Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (and if so, lucky you), you’ve been bombarded by breaking news in the Jodi Arais trial. The verdict is in: the woman who killed her boyfriend in 2008 after a day of sex — shooting him in the face, stabbing him 27 times, and finally slitting his throat from ear to ear — was found guilty by an Arizona jury of first degree murder.jodi-arias-murder-los-angeles-defense-attorney.jpg

It’s a case that’s fascinated tabloid-obsessed housewives and hardened Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys alike. And Ms. Arias now faces life behind bars… and possibly even the death penalty.

A Wild Affair

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Whether you were arrested in a Manhattan Beach bathroom on lewd conduct charges or charged with some other sex crime in Los Angeles, you nevertheless still think of yourself as a pretty decent guy (or girl) who made a misjudgment. los-angeles-sex-crime-teacher.jpg

You almost certainly resent being categorized among other more serious sex offenders. To that end, you want to do everything possible, legally speaking, to prevent the “sex offender” label from following you around forever, a la the scarlet letter A on Hester Prinne’s chest.

That drive makes sense. After all, consider this Southern California lewd conduct case (that’s equal parts sad and disturbing) as an object lesson.

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If you’re charged and convicted of a sex crime or lewd conduct in Los Angeles, not only can you face jail time and penalties, but you can also be forever “tarred and feathered” with the sex offender label.los-angeles-sex-crime-defense-law-help.jpg

That said, not all lewd conduct charges are equal – not by a long shot. Some cases — like the case of the recently widely publicized case of the Southland teacher who abused a whole classroom of elementary school children for months — are horrendous in their implications. But other lewd conduct cases — like those of the 19 men busted in a sting at a Manhattan Beach restroom users (which we blogged about a few months ago) — are not in the same league, much less the same ballpark.

And still other cases are just really sad and disappointing.

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On Tuesday, a shocking “not guilty” verdict was handed down in the “Trial of the Century” murder trial of Casey Anthony, stunning the Los Angeles violent criminal defense community along with the rest of the world.Casey-Anthony-verdict.jpg

In case you have been living in a cable news vacuum (in which case, good for you), here’s a quick recap. In 2008, the defendant, Casey Anthony, allegedly killed her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, and then went out partying right afterwards.

Motivated by the particularly grisly inhuman-ness of the alleged crime, prosecutors sought to convict Ms. Anthony on a capital murder charge. This could have resulted in her execution, had she been convicted. But the jury found her not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter (although she was convicted for several lesser offenses).

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What makes a story about driving under the influence in Long Beach noteworthy? A quick search on Google news reveals that the most popular Burbank DUI, Pasadena DUI, Glendale DUI, and Los Angeles DUI stories involve celebrities, scary or grisly cases, or people doing stunt-like acts while DUI, such as driving lawnmowers, jet skis, or electric unicycles.teen-long-beach-dui.jpg

Sometimes, the ages of the participants – as well as their dramatic situations – influence newsworthiness. For instance, last week, police arrested 20-year-old Andrew Magill of Arona, Pennsylvania for driving under the influence, after his 16-year-old wife leapt from his car. Early reports did not specify why the 16-year-old leapt from the vehicle at Central Highway and Buttermilk Hollow Road at 6:15 A.M. last Tuesday. But the fall resulted in a potentially serious head injury and a DUI charge for her husband. Apparently, police are not expected to file domestic dispute charges.

This near tragedy (or, possibly, semi-tragedy) clearly illustrates that there is a fine, almost minuscule line between conventional Long Beach DUI — which is generally charged as a misdemeanor pursuant to CVC 23152 (a) or 22152 (b) — and Long Beach injury DUI, which would be charged according to CVC 23153 (a) or 23153 (b).

If all those letters and numbers confused you, we are talking about the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor – between a mild sentence and more than a year behind bars!

Even if you have the world’s best Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, your challenges become exponentially greater if you have to fight a felony count (or multiple felony counts) instead of just a simple misdemeanor.

This isn’t to say that all hope is lost. Indeed, Long Beach’s Kraut Law Group (444 West Ocean, Suite 800 Long Beach, California 90802 Phone: (562) 531-7454) can provide immediate, strategic assistance developing and moving your defense forward. Mr. Kraut is often called upon to analyze Long Beach DUI news stories for KTLA News, the New York Times, Fox News, and other major media sources. He served for nearly a decade-and-a-half as a prosecutor for the city before “switching sides” to represent defendants.

