Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It’s no secret that Hollywood's young and restless keep Los Angeles DUI lawyers pretty busy.  In the latest DUI incident involving a star, Planet of the Apes star Estella Warren, has been arrested and charged with DUI.  She also faces a number of other charges, including resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer.

According to news reports, Warren was involved in a car accident in Los Angeles on May 23rd.  She crashed her Toyota into three other cars.  She then did what Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys would not advise - she fled the scene of the accident.

The cops soon apprehended her.  However, Warren allegedly began to resist arrest, fighting and attacking the officer.  When she was taken to the station, she apparently slid out of her handcuffs, and tried to run out of the station.  She was apprehended again.  She might have been charged with attempted escape, but since she had not been formally booked at the time she tried to make a run for it, that charge did not apply.  Warren was lucky that she's escaping – no pun intended - on a technicality.  If she had been charged with trying to escape which is a felony charge, she could've been looking at a much heftier prison term.  She's currently out on $100,000 bail.

Trying to flee the scene of an accident, attacking police officers, and trying to make a run for it - none of this helps a DUI case.  In fact, it simply makes for an easier case for the prosecution.  That doesn't mean, however, that one should simply roll over and admit to DUI.   It does help to get in touch with a DUI defense lawyer as quickly as possible, and avoid making any incriminating statements or confessions at the scene. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A DUI conviction can remain on your criminal record, possibly affecting your future prospects for years after.  Former President Bush learned that the hard way when reports of a drunk driving conviction he had managed to collect in his younger days, came out during the last days of his 2000 presidential campaign.  No one doubts that the revelation of that drunk driving conviction cost him at least a few votes. 

In his new book Decision Points, the former president calls his decision to hide the drunk driving conviction, one of the stupidest mistakes he ever made.  In Bush's own words, the decision to hide the conviction was a bad choice, and if he had to go back in time and do it all over again, he would definitely have disclosed the conviction.  He also says he hid the conviction because his daughters were still young, and he didn't want them to think that driving under the influence was in any way acceptable.

Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers know you may not run for President of the United States, but you'll still find that a drunk driving conviction follows you around for the rest of your life.  Prison sentences, fines and penalties are relatively lenient the very first time that you are convicted of drunk driving.  But for the second, third and every consequent DUI, you can expect not just fines and penalties to increase, but also to spend longer periods of time in jail.  A DUI conviction is also not something that you want on your record when you look for a job.  Your conviction can appear when your potential employer decides to do a background verification and criminal check on you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

There’s never a shortage of DUI accident trials in and around the city for a Los Angeles DUI attorney to discuss.  However, the trial of Andrew Gallo, the young man accused of killing budding Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart in a DUI accident last year, has grabbed extra attention. 

First, there was the fact that just a few hours before the accident, Adenhart had pitched several spectacular innings at a game in Anaheim.  Then, an Orange County judge ruled that evidence showing that the driver of the car that Adenhart was traveling in at the time of the accident, was also driving under the influence, was not admissible because it was not relevant.

The trial which began this week, has had Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys riveted.  For the lawyers defending Gallo, it wasn't a good start at all.  Soon after the ruling that the defense attorney could not use evidence that the driver of Adenhart car was drunk at the time, the defense attorneys had been developing theory involving a building that had possibly obstructed Gallo's vision while driving.  The judge ruled that the jury will not hear this account either.  Among other things, the attorneys for Gallo have also tried to introduce evidence that the accident was caused by whoever ran the red light.  The only spark of hope for Gallo at this point, is that there is no confirmation about who ran the red light just before the accident.

It doesn't help a DUI defense attorney much when the person you are charged with defending has been accused of killing a star baseball player who played for the city's baseball team.

Friday, June 25, 2010

So much for prevention programs aimed at reducing drunk driving amongst college goers. A new study has found that approximately one out of every five college students drove under the influence of alcohol over the past year, and possibly half of all college students had driven after imbibing alcohol. These are very disturbing results for a Los Angeles accident lawyer.

