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Posted on in DUI

California DUI defense lawyerWhile there are a few exceptions to the rule, officers cannot typically stop a driver unless they have reasonable cause to suspect wrongdoing (that includes traffic violations). However, once a driver has been stopped, the officer may then search for any additional signs of a potential crime. More specifically, they look for signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or balance issues. If flagged for any one of the alleged “tell-tale signs” of intoxication, the driver may then be subjected to a field sobriety test. Learn more about them, and how you can fight a DUI charge, with help from the following information. (Note: you are not required to engage in field sobriety testing.)

“Standardized” Field Sobriety Tests

Before the late 1970s, law enforcement lacked a consistent method to detect intoxication among drivers. Instead, they were forced to rely on their own judgment and a variety of tests with unknown accuracy rates. Then, in 1977, the NHTSA initiated a study of the various FSTs being used. Their hope was that a reliable and “scientific” method would emerge. Enter today’s version of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test – a battery of tests that officers routinely use to determine if a driver is intoxicated. These include the:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted on in DUI

With just a few days left to the Memorial Day weekend, which also kicks off summer season, it's the right time to focus on the need for drivers to be extra cautious about driving during the holiday.

The Memorial Day Holiday sees large numbers of law-enforcement officers on the roads to pull over motorists they suspect of driving under the influence of alcohol. Your chances of being arrested for DUI or being pulled over are much higher during this holiday, as well as the rest of the summer season.

If you plan to celebrate the beginning of summer with friends, make sure that you stay sober. It is not always easy to tell after you have consumed a couple of alcoholic beverages that you are legally able to drive safely. If you have consumed more than a couple of alcoholic beverages, simply avoid driving, and hand over the keys to someone else.

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Posted on in DUI

Alcohol is linked to as many as one-third of all teen car accident fatalities every year, and prom season is when many of those accidents take place. Drinking is illegal if you are below 21, but underage drinking is widespread on prom night.

Unfortunately, according to one study, as many as 90% of teenagers believe that their friends would drive while drunk on prom night. This indicates that these practices are extremely widespread.

Teenage drivers need to take precautions, and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol. Remember, prom night is an important night for you, but it is also when many teens are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A DUI conviction could mean a permanent blot on your record. It could interfere with your ability to get into a prestigious college, and could have all kinds of other consequences for your education and employment prospects in life.

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According to new research, if all cars came with alcohol testing devices that would silently test motorist blood alcohol concentration levels, it would significantly reduce the risk of DUI arrests and alcohol-related accident fatalities.

According to the study that was published recently in the American Journal of Public Health, the savings in terms of lives in car accidents, would be tremendous. The researchers believe that as many as 10,000 lives will be saved over a 15-year period, if all cars roll out of factories with these in-car alcohol testing devices installed.

The devices that were tested as part of the study are called DADSS, or the driver alcohol detection system for safety. These devices are unlike the breathalyzer devices that motorists are required to install in their car after certain types of DUI arrests. Those ignition interlock devices require motorists to breathe into the device, and detect the amount of alcohol on the person's death. The device will proceed to shut the ignition down if the alcohol limit is beyond a certain set limit.

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Posted on in DUI

Your risks of a DUI arrest spike on St. Patrick's Day. You're likely to see more numbers of DUI sobriety checkpoints on Los Angeles roads, over the holiday. Learn how to avoid a DUI arrest.

The easiest way to avoid a DUI arrest is to stay sober, if you expect to drive. If that is not possible for you to do, designate someone to drive you home. Plan beforehand, and arrange for a taxi service to pick you up from the venue, at a specified time.

You are likely to come across more than a few DUI checkpoints in Los Angeles on St. Patrick's Day. DUI checkpoints are legal in the state of California. However, there are quite a few guidelines attached to the establishment of these DUI checkpoints. For one thing, the checkpoint must be publicly advertised. The pattern of pulling motorists over should be neutral. Officers at the checkpoint cannot simply choose to pull motorists over, because of their ethnicity, for example.

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Investigations into the train accident near Los Angeles, which left more than 50 people injured, are now beginning to focus on the DUI history of the truck driver involved in the accident. He has several DUI convictions on his record.

