Blog
CALL US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Call Us831-426-5800 Call Us831-566-4357
303 Potrero Street, Suite 30, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Recent blog posts

California marijuana DUI lawyerMedical marijuana has been legal in California for two decades. Last year’s election also brought an approval of recreational cannabis use in California. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion about what it means to drive under the influence of marijuana. Learn more about the laws, and what you can do if you are arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis.

California Still Lacks a Definitive Limit

With alcohol intoxication, the law is straightforward: anyone driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater is subject to criminal charges. With cannabis, there is no such limit. Recently, a bill that would impose a 5ng/ml blood level for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was passed through the Committee on Public Safety. It is now heading to the Committee on Appropriations. Until it passes fully through the system, the law remains confusing and contradictory. There is no limit, and that means one person might be arrested for trace amounts, despite not being intoxicated, but another person might not be.

...

California DUI defense lawyerIf you were recently arrested for an alleged DUI, you might be concerned about what happens next. You may also be wondering what this might mean when it comes to your license. Rest assured: it is possible to fight back against the DUI charges and your California license suspension. Learn more with help from the following information.

What Happens to Your License?

When an officer arrests an individual under the suspicion of drunk driving, they are required to immediately forward a copy of the driver’s license to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The license of the driver may be immediately confiscated, and the officer may issue a temporary license and an Order of Suspension. Upon receipt of the Order of Suspension, the driver has up to 10 days to request an administrative hearing with the DMV. However, the driver may continue to drive using their temporary license for up to 30 days. 

...

Santa Cruz DUI defense attorneyMost people understand that a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) is not limited to drunk driving. Alcohol is just one of many substances that can impair a driver’s judgment and ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. In California, you can be charged with DUI if police suspect that you are impaired by any substance, including illegal drugs and drugs taken as prescribed by a doctor. Getting a conviction, however, requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence which can be much more difficult—especially if the only drug found in your system is caffeine.

DUI Arrest and Charges

In August of 2015, a 36-year-old was pulled over in Fairfield, California, for driving erratically. According to reports, the police officer administered several field sobriety tests and, based on his observations and driver’s attitude, arrested the driver on suspicion of DUI. The man submitted to a blood test following his arrest.

...

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Santa Cruz DUI defense attorneyA “wet reckless” is the only crime in the Penal Code for which one cannot be arrested. Over an inch and a half thick, the Vehicle Code (not the Penal Code, which metes out punishments for yet other crimes) proscribes everything from no front license plate to vehicular homicide. Yet a “wet reckless” exists only as a tool to plea bargain DUI cases - it is not a crime one can commit unless one agrees to the prosecutor and judge using it to amend a complaint alleging a DUI case.

Specifically, allowing the complaint to be amended from a VC 23152 to a VC 23103 per 23103.5. Vehicle Code section 23103 makes reckless driving unlawful; adding the 23103.5 means it was reckless “with alcohol involved.” The big difference between a 23103 (mere reckless, or “dry reckless”) and a 23103 per 23103.5 (wet reckless) is that a wet reckless can be used against you as a prior should you be arrested and convicted of a DUI in the future. 

For many people, a wet reckless is viewed as a huge win. For others, it is viewed as no big deal (or even capitulating to a loss). Realistically, whether it is good in a certain case depends on the facts of that case and the individual accused. It does not directly lead to a license suspension, which for some saves a job. Still others don’t need a license, or don’t care about their right to drive (think folks who live in San Francisco, folks who have a driver, folks who are leaving the country, etc.). In most cases, it is only the first step in trying to save driving privileges, as the DMV has a separate process where they will try to suspend one’s driving privilege - but if one’s ability to drive is paramount, it could be an important first step. There are also reduced fines, classes, and “jail” time (put in quotes as very few, if any, folks go to actual jail for a first offense DUI conviction these days).

...

marijuana legal california, santa cruz criminal lawyerBy John W. Thornton

Marijuana is now legal in California, but subject to a lot of rules. For the ordinary fan of weed, or someone who has loved ones or friends who partake, this is a large step towards keeping them being labeled a criminal for doing something that endangers a bag of Cheetos more than the user, the public, or the neighbor’s dog. 

But what about those folks who have marijuana-related convictions on their records? Well, a lot can be done for many of those folks. Were you caught growing years ago and are considered a felon? Did you sell a bag of bud and get caught? Did you get pulled over in a car with a few pounds and suffered a felony for transportation? One aspect of this new law allows such felons to change those felonies into misdemeanors. One treatise going around summarizes this aspect of the law as follows:

...

