Articles Posted in Celebrity DUI

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Cops in the City of Angels could probably tell many tales about unusual incidents that involve cases of DUI in Los Angeles. But their peers in San Diego also have some interesting tales that they could add to the mix.15-freeway-dui-los-angeles

A photographer with KTLA Channel 5 in San Diego happened to be on the scene when an unidentified young woman stalled her car on the 15 Freeway during the early morning hours of April 9th. He recorded events as the young woman got out of the car and ran across traffic lanes to the news station’s van. She asked for jumper cables and assistance in getting her vehicle started. Meanwhile, cars on the freeway had to swerve to avoid hitting the stopped car.

Although two other motorists pulled over to help, the woman made her way back to her own car and sat in it despite the danger posed by other vehicles traveling along the road. One Good Samaritan even tried to help out by directing traffic away from the car, but had to stop when was almost hit himself. As heard in the audio portion of the video, the photojournalist knocked on the car’s window repeatedly and urged the woman to get out of the car so she wouldn’t get hurt.

Fortunately, the California Highway Patrol arrived on the scene before other vehicles struck the woman, her car or any of her would-be helpers. They charged the stranded stroller with driving under the influence.

What should you do if you or someone you love faces a serious DUI count? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? Call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut immediately to understand your options and craft a strategic response.

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The LAPD may have cracked down on motorists who were partying a little too freely on March 17th, but there were no Los Angeles DUI arrests that were quite as news-making as the chase near Annapolis, Maryland. It involved three other cars, a vehicle fire and a police helicopter.st-paddy-dui-los-angeles-arrest

According to the Annapolis Patch, police officers spotted Marvis Montrell Pollock’s 2008 Honda Accord as it was approaching the DUI checkpoint they had set up to catch people celebrating the holiday with too many drinks. After almost hitting the checkpoint, Pollock swerved onto a nearby highway, quickly pursued by a marked police car. When the officers caught up, Pollock took off again, leading them on a 15-minute chase through an area that included a community college. To avoid causing injuries in a high-speed chase, the police cars eventually dropped back, letting a police helicopter follow the car from overhead.

Pollock didn’t come to a stop, however, until he smashed into three cars waiting at a red light near the U.S. Naval Academy’s football stadium. It was then that his Accord burst into flames.

To top it off, the 34-year-old Pollock didn’t even have a driver’s license.

Unlike some people who have overindulged during the holiday, Pollock should have little trouble remembering the events of this St. Patrick’s Day. He’ll have an arrest record to remember it by. Police have filed multiple charges against him, including driving under the influence (of drugs, not alcohol); four counts of assault (since there were a total of four people in the cars he hit); and fleeing from police.

Do you need help defending against a serious charge? Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group immediately.

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Late last year, a grand jury in Arapahoe County, Colorado, indicted Denny Lovem on several charges related to a DUI incident. That kind of judicial action wouldn’t normally attract a great deal of attention unless the accused was a politician or a celebrity, but this story received extensive coverage in the state. The reason for Lovem’s notoriety? The 57-year-old has been arrested 20 times on DUI charges but has never been faced felony charges because of the provisions of Colorado’s DUI law. (It’s not like that in California, where anyone arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the state could face be looking at felony charges if the DUI incident results in someone’s death or injury.)george-brauchler

A local district attorney in Colorado, George Brauchler, expressed his frustration with the Colorado statutes, which don’t allow judges to sentence repeat DUI offenders to more than a year in jail. So Brauchler sought more prison time for Lovem in a different way. He asked the grand jury to indict Lovem on nine charges, including attempted first degree assault and attempted manslaughter.

Lovem was first charged with driving under the influence in 1983. In the latest incident, the habitual offender allegedly hit a car and then drove off without stopping. When police caught up with him, he admitted that he probably shouldn’t have been driving.
The attention surrounding Lovem’s arrest may have helped accomplish what frustrated prosecutors like Brauchler have been unable to do. A bill making some third DUI offenses and all fourth DUI offenses a felony is currently making its way through the Colorado House of Representatives. Anyone convicted could face up to seven years in prison. The bill appears to have a greater chance of success thanks to testimony presented to a legislative committee by families of DUI victims.

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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The cases handled by a Los Angeles DUI attorney can be unusual, but other areas of the country have their fair share of stories that make you think, “What could that driver have been thinking?”  Here are a few recent examples:secret-service-dui

•    Maryland media reported in February on the arrest of a school bus driver for DUI. What made this story really unusual—and a little scary—is that the driver was driving erratically on the busy Baltimore Beltway, on her way to pick up children for a field trip to Washington D.C.  Police pulled the driver over after receiving several frantic 911 calls from motorists who observed the bus swerving all over the road. Officers found four empty, full or partially full containers of alcohol and beer when they searched the bus.

