Articles Posted in DUI

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez of West Covina has been found not guilty of drunk driving. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, five months after his DUI arrest in Concord, a Contra Costa County jury found Hernandez to be not guilty of the DUI charge. Officials pulled him over during the early morning hours of March 27 after seeing his state car weaving between lanes. His vehicle allegedly smelled of alcohol and he had bloodshot eyes. His defense team argued that his tests were mishandled. He still faces a second count of driving with an illegal blood alcohol level of .08 percent. A decision on that charge is expected to be made later this month.

Many people make the mistake of not fighting DUI charges because they assume there is no point. This case points to the importance of discussing your case with a skilled DUI defense attorney as it is sometimes possible to have the DUI charges reduced for the case or entirely dismissed.
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Famous chef and television personality Cat Cora has struck a plea deal with prosecutors after driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. According to a news report in TMZ, Food Network star Cat Cora has struck a deal after being arrested on June 17, 2012 in Santa Barbara. Officials say she admitted to drinking three beers before blowing a .19 on a Breathalyzer, which is more than twice the legal limit in California. Cora’s deal allows her to avoid jail time. By pleading “no contest” she accepted three years of probation, nine months of DUI School, and $2,386 in fines. She also accepted a 120 day suspended jail sentence, but she will not have to spend a day behind bars as long as she fulfills her DUI school and probation obligations.

Individuals who have been drinking are more apt to make a poor judgment regarding whether it is safe to drive or not. In California, drivers are over the limit when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or higher. Everyone is different, but it typically takes between three and five drinks for a driver to be considered over the legal limit. Drivers who have had between five and eight drinks will likely have a BAC of .1, and drinking more than ten drinks could result in a BAC that is twice the legal limit.
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Joe Simpson, the father of singer Jessica Simpson, faces two counts of drunk driving after he was arrested at a DUI checkpoint. According to a news report in The Associated Press, Simpson was arrested at a DUI checkpoint in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles County. Officials say he registered a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent. He faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail, 36 months of probation, and a $1,000 fine.

As local police agencies continue to crack down on drunk driving, Los Angeles DUI checkpoints will remain a popular tool utilized to catch those who are driving under the influence. When a driver is arrested for drunken driving at a checkpoint, it may be possible to fight the charges particularly if the officers failed to follow proper procedures. In most cases, officers at checkpoints do not have an opportunity to observe dangerous driving behavior and can therefore not prove that the person’s driving ability was impaired.
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Two Los Angeles police officers face perjury charges after allegedly lying about a DUI arrest. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, the officers were charged at the downtown criminal courthouse in Los Angeles. The two officers, ages 39 and 56, face charges stemming from an incident that occurred on September 4, 2010. One officer stated in a report that he made a traffic stop after watching a motorist disregard two stop signs. Two years later, officials say that the officer did not even arrive to the scene until 15 minutes after the traffic stop and that the other officer lied at a hearing about observing the incident. The veteran officers face up to four years and eight months in prison for perjury.

According to California Penal Code 118: “Every person who, having taken an oath that he or she will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly before any competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any of the cases in which the oath may by law of the State of California be administered, willfully and contrary to the oath, states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false,” is guilty of perjury.

This report is an illustration of the lengths to which officers may sometimes go to prove a criminal case. A DUI conviction, particularly, could have serious consequences for defendants who are wrongfully charged. An individual convicted of a DUI could face consequences including jail time, DUI fines, mandatory alcohol education program, and court fees.

Indie punk rock singer Karim George Chmielinski, known as “Casey Chaos”, was arrested after allegedly striking multiple vehicles and driving away. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the incident occurred along Hillslope Street and Laurel Grove Avenue near Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. Officials say his vehicle struck three vehicles that were parked on the street. He suffered a bloody nose after hitting his steering wheel and reportedly failed a field sobriety test. It is unclear from the report if the field sobriety test was given while he was still shaken up and injured from the collisions. According to a report in LA Weekly, he was booked under $5,000 bail for drunk driving and hit-and-run.

California DUIs are “priorable” offenses. With each successive DUI conviction within a 10-year period, the resulting penalties are likely to increase. For example, first-time DUI offenders may face a three to five year probation, up to six months in county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a six to 10 month license suspension. A second offense, however, can result in up to a year of jail time and a two-year driver’s license suspension.

There are serious consequences for alcohol-related driving incidents in California. Anyone facing these types of charges should seek out immediate support from a skilled defense attorney. The experienced Studio City drunk driving defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan have a long history of handling drunk driving cases in southern California. We know how to negotiate for lesser penalties and how to keep our clients out of jail. If you or a loved one has been involved in an alcohol-related collision, please call our offices right away at (866) 430-8383 for a free consultation.

California Highway Patrol officials made hundreds of DUI arrests during the lead up to the Fourth of July holiday in the Los Angeles area. According to a KTLA news report, 568 DUI-related arrests were made in Los Angeles County between Friday June 29 and Wednesday July 4, 2012. Officials say that this year reflects a drop in arrests from the 836 DUI arrests made over the same period in 2011.

