Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Dream Act, Reward for iIlegal Conduct?

The government lawmakers this week shot down the "dream act"  effectively denying young children of illegal immigrants the opportunity to become citizens and finally be a part of the United States as legal citizens.  Many believe this act was a reward to those that entered the US illegally, others say it rewards those who had no say in where they grew up and did the right thing by going to school and staying out of criminal trouble.  Time will tell which side eventually prevails.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ticket Myths

There are few things that evoke more fear or loathing than getting stopped and ticketed by a law enforcement officer.  The legal process that follows can be quite daunting from the standpoint of mounting a defense or dealing with the problem.  One Lamont Speeding Ticket Attorney has assembled a list of common myths and half truths related to traffic tickets, it's worth taking a look at.

Friday, December 10, 2010

DUI While Parked

Penal Laws in the state of California define DUI as driving at a time when your mental or physical faculties are impaired to such a degree that you cannot operate a motor vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person. The interrogatory is frequently asked if a person can be arrested and charged with a DUI while they are parked in their driveway. The answer to this question depends on whether the police can establish actual driving. Obviously,  the law does not require that the police officer actually see the person driving, this element can be proven using circumstantial evidence. So, if the governmental officer sees the person pull into his own driveway and he is under the influence, game over. Further, if another witness sees the driving, same conclusion. Also, if evidence can be obtained to infer recent driving, IE. warm engine, admissions to recent drinking at the bar prior to arriving home, slumped over wheel while engine running, etc, all can be used to come to a rational conclusion that the person was driving. If other evidence, FST's breath tests and other evidence established that the person was impaired at the time of driving, a DUI case can be established.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

DUI Law in the New Millennium

It is indeed axiomatic that as civilizations evolve there is a corresponding increase in new laws and regulations designed to conform the society to a given paradigm.  Criminal laws are no different.  In our current civil structure we have experienced this upward pressure particularly in the category of rules governing the use of motor vehicles, aka automobiles.  It is evident that the legislative bodies have concluded we are unable to think for ourselves and conform our behavior to basic common sense.  A good example of this is the criminalization of the use of cellular phones while driving and the use of active restraints such as seat belts.  DUI laws are also on the agenda and we will see an increase in legislative interaction into how we govern those that use alcohol and drive.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Over the Influence" commercials send the right message to our youth

Recently, I have seen the new television commercials that espouse abstinence from alcohol and drugs, targeted mainly to young people. These messages need to be played more frequently to buffer then constant onslaught of ads that encourage getting drunk and being under the influence, great work whoever put these together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Correlation Between DUI and Domestic Violence?

Many social scientists believe that domestic violence goes hand in hand with alcohol consumption and as the economy gets worse alcohol abuse is on the rise. DUI comes into play, according to one Long Beach Domestic Violence Attorney, when the misuse of alcohol becomes intertwined with Domestic Violence. As the situation escalates, often the abuser will find him or herself pushing the limits of societal norms and find themselves drinking and driving which may lead to DUI. The studies are awaiting peer review on this one, stay tuned.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Right to an Independent Test in California

All states require a suspect in a drunk driving case to submit to a chemical test, breath blood or urine. In California if the arrestee chooses a breath test he also has the right to a second independent test of blood or urine in order to save a sample for retesting if he chooses. the test will be at the person's expense and is only permitted when breath is the first test. the rationale is that the breath cannot be saved and therefore if a sample is desired for retesting then a bllod or urine can be requested.

What is Retrograde Extrapolation?

In some cases a person's blood alcohol level may not be high enough to attempt to punish him or her for driving with a proscribed level. In these cases the prosecutor will try an "relate back" the BAC to the time of driving in an effort to show the BAC was higher at the time of drving versus the time the test was administered. Some believe that this is nothing more than an educated guestimate. To do this the DA will use an expert to use various "known" facts and assume the other unknowns. This practice is frowned upon by many DUI scientists yet many Judges will allow the evidence despite crticism by those in the scientific community.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

California DUI Laws

No area of the law has undergone such a significant change over the last 20 years than that of California DUI Law. Indeed, the legislature has tinkered and toyed with various aspects of the criminal drunk driving laws such as sentencing, enhancing sentences through new statutes that impose more severe jail requirements under certain factual circumstances such as speeding, having children in the car and having elevated blood alcohol levels. The state has shortened the time period that a DUI prior can be used in the current case. An increase in the length of DUI schools, adding three additional programs. All of these changes just in the last decade or so. What changes will we see in the coming years? Time will tell.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The New Law About DUI Ignition Interlock Requirement

