Articles Posted in DUI Defenses

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8-21-19-DUI-stress-300x200Even in the best of circumstances, getting arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of DUI can be remarkably stressful. In addition to the embarrassment and stigma associated with a DUI arrest, you also may face the very real prospects of fines, license suspension, jail time, and in some cases, the possibility of getting fired or being disqualified for certain types of work.

Facing just one of these possibilities is enough to wreak havoc on your mental health; with a DUI arrest, you may face all of them. While a good attorney can help you navigate these difficult waters toward the best possible outcome, you may need to practice a bit of self-care while working through the process. Let’s explore some practical strategies and tips for managing stress in the aftermath of a DUI arrest.

Put the Event in Perspective

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DUI-with-minor-216x300A DUI conviction in California comes with some stiff penalties, even for first-time offenders. However, if you have a minor in the car at the time of your alleged DUI, you could face enhanced penalties, including mandatory jail time. The specific law detailing these penalties is California Vehicle Section Code 23572 VC, sometimes called the “DUI with a Minor Passenger Penalty Enhancement.” The ramifications can be confusing at times, so let’s unravel them by answering some of the most commonly asked questions about this law and how it may affect your sentence if you’re convicted of a DUI.

What is California Vehicle Section Code 23572 VC?

This section of the vehicle code prescribes specific additional sentencing by the courts “if any person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 [DUI] and a minor under 14 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense.” If convicted of a DUI where the law applies, it requires the courts to enforce mandatory jail time in addition to whatever sentence the judge gives for the DUI itself. The upshot is that if you had a child under age 14 in the car at the time of your DUI arrest and you are convicted, you will spend time in jail, even if it’s your first DUI offense.

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undocumented-DUI-los-angelesBeing arrested, charged and/or convicted for DUI comes its own set of challenges, even if you are U.S. citizen. But for undocumented immigrants, a DUI arrest can open up a whole new set of complications. Undocumented immigrants face a certain amount of risk anytime they get behind the wheel because even a routine traffic stop can put them on the radar of government authorities. But since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) places a higher priority on deporting undocumented people with criminal records, a DUI arrest or conviction can heighten the chances of deportation considerably.

When/How Does ICE Get Involved?

Technically, a DUI is a municipal or state offense enforced by local or state police, not by ICE. Some people might gain a false sense of security over a DUI arrest because the local police and ICE are two different departments. However, a DUI arrest and/or conviction can get the attention of ICE quicker than you might think. ICE may get involved with your case in one of three ways:

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Motorcycle-DUI-Los-Angeles-300x169Here in California, motorcycles have become a highly popular alternative to driving an automobile. Some people use them for their work commutes because of their fuel efficiency and ability to navigate through heavy traffic. Others use them simply because they are fun to ride. Unfortunately, some people also ride motorcycles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, perhaps assuming they are good to drive, or that the DUI laws don’t apply in the same way to motorcycles as to other vehicles. Many times, the decision to ride under these conditions can be deadly. If you own a motorcycle or are thinking of buying one, let’s discuss what you need to know about motorcycle DUIs in California.

The Same DUI Laws Apply to Motorcycles as to Other Vehicles

Under California Vehicle Code 23152, it is illegal to operate any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The law further defines a vehicle as “a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.” Under this definition, a motorcycle is considered a motor vehicle in California, and the DUI laws apply in the exact same manner as driving an automobile. What does this mean for you as a motorcyclist?

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March-prescription-300x200You weren’t at a party. You weren’t at a bar. You hadn’t even had anything to drink. You were just driving to the store for groceries, or maybe to pick up your child from soccer practice. Perhaps you feel just a little drowsy. A policeman pulls you over because he notices something unusual about your driving—or even an unrelated moving violation like a broken brake light. Before you realize it, you’ve been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

How did this happen?

The above scenario might seem like an anomaly, but it happens to people more often than you might think. Prescription drugs can impair your driving abilities in a number of different ways, from causing excessive drowsiness to affecting logic and motor skills. While the amount and influence if any drug in your system is difficult to measure (unlike alcohol content), California law does not differentiate: Driving under the influence of alcohol or any drug—legal or illegal—is against the law. If an officer believes you are impaired, you can be arrested. Period.

