Articles Posted in Three Strikes Law

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) monitors trends regarding fatal Southern California DUI incidences. A close look at the recent stats points to many positive developments and some concerns. Let’s consider the stats over the past 30 years to wee how the dangers of DUI in Southern California have evolved. (We believe that it’s crucial to regularly step back from analyzing DUI headlines and inspecting the latest CA DUI laws to get perspective on the size and scope of the issues drivers face.)roadside_los_angeles_dui_fatality.jpg

In the early 1980s, driving in Southern California was extremely dangerous — much much more so than it is today. In 1982, for instance, over 60% of CA’s traffic fatalities were alcohol-related. There were 4,615 total roadside fatalities, 2,799 of which were alcohol-related; and 2,484 of the alcohol-related fatalities involved drivers who tested over the state’s legal limit of 0.08%.

Due to a variety of factors, including increased awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, stronger enforcement of DUI and seatbelt laws, and better car safety engineering, alcohol-related fatality rates plunged over the next several years, even as the total number of California roadside fatalities increased. The high watermark hit in 1987, when 5,504 died on California’s roads — 2,961 of whom did so in alcohol-related crashes.

Over the next eleven years (1987-1998), both the total number of fatal accidents and the number of alcohol-related fatalities declined, bottoming out in 1998 at 3,494 (total) and 1,367 (alcohol-related). This decline could be almost entirely accounted for by the decline in alcohol-related fatalities.

Unfortunately, over the next seven or eight years, the downward trend reversed itself for both total and alcohol-related fatalities. By 2005, the numbers rose to 4,329 (total) and 1,719 (DUI related). Since the 2005 high water mark, however, the numbers have reversed yet again. In 2008, there were only 3,434 total fatalities on the road, of which only 1,198 were alcohol related.

Of course, analyzing statistics like these can lead to misguided conclusions. It is very difficult to tease out cause from correlation. Even when you have good statistical data, and you can identify strong correlations between two variables, to prove cause requires a much higher logical burden of proof.

Not all DUI related fatalities are charged as felonies. Some accidents can result in charges of DUI vehicular manslaughter. Other accidents can lead to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter. Still others — so-called Watson Murders — can be DUI murders.

To respond effectively to any of these charges, you likely need a trial-proven lawyer to help you.

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California laws appear to be getting more harsh for those charged with Southern California DUIs. Legislators in recent months have begun to amass together to bring sweeping changes to the existing DUI laws. As of today, the laws are fairly straight forward. Los Angeles DUI defense Attorneys who are former prosecutors, and have trained law enforcement officers, are well versed in the penalties in DUI cases. The DUI defense attorney who who almost exclusively handle DUI cases are often in the best position to ensure that these penalties do not fall on their clients’ shoulders. Those charged and convicted with a first time Los Angeles DUI can expect the following to occur:

1. Driver’s License suspended for 4 months.
2. Must enroll in a 3 month DUI alcohol awareness program.
3. Pay huge court fines.
4. Receive a criminal record.
5. Be placed on probation for a period of at least two years.
6. Have a public record of conviction.
7. Mandatory jail sentence.
8. Sky rocketing insurance rates.

Because these penalties are so sever, it is always recommended that if a person is stopped and arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, that they immediately hire a pre-filing DUI defense attorney. Often times the criminal defense attorney is able to raise legal questions so that charges are either reduced or in some cases fully dismissed.

Those charged with a second time DUI have significantly higher penalties. A second time DUI is determined by a person having been convicted of a DUI sometime within the last 10 years before the most recent DUI. The penalties include the following:

1. Mandatory jail sentence of between 4 and 10 days and a maximum of 6 months in county jail.
2. Dui alcohol school that lasts 18 months at a minimum or a maximum of 30 months.
3. Driver’s license suspended for 2 years.
4. Court can mandate formal probation.
5. Court may order a DUI interlock device. This device will need to be blown into before your car can start. While this may not seem that inappropriate, if your job requires you to drive at all, you may likely be fired.
6. Huge fines from the court.
7. Loss of car insurance or significantly increased fines.

While these penalties are sever, Sacramento legislators are considering apply the Three Strikes Law to driving under the influence cases, making the penalties even harsher. The law makers are publicly upset about cases in which people have been convicted of eight or nine separate DUIs are still able to get back behind the wheel after their sentence is complete.

