Articles Tagged with dui defense los angeles

Here in California, even a single DUI conviction can complicate your life greatly. A first-time conviction can cost you jail time, license restrictions, fines and mandatory classes—not to mention embarrassment in your home and professional life. However, these difficulties pale in comparison to what you could face for multiple DUIs. By the time you reach three or more convictions, California law places you in an entirely different category, in part thanks to the “three-strike” criminal penalty structure. If you are facing your third (or more) DUI conviction, you’ll need to be prepared for some major changes in your life.three_DUIs-los-angeles-300x199

The penalties for three or more DUI convictions within 10 years are spelled out in California Vehicle Code 23546 and 23548. We’ve summarized the key points below so you’ll know what to expect and how to prepare.

Be Prepared to Spend Time in Jail

You have always prided yourself on being a good driver. You’ve always been careful with consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel; you know your limits and you err on the side of caution. You’ve had a safe driving record for the past 50 years—only an occasional speeding ticket. You’ve never had a DUI, never been arrested.senior-DUI-los-angeles

One night, you go to a restaurant with friends and you have the same glass of your favorite wine that you’ve enjoyed for years—the same glass of wine you’ve always been able to enjoy without it affecting your driving ability. But on your way home, you see a policeman’s lights in your rearview mirror. You pull over; the officer tells you that you were weaving, asks for your license and registration, then asks you to get out of the car. Before you realize what’s happening, you’ve been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

How did this happen? You’re always so careful.

It’s the scenario we all hope never happens—and one that in truth should never happen. Someone has a lapse in judgment, gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or another substance, gets into an accident—and another person dies as a result. Aside from the overwhelming sense of loss and guilt of knowing his actions have caused this death, now that person may be facing more serious criminal charges on top of the DUI.DUI-murder-300x200

In a perfect world, you should never find yourself in this situation, but if you are charged in California with a DUI incident involving a fatality, what can you expect? What, exactly, are you facing?

Three Possible Charges

santa-DUI-los-angeles-300x225For many of us, the holiday season is intended to be a time for celebrating with family and friends, a time of joy and merriment. However, few things can put a bigger damper on the celebrations quicker than a DUI arrest—and DUI incidents spike considerably over the holidays, compared to the rest of the year.

Here in Southern California, the Los Angeles Police Department has already announced an increased number of sobriety checkpoints throughout L.A., from December 15 through January 1, as part of their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Officer Inman of the Traffic Coordination Section explained:

“This holiday season, drivers will notice increased enforcement watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired.… With extra travelers on the roads and people celebrating, we will likely see an uptick in impaired driving. The LAPD will be arresting anyone caught driving impaired.”

It’s rare for drivers to file suit when prosecutors or a judge dismiss a charge of DUI in Los Angeles. In Bozeman, Montana, however, a man once charged with felony vehicular homicide in his wife’s death is seeking his day in court. DUI-manslaughter-los-angeles

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, prosecutors had accused Michael Soule of killing his wife, Jennifer Soule, in a January 2012 crash. They alleged that he had been driving his truck up to 103 miles per hour on I-90 and that his blood alcohol content was 0.231. The charges also stated that Soule had marijuana and cocaine in his system.

In 2013, before the case came to trial, Soule took a plea agreement that allowed him to avoid jail time. But Gallatin County District Court Judge Mike Salvagni refused to accept the plea, and Soule withdrew his agreement. When the case came before Judge Salvagni, he dismissed the charges, saying that Montana Highway Patrol troopers had failed to preserve evidence; they had performed a warrantless search of Michael Soule’s hospital room; and they had taken photos of his injuries without permission from his family or the hospital. He also noted that the Montana state crime lab’s official BAC test showed that Soule’s BAC measured 0.07, which is under the legal limit. While a urine screening at the hospital turned up positive for marijuana and cocaine, the state police never did a blood alcohol test to confirm those findings.

