Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why Is the Judge Telling Me About Deportation For A DUI When I Am A Citizen

In California, the Judge is required to tell anyone in a criminal case the consequences of a plea of guilty.  Among these consequences re those pertaining to immigration.   The Court cannot ask a defendant if they are here legally or what their status is.  The Judge must inform everyone as follows:

 If you are not a citizen of the United States, you should assume that your plea of [guilty/no contest] will result in your deportation from the United States, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization as a United States citizen. Do you understand that?
It is highly recomended that The court should give the Pen C §1016.5 advisement to all defendants because the court may not inquire into a defendant’s legal status. See Pen C §1016.5(d); People v Aguilera (1984) 162 CA3d 128, 133, 208 CR 418. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Problem of Passive Inhalation of Marijuana

In California it is now legal to ingest marijuana if you have a medical condition warranting its use.  Many folks are using pot in social settings, restaurants, clubs, bars, etc.  Is it possible to be near someone smoking pot and have it enter your system through second hand smoke?  Some say yes and it could show up in a urine test that police take in DUI cases.

The amount of THC which the passive inhaler might absorb depends on several factors.  Not only the size of the room where the marijuana is smoked important but o is the number of joints smoked and the hours exposed to that smoke.  It is possible that a person exposed to passive inhalation in a room with 4 cigarettes smoked could result in that person showing positive for marijuana in a DUI urine test.

In one study, scientists revealed that volunteers subjected to marijuana smoke in a room could show positive results on a test for THC.  The experts all agree mor studies need to be done to see if this is a problem in common everyday scenarios where innocent people could be wrongfully accused of smoking pot when they have not done so.   The consequences could be dire, not only for those charged with DWI in a criminal context but also within the realm of employee drug tests and the like.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Torrance DUI Schools

Torrance has the unique distinction of having more than one choice for dui classes.  If you were convicted of a DUI in California you must attend an approved DUI program that is licensed by the state and county.  How do you find a DUI school in your area?  What is the right class in order to get your license back? There are three basic types of DUI classes that are available and which one you must attend depends on the kind of case you were charged with.  First is the SB 1176 program which is 12 hours long and is required if you were convicted in Court of a wet reckless.  Second is the AB762 which is six months in duration and is generally required for first time drunk driving offenders whose blood alcohol level is above a .15 BAC.  Third is the AB541 and it is the standard program for conviction of a VC23152 a or b offense first time offender.  The first offender ab541 program is composed of 10 group meetings, 3 individual sessions or interviews, one in the beginning of the class, one in the middle and the last one in the end.  Also, the course requires 6 AA meetings to complete the state guidelines.

Lastly, is the 9 month program required for anyone with a BAC above .20, this program is called the AB1353 class.  Essentially, it is the same as the ab541 just more of it, more aa meetings, more group sessions and more one on one interviews with a counselor.

For anyone convicted of a multiple offense DUI, say a second, third or fourth offense or greater, there is the SB38 program, an 18 month DUI school that is very comprehensive in nature.

Torrance DUI classes are accepted by the Courts and the DMV for purposes of reinstatement of  driving privileges.  California does require that anyone convicted of driving under the influence enroll in and complete an approved education program or risk losing their license until the class is finished.

There are two DUI schools located in Torrance that handle DWI programs:

Driver Benefits, Inc.
Santa Fe Business Park
2370 West Carson Street, Suite 150
Torrance, CA 90501
310-320-9550 (direct)
310-320-9448 (fax)

High Gain Program NCADD Of The South Bay
1334 Post Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
Phone: (310) 328-1587
Fax: (310) 328-1964

Monday, July 7, 2014

California Court Rules Hit and Run Driver Not Responsible For Restitution

California has some of the toughest laws on hit and run and DUI, for example in Torrance a conviction may land you in Jail for a long spell.  With that being said, occasionally the Court comes down with a decision that makes sense when viewed from a legal standpoint.

In this case, the defendant pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident , commonly referred to as hit and run, and admitted a probation violation in return for a three-year sentence with a concurrent term for the probation violation. The plea was based on evidence that defendant fled after the 12-year-old victim, who was riding on a scooter, collided with his vehicle in the street. The court sentenced the scofflaw  to the three-year term. After a hearing, the court ordered victim restitution of $425,654.63, yes that is correct nearly a half million daollars, following People v. Rubics (2006) 136 Cal.App.4th 452, which held that a defendant fleeing the scene of an accident can be ordered to pay restitution for costs incurred by the victim as a result of a collision.

However, On appeal, the defendant named Martinez claimed the court abused its discretion by imposing restitution for injuries sustained by the victim because he did not plead to any criminal offense regarding the collision that caused those injuries, and there was no factual determination made that he was responsible for the accident. The Court threw out the restitution.. When a defendant is sentenced to prison for a hit-and-run offense, restitution is proper only to the extent that the victim's injuries are caused or exacerbated by the offender's flight from the scene. There was no evidence here that Martinez's flight caused or exacerbated the victim's injuries. Rubics is factually distinguishable from this case, and to the extent that it is not, the court disagreed with its holding. Although Martinez executed a Harvey waiver, there were no other charges in the felony complaint that incorporated any type of criminal culpability for the collision. On remand, the prosecutor may prove that the victim's injuries were exacerbated by Martinez's flight. (CCAP)

This case, though not per se a DUI case, has many angry.