Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dealing With An Unfavorable DMV Decision

The decision after a DMV hearing following a DUI arrest can be either a set aside or an uphold of the suspension.  When the decision is unfavorable to the driver the next step can be either to appeal the finding or move on.  For first offenders who took a test the suspension period of four months typically does not justify a decision to appeal the hearing officer's decision.  The driver can usually get a restricted license after waiting 30 days.  Foe second offenders an appeal may be more tenable given the one year
 re-issue date.  In either event the decision must be one that takes into account the costs and benefits of the entire situation.  The alternative to a full scale appeal can be something called a Departmental Review, more information about this approach will be discussed in a future post.

How a Person's Core Body Temperature Can Skew Breath Test Results

Breath testing in DUI cases relies on the presumption that every subject has a "normal" body temperature.  But what if a subject has a fever? One study (Fox & Hayward, 1989) did reveal problems with DUI breath tests for those with higher than normal body temperature levels.  For example, when the core temp was elevated one degree Celsius, the corresponding breath test for alcohol increased by nearly 9 percent. This means that if a person had an elevated body temp and was stopped for drunk driving, his breath test would falsely inflate his true blood alcohol level by almost 10%.  For a .10 level, this would drop him to a .09 and if he blew a .08, his true BAC would actually be .07.

 For more information on this issue, contact DUI Attorney Matthew Ruff who practices in the state of California.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Bakersfield Speeding Ticket Attorney Explains Trials by Written Declaration

In California, as in many states, a defendant may elect to have a trial by written declaration on any Vehicle Code infraction or speeding ticket. If the clerk  receives from the defendant a written request for a trial by written declaration on or before the appearance date indicated on the notice to appear, the clerk must, within 15 calendar days of receiving the request,extend the appearance date 25 calendar days, and must give or mail the defendant notice of the extended due date on a Request for Trial by Written Declaration with a copy of the Instructions to Defendant and any other required forms. The defendant must file the Request for Trial by Written Declaration with the clerk on or before the appearance date indicated on the notice to appear (or any extended appearance date). This form must be filed in addition to the defendant’s written request for a trial by written declaration, unless that request was made on this form. A defendant who makes this election must submit bail in the amount established in the Uniform Traffic Bail and Penalty Schedule under Veh C§40310 at the time of submitting the declaration.  If the defendant is found not guilty or the charges are otherwise dismissed, the amount of the bail mustbe promptly refunded to the defendant.

On receiving the defendant’s Request for Trial by Written Declaration and bail by the due date, the clerk must deliver or mail to the arresting officer’s agency a Notice and Instructions to Arresting Officer and Officer’s Declaration, with a copy of the notice to appear and a specified return date for receiving the officer’s declaration. On receipt of the officer’s declaration or the close of the return date, the clerk must submit the case file to the court for decision with all declarations and other evidence received.  According to one Bakersfield Speeding Ticket Attorney, testimony and other relevant evidence may be introduced in the form of the notice to appear, a business record or receipt, and the sworn declarations of the arresting officer and of the defendant. After the court decides the case and returns the file and decision, the clerk must immediately mail the Decision and Notice of Decision to the defendant and arresting agency. The defendant may request a trial de novo by filing a Request for New Trial Form within 20 calendar days after the date on which the decision was mailed. The Court clerk must set a trial date within 45 calendar days of receipt of the defendant’s request and deliver or mail to the defendant and to the arresting officer’s agency the Order and Notice to the violator.

The case is closed if the defendant fails to make a timely request for a trial de novo. Although the rules state that a new trial must be set within 45 days of the receipt of the request, the remedy for failure to set within 45 days is not automatic dismissal. For example in one case, a trial was set 57 days after receipt of notice. The court may deny a trial by written declaration to a defendant who does not file a Request for Trial by Written Declaration or deposit bail with the clerk within the specified time limits.  The Judge is not limited to imposing a monetary penalty in the amount of the bail the defendant has deposited with the clerk, unless this amount is the maximum and the only lawful penalty. A person who fails to appear as provided by law may be deemed to have elected to have a trial by written declaration on any alleged Vehicle Code infraction. Relevant evidence may be introduced in the form of a notice to appear, a business record or receipt, a sworn declaration of the arresting officer, or a written statement or letter signed by the defendant. 

Bruce Blythe is a Bakersfield Speeding Ticket Lawyer who practices throughout Kern County and beyond for all criminal, DUI and traffic cases.

Hematocrit Defense in DUI Cases

 Hematocrit represents the fraction of whole blood composed of red blood cells and is correlated with the aqueous content of the blood.  The higher the hematocrit, the lower the concentration of water in the blood and vice versa, according to California DUI Attorney Matthew Ruff.  How does this issue play into a DUI case you may ask?  Put simply, the higher a hematocrit level, the higher a person's blood alcohol concentration.  With breath tests, the normal variation in the hematocrits of test subjects "can produce errors in ...results in the 10-14% range", according to some scientific studies.  When facing a DUI charge, it may be useful to have a test done to determine if this may be an issue. The hematocrit issue can vary the amount of alcohol present in the blood and not all humans are the same.  The breath machines do not factor in this variability.

What is the penalty for a refusal in California?

There are a number of penalties or consequences for DUI charges in California.  Perhaps the most severe of all penalties is that for a refusal to take a chemical test, breath or blood.  In addition to the Court consequences, the DMV will impose harsh sanctions if the driver is found to have refused a breath or blood test after having been arrested for drunk driving

The following are the administrative penalties for a DUI refusal
  1. A First refusal within 10 years carries a one year drivers license suspension
  2. A second refusal after a DUI conviction, wet reckless or admin per se suspension within 10 years is a 2 year license revocation.
  3. A third refusal within 10 years is a 3 year revocation of your driving privilege.
In light of the very severe refusal penalties in California, it is advisable to seek legal representation for any refusal case.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Another Good Reason Not to Take a PAS Test

We know that California law allows motorists over 21 and not on probation to refuse a roadside breath test known as a PAS.  The test however is usually a bad idea inasmuch as it provides additional evidence of intoxication relating to DUI that can be used against you in Court.  A recent case reiterates another good reason to refuse taking the test.

Defendant Thomas was stopped for traffic violations. His eyes were bloodshot and watery. Defendant performed sobriety tests and consented to a PAS breath test that required him to place his mouth over the plastic tip of the PAS device and blow into it. Defendant was let go after passing all tests, but instead of discarding the mouthpiece of the PAS device, the police preserved it for DNA testing. The DNA profile derived from the mouthpiece linked defendant to two burglaries. A DNA sample obtained after defendant’s arrest matched genetic material recovered from five of the burglaries. Additional evidence implicating defendant in the burglaries was found when police searched his home pursuant to a warrant after his arrest.

