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Did you know you can receive Los Angeles DUI charges for driving under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs? If not, this story involving two Pittsburgh Steelers players may be of particular interest.LeGarrette-Blount-LeVeon-Bell-DUI

On Wednesday, August 20, police stopped LeGarrette Blount and Le’Veon Bell, two Steelers running backs, on suspicion of marijuana possession. The two were on their way to the airport to fly to a preseason game; instead, they now face DUI charges.

The driver, Bell, admitted to having purchased and smoked the marijuana; however, he claimed not to have been aware he could be subject to DUI charges as a result. After Bell failed a sobriety test, police took him into custody and transported him to a hospital for a blood test.

Although this incident occurred in Pennsylvania, the circumstances remain similar to what could happen to a driver in California. When it comes to DUI, the state penal code views drug intoxication and alcohol intoxication in the same way.

When police pull over a driver for a suspected drug DUI, they must observe erratic or otherwise suspicious behavior. Since a breathalyzer test cannot detect the presence of illegal or prescription drugs, the suspect must often complete a blood or urine test. Admission of guilt or physical presence of drugs in the vehicle are additional incriminating factors for drug DUI suspects.

Many drivers in California are currently unaware they are committing a crime by driving under the influence of illicit – or even legally prescribed – drugs. Unfortunately, unfamiliarity with state law does not exempt them from the consequences of a drug DUI, which can include fines, imprisonment, loss of license, and other penalties.

Defending yourself against DUI charges can be a difficult and overwhelming process, but a Los Angeles DUI attorney can help. To discuss your legal options, contact the experienced professionals at the Kraut Law Group today.
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Whether you’ve already found a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, or are you still interviewing prospective firms and weighing your options, you recognize the dire nature of the legal challenges you face. To structure an effective relationship, follow these 4 tips.los-angeles-DUI-dos-donts

1. Be an obsessive note taker.

The “little things” often prove crucial in DUI defense cases. For instance: did the arresting officer say or do something that the court might construe to be Unconstitutional or otherwise over the line? Were you on a special diet or taking any medications that could have thrown off your breathalyzer test readings?

Collect all potentially relevant evidence — even facts that you might not even recognize as important. This note-taking can make the difference between an acceptable outcome and a miserable one. When you document your experience and conversations regarding your DUI, you can give your attorney that much more potential ammunition to use on your behalf.

2. Ask questions and make sure you understand everything you need to do (and NOT do).

Your attorney is on your side. He or she understands that you might be in a distraught state of mind or that you may need to hear certain important instructions more than once. That’s fine. Just speak up for your needs; make sure you understand the exact tactics and strategies that your attorney lays out for you.

3. Avoid lying or “airbrushing the truth.”

First of all, what you tell your attorney will be held in confidence. So you can feel safe and secure. Second of all, if you hold information back from your attorney — out of guilt, embarrassment or mistrust — and the prosecution discovers your secret, the other side could torpedo your defense and leave you in a very bad position. Your attorney needs to have a full and deep appreciation for what you did, why you did it, and how.

4. Avoid waiting to retain a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer.

As the clock ticks, the prosecution may be busily preparing to hammer you with draconian charges. Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group knows this, because he served as a prosecutor (Senior Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles) for nearly 15 years. Look to Mr. Kraut and his experienced, decisive team to help you navigate your defense.

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When a Los Angeles DUI attorney takes on a new client, one of the most common concerns for this individual is how his or her arrest (and potential conviction) will impact their public reputation. For Senator Ben Hueso of San Diego, this will likely be a topic of conversation as he seeks legal defense for his recent DUI arrest.ben-hueso-dui-arrest

Senator Hueso’s arrest occurred around 2:30 a.m. on Friday, August 22, when an officer discovered him driving down a one-way street in the opposite direction. Although he noticed his error and made a quick U-turn to correct his direction, police pulled him over. When Hueso displayed signs of intoxication, the officer placed him under arrest.

Senator Hueso’s pending DUI charges highlight the many ways driving under the influence can go from bad to worse. Although drivers may believe they can make it home without incident, impaired judgment and motor function – combined with circumstances beyond their control – make venturing out after drinking a risky proposition.