Santa Cruz DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence if you are incapable of safely operating a moving vehicle is in direct violation of the law. With any DUI conviction potentially comes harsh punishments. However, if you are participating in underage drinking and then also choose to drive a vehicle, the repercussions can be life-altering. At an age when the majority of your life is ahead of you, it is important to understand the charges you may be facing, how they can affect your future, as well as how to protect your rights and freedoms.

The Allegation

If you are underage and driving under the influence, you may be subjected to several charges against you. Not only that, but the people who furnished the alcohol and the owners of the property on which you consumed alcohol may also be charged due to their involvement in your delinquency. The potential charges against you will depend on the circumstances of your case, but may include:

...

Posted on in Shoplifting, Robbery & Burglary

San jose theft crimes lawyerDoes profiling exist? It would be very difficult to argue that it does not. However, there are various forms of profiling; some are discriminatory while others can be useful tools. When it comes to shoplifter profiling, even to FBI agents will agree that, when appropriately used, profiling can be used to catch and prevent theft. However, if incorrectly practiced for shoplifting prevention, the profiling can be leveraged against a business in a court of law.

Useful Profiling

Without conscious decision, many of us often profile others. The behavior is a tool that is ingrained in us, perhaps as a survival instinct. Typically, profiling is directly linked to the behavior characteristics of others. For instance, if a stranger is in a dark alley hiding behind a dumpster and they pop out and run towards you, the first thought that comes to mind is not often that the approaching stranger wants a hug. An instinctual decision is made that is based on previous behavior, perhaps what they were wearing, and any other factors you can decipher at the time. If this person mugs you, you, in turn, may be leery of other people hiding behind dumpsters in dark alleys in the future, regardless of what their real intent may be.

...

Posted on in DUI

Santa Cruz DUI lawyerDriving while intoxicated is illegal. An officer of the law cannot make an arrest on private property without a warrant. Both of these statements are true in general, but it is within the authority of the law to make an arrest on private property for DUI. However, there are always exceptions to every rule. Circumstances do exist where the legality of an arrest may be questionable.

Drunk Driving Is Illegal Everywhere

A common misconception exists that driving drunk on a road other than a public road is okay. The idea is not entirely without merit. Prior to 1982, the vehicle codes expressed that drunken driving was prohibited on public roads and highways, making no mention of private driveways and property. However, the law was altered to make no specification regarding public or private property. A ruling in 1992 became a defining moment when Ronald Dean Arnold Malvitz was found guilty of DUI even though he was driving on private property. The court determined during this case that driving and operating any vehicle in any location while under the influence of alcohol or drugs was dangerous to society.

...

Posted on in DUI

Santa Cruz DUI attorneySummer is the favorite season for a large percentage of Americans. With summer comes longer days, time off from school, and a schedule often unlike from the rest of the year. In response to the rise in temperatures, many seek to beat the heat by spending their days relaxing by a body of water. It may be likely that you will find yourself on a boat, lazily floating, soaking up the sunshine, fishing or even playing like you were a teenager again. Amidst the summertime fun, alcohol is frequently involved. It is important to understand how a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) could arise from a day on the water. 

Boating Under the Influence

The act of boating under the influence occurs when an individual consumes enough alcohol to impair their ability to operate his or her boat safely. It is also known as boating DUI, BUI, DUI boating, or drunk boating. Although boating is the name of the charge, the vehicle in question does not necessarily need to be just a boat. This law pertains to any motorized watercraft, including but not limited to:

...

Santa Cruz criminal defense attorneyMany people mistakenly use the terms burglary, robbery, and theft interchangeably. In everyday conversation, this is not an issue. Most people understand the terms to mean that someone is accused of taking something from someone else without permission. However, there are vast differences between the terms when it comes to the law. Not only do they mean different things, but they also carry varying penalties. Therefore, when reading the charges filed, it is important to understand what you are being accused of before you can defend yourself against it.

Burglary

Burglary, by definition, is breaking and entering into a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony. This crime occurs without the consent of the victim and involves opening a previously closed area to enter the property. How the premises becomes open makes no matter. If a window or a door is opened that was unlocked, it is still considered breaking. Entering is any physical portion of the intruders body crossing the exterior boundary of the premises, even if it is just a hand or a foot. California statutes define burglary as “entering any home, room, apartment, store, barn, floating home (or many other qualifying buildings) when the doors are secure, for the purpose of committing grand or petit larceny.”