Defendant appealed his convictions of the crimes arguing that testing the mouthpiece of the PAS device for DNA was a search that could not be conducted without a warrant under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The appellate court however disagreed holding that the DNA test was not a search because defendant abandoned any privacy right he had in the saliva he deposited on the police device.  The Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable governmental searches and seizures. A search occurs only when a government activity intrudes on an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, measured by the individual’s subjective expectation of privacy in the item searched and society’s objective recognition of the reasonableness of the individual’s subjective expectation of privacy.  People of California vs. Thomas.

Friday, November 4, 2011

How to Get Your License Back After A Zero Tolerance Suspension

In California, anyone under 21 years old who has been convicted of driving while intoxicated/driving under the influence (DWI/DUI) or who has been found to have been driving with a .01% or more of alcohol in their blood will have his or her driver's license suspended for at least a year (Zero Tolerance) If the individual does not live near adequate public transportation, must work to support the family or is responsible for the medical care of another family member, the court may issue a restricted license because of "critical need."  A mandatory 30-day suspension is required before filing the application. 

Click here to download application

Here is the 5 step process to apply for the under 21 restriction.

First, Determine whether you meet the criteria to be considered for a critical need driver's license. If you were under 21 years old when you were arrested, tested positive for a 0.01 percent blood alcohol concentration and had your driver's license suspended, you may be eligible for a critical need license. One of the conditions for obtaining a restricted license is that you did not refuse to take the blood or breath test required by a peace officer to determine your alcohol level at the time of your arrest.

Second, Ensure that you meet critical need criteria. You are eligible for a restricted hardship license if the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines that public transportation is inadequate and that you must operate the vehicle to transport a family member to and from the doctor's office or other medical facility, to travel to and from school, to go to and from work or to tend to some other family business for the purpose of acquiring income. Further, you must be legally present in California to qualify for a restricted hardship license

Third, Download the DS 694 application form titled "Application for Critical Need Restriction".  You must first check one or more of the reasons you need a restricted hardship license. These include "For Family Illness," "To and From School," "To and From Work" and "For Family Enterprise." Be sure to include your name, driver's license number, address, and other pertinent personal information. Next, describe your transportation needs, the distance the destination is from your residence and the route you drive to the destination. Include the other drivers in your household, their driver's licenses and the reasons they are unable to provide transportation

Fourth, Request the following individuals complete the Statement of Facts section on the application. If you are requesting a critical need restriction to transport a family member to receive medical care, have the physician state that your family member is unable to drive to and from her office and requires your help. If you are requesting a critical need restriction in order to drive to and from school, ask your school principal or dean to fill out the pertinent information on the application. Finally, if you are requesting this hardship restriction for employment purposes, ask your employer to complete this section on the application

Fifth, Complete the form and mail it to the address on the form. You may also attache other relevent documents such as enrollment in DUI education classes and the like, DMV will review the application and notify you within 10 working days whether or not your application is approved. If DMV approves your application, you must go to a DMV field office to complete the final section of the application, pay a $100 reissue fee and submit proof of insurance, which you must maintain for three years.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Drunk Driver Crashes into Another Drunk Driver

A 23-year-old suspected drunken driver from california nearly ran over CHP officers who were investigating a fatal wreck – also believed to involve alcohol -- this morning along Interstate 15 in Hesperia, according to CHP investigators and jail records.
The defendant was arrested this morning along Interstate 15 near Main Street and booked for investigation of drunken driving, jail records show. He was released after promising to appear in court to answer any charges that may be filed.

Officers caught the suspect driving a 2012 Honda Civic that traveled through a traffic cone-and-flare pattern that was supposed to keep motorists out of an accident scene that killed a driver at 1:05 a.m. today along the freeway’s southbound lanes near Bear Valley Road, investigators said in a written statement. The victim in that DUI accident was a man believed to be about 35 years old, CHP Officer Jaci Parent said early today from the traffic management center in San Bernardino. San Bernardino County coroner’s officials have released no information about that man or the incident.

The victim died instantly when the 2002 Lincoln LS he was driving changed lanes at high speed and hit the trailer of a 1999 Freightliner big rig.

“Alcohol is considered to be a factor in this collision,” according to the CHP statement.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Quick Primer on the Two DUI Crimes in California

In California, lawmakers have enacted two distinct crimes relating to DUI. One, VC 23152(a) requires proof of actual impairment.  Section 23152(b), added in 1981, made it unlawful for a person to drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent or more, by weight, and specified that, “percent, by weight, of alcohol shall be based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.”   To secure a conviction for this new “per se DUI” offense, the prosecution no longer had to prove the accused driver was actually impaired at the time of the offense, but only that heor she drove with a blood-alcohol level at or exceeding 0.10 percent.    In 1989, the California Legislature further strengthened our state‟s DUI laws by lowering the punishable blood-alcohol threshold from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.  This is the proscribed level today

 Therefore, after 1981 there were two parallel statutes making it a crime to drive while intoxicated.  The generic DUI provision (§ 23152(a)) retained the historical approach, requiring proof that the defendant was actually impaired by his drinking.  The per se DUI statute (Vehicle Code 23152(b)) simply required proof that the defendant had been driving with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit.  If the limit was exceeded, the statute was violated, and no additional proof of the defendant‟s impairment was required. The interplay between the two statutes can often be confusing for laymen, an attorney should be consulted to explain the interaction of the two offenses in your case.

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Law Seeks to End Impound Abuse

Police agencies in California will no longer be able to freely impound cars from sober but unlicensed drivers who are stopped at drunk-driving checkpoints under legislation signed Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown.  Under the new law written by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), if a sober driver is caught at a DUI checkpoint without a valid license, law enforcement officers must release the car to a qualified driver representing the registered owner. In cases where a legal driver is not readily available, AB 353 says, the vehicle is to be released to one later at the impound yard.

Some CA lawmakers have alleged that sobriety checkpoints have been misused by some cities to unfairly target illegal immigrants who do not have a driver’s license. Because cities can hold cars taken from unlicensed drivers for 30 days, the accumulated impound fees can turn out to be more than the car is worth, resulting in some drivers losing their cars.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Step by Step Process to Get Your Drivers License After a DUI in CA

The purpose of this article is to explain the process to obtain your drivers license following the Court disposition of your case. You will likely receive a letter from the California  DMV that explains your license is suspended as a result of the Court conviction, however if you read the letter carefully it explains that you may immediately obtain a restricted license. The following is what you must do:

1. Obtain proof of insurance by way of an SR-22 that must be filed with the DMV. This is done electronically directly from the company to the DMV.  It is best to do this as soon as possible.

2. Get enrolled in the Court ordered alcohol education program. The program will file the enrollment with the DMV, confirm with them that they have done so.

3. If the offense occurred in Los Angeles, get an Ignition Interlock installed in your car, for help with this contact an IID provider, let him know an attorney represented you and you will receive a discount off the normal fee.

