Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How To Get Your License Back After a Second DUI

Matthew Ruff, Torrance DUI Attorney
Torrance DUI Attorney 

California will suspend your license for up to three years after a second DUI within a 10 year period. However, there is a way to get it back as soon as 90 days if you meet certain criteria.  First, you must have taken a breath or blood test.  If you were marked as a refusal the early reinstatement does not apply.  Second, you must not have been convicted of DUI with injury and the DUI must have involved alcohol, not drugs.

You must wait 90 days after the Court resolution in order to seek an early reinstatement.  You will generally get 2 letters from the DMV.  The first is the APS suspension, that is one year.  The second is the Court suspension, that is two years, however they run concurrently.  

Assuming the Court case and administrative hearing process are both resolved here is what you need to do in order to get your license back after a second DUI in 10 years:
  1. Get enrolled in the 18 month second offender DUI school ordered by the Court.  Take your paperwork from the Court to your chosen class and make sure they file the correct form with the DMV, they will sometimes give you the official form which you can file yourself, but you are paying them a fee so they should do it for you.  If you are a California resident you should confirm the class satisfies the requirements of the DMV. If you are a non-CA resident be sure to speak to your attorney about the options you have. Make sure the program also files the enrollment certificate with the Court as well. You must do this within 21 days of the resolution in Court so do not delay.
  2. Make sure you have an SR-22 filed with the DMV.  An SR22 is nothing more than an official proof that you have the minimum required proof of insurance mandated by the DMV.  It is best to get the SR22 as soon as possible.  You cannot simply send in the little card you got from the insurance company, that will not be sufficient.  The proof must be sent in by the insurance company in order to comply with CA law.
  3. If the offense occurred in Los Angeles County you must install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.  The DMV will check to verify the ownership of any vehicles registered to you or any person at the home in which you reside and have access to.  If you do not own any vehicles, use any vehicle or have access to any car at the residence there is a waiver which you can fill you and send to the DMV, but the State will not reinstate your license unless and until you install an IID in a vehicle you drive
  4. You must pay a re-issue fee to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  This fee  ranges from $140 to $240 dollars and must be submitted in order to receive your original license.
  5. Ensure you have no outstanding tickets or "holds" on your license such as tickets you never paid or any FTA or failure to appear.
Remember, you must first endure a 90 day hard suspension during which time you cannot be caught driving otherwise your vehicle will be impounded at you will be facing a new Misdemeanor charge.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Can Police Search Your Car For Marijuana in California

Here is the scenario, an officer stops you for a traffic violation and subsequently sees evidence of possession of a legal amount of marijuana.  Can they proceed to search your car on that basis?  No, the law allows for possession of recreational marijuana and prohibits police from conducting exploratory searches on that basis alone.  Specially, H&S § 11362.1(c) clearly provides that marijuana possessed under lawful circumstances is “not contraband nor subject to seizure,” nor does a subject’s lawful conduct pursuant to section 11362.1(a) “constitute the basis for detention, search, or arrest.” Also, People v. Torres et al. (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 989, 993-998, held that a warrantless search upon the speculative belief that more marijuana than lawfully allowed may be found is illegal.

There are instances where a police officer may be justified in detaining you however.  H&S § 11362.3(a) makes it illegal (an infraction) to smoke or ingest marijuana (1) in a public place (subd. (a)(1), which arguably includes in a vehicle while out on the public streets or in any other public place), (2) anywhere where smoking tobacco is prohibited (subd. (a)(2)), (3) within 1,000 feet (including simple possession, whether or not it’s being smoked, if on the grounds) of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present (subd. (a)(3) & (5)), or (4) while driving or operating, or when riding in the passenger seat or compartment, of a motor vehicle, boat, vessel, or aircraft (subd. (a)(7) & (8)). It is also illegal for anyone to (5) possess (whether or not it’s being smoked) an open container or open package of marijuana while driving, operating, or riding in the passenger seat of a motor vehicle, boat, vessel, or aircraft. (Subd. (a)(4)).