In the state of California, DUI can bring misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on prior convictions and the severity of the offense. Penalties such as fines, jail time, and license suspensions are perpetuated when other circumstances intervene, such as:

•    Traffic violations. Running a stop sign or red light – or, in Senator Hueso’s case, driving in the wrong direction – draws attention to a DUI driver and adds to potential citations and sanctions.

•    Collisions. When a DUI driver hits another car or structure, the resulting injuries, death, or property damage often become his or her responsibility.

•    Public reputation. An individual arrested for or convicted of DUI frequently suffers diminished respect among the public; in some cases, a DUI conviction can lead to job loss.

If you currently face Los Angeles DUI charges with additional complications such as these, your need for a qualified DUI attorney is vital. Contact Kraut Law Group today to begin your defense.

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Those facing Los Angeles DUI charges involving the injury or death of the other party may understand the plight of an Albemarle County man currently in custody.Donovan-James-Webster-DUI-manslaughter

On Monday, August 18, author Donovan James Webster was arrested on DUI charges related to a car crash resulting in the death of a Virginia man.

The three-vehicle accident involved a tractor-trailer and two vehicles. Wayne Thomas White, a 75-year-old resident of Waynesboro, died in the collision. Shortly thereafter, authorities took Webster into custody, and they are currently holding him without bond on suspicion of driving under the influence.

A well-known writer, 55-year-old Webster acted as senior editor to Outside Magazine. He also wrote for high profile magazines, such as National Geographic and The New Yorker. Webster traveled across the world and worked with celebrities such as Sissy Spacek and Matt Damon on his projects; he also won multiple awards and recognitions for his work.

Unfortunately, this recent accident will likely have a negative impact on the writer’s reputation and career.

Whether you are a highly regarded celebrity or an average citizen, California law regards DUI as a serious offense. If an individual died in an accident that you caused, the prosecution can charge you with serious counts, such as vehicular manslaughter.

A conviction for DUI-related manslaughter carries significant consequences, including jail time, license suspensions, fines and lost employment.

A Los Angeles DUI defense attorney understands the complex legal processes involved in these cases and can help defendants avoid the most severe penalties. If you have been arrested due to a DUI accident in which another person died, you may feel overwhelmed, frightened, and alone. The experienced attorneys at the Kraut Law Group can advocate on your behalf to help you present a strong case.

Contact the Kraut Law Group today to set up your free consultation and begin your defense.

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When you picture a “Los Angeles DUI arrestee,” what do you see?ambien-dui-los-angeles

You might imagine a male in his mid-30s, perhaps, with a history of substance abuse problems and reckless behavior at work and his personal life.

As in many areas of life, however, the reality in almost no way resembles the stereotype.

As we discussed in a recent post about Atlanta police officer, Christopher Niezurawski — who was busted twice for DUI in two years and who smashed into a Greyhound bus while driving wrong way — even people whose job it is to protect citizens from DUI drivers can make ridiculous and dangerous mistakes behind the wheel.

For another profound example, let’s look to Broward County, Florida, where a local judge, Lynn Rosenthal, recently had to defend against DUI charges. Rosenthal claimed that she had been “sleep driving” when she slammed into the back of a deputy’s police cruiser. By pleading guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving, she got off with 25 hours of community service and three months of probation.

Rosenthal said she crashed because she had been taking an Ambien sleep aid: “I was sleep driving and unaware of what I was doing until long after I got to the courthouse.”

According to an interview she did with the Pompano Beach Radio Show on Monday, Rosenthal also had the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in her purse, although she claimed that the problem was the Ambien. She told the radio show host: “The police believed it was Ambien. The state attorney believed it was Ambien… the court accepted it was Ambien. And I guess when everybody acknowledges that it was Ambien, that’s going to have to be what it was.”

Even if you were on a legal prescription medication, if you got into a crash or hurt someone while driving under the influence of that medication, you can still be convicted of drug DUI and sentenced to severe consequences, including: prison time, license suspension, strict probation terms, fines, fees and other unpleasant penalties.

