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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.

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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

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.).

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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California lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow police officers to use a special gadget that would help detect if a person is driving under the influence of drugs.

California lawmakers are considering allowing officers to use a special gadget that would allow them to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system. The gadget would be similar to a breathalyzer that detects alcohol in a person’s system, but would be based on testing of saliva swabs. A new California bill Assembly Bill 1356, if passed, would allow law enforcement officers in California to use a specially - designed gadget to detect the presence of drugs in a motorist’s system.

The gadget is called the DDS 2 MOBILE TEST SYSTEM, and is a lightweight device that comes with a full color screen. The device is readable in all kinds of visibility conditions, and is capable of storing 10,000 results. Results can be printed out at the end of the testing.

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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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