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Attention family members of someone who’s been recently arrested for a Los Angeles DUI: avoid falling victim to the following horrendous type of scam.bail-scam-after-los-angeles-DUI

A woman in Mechanicsburg, PA nearly lost $10,000 in a bailout scam that took place on February 18th. The alleged scammer called Ryan Gosnell’s aunt and told her that her nephew had been arrested for a DUI after taking cough syrup for a cold. A second caller, using the name of a real public defender, claimed he needed $10,000 to bail her nephew out of jail.

Gosnell’s aunt made multiple calls to her nephew, and she became alarmed when he did not answer. Gosnell was unable to reply because he was in a work meeting. After several tries, his aunt called Gosnell’s parents and alerted them. Luckily, his parents searched the name of the public defender and called the office. They quickly found out the bail request was a scam, and they did not wire the money.

How Bail Scammers Work

Bail scams prey on the vulnerability and clouded judgment of families who’ve been stunned by news that loved one has been arrested. The majority of the general population doesn’t know how the bail process works. A public defender would never ask a family member or friend to wire money over the phone. The bail bond process is heavily regulated, and bondsmen are not allowed to solicit their own services. Bail bondsmen do not make the first line of contact, and defendants are typically not in jail when the bond fees are collected.

Nothing stops scammers from contacting the families of actual DUI offenders, however. When someone is arrested for a DUI, the event creates significant psychological vulnerability for both the offender and that person’s family. Offenders typically spend a night or two in jail before officials set a trial date. Afterwards, they face penalties that can include further jail time, heavy fines, and suspended licenses, all of which can make increase feelings of disorientation and vulnerability.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, be aware of bail scams, and seek experienced counsel to respond to your charges. Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI lawyer with the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.

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Nobody likes the way they look in a Los Angeles DUI mug shot – the lighting is awful, and the drab cement background isn’t flattering. You also have to deal with your picture creating negative connotations. It is understandable why you wouldn’t want your mug shot to be easily found by anyone, let alone prospective employers or dates.RalitsaIvanovaDUI

But what if you’re so good looking that your mug shot photo attracts too much attention?

That’s exactly what 28-year-old Meagan Simmons is dealing with right now. Police arrested Simmons for a DUI in 2010. Her especially attractive mug shot quickly became an internet sensation and spawned multiple “attractive convict” memes. Background check website InstantCheckmate.com picked up on the trend and used her mug shot photo in several advertisements for its service.

Simmons is currently undergoing a litigation process with the website. She claims that InstantCheckmate.com used her picture for advertising purposes without permission. The advertisement slogan featured her picture and read “Sometimes the cute ones aren’t that innocent.” The nature of the advertisement — and its association with the alleged criminal conduct — have caused Simmons distress.

Model Arrested for DUI in Florida – Next “Attractive Convict” Meme?

Police arrested a professional model for an alleged DUI last Wednesday. Ralitsa Ivanova, 29, of St. Petersburg has been featured in Esquire and on the cover of Maxim. She was pulled over on US 41 at 3:45 a.m. for traveling in the wrong direction. Ivanova told officers she was texting while driving and kept getting lost. According to the sheriff’s report, she had trouble standing, and her breath smelled strongly of alcohol. Police released her around 1 p.m. the next day. Will her good looking mug shot inspire the next Attractive Convict meme?

Good looks don’t get you out of everything. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI and want to respond effectively to your charges, call a qualified Los Angeles DUI lawyer at the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.

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Los Angeles DUI attorneys continue to watch with dismay as ball players around the country are caught driving under the influence.Nick-Fairley-DUI

Nick Fairley of the Detroit Lions continues to battle a DUI charge in Mobile, Alabama. Law enforcement arrested Fairley in his hometown after pulling him over for speeding in excess of 100 mph with an open alcohol container. He rejected a plea deal in 2014, and he now faces jail time and fines if convicted.

According to The Detroit News, Fairley’s future as a contract player for the Lions remains uncertain. He did not receive the 5th year of his existing contract. Trustworthiness will likely play a part in whether he will remain part of the team in the future.

Meanwhile, Victor Robbins, a junior Oregon State basketball player, also faces an uncertain future as part of his team. He received a DUI related driving citation on February 11. The citation came close to the end of a previous 10-game suspension. His school extended the suspension indefinitely in the hopes that Robbins will regain his bearings before playing for the team.

