Articles Posted in DUI checkpoints

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tubbs-dui-los-angelesWhen police arrest high-level politicians for driving under the influence of alcohol in Los Angeles, the press takes notice. Tragically, two major politicians last week found themselves in handcuffs, facing serious charges (and jail time) for DUI acts.

Today, we’re going to focus on the arrest of Michael Tubbs, the youngest person ever elected to Stockton California’s City Council. Allegedly, Tubbs tested at 0.137% BAC, nearly double the legal limit of 0.08% as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152.

Tubbs issued a contrite statement: “I would like to apologize to my friends, family, colleagues and most importantly, to constituents of Stockton that I’ve let down. Per local reports, a CHP Officer stopped him on Highway 99 for speeding and found that he smelled like alcohol and could not competently talk. He booked the councilman to San Joaquin County Jail.

Tubbs later issued a statement: “on Friday evening, I made a poor decision to drive when I should not have. While I thought I was within legal limits to drive, I should have been more careful and made a different decision.”

Tubbs had been hailed as a community success story. Even though he was born to a teenage mother and a father who was jailed at the time of his birth, he defied the odds and ended up going to Stanford. Oprah Winfrey even contributed $10,000 to his election campaign.

In terms of what effect this arrest will have on Tubbs’ political career, freedom and life… it’s obviously impossible to say at this point. However, this story does highlight one of the great truths about DUI defense. A single poor decision or just an act of forgetfulness can lead to diverse problems ranging from higher insurance rates to massive fines to extensive legal bills to job loss.

Fortunately, you may be able to challenge DUI charges on numerous grounds, depending on what happened. For instance, someone like Tubbs might be able to argue that the breathalyzer test had not been calibrated properly, perhaps, or had been inaccurately recorded.

To create smart and effective response, call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Law Group immediately to schedule a consultation with a former Deputy District Attorney. Continue reading

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phelps-dui-los-angelesMany people – including celebrities, actors, sport stars and captains of industry — underestimate the damage that non-injury Los Angeles DUI arrests can do to their careers.

Even if you didn’t hurt anybody — and you likely won’t be charged with a felony per California Vehicle Code Section 23153 (the injury DUI section) — you may still have to face nominal jail time as well as other inconveniences, like probation, license suspension, community service, etcetera. But if you have enough resources, those punishments may not feel like much. After all, if you have millions of dollars, a thousand dollar fine won’t make much of a dent in your pocketbook. If you have a limo service, losing your license won’t be a game changed, necessarily, although it still could be quite inconvenient.

But DUIs can have repercussions that go far beyond the legal penalties. To wit, witness the stunning turn of events for Olympian Michael Phelps – the most gold-medal-decorated athlete in the Olympic history – who found himself under arrest for DUI in Baltimore two weeks ago, after police stopped him for driving 80+ miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone and weaving across lanes.

Phelps allegedly behaved in a gentlemanly fashion and cooperated with officers. He even took to Twitter and apologized to his fans around the world. But that was not good enough for USA Swimming, the official governing body of his sport, which suspended Phelps for six months from competing. That means that he won’t be able to represent the U.S. during the FINA World Championships next year.

The Huffington Post dramatically framed the situation: “It’s possible that USA Swimming didn’t just remove Michael Phelps from the 2015 World Championships. It’s possible USA Swimming just ended his career.”

Now, Phelps obviously has accrued tremendous wealth and prestige – and he had intimated previously that he wanted to retire from his sport. But USA Swimming dealt a very vigorous blow to its most well known athlete.

If a DUI could end Phelps’ career, what could it do to your?

To defend yourself from the scary consequences of a DUI charge, contact an experienced former prosecutor with the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. Call a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer immediately to protect and preserve your rights.

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amanda-bynes-drug-DUIOf all the celebrity Los Angeles DUI cases that we’ve covered on this blog over many years, the peculiar case of Amanda Bynes has stood out, because the actress’ encounters with the law have had less to do with willful rule breaking and more to do with mental illness.

The ex-child star, who earned fame in movies like Hairspray, found herself in handcuffs again on Monday, after police arrested her for driving under the influence of drugs. According to news outlets, the actress had stopped taking her antipsychotic medication and “started smoking pot again and drinking again.” Previously, she had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, after she threw a bong out of an apartment building in New York City and later lit a fire in the driveway of a complete stranger. She had enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Southern California after completing a court-ordered parentally supervised conservatorship. An anonymous source claimed to RadarOnline that the 28-year-old actress “is absolutely out of control.”

Per TMZ.com, Bynes had been driving high on the drug Adderall when police stopped her in the San Fernando Valley. They administered toxicology tests, and police said it will take 60 days to determine what, if anything, she had been using. Leland Tang, an officer for the California Highway Patrol, said “we would have released [information about what drugs she had in her possession] if we knew it was a stimulant…we won’t know for sure until the toxicology comes back.”

Getting arrested for drug DUI can be complex, but you may be able to challenge the arrest on multiple grounds. An experienced, strategic and compassionate Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, such as ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group, can help you understand your options and develop and execute a consistent defense.

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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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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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As you’ve been contemplating your recent arrest for DUI in Los Angeles, you’ve probably been focusing on your own emotions and situation.quote-sun-tzu-los-angeles-dui-defense

Perhaps an officer pulled you over on Wilshire “unfairly,” after he noticed that one of your taillights was out. Or perhaps you caused a minor accident on La Brea and then failed field sobriety tests and blew a 0.09% BAC on a breathalyzer test. Almost certainly, you’ve been preoccupied with concerns about what’s going to happen to you, your family, your driver’s license, your freedom, your career, your relationships, etc.

