Articles Posted in Los Angeles DUI attorney

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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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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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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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A driver convicted of multiple counts of DUI in Los Angeles would not meet the medical requirements for a license to pilot a plane or a helicopter. Yet the Federal Aviation Administration has no such restrictions when it comes to approving a license to pilot a hot air balloon. Could this loophole in the balloon regulations have contributed to the hot air balloon accident in Texas that claimed 16 lives on July 30th?Alfred-Skip-Nichols-DUI

The Washington Post reported that Alfred G. “Skip” Nichols had at least four DUI convictions in Missouri in the last 26 years: one in 1990, two in 2002 and another in 2010. He also served time in jail for a drug crime.

A report from NBC Nightly News said that multiple convictions for DUI would most likely have prevented Nichols from getting the medical certificate required to get a license to fly solo in an aircraft. But pilots of balloons and gliders don’t have to provide that medical certificate for their pilots’ licenses. The NBC story said that all that is required is for prospective pilots to provide a statement certifying that they have no medical defect that would make them unable to pilot such an aircraft.

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Addiction to alcohol and other drugs obviously contributes to many arrests for DUI in Los Angeles. But could repeat DUI offenses also be an indicator that a person has a mental health disorder? The San Joaquin Superior Court’s Collaborative Courts Department will be working with Harvard Medical School to try to find out. Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS)-DUI-los-angeles

Recordnet.com reports that the court will be serving as one of six test sites for a Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) developed by Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction of Cambridge Health Alliance and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. The court’s case managers and substance abusers have already begun screening repeat DUI offenders using the system.

CARS asks repeat offenders a series of questions about signs and symptoms of mental health issues within the past year and during their lifetime. It identifies 15 specific mental health disorders for which they might be at risk, including depression, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. The system then generates a report to the court that suggests treatments and provides a list of referrals to providers who could offer help.

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A driver might be very happy when a judge reduces a charge of DUI in Los Angeles to a lesser charge, like wet reckless. But getting intoxicated and driving down a busy main street is not a good way to celebrate. Just ask 18-year-old Lucas Brandenberg of Knoxville, Tennessee. He’d likely be in less trouble today if he had found a quieter and less dangerous way to express his satisfaction with the outcome of his court case.knoxville-DUI

On Thursday, June 14th, Brandenberg appeared in a court in Knox County, where Judge Scott Shipplett accepted a plea deal that reduced a DUI charge against him to reckless driving. (Another judge, Stephen Mathers, had initially rejected the plea deal, but Brandenburg’s case ended up in Shipset’s courtroom.)

Around 2 a.m. on the morning of Friday, June 15th, police responded to calls about a pickup truck driving through Knoxville with two occupants throwing beer cans out the window. Officers tried to intercept the truck, but it blew through a red light and then led them on a chase through another town. The officers eventually found the vehicle abandoned and Brandenburg hiding in a nearby shed. (They never caught the vehicle’s second occupant.) But the police did discover several illegal and prescription drugs as well as illegal drug paraphernalia in the truck.

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