DUI Attorney Los Angeles
California and society in general have changed their attitudes toward driving under the influence (DUI). And your DUI Attorney Los Angeles will surly tell you that the reasons for this change are many. DUI convictions have changed from an attitude of nothing more than a Traffic Ticket, to one of major societal import. The lobbying efforts of groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was a major factor in the changes in legal and societal treatment of drunk driving. But when the “party lights” of the police car come on and you are pulled over, what happens next?
At LA Jewish Lawyer we work diligently to connect you with the Best DUI Attorney Los Angeles for your DUI case. Once we connect you with your DUI defense attorney he or she will most likely start by offering the following details: The DUI statute in California is Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) and (b). The statute has two sub-parts which place liability on you for driving either under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and/or driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. The most prudent thing to do, is pull over. If you decide to attempt to run away, the stakes go up in an exponential fashion. If you flee, additional police cars will be called in to apprehend you. Additional criminal charges will be added when you are caught (evading, other traffic laws e.g. speeding) will be waiting for you at the end of the chase. The police use a variety of tactics to locate DUI drives. They include their own perception (finding probable cause), DUI checkpoints, notification from citizens, etc.
Attorneys Playbook - Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and getting involved in an accident, especially where people are injured, is an exceedingly serious matter. Although still serious, one DUI conviction, without a crash, and without a charge of reckless driving, can be survived and dealt with. But what frequently follows, is a much “darker” scenario. Rather than “sobering-up”, the motorist may keep right on driving, without changing their habits.
The penalties are much higher for a second DUI conviction. Plus two (2) DUI convictions can be a problem in family court, where custody plans are being considered, and for membership in professional groups such as the California State Bar or Medical Board, or for employment applications. But it keeps getting worse.
Some people end up having their Driver Licenses suspended, and therefore find it very difficult to get to, and from, work. But that’s not the end for some people.
Faced with logistic difficulty of getting to and from work, they drive without a valid Drivers’ License, and get caught.
For those of us that have witnessed such disruption of many people’s lives, it is difficult to imagine how so many other people can continue to drink and drive.
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The police are out in force at various times of the year to look for DUI drives. We have all seen news stories at major holidays (4th of July, Christmas, New Year’s) which typically involve the consumption of alcohol. The police cite the gruesome statistics that from 2003-2012 10,327 people in California were killed in crashes involving a DUI driver. Besides the devastating emotional toll this takes on families, we have increased medical expenses in attempts to save these people. The trend that is used to curb DUI is multifaceted. These include sobriety checkpoints, community mobilizations, mass media campaigns, school based educational programs.
Once you are pulled over, the officer will typically conduct a Field Sobriety Test (FST). First, when the police officer comes to you, he/she will ask if you have been drinking. S/he will then perform the FST. These tests are inherently difficult to perform when a person is sober and are prejudiced against a DUI defendant. Can you recite the alphabet backwards when you are under the gun (no pun intended)? FST’s may include walking heel to toe and then turning around to go back, touching finger to nose, the alphabet test and a possible blowing into a field unit to ascertain your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC).
If you are arrested and refuse to take a test to ascertain your BAC, your license will be automatically suspended for the refusal. When you first got our license, you agreed with the state that you will submit to testing if an officer demands it. This is called the “implied consent law”. Typically, you have a choice of testing (either a breath test at the police station) or a blood test. In rare circumstances, you may get a urine test. This exception to the general rule has been scaled back since 1999.
Depending on how you perform these tests, the officer may take you into custody for DUI. When this occurs, the system is swift in it application of punishment. The officer will take your drives license from you. A temporary license will be issued to you by the DMV. You must request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days to challenge the validity of this action. Should you fail to do so, your license will be suspended for a period of one year potentially. If this is your first DUI, typically you are faced with a 90 suspension. The suspension will be a “hard” 30 days suspension. This means that you will not be able to drive for 30 days. After paying a fee to the DMV you will be issued a restricted drives license. This means that you may drive to/from work, to/from a court mandated alcohol school for 60 days.
When you go to court, your first appearance will be at arraignment. This is a process where the court apprises you of the charges against you and provides you with an opportunity to enter a plea to the charges. You will be given the discovery from the people. This discovery will include the police report, your test results and various other documents. Do not go through this alone. Have a lawyer review the documents and advise you of your rights and options. You may have an opportunity to challenge the validity of the testing, the accuracy of the testing and the observations of the police officer(s). Most people do not know the ins and outs of this process. Therefore, a lawyer is of vital importance to ensure your rights.
Attorneys Playbook - DUI Risks on Busy City Streets
As children, we often looked up at our parents sipping those stinky drinks and asked “what are you drinking mom/dad?” only to get a verbal shove to go to our room or an elegant answer that was as “fishy” as the hors d’oeuvres; “This is something only adults drink, now, go to your room!”. As adulthood kicked in, our natural drive, to expand our life experiences, sought the known “no-no’s” and caused us give them a test.
More often than not, our youth is reckless when it comes to alcohol consumption.
Studies have shown that the brain of teenagers is still very fragile and can be negatively affected by a couple of drinks, even more so than an adult in his/her 30s. Impaired judgment and tainted senses are the main causes of car accidents across the board in young and adult subjects. However, when the absence of 1- experience, 2- common sense and 3- responsibility, which most youngsters lack at their age, are added to the equation, the outcome is- Increased Driving Under The Influence (DUI) related Car Accidents.
