December 2009 News: The Los Angeles DUI Blog

The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

December 2009 Archives

Drunk Driving Lawyer Questions Validity of Field Sobriety Tests

A New Hampshire man was arrested in April on a DWI charge, but recently got off with a lesser offense because of his body type. Now many residents in Los Angeles and people all across the country are questioning the validity of field sobriety tests. 

Jaimil Choudhry, 20, of North Hampton stands at 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 230 pounds, which meets the clinical definition of obesity. While police believed Choudhry to be intoxicated at the time of his arrest, drunk driving lawyer Andrew Cotrupi argued that his client shouldn't have been given particular field sobriety tests because of his obesity.

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoint Watch 12/26/09 - 1/2/10

New Years Eve is here, and it's time to party. But when you close out 2009 with a bang, make sure you're making responsible decisions. The last thing you would want is to enter the new year with a DUI. The Los Angeles Police Departments is cracking down on drunk drivers with a series of checkpoints this weekend. Funding for these checkpoints comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Police have so far confirmed checkpoints at the following locations.

  • December 31: Hollywood Boulevard at Las Palmas Avenue, between 8:00 PM and 3:00 AM
  • January 1: South Figueroa Street between 8th and 9th streets, between 6:00 PM and 1:00 AM
  • January 2: Olympic Boulevard west of Cherry Avenue, between 7:00 PM and 12:30 AM

80 Year Old Charged With Felony DUI in Minnesota

Many people feel that elderly men and women shouldn't be driving, because of either senile habits, bad judgement, or for other health reasons. Smart Motorist reports that older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes, particularly at intersections.

So it's no surprise that when 80 year old Stephen Anthony Sersha was arrested in Minnesota for a felony DWI, people all over the country saw it as a big deal. Earlier this month, the police in St. Cloud, Minnesota received a phone call about a possible drunk driver on the road. When police made contact with Sersha in the driveway of his residence, authorities found that the 80 year old man was more than just a bit tipsy.

Take a Ride on the "Tipsy Tow"

Do you need a Tipsy Tow? Representitives of the Automobile Club of Southern California are happy to give people a tow, if it means keeping drunk drivers off the road on New Years Eve. 

The Automobile Club's Tipsy Tow service on New Years Eve provides people with a free car tow up to seven miles, for those who are intoxicated and cannot drive home. Drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor for rides farther than seven miles.

Fontana Holding Sober New Years Eve Event for Teens

A sober New Years Eve can be fun, especially if you’re a teenager living in San Bernardino County. 

Community groups are coming together to throw a drug and alcohol free party for teenagers on New Years Eve at the Jack Bulik Teen Center in Fontana, located at 16581 Filbert Street. Now we might not have to hear the sad stories of local teenagers killing people in DUI crashes and then hiring the Los Angeles drunk driving lawyers to help with the defense.

What's A BUI?

Almost everybody knows it's illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, but many people are unaware that operating a boat or personal watercraft under the influence is also illegal. In California, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony for Boating Under the Influence, also known as BUI.

Over 1,400 DUI Arrests in California Over Christmas Week

Many Southern California residents will now be calling a Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer in order to get the best defense possible with a DUI arrest.

There were at least 1,424 DUI arrests across the state of California between the period of December 18-26, according to the Los Angeles Times. The number of drunk driving arrests is expected to increase this week, with the up and coming new year.

While many Californians might be outraged by such a high number of alleged drunk drivers on the road, law enforcers are doing their job to keep the streets of Los Angeles safe. The California Avoid program is a statewide law enforcement coalition that provides an increased amount of saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints during the holiday season. The nationwide program "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" is also working to crackdown on impaired drivers, with an increased amount of law enforcement dedicated to DUI arrests until January 3, 2010.

Is it Dangerous To Drive With a Hangover?

It's a pretty well-known fact that driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be dangerous, yet many residents of Los Angeles probably don't realize that driving with a hangover can also be unsafe.

Researchers at Brown University will soon publish their study about the effects of various types of liquor on how people experience hangovers, reports the New York Daily News. Their study shows that people drive poorly while experiencing hangover symptoms from a heavy night of drinking the day before.

Researchers tested the effects of alcohol on 95 men and woman who were healthy, but heavy drinkers. The morning after the test subjects consumed heavy amounts of alcohol, the researchers at Brown found that the individuals had slow reaction times, fatigue symptoms, and an inability to focus.

