Articles Tagged with DUI in los angeles

Under California law, drivers charged with DUI in Los Angeles have the right to demand a jury trial. That’s not the case in every state. In a May 12th ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court said that defendants facing trial for repeat DUI driving charges should not be entitled to jury trials.NJ-supreme-court-los-angeles-DUI

According to an article in the New Jersey Law Journal, the New Jersey Supreme Court justices decided 5-1 in State v. Denelsbeck that the penalties faced by drivers charged with third and subsequent DUIs face penalties are not serious enough to warrant jury trials. Those penalties include up to six months in jail as well as fines. The court stated that “the need for a jury trial is outweighed by the state’s interest in promoting efficiency through non-jury trials.”

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Drivers who appeal their conviction for DUI in Los Angeles always hope that an appeals court will rule in their favor. A Nebraska driver had that wish come true—only to have the state’s Supreme Court overrule the appeals court, so his conviction still stands.Nebraska Supreme Court DUI case

The Lincoln Journal Star reported on the case of 27-year old Adam Woldt, arrested for DUI in September 2013. A police officer had pulled over a truck that was traveling in front of Woldt’s vehicle, because the officer thought that truck had knocked over some traffic cones. Woldt said that the truck and the police vehicle, with its door open, were blocking the road, so he started backing up in order to drive around the two stopped vehicles.

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People charged with DUI in Los Angeles come from many different professions, including schoolteachers, college professors, principals and other educators. Since the public usually holds educators to a higher standard of behavior–they are supposed to be role models for our children–their arrests for DUI generally get a fair amount of coverage in local media.
In Meriden, Connecticut, Platt High School Principal Robert Montemurro took sick leave after news of his arrest for DUI hit the news. The 56-year-old Montemurro had been involved in an accident on the main street of town. Police arrived, investigated and charged the principal with DUI.

Matthew B. Lucchini, 26, a Phys ed instructor at a Chicago, Illinois, elementary school, faces more serious charges. He hit sisters Jazmine Oquendo, 14, and Ava Oquendo, 7, while they were walking in a marked crosswalk. He fled the scene with the sisters lying in the road. But police soon caught up with Lucchini and charged him with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and negligent driving.

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Christopher Blair Gish, arrested three times for DUI in Pennsylvania, should be glad that he doesn’t live in California. If courts convict someone of a third DUI in Los Angeles, that offender is looking at a minimum of 120 days in jail. But the 39-year old Gish managed to avoid Pennsylvania’s minimum penalty of 90 days in jail thanks to a now-closed loophole in the state’s DUI laws.Pennsylvania-Governor-Tom-Wolf-DUI-law reports that police picked Gish up for DUI three separate times in an 11-day period during August and September 2014. If that happened in Pennsylvania today, as a three-time DUI offender, Gish could be looking at up to 10 years in prison. But Gish’s arrests came during a time when police could not charge drivers previously arrested on a DUI—but not yet convicted and sentenced—of a second or third offense. The officers could only charge them as if each incident was a first offense.
In the meantime, however, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a new law eliminating the repeat-offender loophole, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed it into law on October 2014.

In January 2015, Gish, a resident of Dickson City in northeast Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to all three DUI charges. A judge sentenced him to 18 months of court supervision and six months of house arrest. But after a local newspaper carried a story about the case, the local district attorney asked the judge to reconsider Gish’s sentencing and apply the harsher penalties. Gish then withdrew his guilty plea.

In August 2015, a judge found Gish guilty of the charges but concluded that the original sentencing should apply since Gish had committed the DUI offenses before the new law took effect. Since Gish had already served the six months house arrest, he’s now free. But he will have to wear an alcohol-monitoring anklet, avoid drinking alcohol and attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days.

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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People involved in Los Angeles DUI cases–and in DUI cases across the country–often allege that the cops who have charged them have lied about the evidence that was used against them. Whether that’s true or not, drivers in Utah won’t be getting the chance to collectively make their case against one former state trooper.Lisa-Steed-DUI-case

The Utah case involves former Highway Patrol Officer Lisa Steed, honored in 2007 as the State Trooper of the Year but later fired after two judges found that she had lied in court and falsified reports in her DUI arrests. Steed made more than 1,000 such arrests in the course of her 10-year career with the department.

In December 2012, attorneys for three Utah motorists proposed a class action suit against Steed and the Utah Highway Patrol. They argued that Steed’s improper behavior had harmed hundreds or even thousands of drivers arrested for DUI, and that those drivers should be allowed to band together to sue her and UHP.

But Second District Court Judge Michael Allphin ruled in April that the circumstances of each DUI case were too unique to allow everyone arrested by Steed to become part of a single lawsuit. According to, the judge wrote in his decision that “The proposed class members’ traffic stops occurred over a period of several years, at various locations, at different times of the day, and for differing reasons. These differences must be considered when determining whether reasonable suspicion and probable cause existed under the totality of circumstances of each traffic stop.”

