Friday, December 16, 2016

DUI Checkpoints Scheduled For The South Bay This Weekend

Local police and law enforcement are ramping up saturation patrols and dui checkpoints as we get closer to the holidays.  This weekend Redondo Beach will conduct a sobriety checkpoint in hopes of ensnaring drinking drivers too impaired to operate a motor vehicle.

Here is a list of cities involved:

DUI Checkpoints 

Friday, December 16, 2016

  • DUI/Driver License Checkpoint somewhere in the Santa Monica city limits – 7 P.M. to 3 A.M.
  • DUI/Driver License Checkpoint in the North Patrol Division of Long Beach – 7 P.M. to 3 A.M.
  • DUI/Driver License Checkpoint in the Redondo Beach city limits – 7:30 P.M. to 2:30 A.M.
  • DUI/Driver License Checkpoint in the Pico Rivera city limits – 6 P.M. to 2 A.M.

Monday December 19, 2016

  • DUI/Driver License Checkpoint at Figueroa Street north of 9th Street, Los Angeles – 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Getting Enrolled In Torrance DUI Classes Early

Sometimes it is wise to get enrolled early in a dui class, before you go to Court.  One of the best DUI classes in Torrance is Driver Benefits which is owned by Bill Wickline.  Contact Bill and tell him you want to enroll in the AB541 class but you have not been to Court yet.

Driver Benefits, Inc. is located @ Santa Fe Business Park • 2370 West Carson Street, Suite 150 • Torrance, CA 90501 • 310-320-9550 (direct) • 310-320-9448 (fax) • info@driverbenefitsinc.com

When you show up for the appointment advise them you wish to "self enroll" in the AB541 program at a minimum.  You may be required to complete a longer term program depending on the Court orders but the AB541 is a good start, ensure the school will allow you to switch to a 6 or 9 month class should it become necessary.  Let the school know in advance that you do not have a Court referral or any paperwork because you have not been convicted but you want to self enroll for DMV purposes.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Military Diversion For DUI

For those who sacrifice much to serve our country in the armed forces it is nice to see a little payback from the government and a good example of that is the newly enacted laws in a California allowing veterans and active duty military personnel to avoid a conviction for certain types of criminal offenses such as DUI and drunk driving.  

Recently the second district Court of Appeal in California ruled that DUI offenses are eligible for military diversion in Los Angeles County.  This means that active duty military personnel and veterans can get their drunk driving charges dismissed Pursuant to Penal Code 1001.80 if they suffer from ptsd, mental health issues or substance abuse issues as a result of their military service.  Recently, attorney Matthew Ruff got driving under the influence charges dropped for a client in Manhattan Beach California even though his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.  A Torrance Court Judge allowed the serviceman to get his charges dismissed following successful completion of counseling.

The benefit of military diversion is that if the client performs satisfactorily during the period of Military Diversion, the court will dismiss the criminal charges. In addition, upon successful completion of the Military Diversion program, the arrest upon which the diversion was based shall be deemed to have never occurred, except the arrest upon which the diversion was based may be disclosed by the Department of Justice in response to a peace officer application request, and the defendant is still obligated to disclose the arrest in response to a direct question contained in a questionnaire or application for a position as a peace officer, as defined in Pen. Code § 830. 

So, what must be shown in order to qualify for military diversion for DUI?


In short, to be granted Military Diversion, Counsel is required to provide an assessment or other evidence confirming The defendant is a current or former member of the military and may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problem, as a result of his or her military service. The defense is also required to provide a recommended treatment plan for the accused sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problem. 

Assuming the defendant is granted the request for military diversion the Court will impose certain conditions that must be satisfied in order to earn a dismissal.  The terms of the grant of diversion can vary from Court to Court.  Here is a list of some common requirements:

EXAMPLES OF CONDITIONS OF MILITARY DIVERSION IN DUI CASES:
    1. Twelve to 24 months of treatment

    2. First Conviction DUI Program, minimum AB541, and MADD Impact Panel.

    3. Random drug and alcohol testing by the treatment provider. 

    4. Substance abuse or other counselling, therapy or treatment as recommended in the assessment and/or treatment plan. 

    5. Written progress reports from care/treatment providers due every 90 days.


Who is Eligible For A Grant Of Military Diversion?