Oregon State’s basketball coach issued a press release indicating the team’s support of Robbins as he works through “some issues.” The school plans to maintain all academic and financial support and hopes for his full recovery.

These cases both feature young, male ball players who were successful in their sport. The choice to (allegedly) drive under the influence has left them both with precarious futures. A successful outcome in Nick Fairley’s case may or may not impact the overall direction of his football career, but Victor Robbins could lose the chance to play for the rest of his college career. A Los Angeles DUI arrest, even without a conviction, can lead to long lasting, serious consequences.

As a frequent contributor to respected media, like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Good Morning America, Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group understands what it takes to build successful defenses in complex DUI cases. Contact him and his team today to schedule a consultation.

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Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys have been fascinated by a compelling story out of Florida. Warren Redlich, a DUI attorney in Boca Raton, started a trend that’s attracted crazy amounts of media attention. He provides fliers for individuals to use when they pull up to DUI checkpoints. Many videos on YouTube are proving that his method works. Drivers who present the necessary information drive beyond the checkpoints without the usual interrogation.no-searches-DUI

The signs read: “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer.” State specific statutes regarding DUI laws follow those words. Drivers leave their car windows rolled up and display their fliers and necessary identification until police motion them forward in the line.

Redlich believes the method will prevent innocent individuals from being wrongly arrested. Police departments believe in the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints and procedures, citing a Supreme Court ruling from 1990. Redlich does not recommend using the flier technique in states other than Florida and New York without first consulting an attorney admitted in that state.

The controversial method highlights the tendency of people to form preconceived notions based on stereotypes of DUI lawyers and their clients. A common misconception holds that DUI lawyers work towards reducing sentencing and case dismissals at any cost. Similarly, people assume that an arrest indicates the presence of enough evidence for a conviction.

In reality, people only hear about extreme and high-profile cases. These depictions of the DUI space skew the public’s understanding of the process. DUI defense attorneys have a responsibility to protect the rights of every individual who faces charges. Their duty calls for impartiality to help clients present the most accurate and fair case in court.

Innocent individuals face public scrutiny from the moment of arrest. Local media reports only reflect the names and information from the police department. This information sometimes builds a case against individuals before the prosecution starts and carries on long after exoneration has been granted.

The uphill battle for the innocent makes the need for solutions like Redlich’s fliers understandable and justified. However, the Los Angeles DUI community does not recommend using fliers to gain passage through DUI checkpoints without consulting an attorney.

Do you need help defending against a drug or DUI charge? Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group is a trustworthy, highly qualified former prosecutor. Call a DUI attorney today to strategize for your defense seriously.

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Los Angeles DUI laws are strict when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana. More and more states, in fact, are struggling to define and enforce similar laws.LeVeon-Bell-DUI-bust

Case in point: in 2014, Ross Township, Pennsylvania, police pulled over Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back, Le’Veon Bell, and charged him with driving under the influence of marijuana. Authorities say they found 20 grams of marijuana in the vehicle. Le’Veon Bell – and others in the vehicle – claimed collective possession of the drug. Instead of a conviction, the state placed Bell in an alternative program with the potential to dismiss the charges.

Bell must successfully complete 15 months of probation, a 2-month license suspension, and an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. This agreement is available to first time offenders in Pennsylvania, and Bell must submit to a drug and alcohol evaluation, pay all court fees, and enroll in DUI driving school.

Former teammate LeGarrette Blount, riding in the passenger seat at the time of Bell’s traffic stop, accepted a plea bargain, which included 50 community service hours completed before a mandated deadline. The state already dropped Blount’s charges; however, Bell will face the full extent of the law if he fails to complete the terms set forth in the alternative sentencing program.

Alternative sentencing programs allow the state to drop charges and provide first-time offenders with a second chance. Many states have similar programs; however, alternative sentencing for first-time offenders is not an option in California under current law. First time offenders in California may face probation, license suspension, fines and court fees, a mandatory 48 hours in jail, and other penalties.

However, proving marijuana intoxication is difficult because, to do so, prosecutors must rely on blood and urine tests. Prosecuting attorneys are responsible for showing that a person drove under the influence of an illegal or prescription substance, and DUI defense attorneys understand how to pursue a case that takes all evidence into consideration.

Secure the services of a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney to protect your rights. Contact Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to set up your free consultation.