Designing and executing an effective defense against DUI charges (even simple ones) is not intuitive. Fortunately, you can trust the seasoned, highly successful Michael Kraut. Call a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles with nearly two decades of experience.

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You’d think that police officers charged with enforcing DUI laws would learn a lesson if they got themselves arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles or some other jurisdiction. But that that wasn’t the case for Pedro Abad, Jr., age 27, a six-year veteran of the Linden police department in New Jersey. He already had two DUI arrests on his record when he got behind the wheel after partying with friends on March 20th.cop-fatal-dui-los-angeles

According to press reports, Abad and three friends—Linden police officers Frank Viggiano and Patrik Kudlak,, and Joseph Rodriguez, all 28 years old—were traveling in Abad’s Honda after spending several hours at strip clubs in New Jersey and Staten Island. (Newday said that several hours before the crash Abad had posted on Instagram a photo of three shot glasses filled with “Jack Daniels fire on the house.”)

Shortly before 5 a.m., Abad apparently drove the wrong way on a service road and then continued in the wrong direction on the West Shore Expressway on Staten Island. One 18-wheeler managed to avoid colliding with the vehicle, but another wasn’t able to move out of the way in time and hit Abad’s Honda head on. Viggiano and Rodriguez were killed, and Abad and his remaining passenger were admitted to the hospital in critical condition.

Abad had two arrests for DUI on his record. In January 2011, he put his car through a supermarket building in Roselle, New Jersey. The case never came to trial because Abad’s attorney said the police had not sent him information that he requested. Thirteen months later—in an incident caught on police recording equipment—Abad failed a roadside sobriety test when pulled over. After that incident, the state suspended his driver’s license for seven months and required him to use an ignition interlock device for four months.

Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Law Group is standing by to offer critical insight into your case and potential defense options. Call him and his team today to begin regaining control over your case and your life.

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Los Angeles DUI attorneys are closely watching the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado to see whether that state will soon be cracking down hard on third offense DUIs. A lawmaker in Colorado’s general assembly recently introduced a bill with bipartisan support to treat a third DUI offense as a felony.Lori-Saine

The rules under the new bill stipulate that all DUI offenses would have to be committed within seven years of one another. Lori Saine, the bill’s author, believes her law would reduce the number of inmates in county jails and make Colorado roads safer.

Police officers around the state are not sold on the idea. Some in the police community contend that increasing penalties for repeat DUI offenders doesn’t address the heart of the issue. Police say that jails throughout the state don’t offer inmates what they need to recover from their alcoholism, citing a growing need for substance abuse therapy. They say that individuals who leave prison depressed are more likely to abuse alcohol and other substances. Substance abuse and incarceration beget one another in a vicious cycle.

Bill opponents within the CO general assembly point to increased expenses from felony charges and extended prison sentences. State funding for prisons is already tight; funding for the increased costs associated with the bill might have to be pulled from valuable social services.

These law changes mean that if you live in Colorado and have two DUIs, a third could mean serious prison time.  State laws in California already allow for a DUI conviction to turn into a felony under certain circumstances, including:

•    You caused harm or death to another individual while DUI.

•    You have 3 or more DUI convictions in 10 years.

•    You have a history of felony DUI convictions.

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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Los Angeles DUI attorneys and pundits have been following the story of Nora Longoria, a judge for the 13th Court of Appeals in Texas, who was charged with a DUI in July 2014. Recently, prosecutors dropped her charges. McAllen police say that Longoria “begged for special treatment” when faced with sobriety tests, but Justice Rolando Cantu threw out the case based on “lack of evidence,” marking “other” as his reasoning on formal paperwork.Nora-Longoria-DUI

Longoria was originally pulled over for driving 69 MPH in a 55 MPH zone, but the arresting officer claimed she “smelled of booze and had slurred speech.” Longoria allegedly admitted she’d had five beers that evening but that she consumed her last one three hours before driving. She allegedly told the officer, “I live a couple miles away… You are going to ruin my life.” Longoria also refused to take a breath test. Social media exploded after Longoria’s DUI charge. People made comments such as, “Resign, you drunk” and “You are a disgrace to the court system, to the legal profession, and the citizens of Texas.”

Despite the angry comments and the evidence presented in court, Longoria eventually beat her DUI charge. Several people, including regular Kraut Law Group blog readers, may be wondering how and why. Our attorneys hypothesize a few possible reasons:

•    Lack of a conclusive test. A breath test and other sobriety tests are not generally as conclusive as a blood or urine draw, neither of which Longoria underwent. In fact, some experts believe traditional sobriety tests are “designed to make [people] fail.”