...

cell phone evidence, Santa Cruz criminal defense lawyerAn overwhelming majority of adults own cellular devices. They are now ingrained in every facet of daily life. Our cell phones essentially do it all, from social networking, using a calculator, alarm clock, or calendar, to making phone calls and emails and getting directions on a GPS, or communicating via text message. Because we rely so heavily on them, it is only reasonable that, in certain situations, evidence that you need is contained in that device. Can we use that information in as defense in a criminal case? The short answer is yes we can.

How Does It Work?

The first step is to save the information. Screenshots of social media posts, copies of text messages, as well as any email communication is all a part of the evidence that you could potentially use. The first step is to email them all to yourself--not just what the other person said, but also what you said. The entire conversation or incident is required to show what occurred. Email them to yourself and perhaps a friend, family member, or lawyer that you trust to have several copies of your evidence.

...

drugged driving, Santa Cruz DUI defense lawyerWith medical marijuana programs becoming increasingly common around the country and decriminalization efforts underway in many states, there has been much discussion about those who drive under the influence of drugs and how to handle such cases. While some states have proposed—and even implemented—quantifiable standards for traces of certain drugs in a driver’s system, others like California currently rely on a more subjective standard of impairment. Recently proposed legislation seeks to change that standard somewhat, but the measure has been met with a fair degree of skepticism.

Detecting the Presence of Illegal Drugs

Senate Bill 1462 was introduced by California Senator Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, and would allow law enforcement officers to conduct an oral swab on a person suspected of drugged driving. The test would be permitted based on probable cause after a driver has already failed field sobriety tests. The swabs are designed to detect the presence of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and prescription pain medications, but do not provide information about the amount or concentration of the substance. Senator Huff has acknowledged as much, saying that the swabs are not meant to replace blood testing, but that “oral swabs are the only way to quickly and accurately test for the presence of six of the most common drugs of abuse.”

...

By John W. Thornton

dmv issues, DUI arrest, Santa Cruz criminal lawyerYes, almost certainly. We have all had our issues with DMV, these compound in the aftermath of a DUI arrest. While there are some cases that do not result in DMV hassles, they are rare. What follows is but a few examples of what to expect.

First, let me explain the change in attitude at DMV since the "administrative per se laws" went into effect in 1990. It is best summarized by what can be found on the wall in the room in the Capitola DMV Office where DMV hearings are conducted. When I first began doing DMV hearings, there was a big sign that announced your rights as someone facing license discipline: the right to an attorney, to subpoena witnesses, right to testify, etc. After a few years, this notice was pushed aside and, in its place, was placed a notice regarding what charges you can expect for threatening the hearing officer (DMV judge). Now, there is a list of items for which you can be arrested for bringing into the hearing office (firearms, knives, mace, etc.).

...

By John W. Thornton

mug shot, santa cruz dui lawyerThe fact that you were arrested, unless you are under 18, is a public record. Websites such as mugshotsantacruz.com post booking photos, and over the past few years many clients have reported hearing from friends, relatives, and co-workers that their booking photo was online.

Secondly, many attorneys pay services to obtain booking information so that they can direct mail you solicitations (I don't do this). Clients have reported receiving 8-10 letters in the mail from attorneys and insurance companies offering various services. If you don’t personally pick up your mail, whoever does will not need to be terribly intelligent to figure out that you have been in legal trouble. While this practice has been controversial, it happens.

...

DUI, pulled over, Santa Cruz DUI lawyerYou are out for a night of celebrations. You got a big promotion at work and your friends have taken you out for a night on the town to celebrate. After several locations and innumerable drinks later–who knows how many, you had a designated driver–it comes time for everyone to go home. Yet, when you find your driver, he has been drinking all night too. He appears to be worse off than you are. You decide to be the hero and take everyone home yourself.  After a few miles, you see dreaded police lights in your rearview mirror. You are about to get pulled over with a high probability that it is DUI related. What do you do?

During the Traffic Stop

By the time the officer has brought you to a stop, a phone call has already been made to "call in" the stop. This lets the dispatcher know that the officer is busy, a vehicle description, and the reason for the stop. Typically, a cover officer will be dispatched to the scene for the safety and the security of the officer, but also a witness to all events. Although this is not a requirement, more and more police officers are using dash or body cams in their vehicles or on their person today. This can either help or hurt a case, so be aware that one may be recording your every move.

...
Study Shows Attitudes Towards DUI Change After a Few Drinks

According to new research, people's attitudes towards driving under the influence of alcohol change after they have consumed two or more alcoholic beverages. Even people who normally find it very distasteful to drive under the influence of alcohol find that their attitudes are not so stringent when they are asked about it after having a few drinks.

