Articles Posted in DUI in Los Angeles

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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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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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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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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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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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Would closer monitoring of drivers convicted of repeated Los Angeles DUIs make the roads any safer? It probably couldn’t hurt. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration says that “Drivers with prior DWI convictions are also overrepresented in fatal crashes and have a greater relative risk of fatal crash involvement…Intoxicated drivers with prior DWI convictions had 4.1 times the risk of being in a fatal crash as intoxicated drivers without prior DWIs. Another study showed that fatal crash risk increases with the number of prior DWI arrests.”Tulare County DUI

California’s Tulare County is going to monitor drivers with multiple DUI convictions more closely in an attempt to avoid DUI and drug-related crashes, according to an online article in the Porterville Recorder. In 2015, DUI-related crashes in the County killed 20 people and injured 298.

The California Office of Traffic Safety has given the County $168,301 as part of its Intensive Probation Supervision for High-Risk Felony and DUI Probation program. With these funds, the county is launching a DUI Probation Supervision Program to “quickly and aggressively” respond to felony DUI offenders. Probation officers will monitor their assignees by:

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Drivers who want to party on New Year’s Eve but don’t want to risk an arrest on a charge of DUI in Los Angeles usually have some options: free rides on public transit, or a “Tipsy Tow” offered by a local AAA driving club. free-ride-los-angeles-DUI

But what if drivers who had a few too many beers or too many glasses of wine at their local bars always had the option of getting a no-cost ride home? Would it make a difference in the number of drivers arrested for DUI? Two towns in New Jersey tried that experiment and the results have been promising.

According to an article on NJ.com, the Evesham Saving Lives program has provided over 2,000 free rides home for residents of Evesham Township and the neighboring Voorhees Township. Introduced more than a year ago as a 30-day pilot, the program has reduced the number of residents arrested for DUI driving by 50 percent. The townships have also seen a 16 percent decrease in alcohol-related car accidents.

Only residents of the two townships are eligible for the free rides. They can request a ride seven days a week, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., from any establishment that sells liquor. Uber and the driving service BeMYDD provide the rides. Funding for the program comes from various local donors.

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Police officers may have the best chance of stopping DUIs in Los Angeles and other areas when they understand who is at the greatest risk of driving under the influence and when and where such incidents are most likely to occur. Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety has compiled that information for their state and released it for public review in its report, “Minnesota Impaired Driving Facts 2015.”minnesota-dui-los-angeles

The report revealed that:

•    One out of every seven licensed Minnesota drivers has at least one DWI.
•    There were 25,027 DWI arrests in Minnesota in 2015. That averages out to 69 DUIs per day.
•    The average blood alcohol content for drivers convicted of DWI was 0.16 percent. The average for DUI drivers involved in a fatal crash was 0.19 percent.

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Drivers found guilty of a DUI in Los Angeles often avoid jail time if it’s their first offense. But some motorists in California and other states also get off lightly even when it’s their second or third offense or when they’ve caused someone’s death.

Drake Bell, former star of the Drake and Josh show on Nickelodeon, served only one day of a mandatory four-day jail term for his second DUI offense. Police officers in Glendale, California, stopped the 30-year-old actor last December after they saw his vehicle swerving and then abruptly speeding up. Bell failed a field sobriety test but refused to take a chemical test. drake-josh-dui

Bell’s previous DUI conviction stems from a May 2010 incident in San Diego. Since this was his second DUI offense, Bell could have faced up to one year in county jail under California Vehicle Code 23512. But the judge accepted a plea deal, sentencing Bell to 96 hours in jail. Bell apparently served a reduced sentence because of his good behavior, but he will still have to complete an alcohol treatment program and remain on probation for four years.

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Although judges may try to be impartial when hearing cases of DUI in Los Angeles or any other locale, in reality, the occupation of the defendant can impact the way that the justice system treats them. But sometimes the accused driver presses his luck too far.doctor-dui-arrest

In Illinois, Cook County Judge James Karahalios sent Dr. William Malik, an orthopedic surgeon, to prison for six years for aggravated DUI and criminal damage to property. The court had given Malik many opportunities to change his ways; the physician had six previous DUI arrests dating from 2005 in several different jurisdictions in Illinois and in Wisconsin, according to a Chicago Tribune news report.

In the latest incident, which took place earlier this year, Malik was driving his Lincoln LS when he sideswiped a parked car, drove onto a lawn and then hit a garage and two fences. The arresting officer reported that Malik said “At least I didn’t hit anybody.”

Malik has undergone treatment for alcoholism several times, but he reportedly has not been successful in controlling his addiction. During the sentencing hearing, several character witnesses spoke of his struggle as well as his skill as a physician and his commitment to his family. But the prosecutor argued that Malik had gotten off too many times with the “good doctor” excuse and that he didn’t deserve any more chances.

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