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The crime of driving under the influence in Glendale – in and of itself – is enormous and consequential, even if you don’t cause damage to life or limb and you cooperate fully with authorities – and even if you were just barely over the limit. MIGUEL-CABRERA-DUI.jpg

But evidence mounting against Miguel Cabrera – an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers – suggests that the major leaguer, who was arrested back in February on DUI charges, may be in a lot more trouble than anyone previously knew.

As this blog and other media outlets reported, Cabrera got arrested on February 16th in a florid scene that probably would have been newsworthy even if he hadn’t been a major league baseball player. If you have been pulled over in a relatively pedestrian Burbank DUI, Glendale DUI, Los Angeles DUI, or Pasadena DUI matter, you may be shocked to learn how crazy Cabrera’s arrest was.

He apparently drank a whisky bottle in front of the officer who arrested him, asked the police to “kill me” and confessed to having threatened to blow up a steakhouse.

Turns out, all those things pale in comparison with what Cabrera might have done.

Last week, the Florida State’s Attorney’s Office released evidence that suggests that Cabrera nearly ran two different Wal-Mart trucks off the road in his Range Rover. The truckers were forced to “take evasive action… in order not to hit [Cabrera’s] sport utility vehicle head on.”

Cabrera allegedly caused one tractor trailer to dodge him and another to actually drive all the way onto the grass to avoid a collision.

More information about what actually happened will no doubt trickle in, once the June 10 hearing arrives. Had Cabrera collided head first with either of the trucks, chances are, this would be a story about Los Angeles DUI manslaughter.

When SUVs and truck collide on the highways head on at high speeds, even advanced safety measures like ABS and airbags can be rendered essentially useless. Glendale DUI vehicular manslaughter charges can lead to punishments such as lengthy jail sentences, fines and fees, alcohol school, strict probation, and essentially the end of a baseball career (or any career).

An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney (one example: Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group – located in Glendale at 450 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 600, Glendale, California 91203 Phone: (818) 507-9123) can help you make sense of the charges pending against you and act in a timely, appropriate and proactive way to manage the charges. Connect today with this Harvard Law School educated attorney to go over your case and start plotting the most appropriate legal response.

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Last Friday, 53-year-old Jeffrey David Kirby of Costa Mesa was sentenced for felony vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence in Southern California. In March 2009, Kirby lost control of his 2004 Ferrari and smashed into Charles David Lewis, a famous mixed martial arts entrepreneur and founder of the closing line TapouT.jeffrey-david-kirby-DUI-murder.jpg

Lewis had been driving so fast that his sports car ripped in half upon smashing into a light pole.

Although most arrests for DUI in Burbank, DUI in Pasadena, Glendale DUI and Los Angeles DUI are far less “drama filled” and headline grabbing, Kirby’s actions both before, during, and after the crash read like he showed persistently poor judgment.

First of all, consider the fact that Kirby had a DUI conviction back in 2002. After getting that conviction, Kirby was given a warning called the Watson Advisement — this is a formal way of reminding you that driving under the influence can be lethal. If, after receiving this advisement, you then go out and commit a DUI injury or kill someone while DUI, your penalties can be ratcheted up significantly. You could even face a Pasadena DUI murder charge in extreme cases.

Second, consider that Kirby fled the accident scene after he rammed into Lewis. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in and of itself – a so-called “hit and run” – and it could be charged and punished separately.

Finally, according to prosecutors, Kirby had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over twice the Southern California legal limit of 0.08% a full two hours after the accident. In certain cases, if you have an extremely high BAC level, prosecutors can ask for additional charges, such as bigger fines and longer time in jail.

In Kirby’s case, he escaped a DUI murder charge, but he did get convicted under the California Vehicle Manslaughter Law and got a nine-year prison sentence for the DUI death.

In a typical Pasadena DUI vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors will check out police reports and reports from other agencies to figure out how to charge the defendant.

A qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who has experience in homicide cases can probe the accident by interviewing experts, reconstructing the scene of the accident, reviewing toxicology reports and poring over relevant documents or witness statements to help you build a creditable and powerful defense.