4. Pay the re-issue fees to the DMV at any field office. Usually there a two fees, one for the Court reinstatement and one for the APS reinstatement.

5. Lastly, you must wait the mandatory period of time following the imposition of the “APS” suspension following the DMV hearing, APS order. This is no longer than 30 days, however, the period of time can be shorter if the hearing officer grants our request for a “back credit”. To determine this time period look at the start date of the suspension on the DMV decision, it is 30 days after that “start date”. In some cases the DMV hearing decision will have not yet been mailed by the time the Court case is resolved, in these cases you must wait for the outcome of the DMV hearing before your license will be returned.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Right To Rehabilitation for a DUI in California

In California, as is the case in many other states, the court must inform the defendant, either orally or in writing, of his or her right to apply for relief from all penalties and disabilities resulting from a misdemeanor DUI conviction after the passage of one year from the date of pronouncement of judgment, or longer if the defendant enters into a plea bargain with the prosecution.  This right is sometimes referred to as an expungement.  According to one Tehachapi DUI Attorney, this right to relief is available provided the defendant successfully performs his or her sentence and leads a law-abiding life during that period under Penal Code Section 1203.4a. Relief is afforded by permitting the withdrawal of a plea of guilty or no contest or by setting aside a verdict of guilty and dismissing the accusatory pleading. In DUI cases, the right is limited somewhat to a Judges discretion, unlike other misdemeanor crimes. Defendants convicted of an infraction are not entitled to relief under Pen C §1203.4a. Pen C §1203.4a(b). A defendant who is granted probation on a DUI may apply for relief from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction on the successful completion of probation which under CA law is a minimum of 36 months.  Notice of this right to relief must be contained in the defendant’s probation papers

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Types of Probation in California DUI Cases

In California, the Court may impose two different types of probation in DUI cases, either formal or informal:

(1) Formal probation. Formal probation is the suspension of the imposition or execution of sentence and the order of conditional and revocable release into the community under the supervision of a probation officer.

(2) Informal Probation. A conditional sentence, also referred to as court or summary probation, is the suspension of the imposition or execu-tion of sentence and the order of conditional and revocable release into the community subject to the conditions of the court without the supervision of a probation officer.  A conditional sen-tence may be pronounced without referring the case to the probation officer. Pen C §1203b. If the case is not referred to the probation officer, the court may consider any information concerning the defendant that could have been included in a probation report.

A conditional probationary sentence on a DUI case places greater responsibilities on the Judge than formal probation, requiring the court to perform two distict functions normally carried out by the probation officer. First, the court must furnish the defendant a written statement of the terms and conditions of the probation.  Secondly, it must order the defendant to report to the court, so that the probationer's conduct may be supervised.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kern County DUI Attorney Explains Timing of Convictions in a DUI Case

In California a DUI driver faces harsh penalties when they have priors for driving under the influence and are arrested on a new case.  The Legislature has declared that the timing of court proceedings should not permit a defendant convicted of a violation of Veh C §23152 or §23153 to avoid enhanced mandatory minimum penalties for multiple separate offenses occurring within a ten-year period. Veh C §23217. California lawmakers have expressed  intent that a defendant should be subject to these enhanced penalties regardless of whether the convictions were obtained in the same order in which the offenses were committed. Veh C §23217. See People v Snook (1997) 16 C4th 1210, 1213, 69 CR2d 615 (applying statute and finding it constitutional). According to one Kern County DUI Attorney, the current offense and the separate violations resulting in convictions must all occur within a ten-year period. See People v Munoz (2002) 102 CA4th 12, 16–20, 125 CR2d 182 (defendant wrongfully charged with a violation of Veh C §23152 punishable under Veh C §23550 (then requiring priors within seven-year period) that occurred in 1996, despite convictions for violations that occurred in 1990, 1997, and 1998; although all three separate violations occurred within seven years of the current offense, the three violations were themselves more than seven years apart).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How to Challenge Identity For a Traffic Ticket

A person may contest a charge by claiming under penalty of perjury not to be the person to whom the notice to appear was issued when identification was made by thumbprint or fingerprint. The person must submit a thumbprint or fingerprint for comparison with the thumbprint or fingerprint on the notice. The traffic court may refer the print submitted together with the print on the notice to the prosecuting attorney for comparison. If there is no fingerprint on the ticket or a comparison of the prints is inconclusive, the court must refer the notice back to the issuing agency for further investigation, unless it determines that a referral is not in the interest of justice. Vehicle Code §§40303(c), 40305(b), 40500(e), 40504(c). According to one Kern County Speeding Ticket Attorney, this process will result in the continuance of the case and tolling of the speedy trial period for 45 days. Veh C §§40303(c)(2), 40305(b)(2), 40500(e)(2), 40504(c)(2). The court may make a finding of factual innocence under Penal Code §530.6 if the Judge determines there is insufficient evidence that the person cited is the person charged or if the prosecuting attorney or agency does not respond within 45 days. Except in the latter case, the court may determine that a finding of factual innocence is not in the interest of justice.  This process is available for most speeding tickets but not for DUI or misdemeanor charges.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Will a Wet Reckless Conviction Require an IID?

In a few counties in the state of California a conviction for a DUI will require the installation of an ignition interlock device or "IID" in the car.  There are currently few exceptions to the rule and Los Angeles County participates in the pilot program  However, one question that folks have is whether an IID will be required for wet reckless pleas, the answer is no.  Fortunately, the law does not compel the devices for wet reckless offenders at this time.  The DMV will not send the people any letter requiring the machines. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Are Field Sobriety Tests Accurate?

This is an age old question that many pundits frequently raise within the context of arguments for and against DUI enforcement.  The answer to this question can perhaps best be found within the scientific literature that encompasses the area of drunk driving research.  In one study the researchers found that field sobriety tests are only accurate in predicting impairment relative to driving under the influence, about 70 percent of the time.  This statistic takes into account the fact that the participants in the study performed the tests under ideal conditions and they were conducted in accordance with well established federal standards pertaining to sobriety testing protocols.  Other research sheds light on many of the frailties common to the most frequently performed FST's.  At the end of the day most all that are involved in the legal community will agree that this component of drunk driving enforcement is prone to many weaknesses but it is but one factor to be utilized in the arrest and investigation of driving while intoxicated cases.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Looking For a DUI Attorney in Los Angeles? Watch Out For The Traps

For those consumers that are searching for a DUI Attorney in Los Angeles the choices that are displayed on the search engines can seem overwhelming.  What you need to understand is the difference between the organic search results and the sponsored listings that are generated by lawyers that pay to have their names posted above what google thinks are the most relevant results for the query.  For example, if your type in a search for DUI lawyer the results will display at least 3 listings that are at the very top of the screen.  These are the posts that the attorneys pay for, you must scroll down and see the listings below these sponsored results.  It is these results that are the most probative for the search.  Do not get trapped into the belief that the tops spots mean the best attorneys, the bottom line is that the top three posts are bought and paid for and are not typically the most local or the best experienced DUI attorneys that are in the area.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A DMV Hearing Attorney Gives An Overview of DMV Hearings in California

DMV Hearing Attorney

If you received a letter notifying you the DMV is suspending or revoking your license you need to act fast.  California law limits the number of days you have to request a hearing to contest a suspension of your driving privileges.  DMV Hearing Attorney Matthew Ruff is a TOP RATED LAWYER who is respected by the DMV for his legal skills and success rate.

