Articles Posted in DUI Defenses

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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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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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If you’ve ever been pulled over by a cop on suspicion of DUI, chances are you have been asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. This small device presumably (magically?) somehow measures the alcohol content in your blood by analyzing your breath, and whatever it reveals may influence the officer’s decision whether or not to arrest you.breathalyzer-test-los-angeles-300x168

But what, exactly, is the breathalyzer measuring? Is the reading accurate? What are your rights if an officer asks you to blow into a breathalyzer? Are these devices a truly effective deterrent against DUI? Let’s take a closer look at this technology—how it works, how it is used in real-life contexts with police, and what the future may hold as the technology develops.

How Alcohol Is Detected through Your Breath

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If you’ve been charged with any crime—whether the charge is Los Angeles DUI, domestic abuse or something else—neither the prosecutor nor your defense attorney will rely solely on physical evidence to prove your guilt or innocence. Much of the evidence presented comes in the form of verbal testimony from witnesses—people who saw what happened, people who can attest to your whereabouts, experts called to weigh in on certain matters, etc. The problem is this: Verbal testimony is based mostly on memory, and memory can be a fleeting thing.rashomon-defense-los-angeles-DUI

And the result is that, many times, when different witnesses offer conflicting testimony, it doesn’t necessarily mean one of them is intentionally lying. Sometimes it’s simply that those people remember the events differently. The jury then has the unhappy task of figuring out the truth, by listening to these alternative versions.

The Science of Memory and the “Rashomon Effect”

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Despite California’s strict laws concerning driving under the influence, the state’s number of DUI arrests remains fairly future-DUI-los-angeles-repercussions-300x168high. According to the Annual Report of the California DUI Management Information System for 2015, there were more than 172,000 DUI arrests in 2012 alone; 73.8 percent of these were first-time offenders. Here in Los Angeles, law enforcement is known for its aggressive pursuit of DUI, with increased numbers of sobriety checkpoints. Some reports estimate as many as 100 people per day are arrested for DUI in Los Angeles County.

Moreover, year after year, the conviction rate for California DUI arrests hovers around 73-75 percent. Because three-quarters of arrests resulting in convictions, more than 120,000 California drivers a year will face long-term repercussions for their first DUI offense—and those who live in L.A. have a greater chance of being caught than in other parts of the state.

Suffice it to say you do not want a DUI conviction on your record. Let’s take a look at some of the ways a Los Angeles DUI conviction could impact your future.

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If you get into a car in South Africa, you might be taking your life into your own hands. According to a 2015 report by the World Health Organization (as reported in Forbes), South Africa has the most dangerous roads in the world, with 25.1 accident fatalities per 100,000 people. Furthermore, if someone dies in a vehicle accident in South Africa, there’s a 58 percent chance it was caused by someone driving under the influence.global-DUI-defense-225x300

These statistics are quite ironic considering South Africa has some of the steepest penalties for DUI offenses of anywhere else in the world. A DUI conviction can cost up to $10,000 in fines or 10 years of jail time, according to LifeSafer, and as recently as April, authorities were considering implementing a mandatory two-year prison sentence without bail for any DUI conviction. One possible reason for this dichotomy may be that the laws aren’t consistently enforced. According to a report by Voice of America, only 6 percent of DUI arrests in South Africa result in a conviction, thanks to a combination of backlogs, inefficient processing, bribery and corruption.

South Africa’s driving woes illustrate that America isn’t the only nation where DUI is an issue—although the WHO places the United States at Number 3 on its list of worst nations for DUI fatalities, only two behind South Africa a 31 percent fatality rate. The UK falls in the middle at 16 percent, while the country with the lowest DUI fatality rate (again, ironically), is China—the world’s most populous nation.

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wet-reckless-Los-Angeles-DUIPolice have charged you with a DUI, and now you’ve got a lot of questions and concerns.

• Exactly what do the charges against you mean?

• What legal issues are you facing?

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Los Angeles County saw an alarming increase in the number of hit-and-run crashes in 2015, the last year for which statistics are available. According to a report from the NBC4 I-Team, the California Highway Patrol reported that the county experienced more than 28,000 such crashes in 2015. The report also revealed that 50 percent of all crashes in Los Angeles County are hit-and-run. (Compare that to the national figures; the American Automobile Association says that 11 percent of all crashes nationwide are hit-and-run.)hit-and-run-los-angeles-DUI

But California is not alone in the increasing number of hit-and-runs. New York, Florida and North Carolina are among the states also reporting big jumps in the number of crashes where drivers flee the scene.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that hit-and-run drivers kill nearly 1,500 people annually:

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Have you heard the one about the driver who was arrested for DUI because he had a caffeine high? Or about the state legislator who successfully argued that cough syrup and a breath spray caused a false positive DUI breathalyzer reading?auto-brewery-dui-300x169

While law enforcement officers and courts generally accept breathalyzer tests as proof that someone was driving under the influence, those tests can sometimes give false positive readings. As absurd as these stories sound, to the people wrongfully arrested for DUIs, these incidents are no laughing matter.

Betrayed by their bodies

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The police recently picked you up for DUI—maybe even for the second or third time—and you’re finally ready to admit that you have an alcohol problem. You know you need assistance, but where do you go to find it? And how do you know which program is most likely to help you?treatment-for-alcoholism

These seemingly simple questions can lead to a raft of conflicting, challenging decisions. It is almost shockingly difficult to find objective reviews of the various treatment options available as well as clear data about which approaches work best for different types of people.

This post aims to shine a light on this murky subject. Let’s explore. Where can you go for help? What programs are even out there?

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