    1. Defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or misdemeanors only. 

    2. Defendant is a current or former member of the United States military. 

    3. Defendant may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance adbuse, or mental health problems as a result of his or her military service. 

    4. Defendant consents to being placed on Military Diversion and waives his or her rights to a speedy trial. 


    5. Defendant has not been granted Military Diversion for any other case. 



Here is a sample of a motion that can be filed in criminal court requesting military diversion for a DWI case:

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES 
Counsel requests this Court to place the defendant in a pretrial military diversion program, as specified under California Penal Code section 1001.80.

(Documentation of the defendant's PTSD, mental health issues, trauma or substance abuse problems should be outlined and attached to the motion and presented to the Court)

Section 1001.80 became law in 2015. It creates a diversion program where a serviceperson is accused of a misdemeanor and appears to be suffering from mental health problems resulting from his/her military service, including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. The legislation was created with the express purpose of allowing veterans who are suffering from mental health concerns to not only "get proper services" but also, importantly, to "allow them to be more easily employed in the future by keeping the crime off their record if they complete their diversion program successfully." (Sen. Loni Hancock, Chair, Senate Committee on Public Safety; Bill Author's Summary, S.B. 1227; Hearing Date: April 8, 2014.) The legislation passed overwhelmingly, and reflects our nation's growing understanding of the mental health concerns faced by our members of the military. (See, e.g. VAL WILLINGHAM, "Study: Rates of Many Mental Health Disorders Much Higher in Soldiers Than in Civilians," CNN.com, March 4, 2014.)


LEGAL AUTHORITY
Penal Code section 1001.80 applies "whenever a case is before a court on an accusatory pleading" for a misdemeanor and (1) "[t]he defendant was, or currently is a member of the military," and (2) "[t]he defendant may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of his or her military service." (Penal Code section 1001.80(a).) Upon motion by the defense, where a defendant is found to match these criteria, he can be placed in pretrial diversion program. (Penal Code § 1001.80(b).)

This recently-created military diversion legislation is uniquely broad, in that it places almost no restrictions on eligibility. Unlike diversion programs such as Deferred Entry of Judgment, military diversion under section 1001.80 does not specify that only certain types of misdemeanors are eligible, nor does it preclude servicemen with prior records. It never specifies that the diversion is only available once, nor limit the number of offenses for which a serviceperson can be diverted.

Defendant is clearly eligible for pre-trial diversion for his dui charges in this case.  The motion for military diversion can be made at any point prior to trial.  Most Judges will agree to hear the motion after the District Attorney has reviewed documents and has had an opportunity to object, when appropriate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

If You Are Arrested One Minute Before Midnight You Are Entitled To Credit For Two Days Of Jail

Many folks are arrested shortly before midnight and released the next day.  When this occurs you are entitled to two days of credit towards any jail sentence or any fine imposed by the Court at the time of sentencing.

The Case of People vs. Smith (1989) 211 Cal App 3d 523 provides the authority for this principle

Since section 2900.5 speaks in terms of "days" instead of "hours," it is presumed the Legislature intended to treat any partial day as a whole day. (In re Jackson (1986) 182 Cal. App. 3d 439, 441-443 [227 Cal. Rptr. 303]; see also People v. Scroggins(1987) 191 Cal. App. 3d 502, 508 [236 Cal. Rptr. 569].) (3) "`[W]hen language which is reasonably susceptible of two constructions is used in a penal law ordinarily that construction which is more favorable to the offender will be adopted....' (In re Tartar (1959) 52 Cal. 2d 250, 256-257 [...].)" (People v. Davis (1981) 29 Cal. 3d 814, 828 [176 Cal. Rptr. 521, 633 P.2d 186].) (2b) "The law takes no notice of fractions of a day. Any fraction of a day is deemed a day...." (Municipal Imp. Co. v. Thompson (1927) 201 Cal. 629, 632 [258 P. 955].) (1b) Had the intent been otherwise, the Legislature could easily have provided for credit on the basis of 24-hour periods instead of days.

Many prosecutors will not volunteer this information to a defendant, therefore the accused must request that he or she be given the proper credit at the time sentence is imposed.  The benefit for the person receiving a first time sentence can be the equivalent to a couple hundred dollars off a fine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Good Is The Pink Temporary Paper I Got After My DUI Arrest?