Based on the foregoing, As long as you are over 21, there are no open containers inside the vehicle and you are not smoking the pot inside the car, there would be no legal basis to conduct a search of the vehicle for more marijuana.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Does Submission To An Officer’s Authority Constitute Consent To Draw Blood in a DUI Case?

No, says People vs. Ling (2017) 15 Cal App 5th Supp. 1
The Court held the People bear the burden of proving that a consent was, in fact, freely and voluntarily given. “This burden cannot be discharged by showing no more than acquiescence to a claim of lawful authority.” (Bumper v. North Carolina (1968) 391 U.S. 543, 548.) To be effective, consent must be voluntary. Voluntariness is to be determined by considering the “totality of the circumstances.” It is also the rule that “assent” alone is not necessarily “consent.” “Consent, in law, means a voluntary agreement by a person in the possession and exercise of sufficient mentality to make an intelligent choice, to do something proposed by another . . . . [Assent] means mere passivity or submission, which does not include consent.” Neither is there consent when all we have is the mere submission to an express or implied assertion of authority. Defendant in this case was told that “(b)ecause you’re under arrest for DUI, you have to submit to a chemical test, which is a test of either your breath or your blood.” Never was he asked if he was willing to summit to such a test. Telling him that he “has to submit” to a chemical test of his blood communicates a reality where the chemical test will be conducted against defendant’s will, if necessary. He was also never given the opportunity of choosing between providing a breath sample or a blood sample.

In Ling, the Court found the defendant’s lack of physical or verbal resistance to submitting to a blood test, by itself, does not mean that he had consented to the procedure. In sum, the Court noted that “(t)he People fail to point to any evidence in the record showing that defendant consented to the blood draw nor could they.” The evidence instead shows that defendant submitted to a blood draw and that this submission was due to the officer's expression of lawful authority. As concluded by the Court; “absent evidence to the contrary, it cannot be presumed that individuals under arrest could reasonably construe a direction from an arresting officer that they must take some action as a mere query as to whether they will voluntarily consent to it. Consequently, the totality of the circumstances shows defendant did not consent to the blood draw.” The blood results, therefore, should have been suppressed.

In most DUI arrests the officer will read the suspect an advisement informing him or her of their obligations and rights to submit to a chemical test in the state of California.  Here, that was not done.

It is clear that the arresting officer in this case was either totally oblivious to, or chose to ignore, the plethora of recent (i.e., post Missouri v. McNeely (Apr. 17, 2013) 569 U.S.__ [133 S.Ct. 1552].) cases discussing the need for a full explanation of the V.C. § 23612 implied consent rules, along with evidence that a DUI arrestee do more than merely acquiesce, and actually consents, to a blood or breath test, in order for the results to be admissible in court. The Court in fact makes some reference to the need for law enforcement officers to stay up on the law if their arrests are going be of any benefit. ( Courtesy of Robert Phillips).

The rule in this case is as follows: The results of a blood test in a DUI case are inadmissible absent evidence that the defendant did in fact consent to the taking of a blood sample. A mere submission to authority is not consent.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I Received A Letter From California Board Of Nursing About My DUI, What Do I Do?

If you have been arrested for DUI in California and have a nursing license chances are the License Board will be notified of the arrest.  By law when a person holding a professional license is arrested the licensing agency is automatically notified at which time an investigation will commence.  The Board of Nursing will contact you for information about the law enforcement contact, it is always in your best interest to cooperate.

You may receive a letter requesting information about the incident.  What should you do.  Cooperate.  You are required by law to respond.  You should email, fax or mail a response with 30 days.

Here is a sample letter of the information you should provide:

(Your name, address and phone number)

California Board of Nursing

Case No.

To Whom it may concern,

I was arrested on (give the date)  by the (give the law enforcement agency, CHP, Los Angeles Sheriff, etc).  I was given a Court date of ( provide the date).  I have hired an attorney Matthew Ruff to represent me.  His number is 310-527-4100.

At this time I am informed no official charges have been filed against me.  I intend to cooperate fully with your investigation.