Connect with Pasadena DUI defense attorney Michael Kraut for an immediate and free consultation. The Pasadena branch of the Kraut Law Group is located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th floor, Pasadena, California 91101 Phone: (626) 345-1899. Not only does Attorney Kraut have a spectacular record at jury trials and a wealth of experience as a former prosecutor (14+ years working for the city prosecuting DUI cases) which he leverages to help his defense clients, but he also understands applicable law both in theory and practice. He has delivered best results for clients even in complicated and highly technical cases.
he defendant.

A qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who has experience in homicide cases can probe the accident by interviewing experts, reconstructing the scene of the accident, reviewing toxicology reports and poring over relevant documents or witness statements to help you build a creditable and powerful defense.

Connect with Pasadena DUI defense attorney Michael Kraut for an immediate and free consultation. The Pasadena branch of the Kraut Law Group is located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th floor, Pasadena, California 91101 Phone: (626) 345-1899. Not only does Attorney Kraut have a spectacular record at jury trials and a wealth of experience as a former prosecutor (14+ years working for the city prosecuting DUI cases) which he leverages to help his defense clients, but he also understands applicable law both in theory and practice. He has delivered best results for clients even in complicated and highly technical cases.

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Last Tuesday, an emotionally charged Southern California DUI trial got underway in Fullerton. The defendant, Angel Herrera Leal, stands accused of perpetrating a horrific fatal DUI accident on an Anaheim freeway.dui-murder.jpg

According to news and police reports, in the early morning hours of December 27, 2008, Leal – who had been twice convicted for driving under the influence in Southern California (2005 + 2007) – drive several miles in the wrong way on the southbound lane of an Anaheim freeway. He eventually collided head on with a car driving the correct direction. The collision resulted in the death of one of the passengers in the southbound car – Rebecca Moon – as well as injuries to the driver, Jisun Park. (Park allegedly had also been driving under the influence that evening, and she was cited accordingly).

Prosecutors apparently will seek a Southern California DUI murder charge against Leal. The Deputy DA, Howard Gundy, claims that Leal had a BAC of 0.29%. (By comparison, the Southern California DUI legal limit is 0.08%). According to news reports, Leal had spent time in alcohol education classes — he was aware that driving while intoxicated could lead to someone’s death or serious injury. He was also operating on a suspended license.

Prosecutors seeking serious charges — such as Glendale DUI murder — must meet a serious burden of proof. Typically, if a driver kills someone while DUI, he or she can be charged with vehicular manslaughter or maybe vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, depending on circumstances. The charge of DUI murder is even more serious than the vehicular manslaughter counts. In this case, the defendant had two priors and had completed an alcohol education course, so he should have deeply understood how dangerous driving DUI could be.

Designing a potent defense to charges of driving under the influence in Pasadena or Glendale (or wherever) can be tricky, even if the charges are far less serious and the police employed less than stellar technique. A smart, credentialed and experienced lawyer can make all the difference.

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If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles, your world can turn upside down in just hours. Whether you were incorrectly assessed as DUI (the police made a mistake on your blood work or breathalyzer reading), or you were barely over California’s legal limit of 0.08% BAC, you could face stiff fines, jail time, and other penalties. Obviously, DUI is a serious offense. But a breaking story out of Seattle illustrates why Los Angeles DUI defendants — more, it seems, than other criminal defendants — face such a tough road to rehabiliate their images.DUI_Arrest.jpg

Warning: The following story is disturbing.

Last week, police arrested a 34-year-old man, Shawn Shipp, for vehicular homicide while DUI. Shipp backed into 91-year old Marie Fite, slamming her to the ground. Instead of stopping, he continued to back up, apparently unaware that he had hit a human being. By the time he figured it out, Fite had been severely injured. Shipp fled the scene, but police chased him down and arrested him. Fite died at the hospital. Shipp tested to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16% – twice both the Washington and Southern California DUI limit of 0.08%. On top of that, Shipp has a long rap sheet which includes drug possession, motor vehicle theft, assault, driving with a suspended license, and first degree child rape. According to reports, Shipp’s bail has been set at $500,000.

Now, obviously, without knowing more details about the allegations or about specifically what happened, one has to withhold judgment. After all, in the U.S. court system, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Nevertheless, the salacious details of the report – including the fact that Shipp is a convicted child rapist – obviously touch an emotional chord in us.