The pink paper you were handed upon release is actually your drivers license until there is an outcome at the DMV hearing.  It is a full license allowing you to drive anywhere you want and can be presented as an ID.  It may be a good idea to also carry a photo ID such as a passport or other government issued identification.  If you do not have a picture ID go to any DMV and request a California Identification Card.

The pink paper will remain good until the DMV sends you another temp license.  It may take more than 30 days to get the subsequent temp but the pink will remain valid because the attorney requested a stay of the suspension, meaning the department will keep your driving privilege valid pending a full formal hearing.

Can I rent a car with the pink license?  Sure, just be sure to also have a picture ID with you.  The car rental companies all do a DMV check anyway so they confirm your license is valid via the computer database.

Should I notify my insurance of the incident?  No, unless there was also an accident that caused damage or some other loss there is no good reason to call your insurance company at this point.  A dui arrest is simply an accusation, there is no conviction until you are adjudged guilty in court or after a DMV hearing.  Therefore it's nobody's business but your own.  Do not call your insurer to request an SR22 unless specifically advised to do so by your attorney.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Blood Test For DUI In Kern County


Blood testing in Kern County is done by the Criminalistics Laboratory and reported to the various law enforcement agencies.  The blood sample is collected using the kit depicted in the above video.  These kits are carried by CHP and other police agencies.  Once the sample is obtained it is transported to the lab and tested.  The testing process takes one to two weeks, however the resu.ts often are not reported for a couple months due to the backlog in resources and staff.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What is CO2 Oil?

CO2 oil is one of the latest cannabis concentrates on the market. It is created by using high pressure Carbon Dioxide that strips the cannabis of its essential oils in a process known as supercritical fluid.  CO2 oil is an orange tinted oil that is free flowing and either clear or opaque depending on the finishing processes used after extraction.  The THC content can be anywhere from 50 to 75 percent.

The benefit of this process is that is does not use any hydrocarbon solvents or flammable liquids during the manufacturing.  This process is the preferred method from a purity standpoint, however the cost of the equipment to manufacture this oil can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The use of concentrates for cannabis ingestion is becoming very popular and it is important for the attorney handling dui cases to be familiar with the various substances on the market.

Friday, August 26, 2016

What Constitutes The Crime Of Evading The Police?

Many people who have been drinking and get behind the wheel of a car attempt to flee an officer if they are close to being pulled over.  There is a common misconception that "evading" simply means running away from the police, but that may not be a crime.  The offense of evading is codified in Vehicle a Code 2800.2.

person violates Vehicle Code section 2800.2 if he flees or attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer in violation of section 2800.1 and the pursued vehicle is driven in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." Section 2800.1 has four elements regarding the police vehicle and officers. The police car must (1) exhibit at least one red light, (2) be sounding a siren as reasonably necessary, (3) be distinctively marked, and (4) be driven by a peace officer who is wearing a distinctive uniform.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Can The Reading Of Miranda Rights Excuse a Refusal?

In California a refusal to submit to a breath or blood test can result in a long suspension or revocation.  There are few defenses to a refusal.  One defense is called 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 (arrested for DUI) 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. [Citations.] 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.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Is Torrance Court Tough on DUI Cases?

Torrance Court sees a lot of drunk driving cases due to its proximity to prominent beach communities and vacation destinations such as Redondo Beach and Hermosa.  The city itself gets many travelers passing through to get to the coast and therefore the police are very experienced in detecting and arresting those who may have imbibed while at the waterfront, pier or one of the many bars and clubs in the area.

How is the Court at treating those charged with DUI?  First, it must be understood that the prosecutors for each of the cities are different depending on the location of arrest.  For example, if the arrest took place in Redondo then the city attorney for that jurisdiction will prosecute the case, whereas if the incident occurred in Manhattan Beach the DA will handle it and so on.

Judges in Torrance are no tougher than in any other Court in Los Angeles County.  The sentencing guidelines are followed and the bench officer will usually impose release conditions on those with high blood alcohol levels or prior convictions for driving under the influence.

What are the typical sentences for a DUI in Torrance?  For most first time offenders the person should expect a 36 month period of probation, fines of $2000, community service, AA meetings, other classes relating to the dangers of drinking and driving and the first offender school of up to 9 months.  The DMV will require an ignition interlock and mandatory suspension of up to 9 months.