 In California the DMV can suspend an individual's drivers license in a varety of ways. Perhaps the most frequent actions commenced are those related to the abuse of alcohol and/or drugs. Statistically, the most common are the Administrative Per Se (APS) suspension hearings, also referred to as DUI hearings which arise out of a drunk driving arrest. This area is discussed more fully in our DMV Information page. These hearings are conducted at Driver Safety offices located throughout the state. In Los Angeles County the hearing locations are as follows: El Segundo, Van Nuys, Downtown Los Angeles, Commerce and Inglewood. In Central CA the DMV hearings are held in Bakersfield, and in San Luis Obispo County the driver safety offices are in Oxnard, and downtown San Luis Obispo.  By statute,  DMV Hearings are very informal and do not involve a trained or elected Judge, rather they are presided over by a DMV employee known as a hearing officer. According to one Torrance DMV Lawyer, the hearing officers are not lawyers but they do have training in the proper procedures and relevant law that dictates how evidence is presented and what standard of proof is necessary to sustain a suspension of an individual's drivers license. The "dual role" of the hearing officer as both an impartial judge of the facts and as a prosecutor for the department has created the appearance of a conflict of interest, but the Courts have held this is acceptable, often to the dismay and disbelief of most lawyers that practice regularly at the DMV.

In addition to APS hearings, some examples of other types of DMV Hearings include: Negligent Operator Hearings that involve cases where a driver has too many points on their driving record; Fraud Hearings involving the misuse of a drivers license to purchase alcohol by those underage; and Medical and Skill Hearings that involve the issue of a person's ability to drive due to age improper use of drugs and various medical conditions. One DMV Hearing Attorney in Torrance relates that  DMV hearings can very often be beyond the scope of the ordinary citizen to handle and therefore the services of a skilled lawyer familiar with the rules and procedures can level the playing field and increase a persons chances of prevailing and saving their license.

In Los Angeles the Driver Safety Offices have a reputation for being very conservative in returning licenses for medical and lack of skill.  A DMV Hearing Attorney can help level the playing field by holding the hearing officers to the law and being fair.

The most important thing to know about DMV Hearings is that there is a time deadline to request a hearing, if that deadline expires you may not have a right to challenge the suspension at all.  If you or a loved one is facing a license suspension or pending DMV hearing, call Attorney Matthew Ruff, he has been defending clients at DMV Hearings for well over 25 years and can give you the legal advantage necessary to win the DMV Hearing. Contact him Toll Free at 1-877-213-4453 today, mention this article and recieve a free consultation.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Manhattan Beach DUI Attorney Explains the Meaning of "Bodily Injury" in Felony DUI Cases

The California Vehicle Codes makes a DUI a felony when "bodily injury" results from any unlawful act caused by the drunk driver. Vehicle Code §23153 only requires proof of “bodily injury,” not proof of “substantial bodily injury” or “great bodily injury.” said the Court in the case of People v Guzman (2000) 77 CA4th 761 where the justices held that the California statute only requires proof of “harm or hurt to the body”. Minor injuries will satisfy the statutory requirement such as abrasions, lacerations, and back and neck pain, also cuts, headache, and stiff neck were sufficient injuries that have been found to satisfy the legal requirement of injury.  The distinction is significant given the greater punishment imposed for these offenses.

However, according to a local Manhattan Beach DUI Attorney  Matthew Ruff, there must be some physical injury; merely being shaken up or frightened is insufficient, at least that is what the Court said in the case of People v Lares (1968) 261 CA2d 657, 662. When the defendant causes “great bodily injury,” the court has authority to increase the punishment by imposing a sentence enhancement under Pen C §12022.7. This enhancement makes the offense not only a felony, but a "strike". In addition, when the defendant causes “great bodily injury” and has four or more separate DUI convictions within ten years of the current conviction, the court must impose a sentence enhancement under Veh C §23566(b). Furthermore, The bodily injury must be sustained by someone other than the defendant (Veh C §23153(a), (b)), for example, the defendant may be convicted of a violation of Veh C §23153 based on injuries sustained by a passenger in the defendant’s vehicle but not for injuries sustained solely by the perpetrator of the offense.

Should you require additional information about this topic or if you or a loved one is facing a felony DUI, attorney Matthew Ruff can be reached directly at 310-527-4100 for a consultation and review of your case.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Torrance Public Intoxication Lawyer Explains Distinction Between DUI and Drunk in Public

In California it is a crime to drive while impaired in any way that affects your mental or physical faculties, the impairment can be slight.  In contrast, the state also criminalizes being drunk in public, however the level of impairment required for a conviction is much greater.  For example, if the suspect in a public intoxication case were to fail the so-called Field Sobriety Tests given to suspected DUI drivers that would not necessarily equate to being impaired to the degree required for an arrest for being drunk in public.  According to Matthew Ruff, a local  Torrance Public Intoxication Lawyer  , the law mandates that the intoxication level be to such a degree where the person can no longer care for the safety of himself or to others around him or her.  In reality this means the suspect is so drunk he can stumble out into the street and kill himself or he is endangering the public.  Such a level of proof is certainly not required in a "drunk driving" case.  The bottom line in 647f cases vs. 23152 arrests, is that the requisite level of intoxication required is exponentially higher for public intoxication than for driving under the influence. 

Attorney Matthew Ruff can be reached at 310-527-4100 if additional information or advice is required.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Faulty Breath Machines Being Investigated

According to the Associated Press, Hundreds of DUI convictions in Ventura County CA could be dismissed after handheld breathalyzer devices were discovered to have given faulty readings. Law Enforcement said some of the breath test readings were so high, they would have meant instant death. The district attorney's office sent memos to attorneys involved in cases that included blood-alcohol tests taken on eight erratic machines between Jan. 20 and March 31. The county, which bought 125 of the Intoximeter Alco-Sensor V devices at $4,800 each, has shipped them back to the manufacturer. "The ones already found guilty by trial or pled guilty, we are going through all the cases whether we would be withdrawing pleas," Chief Deputy Public Defender Monica Cummins said. Cummins, who represents 160 people arrested with the faulty devices, confirmed that many had pleaded guilty in Court after seeing the results. The maker, Intoximeter of St. Louis, is trying to correct the flaw. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department expects to have the retrofitted devices back in three months. All will be tested for 100 percent accuracy before they are used again.

