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LeVeon-Bell-DUIIf you’re facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, you may begin experiencing negative consequences before the court even hears your case. Consider, for instance, the challenges that confront Pittsburgh Steeler, Le’Veon Bell, who may face a two-game suspension and other sanctions from the league and from his club, as the result of a recent DUI arrest.

Authorities arrested Bell for DUI in August. After police pulled him over, he allegedly admitted to having smoked marijuana earlier in the day and to possessing a bag of the substance. He also allegedly claimed that he was unaware of the law prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana, claiming he wasn’t “high” enough for the drug to have impaired his driving.

The NFL’s new substance abuse policy imposes a mandatory suspension on players arrested for DUI. The suspension occurs only after a player has failed to resolve the matter within the league’s stated “grace period.” Under this policy, Bell must resolve his DUI charge before November 1 to prevent a suspension from going into effect. However, he may receive a one-game suspension for marijuana possession, regardless of the outcome of the DUI case.

Bell’s Legal Woes — Just the Most Recent among NFL Players

Bell is certainly not the only NFL player who has experienced a run-in with the law in recent months. High-profile cases in which the NFL has suspended or banned players include:

•    Ray Rice. After video footage emerged of running back Rice punching his wife in an elevator, corporate sponsors and fans alike expressed outrage and disbelief. Prior to the release of the footage, the NFL had only punished Rice with a 2 game suspension. After the revelation, however, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely, and the Ravens terminated him.

•    Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota Viking running back faces allegations that he abused his 4 year old son by hitting him with a tree branch. The Vikings responded to the horrifying news by deactivating the player until he resolves his legal issues.

An arrest for DUI can be a serious legal matter that can have profound personal and professional consequences. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you defend against such charges and return to work as soon as possible. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.

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Chris-Nunez-DUIGetting arrested for DUI in Los Angeles often comes with additional complications. Although a DUI charge alone can be bad enough, police often identify more than one infraction when apprehending suspects. Such was the case with the September 20 arrest of “Ink Master” judge Chris Nunez in Florida.

Authorities pulled Nunez over after the tattoo artist and TV star ran a stop sign. When police allegedly observed signs suggesting that he had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol behind the wheel, they arrested him.

In addition to the DUI charges, Nunez will likely face a citation for running a stop sign, a traffic violation for which drivers can receive a $125 fine.

Complicating Factors in DUI Arrests

A DUI arrest can create diverse and annoying challenges for any driver, including the threat of fines, fees, jail time, license suspension, probation, and high insurance rates. However, several circumstances can exacerbate the severity and consequences of a DUI, including:

1.    Additional traffic violations. If you break traffic laws (e.g. driving the wrong way, speeding, or making illegal passes) while under the influence, prosecutors can ask the court for higher fines and other penalties.

2.    Resisting arrest. Drivers who interfere with arrest or resist an officer making an arrest can face misdemeanor charges in California.

3.    Prior offenses. The severity of DUI charges – and the resulting sanctions – increases with each DUI arrest.

4.    Injuries. Per CVC 23153, California law automatically subjects DUI drivers whose actions harm others to felony charges. If you cause severe injuries, you can wind up going to prison for several years.

5.    Fatalities. If an alcohol- or drug-related crash leads to the death of an individual, the responsible party could spend from several years to life in prison, depending on whether the court finds him or her guilty of manslaughter or homicide.

The easiest way to avoid such escalated charges is to avoid driving under the influence altogether. However, if you already face a DUI charge that has been complicated by accompanying citations, misdemeanors, or felonies, a Los Angeles DUI attorney with knowledge and experience can help you create a compelling and strategic defense. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to discuss your legal options.

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Bryan-Voltaggio-DUIIf you face Los Angeles DUI charges, you might be struggling to figure out what you should plead at your arraignment and how else you should structure your defense. Some defendants plead “not guilty” because they believe the police erred and the stop was Unconstitutional. But other defendants submit “guilty” pleas to try to reduce the consequences of conviction.

Celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio likely wrestled hard with this very choice. On September 19, the former “Top Chef” contender entered a guilty plea in a Baltimore District Court; prosecutors had charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol on June 6.

As part of the plea deal, the court sentenced Voltaggio to “probation before judgment.” Rather than spending time in jail, he will undergo a period of probation. Once this time has passed, he will have the option to expunge the incident from his legal record.

How Pleading Down Helps DUI Defendants

“Pleading down” is a process by which defendants acknowledge guilt for lesser charges in exchange for less severe sanctions. The potential benefits can include:

•    Reduced charges. Instead of a DUI, a court may find you guilty of “wet reckless” or “dry reckless” — these do not constitute misdemeanors or felonies, although the court can punish them with fines and license restrictions.

