Monday, June 5, 2017

DRE Use in Marijuana DUI Cases Called Into Question

The use of Drug Recognition Experts in Marijuana DUI investigations is on the rise.  Indeed, the numbers of officers with the enhanced training have proliferated over the last few years, influenced heavily by the changes in the laws related to recreational use of pot.

While training of any kind is certainly a good thing, it is important to not place too much reliance on the DRE.  Certainly cops who go through the block of extra training and are certified as a DRE are better suited to evaluate a suspected drugged driver, however we must be careful to not place too much emphasis on their conclusions.

Recently, the Press Enterprise published an article discussing these issues.  The article can be viewed here Attorney Matthew Ruff Quoted in DUI Marijuana Article.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Defense Of Officer Induced Confusion in a DUI Case

In a DUI case it is not uncommon to see a driver arrested and refuse to submit to a chemical test.  When this happens the attorney will look for a defense to the refusal in order to get around the suspension and revocation the DMV seeks to impose.  One possible defense is known as officer induced confusion.  

It is well recognized in law that when an officer simultaneously reads a driver his implied consent warnings (no right to refuse a test and no right to consult with or to have an attorney present during its administration) in conjunction with the Miranda admonition (right to refuse interrogation and to have an attorney present at all stages of a police interrogation, etc.), it will likely induce confusion. 

Therefore, in cases where a driver has been given Miranda insists on the presence of an attorney before choosing a test the courts have recognized that he [or she] may have been confused by the two warnings and the officers failure to clarify and explain the difference. In such a case the refusal to take a test has been held not to be a refusal within the meaning of California Vehicle Code section 13353. (Rust v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1968) 267 Cal.App.2d 545, 547.) 

The question of officer-induced confusion is one of fact, often dependent on statements in the report indicative of the defendants desire to speak to a lawyer coupled with signs of confusion about the officers demand for an answer to which test to take.  When a driver who has been given Miranda manifests confusion by asserting his [or her] alleged right to an attorney, it is incumbent upon the officer to explain that the right does not apply to these tests. (McDonnell v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1975) 45 Cal.App.3d 653, 658.  The failure of an officer to clear up the confusion renders any alleged refusal to submit to a test insufficient to suspend a drivers license as a result.

Matthew Ruff is a DUI Attorney in Torrance with over 20 years experience fighting both criminal charges and DMV suspensions in California.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Entering Canada With A DUI, What You Need To Know

Canada has some of the toughest restrictions on travelers entering the Country in the World.  If you have a conviction for any criminal offense in California or anywhere else in the United States, here is what you need to know:Canada is a major destination for travel and commerce. In some cases, travellers are being rejected at points of entry due to a previous criminal offence. Canada does not distinguish between a misdemeanour and a felony; therefore if you have a pending criminal charge or are on probation for a crime you may no longer be able to travel to Canada, even for a short trip. What makes a person Inadmissable?  Any conviction for a felony and most misdemeanors.  Interestingly, Canada does not distinguish between felonies and misdemeanors so a charge of DUI, drunk driving, reckless driving, manslaughter, theft, writing a bad check, etc.  can result in your denial of entry. If you are deemed inadmissible There are two ways in which one can overcome their inadmissibility to Canada: Criminal Rehabilitation and Temporary Resident Permits.  We will discuss both of them independently:

Criminal Rehabilitation will permanently resolve an individual’s inadmissibility on a permanent basis as long as 5 years have passed since the completion of their sentence for a non- serious crime. If successful, the conviction(s) will no longer be a limitation to enter Canada.

The first step is to determine if the offence that the individual was convicted of is equivalent to a criminal offence in Canada. However, this is a difficult task that often requires legal expertise.
At least 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of a sentence in order to be eligible for criminal rehabilitation.
If 10 years or more have elapsed, and the individual has only one non-serious conviction, s/he would be deemed rehabilitated and admissible to Canada. However, we recommend a Legal Opinion Letter in order to explain any history of criminality. 

Temporary Resident Permits will allow individuals who are criminally inadmissible to Canada to enter the country for a limited period of time.
Immigration officers will evaluate TRP applications and approve them if the individual has a signi cant reason for entering Canada. Travelling to Canada for business purposes and/ or for reasons that benefit Canada will improve their chance of success. 
A temporary resident permit is necessary for entry to Canada if:
Less than 5 years has passed since completing a sentence for a crime equivalent to a Canadian federal offence.

More than 5 years has passed and criminal rehabilitation has NOT been approved. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

How Does The California DMV Define a Refusal

A refusal to take a test following a DUI arrest carries the harshest penalty under law.  The state can revoke your driving privileges for up to 3 years.  How does California define a refusal in legal terms?

Before the DMV may suspend a driver's license for failure to submit to a chemical test, the DMV must make four findings: (1) the officer had reasonable cause to believe the person was driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; (2) the person was arrested; (3) the person was told that if he or she refused to submit to, or did not complete, a chemical test his or her license would be suspended; and (4) the person refused to submit to, or did not complete, such a test. 

