Articles Tagged with los angeles dui attorney

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Under California’s vehicle codes, drivers suspected of a DUI in Los Angeles must submit to breathalyzer or blood tests or face a license suspension of one year for the first offense (two years for the second offense and three years for the third) and must pay a fine of $125.  DUI implied consent-los-angeled

Texas has a similar implied consent law, and the state’s appeals court has just upheld its constitutionality.

Officer Luis Villarreal of the McAllen, Texas, Police Department pulled John Andrew Rankin over on July 19, 2014, after the driver breezed through a blinking red light without stopping. The officer reported that Rankin smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred his speech. When Rankin failed field sobriety tests, Villarreal arrested him for driving under the influence. At the police station, Rankin refused to take a breathalyzer test.

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Drivers at risk for DUI in Los Angles sometimes face dilemmas. They don’t want to drive when they suspect they’ve had a few too many, but if they don’t move their cars from a bar’s parking lot, they may risk a tow truck taking it to an impoundment lot. Would they be more inclined to seek alternative transportation if they knew that their cars would remain in place overnight? dui-los-angeles-tow-trucl

The City of Tampa, Florida, thinks that they will. In 2008, the City adopted an ordinance that made it illegal for bars to have vehicles on their lot towed between 9 p.m. and noon the next day, unless they have signed an order authorizing its removal. The law also forbids tow truck drivers from removing any vehicle unless they have a signed order that gives the make, model, color and license plate of the vehicle and the name of the person in the bar who ordered the removal.

But the law has not worked as intended. According to a series of investigative reports by TV 10News in Tampa, neither bar owners nor customers are aware of the law. People interviewed for the news story said that fear of towing did play a role in their decision to drive their vehicles after they had been drinking.

So Tampa’s City Council is now considering another measure to require any bar or restaurant that serves alcohol to post signs telling customers that their vehicles cannot be towed before noon. According to 10News, the goal is to encourage anyone who’s had too much to drink to seek a lift from a cab, Uber, Lyft or a friend.

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Pro tip: People who want to avoid charges for a DUI in Los Angeles (or for other criminal charges) should avoid gifting police officers powerful evidence against them.los-angeles-DUI-police-chase

In Tumwater, Washington, on May 17th, police charged 32-year-old Christopher Rieg with hit and run and with driving under the influence. Reportedly, Rieg traveled through an intersection, slammed into a black sedan and then took off. But he left behind something from his vehicle—his license plate. When a police officer found the tag in the intersection, he did a quick search and found that the plate belonged on a car owned by Rieg. The officer also uncovered a booking photo of Rieg from an earlier arrest.

Police officers discovered Rieg and a female companion standing by the side of the road not far from the crash scene. They administered a blood alcohol test and found his BAC level was .16 – twice the legal limit. After Rieg went to jail, a judge set his bail at $50,000.

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Police arrested thousands of people for DUI in Los Angeles and other cities throughout the country this month. Here are a few that made national headlines.Rikki-Cheese-DUI

•    Authorities in Orlando, Florida, reported that they picked up a minivan with five underage teens—including a 17-year-old driver—obviously under the influence. This traffic stop was unusual, however, because teens were all Amish, and their vehicle had been traveling at speeds of more than 100 mph. The driver reportedly didn’t even have a license; he was operating the vehicle on a learner’s permit.

•    The afternoon news anchor of KTNV-TV Channel 13 in Law Vegas made headlines when her own station reported on her arrest on a misdemeanor DUI charge. Rikki Cheese had a previous arrest for DUI in 2009.

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Should the public be informed if a judge gives a driver convicted of a Los Angeles DUI a very light sentence? The State of New Mexico thinks that’s what should happen in the Land of Enchantment. susana_martinez-new-mexico-DUI-los-angeles

New Mexico judges who routinely hand out lenient sentences to DUI drivers may soon have observers in their courtroom. Governor Susana Martine announced in mid-April that New Mexico plans to pay staffers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to monitor these trials—and to report to state officials on what they’re seeing. State employees will tweet the names of the repeat offenders and the judges who let them off easily.

According to an Associated Press report, the state has given MADD an $800,000, two-year contract to carry out this work. Governor Martine said the program is necessary, because the justice system too often fails families whose suffer because they have lost loved ones in DUI-related crashes.

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car-flooded-fatal-DUI-los-angelesOver the years, this blog has reported on dozens of Los Angeles DUI stories involving fatal wrecks. In court and in news reports, drivers often lament that they think about their crashes with remorse every single day.

Nen Yang, 55, will have to live the rest of his life knowing that he likely caused the death of an unidentified woman passenger on March 5th. Rains flooded some of the roads in Yuba County, but Yang, instead of stopping at a closed-off section of road between Highways 65 and 70, reportedly plowed right through the water that was laying on it. Only when it was too late did he realize that the water was six to eight feet deep—enough to submerge his vehicle.

Los Angeles’ KTLA television station reported that while Yang managed to struggle out of the flooded car, his 52-year-old female passenger was not so lucky. She died, trapped in the car as the water poured in.