•    Less impact on your insurance rates. A DUI conviction can cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket, creating a drag on your budget for months or even years.

•    Expunge the charge from your record. Criminal convictions on your record can create long term challenges. For instance, if or when you get arrested again for DUI or some other crime, after you’ve been convicted once already, you can face far more stringent penalties, per CVC 23152.

If you’re wondering whether a plea deal might make sense for you, an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer at the Kraut Law Group can help. As a former prosecutor, attorney Kraut has an extensive knowledge of applicable California law, and he has also cultivated strategic relationships with local judges and prosecutors.

Contact the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.

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A Los Angeles DUI conviction carries severe implications, even with a “typical” first misdemeanor offense. However, “extreme” DUIs can be perpetuated when you engage in highly reckless behaviors or repeat offenses; or when you face charges like DUI manslaughter or murder.14-dui-arrests

A 19-year-old Sonoma County DUI suspect represents an example of an escalated DUI case. On September 15, police arrested Isaac Elvira after clocking him at 117 MPH on Highway 101. When officers opened the driver-side door of his Mercedes, the underage driver literally fell out of the car. He now faces DUI, concealed weapon, driving without a license, and speeding charges.

In Montana, 63-year-old Edwin Cuch received his 14th DUI conviction after a 12-person jury deliberated for 20 minutes. Cuch presented a defense highlighting his efforts to overcome significant hardships. The judge imposed a 3-year prison sentence, shorter than the 5-year maximum for repeat DUI offenses.

In the state of California, extreme DUIs – such as those involving multiple offenses or convictions – come with higher penalties. These include:

•    Higher classifications of charges. Although a first DUI offense often represents a misdemeanor, courts may classify a fourth or higher DUI as a felony.

•    Longer jail time. While a first DUI with no additional citations carries a maximum sentence of 6 months, subsequent offenses can result in several years of prison.

•    Longer license suspensions. With each DUI offense, the length of license suspension increases by one year. Additional behaviors – such as speeding or reckless driving – carry additional suspension time.

No two Los Angeles DUI cases are the same. However, when additional exacerbating circumstances increase the number of charges or the severity of potential penalties, obtaining legal assistance becomes more important than ever. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to learn how we can help you achieve a fair and positive result in your extreme DUI case. Attorney Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles — a well respected ex-prosecutor who understands the prosecutorial mindset.

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Lynn-Anderson-DUIWhen it comes to Los Angeles DUI cases, men aren’t the only ones who get into major alcohol or drug-related traffic collisions. Recent incidents in Florida and Tennessee reveal the impact DUI accidents can have on female drivers.

In Nashville, country singer Lynn Anderson faces DUI driving charges for a September 12 car crash. When authorities questioned her regarding her seemingly “impaired” behavior, she admitted to using alcohol and prescription drugs prior to the accident. This was her second DUI incident; the first occurred in 2004.

Another DUI accident recently struck Lighthouse Point, Florida on September 14, injuring 55-year-old Kim Smith. Previous DUI offender Michael Anguille struck Smith’s SUV, causing it to flip and collidd with a tree in North Federal Highway’s center median. Anguille is being held in jail awaiting DUI test results. The accident paralyzed Smith, who remains in critical condition.

These two accidents reflect the universal consequences of drunk driving. Although such collisions are devastating regardless of gender, exacerbating circumstances for women drivers can include:

•    Lower alcohol tolerance. Men and women metabolize alcohol differently. Especially in women with smaller frames, the negative effects of intoxication can be a greater threat.

•    Injury. Paralysis and other severe injuries impact the ability to work, care for children, and live independent lives.

•    Loss of or harm to children. Mothers driving with children in the car can experience devastating consequences, from injuries to deaths. DUI convictions can also cause mothers to lose custody of their children and face the additional possibility of criminal charges related to negligence.

If you are a woman who faces DUI driving charges, you are likely deeply concerned about your challenges and worried about the potential outcomes of a conviction. Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group can help you understand the challenges you face and work to craft a strong defense. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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Kevin-Olsen-DUIA Los Angeles DUI arrest and conviction can dramatically alter the course of a promising life or career. This could soon be true for Miami Hurricanes backup quarterback Kevin Olsen.

Authorities arrested Olsen, a University of Miami freshman, on September 15. He now faces charges that could impact his standing at the university and athletic career for failing a field sobriety test and possessing five stolen or counterfeit driver’s licenses. This arrest represents the most recent in a string of disciplinary troubles for Olsen. He previously left the scene of an accident, failed to report an accident, and received two suspensions from the Miami team for failing to follow team standards.