Last year the California Legislature came up with a bright idea to force first time DUI offenders with no other record to install a device in every car they own that would block any attempt to start the vehicle without a blow from a human that has no alcohol in their breath. The pilot programs in Los Angeles, Tulare and Kings County would be part of DUI probation and would remain on the car for a minimum of three months. According to one Burbank DUI Lawyer , the new law is a complete waste of money and an undue hardship for most first offenders. "The new law only benefits the companies that install the devices" there is little deterrent effect in the implementation of the program and the Courts will be overwhelmed in an already tight budget crisis. Some believe that the new law should be looked at again and repealed. What are your thought?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Enjoying the Beach, Avoid coming on vacation and leaving on probation

With the summer here and temperatures soaring, many are visiting local beach communities but find themselves being arrested for a DUI. One Grover Beach DUI Attorney has warned that watch out for local police who ramp up the enforcement and DUI patrols when the temp warms up. Avoid being arrested by following these 3 basic rules: If you drink do not drive, If you have no one to drive for you take a cab home and If you are going out to party leave your car keys at the door. have fun this summer!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Can a Medical Marijuana Defense be Lodged Against a DUI Charge

With many in California getting a doctor's recommendation to smoke marijuana comes the frequent question of whether a prescription for pot use can be a defense to a DUI? The short answer to this question is no. California law proscribes a person from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Just as a person cannot go into Court and claim that they purchased alcohol legally or purchased pain killers legally, they cannot say that they can drive while under the influence of pot just because they had a prescription, period!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Is There a Crime of Parking While Drunk

More often nowadays attorneys are seeing cases involving individuals arrested for DUI that were not actually driving . The question many folks have is whether it is legal to arrest foe drunk driving when the suspect was actually parked. The officer is permitted under California law to arrest if he suspects that the person was driving when they were intoxicated even if they were not driving when the officer pulled up. Th bottom line is that there must be sufficient circumstantial evidence that shows a crime did occur, ie. that the person admitted to having too much to drink and driving or that the engine is running or that the car is blocking traffic, etc.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Is a Forced Blood Draw the same as a Refusal?

In California, the law treats the forced removal of blood the same as a refusal. What this means in a practical sense is that the DMV will suspend or revoke your diving privilege for a minimum of one year.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The "Heat" and Keeping it Off you When Drinking This Summer

No doubt, many of us will be drinking this summer. Keeping the police or "heat" off you back is a simple as exercising common sense. When you consume alcohol, do it responsibly. When you drink do not drive, this simple maxim will keep you out of jail and avoid a DUI on your record.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 4th DUI Checkpoints Announced for Los Angeles

A number of DUI checkpoints will be administered by Los Angeles police Departments over the Fourth of July weekend.
One checkpoint is planned at the intersection of Broadlawn Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard West near Universal Studios, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
A news conference will be held at that location at 5 p.m., with City Councilman Tom LaBonge, a representative from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and officials from the LAPD scheduled to speak, according to the LAPD.
Another Drunk driving checkpoint will be set up on Florence Avenue between Broadway and Main streets, the LAPD said.
Police will set up traffic signs advising drivers they are approaching a checkpoint. Once there, police will explain to motorists the purpose of the checkpoint and detain drivers who appear to be under the influence, according to the LAPD.
Validity of driver licenses also will be examined, police said.
The West Covina Police Department is also planning a DUI and drivers license checkpoint at an undisclosed location "where a significant number of DUI-related collisions and DUI arrests have occurred," according to West Covina PD Lt. Marty Sevilla.
The checkpoints will be in place Friday, July 2, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Travel Equals Higher DUI and Speeding Citations

With the heat rising into the summer months most police agencies report a higher uptick in speeding violations. According to one recent survey of California law enforcement, the average stop for speeding will be a chance for the cop to do a quick sobriety check of the driver. According to Coalinga Speeding Ticket and DUI Attorney , based along the interstate 5 freeway in CA, the most common reason for stopping and arresting a drunk driver is excessive speed. With this bit of knowledge we are advising readers to not drink and drive, if you do decide to have a glass of wine or beer this summer and get behind the wheel of a car, do not speed and be safe!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ignition Interlock For DUI Offenders, The New Paradigm

