The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

December 2012 Archives

No Excuse for a DUI Tonight - Checkpoints and Free Alternatives

It’s New Year’s Eve. There is only one other holiday with such inebriated implications (St. Patrick’s Day) and that means tonight will, for many, involve a lot of boozing. Unfortunately, there will also be a few who choose to drive drunk. Though there is never a good excuse for a DUI (absent a bleeding life-threatening wound), tonight especially, there are a number of alternatives.

Here are four ways to get home tonight after celebrating surviving the apocalypse:

2 DUI Enforcement Efforts, 2 Very Different Results

When someone says "DUI enforcement," what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many it is the traditional DUI checkpoint, where officers stop passing vehicles at random and determine if there is reasonable suspicion of intoxication by alcohol or drugs. If so, the driver performs field sobriety tests. If those fail, a chemical test is requested.

DUI checkpoints aren't the only method of planned enforcement, however. If you've seen our regular checkpoint posts, you'll notice that both checkpoints and saturation patrols are listed. The latter is a different approach to the same problem. Instead of a stationary sobriety checkpoint, the same officers overload an area with patrol cars and stop drivers who show signs of intoxication or violate traffic laws. The same process is then used to evaluate sobriety.

Can a Breathalyzer be Fooled?

In our continuing quest to address every common question a DUI attorney might hear in a bar, we're moving on to ways to manipulate the results of a Breathalyzer test. If you've missed some of the previous questions, we discussed whether you should choose blood or breath and whether it is ever a good idea to outright refuse a blood alcohol content test.

We are not bringing this matter to your attention in order to encourage drunk driving or fiddling with Breathalyzer results. Rather, it is important to know this information because it might prevent you from obtaining a false positive and being wrongly convicted of a DUI.

But as always, the best policy is to find a sober ride.

Holidays Approaching, Which Means DUIs and DUI Checkpoints - The List

Happy Holidays for some means a few too many rum-laced eggnogs. After all, with company holiday parties and a number of ways to "accidently" get a DUI in the name of Christmas spirit, many drivers will make the wrong decision this weekend and next.

Fortunately, law enforcement is prepared. Last weekend, officials made 456 DUI arrests throughout the Southland at over 100 checkpoints. According to the Los Angeles Times, during the same weekend last year, those numbers were even higher - 598 DUI arrests. According to authorities, two pedestrians were struck and killed by drunk drivers last weekend.

NTSB Wants Ignition Interlocks for All DUIs; Cites Wrong-Way Study

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board issued an ignition interlock recommendation to the legislatures of 33 states that don't currently require the devices for all convicted offenders. The NTSB wants ignition interlock devices in all cases, including first time offenders and those with borderline blood alcohol content convictions, reports USA Today. Though their recommendation is non-binding, it could signal the future of DUI legislation.

Here in California, the legislature adopted an ignition interlock requirement for all offenders, except those who plea to wet reckless charges, in four counties as part of a pilot program. Those convicted of a DUI in the counties of Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento, and Tulare are required to install the device, which requires the driver to blow into the device in order to start the car. If alcohol is detected on the driver's breath, the car will not start.

Ashley Bryan Trial: Jury Can't Say, 'Manslaughter or Misfortune?'

Ashley Bryan, 26, was driving drunk. No one, including her attorneys, disputes that fact. On April 2, 2011, her Honda Civic collided with a disabled Chevy Camaro, leading to the death of the Camaro's passenger, 18-year-old Cameron Cook. Two and a half hours after the accident, Bryan's blood alcohol content was 0.17 - more than twice the legal limit.

The jury answered the easy questions. They found her guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and of driving with a BAC of 0.08 or more. Then again, her attorney conceded that she was driving drunk during the trial. The question that the jury couldn't answer, and which led to mistrial, was whether her conduct amounted to vehicular manslaughter, reports the Orange County Register.

The final tally, before the mistrial was declared, was 11-1 in favor of conviction.

Three Ways to Accidently Get a DUI for Christmas

Twas the company Christmas party, and just like a Boss
Every person at (insert your company name here!), was completely sauced
The eggnog was spiked, with brandy and rum
In hopes that merriment to employees would come

The holiday season is here, and for many, that means it is time for holiday parties, either at work or at school. Holiday parties, of course, means holiday treats, both naughty and nice. These festive occasions unfortunately could come with the prospect of a very un-Merry byproduct: the accidental DUI.

Accidental DUI? People drink, then drive. How could that be accidental? Here are three ways:

Defense Attorney Blames Arachnoid Cyst For DUI, Road Rage, Murder

It was just yesterday when we said that sometimes, there is no plausible defense to a DUI charge. Today, we see another example of a hard to win case, only this time, there is no plea bargain. Armando Ochoa has taken his case to trial and plans to present a truly unique defense: the arachnoid cyst defense, reports the San Jose Mercury-News.

The day started with beer. To be exact, the previous day never ended, and the entire night was spent drinking. When Ochoa had beer with breakfast, a restaurant manager told him that he was too drunk to drive, reports the Mercury-News. A short time later, he was involved in a road rage dispute, got into another argument with a group of soccer players, and then ran down a few elderly pedestrians.

That was truly a busy morning.

Driver Gets 16 Years For Killing Pedestrian, Blowing Through Checkpoint

Sometimes, there really is no defense. We’re not even talking realistic or even likely to succeed defenses either. For Isidro Peralta, 26, it doesn’t seem like there was any defense that an attorney could come up with and sell to a jury with a straight face. As a result, his plea deal (term used loosely) ended with a sixteen year sentence, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

Back in April, 2011, Peralta allegedly collided with a pedestrian, 50-year-old Curly Junior Ross, and took off before turning the corner and driving right into a DUI checkpoint. The officers first heard the sound of tire squeal from the collision, then saw Peralta’s heavily damaged Mustang turn the corner. According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department, the officers gave chase when he used the opposite side of the road to avoid the checkpoint.