Sunday, August 23, 2015

Torrance Court Sees A Change Of Procedure For DUI Cases

As of August 2015 the Torrance Court on Maple will change the way DUI and other misdemeanours are heard.  It used to be that each city in the jurisdiction would have its own Courtroom for arraignment, Redondo Beach and Hermosa were in Division 2, Manhattan Beach and Palos Verdes were in Division P for example.  This all has changed.

Now, all new cases will start in Division 3 for arraignment and what is called EDP or early disposition.  The case can be resolved there and stay there for purposes of resolution.  The Judge in that Courtroom is the well respected Honorable George Bird, a former local criminal defense attorney himself so he knows the ins and outs of working out a fair disposition to cases.

Should the case proceed to trial ,after a not guilty plea, the case will be transferred to one of the previously assigned courtrooms such as Division 2, 5, and P as follows:

Division P of the Torrance Court is presided over by the Honorable Judge Nicole Bershon.  This Court hears all misdemeanor cases originating from Manhattan Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Division 5 of the Southbay Court is presided over by the Honorable Gary Tanaka, a former public defender and County Counsel.  This Court hears all cases coming the the city of Torrance, misdemeanors and drunk driving.

Division 2 is The Honorable Sandra Thompson who presides over all Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach DWI cases and misdemeanours such as drunk in public.

All felony cases are assigned, depending on the case number, to Div L, G, C and other courts in the building.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Drive A Motorcycle, Am I Required To Install An Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Anyone convicted of a DUI in certain counties, such as Los Angeles, is required to install an ignition interlock device in order to get there license back.  What about those who drive a motorcycle?  Do they make ignition interlocks for motorcycles?  As of August 2015 the answer is no.

The California Vehicle Code states " a  "vehicle" does not include a
motorcycle until the state certifies an ignition interlock device
that can be installed on a motorcycle. A person subject to an
ignition interlock device restriction shall not operate a motorcycle
for the duration of the ignition interlock device restriction period.
   (f) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2010."

Therefore, you cannot drive a motorcycle until they make an IID that is capable of being installed on one.  I suggest checking back in a couple months to see if the law changes.  In order to drive legally you will have to park your bike and get a car, at least for the 5 months that the interlock is required.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Facts About Ignition Interlocks (IID) In California

After the Court resolution of your case you should work on getting the IID, there may be some delay in the paperwork so if the provider tells you that there is nothing in the system, you should wait a few days and have them check again.

What is an IID?
An IID is a device wired to a vehicle’s ignition that requires a breath sample from the driver before the engine will start. If the device detects alcohol on the breath, the engine will not start. As the individual drives, the device will request periodic breath samples to ensure continued absence of alcohol in the driver’s system.  Many people wrongly believe they can avoid ever installing an IID if they transfer ownership of the vehicle to someone else, this may not work because the DMV will require an IID in order to get fully reinstated, also if there are any vehicles that you have access to at your residence.  

What does an IID Cost?
The cost of IID devices vary but many companies offer coupons to check around.  Some companies charge more than others but the range will be 50-75 per month.  Intoxalock will offer free installation and the first month free for most customers if you mention the promotion and that you were referred by an attorney.  Shop around though to find a deal that works for you, call a couple different installers.
Here is a link to one special IID offer, IID Discount

The following is a list of all Ignition Interlock Providers:

Low Cost Interlock
(800) 352-4872
Lifesafer Interlock, Inc.
(800) 210-8087
Draeger Safety Diagnostics
(800) 332-6858
Best Labs, Inc.
(877) 715-2253
(877) 258-5696
Instant Interlock
(800) 957-0036
Smart Start, Inc.
(800) 880-3394
Global Interlock Service
(877) 794-3984
Skyfine USA
(888) 886-5016
Autosense International
(800) 498-9071
(877) 777-5020
Guardian Interlock Systems
(800) 499-0994
Blow and Drive Interlock Inc.
(877) 238-4492
Alcohol Detection Systems, Inc.
(888) 786-7384
Budget IID LLC
(844) 551-4883
Alco Alert Interlock, Inc.
(888) 663-9847
A & A Interlock Services
(800) 749-7791

Do I Need to Install an IID?
Yes, if you are convicted of a DUI in any one of the four pilot counties for a violation that occurred from July 1, 2010, through December 31, 2015. Before a driver license can be reissued, you must serve a specified period of suspension or revocation and provide the DMV with the following:
• A Department of Motor Vehicles Ordered Verification of Ignition Interlock, DL 924, form.
• An alcohol treatment program Proof of  Enrollment Certificate, DL 107, or Notice of Completion Certificate, DL 101 form.
 • A California Insurance Proof Certificate, SR 22.
• Pay all applicable reinstatement fees and a $45 administrative service fee.
Once you comply with all reinstatement requirements, DMV will restrict you to drive only vehicles equipped with a certified IID (in addition to any other applicable restrictions) until your IID restriction ends. 

During your IID restriction period, you cannot drive vehicles that are not equipped with a functioning IID. The term of the IID restriction period is based on the initial DUI offense and the number of DUI related offenses you have within the prior 10 years, as specified below:
Number of Offenses Within 10 Years
IID Restriction Period for Conviction of California Vehicle Code (CVC) §23152
IID Restriction Period for Conviction of CVC §23153 or California Penal Code §191.5(b)
5 months
12 months
12 months
24 months
24 months
36 months
4 or more
36 months
48 months

How do I get an IID Installed? 

Contact a California certified IID installer. To obtain a list of certified IID Installers you may:
• Visit DMV’s website at • Call DMV at 1-800-777-0133.
• Visit a DMV field office.