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DUI-hit-and-run-Los-Angeles-300x225Hopefully you never put yourself in a situation like the following scenario, but for the sake of discussion let’s consider it:

Suppose you’ve been out with friends for the evening. You’ve had a couple of drinks, and while you might be flirting with the legal limit, you feel in control of your senses for the time being. Against your better judgment, you decide to get behind the wheel.

Halfway home, you crash into another vehicle at an intersection you’ve passed a hundred times before. You don’t know where the other car came from, but you also don’t remember actually driving to this intersection before the crash happened. You panic. Perhaps you’ve been arrested for DUI before, and you don’t want the police asking questions. You decide visually that (probably) no one was hurt, so without getting out of the car—you drive off.

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DUI-prevention-tech-of-the-future-300x180Imagine that you’ve spent some time at a bar or at a party with friends. You’ve had a couple of drinks, but you don’t feel particularly tipsy—so when you leave, you get into your car thinking you’re safe to drive home. Your car, however, doesn’t seem to cooperate. Either it refuses to start, or when it starts, you can’t put it into gear. The car sends you a message, either audibly or by text, that your blood alcohol content is too high, and offers to call a taxi for you.

If you think this scenario sounds like a sci-fi movie set decades into the future, think again. The technology already exists to generate this level of DUI prevention, and within a few years we may even see cars equipped with this tech entering the mainstream. In fact, over the next ten years we may see emerging technology radically reshape the ways in which DUI is prevented and/or enforced. Let’s explore a few examples.

Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS)

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dean-marti-300x214These days, the term DUI almost always has a starkly negative connotation attached to it. In an earlier time, however, pop culture essentially winked the eye at driving under the influence. Comedians of the day would feign intoxication for a laugh or offer a sideways remark toward Dean Martin—who despite playing the “lovable drunk” for laughs, was usually holding a glass of apple juice and rarely got tipsy. It seems this “light touch” toward intoxication made its way into public attitudes toward DUI, which we generally passed off as a “fact of life.”

However, beginning in the 1980s, some elements of pop culture began going on the offensive against these permissive attitudes toward DUI, shining a light the gruesome statistics of injury and death that DUI frequently caused. As a result, public opinion has shifted dramatically, and our books, movies, songs and TV shows have begun reflecting a different view.

Even so, despite all the PSAs, ad campaigns and highway warning signs, DUI remains an ongoing issue in our world. Over this post and the next, we’ll examine DUI as reflected in popular culture then and now, looking at what our entertainment media has gotten right, where it’s missed the mark and where we might go from here.

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top-3-DUI-300x206When you get pulled over by police and asked to perform a field sobriety test, the issue of DUI becomes very real to you and affects you directly. However, sometimes it helps to put the topic in a greater context. How has DUI enforcement changed over the years? How does drug DUI now come into play with the legalization of pot in California and other states? Are the current laws and technologies doing a good job in deterring people from making a mistake? If not, what can we do better?

To explore these questions, let’s take a look at some the most significant DUI stories from the past decade—not just high profile cases like celebrity arrests, but stories that help paint a picture of different aspects of the issue—to see what we can learn from them. We’ll start with a recent news story that actually discusses an eye-opening trend over the past decade.

1. DUI Convictions Drop, DUI Dismissals on the Rise

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“You can’t arrest me, I’m a rockstar.” –Sid Vicious

Vince-Vaughn-DUI-lessonsGetting arrested on suspicion of DUI is not a pleasant experience. Resisting the police, however, almost always makes a bad situation worse. As a case in point, let’s look at the recent charges against 48-year-old actor Vince Vaughn.

On the early morning of June 10, Vince Vaughn was stopped at a DUI checkpoint, where he was subsequently arrested. Last month, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles County prosecutors announced Vaughn was facing three misdemeanor charges: driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher and refusing to comply with a peace officer.

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