The researchers measured the difference in attitudes towards DUI among subjects when they were sober, and after they had consumed a certain amount of alcohol. The vast difference in attitudes towards DUI among people when they were sober and when they were in an intoxicated state was very startling to the researchers.

According to the researchers, they did expect that drinking alcohol would soften people's attitudes towards driving under the influence of alcohol, because alcohol does tend to impair judgment abilities. People, who normally would never do anything stupid while sober, end up making surprisingly stupid decisions after a few drinks.

...
I Have a High Alcohol Tolerance. Will I Be Arrested for DUI?

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to DUI is the belief that a person with a high alcohol tolerance will not be arrested for DUI. Your alcohol tolerance has actually nothing to do with your potential for a DUI arrest.

Some people have an enhanced tolerance for alcohol. That tolerance comes through years of drinking. Tolerance for alcohol however doesn’t impact your likelihood of being arrested for DUI. One person who has just had a couple of alcohol beverages could be very pleasantly buzzed. Another person, however, may have had a larger quantity of alcohol, and continues to drink because he doesn't feel the intoxicating effects of alcohol. The second person may be at a high risk of being arrested for DUI, because his blood alcohol concentration could have breached the .08% legally permissible level, because of the higher numbers of alcoholic beverages that he has consumed.

He could be arrested, even though he does not show any external signs of being intoxication. In other words, this person may not even have a “buzzed” feeling, may not have slurred speech, red eyes, or any of the other signs that people typically associate with intoxication.

...
Can A Mathematician Predict Future Santa Cruz Crime?

CBS television used to air a drama called Numb3rs. The television series involved a fictional character that was college professor and mathematician named Charlie Eppes. He assisted the FBI in investigating crime. Now the Santa Cruz Police has announced an idea strikingly reminiscent of the TV series. The agency says it will team up with a college professor of mathematics who says he can mathematically predict future crimes.

Santa Clara University assistant professor Dr. George Mohler says that offenders tend to return to places where they have been successful in the past. Taking algorithms developed for predicting aftershocks after an earthquake the mathematician says he can forecast future crimes. He says he used data from several years of California burglary cases to test his theory.

Police say they hope the algorithms in Dr. Mohler's theory will help to predict what KSBW-TV calls "after-crimes" are likely to occur in the future. Dr. Mohler's theory reportedly is derived from data created in sociological and criminological research.

...

Posted on in DUI

According to reports, Stamos was driving erratically in Los Angeles when he was pulled over by police officers, and arrested for DUI. That arrest also coincided with hospitalization for a medical emergency the same night as his arrest. He was cited for DUI, and released to the hospital. The DUI arrest is only the most recent sign of what seems to be a chronic problem with alcohol. In 2007, Stamos appeared on an Australian TV show, where he appeared clearly under the influence of alcohol, making rude gestures andwalking around the studio set in a daze.

Sometimes, a DUI arrest is only a symptom of what is a much larger problem-alcohol addiction. Understanding whether your DUI is symptomatic of a larger drinking problem can be done through an alcohol evaluation. California does offer such DUI alcohol evaluation programs that can help you determine whether your alcohol intake impacts the rest of your life. These programs can help you reassess your dependency on alcohol, and the extent to which it impacts your ability to drive safely, and other aspects of your life. Bear in mind that people who suffer from alcohol dependency are very likely to believe that no problem exists, and are much more likely to drive while impaired, possibly leading to an arrest.

Establishing that you have a problem, in fact, is the first step towards getting treatment and turning your life around. Get help for your alcohol dependency program before the consequences, including multiple DUI arrests, destroy your life.

Refusal of an alcohol test comes with a string of penalties attached. In fact, this is one of the reasons why attorneys typically do not advise refusing an alcohol test. The law in California specifically requires all motorists to submit to an alcohol test, if they are asked to submit to a chemical test by an officer.

If you refuse to take the chemical test, then you may have a number of penalties that apply to you. One of those penalties is related to the suspension of your driving license. There are a number of different types of penalties involving suspension of the license. For example, if you were above the age of 21 at the time of the arrest, then your refusal could possibly result in a suspension of the license for a year if it was a first offense. If it was a second offense within 10 years after the first offense, then you could lose your license for two years. A third or subsequent offense will result in a revocation of the license for a period of 3 years.

If you were below the age of 21 at the time of the refusal, then you will lose your license for a period of one year for the first offense, and two years for a second offense. A third offense within a period of 10 years will mean that you lose your license for three years.

...
Back to Top