Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Can The Reading Of Miranda Rights Excuse a Refusal?

In California a refusal to submit to a breath or blood test can result in a long suspension or revocation.  There are few defenses to a refusal.  One defense is called officer induced confusion.

It is well recognized in law that when an officer simultaneously reads a driver his implied consent warnings (no right to refuse a test and no right to consult with or to have an attorney present during its administration) in conjunction with the Miranda admonition (right to refuse interrogation and to have an attorney present at all stages of a police interrogation, etc.), it will likely induce confusion.

Therefore, in cases where a driver (arrested for DUI) has been given Miranda insists on the presence of an attorney before choosing a test the courts have recognized that he [or she] may have been confused by the two warnings and the officers failure to clarify and explain the difference. In such a case the refusal to take a test has been held not to be a refusal within the meaning of California Vehicle Code section 13353. (Rust v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1968) 267 Cal.App.2d 545, 547.)

The question of officer-induced confusion is one of fact. [Citations.] When a driver who has been given Miranda manifests confusion by asserting his [or her] alleged right to an attorney, it is incumbent upon the officer to explain that the right does not apply to these tests. (McDonnell v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1975) 45 Cal.App.3d 653, 658.  The failure of an officer to clear up the confusion renders any alleged refusal to submit to a test insufficient to suspend a drivers license as a result.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Is Torrance Court Tough on DUI Cases?

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

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

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

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

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