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A recent incident in Milton, Georgia serves as a cautionary tale for potential Los Angeles DUI drivers. On Tuesday, July 8, Milton resident Marjorie Rose Ryan-Santos pled guilty in a DUI driving incident that led to a car accident the week before.Marjorie-Rose-Ryan-Santos-DUI

Ryan-Santos admitted not only to driving under the influence, but to endangering the safety of the four children riding in the car with her at the time. She received a sentence of 10 days in jail, and she was given credit for five days served after her arrest. In addition, she faces community service, probation, and a license suspension.

The Milton Police Department reports they arrested Ryan-Santos after the accident due to her slurred speech, unsteady gait, and blood alcohol level of 0.168.

Thankfully, the car accident did not lead to any injuries for Ryan-Santos or for the children in the car. The current condition and location of the children are not known.

This Milton, Georgia, case represents a best-case scenario for individuals who drive under the influence with minors in the car. Fortunately, the driver and occupants were unharmed; however, many DUI accidents result in more tragic consequences.

In California, the law often imposes harsh penalties on DUI drivers, which increase with repeated offenses and become considerably more severe with additional factors, such as child endangerment. When a DUI accident causes injury or death to passengers in the driver’s car or another vehicle, the responsible party likely faces jail time, hefty fines, and other life-changing consequences.

The best way to avoid Los Angeles DUI charges is not to get behind the wheel of a car when you have been drinking. If not for your own sake, consider the life and safety of your passengers and other drivers.

Kraut Law Group understands that everyone makes mistakes. Whether you face first-time DUI charges, a repeat offense, or more serious allegations regarding endangerment or injury, contact us today to learn how we can help you build a strong defense. Continue reading →

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You’ve already retained an attorney for a DUI in Los Angeles charge, and you’re hoping that your first few uncomfortable experiences with the attorney (or his or her law firm) were just a hiccup.Red-Flag-DUI-lawyer-los-angeles

But you’re not so sure.

No lawyer is perfect. Your case might just be very hard to manage. That is, the police may have such compelling evidence against you that your best-case prognosis would still be pretty grim. For instance, maybe you hit another car and then later tested to have a BAC of 0.20% – two and half times the CA DUI limit. In addition to the DUI, you also have a hit and run charge and a charge of resisting arrest. So if you expect that your charges will be dismissed entirely, your goals may be too aggressive for any lawyer to meet.

On the other hand, the following 3 “red flags” might indicate that something is wrong with the relationship with your lawyer and that something needs to change:

1. The law firm is super, super slow getting back to you.

Every time you call the office, you speak to a different person who needs to be reminded about the particulars of your matter from the ground up.

2. You just “get a bad vibe” every time when you talk to your attorney.

You can’t exactly put your finger on what’s wrong. But our intuitions are often able to pick up on information that our conscious minds miss. As the expression says, “trust your gut.” If you sense something is odd, try to articulate what’s wrong by writing it down.

3. You’ve spoken to another Los Angeles DUI lawyer about your situation, and he or she has been appalled by what your current attorney is doing.

If you want a second opinion, please connect with Harvard Law School educated Los Angeles DUI lawyer, Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is an ex-prosecutor – he achieved a level of Senior Deputy District Attorney before changing career directions and representing criminal defendants.

One of the reasons why so many defendants like working with Mr. Kraut is that he is an excellent communicator. He answers his clients’ questions, when they need help. He customizes the defense experience, and he’s passionately devoted to helping his clients achieve not just excellent results but also peace of mind. Free yourself from the frustration and uncertainty: get a second opinion from the Kraut Law Group.

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Ever since you woke up the morning after your Los Angeles DUI arrest, you have been obsessed with your case and deeply worried about what will happen to you and your life.meditation-after-dui-arrest

• Will a six-month California driver’s license suspension be in the offing?
• Will you have to go to jail for hurting or seriously injuring someone else?
• Will your insurance rates go up?
• Will your boss fire you?
• Will your girlfriend or boyfriend break up with you?
• What will happen to you, if you ever get in trouble with the law again?
• Are you doomed to be a slave to your impulses to consume alcohol and/or drugs and/or prescription medications?
• How can you fight the charges and get best results?
• Etc.

These and dozens of other questions and scenarios are likely floating around in your head and causing you tremendous agitation and stress. They are important to address.

But given your current fragile state, you may not be able to address them effectively. Try the following exercise to give yourself some space – almost a mini mental vacation – from the chatter about your DUI.

Find 15 minutes where you can be alone and in peace, and practice doing meditative breathing as follows. Sit comfortably in a chair — ideally, upright with your body relaxed but alert. Then just watch your breath flow in and out of your body. You don’t have to try to force the breath or take deep breaths or anything. Just watch the breath as it goes into your lungs, and then watch it as goes out of your lungs. You can breathe naturally: just try to focus all of your attention on the act of breathing – watching the process as if you were an objective observer watching the ocean waves flow in, hit the shore, and flow out.

