Articles Posted in DUI probable cause

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Local TV and newspapers frequently report on DUIs in Los Angeles or other incidents where motorists smash into homes, restaurants or other buildings. It’s usually an accidental encounter. But when Cheri Tenney ran her vehicle into her home, it appeared to be very deliberate.Cheri-Tenney-dui

Tenney, who lives in Seminole, Florida, may have been doing a little too much celebrating of the Fourth of July holiday before she arrived home in the early evening. Her first attempt to drive her 2005 GMC Envoy into her garage didn’t end well. She hit the wall and then tried to back out. When Tenney wasn’t successful with that maneuver, she gave up and went into her home.
But she didn’t remain there long. According to police reports, Tenney got into her car again around 10 p.m. (clearing the garage this time) and then sat in her driveway revving the engine. Then she simply put the Envoy in gear and rammed it through her front window, coming out the back window.

Most people would have had enough at this point. Not Tenney. She put the car in reverse and slammed through the home again, this time moving from back window to front window. She brought the vehicle to a stop on the front lawn and left it parked there when she returned to the house.

By this time worried neighbors had alerted police. The police report doesn’t give any details on what happened once the officers entered the home, except to say that Tenney was only half dressed. She must have assaulted one of the cops, however, because they charged her with battery on a police officer as well as DUI once they got her to the police station.

Talk about creating your own fireworks for the Fourth!

How should you respond to your recent and disarming charges? Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer (and ex-prosecutor) with nearly two decades of relevant legal experience.

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You can never tell what someone will do when they’re operating under the influence. Police who deal with drivers accused of Los Angeles DUI can probably tell many stories about motorists trying to flee, becoming belligerent and/or fabricating some pretty creative excuses about why they shouldn’t be arrested.captain-america-los-angeles-DUI

But it would probably be difficult for most police officers to top a recent story from Central Pennsylvania. In late May, 19-year-old Logan Shaulis allegedly imbibed a bit too freely before deciding it would be fun to set up his very own, do-it-yourself DUI checkpoint.

The website wearecentralpa.com reports that at about 3 a.m. on May 31st, Shaulis took a BB pistol, handcuffs and a portable scanner out to an intersection in Lincoln Township. He parked diagonally across the road, set out some flares, and started waving motorists over.

One motorist said that Shaulis demanded to see his driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance cards. The fake officer identified himself as Pennsylvania Police Trooper Steve Rogers. (In case you’re not familiar with The Avengers movie, that’s the name of Captain America.)

When the real cops showed up, Shaulis tried to hand the BB pistol off to the motorist he had stopped because he didn’t want to get caught with the weapon.

It didn’t take the officers long to figure out that Shaulis was under the influence, and it probably didn’t take Shaulis long to figure out that he was in big trouble. Police arrested him for DUI, carrying a firearm without a license, impersonating a public servant, harassment, disorderly conduct and several other charges.

Designing and executing an effective defense against DUI charges (even simple ones) is not intuitive. Fortunately, you can trust the seasoned, highly successful Michael Kraut. Call a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles with nearly two decades of experience.

 

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text-message-dui-los-angeles-scandalWhen you’re stopped and arrested for Los Angeles DUI, you’re probably more terrified of going to jail than you are of somehow being embarrassed by the police.

However, while most California Highway Patrol officers and LAPD officers operate respectfully and follow appropriate protocol, some “bad apples” cause problems.

35-year old Shawn Harrington, a CHP officer, recently admitted to sending nude and semi-nude photos of suspects arrested for various crimes, like Los Angeles DUI, to his friends on the force. According to a Huffington Post report “[Herrington] said this was a game between him and two others CHP officers… one Harrington engaged in at least six times. Several of the owners of these phones were DUI suspects. One was hospitalized when Harrington took bikini photos from her phone, and another gave permission to search her device after a DUI arrest, which was apparently interpreted as a green light for shady behavior.”

Joe Harrow, the Commissioner for the California Highway Patrol, said that he is taking these photo-trading games very seriously. Journalist Matthias Gafni reported on similar police privacy violations for the Contra Costa Times. Per the Huffington Post, Gafni said that “in one incident, a woman received a $75,000 settlement after police uploaded a semi-nude photo of her to Facebook and deleted a photo she had taken of an improperly parked patrol car. None of the incidents resulted in criminal charges, though several officers were fired (one even later sued in protest).”

Hopefully, officials at CHP will extinguish this nasty behavior and protect the rights and dignity of people arrested for crimes like DUI.