Light One Candle

For Johnny Winterrod:

"2001, you was 4 and a half years old when we was hit by the drunk and am thankful to God that we survived, you are my strength that gets me through everything."  

The words written by Patti Winterrod are published on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website, as part of the organization's cybervigil. This year MADD is holding an online candlelight vigil during the holiday season, where people around the country are encouraged to light a "virtual candle" to raise awareness about those effected by drunk driving.

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoint Watch 12/26/09

The Los Angeles police are hoping to make the streets safer this Christmas weekend by holding numerous sobriety checkpoints in the city. Police expect there to be many intoxicated drivers on the road, particularly the day after Christmas, since it's the Saturday of a holiday weekend. If you plan on driving this weekend, be on the lookout for checkpoints and be prepared to stop for police and take a breath test if you're asked to do so. Police have so far confirmed checkpoints at the following locations:

Metro Offering Free Public Transit Services on Christmas Eve

You better watch out, or you might cry. You don't need to pout and here's a reason why: Metro is offering free services on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve and New Years Eve are two days of the year, where Los Angeles police see a high number of traffic accidents and drunk drivers on the road. But this year, authorities hope to see a decline in intoxicated drivers at holiday time. DUI lawyers in Los Angeles may just see a decline in clients when the new year comes around.

A Guide To House Parties

Did you know it's illegal to charge admission to any party that's held in a residential zone? So if you enter a house party, and they have a bouncer at the door charging an entrance fee, just explain that charging money for such an event isn't legal, according to Los Angeles County Code 13.41.

Driver Leads Police On Car Chase Through Three Counties

Police suspected a motorist of driving under the influence in Los Angeles County last week, but the suspect refused to pull over. Instead, the man driving a Lincoln Navigator wouldn't stop, where police ended up chasing him through Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego County, and all the way down to the Mexican border.

The Los Angeles police later learned that the license plate on the Navigator matched up with that of a vehicle that was stolen the day before. At one point during the high speed chase, the suspect left behind the Navigator and carjacked a pick-up truck.

Crash Raises Questions About Drunk Driving

It would be difficult for any DUI lawyer in Los Angeles County to argue that 120 mph is a safe speed to drive at. This is just one reason why DUI offenders driving at high speeds don't usually get of easy.

Thomas Vanauken, 43, allegedly crashed into a vehicle driven by a 42 year old woman on the San Bernardino Freeway on Sunday, while driving over 120 mph. The woman from Ontario had severe injuries according to the Los Angeles Times, and was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital.

Los Angeles DUI Attorneys Analyze Sobriety Checkpoints

Many Los Angeles drivers feel uneasy when going through a sobriety checkpoint. Perhaps you just had a little bit to drink and you're worried you'll get a DUI arrest. Or maybe you haven't consumed any alcohol, but you fear you'll get busted for something illegal found in your car. Stay calm, and don't freak out, because law enforcement agencies have to have certain constraints when setting up a checkpoint. If something goes wrong, a DUI attorney in Los Angeles will certainly have your back.

Controversies Develop Over New Vodka Pill

If you don't like the taste of alcohol, but love the feeling of getting a buzz, there's a new product that might catch your interest.

Russian professor Evgeny Moskalev of Saint Petersburg Technological University has developed a technique that takes alcohol and transforms it into a powder, which can then be packed into pill form. Moskalev successfully developed "dry vodka," but he says the technique can solidify any kind of alcohol, including whisky, cognac, wine and beer.

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoint Watch 12/19/09

Beginning Saturday December 19, the Los Angeles Police Department will join law enforcement agencies across the state to participate in California's 18 Day Holiday DUI Crackdown Campaign. This means that police will be setting up sobriety checkpoints all over the city this weekend. Out of all the days in the year to stay sober, Saturday would be the day. If you do decide to drink, make sure that you have a designated driver or you'll likely be calling a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer for help in no time at all.

Heidi Androl Pulled Over For Driving Too Slow On Freeway

A former contestant on Donald Trump's reality television show, "The Apprentice", was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence earlier this month.