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Los Angeles DUI attorneys are monitoring the progress of a Colorado bill proposing that three DUI convictions should be a felony instead of a misdemeanor. The testimony of victims and survivors proved powerful in the DUI legislation. The Colorado House unanimously approved the bill on Feb. 5, and now the House Finance Committee will review it.colorado-dui-law-change

A person arrested for and convicted of an aggravated DUI for the third time could face up to 7 years in prison under the new legislation. Aggravated DUI in Colorado may include incidents causing injury or death, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) greater than 0.15%, or a hit and run.

Testimony of individuals closely related to DUI victims and survivors impacted the bill’s approval. Many statements indicated that outcomes might be different if the proposed laws existed at the time of the incidents.

For example, 33 years ago, an intoxicated driver killed Gail Oleson’s husband. Prior to the incident, the state previously convicted the driver four times for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Ms. Oleson noted that her husband might be alive if drivers like that were in prison instead of on the road.

This is the second time Colorado legislators have attempted to make repeat offenses a felony. If approved, the projected cost of the new law is $4-13.5 million per year. Previously, the monetary estimate prevented a similar bill from passing. Opponents believe that other practices are more effective at preventing repeat DUI offenses. They argue that rehabilitation and stricter DUI checkpoints/patrols would be cheaper than the new bill.

A felony charge, rather than a misdemeanor, may prove to be an effective deterrent, argue advocates, because the penalties and impact on a criminal record would be more severe. Many states find that alternative methods effectively reduce DUI rates, however. Ridesharing programs and pocket breathalyzers also help drinkers make informed decisions about driving.

As a frequent contributor to respected media, like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Good Morning America, Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group understands what it takes to build successful defenses in complex DUI cases. Contact him and his team today to schedule a consultation.

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Police erected Los Angeles DUI checkpoints around the city throughout Super Bowl weekend. Super Bowl Sunday is known for its high DUI rates, which are similar to the arrest rates for holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. According to a new article in Forbes, drivers can take advantage of two powerful tools to protect themselves and others on the road during what some authorities have been cheekily calling “drinking season,” the stretch of the year from December to March that includes some of the most dangerous holidays for DUI.BACtrack

So what can be done to deal with this societal problem? The mobile apps, BACtrack and Uber, could help us collectively crack down and save lives. Consider the following statistics:

  • BACtrack, a breathalyzer app that works with a smartphone, tracks data from users and lets law enforcement officials as well public safety and auto safety experts analyze these data to inform policy. BACtrack, for instance, helped quantify last year’s Super Bowl Sunday DUI issues by calculating that the average DUI driver had a BAC level of .091%.
  • 43% of BACtrack users report buying the product to avoid DUI.
  • Drivers whose BAC levels are at or above the legal limit of .08% are responsible for 21% of deadly crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • BACtrack identified December through March as the peak drinking season, when accidents are more likely to involve significant alcohol consumption.

Together with ride share apps, like Uber, technological aids like BACtrack can potentially help drivers make more responsible decisions when going out.

Thanks in part to highway patrol checkpoints and PSAs, awareness about DUI driving dangers has spread recently. Many cities in the Southland and beyond hosted extensive DUI checkpoints starting the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday. The Auto Club of Southern California also provided a “Tipsy Tow” service free for anyone who lived within a 7 mile radius of the pickup location.

The wildly successful (and somewhat controversial) rideshare program Uber, meanwhile, claims that the company can help gimp DUI rates by simplifying and streamlining the “designated driver” concept. To Uber’s credit, statistics show that DUI related accidents have indeed been declining in cities where Uber offers its services.

Do you need help defending against a drug or DUI charge? Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group is a trustworthy, highly qualified former prosecutor. Call a Los Angeles DUI attorney today to strategize for your defense seriously.

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Veteran lawyers and police officers can tell you that Los Angeles DUI arrests can occur in all sorts of diverse vehicles. You can be arrested for DUI any time you are on public property driving a motorized vehicle, including golf carts, boats, ATVs, UTVs, lawn mowers, and yes, even Zambonis!zamboni-dui-los-angeles

On January 31st, officers busted a Zamboni driver at a high school ice rink for driving under the influence. In case you’re not a hockey fan… Zambonis are drivable ice rink cleaning machines; they’re named after the person who invented them. Attendees at this hockey game noticed the driver’s impairment when his driving noticeably changed between the first and second periods. Witnesses noticed that the driver had been “weaving and bumping into the boards on the rink.” Luckily, no one got injured.