If you or someone you love believes that the police acted inappropriately or even illegally during your DUI stop, you may need to act swiftly and aggressively to preserve your rights and to ensure justice. Call an experienced and highly qualified Los Angeles DUI criminal defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group right now to set up a confidential, free consultation. We can help plan your strategy, protect your privacy and fight aggressively for your freedom.

 

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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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drive-into-pond-DUISome Los Angeles DUI arrests are very subtle and not at all obvious.

Police may stop a driver who’s following all the traffic laws and driving at the speed limit for having an out-of-date license plate, for instance. After this stop, the person may raise police suspicions by lacking coordination or answering officer questions incoherently. Over time, thanks to field sobriety tests and breath tests, the authorities suspect DUI.

But sometimes, the signs are far less subtle!

Consider an October 14 story reported out of Virginia — a local man faces DUI and driving without a license charges after local authorities discovered his vehicle submerged in a pond in the town of Lansdowne, VA. Fortunately, no one got hurt in the incident, although the driver, 46-year-old Arturo Romero, had at first feared that a family member had been trapped inside the sinking car.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Virginia, a woman faces more serious charges of driving DUI with her 3-year-old daughter in the vehicle… and then fleeing the scene of an accident. Authorities arrested 26-year-old Rachael Brand for DUI and child neglect, connecting her with a hit and run accident on I-95. When police pulled her over, they allegedly noticed that her airbags had been deployed, suggesting that she had been in a recent wreck.

As we discussed in our recent post on the terrifying field trip DUI bus ride in Utah, driving under the influence with kids in the car is just not okay. California law severely punishes people who engage in this type of behavior with more jail time and steep fines and fees. A parent who drives with a child in the car can lose parental rights. A parent going through divorce who drives with a child in a car can lose custody or visitation rights.

For help defending against your complex charges, call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Law Group today to set up a free and confidential consultation with former prosecutor Michael Kraut.

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LeVeon-Bell-DUIIf you’re facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, you may begin experiencing negative consequences before the court even hears your case. Consider, for instance, the challenges that confront Pittsburgh Steeler, Le’Veon Bell, who may face a two-game suspension and other sanctions from the league and from his club, as the result of a recent DUI arrest.

Authorities arrested Bell for DUI in August. After police pulled him over, he allegedly admitted to having smoked marijuana earlier in the day and to possessing a bag of the substance. He also allegedly claimed that he was unaware of the law prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana, claiming he wasn’t “high” enough for the drug to have impaired his driving.

The NFL’s new substance abuse policy imposes a mandatory suspension on players arrested for DUI. The suspension occurs only after a player has failed to resolve the matter within the league’s stated “grace period.” Under this policy, Bell must resolve his DUI charge before November 1 to prevent a suspension from going into effect. However, he may receive a one-game suspension for marijuana possession, regardless of the outcome of the DUI case.

Bell’s Legal Woes — Just the Most Recent among NFL Players

Bell is certainly not the only NFL player who has experienced a run-in with the law in recent months. High-profile cases in which the NFL has suspended or banned players include:

•    Ray Rice. After video footage emerged of running back Rice punching his wife in an elevator, corporate sponsors and fans alike expressed outrage and disbelief. Prior to the release of the footage, the NFL had only punished Rice with a 2 game suspension. After the revelation, however, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely, and the Ravens terminated him.

•    Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota Viking running back faces allegations that he abused his 4 year old son by hitting him with a tree branch. The Vikings responded to the horrifying news by deactivating the player until he resolves his legal issues.

An arrest for DUI can be a serious legal matter that can have profound personal and professional consequences. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you defend against such charges and return to work as soon as possible. Contact the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.

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Bryan-Voltaggio-DUIIf you face Los Angeles DUI charges, you might be struggling to figure out what you should plead at your arraignment and how else you should structure your defense. Some defendants plead “not guilty” because they believe the police erred and the stop was Unconstitutional. But other defendants submit “guilty” pleas to try to reduce the consequences of conviction.

Celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio likely wrestled hard with this very choice. On September 19, the former “Top Chef” contender entered a guilty plea in a Baltimore District Court; prosecutors had charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol on June 6.

As part of the plea deal, the court sentenced Voltaggio to “probation before judgment.” Rather than spending time in jail, he will undergo a period of probation. Once this time has passed, he will have the option to expunge the incident from his legal record.

