The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

April 2012 Archives

Wet Reckless as a Plea Bargain

Besides sounding like the title of a teenage tryst flick or an adult film title, Wet and Reckless is the plea bargain often given to those alleged DUI offenders with borderline blood alcohol content readings. It is also known as a wet reckless, reckless driving involving alcohol, a "baby" DUI, or CA Vehicle Code Section 23103.5, which is not nearly as sexy of a title.

The Wet Reckless charge is a curious creation of California's legislature. It is in the vehicle code as "Guilty Plea to Lesser Charge" and is only available as such. You cannot be charged with the crime. It may only come to fruition via a plea bargain. To fully understand the utility of the charge, it is important to view the DUI arrest process as a whole.

Bobby Brown Takes Plea Bargain in DUI; TMZ Seems Confused

TMZ broke the news on Wednesday -- Bobby Brown has taken a plea bargain with no additional jail time. Brown agreed to one day in jail, which has already been served, plus fines and three years of summary probation. He will also have to take a 90-day alcohol program. This is the minimum sentence for a first-time DUI.

However, our favorite celeb gossip site may have incorrectly reported that in exchange for the plea of no contest, the prosecutors dropped the DUI charge. Brown did in fact end up walking out of the courthouse with a DUI conviction in hand, at least according to the Los Angeles Times.

Porn Star Lucy Lee Gets DUI After T-Bone Accident

A semi-celebrity was arrested over the weekend on charges of driving under the influence. The adult-film star, Lucy Lee was allegedly intoxicated when she pulled an illegal maneuver, which resulted in her getting T-Boned by another car, reports TMZ.

Lee allegedly failed a field sobriety test and blew over twice the legal limit on a Breathalyzer test administered at the station.

Drunk Woman Totals Cop Car; Charged With Felony DUI

Judy Wang, 23, of Buena Park, may have just discovered the most unfortunate way to be caught and charged with a DUI. She was driving, allegedly drunk, when she slammed into a parked police cruiser that had pulled someone else over, reports CBS Los Angeles.

The officers escaped injury by jumping out of the way, but their car was totaled when it was smashed between Wang's Toyota and the car they had initially pulled over. The force of the impact pushed the cop car 20 feet forward and into the parked car ahead of them. A passenger in the front car was taken to the hospital with hip pain.

5th DUI Redefines 'Wedding Crasher,' Earns Felony

Christopher Paul Shore, 46, of Laguna Niguel got married last summer. It should have been a wonderful day. His lovely bride, Tina Shore, married him in an impromptu ceremony at the local courthouse. They then celebrated at BJ's Brewhouse and a bar called Mugs Away, reports the Orange County Register.

At least two of those three events were bad choices for someone with four prior misdemeanor DUI convictions.

Young and Drunk? Here's What Happens to Minors in Possession

Under 21 drinking happens. It's not pretty, but it happens. However, despite its commonality, it is in fact illegal. Much like speeding, it doesn't seem to bother people unless they themselves are caught.

However, drinking in public, drinking and driving, and attempting to buy alcohol while underage will all get you into trouble. How much trouble? We are glad you asked.

Mr. Lei Caught Rollin'; Mr. Travers Flees at Low Speed

Ahhh, Riverside. There really ain’t much to do in the wilderness known as Riverside county, other than enjoy the smog that gets trapped on its way out of Los Angeles. Boredom could well be why two men were arrested on a Monday morning for driving under the influence, reports the Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch.

What to Do if You are Caught with an Open Container in L.A.

What's an open container?

An open container is not just the cracked open can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in your cup holder. It's also the half-drank bottle of Jack Daniels lying on the back seat from four months ago.

Open container laws do not just restrict bottles and cans that are open and uncapped. The laws also restrict bottles that have had the seal broken, but the cap screwed back on. Therefore, if the container is still sealed as it was when you bought it, the law does not apply.

General rule: If it has ever been opened at all, leave it in the trunk.

