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LAPD officers engage in the dangerous work of patrolling our streets and stopping drivers suspected of Los Angeles DUI and other crimes. Without these courageous men and women, it is absolutely true that our surface streets and freeways would be more dangerous and more people would die and get hurt.furious-dog-bite-los-angeles-DUI-stop

We applaud these efforts.

But we also want to make sure that patrol officers obey the law and respect the rights of suspected DUI drivers. So what restrictions on officer behaviors are appropriate and required? And when can officers effectively break standard procedure?

A sad but compelling case out of Mesa County, Colorado speaks to these two questions.

According to AP reports, a sheriff’s deputy near Grand Junction Colorado shot and killed a dog that allegedly attacked him while he was struggling with a DUI suspect. Reports say that police responded to an emergency call at a grocery store last Monday night. A man allegedly had been driving all over the road. When police arrived, the suspect ran away, and his shepherd mix dog jumped onto the deputy and bit him on the upper thigh. The deputy instinctively shot the dog and killed it.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the suspect, Joseph McMillan, said that his dog had not been vaccinated for things like rabies, so now local animal services is submitting the dog’s body for tests for rabies.

In this case, at least according to reports, what the officer did sounds completely appropriate.

Although officers generally do not like to brandish their weapons against dogs or people, they do deserve and need the right to protect themselves (and victims) from harm caused by wild, erratic and dangerous people and animals.

Some cases, however, are ambiguous.

For instance, the shootings in Ferguson, Missouri this summer catalyzed intense and divisive debate over the use of police force in emergency situations. And we have covered many instances in which police officers have said or done things that are either inappropriate or downright ridiculous/Unconstitutional after DUI stops.

What should you do if you suspect that police behaved inappropriately (or even Unconstitutionally) during your DUI stop, tests or arrest?

The short answer is: take action by getting in touch with a qualified Los Angeles DUI lawyer as quickly as possible. Call attorney Michael Kraut and leverage his knowledge to obtain the results you need.

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Try to imagine the worst place to drive DUI in Los Angeles.405-crash-dui-in-los-angeles

If you said “the 405,” you would probably have a lot of people who would agree with you.

The 405 is notoriously clogged with Sig alerts and other nasty types of traffic not just during business rush hour but at many other (often unpredictable) times of day and night. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to wind up in a Sig alert on the 405 at 9 pm on a Sunday, for instance.

The 405 is a crazy road.

Of course, one way to make any trip on the 405 worse is to drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol or prescription medication.

To wit, let’s take a close look at a case out of Costa Mesa; police arrested a woman early last Sunday after a crash on the 405. She apparently drove onto the off ramp and shortly thereafter smashed head first into a car exiting the 405 on Fairview Street. The accident critically injured the driver of the second vehicle, and paramedics rushed that person to Western Medical Center in Santa Anna for treatment. According to a California Highway Patrol dispatcher, the crash took place at around 12:26 am. The name of the suspected DUI driver has not been released, but news reports said that she collided with a white SUV.

This story illustrates why DUIs can be so particularly pernicious and dangerous.

It’s not just that driving under the influence slows down your reaction time; driving DUI can also lead to terrible decision making.

If news reports are correct, this woman could wind up in jail for well over a year, even if the victim in the white SUV survives, because of California vehicle code 23153, which charges injury DUIs as felonies.

Whether you stand accused of injury DUI or a non-injury misdemeanor DUI, you probably need legal help right away to calculate how to respond. Call former prosecutor and widely respected Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group, right now to schedule a consultation about your possible next steps.

 

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Los Angeles DUI charges involving celebrities inevitably attract ridiculous amounts of attention from the press and from the lay public – and for understandable reasons.cake-boss-dui-los-angeles

We look up to celebrities, even if they became famous because of bad behavior or brash, outstanding opinions. Celebrity DUI arrests also force us to reflect on our status, since we often pin our hopes, dreams, fears and expectations on famous people with larger than life personalities.

In that light, let’s take a look at the recent DUI arrest of Buddy Valastro, much better known as the “Cake Boss.” According to reports from CBS New York, police arrested Valastro for DUI in Manhattan last Thursday morning, after officers saw him swerve in his yellow 2014 Corvette near 10th Avenue. Police pulled him over and said that Valastro exhibited symptoms typical of DUI, including bloodshot eyes and the odor of alcohol on his breath.

According to an Assistant DA, who is dealing with the case, Valastro told police “you can’t arrest me! I am the Cake Boss!” And he also apparently asked them for lenience: “can you just put me in a cab? I don’t have to be arrested. I am not a bad guy.”

