Articles Posted in Punishment

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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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los-angeles-DUI-stories-300x200“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” –Mark Twain

One of the most common tactics utilizes to try and dissuade people from DUI is to describe what could happen if someone gets behind the wheel while intoxicated. In reality, we can learn just as much (if not more) from things that actually did happen during DUI incidents. Quite often the events are completely unpredictable and frequently disastrous.

We believe these true-life stories hold lessons for us all, so let’s take a look at a recent compendium of rather crazy stories of DUI that have happened in recent memory to see what we can learn from them.

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DADSS-los-angeles-DUI-296x300In almost every industry and field, technology continues to disrupt old systems and open up new pathways for advancement. None more so than in the field of law enforcement, where researchers, inventors and tech geniuses are working on more advanced tools not only to enforce DUI, but also to prevent it. Perhaps the most promising of these initiatives is the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), a federally funded research program developing a technology that will automatically prevent an intoxicated driver from operating a motor vehicle.

How the Technology Will Work

Intoxication occurs because our bodies are unable to metabolize alcohol at the rate at which we drink it. As a result, most of the alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach and intestines. This blood alcohol content (BAC) can actually be measured by the amount of alcohol on our breath, and even through the membranes of our skin.

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dumb-los-angeles-DUI-300x300Let’s start by acknowledging the obvious: No one begins with the express intention, “I’m going to get arrested for DUI tonight.” Although sadly, some people don’t care one way or the other, the average person doesn’t set out with an intent to drive under the influence. Usually, a DUI arrest happens as a result of bad judgment, bad choices, unforeseen circumstances or a combination of these things.

Unfortunately, once you’ve been arrested, you can’t hit the “rewind” button on the bad choices that led to that moment. Additionally, if your arrest ends in a conviction, the consequences may be long-lasting and permanent. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the saying goes—so let’s discuss a few of the ill-advised ways people set themselves up for DUI and how to avoid them.

1. Hanging Out with the Wrong People

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domestic-violence-charges-los-angelesWhen we think about domestic violence, by default most of us picture a man as the perpetrator and a woman as the victim. Indeed, this image has been largely programmed into our minds by cultural stereotypes of women as the “weaker sex.” While the majority of reported instances of DV are committed against women, the actual numbers suggest the imbalance isn’t as broad as we think. (According to the NCADV, 1 in 3 women are victims of some form of physical violence by a partner, compared to 1 in 4 men.)

However, another variable—once virtually ignored—may be playing into these statistics in a greater way than anyone had previously realized. Recent research shows that domestic violence within same-sex relationships may actually be more prevalent than in heterosexual relationships. Perhaps even more surprising: Female same-sex relationships may suffer higher rates of violence than their male counterparts.en, the actual numbers suggest the imbalance isn’t as broad as we think. (According to the NCADV, 1 in 3 women are victims of some form of physical violence by a partner, compared to 1 in 4 men.)

However, another variable—once virtually ignored—may be playing into these statistics in a greater way than anyone had previously realized. Recent research shows that domestic violence within same-sex relationships may actually be more prevalent than in heterosexual relationships. Perhaps even more surprising: Female same-sex relationships may suffer higher rates of violence than their male counterparts.

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Damien (not his real name) sat sullenly in the office of the licensed counselor. Recently arrested for the third time on domestic violence charges against his girlfriend, he was disgusted at his own behavior—and surprisingly puzzled and baffled at his uncontrolled impulses and where they had landed him. Frustrated, he asked the counselor one of the most common questions asked by DV defendants: “How did I get here?”bully-and-DV-los-angeles-300x150

The counselor asked a question that threw Damien off guard: “Were you ever bullied as a child?”

Damien began to weep.

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If you’ve been recently charged with domestic violence, your life could become quite complicated very quickly, especially if convicted. However, this time can also be a teaching moment—an opportunity to step back from this dark chapter and learn a more productive way of thinking and communicating.NVC-domestic-violence-300x214

The reasons why we humans sometimes turn to violence and aggression are too numerous and complex to explain here—nor are we qualified to delve into the psychology behind it. However, as the University of Michigan points out, domestic violence typically occurs as a repeating cycle, one that begins with a breakdown of communication. It naturally follows that if couples can create meaningful channels of communication, the cycle of domestic violence may be interrupted. The problem in many cases is that one or the other partner doesn’t understand the best ways to communicate—and the resulting frustration may erupt into aggression.

In the 1960s, an American psychologist named Marshall Rosenberg—himself a domestic violence victim from childhood—developed a process called Nonviolent Communication. The underlying theory behind this approach is that humans are innately compassionate, and violence is a learned behavior that develops from the inability to communicate needs effectively. Rosenberg utilized these principles quite effectively as a mediator to diffuse tensions between rioting college students and college administrators in the turbulent ’60s, as well as in peacemaking efforts during the desegregation process of the civil rights era. Since those days, many have utilized these principles to learn to communicate more compassionately and effectively.

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For many people who find themselves facing domestic violence charges, the problem doesn’t usually begin with the act of violence itself. For most, that catalyst is anger. The violence occurs as an end result of the person’s inability to control the angry emotions welling up inside.anger-300x215

If you’re convicted of a domestic violence charge in California, and sentenced to probation instead of jail, chances are you’ll also be required to attend a “batterer’s class” or some sort of anger management counseling as part of your sentence. But are anger management programs truly effective, and can they help reduce the chances of a repeat offense?

As with most issues, the answer to this question isn’t a clear “yes, it works” or “no, it doesn’t.” The effectiveness of any anger management course depends as much on the cooperation of the participant as it does the nature of the course itself. Modern psychology has recommended a variety of approaches to anger management; some have proven more fruitful than others, and experts now feel some traditional approaches have actually backfired.

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On January 1, 2018, California officially became the eighth state to legalize cannabis for recreational use—a move that USA Today pCalifornia-marijuana-DUI-los-angeles-300x197redicts will cause an economic “gold rush” in the state worth up to $5.1 billion in its first year. While you shouldn’t expect the Los Angeles smog in general to suddenly take on a familiar pungent smell, don’t be surprised to see a few more “superstores” popping up on your way to work. You may also need to be a bit more wary of other drivers on the roadways, as law enforcement officials have expressed concerns about the possibility of more accidents caused by impaired drivers. (More on that point in a moment.)

That all being said, if you plan to take advantage of legalized pot, you should understand that the new California marijuana laws don’t add up to a free-for-all for partakers and enthusiasts. Let’s look at some of the more important caveats you should keep in mind.

There’s a Limit to What You Can Carry

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You’ve been charged with a domestic violence crime. You’re worried about your future, your relationships and your freedom. Will you have to go to jail? Will your significant other take you back? How can you avoid overly-harsh punishment or refute what you believe are baseless accusations against you?global-domestic-violence-stats-300x300

While analyzing all these worries, it’s easy to feel isolated. The cultural taboo against domestic violence–especially alleged attacks on children–is profound in the United States. And understandably so. Even if you committed a “bad” act in a moment of passion or weakness, you (hopefully!) don’t wish for a more violent world. But obtaining compassion from friends and family–or even basic understanding–in the wake of DV charges can be hard.

You might find it useful to look outside of your situation and take a 20,000 foot view. How do other countries and cultures grapple with the challenges of domestic violence? What do they do (or fail to do) to protect and be sensitive to victims? What safeguards do they have in place (or not) to ensure fair treatment of the accused?

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