January 2010 News: The Los Angeles DUI Blog

The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

January 2010 Archives

Ban on Beer Pong in Huntington Beach Sparks Debate

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People in Los Angeles may love their beer pong, but one nearby city has banned the alcohol-based game in new venues.

The city of Huntington Beach actually passed a ban last week, which outlaws all alcohol-based games in new restaurants and in those establishments looking to renew entertainment permits. This means that bar hoppers will be saying good-bye to their ping pong balls and plastic red cups.

California Office of Traffic Safety Announces Mocktail Contest Winner

The California Office of Traffic Safety announced last week that the grand prize in the Mocktail Recipe Contest was awarded to the "Green Meenie Martini" recipe, submitted by Kimberly Beck. She was awarded a a two-night stay at a Joie De Vivre hotel in San Francisco.

The contest began in mid-December and had the goal of providing alternatives to consuming alcohol, where designated drivers could consume delicious drinks that allow them to feel included in the party. Nobody wants a DUI on their record, and what better to avoid DUI charges then by not drinking and driving at all.

Adrian Pasdar Arrested For Allegedly Driving Drunk

Adrian Pasdar, the actor that plays a lawyer-turned-senator on the NBC television show Heroes, could be wishing that that he had a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer by his side right now. The 44-year-old actor was recently arrested on for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Police say that Pasdar was driving over 90 mph on the 405 freeway at 2:59 a.m. on Wednesday and was straddling two lanes with his vehicle. When police smelled alcohol on Pasdar's breath, the police gave the actor a field sobriety test. The police then put Pasdar under arrest where he was booked on $15,000 bail.

Rehab With Dr. Drew Helps Celebrities Recover

The VH1 reality television show Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew has shed light on the dangers of drunk driving, drug abuse, and alcohol addiction since the show's premiere in 2008. Now in its third season, there are celebrities still working to undergo treatment for their various drug and alcohol addictions.

The current third season features several celebrities that have been previously convicted of a DUI, including the former Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr, television personality Heidi Fleiss, and basketball star Dennis Rodman.

Two Suspected Drunk Drivers Crash Into Each Other in Van Nuys

A suspected drunk driver was driving eastbound at the 13800 block of Sherman Way early Sunday, but as the driver was making a U-Turn, another suspected drunk driver in a pickup truck hit the vehicle. At least three people were injured during the crash and were taken to the hospital.

The car was pushed onto a curb, while the truck spun and pushed a parked sport utility vehicle onto a parked Ford Mustang, according to The Los Angeles Times. The driver and passenger of the truck tried to flee the scene by foot, but police eventually caught up with them. The driver of the truck was put under arrest for a felony hit-and-run and is still under investigation for a misdemeanor DUI.

Covina Man Charged With Felony DUI and Hit-and-Run

Alan McConnell will probably need a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles County, if he wants to avoid imprisonment. The 27-year-old allegedly crashed his car into a tree early Saturday while fleeing the scene of another minor crash, killing his two passengers in the city of LaVerne. Authorities suspect that McConnell was intoxicated at the time of the incident.

McConnell, of Covina, is now being charged with murder, felony DUI and hit-and-run. The two passengers in his car that died were Renee Hardy, 20, of Alta Loma and Telassie Dague, 22, of Alta Loma.

Marine Sentenced to 15 Years To Life After Deadly DUI Crash

A former Marine that was convicted of killing an Orange County doctor in a drunken driving crash was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison last week.

Associated Press reports that Elijah Ferguson, 22, hit Dr. Michael Sein's car in February 2008, after the Marine had just attended a military briefing about the dangers of drunken driving. Ferguson registered a .12 blood-alcohol level three hours after the crash, where the legal limit is .08.

Six Drivers Arrested at Orange County Sobriety Checkpoint

Newport Beach police officers arrested six drivers on suspicion of driving-under-the-influence on January 16, at a sobriety and driver's license checkpoint.

