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los-angeles-DUI-stories-300x200“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” –Mark Twain

One of the most common tactics utilizes to try and dissuade people from DUI is to describe what could happen if someone gets behind the wheel while intoxicated. In reality, we can learn just as much (if not more) from things that actually did happen during DUI incidents. Quite often the events are completely unpredictable and frequently disastrous.

We believe these true-life stories hold lessons for us all, so let’s take a look at a recent compendium of rather crazy stories of DUI that have happened in recent memory to see what we can learn from them.

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DADSS-los-angeles-DUI-296x300In almost every industry and field, technology continues to disrupt old systems and open up new pathways for advancement. None more so than in the field of law enforcement, where researchers, inventors and tech geniuses are working on more advanced tools not only to enforce DUI, but also to prevent it. Perhaps the most promising of these initiatives is the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), a federally funded research program developing a technology that will automatically prevent an intoxicated driver from operating a motor vehicle.

How the Technology Will Work

Intoxication occurs because our bodies are unable to metabolize alcohol at the rate at which we drink it. As a result, most of the alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach and intestines. This blood alcohol content (BAC) can actually be measured by the amount of alcohol on our breath, and even through the membranes of our skin.

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dumb-los-angeles-DUI-300x300Let’s start by acknowledging the obvious: No one begins with the express intention, “I’m going to get arrested for DUI tonight.” Although sadly, some people don’t care one way or the other, the average person doesn’t set out with an intent to drive under the influence. Usually, a DUI arrest happens as a result of bad judgment, bad choices, unforeseen circumstances or a combination of these things.

Unfortunately, once you’ve been arrested, you can’t hit the “rewind” button on the bad choices that led to that moment. Additionally, if your arrest ends in a conviction, the consequences may be long-lasting and permanent. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the saying goes—so let’s discuss a few of the ill-advised ways people set themselves up for DUI and how to avoid them.

1. Hanging Out with the Wrong People

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domestic-violence-charges-los-angelesWhen we think about domestic violence, by default most of us picture a man as the perpetrator and a woman as the victim. Indeed, this image has been largely programmed into our minds by cultural stereotypes of women as the “weaker sex.” While the majority of reported instances of DV are committed against women, the actual numbers suggest the imbalance isn’t as broad as we think. (According to the NCADV, 1 in 3 women are victims of some form of physical violence by a partner, compared to 1 in 4 men.)

However, another variable—once virtually ignored—may be playing into these statistics in a greater way than anyone had previously realized. Recent research shows that domestic violence within same-sex relationships may actually be more prevalent than in heterosexual relationships. Perhaps even more surprising: Female same-sex relationships may suffer higher rates of violence than their male counterparts.en, the actual numbers suggest the imbalance isn’t as broad as we think. (According to the NCADV, 1 in 3 women are victims of some form of physical violence by a partner, compared to 1 in 4 men.)

However, another variable—once virtually ignored—may be playing into these statistics in a greater way than anyone had previously realized. Recent research shows that domestic violence within same-sex relationships may actually be more prevalent than in heterosexual relationships. Perhaps even more surprising: Female same-sex relationships may suffer higher rates of violence than their male counterparts.

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alcohol-in-the-body-los-angelesDUIHumanity’s relationship with alcohol has always been a complicated one. Even before we had vehicles to operate—even before DUI became a significant risk—human beings have enjoyed the immediate effects of alcohol consumption only to “sober up” to extended risks like addiction, health issues and death. One key ingredient to avoiding DUI for the long term is understanding how alcohol interacts with your body. Most of us know that alcohol can damage the liver, but that’s not the only danger. Let’s look at 12 other facts about how the body responds to alcohol that you might not have realized.

1. Alcohol in Moderation Can Actually Be Good for You.

Are you surprised that we started with something positive? As Time reports, multiple studies have indicated that moderate amounts of alcohol may actually provide a few health benefits, decreasing our risk for heart disease and possibly even helping us live longer. This information comes with some caveats, though, because every human has a different tolerance level for alcohol—meaning the amount considered “moderate” may be different for each of us. It also doesn’t negate some of the other health risks associated with alcohol. And of course, even “moderate” drinking can raise your blood alcohol content above the legal limit, so you should still avoid driving after indulging.

