The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

November 2011 Archives

Top Five Things to Do if You Are Pulled Over for a DUI

Getting pulled over by the cops is never a pleasant experience. However, there are ways of making it a smoother and easier process for both you and the police. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California offers practical tips when dealing with the police.

Here at the Los Angeles DUI Law blog, we have chosen five of these tips as the top things to do when being pulled over:

L.A. Sheriff's Deputy Charged with Felony DUI for 405 Crash

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy Richard J. Patterson faces felony DUI charges for his role in a July crash on the 405, reports The Orange County Register.

Patterson faces charges of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more causing injury. If convicted, he faces a sentence ranging from probation to three years in state prison, according to The Register.

The 38-year-old is accused of driving a motorcycle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 and crashing into the back of another vehicle on the freeway. Because of his heightened blood-alcohol level, prosecutors are also asking for a sentencing enhancement.

L.A. Thanksgiving DUI Arrests Up, Fatalities Down

Thanksgiving DUI results were a mixed bag for Los Angeles residents. Although drivers may have managed only one DUI fatality over the holiday, Thanksgiving DUI arrests were up, reports CBS Los Angeles.

California Highway Patrol officials reported that 303 people had been arrested for DUIs during the 84-hour period running from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Sunday.

The lone traffic fatality reported as of Sunday was the death of a 78-year-old woman in a suspected DUI crash. The alleged drunk driver, 61-year-old James Eddie Bailey, was arrested after receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.

LA County Thanksgiving DUI Checkpoints, Saturation Patrols

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is typically one of the busiest travel times of the year. Couple that with too much feasting, celebrating and revelry, and you could be in the middle of a not-so-merry traffic jam or holiday DUI. Let us give thanks then for law enforcement agencies that announce their DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.

Pasadena police, for instance, are conducting a "zero tolerance" DUI saturation patrol Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. The "zero tolerance" operation is aimed at reducing the number of impaired drivers traveling on city streets.

Teen Arrested for Drugged Driving in Fatal Ortega Highway Crash

It is safe to say that 18-year-old Francisco Jesus Ochoa should not have been driving Friday morning. The unlicensed, uninsured teen was reportedly under the influence of drugs during a fatal Ortega Highway crash, reports The Orange County Register.

The Lake Elsinore teen was arrested and charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, one felony count of possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a valid license, and an infraction for failing to maintain liability insurance.

Two Newhall Teens Killed in Suspected DUI Crash

Combine rain-slicked roads, lack of seatbelts and the possibility of alcohol, and you get a potentially fatal mixture. Case in point: A Newhall man driving under those conditions could face criminal charges after a suspected DUI crash claimed the lives of two Newhall teens, reports KTLA News.

The two teens - Kevin Sanchez, 16, and Richard Lagunas, 19 - were instantly killed when 28-year-old Carlos Hernandez lost control of the Ford Escort he was driving due to rain-slick roads on Saturday. Police believe alcohol may also have been a factor. The vehicle reportedly flew off the side of the road into a wooden fence and sheared a large tree before landing on a hillside.

LAPD DUI Checkpoint, Saturation Patrols 11/18/2011 - 11/20/2011

With the start of the holiday season comes the beginning of an increase in DUI saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints. Luckily, you live in Los Angeles where the LAPD are kind enough to warn you about upcoming patrols and checkpoints. If you are arrested for a DUI this weekend, don't say we didn't warn you:

  • Friday November 18: DUI and driver's license checkpoint on Vermont Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets in Los Angeles from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Saturday November 19: DUI saturation patrol in the Newton Area from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Sunday November 20: DUI saturation patrol in the Harbor Area from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

MADD Gives California DUI Enforcement a Four Star Rating

The crusading, anti-drunk-driving Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) gave California DUI enforcement a four star rating in its fifth annual progress report to the nation, according to MADD's website.

The report uses a five-star system to rate states on their implementation of proven drunk driving countermeasures. Only five states and the District of Columbia received the distinction of being awarded a five star rating this year.

Wildomar Man Arrested after Suspected DUI Crash into Light Pole

A suspected drunk driver was arrested early Sunday morning after he crashed into a light pole in Wildomar, reports CBS Los Angeles

Wildomar police say that 21-year-old Karl Rohlin was traveling east on Catt Road at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning when he suddenly lost control of his car and drove it onto a sidewalk and into a cement light pole. Luckily, no one was reportedly injured in the DUI crash.

Rohlin was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after police investigation.

Appellate Court: Cellphone at Red Light Still Violates Hands-Free

Richmond motorist Carl Nelson thought he found a loophole in California's "hands-free" law preventing motorists from using their cellphones while driving. Nelson argued before the First District Court of Appeal that a car is not moving when you're stopped at a red light; thus, drivers should be able to use their cellphones. Interesting theory, but the appellate court didn't buy his argument, ruling on Monday that drivers are still considered "driving" while at a stoplight, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nelson was given a $103 ticket for using his phone while at a stoplight in December 2009. Appealing his citation, Nelson argued that the 2007 state distracted driving law applies only when you are in a vehicle in motion. Under the law, all drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving. Officers may also cite a driver for using a cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.