•    Where do Secret Service agents go when they’ve had a little too much to drink? The Washington Post reported in March that four senior agents, including one who helps guard the President, decided to head back to the White House after partying a little too much. Unfortunately for them, they ended up driving a government car into a security barricade at the President’s home. Fortunately for them, the security supervisor that night ordered subordinates to let them go without testing them for BAC.

•    Then there was the Zamboni driver who was smoothing the rink at the Fargo, North Dakota, South Sports Arena for an ice hockey game between the Davies High School and Williston High School girls’ teams. The driver apparently had a difficult time keeping the machine in a straight line; after observing him at work, concerned spectators called police who arrested him for allegedly driving under the influence. The driver has pleaded not guilty, so it will be up to the courts to decide if a DUI charge applies when a vehicle is moving on ice.

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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While we see a fair number of Los Angeles DUI arrests today, the city doesn’t hold the distinction of being the home of the first-ever arrest for DUI driving.First-DUI-in-history

That dubious honor goes to London, where a taxicab driver, George Smith, slammed his cab into a building back in 1897. Smith didn’t contest the charge, and when he pleaded guilty, police fined him 25 shillings. (It’s hard to get an equivalent in today’s U.S. dollars, but one online expert puts it at about $17.50.)

Depending on the source you believe, either New York or Massachusetts passed the first laws in the U.S. against driving under the influence, around 1910. But those laws did not actually define what constituted DUI driving. It took another 25 years – until 1938 — before a joint committee of the American Medical Association and the National Safety Council set that limit at 0.15% blood alcohol content. Those BAC limits have been dramatically reduced since that time.

Even as late as 1980, not all states had adopted laws banning DUI. In January 1985, Los Angeles Times reporter J. Michael Kennedy wrote that “drinking and driving is legal in 26 states, according to statistics provided by the National Safety Council. Drivers and passengers can drink as they roll down the road in Maine and Mississippi, Vermont and Wyoming, so long as they are not legally drunk.” He also cited Texas, Florida and Maryland as states that had no laws against driving while drinking.

Californian Cindy Lightner, who lost her daughter to a DUI driver, helped change that with the founding of Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) in the early 1980s. Since that time, the organization has successfully lobbied for tougher DUI laws throughout the U.S. Today, the Golden State has strict standards; even a first offender can get up to six months in jail, pay a hefty fine and lose his or her license for up to 10 months.

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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All but four states in the nation have laws on the books that increase penalties for people who drive DUI while transporting children. In California, police recently arrested a man named Joel Feseer for precisely this crime and hit him with charges of DUI and child endangerment.kids-in-car-dui

Feseer’s job consisted of driving children between schools and their homes. He allegedly flipped his Ford van north of Anderson, California while driving two autistic children. Miraculously, the accident did not lead to any serious harm. Police insisted that he failed a field sobriety test at the scene.

Child endangerment typically makes California courts far less sympathetic toward defendants. In California, child endangerment on its own can be considered a “wobbler” charge, in that the court can consider it either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on circumstances.

Feseer, for instance, could have to contend with a sentencing enhancement for child endangerment if the court finds him guilty of DUI; alternatively, he may face separate charges. If the children had been under the age 14, his DUI would automatically trigger even more severe sentencing.

Defense strategies in cases like these typically involve some sort of plea bargain in order to secure sentencing under reduced charges. Other circumstances in the case will determine whether the charges are combined and if there are other, aggravating factors that need to be considered. It is unlikely that Feseer has ever been convicted of a DUI before if he was transporting children as a job, but anyone who does have prior convictions will automatically face harsher sentencing.

Being convicted of a complex suite of DUI charges can change your life in ways that you may not be able to anticipate. In addition to the standard punishments – being required to serve time in jail, pay thousands of dollars in fines, use a breathalyzer every time you get behind the wheel, etc – you face additional obstacles such as loss of support or confidence from a boss or partner, lowered self-esteem and higher insurance rates.

Securing representation early from a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you not only develop a strategy to fend off the charges but also examine the parenting and other life challenges that may have led you, unwittingly or accidentally, to put your children at risk.

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As Los Angeles DUI attorneys can attest, some CEOs, politicians and celebrities really do feel entitled to special treatment in the legal system, even though the law strives to treat everyone equally. Long-time Kentucky Congressman Brandon Smith stands accused by many in the media of asking for this kind of princely treatment in light of a DUI incident a few weeks ago.Senator-Brandon-Smith-DUI

On January 6th, the senator allegedly had been driving 20 MPH above the speed limit. A police officer who pulled Smith over detected alcohol on his breath. Smith exercised his right to deny taking a breathalyzer, so the police arrested him and hit him with an aggravated DUI charge.

In statements that he later made to the press, Smith insisted that his past history as a good guy should exculpate him, to a degree. He insisted that he’d “never been in any kind of trouble. You can’t just change overnight.” In a different interview, he said that his DUI shouldn’t affect his career as a lawmaker.