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Damien (not his real name) sat sullenly in the office of the licensed counselor. Recently arrested for the third time on domestic violence charges against his girlfriend, he was disgusted at his own behavior—and surprisingly puzzled and baffled at his uncontrolled impulses and where they had landed him. Frustrated, he asked the counselor one of the most common questions asked by DV defendants: “How did I get here?”bully-and-DV-los-angeles-300x150

The counselor asked a question that threw Damien off guard: “Were you ever bullied as a child?”

Damien began to weep.

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No one especially likes to be pulled over by a cop—and for most of us, the experience can be highly intimidating, even if we feel we have nothing to worry about. We go through a litany of internal questions: Was I speeding? Is my tail light out? Did I not come to a complete stop? Was I swerving? If you had anything to drink before getting behind the wheel, these concerns can multiply: Did I drink more than I thought? What if I’m asked to take a test? Could I pass a breathalyzer?

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Policeman giving driver speeding ticket

That said, most of us think of a traffic stop or even a DUI arrest as something that is happening to us—we don’t necessarily look at it from the perspective of law enforcement. So let’s take a few minutes to explore that experience in the mind of the police officer—look at her rationale and thought process when pulling someone over, to see what insights we might gain from it.

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Recreational marijuana became legal in the state of California on January 1, 2018—but “recreational use” does not include smoking it in the car. As the Mercury News points out,  a new state law makes it officially illegal for drivers and passengers alike to smoke weed in vehicles—just one attempt to curb what officials fear will be an upsurge in drug-related DUI in the wake of legalized pot.

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Frontal lobe – Human brain in x-ray view

Some users might be tempted to view marijuana as a “grey area” drug when it comes to driving. After all, THC, the substance in weed that makes you high, is difficult to measure in the body, and in fact it can remain detectible in your blood stream for days after you use it, making it even more difficult to measure. However, make no mistake: Multiple studies have shown that marijuana use has a significant impact on people’s ability to drive safely, and that pot in your system increases your risk of getting into an accident. Furthermore, no matter how difficult it is to measure how much THC is in your system or when it got there, if an officer suspects you’re impaired while driving, he can arrest you based on that suspicion. In fact, as the law mentioned above states, you can be arrested for smoking it in a car even if you’re a passenger.

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If you’ve been recently charged with domestic violence, your life could become quite complicated very quickly, especially if convicted. However, this time can also be a teaching moment—an opportunity to step back from this dark chapter and learn a more productive way of thinking and communicating.NVC-domestic-violence-300x214

The reasons why we humans sometimes turn to violence and aggression are too numerous and complex to explain here—nor are we qualified to delve into the psychology behind it. However, as the University of Michigan points out, domestic violence typically occurs as a repeating cycle, one that begins with a breakdown of communication. It naturally follows that if couples can create meaningful channels of communication, the cycle of domestic violence may be interrupted. The problem in many cases is that one or the other partner doesn’t understand the best ways to communicate—and the resulting frustration may erupt into aggression.

In the 1960s, an American psychologist named Marshall Rosenberg—himself a domestic violence victim from childhood—developed a process called Nonviolent Communication. The underlying theory behind this approach is that humans are innately compassionate, and violence is a learned behavior that develops from the inability to communicate needs effectively. Rosenberg utilized these principles quite effectively as a mediator to diffuse tensions between rioting college students and college administrators in the turbulent ’60s, as well as in peacemaking efforts during the desegregation process of the civil rights era. Since those days, many have utilized these principles to learn to communicate more compassionately and effectively.

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For many people who find themselves facing domestic violence charges, the problem doesn’t usually begin with the act of violence itself. For most, that catalyst is anger. The violence occurs as an end result of the person’s inability to control the angry emotions welling up inside.anger-300x215

If you’re convicted of a domestic violence charge in California, and sentenced to probation instead of jail, chances are you’ll also be required to attend a “batterer’s class” or some sort of anger management counseling as part of your sentence. But are anger management programs truly effective, and can they help reduce the chances of a repeat offense?

As with most issues, the answer to this question isn’t a clear “yes, it works” or “no, it doesn’t.” The effectiveness of any anger management course depends as much on the cooperation of the participant as it does the nature of the course itself. Modern psychology has recommended a variety of approaches to anger management; some have proven more fruitful than others, and experts now feel some traditional approaches have actually backfired.

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