The checkpoint was held on northbound Newport Boulevard at Finley Street from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Authorities chose this particular location based of its proximity to bars and restaurants and because of its visibility to drivers, according to The Newport Beach Police Department.

City of Palm Springs Looking To Make Roads Safer

The city of Palm Springs has seen a significant drop in traffic collisions within the last few years, where the Palm Springs Police Department attributes the drop to a series of DUI checkpoints, warrant sweeps, and saturation patrols.

The police officers in Palm Springs have certainly seen an increase in DUI arrests. In 2008, the Palm Springs Police Department made 457 DUI arrests in 2008, compared to 198 arrests in 2005.

Pamela Bach Pleads Not Guilty To DUI Charges

Pamela Bach, the ex-wife of Hollywood actor David Hasselhoff, pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence at her arraignment that was held last week.

A Los Angeles judge has ordered Bach to wear a SCRAM device -- an anklet that constantly tests the skin for the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream. If Bach consumes any alcohol an alarm will sound.

Drug Addiction Treatment at Sunset Malibu

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If you're looking for an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program, there are plenty of facilities and services in the Los Angeles area that can be of help. DUI lawyers in Los Angeles recommend the rehabilitation center, Sunset Malibu, in particular.

This rehabilitation center says that their programs have earned a good reputation around the country and have held true to their mission of helping drug dependents recover from their current conditions. Sunset Malibu offers both long-term residential programs and short-term residential programs.

DUI Offender May Compete in Winter Olympics

So you've been convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles and you're thinking about how to cope with a conviction. While a DUI has serious consequences in California, offenders still have plenty of life opportunities. And with the help of a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, you may even be able to get a DUI expunged.

At age 27, ski cross racer Chris Del Bosco hopes to win an Olympic medal after all his hard work training and long-time efforts of recovering from alcoholism. The man from Colorado will likely be competing for Canada (where his father is from) in the Vancouver Olympics in ski cross, a sport that is making its Olympic debut.

Del Bosco has been convicted of three DUIs in the United States and has a history of drug abuse. As a teenager, people saw him as an ambitious alpine skier. But at the age of 17, Del Bosco was stripped of a junior national title and kicked off the U.S. ski team after he tested positive for marijuana.

San Bernardino DUI Saturation Patrol Leads to Four Arrests

Some DUI lawyers in Los Angeles may question the effectiveness of DUI saturation patrols. Others say that even if just one drunk driver is arrested, then the time and money of a saturation patrol is well spent.

Last weekend, four people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in the city of San Bernardino. Police conducted the city wide DUI patrol from 6 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday. During this time period, 66 vehicles were stopped and 14 people were given field sobriety tests. Approximately 31 other drivers were cited for non-DUI related offenses.

Man Pleads Not Guilty For Vehicular Manslaughter of Pregnant Woman

A man pleaded not guilty last week to gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges. He allegedly crashed into a parked car New Years Day on a San Diego freeway while driving under the influence, killing 21-year-old Elania Luquis-Ortiz, who was pregnant. 

The preliminary hearing is set for March 10, where DUI defense lawyer will be defending Joseph Anthony Venegas. Prosecutors say that Venegas, 40, had a blood-alcohol level of .25 percent at the time of the crash. That's more than three times the legal limit! 
 
Some family members of Luquis-Ortiz are upset that Venegas is not being charged for the death of the unborn baby as well. This is because the law under manslaughter does not provide for the death of a fetus. There aren't laws in the United States that protect unborn children.

Orange County Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Hit and Run

A 21 year old woman from Orange County has been charged with a felony hit-and-run causing death, a misdemeanor DUI, driving with a blood-alcohol content above .08, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving without a valid license. However, the woman pleaded not guilty to the charges in court last week.

All of Shana Lynn Calderon's charges stem from an incident that occurred on December 12, in which Michael McLaughlin died of blunt-force trauma to the head after a vehicle hit him. Prosecutors say that Calderon hit McLaughlin with a 1995 Ford Explorer while driving south on Newport Boulevard, just as the man was stepping into the intersection. Calderon then allegedly fled the scene with another passenger in the car after talking briefly to a nearby witness about the accident.