Steven Anderson, the driver, could face 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Anderson had been employed seasonally with the ice rink company, Fargo Parks, intermittently for 6 years prior to his arrest. He will face disciplinary action with Fargo Parks, and he could face serious criminal consequences if convicted of the DUI, including jail time, loss of his (real) driver’s license and tough probationary terms.

Although Zamboni and lawnmower DUI cases may seem amusing to the general public (and even to those accused of serious DUI crimes themselves), they’re really not a laughing matter. You can still get hurt or killed (or hurt and kill others) with these motorized vehicles and face charges per California Vehicle Code 23153, which elevates a DUI to a felony if you hurt someone while operating a vehicle while under the influence.

Respond strategically to your arrest and charges by calling a former Senior Deputy D.A. and highly successful Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group today for a complimentary consultation.

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When the police recently stopped you at a checkpoint or pulled you over on the freeway, you probably didn’t need a Los Angeles DUI attorney on hand to tell you to avoid saying obviously incriminating or stupid comments, such as “I only had 8 beers” or “my buddy left me at the bar — what was I supposed to do, walk home?”new-years-eve-2015-DUI

Not everyone shares your restraint and wisdom.

To wit, on January 1st, police pulled over New Jersey resident Daniel Pratts for nearly running into a police vehicle. When the cops approached the car, they allegedly smelled alcohol on Pratts’ breath. They say that he failed field sobriety tests, prompting his arrest. Pratts refused the breathalyzer and then reportedly made an astonishing statement to an officer: “It’s New Year’s Eve, everyone drives drunk.”

Okay, that’s not smart. But what IS the right strategy? What should you do if you’re pulled over, and you believe you might be intoxicated or buzzed?

Even though it’s hard, try to stay calm. Excessive anxiety about a possible DUI could just incite unhelpful behaviors or lead to dumb comments that can make the situation worse. Avoid exhibiting anger toward the officer. Stay silent as much as possible.

Refusing a breathalyzer may provide enough probable cause for an arrest, and that information can be used against you in court. In many states, including California, refusing a chemical test can likely result in license suspension. It’s important to note that you can refuse a breathalyzer without jeopardizing your license if you inform the officer that you will take a blood or other test at the station, which will be more reliable.

When you are released, the first thing you should do is contact a qualified attorney, who could potentially reduce the charges to reckless driving or fight for exoneration of all charges.

First-offense DUI cases that don’t involve recklessness or result in injuries are fairly common, although each case has its own important subtleties. Call a Los Angeles DUI lawyer with the Kraut Law Group today for a free consultation about your challenges.

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This Los Angeles DUI blog constantly scours the national landscape (or at least attempts to do so) to identify important legal trends in the field. State lawmakers – often out of desperation – sometimes decide to “get tough” on DUI by arbitrarily imposing harsher sentencing.ok-dui-law-proposed

The general efficacy of this tactic is dubious, as this blog has argued in the past. If nasty anti-DUI punishments are failing as deterrents, why would slightly nastier ones suddenly succeed as deterrents. As Will Rogers once quipped, if you’re in a hole, stop digging.

In any event, let’s turn to Oklahoma, where Patrick Anderson, a local Republican Senator, just wrote and started promoting Bill 30, a measure that would ban DUI offenders from purchasing alcohol for a specified amount of time. The bill parallels a similar law in Alaska.

If Bill 30 passes, the legislation would mandate that an offender’s driver’s license be altered to include a stamp that restricts all alcohol purchases. If that person buys alcohol while banned, he or she will be sent back to court to face probation violation charges. Furthermore, the owner or managers of the establishment that sells alcohol to a restricted license holder could face felony charges.

Other laws that address issues like repeat DUI offenses and levels of intoxication would have to be revamped to accommodate the Bill 30 related changes. Further legislation modifications might be needed to address issues concerning:

•    Repeat offenders
•    Timeframe for the purchasing restriction
•    Exceptions regarding religious services
•    Etc.

Opponents of the law maintain that Bill 30 is a form of public shaming. They worry that the myriad of changes to current legislation would create confusion and sew public distrust. Opponents also complain that the law would put strain on bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, because every patron would have to be carded, including those clearly over the legal drinking age. Advocates argue that this legal tactic could serious deter potential repeat DUI offenders.

Debate over the new bill is set to open in February.

Currently, California DUI laws impose no such restrictions. The Golden State does have strict DUI laws that permit harsh sentencing. To protect yourself and your rights, contact a trusted, respected Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group to explore your possible defenses and responses.

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