Articles Tagged with dui defense

You’re driving along a California highway, minding your own business, when you get pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of DUI. It can happen to anyone, even dDUI-complications-los-angeles-300x168rivers who have had nothing to drink—but how you respond in this situation can make things far more difficult for you or, in some cases, much easier. To give you a better chance at the latter, we’ve compiled a list of “don’ts”—eight things you should only do if you are a glutton for punishment or hell-bent on making your DUI arrest more difficult than it needs to be.

1. Don’t be rude to the police.

In this situation, the ancient proverb applies: “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

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?

The properties damaged by DUIs in Los Angeles can include everything from vehicles to homes to businesses and retail establishments. Sometimes a DUI driver will take out a neighborhood landmark, destroying a bar or a restaurant that’s a favorite with locals. DUI-Fire-EdsChickenandCrabs

Residents and regular visitors to Dewey Beach, Delaware, are mourning the destruction of Ed’s Chicken and Crabs by a DUI driver. A 2013 Mini Cooper driven by Michelle Small, 36, of Wyoming, Delaware, slammed into the popular summer take out restaurant, hitting a propane gas tank and igniting a fire that soon engulfed the building.

A video camera on a nearby building recorded the entire incident, which occurred around 2 a.m. The video shows Small’s vehicle traveling southbound at a high rate of speed along Route 1 (the Coastal Highway). The car crosses over the median strip, goes about a half block the wrong way in the north lanes and then crashes into the restaurant.   Continue reading

Most people charged with DUI in Los Angeles never intended to break the laws against driving while intoxicated. But one drink too many can cloud their judgment, and they get behind the wheel not understanding that they really shouldn’t be driving.kevins-law-dui

Dr. Stephen Miller of Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania, may not have realized his condition when he got behind the wheel of the family vehicle one evening in June. But he should have been more attuned to the dangers of DUI than most people. Miller lost his five-year-old son Kevin in 2012 when a DUI driver stuck the child as the family was crossing a road. Instead of stopping to assist, the driver fled the scene.

After Miller learned that the driver could spend only a year in jail for his crime, he and his wife spent the next two years advocating for stronger penalties for those who flee the scene of fatal accidents. In 2014, the state legislature passed “Kevin’s Law,” raising the minimum penalty for that crime to three years. The Millers and their extended family were present to witness Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signing the bill in June 2014.

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Would someone arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles be less likely to offend again if he/she had to go to the morgue to see someone killed by a DUI driver?dui-morgue-los-angeles

In an article that appeared in Slade Magazine’s April 2016 issue, writer Hannah Waters reported on a program in Orange County, California, that allows a judge to order a DUI offender to visit the morgue. The program, which started in the late 1980s, reports that fewer than two percent of the drivers who participate face DUI charges again within 18 months. The National Highway Safety Administration, on the other hand, estimates that the national recidivism rate for DUI offenses is about 30 percent.

Waters spoke to a forensic psychologist about the program, who said that such programs could help offenders understand that they have caused (or could have caused) real harm. Seeing a DUI victim in the morgue could also help an offender empathize with the victim, so they remember the possible consequences the next time he or she considers driving after drinking.

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Police officers are not selective about who they arrest for DUI in Los Angeles and other cities. Celebrity, political figures—even people who have distinguished themselves for their courageous actions—may find themselves facing these charges.Navy SEAL Rob ONeill-DUI

According to media reports, former Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill faces DUI charges in Montana after police officers in Butte-Silver Bow County found him passed out in a car in the parking lot of a convenience store. O’Neill claimed that he was the person who killed Osama bin Laden when the Navy Seals cornered him in a house in Pakistan.

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When a police officer suspects someone of DUI in Los Angeles, the officer will usually ask the driver to take a breathalyzer test. Under California Vehicle Code 23612, a driver who refuses could face fines, mandatory jail time and loss of license for a year if the court convicts him/her of DUI.  4th-amendment-los-angeles-DUI

A case now before the Supreme Court of the United States could force California and 11 other states to change such laws. Judging from the questions posed by the Justices during oral arguments on April 20th, the court appeals skeptical about states’ contentions that public safety issues should outweigh Fourth Amendment concerns.