You will notice that there are basically four distinct parts of the breath. There is the “in breath.” There is a kind of pause that happens at the top of the in breath. There is the “out breath.” And there is the pause after the out breath. Try to become very interested in all the minute details of this process.

If and when thoughts about your DUI pop up – and they likely will, and the chatter may grow intense as you get into this exercise – acknowledge them, but let them go. You will have time to think those thoughts later. For now, you just want to focus on the breathing. Set a timer behind that will go off in 15 minutes, and tell yourself that you can “touch” those thoughts and worries once the timer goes off. Every time you have a non-breath related thought, let it float away from you, as a child might let a helium balloon float into the clouds.

Hopefully, that exercise can give you a little sense of peace and quiet and help you improve your concentration. For practical help with your Los Angeles DUI defense, get in touch with attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor who can help you make smarter decisions about your case.

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A recent San Diego story presents a complicated issue for those affected by Los Angeles DUI laws. Melissa Tennent, daughter of Arthur Jacobs, recently became distraught when she discovered the woman responsible for her father’s death had left prison three years and eleven months early.dui-manslaughter-los-angeles

Julianne Thompson, 25, struck and killed Jacobs on July 27, 2011, while driving under the influence in Carlsbad. After hitting Jacobs, Thompson abandoned her vehicle and hid in nearby bushes before police located and arrested her. She pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter and intoxicated hit-and-run charges. Upon receiving a guilty verdict, Thompson began serving a six-year sentence in prison.

However, Tennent recently ran into Thompson in a local grocery store – just two years after Thompson was sent to prison. Although she expressed dismay over this unexpected encounter, early releases for such offenses happen fairly often in the state.

Currently, California law does not classify the hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter charges for which Thompson was convicted as “serious” or “violent” offenses, which means displaying good behavior – as Thompson did – typically reduces the length of a prisoner’s sentence.

Gross vehicular manslaughter, while a lesser charge than vehicular homicide or second-degree murder, still represents a serious offense under California law. The penalty for DUI driving that kills another individual can lead to prison sentences of up to ten years, to say nothing of the devastation it causes to the victims’ families.

Thompson has legally served her time and now has the opportunity to rebuild her life, but the repercussions of her actions will stay with her for many years to come.

DUI driving that causes the death or injury of another individual is a tragedy for everyone involved. Those facing such charges should not do it alone. With the help of a Los Angeles DUI attorney, such as Michael Kraut, you can present a legal defense that addresses all the circumstances surrounding your accident. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to discuss your case.
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Individuals facing Los Angeles DUI charges would do well to take a lesson from the case of Ronald Searl, a Chicago area man recently arrested for drunk driving.dui-mug-shot-laughing

Police stopped 54-year-old Searl on July 3 when they spotted him driving in the center turn lane of a city street. After smelling alcohol on his breath, officers administrated field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer, which revealed Searl’s blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit.

In addition to DUI charges, Searl received a citation for operating his vehicle in the wrong lane. Perhaps due to his “polite, cooperative and respectful” demeanor during the arrest process, police released him on his own recognizance.

Although Searl may have behaved well throughout the booking process, his bizarre mug shot tells a different story. In the photo, Searl is visibly laughing and neglects to look at the camera. The lackadaisical response to his arrest may appear to some as an utter disregard for the seriousness of his offense.

California law imposes serious penalties on individuals who commit DUI offenses, regardless of whether they cause accidents or injuries to others. First-time drunk drivers may receive jail time, fines, license suspensions, probation, and installation of interlock devices in their vehicles.

Although no one should drink and drive, mistakes happen. Should you find yourself under arrest for driving with a prohibited blood alcohol content, cooperating with authorities and taking full responsibility for your actions affords you the best chance of a minimal sentence. Maintaining a serious demeanor – particularly in a mug shot – shows genuine remorse for unlawful behavior and may sway a judge in the accused’s favor.

If you have been charged with DUI in Los Angeles, you may feel confident you’ll get off with a “slap on the wrist.” However, an experienced DUI attorney such as Michael Kraut helps defendants better understand the laws regarding their cases and achieve the best possible outcomes. To discuss your case, contact Kraut Law Group to set up a free consultation.

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Driving DUI in Los Angeles — as defined by California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 (a) and 23152 (b) — is dangerous, destructive, and potentially lethal. mental-chatter-los-angeles-DUI

When you are under the influence of alcohol, your ability to process and react to events on the road changes in bad ways. For instance, alcohol slows your reaction time. (The difference between a fatal, fiery crash and a scary “swerve at the last minute” near-miss might be just a few fractions of a second.)