It is not yet clear how this legal woe will impact Olsen, the younger brother of Carolina Panther Greg Olsen, as he continues to pursue an education and football career. Based on existing DUI laws, however, a conviction will likely result in several repercussions.

Whether you’re an athlete or an average citizen, driving under the influence in the state of California can result in significant consequences. These may include:

•    License suspensions. Your driver’s license could be confiscated and suspended for up to one year.

•    Job loss or suspension. Employers often choose not to hire new employees with a history of DUI or fire existing employees who violate these laws. They may also suspend workers without pay after a DUI conviction.

•    Fines. Fines up to $1000 (plus court costs) and license reissue fees can be charged for a first offense.

•    Jail time. You could spend between 48 hours and 6 months behind bars with a first DUI conviction.

Repeat offenses or those accompanied by reckless behavior exacerbate these consequences. If you have recently been arrested for DUI, a Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you form a solid defense. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to discuss your legal options.

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Only a few days after Leslie W. Thurow of Mount Prospect, Illinois, pleaded guilty to an aggravated DUI charge, she was arrested again. Her second arrest was more extensive and extremely reckless – a mistake easily avoided if you have a Los Angeles DUI.Leslie-Thurow-DUI-los-angeles

Dangerous Driving

Within a few days of her guilty plea, Thurow allegedly struck a state trooper with her car while driving DUI a second time, significantly injuring him. The state trooper suffered numerous fractures, including a broken arm, fractured vertebrae, a broken shoulder blade, and multiple broken ribs.

After allegedly removing herself from the scene of the personal injury accident (a felony), she crashed into an SUV carrying seven people, including an 83-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy. All victims were transported to nearby hospitals. After striking the SUV, Thurow struck the center median, while her car spun 180 degrees into oncoming traffic.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor DUI Charges

In addition to the recent charges, Thurow has a DUI conviction from 2008 – and allegedly had been driving without a valid license, compounding the effect of her harmful driving.

In California, your first-time DUI is counted as a misdemeanor. You may be required to take a defensive driving course with a focus on driving while intoxicated. Your license may be suspended, and you may be placed on formal probation after spending 48 hours in custody.

Mistakes to Avoid

Thurow’s apparent mistake was continuing to drive while her license was suspended. Your second DUI will land you a mandatory minimum of 4 days in jail with a maximum of 6 months, significant fines, and a 2-year suspension of your driver’s license. Penalties for your third and fourth DUIs are steeper still, and you may be charged with a felony.

Thurow’s felony charges include leaving the scene of a personal injury, aggravated DUI, and aggravated DUI in a personal injury incident.

Have you been charged with a DUI? Don’t wait to get in touch with a Los Angeles DUI attorney like Michael Kraut, who can equip you with the right tools for facing the court and fighting your charges.
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If you are currently facing professional difficulties due to a recent Los Angeles DUI arrest, you likely relate to the woes of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay (if not on a significantly smaller scale).Jim-Irsay-DUI

Irsay’s March arrest, which stemmed from the presence of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone in his system while driving, resulted in a DUI conviction on September 2. He received a 60-day jail sentence, although 58 days were suspended and he received “time served” for the other two. He was also ordered to pay court fees and was issued a 90-day license suspension.

Shortly after Irsay’s sentencing, the NFL instituted its own penalties on the Colts owner, showing the organization takes such behavior of its leaders seriously.

The Consequences of DUI Suspension

Although suspensions for NFL team owners are rare, the commission may choose to do so to send a message to members and fans alike regarding that individual’s behavior. When a player or administrator receives a suspension as a result of a DUI conviction, the consequences often include:

Fines. Commissioner Goodell imposed a $500,000 fine on Irsay, the highest allowed in the NFL.

Exclusion from games. At the heart of an NFL or other sports-related suspension is the removal of privileges to attend one or more games. In this case, Irsay must sit out six games and miss the beginning of the season.

Damage to reputation. After a DUI-related suspension, it takes time to reestablish one’s esteem among players, fans, and peers. The entire franchise receives negative attention, detracting from the efforts of the athletes.

Whether you got arrested for DUI for alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs, you may face a serious offense that could result in considerable legal and professional consequences. Understanding your rights and responsibilities under the law can help you achieve a desirable outcome and regain your freedom.

To enlist the assistance of a highly-qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney in your defense, contact the Kraut Law Group today. Continue reading →

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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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