Both Minnesota and North Dakota have laws similar to California’s “implied consent” statute, making it a crime to refuse chemical testing when officers suspect DUI. The Supreme Court consolidated appeals in three separate cases–one from Minnesota and two from North Dakota–into one case, Birchfield v. North Dakota. The defendants in these cases either served time for refusing a breathalyzer or felt they were pressured into submitting to one, leading to convictions on DUI charges.

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Anyone facing trial for a Los Angeles DUI would be well advised to tell the truth when taking the stand. Lying to a judge and jury lead to serious consequences, including perjury charges. But if the truthfulness of a police officer’s statement is in doubt, that can be good news for drivers whose convictions depend on his or her testimony.losangeles-DUI-charges-thrown-out

To that point, the district attorney of Wake County, North Carolina, recently decided to dismiss charges against 104 drivers accused of DUI after a judge caught a sheriff’s deputy lying during his testimony during one trial. Prosecutors had planned to use Deputy Robert Davis as a witness in those DUI cases and in 71 other traffic cases, which the prosecutor also dismissed.

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Anyone charged with a Los Angeles DUI can expect a fairly speed resolution to their case, whether that means paying a fine, spending some time in jail or having an ignition interlock system installed on their car.north-dakota-dui-punishment

But it took 20 years for justice to catch up with Jason William Gale. According to the INFORUM website, on March 13, 1995, a police officer in Grand Forks, North Dakota, saw Gale swerving his vehicle into a bicycle path. The cop pulled him over, but Gale didn’t do well on the field sobriety test. The cop arrested him for DUI.

Gale hired a lawyer, Henry Howe, to defend himself against that charge. Gale trusted Howe to guide him through the court process and even signed a power of attorney so that Howe could represent him during preliminary court proceedings. Howe told Gale he had handled everything, but the lawyer actually never showed up in court.

Gale moved soon after the DUI incident and subsequently lived in Colorado, Fargo, North Dakota, Florida and Minnesota. Along the way he held multiple jobs, got involved in a few civil court cases and had at least five background checks. But it took a recent employment background check to uncover the fact that the Grand Forks court had issued a warrant for his arrest back in 1995 after he failed to show up in court.

North Dakota must have some tough prosecutors. Gale tried to set things right, and his new attorney thought the court would dismiss the charges. But the prosecutor tried the case, calling up the arresting officer from 20 years ago to testify. Gale ended up paying a $500 fine, but at least he didn’t get sent to jail and there are no more outstanding arrests warrants against him.

Locating a seasoned and qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer is a critical part of the process of reclaiming your life, your time and your peace of mind. Call ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut for a free consultation right now.

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Most people understand that someone who meets the criteria for a DUI in Los Angeles has a good chance of getting hurt if he or she gets behind the wheel. But people in Wisconsin–and perhaps in other states as well–are more likely to get hurt from falls when they’re under the influence than from driving a motor vehicle.wisconsin-dui-los-angeles-dui

According to an article in the Madison, Wisconsin, Capital Times, officials recorded 349 deaths in Wisconsin from alcohol-related falls in 2012 (the latest year for which figures are available). Meanwhile, they recorded only 223 alcohol-related traffic deaths that same year. The Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project (part of the University of Wisconsin Law School) gathered the data for this report.

The newspaper story notes that DUI-related fatalities in Wisconsin have declined significantly since 1979, when 593 people were killed in such crashes. By 2013, yearly fatalities had decreased to 185. Fatal falls related to alcohol, on the other hand, have increased by 36 percent since 2004.

The Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project links this increase to the aging of Wisconsin’s population. Older people have continued to drink, even as they become less steady on their feet and/or take medications that make them more susceptible to alcohol’s effects.

There is one positive aspect to this development. Unlike DUI drivers, who can kill or severely injure several other people when they’re out on the road, someone who falls because they are intoxicated usually injures only themselves.

A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health identified Wisconsin as the hardest-drinking state in the country. In 2011, the annual alcohol consumption in the Badger State was 634 drinks per person for those over the age of 14. That compared to an average 468 drinks per person in the U.S.

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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