These findings came via a study by the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. The researchers followed more than 1250 college students who were enrolled at a university over four years. All students were in their first year of college. The subjects in the study were interviewed once every year to assess alcohol-related traffic risk behaviors. The researchers considered these parameters –

  • Riding in a car with an intoxicated driver
  • Driving after having imbibed alcohol
  • Driving while intoxicated

Over the course of one year, approximately 50% of the underage students admitted to driving after drinking, while 20% admitted to driving while intoxicated. 43% of the students said they had been in a car driven by an intoxicated driver.

Further, the researchers noticed that there was a substantial increase in the intensity of these dangerous alcohol-related behaviors after the students reached the age of 21 which is the legally allowed age for drinking alcohol.

This much is clear - young motorists seem to develop more and more dangerous drunk driving behaviors as they get older. That should put an end to any ideas anyone has about reducing the minimum drinking age to 18, hoping that it will prevent binge drinking and drunk driving. Last year, there was an effort by some sections, including university deans, to lower the drinking age to 18 in a bid to prevent binge drinking. This study shows that binge drinking gets more severe as students get older.

Friday, May 07, 2010

A California bill being promoted by an enthusiastic lawmaker who wants to make it tougher for persons with more than three DUI offenders to retain their driving privileges, has been stalled because of concerns that it could cost the state more than it $10 million.

The bill is being promoted by Assemblyman Jerry Hill. It seeks to allow judges to consider a person's DUI convictions over his entire lifetime, instead of only over the past 10 years when deciding to revoke his driver license. Under California's current laws, when a person is convicted of DUI, prior convictions of DUI more than 10 years old do not count toward sentencing.  The more convictions a person has during that 10 year period, the stiffer the sentence.  This bill would eliminate that 10 year period and allow the judge to consider a driver’s complete driving record.

A law like this would increase the number of people eligible for prison time, and that is something that California's prisons simply cannot afford. There has been enough concern about the overpopulation of prisons in California, and the state has begun to address this issue by releasing persons convicted for minor offenses, like drug crimes and thefts.  In a situation like this, where we can hardly afford to keep existing prisoners behind bars, an additional burden of more prisoners, costing the state $10 million a year, would be foolish and useless.

Assemblyman Hill is already looking at tweaking the bill, so that it doesn't cost the state as much. One option could be to waive a permanent revocation of a person's driving license, if he agrees to get admitted into a substance or alcohol abuse treatment program. It's a proposal that California DUI lawyers might support. Getting treatment for alcohol addiction is what California's DUI offenders need the most. They have little incentive to get treatment for these addiction problems, if they have already lost their driver license permanently. Hopefully, the bill will be modified to reflect this fact.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Any California DUI lawyer will tell you that you cannot receive a license in California if you have an unresolved DUI offense in any other state in the country. However, a man who moved to California from Minnesota is finding that a 27-year-old license revocation has suddenly surfaced, preventing him from attaining his California driver’s license.

Dennis Keagy had moved from Minnesota to California in 1981. The license revocation that is now interfering with his ability to renew his license in California, occurred in 1984. The problem is that Keagy had no recollection of the offense in question here.

You can't blame Keagy for this. It's been 27 years since the license was revoked, and Keagy since then has had no problem getting his license renewed in California. In fact, he has had his license renewed several times in the state without the 27-year-old DUI license revocation in Minnesota coming into the picture.  The first time he heard about this revocation was when he was informed by the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services earlier this year that he had an unresolved fine from a drunk driving incident back in 1984.  

The agency informed him that he could get his license back if he paid $680 to the state of Minnesota. He has one other choice to get his license back - he can merely inform the state of Minnesota where exactly he was on the day that the drunk driving offense occurred, so his offense could be expunged from his record.

Keagy is at his wits’ end because he can't remember when this offense occurred. The Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services cannot help either. The agency does not have records dating back 27 years, and cannot provide him the information he needs. Meanwhile, the California Department of Motor Vehicles says it cannot issue a driver's license to a motorist who does not have a valid license in another state.