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Some celebrities arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles appears to get off with a very light punishment. Although justice is supposed to be blind, the truth is that people with money and/or connections frequently do get a better deal. affluenza-los-angeles-DUI-defense

Take the case of the Texas teen whose defense for killing four people in a DUI accident was that he had “affluenza.” The attorney for Ethan Crouch, who had a blood alcohol content of .24 when arrested, claimed that his client had never learned to take responsibility because his parents’ wealth had shielded him from the consequences of his actions. Crouch received a controversially light sentence of 10 years of probation and treatment in a residential, in-patient treatment facility. (Apparently hisaffluenza hasn’t been cured; he fled to Mexico, and he is currently fighting extradition back to the U.S.)

Contrast that to the sentence imposed on a 23-year-old Texas man of moderate means who killed four people in a DUI accident at the South by Southwest Festival in 2014. Rashad Owens, who had a .114 BAC reading at the time of his arrest, received a sentence of life in prison. (There were a few aggravating factors, however: Owens was driving a stolen car at the time and fleeing from police.)

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As Black Friday recedes and Christmas rapidly approaches, Los Angeles DUI attorneys and law enforcement are bracing for a predictable but tragic escalation in the number of DUI arrests here in the southland.Black-Friday-Los-angeles-dui

Every year, as we’ve discussed numerous times, Angelinos (and others) find themselves arrested disproportionately during the holiday season. The best theory suggests that this uptick in arrests has to do with holiday revelry.

Here in Los Angeles, we are at least fortunate and that the roads don’t get covered with snow, ice and sleet during the holidays, although forecasters say that we might find ourselves doused with a rain shower or ten thanks to El Nino, and that can certainly make driving more treacherous.

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Perhaps even more scary than contemplating going to jail for your recent Los Angeles DUI charge or facing the prospect of walking two miles to and from Trader Joe’s to get your groceries every week for the next year is the specter of having to confess the DUI to your boss.telling-boss-about-DUI

It’s no secret that the cost of living in Los Angeles is crazy high (although, fortunately, not as wild as the cost of living in cities like New York and San Francisco). Moral is: you need a solid income stream to support your family and larger ambitions.

So you don’t want to lose your job – particularly for a momentary lapse of judgment that you had outside of work. However, if your employer does learn about the DUI – in particular, learns about it in the wrong way – you could face seriou repercussions at work. Here are some tips for how to move forward.

1. Before you chat about your case with other people (including your boss as well as friends and family members), get insight from an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney.

Your attorney help you figure out how to break the news and get the ball rolling on an accurate and sound defense strategy.

2. Don’t beat around the bush.

Stick to the facts when you have the conversation – assuming your attorney says it’s wise to do so – and avoid getting into emotions or embellishment. Just say what happened, say what you are doing now, and be business-like about it.

3. Avoid letting your boss find out about the arrest from a co-worker or from the news, if possible.

4. Be empathetic to the boss’s response.

Depending on your relationship and what happened during your DUI, your boss may get extremely angry or sad or some other reaction. Avoid taking her reaction personally. Try to understand what’s going on in her head and heart. For instance, perhaps she is disappointed, because she’s just worried that you may lose your license and thus not be able to get to work on time. Perhaps this news raises trust issues with her. Reflect these concerns without admitting anything on your part. Be a mirror.

5. Learn appropriate lessons, and make a constructive plan going forward.

For instance, let’s say that your license suspension prevents you from going to work easily – or delays you an hour a day. So be it. Work with your employer and colleagues to develop a work around as you manage the license suspension.

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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Quick quiz: let’s say someone pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles. Should you:arrested-for-dui-spit-at-police

(a) Cooperate with the officer and avoid making your situation worse?

(b) Spit in the officer’s face?

If you answered (a), you are correct. If you answered (b), you may have something in common with 47-year-old Gabriel Fenteany, a chemistry professor at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Police in Vernon, Connecticut busted Fenteany Saturday night for allegedly driving under the influence, after officers noticed him failing to signal as he drove into a parking lot.

