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Lyft Driver Shows Up DUI, Sets Off Fierce Debate Over Ride Service Safety

If you’ve been partying a little too freely, and you want to avoid an arrest for DUI in Los Angeles, you might consider using an app to call ride services like Uber or Lyft. You’d better hope, however, that the driver who shows up isn’t at risk himself (or herself) for a charge of driving under the influence.lyft-DUI-los-angeles

Alex Grant, of Austin, Texas, Grant sensed that something was wrong almost from the time that Lyft driver Allen Edmonds picked him up on March 8th.  Edmonds apparently braked at a green light and swerved into another lane. That’s when an Austin police officer pulled the vehicle over. Grant, who said he could smell beer on the driver’s breath, watched as Edmonds failed the field sobriety test “pretty hard.”

This wasn’t Edmonds’ first arrest for DUI. Back in 2004, prosecutors dropped a DUI charge when Edmonds pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance. He spent two days in jail.

Since the arrest occurred more than a decade ago, however, Lyft didn’t pick it up when Edmonds applied to be a driver for them. Lyft’s rule is that their drivers can’t have had a DUI or drug conviction for the last seven years; they’ve fired him since his arrest.

Grant said he’s willing to use Lyft again, and the service gave him five free rides because of the trouble that he had.

If Edmonds had been driving in California, prosecutors would likely treat him as a first-time DUI offender, since his initial arrest was more than five years ago. That means—under California Vehicle Code 14601.2—that he could spend 10 days to six months in the county jail and pay between $300 and $1,000 in fines. If he lived in Los Angeles County, Edmonds would also have to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.

Call Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor with nearly 20 years of experience and an excellent track record for getting justice for DUI defendants.

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