In addition to the mandatory punishments, the Court will often require restitution to any victims if an accident was part of the DUI.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Appealing a DMV Decision In A Refusal Case

A DMV refusal suspension is the most serious suspension the department imposes.  The reason behind this goes back to the agreement we all made when our license was issued in California, that is we all agreed to "implied consent" which means if we are arrested for DUI we would agree to submit to a breath or blood test at the request of a peace officer.  The DMV is the exclusive agency responsible for imposing sanctions for failure to submit to a chemical test, therefore the outcome of any concurrent court action will have no effect on any DMV decision regarding a refusal.  Put another way, if the DMV decides to suspend your license for a refusal (versus say having a BAC of .08 or higher), then no criminal court judge or jury can overrule that decision in any concurrent criminal dui case.

What this means is that your underlying criminal court case can be thrown out, dismissed, reduced, or you can be found not guilty and acquitted by a jury and the DMV will still not set aside the suspension for a refusal, unlike cases where you take a test and the issue is where you above a .08 at the time of driving.

There are appeal rights, however.  There are two options following a refusal finding:

1.  You can request an internal review of the decision by way of an administrative review.  This option has a cost of anywhere between $120 to $750 dollars depending on whether you decide to use the services of a lawyer.  The case goes to Sacramento and takes 2-8 weeks.  There is no right to a stay of the suspension pending the review.  You have 14 days from the date of the decision to file this appeal.

2.  You can file what is called a Writ of Mandamus to the Superior Court.  This is essentially a lawsuit against the DMV and the costs to pursue this are substantial.  Attorneys who do this type of work charge between 3-5 thousand dollars plus costs.  A civil judge will hear the case.  The time to do this can be long, anywhere from 2-6 months.  A stay of the suspension can be requested but is rarely granted.

What about a restricted license?  Unfortunately, the DMV has no procedure to request a restricted license in a refusal case.  There is no legal right to a work related license or any other limited license in refusal suspension cases.  The suspension can range anywhere from 1-5 years depending on the licensee's record and age.

What about the issue of need when it relates to a refusal?  Again, unfortunately the DMV does not consider a drivers need when it comes to a refusal suspension.  Therefore, issues such as medical conditions, critical need regarding work, school, etc., are not considered in the case.

Doesn't the DMV need to prove I was actually driving in order to suspend  my  license for refusing to submit to a chemical test?
Surprisingly, no the state only needs to show the officer had a "reasonable belief" that the person was driving in order to trigger the requirement to take a test.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Can I Appeal A DMV Decision?

The law in California allows a person who loses a DMV hearing to file an appeal.  There are essentially two options:  The first is to file what is called an internal administrative review.  This is an appeal that goes to Sacramento and is reviewed by a seperate unit that independently looks at the evidence and decides if the suspension should be upheld.  Many attorneys feel this avenue is a waste of time, however, as a lawyer who has 22 years experience I have had numerous cases overturned by this method and the cost is minimal.  Moreover, should the review be unsuccessful the licensee can still file a writ to the Court.

The second method of appeal is to sue the DMV by filing a court action by way of a writ.  This type of appeal is costly and time consuming.  The average cost to file a writ is well over $5000 and if the appeal is lost you could be on the hook for attorneys fees and costs for not only your side but the DMV as well.  However, this type of appeal is more neutral because an actual judge hears the case, not an employee of the DMV.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Can I Drive A Company Vehicle During Work Without An IID?

If you were sentenced in Los Angeles County for a first time DUI, a second or third offender chances are you were ordered to install an ignition interlock ,aka. IID, in your car and drive only vehicles equipped with an IID for a minimum period of 5 months.  What if you are required to drive a company vehicle or drive an employers car during work?  The law allows you to drive a work vehicle without an IID as long as certain conditions are met.


If the defendant is required to operate a vehicle owned by the defendant’s employer as part of his or her employment, the defendant may operate the vehicle without the installation of an ignition interlock device, as long as the defendant has notified the employer that his or her driving privilege has been restricted under California Vehicle Code section 23575 and 23700, and has proof of that notification in his or her possession or with the vehicle. Veh C §23576(a). 

It should be noted that this exemption does not apply with respect to a vehicle that is owned by a business entity, which is entirely or partly owned or controlled by the defendant. Veh C §23576(b).


