Articles Posted in DUI Defenses

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Most drivers today are conscious of the harm they can do by getting behind the wheel after drinking and driving. But what about after texting and driving?text-driving-dui

Text messaging makes a crash 23 times more likely to happen. (Dialing a cell phone increases crash risk by 2.8 times; talking or listening 1.3 times; and reaching for a device 1.4 times.)

While they may not realize how serious the problem is, most people understand that it’s better to avoid texting when they’re behind the wheel. A 2014 survey conducted by AT& revealed that 98 percent of motorists who own cellphones and text regularly are aware of the driving/texting danger, but about 75 percent of them do it anyway.

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How do officers working for Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) determine whether they should stop someone for a DUI? LAPD-DRE-training-overview

All LAPD officers receive substantial training that helps them understand what to look for when patrolling L.A.’s freeways and surface streets for dangerous drivers—and drivers who might be under the influence. Police officers are human, however, so they can forget what they learned (or just ignore proper procedure) and make errors during the arrest process itself.

LAPD officers’ DUI training has changed considerably over the decades, according to the department’s website. Back in the 1970s, police departments in most jurisdictions, including Los Angeles, had no standards-based roadside sobriety tests to help them determine and document whether or not a person was driving while under the influence of alcohol. So different states (and different officers) developed their own versions of the sobriety tests.

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“Come on, it’ll be okay. You haven’t had that much to drink. And anyway, I’ve seen you drive after you’ve had six or seven beers—you’ll do just fine.”los-angeles-DUI-risk-300x134

Ever had a conversation like that with a friend when you’ve been out socializing for the night? Chances are that you’ll yield to your friend’s persuasions and get behind the wheel, ignoring the small voice of reason inside your head that’s warning you’re about to do something stupid.

So if we know something is a bad idea, why do we do it anyway? Why don’t we choose to hang out with somebody who would give us better advice and encourage us to engage in less risky behavior? It’s a complicated answer that relates to the way our brain works and how we interact with those around us.

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For some people, the thought of autonomous vehicles opens up a range of partying possibilities. They imagine hanging out all night with friends, drinking whatever they’d like, and then getting into their own cars, which will drive them safely home. They won’t have to worry about getting pulled over for a DUI because the vehicle won’t swerve, run stop lights or travel erratically. The artificial intelligence that’s controlling their vehicle won’t be affected by its owner’s alcohol consumption. self-driving-car-los-angeles-DUI

While that scenario could become a reality at some point, it’s not likely that it will occur any time in the immediate future. For one thing, self-driving vehicles have a long way to go before they become feasible and/or widely accepted everywhere in the U.S. Plus, under most current scenarios, at least one human occupant has to sit behind the wheel of the vehicle and that human occupant (not the computer) is ultimately responsible for its operation. To accept that responsibility, that person will have to remain sober.

Autonomous Vehicles Today

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The media often popularizes driving under the influence (DUI) arrests, using them as plot points in comedies, action films, and crime mysteries. You have probably seen or read about fictional DUIs before, but experiencing a DUI in person is much different. Still, we can learn what not to do from examining famous fictional arrests.los-angeles-DUI-in-fiction

1. The Longest Yard: Paul Crewe’s DUI Car Chase

The Arrest: In the Adam Sandler comedy, The Longest Yard (2005), police arrest Paul Crewe after a police chase and car accident. Crewe mocks one officer for his large ears and reveals an open container of beer. A televised police chase ensues, ending in Crewe crashing the Bentley and getting arrested.

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los-angeles-dui-defense-processWhen you see a police car’s flashing lights in your rearview mirror, your first thought is probably something like “I hope they’re not after me.” But when it becomes clear that your vehicle is indeed the one that the officer is motioning over to the side of the road, you may start to panic—especially if you’ve spent the last few hours in the company of friends and have enjoyed an alcoholic beverage during that time.

Your behavior during the traffic stop and in the hours immediately following that stop could have a significant impact on your life, affecting everything from your ability to drive to your bank account. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you are taking every possible step to protect your rights and your future.

When the officer motions you over:

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Was one of your resolutions this year not to get behind the wheel of your vehicle if you’ve been drinking? How are you doing at keeping it? If you’re like most other people, now that we’re almost one month into 2017 many of your well-intentioned goals for changing your life have already gone by the wayside.  if-then-los-angeles-DUI-300x169

But there is a way to increase your success dramatically—and it’s not that hard to put into practice. It’s a technique that psychologists call implementation planning (or in less formal terms, if-then planning). You can employ this technique when you’re trying to lose weight, get a better handle on your emails at work or even when you’re trying to ensure that you don’t end up with a DUI conviction on your driving record.

The concept of using if-then statements to achieve a goal is not new; Peter Gollwitzer, a psychology professor at NYU, introduced the idea back in the 1990s. But people are revisiting the technique because studies have shown that this technique works extremely well in changing habits and helping people achieve desired behaviors.

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Since the penalties can be so severe, drivers convicted of causing death or injuries in crashes involving a DUI in Los Angeles and other jurisdictions usually seek out every avenue of appeal. Many of their arguments center around the way that police and other personnel collect, store and handle the blood samples used to determine blood alcohol content.john-goodman-appeal-DUI

In mid-October, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by John Goodman of his conviction on DUI manslaughter. According to the Florida Sun Sentinel, Goodman is arguing (through his lawyers) that the state’s rules for collecting and analyzing blood are inadequate and that they violate the rights of drivers charged with DUI.

The Goodman case is attracting a great deal of attention in Florida because the defendant is a millionaire known for founding the Wellington polo club. He’s currently serving a 16-year sentence in the death of Scott Patrick Wilson, age 23. Goodman’s Bentley slammed into Wilson’s Hyundai, sending the vehicle into a canal. Wilson drowned in his vehicle.
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In most cases, only a few passing motorists, pedestrians or nearby residents catch a glimpse of the grisly details when a driver who is DUI in Los Angeles causes a fatal crash. But when Richard Anthony Sepolio’s truck plunged over the guardrails on the Interstate 5 bridge between San Diego and Coronado Island, dozens of people may have witnessed the horrific results. bridge-fall-los-angeles-dui

Around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 15th, Sepolio’s GMC pickup went off the bridge and landed below in Chicano Park, where a crowd was gathered for the La Raza Run motorcycle festival. The truck crushed a vendor booth, killing two couples: Cruz Elias Contreras, 52, and Annamarie Contreras, 50, of Chandler, Arizona, and Andre Christopher Banks, 49, and Francine Denise Jimenez, 46, both from Hacienda Heights near Los Angeles. Nine other people, including Sepolio, suffered injuries.

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Many state legislators hope that the new DUI law in California, which mandates ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles or any other part of the state, will help reduce the number of repeat offenders. California Vehicle Code 23152 already requires tougher penalties for anyone with multiple DUI convictions on their record. denver-post-DUI-editorial

In some states, however, new laws have failed to discourage repeat DUI offenders. On September 14, the Denver Post published an editorial entitled. “Colorado’s new felony DUI law needs another look.”

The editorial pointed out that “long-overdue” legislation passed in 2015 brought Colorado in line with 45 states that already had felony DUI laws. But it said that the new law “too often results in letting repeated drunk-driving offenders get away from serving any real time—and away from the roads and the lives they put at risk.”

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