Officers say that he failed a field sobriety test, which likely included tests similar to the ones used here in Southern California, such as walk the line test, finger to the nose test, count backwards by threes test, stand on one leg and balance test, and so forth.

Authorities hit him with two counts of DUI. He later released a statement: “please know that I want to share and explain to you what happened today and I look forward to doing so at a later date.”

In addition to starring on TLC’s “Cake Boss” reality show, Valastro owns bakeries in Los Vegas, Queens, Manhattan and New Jersey. Valastro is due back in court on January 2015; this was his very first offense.

When you read stories like this in the news, you might instantly assume that Valastro was guilty (or likely guilty) because he allegedly failed the field sobriety tests and exhibited so called symptoms of DUI. But as we’ve touched on many times, those tests can lead to false positives. For instance, you can fail sobriety test because you are tired, confused, or just nauseous and sick. Likewise, you can exhibit symptoms of DUI because you are on a ketogenic low carb diet… although it’s probably unlikely that the Cake Boss has been eschewing all carbohydrates.

For help exploring your potential defense options, call Mr. Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a complementary and confidential consultation with an experienced Los Angeles DUI criminal defense lawyer.

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Many people think about Los Angeles DUI accidents or incidents in a monolithic fashion. In other words, a DUI is a DUI.winnebago-los-angeles-DUI

However, as anyone who has dealt hands on with these types of cases can tell you, DUIs are incredibly diverse. For instance, some incidents involve people who are just on the cusp – who have never committed even a traffic violation before. Others involve serial recidivists who clearly engaged in reckless, negligent or outright stupid behavior who have hurt people.

In other words there is a huge range.

The question is: how can you tell whether your particular DUI situation will be a severe and complicated one or a relatively simple one?

One way to distinguish between these two outcomes is to look at the number of cars involved in a particular accident.

To that end, let’s take a look at a nasty accident in Coronado that involved seven (7!) vehicles. According to local authorities, a 52-year-old man in a Winnebago hit seven different vehicles on Orange Avenue last Thursday night. Police arrived on the scene near Bank of America around 7:30 pm, near to where one of the hit and run crashes occurred. Six other vehicles were hit on the 900 block of Northbound Orange. Sergeant Shawn O’Neill of the Coronado Police said police arrested the driver five blocks from the scene. Even though the Winnebago did hit a taxi with people in it and pushed a car onto the sidewalk, miraculously, no one got hurt.

The police said the only occupants of the Winnebago were a 52-year-old man and a dog.

Obviously, such an accident can lead to a complicated insurance situation. For instance, this accident will almost certainly generate tremendous insurance paperwork.

What can you do if you caused a multi-car crash and police arrested you on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or prescription medications?

The first step is to contact a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, like Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut has nearly two decades of experience working as both a prosecutor and defense attorney; he can help you understand your rights and options and develop a strategy that makes sense to achieve your outcomes.

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Even if your Los Angeles DUI story wound up in the news because you did or said something ridiculous to the police or got involved in a serious or fatal accident, you probably will not get nearly as much media scrutiny for what you did as will mega-Olympian, Michael Phelps.michael-phelps-DUI-los-angeles

As we reported several weeks ago, police in Maryland arrested the 18 time Olympic champ on September 30th for speeding and steering over the double lanes on I-95 in Maryland. Police say that Phelps tallied a 0.14% on his BAC test. (For a point of reference, the legal limit here in Southern California is just 0.08% BAC.)

The 29-year-old already pled guilty to a DUI 10 years ago, in 2004; at the time, the court considered him a young offender and gave him just an 18 month probationary sentence.

Originally, Phelps’ trial for this latest DUI had been scheduled for November 19th, but per a request from his DUI defense lawyer, Phelps got the date pushed to December 19th. In early October, Phelps said that he would be attending a six week impatient program to “provide the help I need to better understand myself.”

After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps announced his retirement from swimming. But in April this year, he reentered serious training and competition with the hopes of returning to the Olympic platform again in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. However, the DUI has thrown a kink in these plans. U.S.A. Swimming punished Phelps almost immediately for his DUI by banning him for six months from competition and forbidding him from participating in the World Championships next summer, thus making his bid to return to the Olympics more challenging and uncertain.