CA DMV Now Allowing Second and Third DUI Offenders an Ability to Get Restricted License

For those convicted of a DUI in california and have one or more priors, there is now an ability to get a restricted license from the DMV. Vehicle Code (VC) §§ 13352(a)(3) and 13352(a)(5) allows a second or third DUI offender to install an IID and receive an IID restricted license after a mandatory  suspension/revocation period, if the most recent violation of VC §23152 occurred on or after July 1, 2010, and did not involve the use of drugs.

Eligible DUI defendants and drivers must provide the following:

Verification of Installation Ignition Interlock (DL920 Form Required).

$45 administrative service fee to the DMV

All other CA DMV established reinstatement requirements and fees.

Second drunk driving Offenders whose violation involved alcohol only may reinstate after a 90-day suspension with proof of enrollment in a DUI program. Third DUI Offenders whose violation involved alcohol only may reinstate after a 6-month revocation with proof of enrollment in an 18 or 30-month DUI program.

Conviction Involving the Use of Drugs—Second or third DUI offenders whose most recent DUI conviction included the use of drugs do not qualify for early reinstatement with the installation of an IID until 12 months of a suspension/revocation has been completed. A DUI Attorney can offer guidance for those in this category.

Term of IID Restriction—The term of IID restrictions remain in effect for the remainder of the original suspension/revocation term. Drivers that fail to comply with the IID requirement will be suspended/revoked for the remainder of the original suspension/revocation term. A DUI Lawyer can help to ensure that all criteria are met in order to qualify for the restriction.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lawyer Construes the Law of Citizens Arrest for DUI in California

California law pertaining to citizen's arrest can be quite complex.  This article attempts to clarify and summarize when a citizen may arrest a person for DUI. A citizen’s arrest for DUI is proper when based on the citizen’s observation that the defendant was driving under the influence; in so doing, the citizen may delegate to a peace officer the act of taking the defendant into physical custody in accordance with Penal Code §837(1)  in fact, according to a Long Beach Criminal Lawyer,  the Courts have held that a citizen may make arrest for misdemeanor DUI committed in his or her presence in many cases. For example, when a parking lot attendant who, observed defendant trying to exit parking facility by driving wrong way and into facility’s entrance gate, summoned officer and reported his observations to officer who made arrest this was considered legal, moreover, when an inspector of Department of Food and Agriculture who stopped defendant’s vehicle at inspection station, observed defendant was intoxicated and reported observations to highway patrol officer who arrested defendant this was also construed as within the citizen's rights.

Can an Out of State DUI Prior be Used Against Someone in California?

In California, a person who gets a DUI is subject to being charged with a prior offense even if it is one that took place out of state. A conviction of an out-of-state offense that would have been a violation of  CA Vehicle code §23152 or §23153 if committed in California constitutes a conviction of those sections for purposes of the Vehicle Code, including its sentencing provisions. Veh C §23626. For example in tha case of California v Crane (2006) 142 CA4th 425 the Court held that a Colorado conviction for driving while impaired, which requires only that the defendant be affected to the slightest degree, cannot serve as a prior conviction for purposes of enhancing DUI sentence; California violations require an appreciable degree of impairment.

However, in DMV administrative driver’s license suspension proceedings, it is sufficient if the out-of-state offense is “substantially similar” to the California DUI statutes. In the case of McDonald v Department of Motor Vehicles (2000) 77 CA4th 677, 681–689, the court engaged in juxtaposing California and Colorado DUI statutes and finding sufficient similarity even though Colorado statute presumes intoxication at blood-alcohol level of .05 % or more, while Veh C §§23152 and 23153 only presume intoxication at blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or more. This decision is consistent with the Vehicle Code section 13363(b)  which states that an out-of-state conviction must be “substantially the same” in substance, interpretation, and enforcement as the California law pertaining to that conviction in order to be given reciprocal treatment by DMV under Driver’s License Compact.  Many DUI Lawyers however can find loopholes in the laws or utilize innovative strategies in Court to defeat the prior, check with a local attorney about your specific case.

Recently, attorney Ruff represented a client in Torrance Court for a DUI and the person had two prior out of state DWI convictions.  The DA charged her with a third time offense for a Redondo Beach arrest and she was looking at mandatory 120 days in jail if convicted.  Fortunately, Matthew knew how to get around that by compelling the prosecutor to produce certified records of the prior offenses, they could not do it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

DUI Attorney Explains the Law of Refusal in California

In California, a refusal to take a chemical test when arrested for a DUI can be quite severe. Sentencing and license suspension alone can result in harsh penalties. The arrested person must be told that his or her refusal to submit to or complete a required test will result in a fine and mandatory imprisonment if the person is convicted of DUI, and suspension or revocation of his or her driver’s license. Veh Code §23612(a)(1)(D), (e)–(g). License suspension or revocation is mandatory when the person refuses to submit to or complete a required test, even if he or she is later acquitted or the DUI charge is dismissed. One Lakewood DUI Lawyer tells us that this is different from other provisions which requires the DMV to reinstate the license of a person who is acquitted of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more, Veh C §13353 does not have a similar provision for defendants charged with refusing to take a chemical test, even when they are found factually innocent of this charge.

Sentencing enhancements can also affect the outcome. On conviction of a violation of Veh C §23152 or §23153, the defendant is subject to the sentencing enhancements set forth in the Vehicle Code, namely mandatory jail time over and above the DUI terms of probation. Before these enhancements may be imposed, the defendant’s willful refusal or failure to complete the required test must be spelled out in a formal complaint and proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to one Lakewood DUI Attorney , a refusal can be used against the person in criminal court as follows: The person should be advised that his or her refusal to submit to a test may be used against him or her in court. Veh C§23612(a)(4). The Courts have held that refusal to take blood-alcohol test after lawful request is not act coerced by officer and is not protected by privilege against self-incrimination and the statute prohibiting defendant from refusing to submit to chemical test does not violate privilege against self-incrimination. However, an officer’s failure to give this advisement goes to the weight, not the admissibility, of the evidence.

The person’s refusal to submit to a test unless it is administered by his or her own physician constitutes a refusal under the statute as does a refusal to submit to a test unless the person’s attorney is present  or until the person has had an opportunity to communicate with his or her attorney . According to one DUI Refusal Attorney in Los Angeles a defendant’s demand to look at officer’s card containing information on accuracy of various tests before submitting to test was a refusal. Because the test must be administered without delay, when a person refuses to submit to a test and then changes his or her mind, the person is deemed to have refused to comply with the testing requirement

California Under 21 DUI Attorney Explains the Law of VC 23140 for Minors

It is unlawful in California for a person under 21 years of age who has 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. Vehicle Code section 23140(a). Recently, the California Courts ruled that the statute does not violate the Constitution or deny persons under 21 equal protection of law even though it bases violation on blood-alcohol level of 0.05 percent or more rather than 0.08 percent level applicable to adults because, the Court said: " minors who drink alcohol and drive pose greater accident risk than those drivers over the age of 21", according to one California Under 21 DUI Lawyer.