Unfortunately, if you have been tagged with a charge of driving under the influence in Long Beach, many people instinctively will conclude that you must be somehow similar to this Shipp character. And while it is true that driving DUI in Long Beach or elsewhere can be incredibly dangerous and can lead to tragic instances of vehicular homicide, the harsh stereotyping of DUI defendants may not be fair or accurate.

That said, it’s always important to review what punishments can be in store for individuals convicted of serious Los Angeles DUI crimes. Cases in which a DUI victim dies can be charged under the California Vehicular Manslaughter Law. Penal Code section 191.5(a) covers gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. This is a more serious charge than typical vehicular manslaughter charge. Prosecutors must prove four points:

1. Driver was DUI and/or had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater.
2. The person committed a driving infraction or misdemeanor while driving – or performed an otherwise lawful act – that could potentially lead to someone’s death.
3. That lawful act, or infraction or misdemeanor, was committed with “gross negligence.”
4. The negligent conduct resulted in someone getting killed.

If the prosecution cannot prove all four points, they will have a hard time getting a conviction for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. However, prosecutors can choose from an array of charges and request penalties to punish guilty offenders.

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From Burbank DUI drivers to debris in lanes to ferocious traffic snarls, Southern California’s freeways present a gallery of challenges to drivers. Here’s a quick guide to the obstacles we frequently encounter thanks to our tangled freeway system.405-freeway.jpg

Rush-hour gridlock from 6 AM through 9 PM… and often on weekends.

The massive, never-abating congestion on freeways like the 10, the 405, and the 101 (but not the 90!) causes much consternation to newbie drivers. Whether you join the queue at six in the morning on the way to work; or you encounter a surprise snarl at 9 PM on a Sunday, be forewarned that stop-and-go traffic can be quite treacherous. Obviously, it’s hard to get into a serious injury accident going 5 mph. But when traffic thaws – after an obstacle is removed from the road, for instance – conditions can become quickly fluid, and accidents can easily occur. Just like a melting glacier presents challenges to hikers walking on top of it, so can a flowing traffic jam be extra dangerous to cars caught in the middle of it. So when the traffic breaks up, be on extra alert.

Freeways at night can turn into grand prix racing grounds.

The 405 is not always packed with cars, contrary to the impressions of daily commuters. At night, Southern California’s capacious freeways empty out. This attracts a different kind of hazard — the speedster. As reported on our Southern California DUI blog, a local television actor (Adrian Pasdar) was arrested just last week for driving 94 mph on the 405 near Santa Monica Blvd. DUI drivers, careless drivers, bad lighting, and highway maintenance projects can turn freeways into veritable obstacle courses.

Distractible drivers.

Southern Californians have an ongoing (and unfortunate… for many reasons) love affair with the cell phone/personal digital assistant. Driving while texting or talking on a cell phone can be hugely problematic — perhaps even more dangerous than driving under the influence in Southern California. A recent study found that California’s anti-cellphone-while-driving law has not resolved the problem — perhaps because the law required only that drivers speak on headsets instead of requiring that they refrain from talking on the phone altogether while driving.

In any event, by paying extra attention to the road — and not yapping on the cell phone, getting distracted by billboards or local celebrity sightings, or sightings of paparazzi spotting local celebrities — you can hopefully mitigate some of the risks posed by other distracted drivers.

Understand the penalties for driving under the influence in Burbank and elsewhere in Southern California.

Many people think that getting a first-time DUI is akin to getting a speeding ticket. But a DUI is no mere infraction. According to the law, even a first-time DUI offender can be charged with a misdemeanor — or even a felony, depending on the circumstances. If you’re convicted of even a misdemeanor Burbank DUI, the court can impose a crushing array of penalties including but not limited to:

* minimum of 48 hours in jail (two full days)
* court costs and fines of potentially thousands of dollars
* mandatory alcohol school in probation
* suspension of license for a full year
* pursuant to a law that went into effect on January 1, first time DUI offenders must install an interlock ignition device (IID) in their vehicles. This means that you must blow into a Breathalyzer-like device every time you want to start your car.

Obviously, the punishments for driving DUI in Burbank are unpleasant, to say the least. But what can you do if you or a loved one has been arrested and charged?

There are many wrong paths to take. If you lack knowledge of how the court system processes Southern California DUIs, you could easily take one of these inferior paths and compromise your future. Fortunately, good help is available.

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