The main takeaway from Phelps’ story is that DUI arrests can have profound ramifications for your career, your day-to-day life, and even your self esteem and relationships. The silver lining is that help is available. An effective, highly qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group would be happy to provide a confidential and thorough consultation about your case and give you important insights into your strategic options. Call us now to set up a free consultation.

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LA Weekly regularly keeps tabs on Los Angeles DUI patrols and checkpoints, to the ire of some law enforcement officials and others who worry that publicizing news about checkpoints can have a negative impact on the deterrent.dui-checkpoints-los-angeles

One of the reasons why police establish checkpoints at relatively random locations is to leverage the element of surprise. So critics worry that, when papers like LA Weekly reveal maps of DUI checkpoints, then at-risk drivers might be more likely to “let loose” and drive in a more cavalier and dangerous fashion.

While this fear is understandable, it begs the question: is there any actual evidence that publicizing locations of checkpoints actually does cause harm? Here’s the reality. Journalists might argue that revealing checkpoints does no harm. And some in law enforcement might argue the opposite — that it does endanger the public. But we really don’t have impeccable science to support either position.

In light of that, it’s interesting to note when and how the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies set up their checkpoints.

On Thursday November 6th, for instance, per the LA Weekly, the LAPD set up saturation patrols in the Olympic Division near Koreatown as well as the Central Division. Pasadena Police, meanwhile, set up a saturation patrol in Pasadena. On Friday, police set up a DUI checkpoint in Panorama City at Roscoe Boulevard and Nobel Avenue. On Saturday, police ran a checkpoint at Vose Street and Sepulveda Boulevard, in Van Nuys. And on Sunday afternoon, police patrolled for DUI drivers in North Hollywood from 5 PM to 1 AM.

Whether police rounded you up at one of these checkpoints, or you found yourself behind bars after causing an accident on the 405 or the 101, or you failed field sobriety tests, such as walk the line or finger the nose, you need powerful insights and an effective advocate to win your freedom. Call the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer — a former Deputy District Attorney with nearly two decades of experience.

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Los Angeles DUI blogs like this one are inevitably attracted to stories about celebrity DUI arrests. But is our coverage biased? Do NFL players, for instance, get arrested for crimes like DUI at unsually high rates?demetrius-cherry-dui

Over the weekend, police in Tempe Arizona arrested Demetrius Cherry, a junior defensive end for Arizona State. According to reports, police stopped him at South McAllister Avenue and University Drive at around 1:46 in the morning. Details of the arrest – such as what his blood alcohol concentration allegedly was and why police stopped him in the first place – have not been made public.

Cherry’s coach suspended him from Saturday’s game against Utah.

The arrest stimulates interesting thinking about the relevance of NFL and collegiate football DUIs to the national conversation about DUI. News agencies and blogs like this one seem to constantly be discussing NFL and collegiate football DUIs, because they’re often in the news, and because people tend to be curious when celebrities mess up.

However, just because such stories appear in the news frequently does not necessarily mean that NFL players, on average, break DUI driving laws more frequently than average citizens do. The problem is an availability bias. Since we constantly see news stories about football players getting arrested for DUI, we tend to think that DUI must be epidemic among them.

But what’s really epidemic is the COVERAGE of these arrests.

When an IT worker drives while over the legal limit, and police pull him over an hour later and test him to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent (one and half times the California legal limit), that story will not make the news… unless of course the IT worker does something extraordinary, like kill someone or make a ridiculous comment to the police.

But when a NFL player is busted for DUI, for any reason, it’s news.

For help understanding your legal situation, turn to an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group. Schedule a free consultation with a former Deputy District Attorney (high-level prosecutor) about your case.

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The aftermath of Los Angeles DUI accidents can be quite traumatic and confusing. DUI suspects can make errors or engage in dumb behaviors that can put people (and police officers) at risk of injury and lead to criminal charges. Police officers and other responders can also make errors and misjudgments, which can complicate the situation.christopher-anderson-DUI-los-angeles

One dramatic and very sad story out of Highland Park, Illinois, illustrates the complexities that often accompany DUI arrests. According to local news sources, a man from Waukegan died at a local hospital after police officers shot him. Here’s how the scenario reportedly unfolded. An alleged DUI accident on Illinois Route 94 attracted the attention of Illinois State Police, who found two injured passengers, Christopher Anderson, 27-year-old, and his 9-year-old daughter, Alaysia. Later that morning, hospital staff called police officers to respond to a very aggressive patient, who allegedly brandished a handgun, demanding to see his daughter. Police responded by shooting Anderson fatally.