Officers said he failed field sobriety tests, and they set his bond at $2500. In California, police administer diverse types of field sobriety tests (FSTs), such as:

•    Finger to the nose test. While closing your eyes, you reach your arms out on both sides and then try to touch your nose with the tips of your fingers.
•    Horizontal nystagmus test. A police officer shines a light in your eyes to look for delayed pupil reactions, which can be signs of DUI.
•    Count backwards by threes test. This test measures your mental acuity. If you’re DUI, you should be less capable of sustaining the concentration it takes to subtract numbers in your head;
•    Walk the line test. This is the most famous DUI test. The driver must walk on a painted line, like a balance beam, to demonstrate equilibrium and coordination.

Professor Fenteany’s bust was actually just another unfortunate event in a long stream of unpleasant events for him. Back in December, the Assistant Professor of Chemistry got in trouble with the law, after he damaged cars in the town of Greenwich and urinated in the parking lot. In wake of that incident, UConn placed him on administrative leave. Meanwhile, last month, police came to his apartment to enquire about a welfare check, and he allegedly used a racial slur and kicked and spit at the police officer who showed up.

There is no reason to make your legal situation worse than it is.

Unfortunately, if you are already in difficult straits, you may not understand what you need to do to straighten your situation out and get the help you need. Contact with the team here at the Kraut Law Group for a free and thorough consultation about your possible Los Angeles DUI defense options.
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Certain holidays seem to “breed” Los Angeles DUI driving behavior.memorial-day-dui-los-angeles-checkpoints

These include the big summer weekends – Memorial Day and Labor Day – as well as Thanksgiving, Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, Cinco De Mayo and the 4th of July. Whether police busted you over Memorial Day weekend at a checkpoint or arrested you after a scary crash, you may have only been dimly aware of the vast scope of law enforcement’s push to contain DUI driving over the holiday.

A recent LA Weekly article explained the byzantine systems used to flag and contain DUI driving. For instance, on the 23rd, the LAPD set up DUI checkpoints at:

• Florence Avenue and Main Street in South L.A.;
• Highland and DeLongpre in Hollywood;
• Osborne and Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Pacoima;
• Ventura Boulevard and Big Oak Drive in Sherman Oaks;
• Undefined locations in Santa Clarita;
• Undefined locations in the Picos Rivera Area.

In addition, the Avoid the 100 DUI Task Force set up saturation patrols and checkpoints elsewhere in San Gabriel, Pamona, Arcadia, El Segundo, Pasadena, East LA, South LA, Lancaster, Hawthorne, Huntington Beach, Inglewood, Torrance, Vernon, Signal Hill, Palmdale, Azusa, Whittier, and beyond.

The “100” refers to the number of law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County devoted to stopping DUIs in the Southland.

Remember: all that fuss and bother was just for Friday night!

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Avoid the 100 set up several dozen operations, some of which were publicized some of which weren’t. For instance, the Sheriff’s Department said that operations were set up in Manhattan Beach, Whittier, Antelope Valley, Baldwin Park, West Valley, Downey, San Gabriel, Alhambra, El Camino College, Azusa, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Montebello, and beyond.

With so much law enforcement “buzz” going on over the Memorial Day weekend, it’s worthwhile to wonder what can be done to improve the system, so that police do not have to pull a code red every time a major holiday comes around.

Can citizens be taught to use designated drivers and/or to patrol themselves during the holidays? Can some of this process be automated or simplified? Maybe law enforcement officials have ideas. Maybe former DUI defendants have ideas. But right now, this process seems to consume so many resources and lead to so many arrests. It all seems profoundly wasteful.

Of course, if you wound up in the dragnet somehow, you are probably less concerned about fixing the system than you are with protecting your own rights and freedoms. To that end, call former Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group for insight and a free consultation about your case. Mr. Kraut is a renowned, respected Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer.
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