The most recent statistics from the California Department of Motor Vehicles indicate that almost 1,500 people were killed in DUI related deaths in 2007. In addition to those killed, well over 30,000 people were injured in DUI accidents during the same time period.

Statistics from 2006 point to an alarming increase in the rise of Los Angeles DUIs, as well as driving under the influence cases throughout Southern California and the rest of the State. The State reports in excess of 5,000 drivers had amassed four DUI conviction within the last 10 years.

Based upon these statistics, law makes are talking about instituting a Three Strikes type law which would permanently take these repeat offenders off the roadways. Tougher DUI laws are already being enacted. Beginning next year, first time DUI offenders In Los Angeles who are convicted of either Driving under the Influence of Alcohol or drugs in violation of CVC 23152(a) or of having a blood alcohol level in excess of of .08% in violation of CVC 23152(b), will have to have a ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle they drive.

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Three days after a former model’s body was found stuffed in a small carry-on suitcase, the facts are beginning to appear more clear. Jasmine Fiore, 28, an aspiring real estate agent and former model was found dead as a result of murder……the person of interest, her former husband. The purported suspect, Ryan Jenkins, was a two time reality star who always wanted attention and the limelight. Now, he has suddenly disappeared and is in need of a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. All of the facts are not yet known. What is clear is that the Jenkins and Fiore had a brief, but stormy relationship.


Fiore and Jenkins were last seen at a poker game in San Diego. On Saturday, Jenkins reported missing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Shortly thereafter he disappeared completely off the face of the earth. Based upon circumstantial evidence, Jenkins should seek the advice of a pre-filing Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

They met in March of this year in Las Vegas, spent two days together and then got a Vegas “quickie” marriage. Things apparently did not last too long. After arguing constantly, Fiore filed for an annulment from the marriage. That stormy marriage resulted in a criminal filing of domestic violence against Jenkins. Jenkins was charged with misdemeanor battery. He was scheduled to go on trial this December for the violent crimes he committed against her.

Jenkins also had a criminal charge in his home country of Canada. In January 2007, he was given probation for an assault charge.

The victim’s mother indicated that Fiore and Jenkins had been fighting recently over her past boyfriends. Apparently, he was jealous of the fact that Fiore had always remained good friends with people that she had previously dated.

Jenkins was just beginning his new career of attempting to become a reality star. He had just appeared on three episodes of “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” He was identified as a wealthy investment banker bachelor on the series. However, now he has disappeared
Preliminary results show that Fiore was murdered by strangulation. The final autopsy report is pending and until it is released, the cause of death is officially undetermined.

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After two trials and well over a week of deliberations, music producer Phil Spector was convicted of second degree murder in the Los Angeles shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. Spector, 69, was immediately remanded into custody by Judge Larry Paul Fidler.

The producer was quiet as usual when he arrived in court. As the verdict was read he looked straight ahead and did not show any emotion. The six-man, six-woman jury began deliberating on March 26, 2009, after a 5 month trial. This was the second trial for Spector whose first trial ended in a hung jury. Alan Jackson, the prosecutor, tried both cases. The facts presented in both cases was primarily the same. This time the jury seemed to take the evidence of Phil Spector’s quirky behavior of pointing guns at the heads of woman who he dated, but refused to sleep with him, as evidence of his implied malice.

As soon as the shooting occurred back in 2003, Spector immediately hired his pre-filing Los Angeles defense attorney. The reason to do so is that a Southern California criminal defense attorney can make the difference between the police immediately gathering all of the evidence and destroying the crime scene, and a representative of the accused being able to begin the process of preparing a strong and capable defense.


Spector was convicted of second degree murder. The crime carries the a penalty of 15 years to life in prison. In order to prove this crime the prosecution must prove that at the time he shot Ms. Clarkson, he knew the dangers of his actions and then proceeded to handle the gun in a manner that was careless as to human life. The standard of proof is very high. The prosecution must prove this crime beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the highest standard there is in any court.

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As we see the beginning of a new President and Vice President for the United States, we will most likely see a new beginning for criminal prosecutions for Los Angeles DUIs and Southern California criminal law.