ER Docs Can Help Curb DUIs, Alcoholism

Yale University doctors released an interesting study recently that details ways in which emergency room physicians can help join the fight against drunk driving. No, the solution was not to drug the alcoholic patients. It was simply to counsel them, reports Yahoo! Health.

The study involved 740 hazardous and harmful patients, who were consuming more than 14 drinks per week for men and more than 7 drinks per week for women. The patients also averaged about seven binge-drinking episodes per 28 days.

Another Alleged Drunk Driver Plows Into Caltrans Construction

For the second time in a week, a driver has slammed into a Caltrans construction area while allegedly intoxicated, reports the Los Angeles Times. Fortunately, there were no construction workers hurt this time. However, both the driver and passengers riding in the car were injured and transported to the hospital.

The six occupants in the compact Honda, none of which were wearing seatbelts, ranged in age from 17 to 20. The car swerved into a Caltrans construction area where workers were resurfacing lanes, clipped a tractor-trailer, and then flipped. Some of the occupants were ejected.

Update: Sakamoto Charged For Death of Connor Penhall

Last week, we discussed the District Attorney's options for prosecuting Tatsuhiko Sakamoto, 37, who was allegedly drunk when he plowed his Toyota Rav4 through construction barriers and into Connor Penhall, the late son of Hall of Fame motorcycle racer Bruce Penhall. Today, word has come down that Sakamoto will indeed be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.

As stated before, there are two kinds of vehicular manslaughter: manslaughter resulting from negligence and manslaugther resulting from gross negligence. The latter is harder to convict on, as it requires proof of some inherently dangerous activity, in addition to driving under the influence, such as street racing. There has to be an absolute wanton indifference for human life.

Amanda Bynes Side-Swipes Cop, Gets DUI, Passes on the Right

Former Nickelodeon Star and B-list celeb Amanda Bynes, aged 26 but looking in her mug shot like a 14-year-old with too much makeup, was arrested for a DUI, according to the all-knowing, all-seeing TMZ. Bynes was allegedly driving while under the influence of some substance that impaired her driving when she tried to pass a police car. She sideswiped the officer's rear-right quarter panel. She was then pulled over, found unfit to continue driving, and was arrested. She was later released on $5,000 bail, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In order to have hit that panel while passing the officer, she must have been passing on the right. And the question that is on everyone's mind has to be, was that a legal maneuver?

Drunk Driver Kills Son of HOF Motorcycle Racer/CHiPs Star

The son of Hall of Fame motorcycle racer Bruce Penhall, who also starred in the television series “ChiPs,” was killed in Baldwin Park by a drunk driver. Connor McDermott Penhall, 21, was killed while working as a contract worker for CalTrans, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The driver of the vehicle, Tatsuhiko Sakamoto, 37, is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol when he plowed his Toyota Rav4 through construction barriers and into the construction site. He was arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, and driving without a license.

'Bikini Girl' Katrina Darrell Arrested for DUI, Plans to Fight It

There are always two sides to every story. It is a truism that journalists, the public, and even we bloggers often forget. TMZ reported a few days ago that Katrina Darrell, a.k.a. the "Bikini Girl" who auditioned for American Idol in swimwear, was arrested for driving under the influence.

At the time, the story stated that Darrell had run a red light, "smashed into" another car, took off, and then was pulled over while trying to flee. She told the officers that she was taking her mother to the hospital after a fall at home but the officer allegedly smelled booze coming from the aspiring singer.

When she failed sobriety tests, she was arrested. She allegedly blew a 0.15 and 0.17, around twice the legal limit.

DIY DUI: Defending Yourself at the DMV Hearing

After Californians have been charged with a DUI, they must face an administrative hearing at the DMV (everyone's favorite place) to see if they will have their license suspended. It can be done with or without an attorney.

Going it alone is a bad idea. Plain and simple, it is better to hire an attorney. However, if you are broke or determined to do this on your own, here is some information that may be helpful.