Also, consumption of alcohol can lead you to engage in other risky behaviors, such as shouting on the cellphone while driving. For instance, if you are sober, and you get into an accident, you might do the smart thing and stop and wait for police. But if you are DUI, and you get into an accident, you might impulsively leave the scene and later get charged with a felony hit and run, which obviously would make your defense much more tricky.

But DUI driving is not the only bad type of driving. Here are two other subtle mistakes that many people make behind the wheel:

•    They drive while not well rested.

An Australian study found that sober drivers kept awake for over 24 hours drove worse than DUI drivers. We all know that acute under-sleeping is bad for you, but chronic under-sleeping may also be bad. Perhaps the aggregate risk of sleeping one or two hours fewer than your need, day in, day out, may be worse than the risk of a single drive while exhausted.

•    They drive while distracted by their own thoughts.

Driving while distracted by anything can also incrementally increase your risk. Distractions can include: loud music on the radio, a cellphone in your hand, a chitter-chattery passenger, and even the clamor of your own internal monologue. Everyone knows that texting and chatting on the cellphone while driving is a no-no. But how many accidents are caused because drivers are busy composing emails in their head or running through an internal monologue of some sort – as opposed to concentrating fully on the task of driving? Again, it’s riskier to text while driving than it is to space out while driving. But the amount of time that people spend spaced out while driving probably vastly exceeds the amount of time people text. So “spacing out” might actually cause more accidents than texting.

The point is that it’s not just our acute bad habits that put us at risk. It’s the chronic bad habits — the “minor” bad habits — that may arguably do more damage because we do them with so much more frequency.

Becoming a safer driver is not something you can do overnight, but there are many lessons that you can learn from your charges, if you are willing to listen and learn. Step one is to get in touch with an experienced Los Angeles DUI criminal defense lawyer, like Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Connect with attorney Kraut today for guidance. Continue reading →

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Los Angeles DUI attorneys are closely following the case of 25-year-old Yocio Jonathan Gomez, who received a lengthy sentence on Friday, July 11 for DUI conduct that killed two construction workers in 2012. The guilty verdict included two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and second-degree murder, for which Gomez will spend 34 years to life in prison.yocio-los-angeles-dui

On July 22, 2012, Gomez got behind the wheel of his Ford Explorer with a blood alcohol level of 0.21 percent, almost triple the legal limit of 0.08 percent in California. While driving approximately 90 miles per hour through a construction zone on the 405 Freeway in Torrance, Gomez struck another vehicle, pushing it into construction workers Ricardo Zamora and Ramon Lopez. The collision killed both men.

This arrest, Gomez’s third drunken driving offense, happened while he was serving probation for another offense, which likely contributed to the long length of his sentence. Another factor may have been his lack of emotion or remorse throughout the sentencing hearing, despite emotional testimony from the families of the deceased.

Under California law, second-degree murder charges for DUI drivers are rare and represent a profound disregard for the lives of others. While the standard sentence for such a conviction is 15 years to life in prison, this sentence is increased for each individual killed, and prior offenses do make a difference.

Based on the circumstances of this case, Gomez represents an anomaly among DUI drivers. While a rare number of individuals may act with blatant disregard for the safety of others, the vast majority of DUI drivers get behind the wheel without intending to harm anybody. However, all DUI drivers must take responsibility for their actions and the consequences that follow.

If you currently face Los Angeles DUI charges, you may feel remorseful and afraid. Kraut Law Group understands the complexities of California law and can help you form a strong legal defense. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your case.

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Your Los Angeles DUI arrest might have been your single lowest moment since you moved out to Los Angeles to study at UCSC or UCLA or try to “break in” to the film and television industry. And you’ve had a lot of challenging moments!Reticular-Activating-System-Los-Angeles-DUI

Fortunately, you survived the incident. But maybe you hurt yourself or someone else. Or maybe you simply got in so much trouble that your entire career out here (or educational opportunity) has been threatened.

You want to know: will there be any light at the end of the tunnel? Will you be able to move beyond this difficult period in your life and gain stability? Or will you wind up a Los Angeles DUI recidivist and get gobsmacked with penalties, such as a long California driver’s license suspension, months of jail time, and a felony charge permanently etched into your record?

Our memories and past experiences deeply and unconsciously inform our life trajectories. If you were bullied as a kid, for instance, and you suffered social problems at school, the psychological residue of those traumas decades ago can live on and cause you to act out in bizarre or potentially dangerous and self-destructive ways.

When you look at your personal history in a certain light, you can easily fall into a fit of doom and gloom. What’s past is just prologue – or is it?