Already the new administration has claimed that there will be a clamp down on crime. The local administrations have also claimed that they will vigorously prosecute even minor offenses. It will not matter if you are arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, a Long Beach crime, a San Fernando robbery, or a Pasadena DUI, the police will be trying to enforce the law to the fullest. For that reason, it is important to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who has the experience and knowledge to defend you.

The new emphasis on punishment for minor offenses is going to put regular citizens in a bad position. In the past, judges and prosecutors understood that there is a clear difference between people who are law abiding but who make a mistake, and those who a repeat offenders. Now, even minor offenses are going to punished more severely.

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A man dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at his relative’s house in Los Angeles suburb of Covina killing 9 people and then shooting himself after going to the house at almost midnight. The shooter then set fire to the scene starting a Los Angeles arson and then fled the scene, traveling 40 miles to Sylmar, California and then killed himself. Had the gunman lived, he could have been charged with a Los Angeles murder. In fact, he could have faced capital murder charges, also called murder with special circumstances. In California, a person that commits murder in the commission of a Los Angeles arson crime, could be charged with the death penalty. In addition, the special circumstances of the multiple murders also could lead to the death penalty. These crimes are defended by a Los Angeles homicide crime defense attorney.

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I want to wish everyone in the Los Angeles and Southern California area who reads or is redirected to this Los Angeles and Southern California Criminal Defense Blog a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. This blog is now six months old and I am pleased that it seems to have helped so many people. I have received many comments from people around the area that they have been helped by the information here.

In an attempt to wrap it up for the year I want to make sure that people are safe for this holiday season. I also want those people people who get into a Los Angeles DUI that if they should be stopped by the police in at a Southern California DUI checkpoint, or by Los Angeles law enforcement, that a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney is available 24/7 to assist if you or a loved one.

Because Southern California DUIs are taken so seriously, you need to know your rights and responsibilities. Remember you do not need to take the Los Angeles Law Enforcement PAS test in the field. If you are stopped by the police make sure to be polite. If they ask you to take the Los Angeles field sobriety tests you must comply. But if they ask or demand that you take a PAS test you are allowed to refuse. It is the recommendation of this Los Angeles DUI defense attorney to refuse this test. It can only be used against you. If you blow a significant BAC then you will be arrested. If you are taken to the police station you will be offered a choice of the breath or blood test. The choice is yours. But try to delay the test as long as possible. The law requires that the blood test must be taken with a specific time. If it is not done within the allotted time then the results will be thrown out in court.

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The Los Angeles City Council has just concluded hearings on the huge back log of untested rape kits held by the LAPD as part of sexual crimes evidence that the force has collected. These public hearings were all over the local television stations as victims of sex crimes and their advocates shamed the LAPD for the backlog of over 7,300 untested rape kits. In many cases, the statute of limitations has past on these crimes and those that sexually assaulted their victims could not be brought to trial.

After the hearing concluded, the City Council approved the hiring of 16 additional crime lab analysts immediately to process these samples. DNA and other samples taken from rape victims have not been processed. Sarah Tofte, researcher with the US Program at Human Rights Watch, says that the problem is not just with the processing of evidence, but in the investigating and prosecution of rape cases.

Yesterday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief William Bratton, and Councilmember Jack Weiss announced that the crime lab would be increased by 30 employees in the next six months. This, they claim, will alleviate the backlog in untested kits.

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This past week there was a new turn of events on the recent crime wave of robberies on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. For the eighth time in recent weeks a group of young men have held up shoppers taking their personal possessions and scaring these victims. Some news reporters have incorrectly stated that the culprits were committing armed burglaries.

In California, robbery is defined by Penal Code Section 211 as the taking of personal property of some value, no matter how slight, from the immediate presence of another person, by the use of force or fear. The force could be a gun or other weapon. The fear element means that the person being robbed felt fear for their safety, or the safety of another person. It is punishable by jail or prison and and fines.

There are two types of robberies, first degree robbery and second degree robbery. Robbery of the first degree is when the person commits a robbery as defined previously, but the robbery occurs either at an ATM, in the home of a person, or of a taxi or bus driver. The more common form of robbery is robbery of the second degree. These are all other types of robberies, such as street muggings.

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