Man Arrested Three Times in A Single Week For Drunk Driving

It's quite shocking that an individual can't learn from his mistakes, thus continually gets arrested on the same charges. A DUI defense lawyer will need to take care of 38-year-old Robert Pangaro. He will soon learn about the harsh consequences of DUI laws, if convicted.

The man from Syracuse, New York was arrested three times last week for driving under the influence. His first two arrests came within hours of each other on January 7, and then his third arrest was on January 13. His third arrest resulted with a felony DWI, where he was finally arraigned in Solvay Village Court and held at the Justice Center.

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoint Watch 1/15/10 - 1/16/10

Many people aren't working on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, making it a three day weekend for some Los Angeles residents. With a lot of excitement over a holiday weekend, police are expecting there to be drunk drivers on the roads. So, Los Angeles drivers should drive safely and stay sober because motorists may run into a sobriety checkpoint. The Los Angeles Police Department has planned and confirmed a sobriety checkpoint at the following location:

  • January 15: West Manchester Avenue between Hoover Street and Figueroa Street, between 8:00 PM and 3:00 AM

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Asks For Volunteers

The job of a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles County is to defend those accused of driving under the influence, establish plea bargains, and make sure a defendant has a fair trial. But even a DUI lawyer might agree that the county needs to crack down on drunk driving laws. Fortunately, there are ways that community members can help with DUI enforcement.

If fact, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is now accepting volunteers to work at DUI checkpoints. Anybody can apply to be a volunteer, as long as the applicant is over the age of 18, possesses a valid driver's license, has a clean driving record, and no felony convictions.

City Council Vetoes Idea Of Simulating DUI Crash On Laguna Hills Drive

Laguna Hills High School in Orange County will be holding the drunken-driving awareness program "Every 15 Minutes" on February 18, but on Tuesday night Laguna Hills city council members proved at a meeting that they might not be in full support of the program due to extra costs and disturbances.

Through the program, students and school officials were hoping to simulate an actual crash on Laguna Hills Drive because the situation would have a large impact on students and passerbys. They felt a striking image in town would discourage students from drinking and driving. Some council members said that the estimated cost of $6,000 and the possible disturbance to neighbors would be uncalled for. Now, Laguna Hills High School will still be simulating a crash, but in the high school parking lot.

Barron Hilton Is Back On The Road After 2008 DUI Conviction

Los Angeles drivers may have another thing to be afraid of. Barron Hilton, the younger brother of Paris Hilton, got his driver's license back earlier this week.

The 20 year old had his license suspended in 2008, after he pleaded no contest to a DUI charge. He was placed on three years probation and was not able to drive for a full year. On Tuesday, Hilton took had to re-take the written portion of the driver's test, but passed. Now he's back on the road.

Orange County Deputy Arrested For DUI

What kind of message does it send to the public when a sheriff’s deputy is charged with driving under the influence?

The story is quite disturbing for many residents of Los Angeles County and Orange County, because it’s a step backwards in terms of promoting traffic safety. Deputy Mark Hewlett was arrested after a drunk driving incident last month, in which the deputy crashed into a concrete planter in Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell’s front yard. Hewlett was off-duty at the time of the crash.

The Distracted Driver

How can texting while driving lead to a DUI charge?

Well, let's say you're driving under the influence and you decide to respond to a text message. A cop suddenly sees you in the act of texting and decides to pull you over. After the cop interrogates you and talks to you, the cop then suspects that you've consumed alcohol or other drugs and you're suddenly arrested on suspicion of a DUI. Though your driving might be perfect, talking on cell phone without using a hands-free device or texting while driving can indirectly lead to your DUI, where you'll be making that unexpected call to a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer.

Terminator Star Thomas Dekker Gets DUI Charge Dropped

The Hollywood actor that played John Connor on the FOX television show “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence last October. But the actor’s DUI charge was reduced to a misdemeanor count of reckless driving, allowing him to avoid jail time.