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When drivers arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles hire attorneys to represent them, they expect that their counsel will help them resolve issues quickly. But Jason William Gale had a different experience. He discovered—20 years after his DUI arrest!—that his attorney had not followed through in handling Gale’s 1995 DUI arrest in Grand Forks, North Dakota. So when Grand Forks prosecutors (finally) caught up with Gale about a year ago, they took him to court, where the judge found him guilty and fined him $500.north-dakota-dui-ruling-los-angeles-DUI-blog

Now the North Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that the 20-year delay violated Gale’s right to a speedy trial.

According to the Bismarck Tribune, Gale’s attorney in 1995, Henry Howe, reported to his client that the case was resolved and closed. Gale left North Dakota shortly after that time. But a background check for a security job Gale was applying for turned up an outstanding arrest warrant for the DUI case. Cass County, which was prosecuting the case, said it had sent three notices to Gale. However, Gale said the court had his address because of other legal actions and claimed that he had never received any such notice.

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Judges are doling out some harsh punishments for drivers who don’t learn their lessons after their first DUI conviction. State laws offer guidelines for punishment; under California Vehicle Code 14601.2, for example, people with a second conviction for a DUI in Los Angeles may face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. But judges do have some leeway, and many are choosing to be severe.Jason-DeShazer-DUI-los-angeles-attorney-reports

In Montana, a man who violated his parole after killing a 27-year-old teacher in a DUI-related accident will serve 10 years in prison. DailyInterLake.com reports that Jason DeShazer spent 3 ½ years in jail on a negligent homicide conviction before his release. He was arrested again in September 2015, when police picked him up for a DUI on a motorcycle and with driving without a license. In another incident in that same month, police who had stopped him on suspicion of DUI found him with methamphetamine and heroin in his vehicle. The judge ordered DeShazer back to prison to serve out his original negligent homicide sentence; he still awaits trial on the newer charges.

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If a government prosecutor pleaded guilty to a charge of DUI in Los Angeles—for the second time in less than two years—would that prosecutor go to jail? Would someone who wasn’t as well connected end up behind bars? While there’s no way to tell what might happen in Los Angeles, in San Diego County, Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Ocain has avoided jail time in her second DUI case.DA-Rebecca-Ocain-DUI-charge

The San Diego Union Tribune reported that Ocain, age 39, had pled guilty early in October to a misdemeanor charge of DUI and hit-and-run. Police arrested her in August after she crashed into a cemetery wall and then ran from the scene on foot.

Ocain, who broke her arm during her encounter with the wall, had a blood alcohol content of 0.30%, according to a test taken about an hour after her arrest. That’s nearly four times the legal limit, as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 23152 of 0.08%. But the BAC number San Diego County used during her arraignment in August was 0.20%. In her previous arrest the year before, her BAC was 0.28%. (For reference, a BAC of 0.40% is often fatal.)

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If police recently stopped you on Fairfax or La Brea for speeding and driving under the influence in Los Angeles, odds are that your plate is pretty full. You are probably not thinking too much about global or national issues. Rather, your focus (understandably) is on what you can do to protect your license, stay out of jail, avoid paying massive fines and fees, and avoiding seeing huge spikes on your driver’s insurance premiums.eat-right-los-angeles-DUI

However, you might find it resourceful to take a step back and consider your DUI situation in a broader context.

Most law enforcement agencies, judges, attorneys and public health and safety advocates hold certain fundamental beliefs about the dangers of DUI as well as what should be done to stop this problem. Some sound science supports these policy positions. But the nature of the discussion about DUI prevention, treatment and punishment is ultimately fluid, even if laws like California Vehicle Code Section 23152 and 23153 don’t radically shift over time.

As our understanding of the science of DUI evolves, our laws, institutions and even culture should follow. But would they? Would solid evidence that we got certain “facts” about DUI change our minds?

As a parallel case study, consider the current battle right now being waged in Washington D.C. over the future of the United States Dietary Guidelines. Every 5 years since 1980, the government has issued guidelines for what Americans should eat to be healthy and fit. This year’s process has been anything but smooth, leading to over 29,000 comments on the USDA’s feedback page and sparking a major public battle over the science of nutrition.

Many high level politicians, scientists and even former members of the DGA Committee have argued that the process has gotten out of hand – that our guidelines are not based on sound evidence and that bias and industry interests are setting the agenda. Notably, the British Medical Journal – one of the most reputable medical journals in the world – issued a scathing analysis of the Dietary Guidelines Committee’s report – a report that typically forms the basis of policy.

While we can’t tell what’s going to happen with respect to this year’s guidelines, there’s a big (if subtle) lesson here for DUI defendants. Just because an authority determines that XYZ is a “scientific fact” doesn’t mean that that person (or institution) is right. Subsequent science could come along to force refinement or even rejection of that initial position.

And that’s all a roundabout way of explaining why it is so important for you, as a defendant, to work with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney, such as Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group.

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