California may be the first state in the nation that mandates an ignition interlock for all first times DUI offenders. In a new pilot program starting g in July all first offense drunk driving defendants will be ordered to install and maintain an ignition interlock on all motor vehicles as part of their probation in counties such as Los Angeles, Tulare and others. Will this become the norm? Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Future of DUI Defense

The laws of California DUI are in a constant state of flux. For example, the MADD lobby has pressed for stiffer punishment of first time offenders by enactin the IID requirement that goes into effect in July 2010. The insurance industry has gone crazy by requiring those that get a DUI to get an SR-22 and jacking up the insurance rates for first time convictions, the Supreme Court has all but eliminated the fourth amendment when it comes to a drunk driving arrest, what is next? we will see!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fun, Sun, The Beach and DUI this Summer

With summer comes fun in the sun, drinking and sometimes over consumption of alcohol. No doubt the best advice when indulging is to avoid any driving. Invariably however there will be those that do not heed this advice and get arrested for DUI. One Seal Beach DUI Lawyer offers the following advice if arrested: First do not volunteer any information about the number of drinks you have had, Second, comply with all requests except do not volunteer to do any FST exercises if they are requested, Third, take the breath test not blood and do not agree to submit to the infield PAS unless you are under 21 or your jurisdiction DMV requires it such as if you are on probation. Have fun, do not drink and drive and put on sunblock.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Speed Enhancement for DUI Charges in California

California imposes additional penalties on those convicted of DUI charges if some aggravated circumstances exist. Among those are when an individual is caught speeding at a high rate at the time he is stopped by the police. The Speed Enhancement as it is known carries an additional jail sentence of 60 days over and above what the original DUI sentence is. According to one Santa Clarita Speeding Ticket and DUI Attorney the law does require that the speeding be done in a manner that constitutes reckless driving notwithstanding the speed traveled. In other words, the conduct has to endanger others by the way the car is driven such as weaving in and out of traffic or speeding on a roadway with many pedestrians.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What is a Wet Reckless in California?

A very common question by those facing a DUI charge is what a wet reckless is under the CA law. A wet reckless is a reduced form of DUI that is basically a reckless driving that involves alcohol. It is two points on a DMV record and is considered a prior if another DUI comes around within ten years. The big difference is when a person has a second offense and therefore is facing the mandatory second time penalties. A wet will save them from mandatory jail time and the 18 month DUI school.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What Constitutes a Felony DUI in California

Many believe that a DUI is elevated to a felony after the first offense, that is not the case. California law sets forth the language that defines a felony DUI as follows: VC 23550 states that If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 and the offense occurred within 10 years of three or more separate violations of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, or Section 23152 or 23153, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not less than 180 days nor more than one year, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). In addition, The person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the court shall require the person to surrender the driver's license.

Friday, May 7, 2010

DUI Checkpoints This Weekend in The South Bay

The Gardena Police department will conduct a sobriety and driver's license checkpoint from 7 tonight to 4 a.m. Saturday in the eastbound lanes of the 1300 block of Rosecrans Avenue.
Manhattan Beach CA. Law Enforcement will conduct a DUI enforcement patrol from 7 p.m. May 14 to 3 a.m. May 15 to identify and arrest suspected DWI drivers.

Many People Ask, Why publicize stops? California Law at one time required police to publicize notices of sobriety checkpoints, law enforcement agencies continue to do so as a public service. A 1987 California Supreme Court ruling had made advance publication of the checkpoints a requirement. But in December 1993, the court ruled that police were no longer required to provide advance notice when scheduling DUI sobriety checkpoints.

The Court decision said publicity announcing the location is not constitutionally required, but makes the checkpoints more effective. The local paper continues to publish notices of sobriety and driver's license checkpoints as a public service when advised of them by the local police agencies, which believe the notices serve as a deterrent

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

DUI Charges for Los Angeles Official

News today that Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana was charged today with two criminal misdemeanor DUI counts originating from his arrest while driving home from a charity dinner last month. Santana, 40, is scheduled to be arraigned May 25 in West Covina Superior Court on one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence and driving while having a blood-alcohol level of higher than the legal limit of .08 percent, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

Santana took a leave of absence following his DUI arrest last month, but has since returned to work. "I apologize to my family, friends, the mayor, City Council, CAO staff and the entire city family for my irresponsible behavior," Santana said in a statement released last month after his arrest about 12:15 a.m. March 26. He was taken into custody by the California Highway Patrol in the Covina area after he attended a charity roast for Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, then freed on $5,000 bond.