The incident stoked alarm from some members of the community. The local paper quoted community activist Ralph Peterson, who asked: “how could a 27-year-old whose daughter is seeking medical attention end up dead?” Of course, if the man, indeed, had pulled a gun on hospital workers in an aggressive manner, the police obviously had a right to respond and protect themselves as well as any nurses, doctors and patients in harm’s way.

Stories like this remind us of how important it is to collect quality evidence. Did the police err or engage in misjudgments? Were the breathalyzer test and field sobriety tests and other assessments used by authorities fair and accurate?

To solve the puzzle of your criminal defense, trust an experienced, highly qualified Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney, like Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut spent over 14 years working as a prosecutor, and he has the knowledge and relationships you need to build an effective defense.

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text-message-dui-los-angeles-scandalWhen you’re stopped and arrested for Los Angeles DUI, you’re probably more terrified of going to jail than you are of somehow being embarrassed by the police.

However, while most California Highway Patrol officers and LAPD officers operate respectfully and follow appropriate protocol, some “bad apples” cause problems.

35-year old Shawn Harrington, a CHP officer, recently admitted to sending nude and semi-nude photos of suspects arrested for various crimes, like Los Angeles DUI, to his friends on the force. According to a Huffington Post report “[Herrington] said this was a game between him and two others CHP officers… one Harrington engaged in at least six times. Several of the owners of these phones were DUI suspects. One was hospitalized when Harrington took bikini photos from her phone, and another gave permission to search her device after a DUI arrest, which was apparently interpreted as a green light for shady behavior.”

Joe Harrow, the Commissioner for the California Highway Patrol, said that he is taking these photo-trading games very seriously. Journalist Matthias Gafni reported on similar police privacy violations for the Contra Costa Times. Per the Huffington Post, Gafni said that “in one incident, a woman received a $75,000 settlement after police uploaded a semi-nude photo of her to Facebook and deleted a photo she had taken of an improperly parked patrol car. None of the incidents resulted in criminal charges, though several officers were fired (one even later sued in protest).”

Hopefully, officials at CHP will extinguish this nasty behavior and protect the rights and dignity of people arrested for crimes like DUI.

If you or someone you love believes that the police acted inappropriately or even illegally during your DUI stop, you may need to act swiftly and aggressively to preserve your rights and to ensure justice. Call an experienced and highly qualified Los Angeles DUI criminal defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group right now to set up a confidential, free consultation. We can help plan your strategy, protect your privacy and fight aggressively for your freedom.

 

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hello-kitty-DUIAs Halloween approaches, spooky Los Angeles DUI stories are bound to start hitting the presses.

Sure enough, two ridiculous and sad tales just popped over the past week. The first involved 26-year-old Catherine Butler, a Rochester, New York woman who earned internet notoriety after police arrested her twice in the span of just three hours for driving under the influence.

Police originally stopped her at around 2 in the morning after noticing that her car didn’t have its headlights on. Per WHEC in Rochester, officers took Butler to the police station for her mugshot and subsequently released her. Less than three hours later, at 4:57 a.m., police allegedly spotted Butler swerving all over the road and arrested her again. By this time, she had cleaned up her zombie makeup. So her second mugshot was normal. But according to authorities, her blood alcohol concentration tested above the 0.08% limit for DUI both times. (The NY limit is identical to the one here in Los Angeles, as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152.)

Meanwhile, up in Maine, police arrested non other than Hello Kitty herself for DUI.

Authorities said that 37-year-old Carrie Gipson of Westbrook, Maine had been driving in the wrong lane while wearing a Hello Kitty costume. Police say she refused to take a breathalyzer test. They took her to Cumberland County jail, where she posed for a mugshot in her Hello Kitty costume (sans the giant Hello Kitty head).

Whether you’re in costume or out of costume, authorities do not take DUIs lightly. Nor do they tolerate multiple arrests lightly. In fact, if you are convicted three times for DUI within a 10-year span (never mind a three-hour span), prosecutors can charge what normally would be a misdemeanor as a felony, meaning that you could spend over a year behind bars for a crime that ordinarily would only put you behind bars for a few hours or few days. In addition, a felony conviction can strip you of your right to vote, leave you with a permanent criminal record, and subject you to far more intense prosecutions if you’re ever arrested again for other crimes.

An experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group can help you understand the extent and scope of your troubles and help you develop an intelligent, effective plan to get your life back on track. Attorney Kraut is an ex-prosecutor (Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles) with excellent relationships with judges, prosecutors and police in the area.

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