Defending against a Los Angeles DUI drug charge can be complicated, but you may have a variety of unique defensive levers to pull. For instance, drugs like Ambien don’t show up on DUI breath tests, and you may be able to challenge any positive blood or urine tests on various technicalities. Call attorney Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group today to discover what options you might have to battle back against your charges.
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As you’ve been contemplating your recent arrest for DUI in Los Angeles, you’ve probably been focusing on your own emotions and situation.quote-sun-tzu-los-angeles-dui-defense

Perhaps an officer pulled you over on Wilshire “unfairly,” after he noticed that one of your taillights was out. Or perhaps you caused a minor accident on La Brea and then failed field sobriety tests and blew a 0.09% BAC on a breathalyzer test. Almost certainly, you’ve been preoccupied with concerns about what’s going to happen to you, your family, your driver’s license, your freedom, your career, your relationships, etc.

Such a preoccupation is totally understandable. Punishments for even a relatively trivial DUI conviction — one involving no injuries or property damage or additional charges or previous criminal history – can include:

•    Substantial time behind bars;
•    Mandatory installation of a device called an IID, which makes it impossible for you to drive your car unless you blow a sober breath into a machine;
•    Tough probation terms;
•    Fines, court fees and attorneys fees;
•    A lengthy suspension of your California drivers’ license.

In your rush to contemplate your defense, you probably haven’t thinking about the motivation of the people on the other side of your case — law enforcement agents, judges and prosecutors.

Why should you bother considering your case from their point of view?

The ancient strategy manual, Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” explained the following idea, a concept that’s as elegant today as it likely was 3,000 years ago:

•    If you don’t know yourself, and you don’t know the enemy, you are doomed to lose every battle;
•    If you know yourself, but you do not know the enemy, you will win one battle for every battle you lose;
•    If you know yourself AND you know the enemy superlatively well, you will win every battle.

You need to appreciate the motives and strategies of prosecutors and law enforcement. What do your prosecutors want? What does the judge want? What do other stakeholders in the situation want? You must answer these questions to construct a great defense.

That may sound like an intimating proposition. Fortunately, you do need to do this intelligence work on your own. Michael Kraut, an experienced former prosecutor — who worked for nearly a decade and half as a Senior Deputy District Attorney — can help you prepare and execute your Los Angeles DUI defense. Find out more about Mr. Kraut and his philosophy online, or call or email to schedule a free consultation.

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Whether police busted you at a checkpoint in Santa Monica Boulevard after a late night Hollywood party or authorities booked you for Los Angeles DUI following a fender bender on the 10, you’re probably feeling pretty sheepish, embarrassed and confused.Christopher-niezurawski-dui

Part of you realizes that you “should have known better.”

Some degree of self-flagellation is possibly appropriate, particularly if you did violate CVC 23152 or some other driving law in a flagrant way, or if you hurt somebody. But did you know that many people who know a lot more about DUI than you do — police officers, public officials who make policy, judges, DUI defense lawyers, etc — ALSO make poor judgments and find themselves in legal hot water?

To wit, consider the strange case of officer Christopher Niezurawski, a Georgia State Patrol Officer who was just arrested for his second DUI in two years. According to police reports, Niezurawski “had an odor of an alcohol beverage coming from his breath” and had “bloodshot and watery eyes.” Of course, these symptoms in and of themselves never can prove DUI. For instance, you can have bloodshot eyes for many alternative reasons – allergies, fatigue, emotional stress, disease, irritation due to pollution, etc. Likewise, your breath can smell like alcohol for reasons that have nothing to do with alcohol consumption. For instance, perhaps you used a strange mouthwash, or perhaps an officer misattributed the smell.

In any event, this arrest wasn’t officer Niezurawski’s first DUI rodeo. In 2012, he pled guilty to DUI after driving the wrong way and causing a bus crash. He paid a $1,200 fine, served 80 hours of community service, went to jail for 10 days and served a year of probation. The Atlanta Police Department also suspended him for 15 days without pay.

Just days later, Marreese Speights, a center and forward for the Golden State Warriors, also got hit with DUI charges out in St. Petersburg, Florida. The 6 foot 11 Warrior allegedly blew a 0.103 and 0.106 respectively on two breath tests – putting him over the 0.08% legal limit for Florida (and, incidentally, Los Angeles).