To answer our question, we really need to look at neuroscience research. Some of the most promising scientific inquires have focused on a region of the bran known as the Reticular Activating System or RAS, which helps you control your focus. The brain receives far too much input on a day-to-day (and moment-to-moment) basis to process, so it intuitively filters out what “you” become conscious of, so you can make effective decisions.

If you are driving, for instance, your RAS will help you focus on the key sensory observations you need to steer your vehicle safely and obscure unnecessary data. For a great example of how powerful the RAS is, go for a walk out in the park. Concentrate on the color green as you walk: focus on green, green, green. Then close your eyes and try to think of all the red objects that you saw. Odds are, you won’t have seen many, if any, because your RAS was telling your brain to look for green stuff.

Likewise, if you have in your mind this conscious or unconscious belief that your Los Angeles DUI is just the beginning of (or punctuation of) a downward spiral in your life, your RAS is going to pull up information that’s going to make that story sound correct and lead you to feel like your life is hopeless or going nowhere.

How to change your story – Step 1

Often, even if we want to, we have a very difficult time to changing our internal stories, even with great conscious effort. Fortunately, other people can assist. Look to a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group to help you and send your life back on an upward trajectory. Mr. Kraut is a former prosecutor with immense practical experience with DUI cases just like yours.
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On Saturday, 18-year-old Billy Unger, star of the show Lab Rats on the Disney Channel, was pulled over in Malibu on PCH for driving under the influence in Los Angeles.billy-unger-dui

Police say that he took a breathalyzer test and blew a 0.08%. That BAC would be over the limit for an adult — in other words, if a 40-year old blew a 0.08% on his breath test, he would face an array of disturbing penalties, including jail time, a one year license suspension, spiked insurance rates, probation, alcohol school and fines and fees.

But when a minor (under the age of 21) consumes alcohol and then gets behind the wheel, he can get in trouble for having an even LOWER BAC level. In fact, underage drivers cannot drive with a BAC level of more than 0.01% — that’s hardly any alcohol at all. This makes sense, since people who are under 21 are not legally allowed to drink.

If you’re a young driver booked for DUI, your consequences can range widely, depending on what happened, and what your BAC level tested to be. If it was really low — like 0.01% — you can face a license suspension, but you won’t necessarily go to jail and have a misdemeanor on your record.

If your BAC level is higher (e.g. 0.05% to 0.08%), the penalties can be enhanced and more diverse.

Other ways to increase your punishments include:

•    You left the scene of an accident (committed a hit-and-run).
•    You hurt someone while driving DUI, which can subject you to punishments per California’s Felony Injury DUI law – CVC 23153;
•    You had been arrested in the past for DUI or have an extensive criminal record;
•    You resisted arrest or behaved in a dangerous or obnoxious way towards police officers;
•    You committed other driving infractions, such as speeding, reckless driving, driving without a driver’s license, etc.

Unger fortunately did not hurt anybody during the incident, and he was released shortly after his arrest. Per TMZ, he joins a long line of Disney stars who have wrestled with drug and alcohol problems. These stars include Orlando Brown, Zac Efron, J.T. Austin and of course Lindsay Lohan.

If you have questions about how to deal with your charges, contact a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group immediately to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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How should you handle your Los Angeles DUI charges?good-enough-dui-losangeles

That question might sound trite. Obviously, you want to minimize/avoid punishments that prosecutors might ask for, which could include jail time, cumbersome probation terms and alcohol school, as well as unfortunate spikes in your insurance rates.

In an ideal world, your DUI lawyer could just snap his fingers and make it as if police never pulled you over on the 210 for cutting across lanes or stopped you at a checkpoint near Caltech. But we don’t live in an ideal world, so “good enough” has to be enough.

Perfection Vs “Good Enough” — Why the Debate Matters for Your DUI Defense

In the world of math, the search for a perfect solution is called an “optimization problem.” Here is a vivid example. Imagine it’s raining torrentially. You need to seek shelter at a high place or you’ll drown. How high do you need to climb above the flood plane to save your life? The answer depends on an astonishing number of variables, including the amount of rain, your swimming ability, how far it is to the nearest high place, whether you can climb aboard a lifeboat or not and just float it out, etc.

The IDEAL solution would be to hike up to the top of Mount Rainer, where the rain is least likely to drown you in the U.S. Obviously, this solution is impractical for many reasons: you just want to find a “good enough” solution, so you can ride out the storm in relative safety.

Likewise, you want to think of your defense in the same way. What does the equivalent of “not drowning” look like for you? Would it mean avoiding a lengthy jail term? Would it mean being able to keep your California driver’s license? The clearer you are about what success means to you, the easier it will be to create a customized battle plan for your defense.

Talk to Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut and his team at the Kraut Law Group to figure out the next steps for your Los Angeles DUI defense. Continue reading →