The question whether a driver "refused" a test within the meaning of the statute is a question of fact. To comply with the law, a `driver should clearly and unambiguously manifest the consent required by the law. Consent which is not clear and unambiguous may be deemed a refusal.' In determining whether an arrested driver's conduct amounts to a refusal to submit to a test, the court looks not to the state of mind of the arrested driver, but to "the fair meaning to be given [the driver's] response to the demand he submit to a chemical test.  As such, whether a driver intended to refuse or not is not the determining factor.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Arrested For DUI? Things You Should Know

There is a lot of stress and worry that follows a DUI arrest, knowing what to do and what not to do is important.  Here are the most common mistakes people make:
1. Forget to demand a DMV hearing. This is THE MOST important thing to do because if you fail to act your rights will be lost forever. When you were released you received a pink piece of paper that has two purposes 1.  It is a temp license, 2.  It tells you that your driving privileges WILL BE SUSPENDED for up to 3 years because of the incident.  Matthew can STOP the suspension in its tracks.  He can acquire copies of the reports, chemical test and other evidence BEFORE any action is taken.
2. Hire the cheapest lawyer in town. Attorneys are professionals and charge based on their experience and skill level. If you hire a cheap attorney you will get what you pay for.
3. Miss your Court date. Many people believe that they will get a courtesy reminder in the mail from the Court telling them about their upcoming appearance. This in incorrect. Unlike a traffic ticket where a courtesy notice is sent, DUI cases are criminal which means you will have to look at the release paperwork you were given and be sure to attend that important arraignment unless you are told otherwise by your attorney.  Matthew can go to Court for you.  Many folks do not or cannot attend Court, Matthew can appear on your behalf and oftentimes resolve the case.
Attorney Matthew Ruff has over 20 years experience fighting DUI cases.  He has handled thousands of DMV hearings and won many cases for his clients.  If you want to schedule a consultation all Matt directly, toll free at 1-877-213-4453 or visit his website 
Best DUI Defense Attorney for more information.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What Does DMV Hearing Decision "Under Submission" Mean?

In California a DMV hearing is presided over by a state employee called a hearing officer.  This hearing officer listens to the evidence and arguments made by the attorney and decides whether the DMV has met their burden of proof with respect to a DUI arrest and whether the driver had a .08 or more or refused to take a test under state law.

After a hearing has been conducted a decision can be made immediately or can be given in writing by mail.  In many cases the hearing officer is presented with legal arguments from counsel that require him or her to review the evidence and make a final decision with regard to the case.  It is a good sign that the DMV hearing officer is taking the time to consider all of the issues.

A case taken under submission usually results in a decision being made within a few days or a couple weeks, however, during this time the person's license remains valid and they can continue to drive pending a final decision.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Understanding The Terms Of Probation On Your California DUI

Congratulations on the resolution of your DUI case.  You can begin to move on with your life and begin the process of putting this situation behind you.  This article is intended to help you understand the terms of your probation and obligations to the Court.  You will receive the paperwork with the terms of the case disposition and this will help to explain the specific orders and conditions the Judge imposed in your case.

First, you were granted informal Court probation meaning you will not need to report to any probation officer or check in on any monthly schedule.  As long as you follow the orders of the Court you will be in compliance and at the conclusion of 36 months you can seek to have your plea withdrawn and request that the case be dismissed and expunged.  Let's go into the specific terms that you must follow for the remainder of your probationary period, these are the basic terms, you may have additional terms imposed, be sure to read and understand the paperwork given to you by the Court:

  1. You cannot drive with any measurable amount of alcohol or drugs in your system.
  2. You cannot refuse to take and complete any chemical test, field sobriety test or preliminary alcohol screening test when requested by any peace officer.
  3. Do not drive unless licensed and insured and have the minimum insurance required by law.
  4. Obey all laws and orders of the Court.
  5. Enroll in within 21 days and complete the Court ordered DUI program.
  6. Pay all fines and fees imposed within the period ordered by the Court.
  7. Enroll in and complete any MADD or HAM program ordered.
  8. Complete any Court ordered community labor.
The foregoing are the most basic obligations.  There may be other conditions that apply to you so be sure to read and understand the specific sentence you were given.

Be sure to understand the deadlines imposed by the Court.  For example, unless you already enrolled in or completed the DUI school prior to your sentencing, you must enroll in the class within 21 days. If you do not, you will be in violation of your probation, you will be required to go back to Court and explain why you did not follow the Judge's orders and ask for a re-referral to the program.

Also, if you do not pay the fines and fees directly to the Court by the due date you will be in violation of your probation, a warrant will issue for your arrest and you may be denied an expungement.

Any violation of the Court imposed terms of probation could result in a warrant being issued for your arrest, you could be denied the opportunity to get the case expunged and have your probation extended beyond the initial term.