Should you require any additional information feel free to contact me.

(Sign your name here)

How Will A DUI Affect Me If I Am A Pilot?

A drunk driving arrest will be treated differently depending on what you do for a living.  If you are a commercial pilot a DUI can be devastating if not handled properly.  The FAA dictates the rules for pilots and what they do outside of work can also be considered.  If you fly for a living your company may also take action against you.  Here is what you need to know right now:

First, an arrest for driving under the influence is just an allegation.  Until there is some adjudication of guilt by a Court or governmental agency it remains an accusation only and you have rights.

What about Mandatory reporting requirements?  Yes, there are specific requirements to report a DUI conviction or administrative license suspension to the FAA.  Specifically, under 14 CFR 61.15 all pilots are obligated to report the incident to the FAA.  However, that only applies if you are convicted or your drivers license is actually suspended.  If you hire an attorney within 10 calendar days of the arrest an actual suspension of your drivers license can be avoided pending a hearing on the issue.

The first thing to do is hire a professional to assist you.  A DUI arrest for a pilot is not the type of thing you can handle DIY.  Find a lawyer local to the area where you were arrested.  The attorney should be well versed in the consequences a conviction will have on the pilots license and his job.  Immediate action must be taken to avoid a mandatory suspension of the drivers license on an administrative level as a suspension from the DMV may trigger a mandatory duty to report the incident to the FAA.

Attorney Matthew Ruff has represented many pilots for DWI and alcohol related offenses in the last 20 years with remarkable success.  Here are two recent examples of cases where Matt achieved phenomenal results.

Case example 1:  Matthew was retained by a pilot living in the South Bay after he was arrested in Redondo Beach for DUI.  He was caught up in a sobriety checkpoint and was arrested after the officers detected an door of alcohol on his breath, poor performance on FST's and slurred speech.  He took a breath test that reported his BAC to be .10 percent, .03 higher than the legal limit in California of .08 or more.  Matt immediately contacted El Segundo DMV Driver Safety for a hearing and demanded a stay of the suspension of his driving privileges.  He obtained the reports and evidence and carefully scrutinised them for evidentiary issues.  He was able to uncover problems with the test and worked with his toxicologist to build a Defense.  He used that strategy to negotiate a dismissal of the DUI charges in Torrance Court and subsequently obtained a set aside of the administrative suspension of his license.

Case example 2:  A commercial pilot was arrested in Long Beach for public intoxication after he was contacted by police leaving a bar on Pine.  He spent the night in jail and was released with a Court date.  He hired Matthew who immediately understood the consequences this would have on the client's job and FAA licensing.  Matt reached out to the local prosecutor and ultimately all charges were dropped prior to any Court date.  This resulted to no arrest record that could hurt the client's employment or pilots license.

If you are a pilot facing a criminal offense in California, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Manhattan Beach or anywhere else, contact Matthew at 310-527-4100 for immediate help and advice on what to do.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Matthew Ruff, Top Rated Attorney

Matthew Ruff is a Top Rated attorney with over 20 years experience.  All of the Internet rating services have given a Matthew the highest award, based largely on his experience and client feedback.  Read all of Attorney Matthew Ruff reviews.  Here is one example of a recent review posted by an actual client (edited to protect identity)

".....thanks again for your assistance.  I have read horror stories about the [first attorney I almost hired] and I am 100 percent certain I would have had a different outcome if I had retained his services.  I am quite pleased with this outcome.    I am going to remember you for quite some time and if any LA based pilots or those passing through have any legal issues and I become aware of it, I am going to insist they contact you and  retain your services.  I am carrying your contact info in my wallet.  It is hard to find a stand up person nowadays in a profession that attracts the likes of  [first attorney I almost hired]. I cringe at the thought of how much I could have spent on that guy or someone like him out of desperation, only to support their lavish lifestyle and horrible work ethic.  Your honest good work has been a breath of fresh air.  All the best. "

Matthew is always appreciative of the kind words sent by his clients.

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.