The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

November 2012 Archives

A New Model for DUI Prevention: South Dakota's 24/7 Program

Haters gonna hate, drunks are gonna drink, and it is what it is. There are certain facts of life, certain realities, which must be accepted. Alcoholism is a disease, defined by many psychologists, as the point where drinking begins to interfere with one’s daily life and obligations. One would presume that getting a second DUI charge would interfere with a person’s life.

The trend in DUI enforcement is to increase punishment. In the past couple of decades, jail sentences have increased, the legal limit has been lowered, and more recently, pilot programs have sought to put Breathalyzers in every DUI offender’s car. These are all solutions, but they are missing the crux of the issue.

Repeat DUI offenders need _____ to drive drunk. (Fill in the blank.)

Irony: Substance Abuse Counselor Charged With DUI, Murder

The clich├ęd “you’d think that she would know better” has never been more appropriate, especially in a legal sense.

Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 51, of Torrance, was arrested after striking and killing Phillip Moreno, 31. Moreno was headed home after leaving the Branch Office bar when Wilkins’ Mitsubishi Eclipse struck him in the roadway. She turned right on Crenshaw Boulevard and continued to drive for two miles, with Moreno embedded in her hood and windshield, before her car was stopped by concerned citizens, reports the Daily News.

CHP Study Finds More Drivers Drugged Than Drunk

On a recent weekend, CHP officers set up roadside checkpoints in a handful of cities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Drivers were asked to voluntarily submit a breath or saliva sample for testing. The samples were then tested for the presence of impairing drugs, legal and illegal, and for the presence of alcohol.

What was the outcome? Out of 1,300 samples taken, about twice as many drivers were under the influence of a drug that could impair driving. About 14 percent tested positive for a drug in their system. Compare that with alcohol, which was found in only 7.3 percent of drivers.

Slap on the Wrist for Riverside Teen's Fatal DUI Street Race?

Back in March, Jesus Javier Gamez was behind the wheel of a 1995 Ford Mustang. As many young and dumb drivers tend to do, he was pushing the limits of the vehicle. To make matters worse, he was racing another car on a surface street. His speeds reached 120 mph before he lost control of the vehicle, collided with a parked car and a light pole, and killed his passenger, Ruben Terriquez, 18, of Riverside, reports the Press-Enterprise.

Did we mention that he was under the influence as well? You’d think charges of driving under the influence and felony gross vehicular manslaughter would lead to a lengthy sentence.

Apparently not.

Devin Ebanks' DUI: What's He Facing?

Lost in the weekend’s coaching cacophony was the news that Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Devin Ebanks was arrested on Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Ebanks was stopped at 2:32 a.m. at Hollywood Blvd. and El Centro Ave. He was booked at 3:44 a.m.

The details of his alleged intoxication have yet to come to light, though the Daily News reports that Ebanks tweeted an encouragement to his followers to join him at Roxbury on Thursday night to celebrate a woman’s birthday.

More Checkpoints on the Way, Funded by CA Grant

If the presence of DUI checkpoints is like the tide, coming in waves, drunk drivers should prepare for a tsunami, at least here in Los Angeles County. We previously questioned the sudden dry spell, with nearly no checkpoints being announced between September 27 and October 26. Halloween brought a few, followed by another lull.

One might suspect that it has something to do with the holiday schedule. Over the summer, hundreds of checkpoints were held during the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. Besides Halloween, what other "drinking" holidays happen in the fall? Another possible cause could have been the state's ongoing budget crisis.

DUI Suspect U-Turned Into a Concrete Wall ... Twice

Like many an alleged drunken driver, Marlies Lin Petersen, 53, of San Marcos, was pretty much destined to be caught. She was allegedly driving, under the influence, at 2 p.m. A fellow traveler on Interstate 15 in Temecula contacted 911 and followed Petersen after he noticed her swerving. At that point, she was toast.

It got worse, however. A short time after the call, but before the police arrived, Petersen allegedly tried to pull a U-turn on the freeway. After hitting a concrete barrier, she remained resolute in her need to change directions and hit the barrier again. Mother Earth herself then intervened, and her pickup truck's tires got stuck in the dirt, reports the Press-Enterprise.

Drunk Rear Ends Parked Cop; Malibu Deploys New Anti-DUI Tool

The Los Angeles Police Department scored a two-for-one special on DUI arrests over the weekend. Officers shut down a lane near Sherman Way and White Oak Avenue in Reseda after stopping a suspected drunk driver. While they were investigating, one of their parked vehicles was rear-ended by a second drunk driver. The impact pushed the police cruiser 30 feet into a second cop car. Both the drunk driver’s vehicle and the first cruiser were totaled, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

The unlucky rear-ender reportedly refused a Breathalyzer but was still arrested on suspicion of DUI, as was the person initially pulled over. A person can be convicted of DUI on the basis of the observations, though the case is certainly more difficult. Rear-ending a parked car, however, should help the prosecution’s case.

Alcohol Suspected in Saturday's Fatal PCH Crash

Much like many other alleged drunk drivers, Donte Sheffield, 19, was headed home from a party with a friend along for the ride. The two were headed eastbound on the PCH when Sheffield lost control of his Ford Explorer, swerved into oncoming traffic, collided with a car, spun back into the eastbound lanes, and was struck again. His passenger, 15-year-old Roman Jimenez, whom he referred to as his brother, died on the scene, reports the Malibu Times.

The other drivers and passengers faced a variety of injuries, including one driver who needed surgery for abdominal injuries sustained in the accident. All are expected to survive, however. Sheffield was treated for minor injuries before being taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving. Blood test results are expected to take four to six weeks.