Any person pulled over in Kentucky (or in California) on suspicion of DUI can be subject to mandatory blood testing under the state’s implied consent law. If police arrest you for DUI, you also must take a blood test. Police encourage drivers not to refuse a chemical test, because such a refusal can create complications for the defense and potentially lead to excess jail time, longer license suspensions and other consequences.

In California, any driver pulled over on suspicion of driving while under the influence can be subject to a breathalyzer test. Assuming you’re not a minor and you don’t have a criminal history, in general, you do not have to take this test. However, refusal to take a test after arrest could lead to loss of license and fines, even if you’re not ultimately convicted of DUI.

No matter what happened during or after the event that led to your arrest, the experienced team at the Kraut Law Group has the compassion and deep knowledge of relevant laws and statutes to craft an appropriate defense strategy. Please call a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer now to review your options.

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Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers were saddened to learn about a terrible fatal tragedy that rocked Maryland a few weeks ago and left a major church embroiled in public relations damage control. Heather Cook, an Episcopal bishop in Baltimore, Maryland, was arrested in early January for a hit-and-run incident while allegedly intoxicated. That collision left a bicyclist dead at the scene.bishop-cook-dui

44 year old Tom Palermo had been riding his bike when Cook — who allegedly had been texting while driving — struck him from behind while swerving on the road. Tests later suggested that she had three times the legal amount of alcohol in her system. (Per both Maryland and Los Angeles laws, the legal limit is 0.08% BAC).

The bishop then allegedly panicked and drove off for over half an hour, leaving witnesses to call for an ambulance. Mr. Palermo died of his injuries a short time later. Bishop Cook later returned to the accident scene and gave herself up to the police.

This is Bishop Cook’s second DUI charge. Four and a half years ago, police arrested her for possession of marijuana and driving under the influence. After that incident, her diocese failed to inform most of the church’s administration of the crime. Shortly after, church higher-ups promoted her to bishop.

Cook’s alleged actions left a wife and two children without a father; critics say the church has failed to punish her behavior appropriately. The diocese placed Cook on leave with full pay and compensation. In a statement made to the press, the church said it’s putting faith in the judiciary system to render a fair and just response. If the bishop successfully avoids prison, the church has indicated that she will get to return to her position without any repercussions.

Critics say that Bishop Cook has received special treatment from the state attorney’s office. They say that attorney Marilyn J. Mosby waited nearly two weeks to file charges against Cook; meanwhile, the cycling community and general public has fumed. Critics said that a layman similarly charged would have been treated much more harshly by the system.

If you got pulled over for a DUI, don’t panic, but do take strategic action to deal with your charges. An experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer with the Kraut Law Group can help you respond strategically to your arrest and avoid common errors that can complicate cases.

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Fingers crossed, your history of driving under the influence in Los Angeles looks nothing like that of David Louis Layne, a fifty-five-year-old resident of Alabaster, Alabama who was recently cited for driving under the influence…. For the 25th time. Come on!David-Louis-Layne-DUI

The Shelby County Circuit Court charged him with DUI and third-degree assault, saying Layne drove “recklessly” and injured an occupant of the other vehicle when the auto crash occurred.

If Layne is convicted, this will be his latest in a string of serious DUI convictions that date back decades. Layne has received at least 24 previous DUI convictions in Alabama and remains in Shelby County jail on $101,000 bond. He was formally indicted in October 2014 for causing a crash that injured at least one other person on September 4, 2014. Layne’s next hearing is set for February 24, 2015.

Layne pled not guilty to his most recent DUI charge based on “reason of mental disease or defect.” In recent years, Layne’s DUI convictions have also involved charges of driving on the wrong side of a roadway and driving with a revoked or suspended license. Alabaster police chief Curtis Rigney calls Layne and his circumstances “a tragedy waiting to happen.” Shelby County district attorney Jill Lee corroborates this view, adding that she perceives Layne to be “a danger to the public at large.”

In Los Angeles, DUI penalties can include informal probation for a first offense to DUI school attendance from three to thirty months. Other penalties can include jail time from sixteen months to four years, revocation of a CA driver’s license, and fines up to $5,000. If convicted of felony DUI or second degree murder DUI, the defendant could face revocation of his or her license for up to ten years and possibly life in prison. If released from prison, a defendant in a second degree murder DUI case must be on parole status for up to five years.

Michael Kraut and the Los Angeles DUI attorneys of the Kraut Law Group would agree people like Layne can be quite dangerous, but most people who get arrested for similar crimes do not have anything like that kind of checkered driving history. Mr. Kraut would like to remind readers that multiple DUI convictions in Los Angeles and the greater area can result in escalating punishments, including the elevation of what would be a misdemeanor to a felony. The increasingly harsh discipline for multiple DUIs can affect a person’s physical and mental health, self-concept, career prospects, and more.

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