in the U.S. They found no change in fatalities when Uber came into the market, even during peak drinking hours.

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Would the number of DUIs in Los Angeles decrease if drivers and/or police officers had an easier, more reliable way to measure blood alcohol content? los-angeles-DUI-sweat-test

Researchers at the University of San Diego have developed a wearable, flexible sensor that can accurately measure a person’s BAC from sweat. The device, a temporary tattoo, actually induces sweat and then detects the alcohol levels electrochemically. The device communicates the information to a mobile device—laptop, tablet or phone—via Bluetooth.

Nano engineering professor Joseph Wang and electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier led the team that developed the sensor. “This technology provides an accurate, convenient and quick way to monitor alcohol consumption to help prevent people from driving while intoxicated,” said Wang. He envisions interfacing the device with an ignition interlock device, or people using it to monitor their own alcohol levels so they could refrain from driving if they were legally under the influence.

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Most police officers in the City of Angels take very seriously their responsibility to get Los Angeles DUI drivers off the road. Occasionally, however, some law enforcement officials may turn a blind eye to someone’s drinking and driving offense. When authorities discover their actions, those officers find that they’re got legal troubles of their own.boyle-heights-los-angeles-DUI-police

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on two officers, Rene Ponce and Irene Gomez, accused by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office of filing a false report and conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public.

The case against the officers involves an incident from two years ago. On the night of October 26, 2014, a Mustang driven by an unnamed driver slammed into two cars parked on a neighborhood street. When the driver tried to flee, people in the neighborhood who had been awakened by the crash gave chase. Larry Chavez, who held the driver down until the officers arrived, said that the man was very drunk.

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The State of California law recognizes that children involved in incidents of DUI in Los Angeles are at special risk; in fact, California Vehicle Code 23572 mandates enhancements in penalties for anyone driving DUI with kids in the car. For a first offense, convicted DUI drivers have to serve a mandatory 48 hours in jail. A second offense results in a 10-day jail stay and a third offense in a 30-day jail sentence. Drivers caught DUI for a fourth time with children in their vehicles could spend three months in jail.children-at-risk-DUI-los-angeles

A September 5th crash in Cuyama, California, illustrates just why authorities are so concerned. Jerald Holman was traveling westbound on Highway 166 when his Toyota Camry drifted into the eastbound lane. When Holman hit a Chevrolet in that lane, the impact ejected two young passengers—a 7-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl—from the car. Emergency responders pronounced both children dead at the scene. The children’s mother, Todeshia Lewis, was also a passenger in the car. She and Holman suffered minor injuries.
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When someone arrested for DUI in Los Angeles is under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement officials have a fairly easy way to measure the degree of intoxication with a breathalyzer test and/or a blood alcohol concentration test. But it’s not that easy when it comes to measuring how marijuana affects a person’s ability to drive. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, remains in the bloodstream for a long time and there are no good ways for police officers in the field to measure its presence in the bloodstream.THC-test-DUI-los-angeles

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California could soon be among the 25 states that require drivers with a first DUI conviction to install ignition interlock devices in any vehicles that they drive. The new law would not affect the penalties for anyone convicted of DUI in Los Angeles, since Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare Counties have been operating under a pilot program that requires an IID for first-time offenders since 2011.Senate-Bill-1046-los-angeles-DUI

Senate Bill 1046, championed by Senator Jerry Hill, passed the Senate in late August; the California State Assembly approved a similar bill earlier in the year. The legislation now sits on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk; he must decide by September 30th whether or not to approve the bill or veto it.

If the bill becomes law, a first DUI offense would require installation of an IID for six months, with lengthier periods for increasing offenses. (Second DUI – one year; third DUI – two years; fourth and any subsequent DUIs – three years.)
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