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Santa Cruz DUI defense attorney

No matter if you are a first time or repeat offender, getting charged with a DUI will have a huge impact on your life. How much it will affect you depends on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, such as who was in the car, any prior convictions, and whether any others were injured or killed as a result of driving while intoxicated. Even in cases without circumstances that would increase the charges, a DUI can lead to a license suspension, jail time (often, though not always, served in an “alternative to custody” program), and fines. 

When an officer pulls you over, they may have a suspicion that you were driving while intoxicated. However, even if you are pulled over for another traffic offense, such as speeding, you can still be arrested for DUI if the officer has probable cause to make an arrest that you are under the influence. An officer may determine probable cause by talking with you, observing you, conducting field sobriety tests, and/or administering a portable breath test. 

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Santa Cruz, CA DUI attorney child endangerment

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and can result in serious consequences. However, having a passenger in the car under the age of 14 will increase the severity of the punishment. The laws of the state of California are meant to keep everyone safe, and violating these laws by committing DUI with a child in the car can be considered child endangerment.

California Laws and Child Endangerment

According to California Vehicle Code 25372, a person who drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child under 14 years old in the car is subject to increased punishment. While a first-time DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor, this is considered a very serious misdemeanor – not only in court, but with Child Protective Services. Child Protective Services may be called to the scene of arrest, and they have the ability to take your child/children into their protective custody as you go off into police custody. There is follow up with CPS to make sure the children are in an acceptable home, and they will likely notify you that they are seeking to place you on a list of child abusers (Child Abuse Central Index). They will also inform you of your right to fight that designation.

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Which Is More Dangerous While Driving: Drinking or Texting?

Santa Cruz, CA drunk driving defense attorneyFor decades, drunk driving was considered the most dangerous driving practice. However, in recent years, texting and cell phone usage give stiff competition for that top spot. Distracted driving leads to thousands of injuries and countless deaths every day in the United States. 

With today’s busy schedules, people often use their driving time as a prime opportunity to multitask. Distractions come from sources such as personal grooming, speaking to other passengers, and eating. Texting and other cell phone use is by far the most dangerous type of distraction. Given what we now know, considering both safety and the legal repercussions, which is the riskiest driving behavior: drinking or texting?

Safety Considerations

Overall, the prevalence of DUI is on a downward trend, while the frequency of texting while driving continues to rise. Although texting usually does not constantly affect a driver like driving while intoxicated does, it can cause a person to take their eyes off of the road for an unpredictable length of time. A distraction for even a split second increases the likelihood of an accident by 23%, a rate similar to the probability of an accident after drinking four beers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both behaviors are equally impairing to a driver’s ability to drive. Consider the following statistics:

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Travel to Canada May Be Off Limits If You Have A DUI Conviction

Santa Cruz, CA DUI defense lawyer international travelMillions of Americans travel back and forth to Canada every year. Most of these visits are short day-trips into the country or last only for an overnight stay. When asked at the port of entry, the three primary reasons which people gave for travel are: pleasure, business, and visiting family. It may surprise you to learn that many of these attempted visits were unsuccessful due to an outstanding charge here in the United States. If you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you may want to reconsider any prospect of traveling to visit our northern neighbors.

Canada Restricts Admittance

Relations between the United States and Canada are amicable, and travel between the two countries is relatively easy. Although you do not need a passport to cross over from the United States into Canada, one is necessary for admittance into the United States on your return trip. Entrance is relatively easy, on a general basis. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) agent will ask you a series of questions. One query is, “Do you have any criminal convictions?”

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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

If you're the parent of a teenage driver, you might want to keep tabs on the kind of friends that your child is hanging around with, if you aren't already. Pay special attention to the alcohol and drug practices of your child's friends. If his friends are comfortable with using alcohol or drugs, and driving under the influence of these intoxicants, then it is very likely that your child will also indulge in the same practices.

According to the results of a new study, teenagers very often tend to copy the practices of their friends, when it comes to driving under the influence. The study very clearly found that older high school students were much more likely to drive while intoxicated, when they had friends who frequently drove intoxicated.

It shouldn't be hard to understand the reasons for this. When an impressionable young teenager is frequently exposed to friends who find nothing wrong in driving while intoxicated, the teenager is much more likely to believe that such practices are perfectly normal. Parents play a huge role in helping reduce the risk of underage DUI, and this is one of the things that you can do as a parent to reduce the risk of an underage DUI arrest, involving your teenage child. Step in to end such undesirable friendships in high school, even if such actions prove to be unpopular with your child.

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Posted on in DUI

Teen singing sensation Justin Bieber was arrested recently in Florida for DUI and drag racing. He is now out on bail. He was arrested after a police officer saw him heading down a street in Miami Beach, driving a yellow Lamborghini at excessive speeds.

According to officers, they were alerted because the star was driving at least twice the speed limit at the time. When he was pulled over, the officers noticed several signs of intoxication. He seemed drunk, and smelt of alcohol. According to officers, he had a look of stupor on his face, and when he was ordered to get out of the car, he made very slow and deliberate movements.

When the officer asked him to put his hand on his vehicle so that he could be patted down for weapons, Bieber refused to do so. He became uncooperative and argumentative. He failed a DUI sobriety test, and was then taken to the station for a breathalyzer test. Officers also found that he was driving with an invalid license.

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Last fall, an off-duty Petaluma Police officer crashed a motorized scooter on the fourth fairway of the Rooster Run Golf Club. The police department held a benefit golf tournament at the public golf course October 5. The off-duty officer who crashed a scooter had worked the graveyard shift the night before the tournament and reported in the morning to drive a golf cart transporting "pin-up girls" around the course during the tourney and other tasks related to the event, according to the Press-Democrat.

At some point, authorities say that the officer borrowed a motorized scooter from a fellow officer and reportedly took a run onto the course. That is when he allegedly crashed, suffering undisclosed injuries. Officers and police brass were all over the course for the tournament, but after the wreck, the off-duty cop was not asked to perform field sobriety tests, nor did he submit any breath or blood sample.

Someone at the golf course called 911, and the officer was taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital for treatment. About a month passed, and Petaluma Police reportedly contacted the California Highway Patrol to open a DUI investigation related to the incident. Petaluma Police claim that the department had been looking into the incident and desired to have an independent investigation opened.

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People reportedly spotted the woman's car driving in Torrance with a man on the hood of the car. Several people approached the car and flagged down the driver, according to media reports. One of the people claims to have reached into the vehicle and taken the keys from the ignition.

Emergency responders were called to the area where people flagged down the woman. Police say that the man was struck slightly more than two miles from where the group is credited with stopping the car. Investigators say that the man was partially embedded in the windshield when emergency responders arrived. He was responsive at that time. However, police say that the man later died at the hospital.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and drunk driving charges related to the incident. News reports suggest that the woman works as a drug and alcohol counselor. Police claim that she panicked after the accident. Authorities say that the woman tested nearly twice the legal limit for alcohol under California's drunk driving laws.

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