Anyone who was arrested for driving under the influence during this year’s heightened DUI saturation patrols would be well advised to take their situation seriously. There are severe penalties for drunk driving in California. First-time DUI offenders could face between four days and six months of jail time. They will also have to pay between $1,400 and $2,600 in fines and face a driver’s license suspension anywhere between 30 days and 10 months. A second offense may result in jail time of up to one year, fines up to $2,800, and a license suspension as lengthy as two years.

Any driver with a BAC over .08 percent will likely face these serious DUI penalties. Drivers who are under the age of 21 could face underage DUI penalties if their BAC is over .01 percent. In other words, underage drivers will face severe consequences if any alcohol is found in their system while driving.

Actress Amanda Bynes, 26, entered a not guilty plea to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge at a Beverly Hills Superior Court. According to a new report in Reuters, the alleged DUI incident occurred in West Hollywood the morning of April 6, 2012. Officials say Bynes struck a sheriff’s patrol car and refused to take a sobriety test. It is not clear from the report if she was given a blood alcohol test at the station where she was charged with DUI. Bynes and her family continue to contest that she does not drink and that she was not under the influence at the time of the collision.

There is a wide range of DUI penalties that drivers may face in California after a conviction. An individual convicted of a first DUI in California could face up to six months in county jail. There could also be a fine of no less than $390 and no more than $1,000. Convicted drunk drivers will also have to face a six-month license suspension with the possibility of a temporary restricted license. The suspension will not be lifted until after the driver completes a driving under the influence or alcohol education program.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a skilled DUI defense attorney can fight the charges or negotiate for lesser penalties. In some cases, it may be possible to avoid jail time or to maintain limited driving privileges. There are several possible defenses in a DUI case. An experienced attorney may be able to contest the results of the blood or breath test or field sobriety tests, if any were conducted. A skilled attorney will also review the circumstances of the arrest and determine if any of the defendant’s rights were violated.

Memorial Day weekend is a maximum enforcement period for the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies and usually marks the beginning of the summer DUI (driving under the influence) enforcement period. This means that CHP and local police agencies have more officers on the road looking for intoxicated drivers. According to a news report in The Los Angeles Times, there were 187 people arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Los Angeles County during the first 36 hours of Memorial Day weekend this year. During the first 36 hours of Memorial Day weekend, officials made 845 DUI arrests statewide, which reflects a slight decline from the 897 drivers who were arrested for drunk driving in California during the same period in the year 2011.handcuffs_8831626.jpg

According to an official report by The California Highway Patrol, there was one traffic-related death on Los Angeles County highways during the three-day Memorial Day weekend this year. Over the 60 hours of this year’s three-day weekend, 258 motorists were arrested in Los Angeles County for drunk driving, which is less than the 298 DUI arrests made in the year 2011. Statewide, 1,161 DUI arrests were made over the holiday weekend.

Anytime there is a substantial increase in DUI arrests, it will be necessary to determine if mistakes were made and if wrongful arrests resulted from the ramped-up efforts to crack down on drunk driving. Did officers have just cause to pull the motorist over? Were any of the DUI tests compromised? Were the rights of the drivers violated during the traffic stop or arrest?

A woman is facing drunk driving charges after officials say she rammed into a light pole and high-voltage power lines near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, the woman’s black pickup truck caught fire on impact. Another vehicle was also involved in the crash, but that driver escaped with minor injuries, officials said. The truck’s driver was arrested and booked on suspicion of driving under the influence.

It is illegal under California law to operate a motor vehicle with blood alcohol concentrations higher than 0.08 percent. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”

Drunk driving charges can become even more serious when other parties are injured or killed. DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Often, when there is extensive property damage or when a person other than the driver in question is injured in a DUI crash, it is likely that the charge will be a felony. If convicted of a DUI, individuals can face significant consequences including jail time, hefty fines, mandatory alcohol counseling programs, court fees, installation of an ignition interlock device, and hikes in insurance premiums.

A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) supervisor has been placed on administrative leave after his arrest for driving under the influence while on duty in his city-issued truck. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, the 43-year-old official was arrested after his city truck hit three parked cars on Kester Avenue in Van Nuys. Prosecutors say he had two open containers of what appeared to be vodka in his DWP truck. He has been charged with drunk driving, and the DWP is conducting its own investigation into this incident.

A DUI (driving under the influence) conviction, or even a charge, can have serious personal and professional consequences. Some of the most common consequences for a California DUI conviction include jail time, fines, enrollment in an alcohol education program, installation of an ignition interlock device, court fees and increased insurance rates. In cases where the defendant is employed with the government or with law enforcement, a DUI arrest or a conviction can cause them to lose their job or even put an end to their career.

It is critical that anyone who has been accused of drunk driving – regardless of whether they are first-time or repeat offenses – contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer who will fight for their rights and try to get the charges dismissed or reduced. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can make a tremendous difference in a DUI case.

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