Articles Posted in Punishment

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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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Having a friend on the force may occasionally help someone avoid charges for a Los Angeles DUI. But that’s not the case when the aftermath of the drinking and driving includes two deaths.elner_DUI

In Cook County, Illinois, a jury found 47-year-old Lisa Elner guilty of charges stemming from a January 2013 crash. Elner and two friends, Michelle Miranda, 37, and Sandra Frankum, 36, had been out celebrating Frankum’s birthday at a local bar. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, prosecutors said that Elner was under the influence of both alcohol and cocaine when she grabbed her keys and said she was okay to drive because she had her “cop card.” She was referring to the business card of her husband, a Chicago police officer.

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Usually police officers have a fairly easy time identifying the person to arrest for an accident involving a DUI in Los Angeles. But what if they arrive on the scene of the crash several minutes after it occurred? All they can do then is take the word of the driver (and any passengers) about who was behind the wheel.Shelby County Tennessee-DUI

In Shelby County, Tennessee, police arrested 24-year-old Elisabeth Blackwood on September 28th for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to yield the right of way. The crash resulted in the death of a motorcyclist and the hospitalization of his wife.

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For most parents, the chilling prospect of losing a child in a car crash would be enough to persuade them from DUI in Los Angeles when their son or daughter is riding with them. But that didn’t deter one father in Cortland, New York, from getting behind the wheel when he had too much to drink. His six-year-old daughter paid for his bad decision with her life—and now the man will have plenty of time to think about his deadly mistake.DUI-los-angeles-child

Daniel Haynes III, 30, could spend up to 21 years in state prison in New York under a plea deal he accepted in August.  On the evening of April 24, 2015, Haynes was driving from one house to another on West State Road with his three daughters in the back seat. None of them—Alexia, age 6; Asia, age 8; or Arianna, age 10—were wearing seatbelts.

Witnessed said that Haynes had drunk a few beers before getting into the car, and once behind the wheel he began driving recklessly. One report said that his daughters were begging him to slow down. But Haynes, jetting along at 100 miles per hour, blew through a stop sign, lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a utility pole. After the crash he tried to drive away, apparently unaware of his daughters’ injuries. (Emergency responders took the two younger girls to the hospital; they had non-life-threatening injuries.)

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The only surefire way to avoid a conviction on DUI in Los Angeles is not to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking or using drugs. But if you’ve made an error in judgment, and the police arrest you on a DUI charge, your best option is to work with an attorney well versed in these laws who can help ensure that your rights are protected during the judicial process. What we don’t recommend is getting your ticket fixed by a clerk of the court.jose-lopez-los-angeles-DUI-defense

In California, Jose Lopez Jr., a clerk in the Orange County Superior Court, is facing federal charges for allegedly running a network that fixed the tickets of more than 1,000 people charged with various traffic offenses, including DUI. According to a story in the Orange County Register, Lopez had 11 “recruiters” who would go to car and truck clubs and post notices on Craigslist to let drivers know that traffic tickets could be tweaked in their favor in the Superior Court.

Lopez charged drivers up to $8,000 to put in the fix. He would change computer records so it would appear that a defendant convicted of a traffic violation had paid the required fines, had spent the mandated time in jail or had performed court-ordered community service. For a driver convicted of DUI, Lopez would edit the court record to show that he/she had pleaded guilty to reckless driving, which is a lesser charge.
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When drivers suspect they’ve had a few drinks too many, one of the best things they can do is park their vehicles and get them off the road. But when they’re at risk for a DUI in Los Angeles–or any other jurisdiction, for that matter—they should be careful to determine whether or not their parking spot is a good one.Amtrak Auto Train Number 52-DUI-accident

Hung Tran, 54, didn’t do a very good job in selecting the place to park his vehicle. He left it on the train tracks near Hanahan, South Carolina around the time that the Amtrak Auto Train Number 52 was heading to that same spot. Tran did manage to get out of his vehicle before the train hit, but the impact caused a large crash (heard by nearby neighbors) and delayed travel along the tracks for three hours. Fortunately, no one on the train suffered injuries.

When police gave Tran a breathalyzer exam, they measured his blood alcohol content at .15 percent—almost twice the legal limit. He now faces DUI charges.

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One serious consequence for those convicted of DUI in Los Angeles is the loss of their licenses. If a breathalyzer, blood test or urine test show that a person is operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend that person’s license for four months (for a first offense) or one year (if it is a second or subsequent offense within a 10-year period). Drivers are entitled to request an administrative hearing to appeal that decision, but they must do so within 10 days of the time they receive the suspension order.los-angeles-DUI-license-suspension

Oklahoma has a similar law and also allows those arrested on DUI charges to appeal their license suspension. But the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been falling behind on license revocation hearings; motorists who want to appeal their loss of a license must wait anywhere from 13 to 19 months to get a hearing date.

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DUI drivers usually lack the necessary control to demonstrate the finer points of the vehicles they’re driving. But that doesn’t stop them from trying, as police officers who have arrested drivers for DUI in Los Angeles can attest.DUI-donuts

In the past month, two drivers have tried to impress their passengers and/or onlookers by making circles or “donuts” with their cars. In Oklahoma, Fox 25 reports that Michael Dean Sharpe was trying to impress a date when he entered a church parking lot and turned off the traction control in his Pontiac G8T so that he could perform a series of donuts in the lot. Sharpe forgot, however, to turn his traction control back on when he had completed his performance. Sharpe allegedly zoomed out of the parking lot at a high speed and lost control of his car, hitting a curb and damaging at least one tree along the roadway.

While Sharpe’s date will probably never forget the evening, it’s doubtful that he made the impression he had hoped. First of all, the crash smashed the windshield and caved in the vehicle’s passenger side where the woman rode. Plus watching your date carted off to jail on DUI charges is not an experience most women hope to repeat. (Even Sharpe is quoted as saying that he was acting like a “dumbass.”)

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Under California’s vehicle codes, police can charge a driver who is DUI in Los Angeles with a felony if that driver has had three previous convictions for driving under the influence in the last 10 years or if the driver has had a previous conviction for a felony DUI. The law does not specify what type of motor vehicle the person has to be driving for that felony charge to stick.scooter-DUI-los-angeles

The DUI laws in Montana have a similar provision, which is unfortunate for 64-year-old John Adrian Langstaff of Missoula. He wasn’t behind the wheel of a car, but was on a scooter when police picked him for DUI.

According to KGVO radio, the Missoula police department sent an officer to a post office when callers reported they had seen a man drinking a can of beer while he was driving a scooter. Witnesses said he spilled part of the beer when he parked and finished the rest up before he went inside the post office.

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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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