The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

February 2010 Archives

Analyzing The State's Open Container Law

Open container laws, DUI laws, and speed limit laws are like the unloved grandchildren of the federal government. While they are not officially the product of federal law, they are mandated through a little backdoor arm-twisting. To put it as simply as possible, the Feds don't have the power under the Constitution to regulate every little thing in every state. So, they tell the states: fix it or lose your highway funding. You might consider this good 'ol bribery.

And by bribery, we mean the federal government can create "incentives" for states to make such laws of their own, according to the Connecticut Assembly's OLR Research Report. California stands as one of 43 U.S states that outlaws the possession of an alcoholic beverage container that has been opened or has a broken seal while driving a vehicle.

Cycling Under The Influence (CUI)

So perhaps you've had a few drinks at a bar, and you're smart enough to decide not to drive home under the influence. Thinking of an alternative way to get home, you remember that your bicycle is also parked outside and you decide to mount the two-wheeler and journey off into the distance.

You may think that this is a clever way to avoid a DUI, but in fact, you're also committing a crime by biking home drunk. That's right, you may not have realized it but cycling under the influence is also illegal and can be punishable with a fine up to $250, according to USA Today.

Cycling under the influence, otherwise known as a CUI, can have detrimental consequences just like a DUI. While bicycles are not considered vehicles under California law, the state has a separate vehicle code that states it is unlawful to ride a bicycle on a highway while intoxicated. The term "highway" includes public streets but excludes driveways and private roads, according to DMV.

A Guide To Los Angeles Public Transportation

Any DUI lawyer in Los Angeles would agree that the best way to avoid a DUI is to simply not drink and drive -- plain and simple. Because many people in Los Angeles love their booze too much and don't want to give up their drinking, it would be more practical for people to give up their driving. Unfortunately that's not always easy when living in L.A.

While Los Angeles is not known around the country for having public transportation, the city still offers ways of getting around without the dependency of a car. 

Los Angeles DUI Checkpoint On 2/20/10

The Los Angeles Police Department has announced that there will be a sobriety and driver's license checkpoint in West Los Angeles tomorrow night. So if you're heading to the area, make sure you're sober or you have a designated driver. The West Traffic Division of LAPD will be conducting the checkpoint on February 20 at Vermont Avenue between Pico Boulevard and 11th Street. The sobriety checkpoint is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM and last until 2:00 AM.

"Every 15 Minutes" Program Comes to Santa Clarita

Saugus High School in Santa Clarita is one more school in Los Angeles County that has chosen to participate in the well-known "Every 15 Minutes" drunk-driving education program.

The Santa Clarita Signal reports that the traffic safety program will be held at the high school today and tomorrow, where teenagers are expected to learn about the consequences of consuming alcohol through an interactive program.

But perhaps the "Every 15 Minutes" at Saugus High School will stand out more and be even more effective among teenagers because Los Angeles Deputies will be joining forces with the school; who will be teaching students about the legal consequences of drunk driving accidents in addition to the emotional consequences.

Convicted Drunk Driver Sentenced in Vista

A man who pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter last December was sentenced on Monday to four years in prison, according to KFMB Radio. However, most Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers would say that this is a not a terrible sentence for a vehicular manslaughter charge, since he will be eligible for parole in just two years.

KGTV reports that Vista Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein sentenced 24-year-old Michael J. Wright to a low prison term because he had no previous criminal record. The defendant could have been been sentenced to a maximum of 11 years in prison under Mr. Wright's plea agreement.

California Cities Ranked Drunkest in the Nation

Men's Health recently ranked the 100 drunkest cities of America, and unfortunately many California cities are on the list -- three of which are in the top 10. Perhaps this means that Southern California cities should start pulling it together and take more severe steps to combat drunk drivers.

The magazine will publish the list in the publication's March edition, but the list has already been released over the internet and has already gained a lot of attention in Southern California. The rankings are based on death rates from alcoholic liver disease, alcohol-related car crashes, frequency of binge drinking, number of DUI arrests, and severity of DUI penalties.

Alleged Drunk Drivers Arrested on Superbowl Sunday

The Los Angeles Police Department calls Superbowl Sunday "the deadliest day of drunken driving". This is the day where more people died in drunk driving crashes last year on Superbowl Sunday, compared to any other day of the year.

But this year LAPD officials took a much more strict approach to drunk driving on the day of the Superbowl than with previous years. Authorities carried out citywide saturation patrols on Sunday; where sobriety checkpoints were conducted in multiple areas across the county. KTLA News reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised fans watching the Superbowl game to designate a sober driver.

Alleged Drunk Driver Hits Police Vehicle

It didn't take any time at all for police to respond to the collision, in which an alleged drunk driver crashed into a Los Angeles County police vehicle at South Vermont Avenue and West Imperial Highway in South Los Angeles. The suspect then allegedly tried to drive away and flee the scene after the crash, according to KTLA News, but the driver was located about an hour later.

The occupants of the patrol car were not seriously injured, but KPCC reports that one officer was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center to get checked out. The suspect involved in the hit-and-run crash last week was driving a white van. Police found the van approximately two blocks east of the collision at South Hoover and 113th streets. The vehicle was towed and will likely be used as evidence, according to KPCC.

LAPD Plans DUI Checkpoints On 2/6/10

The Los Angeles Police Department has announced that there will be at least two sobriety and drivers license checkpoints on Saturday February 6, so it would be wise for Los Angeles motorists to drive carefully and stay sober. Law enforcers warn that there could be a high number of drunk drivers on the road this weekend because of the highly anticipated Superbowl, a day that has a history of many DUI arrests. LAPD has planned and confirmed sobriety checkpoints at the following locations on Saturday.

Santa Monica Boulevard between Sawtelle Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard, between 8:00 PM and 3:00 AM.

West Manchester Avenue between Figueroa Street and Broadway, between 8:00 PM and 3:00 AM.

What If You Were Too Drunk to Remember the DUI Crash?

A 22-year-old man was sentenced to 11 years in prison last week for killing another motorist while driving under the influence in a 2008 collision.

Kenneth John McNair, 22, of Downey, was convicted last December of one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence while intoxicated  and one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid license. His Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Rondee Eagle, says that it is likely McNair will get out of prison in 4 1/2 years with credit for good behavior in prison and for time already served, according to the Orange County Register.

MADD Celebrates 30th Birthday

The non-profit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is turning 30 years old this year, where the group is having a year-long celebration -- alcohol free, of course.

Candace Lightner started MADD in 1980  after her daughter, Cari, was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender. Lightner was soon joined by Cindy Lamb -- whose daughter, Laura, became the nation's youngest quadriplegic at the hands of a drunk driver. The two mothers of MADD gained a tremendous amount of support and have a group that continues the work to stop drunk driving, support those effected by drunk driving, and prevent underage drinking.