Such a preoccupation is totally understandable. Punishments for even a relatively trivial DUI conviction — one involving no injuries or property damage or additional charges or previous criminal history – can include:

•    Substantial time behind bars;
•    Mandatory installation of a device called an IID, which makes it impossible for you to drive your car unless you blow a sober breath into a machine;
•    Tough probation terms;
•    Fines, court fees and attorneys fees;
•    A lengthy suspension of your California drivers’ license.

In your rush to contemplate your defense, you probably haven’t thinking about the motivation of the people on the other side of your case — law enforcement agents, judges and prosecutors.

Why should you bother considering your case from their point of view?

The ancient strategy manual, Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” explained the following idea, a concept that’s as elegant today as it likely was 3,000 years ago:

•    If you don’t know yourself, and you don’t know the enemy, you are doomed to lose every battle;
•    If you know yourself, but you do not know the enemy, you will win one battle for every battle you lose;
•    If you know yourself AND you know the enemy superlatively well, you will win every battle.

You need to appreciate the motives and strategies of prosecutors and law enforcement. What do your prosecutors want? What does the judge want? What do other stakeholders in the situation want? You must answer these questions to construct a great defense.

That may sound like an intimating proposition. Fortunately, you do need to do this intelligence work on your own. Michael Kraut, an experienced former prosecutor — who worked for nearly a decade and half as a Senior Deputy District Attorney — can help you prepare and execute your Los Angeles DUI defense. Find out more about Mr. Kraut and his philosophy online, or call or email to schedule a free consultation.

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Whether police busted you at a checkpoint in Santa Monica Boulevard after a late night Hollywood party or authorities booked you for Los Angeles DUI following a fender bender on the 10, you’re probably feeling pretty sheepish, embarrassed and confused.Christopher-niezurawski-dui

Part of you realizes that you “should have known better.”

Some degree of self-flagellation is possibly appropriate, particularly if you did violate CVC 23152 or some other driving law in a flagrant way, or if you hurt somebody. But did you know that many people who know a lot more about DUI than you do — police officers, public officials who make policy, judges, DUI defense lawyers, etc — ALSO make poor judgments and find themselves in legal hot water?

To wit, consider the strange case of officer Christopher Niezurawski, a Georgia State Patrol Officer who was just arrested for his second DUI in two years. According to police reports, Niezurawski “had an odor of an alcohol beverage coming from his breath” and had “bloodshot and watery eyes.” Of course, these symptoms in and of themselves never can prove DUI. For instance, you can have bloodshot eyes for many alternative reasons – allergies, fatigue, emotional stress, disease, irritation due to pollution, etc. Likewise, your breath can smell like alcohol for reasons that have nothing to do with alcohol consumption. For instance, perhaps you used a strange mouthwash, or perhaps an officer misattributed the smell.

In any event, this arrest wasn’t officer Niezurawski’s first DUI rodeo. In 2012, he pled guilty to DUI after driving the wrong way and causing a bus crash. He paid a $1,200 fine, served 80 hours of community service, went to jail for 10 days and served a year of probation. The Atlanta Police Department also suspended him for 15 days without pay.

Just days later, Marreese Speights, a center and forward for the Golden State Warriors, also got hit with DUI charges out in St. Petersburg, Florida. The 6 foot 11 Warrior allegedly blew a 0.103 and 0.106 respectively on two breath tests – putting him over the 0.08% legal limit for Florida (and, incidentally, Los Angeles).

The moral here is that basketball stars, police officers and people in every walk of life make mistakes and drive DUI in Los Angeles and do other “dumb things” behind the wheel. Fortunately, you may have strategies and tactics at your disposal to reduce your penalties and potentially expunge your charges all together. Call attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today for a free, confidential consultation about what you might be able to do.
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Perhaps you collected a Los Angeles DUI charge after you drove wildly following an extravagant night out at a night club often frequented by Snoop Lion (a.k.a. Snoop Dogg). Or maybe officers at a checkpoint near Sepulveda stopped you and a friend and charged you both with DUI, after you each blew very high number on your breath test – enough, perhaps, the qualify you for an extreme DUI charge (in excess of 0.15% BAC).snoop-lion

Harsh punishments are not inevitable. An experienced DUI attorney can help turn things around for you in a major way by taking actions along the lines of the following:

1. Challenging the validity of your breath or blood test results.

Breathalyzer and blood tests aim to quantify your degree of intoxication. These tests are sophisticated. But don’t let their seemingly objective nature fool you. Even the most fair, beta-tested breath and blood tests – administrated in good faith by meticulous police officers – can tell a story that’s way off base. A breath test can yield false positives for many reasons:

•    Ketones on your breath, caused by your diet, could register as alcohol;
•    A very deep breath blown into machine may suggest that you have more alcohol in your system than you actually do;
•    The presence of “mouth alcohol” can throw off the reading;
•    Miscalibration or inaccurate recording of test results can also lead to injustice.

An astute defense attorney can challenge your test results.

2. Negotiating with prosecutors.

Perhaps you actually did drive DUI. You made a big mistake, and you’re willing admit it. You’d just like to minimize your punishments and maximize your chances for successful rehabilitation. A seasoned lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to make this happen.

3. Challenging the license suspension.

Most defendants worry a lot about potential jail time but don’t give enough thought to the inconvenience of license suspension. It’s hard to get around L.A. if you have to take public transportation everywhere. A license suspension can indirectly get you fired from your job and choke off friendships. An informed, prepared attorney can help you fight the license suspension, so you can keep driving (safely).

Turn to Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group for help now constructing and moving forward with your Los Angeles DUI defense.

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