In California, a minor may be found in violation of Veh C §23140(a) if the person was, at the time of driving, under 21 years of age and under the influence of, or affected by, an alcoholic beverage regardless of whether a chemical test was made to determine his or her blood-alcohol concentration, and if the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle while having a concentration of 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood. Veh C §23140(b). This offense is punishable as an infraction which means that the minor cannot be sentenced to jail if convicted. .On conviction, the clerk of the court must prepare and immediately forward to the DMV an abstract of the record of the court at which time the minor's license will be suspended for one year and points will be added to the drivers record for insurance purposes.

In addition to the VC23140, another under 21 dui law exists in California, VC23136.  This law is the actual "zero tolerance" .01 or more statute.  This code section makes it illegal to drive with a .01 percent or more of alcohol in your blood if you are under the age of 21.  The law is an infraction which means that you cannot go to jail if convicted.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hermosa Beach DUI Lawyer Explains HGN Law in Drunk Driving Cases

In California, police officers in the field have many different "tests" at their disposal to ascertain whether a suspect is DUI. One of the field sobriety tests that the officer may administer is the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. The test involves having the suspect follow a moving object with his or her eyes, then measuring the angle of onset at which an involuntary jerking or "bouncing" of the eyes begin. One local Hermosa Beach DUI Lawyer relates that,  Depending on the observations of the DUI police investigator at the angle of onset, the prosecution may argue that the failure of the drunk driving suspect to follow the object or a jerking of the eyes may be consistent with the presence of alcohol and/or some types of drugs. The individual cop's observations may be admitted as evidence of the presence of alcohol, as will the officer’s opinion, based on the Nystagmus test in combination with other tests, that the defendant was under the influence. The officer’s testimony, however, should not draw a correlation between the HGN test and any specific blood-alcohol level. The CA Appellate Courts have ruled that HGN evidence, when viewed with other relevant indications, meets Kelly-Frye standard for general acceptance in the scientific community for purposes of deciding whether a person is under the influence of alcohol.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

California DUI Laws in a Nutshell

In California, it is a misdemeanor to drive a vehicle under the following circumstances:

• While under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under their combined influence. Veh C §23152(a).

— DUI involving alcohol. It is not necessary to prove any specific degree of intoxication, but only that the defendant was under the influence. A person is under the influence when, as a result of using alcohol or drugs, his or her physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that he or she no longer has the ability to drive the vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.

— DUI involving drugs. When a defendant is charged with driving under the influence of a drug, a showing of a specific measurable amount of the drug in the defendant’s blood is not required. The showing that must be made is that the defendant was under the influence.

• While having 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in one’s blood. For this offense it is not necessary to prove the defendant was, in fact, under the influence; it is sufficient to prove the defendant’s blood-alcohol level was 0.08 percent or more.  For this reason, this statute is sometimes referred to as the “per se” DUI statute. There is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after driving.

Veh C §23152(b). The percent by weight is based on grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Veh C §23152(b).

• While addicted to the use of any drug, unless participating in a narcotic treatment program approved under Health & S C §§11875 et seq. Veh C §23152(c).

• While having 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in one’s blood while driving a commercial vehicle. Veh C §23152(d).

There is a rebuttable presumption that the person accused of DUI had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after driving.  Veh C §23152(d).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What are the Penalties for a DUI in Los Angeles County?

So you or someone you know got arrested for drunk driving and are freaking out over what is going to happen.  You have many questions such as Am I going to Jail?  and Am I going to lose my license?  These are all good questions and it is healthy to take a proactive approach to the situation, but don't stress yourself out.  The best thing to do is consult with an experienced DUI attorney in the area where you were arrested.  You see, each jurisdiction has different penalties for driving under the influence so a DWI that occurs in San Francisco may be punished differently than one in Los Angeles.

California quite possibly has some of the stiffest consequences for DUI among all fifty states. Within California, Los Angeles probably has the toughest penalties for persons convicted of drunk driving or DUI. The Courts in L.A. are particularly heavy handed on offenders who drive with children in the car or those that have prior convictions for the same offense. 

Here is a quick summary of the most prevalent penalties handed down:

DMV Drivers License Consequences :

Those Over 21 If a breath or Blood test is Taken:
1st Offense: Six months Drivers License suspension.
2nd Offense: One year suspension.
3rd Offense: Two year revocation.
4th Offense: Three year revocation.

For first offenders, the DMV will allow a restricted license for work and school if the violator gets enrolled in a DUI program and obtains an SR-22.

Those over 21 who REFUSE a Chemical Test:
1st Offense: Drivers License suspension for one year, with no possibility of  provisional or restricted license.
2nd Offense: License suspension for two years.
3rd Offense: License suspension for three years.
4th Offense: License revocation for four years.

Those Offenders Under 21 at the Time of the Arrest:

For drivers under the age of 21 at the time of the arrest, a one year license suspension will be imposed. However, an experienced Under 21 DUI Attorney can oftentimes obtain a set aside of any suspension based on a number of technicalities in the paperwork.  If no set aside is possible then a lawyer can help in acquiring a critical need restriction for work, school or medical appointments.

Los Angeles Superior Court Penalties on the VC23152 DUI charges:
(As of July 2010 all Persons Convicted of DUI in Los Angeles County will be required to install an Ignition Interlock on all vehicles they own or have access to in order to get their drivers license returned)

1st Offense: Some courts do not require jail time on a first-offense, unless there are  grounds for a sentence enhancement (such as a minor in the car, speed enhancements, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .20% or higher, refusing the chemical test, or others). Other courts require some jail time (48 hours to 10 days), even on a first offense. The required alcohol education program will also vary. The standard  program is once a week for 12 weeks; however, where the BAC is .15% or  higher, a six or even nine month program will be ordered.  An experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer can help to eliminate serious punishments or mitigate the sentence in appropriate circumstances.

2nd Offense (One prior conviction within last 10 years): By law, the mandatory minimum jail time on a second offense DUI is 96 hours, although this can be served in two 48-hour periods. Some courts will allow city jail. Still other courts will routinely impose much harsher jail  sentences on a second-offense DWI, with sentences of 30 days or more. The SB-38 alcohol education program for a second offense DUI is 18
months long. An ignition interlock device may be required.
3rd Offense (Two prior DUI convictions within last 10 years): A California mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 days and 3 year license revocation. ( Pursuant to Recent Legislation, a Multiple offender may be allowed to obtain a restricted license for work purposes, contact a DUI attorney for help)

4th Offense (Three or more DUI convictions within last 10 years): A fourth offense Drunk Driving conviction is a Felony "wobbler", meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Punishment can range from up to one year in county jail, up to three years in a California state prison, more if the person caused injury or has prison priors.