Although Keagy’s case is an unusual one, thousands of motorists like him could be badly affected if a new bill that allows judges to consider a motorist’s lifetime DUI history before deciding to revoke his license, is allowed to move ahead.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A bill that would give judges the power to permanently revoke the licenses of DUI offenders is slowly advancing towards becoming a law. California DUI lawyers and civil rights advocates are rightly outraged that the bill is even being considered at all.

Bill A.B. 1601 was introduced by California Assemblyman Jerry Hill. It would allow judges to consider a drunk driving offender’s entire lifetime history of DUI arrests, instead of just over the past 10 years which is currently the rule. If the bill is passed, a motorist having two DUI arrests 20 years apart, would have the same kind of punishment as a person with two DUI arrests in a single year. Obviously, the two are entirely different situations. According to estimates, there are currently 300,000 motorists in California with at least three DUI convictions on their records. If the bill becomes law, motorists like these would stand to lose their driving privileges permanently.

In a state like California, where people are still dependent on cars to get around in the absence of easy access to public transportation, losing driving privileges permanently would mean havoc in a person’s professional life. The American Civil Liberties Union is also taking a dim view of this provision. Assemblyman Hill insists that his bill will allow judges to use their discretion when they decide to permanently revoke a motorist’s driving privileges.

That point simply does not comfort California DUI attorneys. Besides the fact that it promotes revoking licenses permanently and arbitrarily for DUI offenses over a person’s entire lifetime, there is also the fact that such measures never attack the problem they are meant to solve. Not being able to drive to work will only mean an increase in the number of unlicensed motorists in California, and all the problems that that brings.

Drunk driving is not the major issue it used to be, and there are fewer people being arrested for these offenses. It makes little sense to enact such unnecessarily strong legislation that would only add to problems with traffic safety.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It has been a week of law enforcement officers being charged with DUI.  This week, a former Riverside Police Department chief in Riverside, California was charged after he crashed his car under the influence of alcohol.  Now, a police trooper in Colorado has been charged after he was caught driving drunk - wait for this – in his police uniform and driving his patrol car.

48-year-old trooper David Dolan was arrested just outside Denver, after several people called 911 to report that a police car was being driven erratically. Dolan was found to be driving under the influence. He was arrested, and then released after posting $1,000 bail. Dolan, a 21-year veteran of the Colorado State patrol, was charged with DUI and prohibited use of weapons. It is illegal in Colorado for an intoxicated person to be carrying firearms.

Dolan is currently in an alcohol treatment facility. It is apparently not the first time he has needed a facility like this. On an earlier occasion, according to one of his relatives, he had spent 2 ½ days in an alcohol treatment center. According to his family, Dolan suffers from post traumatic stress disorder brought on by working in the Colorado State Patrol's accident reconstruction team.

It is strange how quickly we begin hearing reasons for alcohol abuse when the offender in question, is a member of law enforcement. It's highly unlikely that a police trooper anywhere else in the country would pull over a motorist who had a blood alcohol level of .08% or even a fraction of a percentage more, and then proceed to ask him the reasons for his drinking. Dolan's job stresses or any other issues are unimportant here. As a uniformed member of his state’s law enforcement, Dolan had a duty to set an example for the motoring public, that he no doubt took pleasure in preaching to every day.

Chalk another one for the DUI cases that Los Angeles DUI lawyers will be monitoring very closely in the weeks ahead.

Thursday, December 03, 2009
This blog was developed to provide comments, information and news surrounding the laws and implications of a DUI in the Greater Los Angeles area.  As an attorney I have worked with many clients to help them overcome the challenges they face after a DUI arrest. 

Many of my clients are from out of town.  They were either visiting at the time of their DUI arrest or they have a family member that lives in the area and are responsible for them legally.

I hope the information you find on my website and blog are helpful to you.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Recent studies have shown that distracted driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence.  Talking on the phone, text messaging and other distractions while operating a vehicle are responsible for hundreds of accidents across the U.S.