Yesterday the 22 year old actor Thomas Dekker pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving, where his Los Angeles drunk driving attorney, Blair Berk, represented him in the courtroom. Berk has become famous in Los Angeles for defending celebrities that have been accused of driving under the influence, including Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan. Now Dekker is another that Berk can add to her list.

Graphic Video Footage Released of Los Angeles Hit and Run

Warning: Do not watch the video below, if you're sensitive to graphic videos. The short segment shows a real-life hit and run incident that occurred on December 28 around 6:00 pm. Police have identified the victims to be ages 14 and 3. They were crossing Main Street, near 43rd street in Los Angeles.


The incident happens so quickly, that it's difficult to process what happens. Though it can be quite scary to see such a graphic hit and run collision, the video shines light on the severity of such extreme hit and run incidents, that are likely alcohol related.

Appealing a DUI Conviction

If you've been convicted of a DUI but still feel that you're not guilty of the crime or that there were legal errors that altered the basis of your trial or sentence, you may have the right to appeal the case.

When appealing, you're asking a higher court to review certain aspects of the case for legal errors regarding the conviction itself or the sentence imposed. The Los Angeles DUI defense attorney that represented you in your trial does not necessarily have to handle your appeal. You should ask the DUI defense attorney if he or she is able to represent you or find another one that is willing to.

Napa DUI Task Force Deserves Praise

A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles will often question what leads people to drive under the influence. How did a suspect consume such a significant amount of alcohol? What factors led up to the decision to get behind the wheel?

Perhaps the problem starts by those who serve alcohol. If a bartender is not aware of the risk factors involved with drunk driving, then he or she might serve a customer a drink with too much liquor for the consumer to handle.

Yet certain cities in California are taking steps to prevent this. Residents of Napa County recently formed a DUI Task Force that has the specific goal to educate bother servers and drinkers about how to prevent DUI related accidents.

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoint Watch 1/8/10 - 1/9/10

Some residents of Los Angeles County might be thinking that with the holiday season being over, that the DUI checkpoints are done with as well. Think again.

As it turns out, the sobriety checkpoints might be here to stay. The California Office of Traffic Safety has dedicated a lot of money and resources into having sobriety checkpoints in 2010 so that the California roads will be safer. This weekend the Los Angeles Police Department has planned and confirmed sobriety checkpoints in the following locations:

  • January 8: North Fairfax Avenue and Melrose Avenue, between 8:00 PM and 3:00 AM.
  • January 9: Cahuenga Boulevard West and Broadlawn Drive, between 8:00 PM and 3:00 AM

The Importance of Seatbelts

With millions of car crashes that occur in the United States each year, it seems rather irresponsible to not wear a seatbelt as a driver or as a passenger in a vehicle. Just the simple act of buckling up may have prevented a recent Santa Maria death.

A single-vehicle accident on West Clark Avenue last week in Santa Maria killed 21-year-old Damian K. Coles, and seriously injured 22-year-old Nathan Beebe, according to the Santa Maria Times. The driver of the vehicle was 21-year-old Cody R. Stutts, who was allegedly drunk at the time of the crash.

DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles Reaches Plea Deal For Stephanie Pratt

Stephanie Pratt's DUI lawyer in Los Angeles was able to reach a plea deal with Los Angeles prosecutors in the starlet's DUI case today. Pratt's DUI charges were officially dropped in exchange for a no contest plea to one count of misdemeanor exhibition of speed, according to People Magazine.

Pratt, best known on television for her role in the reality show The Hills, got off easy. Not only does she now not have a DUI on her record, but she is also serving no jail time and was sentenced to only informal probation.

Is Our Society Out of Balance?

John A. Marshall, an owner of DUI schools in Glendale and Burbank blames the country's schools for substance and alcohol abuse among the youth. In his recent opinion piece published in Glendale News Press, he analyzes how schools are now seen as institutions that place too much value on standardized testing, "one-size-fits-all" methods of teaching, and left-brain achievement.