The moral here is that basketball stars, police officers and people in every walk of life make mistakes and drive DUI in Los Angeles and do other “dumb things” behind the wheel. Fortunately, you may have strategies and tactics at your disposal to reduce your penalties and potentially expunge your charges all together. Call attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today for a free, confidential consultation about what you might be able to do.
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As regular readers of our Los Angeles DUI blog know, the crime of driving under the influence is anything but monolithic.phoenix_suns_pj_tucker-dui

Your blood alcohol concentration and subtleties regarding your arrest and criminal history (if any) can dramatically influence your potential punishments. For instance, if you test just over the limit (0.08%), you will face lesser charges than if you test way over the limit (0.15%+ BAC). Our neighboring state, Arizona, has similarly stratified its DUI punishment scheme, and P.J. Tucker, a forward for the Phoenix Suns, may soon become intimately familiar with the gradations.

According to the AP, the star forward just pled guilty to “super extreme” DUI. He will spend three days in jail and 11 days in home detention.

Police pulled Tucker over in Scottsdale on May 10 and tested him to have a BAC of 0.22%, two and three quarters over the legal limit. In addition to the jail time and home detention, Tucker will pay a fine of $2,750, go through alcohol counseling, use an interlocking ignition device in his car for the next year and a half and undergo probation for five years.

The President of the Suns issued a statement: “In considering this matter, we concluded that P.J. was sincere in his remorse and his resolve to accept the consequences of his actions… we are convinced that he will take the necessary steps to avoid any such conduct in the future. The Suns do not in any way condone his conduct, but we do support him as he works through this.”

According to police reports, Tucker was driving around in his Mercedes Benz, when police pulled him over. He allegedly exhibited classic DUI symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a lack of coordination on his field sobriety test (FSTs). The Suns booked him on a $6.5 million three-year deal less than two months after the arrest, and he promised his team and his fans “I will not let you down.”

Tucker’s case is important for at least two reasons.

First, his arrest demonstrates that even highly successful, motivated and publicly visible people can and do make grievous DUI mistakes that can lead to major punishments. Just because you’re an NBA forward does not mean that you are immune from the laws of the land and that you can’t wind up behind bars.

Secondly, the Tucker story also shows that resilience is possible. Although Tucker faces long-term inconveniences, such as probation and an IID in his vehicle, he still managed to lock a $16.5 million contract, and his team has given him a second chance.

To build an effective Los Angeles DUI defense, call attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with a former high-level prosecutor who has won significant renown for his work and who has great relationships not only with clients but also with Los Angeles judges, prosecutors and police officers.
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Perhaps you collected a Los Angeles DUI charge after you drove wildly following an extravagant night out at a night club often frequented by Snoop Lion (a.k.a. Snoop Dogg). Or maybe officers at a checkpoint near Sepulveda stopped you and a friend and charged you both with DUI, after you each blew very high number on your breath test – enough, perhaps, the qualify you for an extreme DUI charge (in excess of 0.15% BAC).snoop-lion

Harsh punishments are not inevitable. An experienced DUI attorney can help turn things around for you in a major way by taking actions along the lines of the following:

1. Challenging the validity of your breath or blood test results.

Breathalyzer and blood tests aim to quantify your degree of intoxication. These tests are sophisticated. But don’t let their seemingly objective nature fool you. Even the most fair, beta-tested breath and blood tests – administrated in good faith by meticulous police officers – can tell a story that’s way off base. A breath test can yield false positives for many reasons:

•    Ketones on your breath, caused by your diet, could register as alcohol;
•    A very deep breath blown into machine may suggest that you have more alcohol in your system than you actually do;
•    The presence of “mouth alcohol” can throw off the reading;
•    Miscalibration or inaccurate recording of test results can also lead to injustice.

An astute defense attorney can challenge your test results.

2. Negotiating with prosecutors.

Perhaps you actually did drive DUI. You made a big mistake, and you’re willing admit it. You’d just like to minimize your punishments and maximize your chances for successful rehabilitation. A seasoned lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to make this happen.

3. Challenging the license suspension.

Most defendants worry a lot about potential jail time but don’t give enough thought to the inconvenience of license suspension. It’s hard to get around L.A. if you have to take public transportation everywhere. A license suspension can indirectly get you fired from your job and choke off friendships. An informed, prepared attorney can help you fight the license suspension, so you can keep driving (safely).

Turn to Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group for help now constructing and moving forward with your Los Angeles DUI defense.

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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 →