The defendant was initially stopped for speeding, but was arrested after failing a sobriety test, according to the CHP. Before Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed him to serve as CAO last June, Santana served as deputy chief executive officer of Los Angeles County and as an aide to county Supervisor Gloria Molina. He was the first hispanic to oversee the city's fiscal affairs and $6.7 billion budget

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Distinction Between Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion in DUI Cases

Within the context of driving under the influence cases, there exists many legal concepts unique to the area, among those are the somewhat mysterious legal terminology of "probable cause" and how that differs from reasonable suspicion. Thanks to Kern County DUI Attorneys in Shafter and Taft CA we have a great primer on the distinction between the two terms.

The facts and observations divulged during an investigatory detention may lead to probable cause to arrest the person detained for a DUI case. However, the officer must possess facts sufficient to support crossing the threshold between mere reasonable suspicion to detain and question, and full probable cause to arrest, before the latter action may be taken. If the investigating officer does not yet possess facts sufficient to create probable cause to believe the detainee has committed a crime, yet restrains the liberty of the detainee in a manner consistent with a formal arrest, the detention, even if initially lawful, becomes illegal. For example, transporting a DUI suspect involuntarily to a stationhouse for further questioning, without probable cause to link him with a crime such as driving under the influence, violates the detainees Fourth Amendment rights. This more intrusive step in the investigatory process requires probable cause and cannot be justified on reasonable suspicion alone. Courts look to the extent of the restriction on an individuals freedom and movement to determine if the restraint is more consistent with a detention, or a full-blown arrest. For example, although the use of handcuffs on a suspect is a hallmark of a formal arrest and is generally considered a watershed, where a temporary detention becomes an arrest, a suspect nonetheless may be handcuffed or similarly restrained during a temporary detention, if the circumstances justify it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Does the Law treat DUI cases differently for Nurses?

Many folks find themselves in a difficult situation when arrested for drunk driving, but for a nurse the DUI can lead to termination and loss off their license, is this fair? It seems that for other similarly situated persons the consequences are different. Doctors for example often get a free first or even second strike but many attorneys say that is not true if you are a nurse. Your comments please.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

City Official Arrested on DUI

A Los Angeles city official was arrested on DUI charges stemming from a traffic stop over the weekend. As is often the case, the official, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, was pulled over for speeding and that invariably led to the officer detecting an odor of alcohol and then a series of field sobriety tests after which he was arrested. This incident is similar to a score of recent arrests involving city officials in the Los Angeles area. The arrest was made by the CHP or California Highway Patrol.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

100 mph DUI crash leads to Manslaughter Charges in Orange County CA

An Orange County California man has been charged in the death of a motorist on a popular and well traveled toll road, officials said Wednesday. According to the District Attorneys office, Richard Ernest Caselli, 37, was driving at speeds exceeding 100 mph on the toll road when he crashed into an SUV on Oct. 16, 2009. The impact of the vehicle crash ejected the driver of the SUV, and Caselli showed signs that he had been drinking, according to police at the scene.

Underage DUI in California, The Distinctions

California law proscribes drinking for anyone under age 21. The law of drinking and driving for under 21 drivers makes it an infraction to have under .05 in your body while driving, this is VC 23140. Another law, known as zero tolerance is VC23136, it states that no person under 21 shall have a .01 or higher in their body while driving. The distinction is VC23140 carries 2 points, 23136 does not and 23140 requires completion of an alcohol class. Underage DUI charges also have different proof issues as compared to adult criminal charges, a lawyer should be consulted for the specifics. Your comments please.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Surviving an APS Supension in California, Notice May Be The Key

California's APS suspension dictates that a person's license be suspended upon service of a notice of suspension. However, the law is often not followed when it comes to the requirement that the police officer give notice of the order. In DUI cases this crucial element can be a person's saving grace.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Point of Arrest BAC Testing, The New Paradigm?

For ages DUI defense attorneys argued in most every DWI case that their client's BAC was rising at the time of the car stop and therefore the test back at the station was higher than the true level at the time of driving. This mantra paved the way for many acquittals at trial. The latest in law enforcement is "at the scene" testing of both breath and blood with the utilization of mobile testing units that have nurses to draw blood at the roadside and approved breath machines that collect a sample of the drivers breath. This new model for BAC collection may change the way many attorneys defend cases.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What is an SR-22?

