The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

September 2012 Archives

City Council Prez's Son Arrested at Checkpoint; This Weekend's DUI Enforcement

Earlier this week, the son of Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, who also works as a staffer for his father, was arrested at a DUI checkpoint on suspicion of drunk driving, reports the Los Angeles Times. Justin Wesson, 30, was taken into custody at about 8:15pm, which according to our post last week, was about fifteen minutes after the checkpoint started. Poor timing.

His father stated, “Drinking and driving is against the law. I’m grateful that no one was injured.” He also promised that “within the office, appropriate action will be taken.” We’re reading between the lines here, but he sounds mildly angry.

Time From First Drink to First Drunk: Strong Predictor of Alcohol Issues

Researchers long ago established that the earlier a person starts drinking, the more likely they are to have a problem with drinking. Get ‘em while they’re young, right? The existing studies, which only measured subjects at a single point in their lives, avoided an essential question: what about the progression of the problem?

According to Decoded Science, Dr. Meghan Rabbitt Morean of Yale University recently completed a long-term study that indicates that another factor, the time between a person’s first drink and a person’s first time getting drunk, is an independent indicator of future heavy drinking and trouble in high school and college.

Are SCRAM Bracelets Headed to a DUI Court Near You?

Most of us have probably never heard of the SCRAM bracelet. If you have, it’s probably because of Lindsay Lohan’s use of the device during her run-ins with the law.

The Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) is a monitoring device that measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s sweat every 30 minutes. The device detects as little as 0.02 BAC, or one drink, and is useful for monitoring someone whose probation or court order requires him to abstain from alcohol completely.

Fatal Laughing Gas DUI Nets Only One Year in Jail

Perhaps the judge showed mercy because he felt sorry for the severely burned and disabled defendant. Perhaps he showed mercy because he knew that the prison system lacks the funding and resources to properly treat and rehabilitate someone with such extensive injuries. He stated during sentencing that the reason for mercy was because there was no deterrent factor, reports the Orange County Register. After all, when you are severely debilitated in a drugged driving crash, and may never drive again, haven’t you been punished enough?

That’s debatable.

LA Beer Week! Avoid These Checkpoints: Take a Tour Bus

Did you know that Los Angeles (and Orange County) has a beer week? Did you know that the LA Beer Week started last night? Why, oh why, are we all still sober? Beer Week is now in its fourth year, and despite the name, actually lasts 11 days. After all, once you've had a few beers, a few hours becomes a few days which becomes a bit more than a week.

With events scheduled all over LA and the OC for the next eleven days, how is a cerevisaphile supposed to celebrate without getting a DUI? Besides the obvious solutions, (designated drivers, taxis, and the admittedly awful public transportation system), LA Weekly reports that there are free and cheap LA beer tours. This town truly is paradise, except when people stop in the middle of the freeway to gawk at a retiring space shuttle.

Does Weed Affect Driving Ability? Stoned Study Measures Impairment

Under California law, driving under the influence of pot is not illegal as long as the driver is not impaired. But then the problem is this: we're not even sure how weed use actually impairs one's driving ability.

Studies on the effect of cannabis on driving are surprisingly sparse, reports The Associated Press. Studies have tested the effects of pot on divided attention tasks. Unsurprisingly, weed impaired participants ability to concentrate on multiple things at once. Logically, that should mean that weed use will hurt subjects' abilities to drive, as drivers have to watch the road, stay in their lanes, avoid other bad drivers, change lanes, and put the new Kreayshawn album in their CD player.

Is it Actually Illegal to Smoke Marijuana While Driving in California?

California is an oddly progressive state. Marijuana is decriminalized in this fine state, and our drunk driving laws are more "loose" when it comes to the use of marijuana than other states. Being that it is technically not a criminal offense to possess small amounts of marijuana, and that our drugged driving laws are more tolerant of amounts of weed that do not impair driving, is toking while driving illegal?

