Articles Tagged with Los Angeles DUI law

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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Is an arrest for a DUI in Los Angeles valid if the arresting officer happens to be from San Francisco? If the California Supreme Court had the same reaction as the Supreme Court in Georgia, the accused DUI driver would go free.
According to 41 NBC in Macon, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on June 20th that police officers in that state can’t make arrests outside of their jurisdictions. The case that prompted that decision involved the arrest of Bajrodin Silke for DUI by Officer Decari Mason, a Kennewa State University police officer who was POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training Council) certified.

Back Row L-R David Nahmias, Robert Benham, Carol Hunstein, Keith Blackwell and Harold Melton. Front Row L-R Presiding Justice Harris Hines and Chief Justice Hugh Thompson. Handout Photo 7-14-2014

Back Row L-R David Nahmias, Robert Benham, Carol Hunstein, Keith Blackwell and Harold Melton. Front Row L-R Presiding Justice Harris Hines and Chief Justice Hugh Thompson. Handout Photo 7-14-2014

Mason was on his way back to the University on May 5, 2013, but 10 miles off campus when he noticed Zilke was swerving in and out of his lane and driving without lights. He pulled Zilke over and noticed that the young man smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and was unsteady on his feet. Zilke, who said he had drunk two beers, blew into a breathalyzer which registered .08, which is just at the state limit for DUI. Mason charged him with two counts of DUI and operating a vehicle without lights.

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Changes to California’s DUI laws can affect hundreds or even thousands of drivers accused of DUI in Los Angeles.
To that point, consider the big legal dust up currently transpiring in the Show Me state. Missouri legislators recently ended their 2016 legislative session without addressing a typo in regulations regarding calibration of breathalyzers used to measure blood alcohol content. The regulations, written by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, should have read that breathalyzers had to be calibrated to 0.10 percent, 0.08 percent OR 0.04 percent. missouri-dui-law-typo-los-angeles-dui-lawyer-reports

Instead the regulations said that the calibration had to be to 0.10 percent, 0.08 percent AND 0.04 percent.

The regulations were in effect from December 30, 2013 until April 2014, when the DHHS corrected the error. Missouri’s Supreme Court ruled that drivers charged with DUI during that time could get their breathalyzer results thrown out as evidence, if the instrument had not been calibrated at all three levels.

According to local reports, however, the court suggested a way that the state legislature could fix the issue. While the Missouri Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives had actually both passed laws to that effect, these different bills were never reconciled.

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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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While police are making fewer arrests for DUI in Los Angeles and the rest of the state, they’ve been seeing more deaths as a result of DUI-related accidents.los-angeles-DUI-statistics-2015

The Sacramento Bee took a look at California’s DUI statistics from 2013 (the latest figures available from the state) and compared them with results from previous years. It found that the number of DUI arrests had declined from 188, 327 in 1998 to 160,388 in 2013. The rate of DUI arrests decreased from 908 per 100,000 licensed drivers in 1998 to 651 per 100,000 licensed drivers.
That’s the good news. But there is a downside. The Bee analysis found that while there were 1,417 motor vehicle deaths related to drugs and alcohol in 2010, that number increased to 1,699 in 2013.

San Francisco had the smallest rate of DUI arrests in 2013, with a rate of just 2.5 percent per 1,000 drivers. But if you want to avoid sharing the road with a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, steer clear of Inyo County, where they have a DUI arrest rate of 16.3 percent.

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If the number of arrests for DUI in Los Angeles decreased, would it mean that the roads are getting safer? Maybe not. A recent article in Illinois’ Daily Herald newspaper raised some questions about the real meaning behind a decline in DUI arrests in several suburban Chicago neighborhoods.los-angeles-DUI-law-chicago

Columnist Jack Griffin wrote in a November 18th column in the Daily Herald that DUI arrests in 79 Chicago suburbs have been declining since 2007. Surveys compiled by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) reported that police made 12,166 DUI arrests in 2007 and only 6,955 in 2014.

But what’s the reason for the declining arrests? Griffin spoke with one Chicago area attorney who thinks people simply don’t have the money to go out drinking. The police chief in the Chicago suburb of Lake Hills, however, believes people are becoming more conscious of the need to take a cab or have a designated driver when they plan on drinking. (Arrests in this suburb declined from 100-plus each year between 2007-2012 to 86 in 2014.)

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