How Pleading Down Helps DUI Defendants

“Pleading down” is a process by which defendants acknowledge guilt for lesser charges in exchange for less severe sanctions. The potential benefits can include:

•    Reduced charges. Instead of a DUI, a court may find you guilty of “wet reckless” or “dry reckless” — these do not constitute misdemeanors or felonies, although the court can punish them with fines and license restrictions.

•    Less impact on your insurance rates. A DUI conviction can cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket, creating a drag on your budget for months or even years.

•    Expunge the charge from your record. Criminal convictions on your record can create long term challenges. For instance, if or when you get arrested again for DUI or some other crime, after you’ve been convicted once already, you can face far more stringent penalties, per CVC 23152.

If you’re wondering whether a plea deal might make sense for you, an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer at the Kraut Law Group can help. As a former prosecutor, attorney Kraut has an extensive knowledge of applicable California law, and he has also cultivated strategic relationships with local judges and prosecutors.

Contact the Kraut Law Group today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.

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Lynn-Anderson-DUIWhen it comes to Los Angeles DUI cases, men aren’t the only ones who get into major alcohol or drug-related traffic collisions. Recent incidents in Florida and Tennessee reveal the impact DUI accidents can have on female drivers.

In Nashville, country singer Lynn Anderson faces DUI driving charges for a September 12 car crash. When authorities questioned her regarding her seemingly “impaired” behavior, she admitted to using alcohol and prescription drugs prior to the accident. This was her second DUI incident; the first occurred in 2004.

Another DUI accident recently struck Lighthouse Point, Florida on September 14, injuring 55-year-old Kim Smith. Previous DUI offender Michael Anguille struck Smith’s SUV, causing it to flip and collidd with a tree in North Federal Highway’s center median. Anguille is being held in jail awaiting DUI test results. The accident paralyzed Smith, who remains in critical condition.

These two accidents reflect the universal consequences of drunk driving. Although such collisions are devastating regardless of gender, exacerbating circumstances for women drivers can include:

•    Lower alcohol tolerance. Men and women metabolize alcohol differently. Especially in women with smaller frames, the negative effects of intoxication can be a greater threat.

•    Injury. Paralysis and other severe injuries impact the ability to work, care for children, and live independent lives.

•    Loss of or harm to children. Mothers driving with children in the car can experience devastating consequences, from injuries to deaths. DUI convictions can also cause mothers to lose custody of their children and face the additional possibility of criminal charges related to negligence.

If you are a woman who faces DUI driving charges, you are likely deeply concerned about your challenges and worried about the potential outcomes of a conviction. Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group can help you understand the challenges you face and work to craft a strong defense. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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Only a few days after Leslie W. Thurow of Mount Prospect, Illinois, pleaded guilty to an aggravated DUI charge, she was arrested again. Her second arrest was more extensive and extremely reckless – a mistake easily avoided if you have a Los Angeles DUI.Leslie-Thurow-DUI-los-angeles

Dangerous Driving

Within a few days of her guilty plea, Thurow allegedly struck a state trooper with her car while driving DUI a second time, significantly injuring him. The state trooper suffered numerous fractures, including a broken arm, fractured vertebrae, a broken shoulder blade, and multiple broken ribs.

After allegedly removing herself from the scene of the personal injury accident (a felony), she crashed into an SUV carrying seven people, including an 83-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy. All victims were transported to nearby hospitals. After striking the SUV, Thurow struck the center median, while her car spun 180 degrees into oncoming traffic.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor DUI Charges

In addition to the recent charges, Thurow has a DUI conviction from 2008 – and allegedly had been driving without a valid license, compounding the effect of her harmful driving.

In California, your first-time DUI is counted as a misdemeanor. You may be required to take a defensive driving course with a focus on driving while intoxicated. Your license may be suspended, and you may be placed on formal probation after spending 48 hours in custody.

Mistakes to Avoid

Thurow’s apparent mistake was continuing to drive while her license was suspended. Your second DUI will land you a mandatory minimum of 4 days in jail with a maximum of 6 months, significant fines, and a 2-year suspension of your driver’s license. Penalties for your third and fourth DUIs are steeper still, and you may be charged with a felony.

Thurow’s felony charges include leaving the scene of a personal injury, aggravated DUI, and aggravated DUI in a personal injury incident.

Have you been charged with a DUI? Don’t wait to get in touch with a Los Angeles DUI attorney like Michael Kraut, who can equip you with the right tools for facing the court and fighting your charges.
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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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