Lindsay Lohan Needs To Take DUI Probation Seriously

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel assessed the progress of Lindsay Lohan's DUI probation earlier this week, but the Hollywood actress was not present in the courtroom. Instead, Lohan's DUI lawyer in Los Angeles stood in court on her behalf.

While Revel stated that Lohan was "in compliance" with her probation, the judge also noted that Lohan really needs to make attendance to her alcohol education classes a priority.

Riverside Man Receives Harsh Sentence For Marijuana Possession

One year ago Armstrong Owen Kitchen, 39, was put at fault for an Orange County car accident, in which he crashed into a car behind a disabled vehicle with a blown out tire. Two year old Sophia Sales died in the car that Kitchen hit because of blunt-force trauma to her head and chest. Prosecutors said he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, but California Highway Patrol officers found marijuana in his trunk just after the crash.

Think Smart Transportation Solutions

In the earlier blog post, Big Island Making Big Changes, there was discussion of how Hawaii is taking effective measures to decrease drunk driving on the roads with its Holiday Shared Ride Taxi program. The program offers bar patrons in Hawaii free taxi coupons as an alternative to driving away from establishments under the influence. Now, people in Los Angeles will be happy to know that similar measures have come into play here in the Golden State.

The program is being funded through a private organization, where many Los Angeles residents have praised the private organization for striving to take drunk drivers off the road.

Los Angeles DUI Crash Caught On Tape

Two freeway crashes in downtown Los Angeles occurred early Friday morning in the exact same spot. The first incident involved driver Angela Kim, 21, who collided with another vehicle on the Santa Monica Freeway. Authorities arrested Kim on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Kim's inoperable car was to be left on the freeway until a tow truck came, but moments after Kim's arrest another alleged drunk driver hit Kim's car. This might be too much irony for just one Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer to handle.

California DUI For Those Not Living in California

If you're charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, but you don't live in California, you might be wondering how to go about contacting a DUI lawyer. You might be thinking, "Should I contact a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles or a DUI lawyer in my home state?"

The answer of course varies depending on your situation, but generally it's best to get a lawyer in the same state that you were arrested in. While certain exceptions might be granted, most people accused of a California DUI must have their trial in California.

Battle of the Bartenders

Those in Los Angeles who have recently been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, might be requesting a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer for a Christmas present. But Los Angeles police have now teamed up with local bartenders to come up with an alternative to getting drunk this holiday season. So perhaps the DUI lawyers won't be receiving as many calls as they might expect.

The Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and bartenders in L.A have partnered together to put on the event Battle of the Bartenders, scheduled for tomorrow at ESPN Zone L.A. LIVE. The event is a competition among bartenders in the L.A. LIVE center, where the bartenders will be competing over who can make the best alcohol-free mocktail drink.

DUI Suspect Faces 13 Criminal Counts

After Macos Valencia, 21, was convicted of his second DUI in 2008 he said he learned the consequences of driving under the influence and pledged never to drink and drive again. But last July, he was arrested on suspicion of a DUI again. This time he allegedly killed a cyclist and injured several other people in a San Fernando collision.

After the crash, Valencia allegedly tried to flee the scene, but a deputy was able to catch up with him and put him under arrest. The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports that Valencia had a blood alcohol level of about .18 percent after the crash, which is over double the legal limit. The Los Angeles County district attorney told the Signal that he was legally drunk and high on methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

DUI Expungement

California is one of several U.S states that allows expungement of a DUI, where people can remove their DUI conviction off their criminal record under certain criteria.

So if you've been convicted of a DUI, and don't want it to haunt you for the rest of your life, you may be able to get a second chance and have the conviction cleared. According to California Penal Code Section 1203.4, a person qualifies for DUI expungement if he or she has completed all terms of probation, paid all fines, and is not charged with another crime.

Meet The Mothers

In the Los Angeles region, there are four Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) chapters that work to get drunk driving accidents off the road.

What's MADD? This group of mothers (and now many fathers) work to stop drunk driving, support those effected by drunk driving, and prevent underage drinking. The non-profit organization started almost 30 years ago and is now considered to be a key player when pushing for harsher DUI and drunk driving legislation.

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoint Watch 12/11/09

If you’re planning to go bar hopping this weekend in Downtown Los Angeles, make sure you don’t get behind the wheel after you’ve had too much to drink. Not only can you get yourself into a serious accident, but it’s likely you’ll get a DUI with an increased number of law enforcement officers in the region.