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How Can An Expert Assist In A DUI Case?

The defense of a drunk driving case is often multi faceted with many issues that can be pursued to develop a reasonable doubt.  Most of these issues involve science or the violation of regulatory requirements set forth by the state of California.  Indeed, DUI attorneys will tell you that defending a drunk driving case can be complex because of the science involved.  You see, in order to be effective in fighting DWI charges the lawyer must pierce the presumption that the breath test or blood test numbers from the police or lab are indeed accurate and reliable.  Here is how one well known attorney has described it:

"DUI case can be quite complex when it comes to the chemical test aspects of the defense.  Both breath and blood tests often involve very unique scientific calculations that are difficult for the laymen to understand.  This is where an expert can help. The most common experts used in a drunk driving defense are forensic toxicologists who specialize in the interpretation of an individual’s blood alcohol level at a given point in time.  You see the breath or blood test you took will only tell you the level you are at when the sample was collected.  However, what is important is what the BAC was at the time of driving This is where a toxicologist can assist the attorney.  No one’s blood alcohol level remains constant over time, it changes, either going up or down within a certain period of time.  Importantly, when a person has drank alcohol close in time to the stop, he or she will usually be rising which means their particular BAC  will be lower at the time of driving, this helps the defense. Adjudging what a true blood alcohol level is at a certain time involves complex formulas that take into account absorption rates, burn off rates, and metabolism."

In addition to issues of rising blood, many cases involve situations where a cop or other person does not follow the proper procedures when collecting a blood or breath sample.  For example, the phlebotomist may fail to properly disinfect the puncture site or the collection might violate other state regulations.  Here, as well, an expert can be used to show how the procedures were not followed and explain why the violation affects the integrity and reliability of the sample. Hiring an expert can also be helpful in raising other defences such as contamination of a breath test by mouth alcohol or people that suffer from medical conditions such as GERD.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Your Car's Computer Can Be Used Against You In A DUI Crash

In every DUI related car crash information about the speed of the vehicle, whether brakes were pressed prior to impact and other relevant evidence is often crucial in proving gross negligence.  In recent years the police have been getting creative in downloading data from the cars computer or SDM ( sensing diagnostic module) during their investigation. An SDM can provide important information about how the car was being driven moments prior to impact.

In one recent published opinion, People vs. Diaz, the Court noted the following:

"Every vehicle with air bags has an air bag control module that monitors a developing crash and, based on the information received, decides whether to deploy the air bags.   In addition, the module runs a diagnostic examination to make sure that its system is operating properly.   The module also has a function that records data and, after a crash, stores some of that data in the EDR, which is a component of the air bag control module.   For General Motors Corporation vehicles, this module is known as a sensing diagnostic module (SDM)․  In addition to recording such matters as the warning lamp status (which, when lighted indicates problems) and whether the driver's belt is buckled, an EDR captures information about the severity of a crash, known as the delta force or the change of speed, and the duration of the crash.   Moreover, the EDR records and stores four matters for a five-second period before a crash event—the vehicle speed, the engine revolutions per minute (RPM), the brake switch status (whether the brake has been applied), and the throttle position.“The SDM, which is controlled by a microprocessor, has multiple functions:  (1) it determines if a severe enough impact has occurred to warrant deployment of the air bag;  (2) it monitors the air bag's components;  and (3) it permanently records information.   The SDM contains software that analyzes the longitudinal deceleration of a vehicle to determine whether a deployment event has occurred based on testing that was done previously to determine what events would require protection by an air bag.   When the SDM senses an event (either a deployment event or an event that is not severe enough to require an air bag—that is, a near-deployment event), that information is recorded to the microprocessor's electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM).   When the air bag is deployed, the SDM records the event as a ‘Code 51.’)   If the data from an EDR is properly evaluated, it can provide an impartial source of evidence for the reconstruction and biomechanics community to utilize"


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Can Drug Withdrawal Equate To DUI?