As a DUI Lawyer that deals with DUI laws in California I am often asked what a SR-22 is in relation to a conviction or DMV suspension. An SR-22 is an official proof of insurance that is provided electronically to the DMV to satisfy the requirements for a restricted or full drivers license.

DUI Punishment Differs in each California City

With ever greater punishments being enacted by our state legislature maybe it is time to look at the diversity among counties as to the specific sentences given for first time DUI offenders. For example, in Ventura County their is a mandatory 2 days jail on 1st offense, in Los Angeles no jail is usually given, is the differences in criminal sentences a Equal Protection issue? Your comments please.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Distinction Between Drunk in Public and DUI

California law distinguishes between being drunk in public and driving under the influence according to a Long Beach Drunk in Public Attorney that specializes in the crime. There is a greater showing of intoxication necessary to convict on public intoxication than there is the driving charge, the standard is such a state of drunkenness that the person can no longer care for himself or the safety of others versus simple impairment to an appreciable degree for DUI.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Are Nurses Bearing The Brunt of DUI Legislation?

The tougher laws that punish first time offenders are putting the screws to those that treat us in times of need. Nurses are getting their licenses revoked for nothing more than picking up a DUI. Yes, in California the governing agencies are seeking to pull the licenses of nurses and nurse practitioners. Is this Fair, your comments are appreciated.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Are First Time DUI Offenders Deserving of the Punishment Imposed?

With ever greater frequency, the state is imposing harsher penalties upon those charged with a first offense driving under the influence case. The sentences indeed are sometimes very draconian. In many California Counties Courts are requiring actual jail time in addition to the jail the offender received when they were arrested and held before release. Is the requirement of jail just? Does the sentence fit the crime? Your comments are very much appreciated.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are Judges Sometimes Wrong?

This question was posed to a famous Judge that hears many cases on a daily basis. The answer may surprise many. The Judge revealed that he does not like to think about it. Is this logical? The fact of the matter is that Judges make judgement calls based on the facts before them. Therefore, the best way to achieve the just result it is imperative that all relevant facts be presented. the best way to accomplish this is to have a lawyer in your camp that is competent and ethical.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Are Judges Overreaching in Court?

With increasing frequency, Judges are requiring AA meetings as part of a conditional release. The problem, many argue is that AA requires the recognition of a Supreme or higher being. Is this ok for those that do not believe in God? The question remains, bring your comments.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Prescription Drug Intoxication

For many the definition of DUI is that of alcohol impairment, however, with the advent of newer prescription drugs capable of impairing the driver the law has evolved to encompass those that take drugs and drive. Though California has yet to define at what level a person is legally intoxicated and unable to drive on meds, the law does proscribe that impairment can include the use of medications as defined in VC 23512a.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bail, O.R. in the Typical DUI case

In the ordinary course of a drunk driving arrest it is typical for the arresting officer to book the suspect after he determines that the individual was intoxicated, at this key time the jail has the choice to either release the person from custody with a signed promise to appear in Court (known as O.R.) or require the posting of bail. With increased tension from MADD and other groups many jailers are opting for the bail route, even though the accused is of little risk of flight. Is this right? your comments are appreciated.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Source Code Litigation, What's all the Hoopla?

More and more these days we are seeing attorneys discussing source code litigation on their websites. What is it and how can it help a person facing DUI charges.

Well, the long and the short of it is as follows: If you were arrested and chose breath as your test that machine uses software that runs the process. That software is at the heart of the "source code" legal battles, attorneys want the software codes and some manufacturers refuse to turn it over. The lawyers argue that the code is necessary to defend the client against the machine result. On the other side is the breath machine companies that argue it is proprietary and protected and that is the battle. We will see more on this topic in the future.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Instant Breath Testing, the New Age of DUI

For decades the norm in breath testing for DUI cases was to transport the arrestee to the station and have them blow into a tabletop breath machine. Times have changed, today many police departments have roadside breath instruments that can obtain a sample right on the side of the road. These devices present new challenges for reliability and integrity, the jury is still out on the permanency and widespread use of these point of use breath machines.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Judges, Prosecutors and Jurors in Drunk Driving Cases

The crime of drunk driving is viewed much differently than other misdemeanor offenses in the criminal justice system. The danger of impaired driving hits home for most people much more than say a assault and battery. The mere mention of the term evokes very discerned emotion and sometimes even fear. Prosecutors have a much greater political pressure when plea bargaining DUI cases. As such, a very different approach must be taken when dealing with the judicial system, to ignore this can be fatal.