The question is important, not only to the average cannabis user, but to our current celebrity stalkee, Amanda Bynes. We won't rehash her exploits in detail, in large part because carpal tunnel really sucks, but earlier this week, she was caught by TMZ apparently smoking out of a "drug pipe" in her car. She then drove around aimlessly for hours and smoked again. The paparazzi-stalkers waited until she left her car and then took pictures of what is thought to be marijuana sitting in the cup holders.

Bynes Caught Using 'Drug Pipe', Rear-Ends Again; Checkpoint List

Someone really needs to get this girl some help. Soon. Though she is God's gift to TMZ and bloggers everywhere, her escalating conduct, especially in regard to substance abuse and driving, could end badly for someone soon.

TMZ stalkers followed Bynes yesterday, catching her smoking a "drug pipe," buying a pink light bulb (TMZ emphasized the color; we're not sure why), and driving aimlessly while continuing to hit the pipe. A photographer reportedly noticed marijuana in the center console of the vehicle as well.

In addition to smoking while driving, which is arguably not completely illegal (though it is stupid), she also rear-ended someone in a parking garage, reports TMZ. We've lost count of how many accidents and rear-endings she has had in the last few months. There was no damage to either vehicle, so the police were not notified this time.

'Kill Bill' Actor Gets Alcoholic DUI, Blames Prescription Meds

Michael Madsen, best known for his roles in "Reservoir Dogs" and "Kill Bill" was arrested in Malibu yesterday on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to the Asssociated Press, Madsen was driving "erratically" in a red Pontiac GTO on Pacific Coast Highway. When pulled over, he reportedly failed the field sobriety tests. A preliminary alcohol screening registered 0.21.

Shortly after he was arrested, he complained of an undisclosed medical problem and was taken to the hospital. He has since been released. TMZ reports that he was suffering from "flu-like symptoms". His attorney told TMZ that the Breathalyzer was "flawed." He told the AP that prescription medication was to blame for the field sobriety tests.

Rapper Dies After Tweeting About Drunk Driving, Speeding and #YOLO

YOLO. No, it's not the amazingly wonderful county that is home to the greatest university in the world. Well, it is. But it's also a trendy cliché, made popular by rapper Drake, that stands for "You Only Live Once." It's often cited before, or during, an unintelligent act.

Amateur rapper Inkyy, a.k.a. Jew'elz, a.k.a. Erwin McKiness, tweeted that little acronym while riding in a car that was allegedly going faster than 120 miles per hour. Shortly thereafter, Inkyy, and the other four people in the car, were dead, reports the San Bernardino Sun.

Amanda Bynes' License Suspended; This Weekend's Checkpoints

One of more overlooked consequences of a drunk driving arrest is the almost-certain loss of the privilege to drive. After a person is arrested for a DUI, she is issued a temporary license. If a hearing with the DMV is not scheduled with the DMV within ten days, her license is automatically suspended. Even if she schedules the hearing, the time spent in the administrative hearing almost always results in a suspension.

Amanda Bynes was arrested for a DUI way back in April. We presume that she requested the DMV hearing, as her license remained intact long enough for her to commit three more alleged hit-and-run offenses.

What to Do When Pulled Over for a DUI: Three Tips

The berry is flashin' those high beams. Red and blue strobe lights blind you through your mirrors. Your heart is racing as you pull over to the side of the freeway. You had two beers, but you certainly aren't drunk ... right?

What should you do? Keep in mind these common sense tips as you try to avoid a night in jail.

DUI Stats From Labor Day Weekend Tell Us Almost Nothing ...

After every major holiday or DUI enforcement period, DUI stats are compiled by local agencies and paraded in press releases and newspapers. If the numbers indicate an increase in arrests, the officers are doing a better job. If they indicate a decrease, the officers have done such a great job that less people are driving drunk.

Truth be told, one weekend's stats mean almost nothing.