The Los Angeles Emergency Operations Division will be cracking down on drivers who choose to operate their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or other drugs this weekend. The Los Angeles Police Department announced earlier this week that officers with the Emergency Operations Division will be holding a sobriety and license checkpoint this upcoming Friday on West Slauson Avenue between the 110 Freeway and South Broadway.

December Is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

President Barack Obama officially proclaimed the month of December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month on December 2.

Through a written proclamation, the president acknowledged the dangers of drunk driving and stated how more action is needed from the government and from private organizations to stop people from driving under the influence.

Big Island Making Big Changes

Hawaii's Big Island is taking major leaps to decrease drunk driving on the roads this holiday season, and the city of Los Angeles should be looking to Hawaii as an example.

In order to make the Hawaiian roads safer, the island is bringing back its Holiday Shared Ride Taxi program from now until January 1, 2010. Through this program, selected bars in East and West Hawaii will be offering drunk patrons free taxi coupons as an alternative to driving away from establishments under the influence.

Los Angeles County Testing Ignition Interlocks

Los Angeles County is one of four counties in the golden state officially participating in California’s 5-year test of ignition interlock requirements for first-time DUI offenders.

Ignition interlock systems in cars are devices that test for alcohol on a driver’s breath, where a vehicle cannot start unless the BAC of the driver is below a certain level, usually between .02 and .04 BAC.

Surveillance Cameras Lead to DUI Arrest

A forty year old man was arrested in Redlands on Thursday night after allegedly driving with a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit. Police say that his arrest is all thanks to the town's surveillance cameras.

A volunteer in the police force was monitoring the cameras and saw James Diaz stumbling toward a 2000 Honda near the 300 block of Orange Street. When Diaz allegedly drove off in the vehicle moments later, the volunteer directed police toward him. 

Brian Bosworth Pleads No Contest To DUI Charge

While former NFL player Brian Bosworth could not attend his own court hearing for his DUI arrest, his Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer pleaded on his behalf. With his lawyer's defense, the court granted him what many would consider a lenient punishment for a first time DUI offender.

The DUI defense lawyer struck a deal with a Los Angeles district attorney, where Bosworth pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, and his second charge of driving under the influence was dismissed. After his December 4 court date, "The Boz" now just faces three years of probation, a three month alcohol education class, and attendance to one lecture by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).

Pamela Bach Faces Second DUI Charge

Former Baywatch star Pamela Bach will be spending her Christmas Eve in criminal court, where her DUI trial is expected to occur.

Bach was arrested on charges of driving under the influence on Saturday November 28, when she was driving on Highway 101 near Laurel Canyon Boulevard. When given a breath test, Bach's blood alcohol content showed results of .14 and .13, where the legal limit is .08 BAC.

Eighteen Year Old Charged With Felony DUI

Los Angeles law enforcers say that in a collision between a car and cyclist, the person driving the vehicle usually suffers minor or no injuries, while the person on the bike is often found dead or paralyzed.

Anaheim Man Charged With DUI And Assault

A 23 year old man was arrested on Thanksgiving for assault and suspicion of driving under the influence, after he attacked a blind man at an Anaheim am/pm mini market.

More DUI Enforcement Funding In Palm Desert

Palm Desert is working extra hard to crack down on DUI enforcement. The city has received an additional $163,167 in grant money from the California Office of Traffic Safety to limit drunk driving in the area.

Local police officers and Los Angeles DUI attorneys know that the city of Palm Desert has not faired well in recent years when it comes to DUI accidents. In a 2008 study, Palm Desert ranked eighth out of 97 cities with populations under 50,000, in the number of fatal and injury traffic collisions. It ranked ninth out of the 97 in number of alcohol related crashes.

Stephanie Pratt Heads For Rehab

 

Hollywood actress Stephanie Pratt was recently arrested for a DUI, but her Los Angeles DUI attorney pleaded not guilty to the charges on her behalf in the courtroom.

The twenty-three year old reality television star is best known for her character on The Hills. She was pulled over last month in Hollywood for driving with tinted windows at 3:45 am, but when the police officer suspected that she was driving under the influence of alcohol, the cop took her to Van Nuys jail, where she took two breath tests measuring .08 and .09, when the legal limit in California is .08.