He writes that, "Fifty years ago, the biggest disciplinary problems in schools were chewing gum, throwing paper wads, getting out of line and talking in class. Now the biggest problems are substance abuse, weapons, violence, obesity, pregnancy, dropping out and suicide."

Today students are expected to focus for hours on processing information, releasing great amounts of physical and emotional energy. Little emphasis is focused on right-brain forms of learning, which applies interests, talents, and skills into lessons. A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles might agree that because schools are prioritizing manual learning styles over arts and creativity, there has been an increase among children with substance abuse in the past decade.

No More Breaking Up Six Packs

Costa Mesa City Council voted to tighten up restrictions on certain alcohol vendors yestderday in hopes of "reducing public drunkenness and nuisances," according to the Daily Pilot. Yet the efforts of Costa Mesa City Council might not be an effective means of solving the problem, nor is their any suggestion that the policies Costa Mesa City Council is enforcing, will decrease the number of DUI incidents in Orange County.

The city council voted unanimously to not allow small bottles and cans of alcohol to be broken up or separated from a set, meaning that customers cannot by one can of beer that's intended to be sold with a six pack of beer.

Fatal Drunk Driving Crash in Orange County

An 18 year old woman from Anaheim died Monday afternoon after an alleged drunk driver hit the car she was riding in. The suspect, Robert Charles Serrano, is being charged with one felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one felony count of fleeing an accident scene.

Serrano, 36, is being held at Men's Central Jail on $250,000 bail. His arraignment is scheduled for January 15.

Driver Suspected of Being Drunk in Santa Monica Freeway Crash

It could be hard to prosecute a DUI suspect, if the alleged drunk driver left the scene of a crash. After all, how can the prosecutor successfully prove that the suspect was under the influence of alcohol or drugs if he or she was never tested after the incident occurred? For this reason, many hit-and-run drivers get off without a DUI charge, though they could have been drunk at the time of the crash.

A typical DUI lawyer in Los Angeles might see cases like that all the time, but an incident that occurred yesterday morning on the Santa Monica Freeway is so horrific, that it should be put straight to the books.


Holiday Season Wraps Up, But State Not Finished With DUI Checkpoints

Federal and state funding provided numerous DUI checkpoints in Los Angeles County for the holiday season, in order to send the message that drunk driving is unsafe and illegal. Drivers may have expected for the checkpoints to stop after the New Year's Eve holiday weekend, but people may be surprised when they learn that California's Office of Traffic Safety is launching the most extensive extensive program in the country for 2010.

California traffic safety officials will spend $8 million this year on sobriety checkpoints in 150 different cities, where the state plans to increase the number of DUI checkpoints by 50 percent statewide, according to the Sacramento Bee. Many Californians, including some Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers, see sobriety checkpoints as ineffective means of curbing the amount of drunk drivers on state roads.

New Year's Holiday Brings In Thousands of California DUI Arrests

It's likely that DUI attorneys in Los Angeles will be raking in a lot of cash in 2010, and the year has just begun.

California Highway Patrol statistics show that drunk driving arrests over the New Year's Eve holiday weekend were up this year, compared to last year. The number of DUI arrests in Orange County on New Year's Eve doubled that of last year. There were 58 drunk driving arrests this year compared to 32 last year. In Los Angeles County, 241 drunk driving arrests were made, compared to 202 last year.

Breath Analyzers Strike Debate Among Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyers

While some Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers may question the accuracy of portable breath tests, a study by WinterGreen Research shows that a growing number of people are buying personal breath analyzers, so that they can measure their own blood alcohol level before getting into cars and driving.

A portable breath test is not usually as accurate as the Breathalyzer device police use, but the handheld breath tests are more convenient for people to carry around, and they’re a lot cheaper for the average consumer. Drug stores like CVS and Wallgreens often sell such devices for less than $100.