It has long been accepted that a person who drives while impaired by a drug can be convicted of DUI.      In this recent case, however, the Court decided that a driver who is affected by the symptoms of drug withdrawal can also be impaired under the current laws in California.  As a Torrance DUI Attorney I have seen many cases where the Courts have allowed a prosecution for DWI when drugs were involved, this case stretches the limits of those laws and was likely influenced by the fact that 2 people died in the case.  Here are the facts of People vs. Jimenez:

Approximately 12 hours after he ingested methamphetamine, defendant drove his car. As defendant withdrew from the effects of the drug, he fell asleep, lost control of his car, and struck two pedestrians, killing them. A jury found him guilty of two counts of second degree murder and other offenses; it sustained allegations of prior DUI convictions. The trial court found a strike and other priors true. On appeal he claimed that "withdrawing" from the effects of methamphetamine does not constitute driving "under the influence" of the drug. The appeals court upheld the conviction. A person is under the influence of methamphetamine when, as a result of using the drug, his mental or physical abilities are impaired to a degree that he no longer has the ability to drive his car with the caution characteristic of a sober person under the same or similar circumstances. 

The Court found that Substantial evidence showed defendant smoked methamphetamine at some time before the accident and subsequently went into drug withdrawal, which resulted in defendant falling asleep at the wheel and killing two people. The prosecution did not need to prove that the defendant was in the first "excited" phase of intoxication. Defendant had three prior DUIs, had received judicial admonitions about the dangers of driving under the influence, and had attended classes in which he was warned of the dangers of drug-impaired driving. Substantial evidence supported the finding defendant drove while drug impaired with conscious disregard for life.   (Thanks CCAP).

Friday, January 15, 2016

DUI Hangover? What's Your Next Move.

For anyone facing the prospect of a looming DUI Court appearance the thoughts can be very terrifying and anxiety filled.  However, with the help of some good advice by a DUI Lawyer the future can look brighter and hopeful.

Most anyone who drives, at some point in their life they can be faced with a stop and arrest for being impaired by either alcohol or drugs or both.  In today's society the use of prescription drugs and even marijuana is prevalent and potentially illegal if mixed with the use of a motor vehicle.  Although the laws for substances other than alcohol are still in a state of flux, this doesn't stop the police from arresting anyone with the slightest appearance of over indulgence.

Here are the things you need to know right know:

  1. If the arrest took place in California you need to take immediate action to protect your driving privilege.  Chances are you were given a temp license and that states you have 30 days to drive, but that doesn't mean you can't fight the suspension. Contact a lawyer right away so a hearing can be arranged with the DMV.
  2. If the DUI involved alcohol there is an excellent chance your BAC may have been rising and therefore lower at the time of driving vs. the time you took the chemical test.  There are things you can do to increase your chances of success in Court and an attorney can spell these things out.
  3. If you have a commercial license the consequences can be exponentially worse than if you have a non comm license.  Contact a lawyer immediately so he can arrange important dates to give you a better chance of prevailing and keep your commercial license.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What Should I Do If I Am Pulled Over For DUI?

This post is written for the benefit of those who are not currently facing a prosecution for drunk driving.  If you are looking at an upcoming Court case this article will do little to assist your defense. However, for anyone is interested in knowing the best way to interact with a police officer if you are pulled over and had been drinking earlier in the night, this article is right up your alley.  Very rarely does a lawyer give free advice on fighting a DUI but this information can help you to avoid being arrested in the first place, or if you are, significantly improve your chances of beating the case in Court.  Here is what you need to know:

1. The Red Lights in Your Mirror

You see the lights in your rear view mirror and begin to panic, don't, you should keep your cool and not show signs of nervousness.  Excessive nervousness or furtive movements will only make the situation worse. Slow down and Find a safe place to pull over, if the officer is directing you over a loud speaker, follow those directions.  Once you are stopped begin to collect your essential documents ( proof of insurance, license and registration) so that you have them ready and do not have to fumble with them while the officer is hovering over you.  Caution:  if your documents are not readily available do not panic.  The last thing you want to do is begin moving about the vehicle looking as though you may be trying to hide something or reach for a weapon.  Some believe it is best to not make any movements while the officer is approaching for fear that the cop may believe you are reaching for a weapon.

2. Initial Face to Face Contact

Once the officer is at your window this is where your actions can determine if the contact escalates into a full blown DUI investigation or you are simply warned, written a ticket and sent on your way.  Law enforcement is trained to look for "cues" to indicate a person is impaired by alcohol or drugs.  This observation begins when they immediately see you and lasts throughout the contact.  Cues can includes seemingly innocuous behavior but when viewed in the totality of the circumstances can become quite incriminating in a Court of law.