Marijuana and Impairment

The most commonly utilized chemical test for a marijuana after a DUI arrest is a urine test. In most of California typically a suspect detained for DUI will be required to submit to either a breath or blood, but when drugs such as marijuana are suspected the choice is restricted to blood or urine. Because most people will choose to take a leak in a cup over having a sharp needle jabbed in their arm, the most common test seen is that of urine. Problems can come into play with marijuana urine tests. The most often asked inquiry is how long does marijuana stay detectable in a persons urine?

It is commonly accepted in the scientific community that cannabis metabolite (a breakdown product) is detectable in urine for an extended period of time compared to other drugs. Initially, it is important to define what is meant by marijuana metabolite. Very often this term refers to a specific breakdown product of cannabis called delta-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinal (otherwise known as THC). What is crucial to understand in the context of DUI prosecutions is that carboxy THC is not psychoactive and has no effect on ones physical performance or ability to drive an automobile safely. Carboxy THC is an oily substance that accumulates in a person's body fat over time after smoking and is slowly released into the blood and excreted into the urine as a waste product.

This is the main reason why carboxy THC is detectable in the urine for extended periods of time compared to that of other substances and their metabolites. Since the effects of pot seldom last beyond several hours, the presence of carboxy THC in the urine sample collected after an arrest for DUI does not necessarily prove that the individual was DUI or impaired by the recently smoked pot at the time of driving his or her motor vehicle.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Do the New California DUI Laws Affect Cases from 2009?

The answer to this question is not yet fully resolved. If you read the statute governing the new law the language does not fully explain how the issue of retro activity will be addressed. As such, DUI offenders with cases occurring before 2010 and before July of this year will need to be treated differently than offenses that occur after the law takes full effect. Any comments appreciated.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New California Law to Allow Restricted License for Second DUI Draws Criticism

The new law going into affect in July 2010 allows for second time DUI offenders to get a restricted license after serving just 90 days of a suspension. This new law is a far cry from the old law which mandated a minimum one year suspension before a restriction could be granted. The new ignition interlock restriction still has many in an uproar, particularly MADD proponents and those seeking to turn multiple DUI offenders into felons. Time will tell whether their will be a turnabout on the granting of early license reinstatement in the golden state.

The Emergence of HAMM

With increasing frequency Judges are ordering as a term of probation for DUI that offenders attend a hospital and morgue program, known as HAMM. The Courts want to take a shock approach with probationers and therefore require the programs that show the attendees dead bodies, injured individuals and the aftermath of DUi accidents. These Court ordered programs seeks to impress upon the students that drinking and driving causes death and despair for all. I am awaiting a study that presents any empirical evidence of the program's effectiveness. Anyone with info. please comment.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Zero Tolerance, The Game Changer

Though not currently the state of the law, the idea of zero tolerance when it comes to DUI enforcement is not that far off. In California, we have already adopted a zero tolerance policy for persons on probation for drunk driving, we can see many changes in the application of this concept in the coming years I am sure.

Societal Misconceptions of DUI

The advent of the crime of driving under the influence has brought with it both good and bad. The good is that we have likely saved hundreds from senseless injury, death and pain due to getting those that are truly impaired off the roadway. The bad is that many folks who are not impaired and are of no risk to the public have been arrested for DUI because of hysteria of drinking and then getting into a motor vehicle. The police are quick (some may say rightfully so) to arrest someone with the mere odor of alcohol on their breath. As a lawyer I have seen many cases where an arrest takes place and later a breath test exonerates the driver with a BAC lower than .05, which is the level at which even the AMA admits a person is not impaired. Society has instilled a belief that having the odor of alcohol on your breath and drivinf is illegal, and MADD has instilled a societal belief that any drinking and driving is a crime. Right or Wrong? What are your thoughts.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hiring A Lawyer After a DUI Mishap

It is certainly commonsense and should be that those individuals that have the financial resources to retain a specialist in the area of driving under the influence litigation are much more likely to come out above the crowd when going into Court. Being stingy or tight fisted when arrested for a crime is not wise, only a lawyer familiar with the area of criminal law can extricate someone facing criminal prosecution. Do not look for the cheapest lawyer to defend you or your loved ones, spend the money to engage the services of an attorney that is experienced and has the knowledge to get you out of the mess you are in. Incarceration and harsh penalties can be avoided if the proper choices are made in a cool and logical manner. Conversely, those that are in dire straits financially may not have the choice.