IID installers in all counties are required to offer eligible pilot program participants reduced fees for IID installations and calibrations. The cost will be determined by your family’s income in comparison to current federal poverty guidelines.

 What Happens After an IID is Installed?
Once installed in your vehicle, the IID must be calibrated and inspected by a certified installer at least every 60 days. The inspections ensure that the device is working properly with no evidence of tampering. If the installer notifies DMV that you failed to comply with any of the IID requirements, DMV will “pause” the IID restriction. You will be ineligible to operate a vehicle until DMV receives a new DL 924 or a letter from the IID installer indicating that the IID remains installed and is functioning correctly, or that you are back in compliance with the IID maintenance and calibration requirements. The full restriction term must be served before the IID restriction will be removed from your driving record. If you violate your restriction and drive a vehicle without a functioning IID during your IID

 What if I Don’t own a Vehicle?
To qualify for an exemption, you must submit a signed Exemption for Ignition Interlock Device, DL 4055B, form that certifies under penalty of perjury that you:
• Do not own a vehicle.
NOTE: If you own a vehicle that is on a nonoperational status, you do not qualify for an exemption. DMV will access your registration record(s) to verify the certification.
  • No longer have access to a vehicle at your place of residence.
  • No longer have access to the vehicle used when your DUI offense occurred.
    DMV will only approve signed exemption requests that are submitted within 30 days of the suspension or revocation notice mail date.
    Additional information regarding the IID pilot program, IID installation, and related costs are available at iid_pilot_program_q-a.pdf.
    Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Your Options After A DMV Decision Following A DUI Arrest

The DMV will seek to suspend your license if you blew a .08 or more and were arrested for DUI.  Regardless of the Court disposition they will go after you for the excessive BAC.  The purpose of this article is to explain your options after a DMV administrative hearing.  Essentially you have two choices:

1.  You can wait out the full 4 month suspension and get your full driving privilege restored if you get an SR22 and pay the reissue fee.  2.  You can obtain an early reinstatement which gives you a restricted license to drive to and from work, to and from the classes and any essential Court ordered programs.  If you choose this option you need to get enrolled in an AB541 class, get an SR22 and pay the reissue fee.  In order to get this restriction you have to ride out a 30 day hard suspension where you cannot drive at all.  Also, the restriction will run a total of 5 months.

When you go to the program tell them you want to get enrolled for DMV purposes and you were not Court ordered to complete a class.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Follow Up After A Court Resolution Of Your DUI Case

The purpose of this article is to go over important information about the resolution of your case in Court.  It is important to understand that although I am available to answer any questions and offer guidance to you, I will be closing the file on your case.  To put it bluntly, even though I was your lawyer I cannot act as a babysitter and hover over you to be sure you complete the important terms of your probation and any Court orders.  Here is a step by step guide to make sure you do everything you are supposed to in order to avoid any violations of your informal probation.

1.  Read over the paperwork you were given to understand your due dates for any fines or Court fees. You MUST have the full amount paid by that due date or a warrant will issue for your arrest.  In the event you cannot pay the fine due to financial hardship you must contact the Court directly by going into the clerk's office and either asking for community service or an extension.  You cannot wait until the last minute to do this, if you foresee a problem complying with the due date go in early and work out a plan with the Court.

2.  Unless you have already gotten enrolled in the DUI school prior to the Court date, get enrolled in the program immediately.  If you wait and do not enroll within 21 days of the plea you will be turned away and be required to go back to Court by yourself and get a re-referral.  If this happens you risk having a warrant issued for your arrest and possibly violating your probation.

3.  Make sure you immediately contact the community service centre if you were ordered to perform community labor as part of the plea.

4.  If you were ordered to attend MADD classes or HAM ( Hospital and Morgue) program contact the    Program immediately because there is often a long waiting list and you risk not having time to complete these classes by the due date

5.  As far as your drivers license is concerned you will often be required to file proof of enrollment and proof of SR 22 with the DMV.  In addition, get started now on installing an ignition interlock (IID).  You will get a letter from the DMV soon that will say your license is suspended unless you comply with these requirements.

In conclusion, be sure to stay on top of your deadlines and due dates.  As we discussed, I can often get the case dismissed and expunged if you satisfy the terms of your probation.  However, if you fail to comply with the Court orders this may not be possible.

Lastly, I do not keep a copy of your Court paperwork so if you lose it or misplace it you will need to travel to the courthouse and go to the clerks office to get a copy.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Help! My Loved One Was Arrested For DUI, What Can I Do?

You got a phone call in the middle of the night that a loved one was arrested for DUI and is in jail, what can you do?  First, relax in most cases the person arrested is sitting in a holding cell waiting to be processed and he or she is calling you from that cell.  The police department or county jail facility has phones available for the arrestee to make at least 2 phone calls and it will just be a matter of time before they will be ready for release.

There are 2 possible scenarios that can play out:
1.  If the person arrested has no record, no failures to appear and the offense is a first time DUI, it is very likely they will be release on their "own recognisance". Meaning they will be let out with a ticket that they sign with a promise to appear for a future Court date.

2.  If the person has a record, particularly for a felony, has one or more failures to appear in Court or does not have a license then the jail or may require they post a bail bond to ensure their appearance in a Court.  If they cannot bail out they will be held, usually for 48 hours until they can appear before a Judge for an arraignment.

Another possible scenario can exist where the individual is from out of state and has no ties yo the community.  In this case if the offense is a misdemeanor they can still be cited out as long as they were otherwise cooperative with the arresting officer and the jail staff.

Once the person is released is is imperative that they call a lawyer to initiate the process to save their drivers license.  California does not automatically give you a hearing to challenge the suspension you must contact the DMV to request a formal hearing within 10 calendar days of the arrest.