DUI Laws in California

“Lawful coercion” – when not explained consequences of refusal

July 5, 2013

In Bumper v. North Carolina 391 U.S 542 (1968), the Supreme Court ruled that consent is not valid (i.e. no consent) when official conducting the search informed the owner of house that he possesses a warrant and then asked for consent.  The argument of USSC based on claim of coercion – they called it “lawful coercion“. In determining whether a criminal defendant was convicted “according to law,” the test is not and cannot be simply whether this Court finds credible the evidence against him. Crediting or discrediting evidence is the function of the trier of fact, in this case a jury. The jury’s verdict is a lawful verdict, however, only if it is based upon evidence constitutionally admissible. When it is […]

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Allan Hawkins

July 2, 2013

On June 21, 1970, Allan Hawkins ran a stop-sign and hit another car, killing his passenger and injuring a person in that other car. (People v. Superior Court (Hawkins) 6 Cal 3d 757 (1972).  CHP took a vial of Hawkins’ blood from the hospital (to which he was taken by an ambulance), but CHP never arrested Hawkins .   Once authorities obtained results of the blood test, Hawkins was charged with felony drunk driving and felony vehicular manslaughter.  Hawkins’ lawyer filed a motion to suppress his blood test results based on (1) Hawkins’ consent was not given freely and voluntarily and (2) no exception to warrantless search of Hawkins.   The second argument needs a little explaining: The government conceded […]

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How The DUI Punishment Changed Over The Years

May 15, 2013

Over the past 30 years the DUI law changed significantly – more so recently.  Recently I came across old cases that discuss driver’s license suspensions in California in 1969.  Clearly less onerous: In Walker v. DMV 274 Cal. App 2d 793, Walker refused a chemical test and faced a two person board – to decide if his license should be suspended for 6 month.  Nowadays, there is a hearing in front of a one DMV hearing officer who’s adverse decision will suspend the driver’s license for one year after first offense within ten years. In the 1980th, the National Highway Safety Board recommended that states lower the blood alcohol level to .08 percent.  It took many years for all the […]

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Can Prosecutor File Two Separate Criminal Cases Against Same Person?

April 27, 2013

Often a situation arises when a driver is pulled over and is cited or arrested for a crime.  Later, law enforcement realizes that that driver was guilty of another crime.  At that point, the law enforcement will attempt to make sure that all crimes driver (defendant) is guilty of are on the same complaint.  Sometimes, by the time the prosecution realizes that defendant is guilty of additional crimes, he or she already plead guilty to that first charged crime.  In an event like that, the prosecution should be prohibited because of a due process violation.  The Supreme Court in People v. Kellett ruled just the same barring prosecution for a “felon in possession of a gun” after Elmer Kellett plead […]

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Can A Driver be pulled over for looking worried and then arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles?

April 11, 2013

It is no fun to be followed by a police officer who suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Once the officer have that suspicion, he will look for patterns of driving that are consistent with the driver being intoxicated.  In short, he will look for a reason to stop the car so that he can smell “odor of alcoholic beverage”, observe “bloodshot watery eyes” to confirm his suspicion and to conduct a DUI investigation that can result in your arrest and prosecution for a DUI in Los Angeles. Sometimes, an officer fails to see a vehicle code violation and is left with just a “hunch”.  Can an officer initiate a traffic stop when he […]

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Hit and Run offense in Los Angeles and your Driver’s License

March 14, 2013

Here I explain whether a conviction for what is commonly known as Hit and Run offense will cause the DMV to suspend driver’s license. The answer will greatly depend on whether the hit and run involved an injury to any person.  In the event, there was no injury (which is commonly would be charged as a violation of Vehicle Code Section 20002),  the suspension is not mandatory.  Once the conviction shows up at the DMV, the DMV can, but is not required to suspend driver’s license.  The relevant law is found in California Vehicle Code Section 13361, which states: “The department may suspend the privilege of any person to operate a motor vehicle upon receipt of a duly certified abstract of the record […]

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Driving with 0.01 percent blood alcohol content or higher in blood while on DUI Probation

February 28, 2013

This post applies to offenses in Los Angeles County (as well as other AB 91 counties, to wit, Contra Costa, Alameda, Tulare). As often the case, a person placed on a DUI probation is ordered not to have any measurable amount of alcohol in his blood while driving.  Having even a 0.01 percent of alcohol in one’s blood can potentially create two problems.  First, it is a ground for a probation violation where the court can impose any jail time up to the maximum for the substantive case.  Secondly, if the citing officer notifies the DMV, the DMV can suspend driver’s license under administrative 0.01 procedure. The consequences for a 0.01% administrative finding is one year of license suspension without […]

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DREAM Act and DUI (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program)

October 13, 2012

If you have a open DUI case in Los Angeles and can qualify for this program, here is some information to consider before pleading guilty to a DUI in Los Angeles. As you might know, under recent President Obama’s executive order, USCIS permits young undocumented immigrants to apply for a “deferred action”, a possible path to a U.S. Citizenship.  Under this federal program, an applicant’s deportation (if he is in one) will be stopped and he will receive a work permit.  To qualify for deferred action, applicant must meet the following requirements: Must be under 31 as of June 15, 2012; Must be in the United States before turning 16; Must continuously reside in the United States since June 15, […]

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Evidence 101 – DMV records usage by the prosecution.

May 7, 2012

Here I would like to discuss evendentiary issue that Los Angeles Drunk Driving Attorneys often face at trials. A Los Angeles DUI prior or any other prior DUI is often proven by the prosecution using certified paper records from the previous conviction or convictions. Additionally, when relevant, DMV printouts with a driving record is used by the prosecution to show not only the previous convictions, but also the service of suspensions, i.e., that the person knew of the suspension. This is an aggravating factor and sometimes a separate charge in DUI prosecutions. However, a misdemeanor conviction or a DMV printout are hearsay and therefore inadmissible unless they fall within an exception to the hearsay rule. Experienced DUI lawyer in Los […]

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DUI: Vehicle Control v. Vehicle Moving

March 21, 2012

Occasionally, overzealous police officers arrest persons who were not driving a vehicle, but instead were in control of a vehicle. You will need the help of a Los Angeles DWI lawyers to address legality of such arrest and prosecution. The issue of driver just seated in the vehicle while the vehicle is stopped is not addressed in this article. Instead, I am addressing the issue of a moving vehicle where the arrested person was not driving it. I am familiar with two cases from the California Court of Appeals discussing control v. driving of the vehicles. If your case involves issues of control v. driving you will need to contact DUI Lawer in Los Angeles within 10 days of arrest […]

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