MADD and the new decade

Everyone knows the impact Mothers Against Drunk Driving has had on the enforcement of DUI laws in our country. In the new decade, we will see a greater presence of MADD in every drunk driving sentence imposed. Most Judges are now requiring the attendance of all offenders to a MADD class that is put on by the Organization, instilling the MADD beliefs and principles in every attendee. More to Come.....

Trends in DUI Enforcement-The Blood test at the Scene of arrest

Recently, many DUI attorneys have been seeing an uptick in blood collection at the scene of a DUI arrest as opposed to the blood being collected at the hospital or in a clinic. The concern for many is the safety of the practice and the integrity of the collection system for criminal prosecution. This new trend attempts to do away with the problem of huge delays in blood tests from the time of driving to the time of the test at which time the blood alcohol level might drop or even rise. Stay Tuned for more on this issue.

Are California DUI Laws Too Tough

The answer to this question depends largely upon your views of drinking and whether society should tolerate one to drive with any amount of alcohol in their body. Prosecutors will tell you the laws are there to protect the public, I on the other hand see the tougher laws benefiting only special interests such as insurance companies, DUI schools, Ignition Interlock Companies, just to name a few. As the laws get tougher so to do the financial windfall to those special interests. Something to Ponder?

Thoughts about Letting Multiple DUI Offenders Drive for Work

As a DUI lawyer for well over a decade I have certainly seen the aftermath, death and destruction from DUI accidents and injuries. on the other hand I have seen tough sentencing laws cause great headship on the families of those convicted of DUI. In balance, I believe the law should be tough on you if you continue to commit criminal offenses such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, I also think one should be able to continue to drive to work so that they can be productive members of society. When I say drive, I mean legally drive. This should require an ignition interlock or other safe guards that ensure the driver cannot have any alcohol in their system.

The DUI Numbers are in For 2009 Holiday Arrests

From Christmas Eve through the end of Sunday, the California Highway Patrol arrested 1104 people on suspicion of a DUI, according to a state report released today. 251 people, accounting for nearly 23% of those arrests statewide, were in Los Angeles County.

Most of the driving under the influence arrests occurred on the weekend Saturday and Sunday. Between Christmas Eve and 6 a.m. Saturday morning, only 303 people had been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving statewide and 68 in Los Angeles County.

22 people were killed statewide with 2 of those fatalities located in Los Angeles County.
Because Christmas Eve fell on a Thursday, the holiday enforcement period was shorter than last year when the holiday weekend began on Wednesday evening. There were 1397 DUI arrests and 37 fatalities (7 in Los Angeles County) in 2008.

New California Law Allows for Restricted License for Second Time DUI Offenders

The California Legislature has enacted a new law that offers shortened license suspension and revocation periods for certain repeat DUI offenders who meet specific criteria.For example, a person convicted of their second drunk driving offense in California, within 10 years of the first one, may become eligible to apply for a restricted driving license after completing the first 90 days of a two year license suspension period.

Under the prior version of the law, the DUI Offender would have to wait for 12 months before applying for the restricted license.To qualify for the restricted California driver license, CA drivers must provide:-Either proof of enrollment or partial completion of a 18 or 30 month certified DUI program-Proof of financial responsibility (i.e. proof of SR 22 insurance)-Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device-Payment for any applicable DMV fees, including reinstatement, reissue and restriction fees.

The amount of time persons convicted of DUI must wait before becoming eligible to apply for the restricted license and the criteria for obtaining the license vary based on the type of DUI offense, the number of previous convictions and whether the offense included alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.

The DUI Times

The purpose of this blog is to discuss the current state of the law relating to DUI and the enforcement of drunk driving laws by law enforcement.
Society has demanded that our roads be free from persons that are impaired by alcohol and drugs and our legislators have answered the call by drafting and creating ever more harsh penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence.
In addition to tougher criminal laws, states such as California has enacted harsh sanctions relating to a person's driving privilege and drivers licenses.