Government and private organizations are continually working to help curb this fatal problem. Along with restrictions, they offer guidance, counseling tools and services that can help any possible drunk driver, avoid the DUI consequences. This means saving lives as well.
A group of 18-year-olds were walking down the extremely busy Redondo Beach Boulevard. They had managed to get a bottle of liquor earlier that evening and drank some before they made their way toward a waiting UBER car. Something in their behavior caught the attention of a nearby police officer scanning the streets. The police officer stopped the group, and requested to see their Identification Cards, or Drivers Licenses. Had they not been carrying an opened bottle of liquor, that would have been the end of the story, even though they were under the age of 21, and smelled of alcohol.
The police officer was on the verge of issuing them a Citation / Summons, when the teenagers announced that they had called an UBER car, and pointed out the waiting ride to the police officer’s. The kids were saved by the fact that they had the foresight to call UBER.
Everyone should be forewarned that every night, when the bars close down in the South Bay towns of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, police in both marked and unmarked cars are scanning the cars and the crowers, looking for individuals “ under the influence”.
Best advice – if you are going to drink…. Drink at Home!
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There may be various reasons why you could not complete the FST’s in a satisfactory manner. Perhaps you had an adverse reaction to medication you were taking, had a condition which affects your balance and/or speech, you were excessively nervous or a host of other issues that could turn the adverse test results around.
The DMV is the first battlefront that a defendant has to fight when cited with a DUI. The DMV will conduct your license suspension hearing. They assume that the officers’ report is accurate and take it as gospel. The burden is then placed on you to convince them that you were not under the influence. This is a difficult and at times an impossible burden for a defendant to overcome.
The court is the second battlefront that a defendant has to fight. If a resolution of the criminal charge cannot be reached, a trial may ensue. At trial, the officer will come to testify. The defendant will have the right to question the officer and challenge the accuracy of the test results. To go to trial will become expensive for the typical defendant. The defendant will have to call expert witnesses to testify on his behalf. This may include doctors, engineers or a host of other technical people to challenge the validity of the prosecution case.
Attorneys Playbook - Drinking Can be Detrimental to Our Senses and Behavior
Unfortunately for those concerned about health and safety, in today’s marketplace, the variety of alcoholic beverages is as diverse as picking a piece of clothing in a shopping mall. Different flavors of vodka, wines from hundreds of different types of grape types and origins and, beer galore, from “A” to “Z”. This exploding trend of small breweries in Los Angeles and overall in the nation, is astonishing. Essentially the choice is vast and legally available for all who are 21 years of age and older. Those who ever took the “plunge”, and drank to get drunk, by choice or lack of experience, can tell you that all of your five (5) senses are bound to lose their fine tuning. In fact, most, if not all of your senses are completely useless and you can be heading into your unconscious dive towards the floor as gravity takes over. Now comes the question, if we know how the ill effects of drinking can be detrimental to our senses and behavior, why do we still take the risk and drive under the influence (DUI)? Should a police officer in Los Angeles County stop you and find out that you are intoxicated with alcohol above the allowed limit, the consequences are as follows: Whether you plead “Guilty” or “No Contest”, you now have a Criminal Conviction on your record. If you decided to fight it, and go to court with a “Not Guilty” plea, the odds are stacked against you, since the “Breathalyzer” readings usually hold up in court., unless the accused can create a reasonable doubt as to whether the “Breathalyzer” device was not properly calibrated, meaning, properly adjusted. A word to the wise, seldom needed, but well worth listening to: accurate but lightweight “Breathalyzer” devices are available, to order on-line, with prices ranging between $30 and $100. Some People check their own alcohol readings before getting behind a wheel of a car. But beware of even “moderate” consumption of alcohol shows up on the “Breathalyzer” devices. Let’s suppose you are really, and truly, NOT drunk, but you had a sip or two of beer or wine immediately before driving. Since there is still some alcohol in your mouth, the Breathalyzer shows positive for alcohol. This is why most people would agree that the solution is NEVER TO DRINK AND DRIVE!
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DUI is an offense that increases its penalties the more often a defendant violates it. A typical first time offense is punished by a fine, 36 months of summary probation, the license restriction noted above and possibility of jail time. Subsequent offense increase jail time, license suspension and could lead to license revocation. There have been cases where professionals have lost their license to practice (doctors, lawyers) for repeated DUI’s. If a defendant kills someone while DUI after a first offense, the prosecution may have the option of filing murder charges against the defendant. The stakes ramp up quickly and not in a good way against the defendant.
The government besides having valid reasons for protect the public has a second reason, money. There are various industries that are tied into DUI prosecution. These include alcohol schools that try to teach behavior modification, ignition interlock device companies (that place a device in the defendants car that prevent it from starting if alcohol is detected). By the way, the defendant gets to pay for these services as well as being required to use them.
DUI’s in California are called “wobblers”. This means that depending upon the case, the prosecution may charge DUI as a felony or a misdemeanor. If death or damage to property results, a felony charge may be brought against the defendant. If a felony is charged, the stakes of the prosecution go up and not in favor of the defendant.
If you choose to drink, just do not drive. Get a designated driver, call a cab/Uber/limo, stay at home, stay in a hotel. Small choices may have a lifetime of consequence. Take steps to protect yourself and the public from these adverse situations.
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