•    Unclear video evidence. The prosecution was able to obtain a video allegedly showing the circumstances of Longoria’s DUI arrest. However, the tape’s footage did not clearly show whether her speech had been slurred. Thus, the evidence that she “smelled of booze” essentially consisted of the arresting officer’s opinion.

•    Lack of other evidence. Besides the unclear video, the prosecution brought no conclusive evidence against Longoria.

Do you need assistance constructing an appropriate response to a DUI charge? Look to the Kraut Law Group’s Michael Kraut for insight and peace of mind. Mr. Kraut is an experience Los Angeles DUI attorney with many relevant connections in the local legal community.

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Most Los Angeles DUI stories that get serious play in the media are often tinged with irony somehow.Angela-Mazzocco-dui

For instance, as we covered several months ago, authorities recently stopped one unfortunate young man and busted him for DUI while he wore a t-shirt proclaiming that he was “Drunk As Sh*t.”

People who make their living promoting sobriety or safe driving – e.g. Los Angeles DUI attorneys, lawmakers and police officers — tend to be held to higher standards of behavior behind the wheel. When these folks falter (and sometimes they do), the irony of their arrests motivates media coverage.

Along those lines, consider the sad story of Angela Mazzocco, a woman from Jupiter, Florida, who works as a guidance counselor for the Palm Beach County School District.

Local highway patrol officers arrested her on the morning of May 9th, when troopers allegedly saw her vehicle weaving on the southbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike, unable to confine her vehicle to just one lane.

Per the Florida Highway Patrol report, Mazzocco’s vehicle “came within inches” of hitting another car and left the road multiple times. Authorities stopped her and tested her blood alcohol concentration. They found that she had a 0.20% BAC. For those of you at home keeping score, that’s exactly 2.5 times the legal limit for DUI in Southern California, as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152.

Mazzocco also relayed to investigators that she had consumed the drugs Lexapro and Xanax prior to getting behind the vehicle on her way to school. The 46-year-old faces charges of DUI under drugs and alcohol and will be back at Palm Beach County North Courthouse on June 9th to face her charges.

Mazzocco initially denied to the officer that she had consumed alcohol (per WPTV). But what if she had refused to take a chemical test at the scene?

There are different rules for different folks. If you are under 21 years old — or if you are on probation for some other offense — you need to take your PAS test, even before police arrest you. California law changed in 2008 — now it’s a crime for someone on probation to refuse a chemical test at a DUI stop.

Meanwhile, ANY driver arrested for Los Angeles DUI must submit to a breath test or blood test. If police suspect that you consumed substances like Xanax or narcotics, you also have to submit to a urine-based drug test.

The police must warn you about the legal consequences of refusal, if prosecutors later want to use the refusal against you in court.

What’s the best way to respond?

The facts can be critical to your defense. Perhaps the police delayed the breath test or misunderstood your response. Your attorney may be able to get the refusal related charges dismissed. But rather than puzzling this out on your own, contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group immediately for a free consultation.
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We live in a world that, through no fault of any one person, has created stiff and unfair challenges for DUI defendants in Los Angeles.confusion-los-angeles-DUI-defense

Why? Because we are all totally blitzed with marketing messages about DUI defense (and everything else under the sun). We have limited, attention and skills to tell truth from fiction.

For a dramatic illustration of just how many DUI-related marketing messages are out there — and how conflicting these messages are — do a Google search about the effectiveness of breathalyzer tests.

We won’t discuss their merit (or lack thereof) now — we’ve already spilled plenty of virtual ink on the subject. Just recognize that just trying to parse the truth about that debate alone can take you hours and hours and hours.

And if you’re someone who has been recently arrested, you may not have hours and hours and hours. In fact, you may not have much time at all before “bad things” start to happen in your life, such as a CA driver’s license suspension, your boss firing you, your girlfriend or boyfriend breaking up with you because of your Los Angeles DUI, and so forth.

As a result, many defendants make decisions based on hearsay, random materials they find online or elsewhere, or intuition borne not out of science but out of desperation.

It’s tricky because, when you take bad advice about your Los Angeles DUI, based on some random snippet of news or argument you read online, the consequences could be severe. You could face massive jail time, fines and the your loss of your driver’s license – all of which, in retrospect, might not be strictly necessary.

So how can you break out of this morass? The simplest and easiest method, always, is to find a very experienced, highly qualified person or company — one who has demonstrated results in situations similar to yours — and retain that person or company to help you.

The good news is that, in the case of Los Angeles DUI defense, attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group is available for consultation. Mr. Kraut has a great track record of success. Please connect with him and his team today to set up your effective, efficient defense. Continue reading

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