Drunk Driving Sentence Enhancements in Los Angeles:

sentence Enhancements are added punishments the Judge must order for cases involving special factors or what the California Law Regards as Requiring a more intense punishment, some examples include:

Refusal to take the chemical test;  BAC of .15% or .20% or higher;  Speeding 20 miles per hour above speed limit on side streets, or 30 mph  over the speed limit on the freeway, where driving recklessly and DUI,  (requires 60 days in jail if convicted); Minor in car while driver DUI; Traffic Collision or Motor Vehicle Accident; Prior DUI or drunk driving convictions; Injury to persons other than the defendant (VC 23153);  Drugs in system in addition to alcohol.  These enhancements all carry a more severe sentence if found to be true or if the accused pleads no contest or guilty, the penalties vary but can involve Loss of Vehicle thru impound, various other programs such as MADD or HAM (Los Angeles County Hospital and Morgue Program)  group meetings, hard labor community service or incarceration in the L.A. county jail.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ruminations From "Captain Motion"

The following is an excerpt from the famous "Captain Motion" the DUI motion King in California DUI Defense, taken from a seminar he recently attended:  "One of the biggest problems facing those doing constitutional defense for people accused of drunk driving is that drunk driving has long been, and is increasingly, a political crime. It is no secret that MADD, SADD, and other Prohibitionist political action groups, forgetting apparently that the 18th Amendment was repealed, elevating symbolic victimization to an art form, have bulldozed their way into legislative and judicial precincts so effectively that their governmental
patrons low-crawl around and pander to their extortion to keep them from demonstrating outside legislative chambers and courthouses. And those groups’ political terrorism has effectively engrafted drunk driving exceptions to the Constitution, and to common sense, onto our juro- political landscape such that “deuces” are harder for the defense effectively to litigate than are murders."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Can a Portable Breath Test Machine Be Used at Trial in My Bakersfield DUI?

Many DUI Attorneys argue thats since the purpose of the device is limited solely to assist the officer in establishing reasonable cause to arrest, and since reasonable cause to arrest is not an issue in the trial, the numerical results of the test are inadmissible as not relevant. Indeed, many Courts have recognized this principle and observed at that, “The preliminary alcohol screening test is not determinative of blood alcohol content, but is a field sobriety test which may be used as a further investigative tool in order to establish reasonable cause....”(citing Veh. Code, § 23157 (h).) There’s no question that the statutory authority for the PAS is limited for the sole purpose of reasonable cause. Further, one local Bakersfield DUI Lawyer has repeatedly argued that the statute does not authorize the use of the PAS device in every instance. Only if there is 1) a refusal to take FST’s or 2) incapacity to take the other FST’S, or 3) if the officer believes it is necessary to assist him as a further investigatory tool after an evaluation of the totality of the circumstances. In ab recent case in Michigan the court found that where a statute limited admissibility of PAS evidence to establish reasonable cause to arrest, it was error to admit such evidence at trial. In Michigan as in California, reasonable cause to arrest is a matter of law reserved to the court. Since the validity of an arrest is a question which is reserved for judicial officers and is to be decided as a matter of law many in the legal field say they do not believe that the legislature intended under any circumstances, that evidence admissible solely for the limited purpose of PC to arrest in a DUI context.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Can a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test be Admitted in a DUI Trial?

A Nystagmus test is a FST given roadside to a supected DUI driver, the test looks for a jerking of the eyeball while it tracks a pen the officer is holding.  Before the officer may testify to the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test results, prosecution must produce expert testimony that the test is widely accepted for determining blood alcohol concentrations.  This expert cannot be an officer or a crime lab technician according to the california case of People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal. 3d 24 and a single expert will not be sufficient, as the Supreme Court said in Kelly, it is “Questionable whether the testimony of a single witness alone is ever sufficient to represent, or attest to, the views of an entire scientific community.” People v. Kelly, supra at p.37. Furthermore, the prosecution must prove that the test was correctly administered to the defendant. In People v. Williams, (1992, 5th  Dist.)  3 Cal. App.4th 1326, the arresting officer was permitted at trial to testify that in his opinion, based partly on the Nystagmus test, the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.  This was permitted by the trial court after the officer testified he had received 10-hours of classroom instruction on Nystagmus at the CHP Academy, 8-hours of laboratory time, and had given the test in the field about 250 times.  The trial court ruled that this was insufficient evidence to qualify the officer as an expert

Sunday, February 27, 2011

California Appellate Court Delivers a Blow to Margin of Error Arguments in DUI Breath Cases

In the case of Borger vs DMV, the Court last week ruled that a statute (in this case VC 13353.2) says that you can't drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. Here, where a breath test says that your number is .08 or above, that creates a rebuttable presumption that you've violated the law.  The driver in this case got  stopped by the police and blew .08 on an intoxilyzer 5000. An expert toxicologist testified  that the particular test used here has a range of .02; in other words, that someone who blows a .08 might actually have a .06 (or .10). The trial court gave credibility to the expert's testimony and, on that basis, concludes that there's insufficient evidence that the guy actually drove with .08 or more.  The Court of Appeal  however reverses. It holds that since the regulations allow the particular testing device used here, to hold otherwise would conflict with this approval and require everyone to essentially blow a .10 percent rather than a .08 percent.  The lesson learned from this case is that there needs to be more evidence presented than just a mere blanket assertion that the machine has a margin of error, this might be some specific evidence of error from the lab, specific studies related to the device, usage logs and other documents obtained through discovery, just to name a few.

Can a Rental Car Company Refuse to Rent a Car to Someone with a DUI?

Here is the scenario:  You were arrested, but not convicted of a DUI in California, you were given a temporary pink license or a paper that says you can drive.  The question is can I rent a car without any difficulty?  The answer to this question depends on two primary factors 1) Does the person have a valid license at the time of the request to rent, and 2) Does the person appear to be free from any present signs of impairment or signs of physical or mental incompetence?  If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then the rental company is not prevented by law to rent the licensee a vehicle, according to Matthew Ruff, a prominent DUI Attorney in California.  The California Appellate Court held in Flores vs. Enterprise Rent a Car, that a rental car company cannot be held liable for renting a car to someone with a pending DUI or prior DUI convictions.  As long as they have a valid license at the time and are not impaired they are legally able to rent a vehicle to the person. 

What about renting a car with the "temporary license" issued following a DUI arrest?  A temporary is as good as any other type of drivers license, use it in conjunction with a photo I.D. and there should be no problem.  The bottom line is that the Vehicle Code does not require the Rental Car Company to do anything more than verify that the prospective driver has a valid license and is not showing signs of being under the influence at the time. Prior DUI convictions or a pending DUI case are not per se a reason to decline a rental.  In many instances, the rent a car company will confirm the validity of the applicant's license with the DMV prior to releasing the car. Therefore, the "pink piece of paper" issued as a license after a DUI arrest should and indeed must suffice as a valid license to rent a car.