Sheriff's Deputy Seriously Injured in Suspected DUI Crash

Los Angeles authorities can pull you over for exhibiting the subtle tell-tale signs of intoxication, such as swerving, speeding, or even driving too slowly. Ramming your car into a sheriff's deputy's vehicle, however, is a not-so-subtle sign that you may be intoxicated and will definitely lead to an investigation.

An alleged underage drunk driver is under arrest after reportedly ramming into a cruiser and seriously injuring a sheriff's deputy in a Palmdale DUI crash, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Suspect Arrested in Santa Ana Hit-and-Run that Killed Toddler

Authorities have arrested a drunk driving suspect in the tragic hit-and-run case in Santa Ana that left a toddler dead, reports KTLA News.

Police say 23-year-old Angel Perez is the hit-and-run suspect alleged to have hit a young family as they were crossing a street around 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The suspect had hit a mother walking with her 1-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son with his Toyota 4-Runner. The mother, who was carrying her daughter at the time, flew on to the hood and fell to the ground, while the toddler was pulled under the car. The suspect then fled the scene.

Celebrate Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: Don't Drive-While-Sleepy

While driving-while-sleepy isn't against the law, it is reportedly as dangerous as driving-while-intoxicated. In order to educate the public about the potential dangers sleep-deprived driving can cause, the National Sleep Foundation and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have partnered up to celebrate Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

"Drowsy driving is a major traffic safety problem that, unfortunately, is largely unrecognized," said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger in a statement. "We need to change the culture so that drivers recognize the dangers, appreciate the consequences and most importantly, stop driving while sleepy."

Riverside DUI Inmates: Do the Crime, Pay for the Time?

If you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties you receive are pretty standard: probation, community service, license suspension, and possible jail time. However, in Riverside County, if you do the crime, you may have to pay for your time. The Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to tentatively approve an ordinance requiring inmates in county detention facilities to reimburse the county for the cost of their stay in jail, reports CBS Los Angeles.

The “Require Every Convict Occupant Reimburse County Expenses” - or RECORCE - ordinance will require convicts with financial resources to pay for their time in jail. The expenses average out to about $142 per inmate per day, probably more than the average cost of a hotel stay in Riverside. If you cannot afford to pay or are eventually not convicted of the crime, however, you are excused from repayment.

Girl, 3, Seriously Injured after Suspected Drunk Driver Plows into Tree

Firefighters reportedly had to use the "jaws of life" to rescue a woman and a 3-year-old girl from their vehicle after a suspected DUI crash, reports CBS Los Angeles.

The alleged DUI crash occurred in east Ventura early Saturday morning. The Ventura Police Department stated that the driver was driving eastbound on Telegraph Road when she crossed into the westbound lanes and slammed into a tree.

Officers arrived at the scene to find the badly-wrecked vehicle and two people in the car. The car was so badly damaged that firefighters had to use the "jaws of life" to extricate 64-year-old Mercedes Lopez and the little girl from the wreckage.

Teen in Irvine Lake Crash Arrested for Manslaughter, Underage DUI

The teenage suspect in the Irvine Lake crash that killed one and injured five is under arrest on suspicion of manslaughter and driving under the influence, reports The Orange County Register.

The unknown 18-year-old driver was allegedly speeding in a Subaru Legacy with six other passengers when he lost control and smashed into a tree near Irvine Lake early Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

LA DUI Checkpoint Locations for 11/4/11

If you were able to avoid getting stuck in a Halloween DUI checkpoint last weekend thanks to our DUI checkpoint head's up, we're glad we could help you avoid the traffic. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, we're providing more DUI checkpoint locations for the upcoming weekend:

DUI Charges Dismissed Against Former Nickelodeon Actor

Something seems rotten in the DUI case of Nickelodeon actor Ryan Rottman. Both DUI charges against him were dismissed in a plea deal, reports In exchange for having the charges dropped, Rottman pleaded guilty to the lesser misdemeanor of reckless driving.

The trouble for the actor began in July when police pulled him over after they reportedly spotted him jumping a curb minutes after leaving an Irish pub in Hollywood. He allegedly reeked of booze, according to, and blew a 0.19 percent on a Breathalyzer, more than twice the legal limit. Rottman was arrested on suspicion of DUI but released later on his own recognizance.

Hard Core Drunk Drivers: SCRAM Bracelets and Ignition Interlocks?

When it comes to hard core drunk drivers, states are increasing the strength and enforcement of their DUI laws to keep them in check, according to This includes the increasing use of technological devices like ignition interlock devices and SCRAM bracelets. Should California be following suit in its enforcement against hard core drunk drivers?

The term “hard core drunk driver” typically describes a DUI offender who has multiple arrests and convictions and frequently drives with a 0.15 percent or above blood-alcohol content, according to The average profile is a 35.7 year-old-male with a high school education, full-time employment and significant relationship loss (separated, divorced or widowed).

'Survivor' Contestant Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

The immunity jokes will be flowing after “Survivor” contestant Semhar Tadesse was arrested on suspicion of DUI on Thursday, reports CBS Los Angeles.

The 25-year-old was pulled over on Thursday for running a red light in Los Angeles. Police suspected she may have been impaired and administered a field sobriety test. She was later booked on suspicion of DUI after Breathalyzer test results showed she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 percent, according to CBS. The level is almost twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Tadesse was later released on $5,000 bail.