The man, José Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez apparently drove his truck onto the tracks, believing that it was the roadway, and later abandoned it. The train crashed into the pickup truck, and several of the cars derailed. More than 50 people were injured, and one of the engineers who sustained injuries in the accident, has since died.

Police found Sanchez-Ramirez more than a mile from the accident scene, walking and in distress. Prosecutors are waiting to file charges against him, and reports indicate that he has several previous DUI violations on his record. Tests have been conducted on him, but results are pending. It is not yet known whether drug or alcohol use were a factor in the crash.

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Posted on in DUI

In those DUI cases in which a person is driving while drunk with a minor child below the age of 14, he is exposing himself to not just charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, but also felony or misdemeanor charges of child endangerment.

Under California law, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol anyway. However, when you are breaking the law, and also have a minor in your car with you, the charges against you are aggravated. You are eligible for charges of child endangerment to be filed against you. You don't have to be involved in an alcohol-related car accident for these charges to be filed against you.

The law will not look at your intentions while driving under the influence of alcohol, or any of the excuses that you provide for driving with a minor in your car while intoxicated. It will not even consider the effects of the results of your intoxicated driving. California law will only look at whether you had a child below the age of 14 in your car at the time that you were driving under the influence.

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In Florida, a DUI defense lawyer hit the headlines recently for his daring advise for motorists at DUI checkpoints.

The lawyer in South Florida distributed a number of flyers that simply encourage motorists, who find themselves at a checkpoint to refuse a DUI test, and keep their windows rolled up. The lawyer’s flyer distributed across the South Florida region, informs motorists that all they have to do when stopped by police at a DUI checkpoint is to keep their car windows rolled up, and hold up the flyer, so that police can read it.

The flyer also advises them to hold up their license, vehicle registration, and insurance documents to police at the window. It advises them to keep silent, and not speak at all. It also advises them to record all that happens on audio, or video.

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Posted on in DUI

Taxi share service Uber is coming under criticism for its claims that cities that have seen an increase in the use of its ridesharing app have also seen a corresponding drop in the number of DUI arrests and accidents.

Recently, the ridesharing service published the results of a new study together with Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) in which it claimed that the rising popularity of Uber had led to a reduction in the number of drunk driving accidents, and even drunk driving arrests in states like California. However, critics are not so impressed. According to them, there is no clear connection that conclusively establishes a relationship between the popularity of the ridesharing service in certain cities and a reduction in DUI arrests or drunk driving accidents.

According to Uber, since the service launched in California, the number of drunk driving accidents has actually decreased by 60 accidents per month. Those statistics translate into 1,800 few accidents over the past one and half years alone. However, the company has no conclusive evidence to show that the use of its ridesharing service prevented so many of these accidents. In fact, Mothers against Drunk Driving, which co-authored the study that came up with those findings, says that there is no causation relationship between the drop in DUI accidents, and the increasing use of the app. In other words, there is no clear evidence that shows that cities where Uber is popular see fewer drunk driving accidents.

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A Florida mother is in deep trouble after a DUI incident in which her children reported her behavior.

The woman was driving with her children and at least three other 11-year-old kids, when the children stopped the car, and ran out into a nearby restaurant. They told people in the restaurant that one of the children's mother was driving them under the influence of alcohol. Her driving scared them so much that they felt that they had to get help.

According to the children, the woman was very drunk and was swerving all over the road. She struck a pole, and that incident resulted in damage to the car. However, when they came to a stop outside the restaurant, the children jumped out of the car and ran in for help.

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Lawmakers getting into trouble for DUI don't exactly make the news in California. However, DUI defense attorneys for one lawmaker who was recently arrested for driving under the influx of alcohol have called for charges to be dropped against him for a unique reason that was drafted by people riding in horse-drawn carriages.

They argue that the lawmaker is currently in the middle of a legislative session in the state, and therefore, should not be arrested for DUI at this stage.

According to the attorneys, charges against Kentucky’s Senator Brandon Smith must be dropped, because of a provision in the Kentucky Constitution that holds that a lawmaker cannot be arrested while the legislative session is in progress. Senator Smith was arrested on January 6, which also happens to be the day the 2015 session officially began.

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