Some experts suggest the person get enrolled in the rental car companies preferred driving program.  This allows you to bypass the lines and desks that require you to show a license prior to picking up a car.  Also, get a California ID card that looks very similar to a license and can be used in conjunction with the paper temporary.  The process of getting a CA ID card is simple.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Breath Machines Are Not Always Right

The breath machine has come to be known as the DUI test in virtually all drunk driving arrests.  It has grown to a status that many cops believe to be infallible, but are they always reliable?  Many say no.  The science relating to the breath testing devices has its critics.  The importance of checking the maintenance history and accuracy checks of the particular breath machine is crucial.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I was arrested for DUI in Manhattan Beach, why does the police report say El Segundo?

No where is DUI enforcement as strong as in the South Bay of Los Angeles County.  Among the predominant police agencies involved in this enforcement is the El Segundo police department, not surprisingly then it is common for these drunk driving patrols to encroach and sometimes even go into neighboring cities.  Such is the case with these two law enforcement agencies according to one Manhattan Beach DUI Attorney who handles upwards of 100 cases a year in the area.  The two police forces will work together in many investigations since the towns neighbor one another.

Another reason why you will often see the two departments names on each others arrest reports is because they both participate in what is called the "South Bay DUI Task Force" which is an inter agency unit that is tasked with one job: to catch drunk drivers.  Indeed, when the task force is in full swing, it is not unusual to see cops from both forces driving around with each other says a El Segundo DUI Attorney .  The law does allow for one cop to cross over into  a different city to make an arrest for DUI, that is well settled says the lawyer.  The fact is it is impossible to not cross over sometimes when there may be 5 cities in a 10 mile radius.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hermosa Beach, Is it Time For DUI Diversion

The DUI case load in the South Bay Court, particularly Hermosa Beach is enormous.  Perhaps it is time for the Courts to consider a diversion program for driving under the influence cases. Diversion is a way for a criminal defendant to obtain a dismissal of a case following intensive counseling and rehabilitation.  It is an option only for first time offenders.  The benefit for the Court system and society is that the case is taken out of the system, thereby leaving more room for more serious offenses and recidivists according to one Hermosa Beach DUI Attorney  that defends many drunk driving criminal matters in the local court.   Many critics argue that this type of resolution does not set enough of an example to those contemplating committiong a similar crime.  However, the extensive punishment component would be enough to deter future offenders many believe.  The prosecutors and Judges will need to take all arguments into account before implimenting this program.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Redondo Beach Announces Plans to Conduct a DUI Sobriety/License Checkpoint

The Redondo Beach Police Department has released plans to operate a DUI and drivers license checkpoint at an undisclosed location tonight and into tomorrow morning.  A local newspaper has reported that RBPD police records show that in the past three years drunk drivers  have caused 84 injury crashes in Redondo Beach, resulting in over 100 critical injuries.  Money for the sobriety roadblock is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says the Daily Breeze.  The paper has posed the following question:  Do The Police Have to Notify the Public in Advance of there intention to conduct a checkpoint?    The paper correctly stated that there is no longer a legal requirement to do so, however, one Redondo Beach DUI Attorney points out that there are a litany of other constitutuional mandates that render the DUI checkpoints constitutionally permissible.   The California Supreme Court has affirmed many of the other previously handed down criteria such as a plan created by supervisory police personnel, rather than the officers in the police officers in the field. In 1993, the court ruled that police were no longer required to provide advance notice when scheduling sobriety checkpoints. Legal scholars have opined that the current framework for analyzing these roadblocks may be flawed and future Court cases will likely be necessary to effectively promulgate a more precise set of rules for law enforcement to follow .

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Actress Pressly Speaks Out About Her DUI Arrest

Television star and female hearthrob Jaime Pressly has finally given a press release for possibly the first time about her recent legal woes, maintaining that the criminal arrest for DUI and marital problems are completely not related to each other.  The Joe Dirt TV star entered a  plea of not guilty to charges of drunk driving stemming from an arrest last month near the beach.  According to a Santa Monica DUI Attorney , the maximum jail time she faces is time served, though the law does allow for up to 6 months.  She was taken into custody by police in Santa Monica, California last month after failing  to complete a field sobriety test. Her car had initially been pulled over for an infraction. Pressly, who was reportedly almost three times over the legal blood alcohol limit, was released on $15,000  bail and subsequently charged with two counts of driving under the influence. She entered her plea during a court hearing at a Los Angeles County courtroom in LAX Court, Division 147.

Meanwhile, Pressly reportedly owes over a half million dollars in unpaid taxes. She is also in the middle of divorcing prominent Hollywood Attorney Simran Singh. But she's upset that people are linking her marriage to her other problems - and she wants to protect her three-year-old son from the lies. She tells U.S. TV news show Extra, "People are thinking my divorce is happening because of the drunk driving situation. Truth is, these are all isolated incidents." She's also upset about remarks that have been made in the media about her parental skills in the wake of her current issues, stating, She better be careful, many of these incidents are often followed by a crime of domestic violence, from the perspective of a Santa Monica Criminal Attorney, "(These are) ridiculously unkind and untrue (allegations). I don't ever want my son to grow up and read all these false statements. "(My husband and I) fell in love quickly. We got married very quickly. It didn't work out the way we wanted to. There's nothing more to it."  Good luck in the Courts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Are New Portable Breath Tests Reliable?

Earlier this year one of the largest manufacturers of breath testing devices in DUI cases announced they were introducing a new portable screener to the market, the ASV.  The company released data that the device is reliable to less than .005%, however many DUI defense attorneys are skeptical.  The science just does not support that level of accuracy says one Beverly Hills DUI Lawyer .  Though there are very few studies to look at in the area of portable breath machines, the commonly accepted error rate is .01 to .015, no where near the levels the manufacturer touts.  With this new technology will no doubt come a number of challenges.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DUI Involving Drugs on the Rise

For police, DUI enforcement used to be very straightforward, you smell alcohol on the drivers breath and initiate a series of field sobriety tests to confirm the persons level of intoxication.  However, nowadays it is not unusual for drivers to be impaired on any number of the thousands of prescription drugs in the marketplace.  The rules have changed for law enforcement, says one Prescription Drug DUI Attorney , the same types of tell tale indicators that were useful for alcohol are inapplicable for drug detection.  Some in the legal field are calling for a revamping of the standards utilized to detect impaired drivers.

In many police agencies officers are required to undergo training for drug detection and some have even opted for more extensive certification for DUI drug enforcement known as the DRE qualification.  In fact in some northern California counties DUI involving prescription drugs and marijuana now outnumber those for alcohol.  According to one Marijuana DUI Attorney the same field sobriety tests that police used 10 years ago are now obsolete when it comes to drug intoxication.