California law enforcement, looking for potential drunk drivers, can have their job made easier by how the driver uses his or her driving skills. Detecting a potentia drunk driver at night is evidenced by some of the following driver mistakes:
The above mistakes don't mean a driver is intoxicated, but they do ensure a road side stop by law enforcement.
In order to obtain a conviction for DUI in California, you must have sufficient control over your vehicle, i.e., driving. You do not have to be driving a vehicle at the time you are confronted by law enforcement.
One possibility for "sufficient control" is being seated in the driver's side with the engine running. You could also be charged if the engine is running, and you are seated in the passenger side. If you are in a vehicle on the side of the road, and unconscious, you coud be charged with DUI.
An informant could have contacted the law enforcement and notified them of a possible DUI. You could have just parked in your driveway, and exited your vehicle when you are stopped by law enforcement.
The possibilities are endless, however there must still be evidence showing that you were driving. Sometimes this is simply a normal stop on the road. Other times, a prosecutor needs to be more inventive. A good DUI attorney will make sure that the prosecutor meet their burden with corroborating evidence.
You've been arrested by the California law enforcement for DUI. They've taken your California driver's license, and handed you a piece of paper. You have 30 days to drive before your privileges are suspended. What do you do then?
A temporary restricted license authorizes drivers to drive a car for limited reasons. These reasons usually involve driving to and from the work place. They can also be other places, if allowed by the DMV, such as school, substance abuse treatment programs, or doctor appointments for a dependent person or self.
To be eligible for a temporary restricted license, you must not have any other nonDUI related suspension of your license. Your "hard suspension" of 30 days must have elapsed. You must have auto insurance (including SR22 reporting).
It's a hassle to obtain a temporary restricted license, but necessary if one needs their vehicle. The consequences of driving while your license is suspended for DUI are far worse.
The California State Assembly is considering a new bill, AB2784, which would force California judges to impose a sentencing requirement given hard-core offenders: ignition interlocks.
Ignition interlocks are breathalyzers placed in the vehicle that measure a driver's blood alcohol concentration. If a breath sample registers above a pre-set level, the engine will not start. These devices were originally developed for chronic drunk drivers with high alcohol levels.
Proponents of the bill claim the measure will fight the drunk-driving problem by keeping dangerous drivers off the road. However, mandating interlocks for first offenders doesn't focus on those dangerous criminals.
Other states are lobbying for mandatory interlocks in every car in the state. Indeed, some car manufacturers are developing new interlock technology that could be manufactured as standard equipment. The federal government has approved a $10 million grant to promote development of this technology.As the popularity of punishing DUI offenders grows, the California Assembly is simply following the rest of the country. In doing so, the rights of every driver are at risk.
Once a California law enforcement officer determines that you are under the influence, and arrests you for DUI, disposition of your vehicle becomes an issue. The officer has the option of impounding your vehicle. On a first DUI, impoundment is not likely. The officer will usually immobilize the vehicle or tow the vehicle temporarily depending on where the stop is.
A second or subsequent DUI puts the vehicle at risk of impoundment. A court can ordered impoundment, but can also make exceptions. Obviously, if you don't own the vehicle, the Court cannot order impoundment. In some situations, you can be allowed to drive an impounded vehicle if the court orders it, your driving privileges are not suspended, and an ignition interlock device is installed.
To save your vehicle, and to avoid loss of the vehicle, it is wise to consult with a DUI attorney.
Summertime is here, and more and more people are heading to the waters of California. Take your friends out on your boat, and bring along alcohol. Before you do this, you should be aware that in California, Boating DUIs carry penalties similar to those for automobile DUI, including possible jail time, fines, a boating safety program, and driver's license suspension.
In addition, a boating DUI is counted as prior DUI in the future. In other words, if you have a prior DUI, it can be used to enhance punishment in a second DUI.
To assist a police patrol boat in stopping your vessel, such actions as turning your craft too fast, or turning it aggressively, losing control of your vessel, having violations in your vehicle equipment, speeding, not using safety equipment, and other law violations, will ensure a stop.
The same DUI defenses that a San Francisco DUI attorney would use in an automobile DUI can be employed: the field sobriety tests, the chemical test results, and who was actually driving the vessel, among other things.
While drinking in a boat is legal, driving impaired is not. If you are stopped for a boating DUI, treat it just like a regular automobile DUI, and find a San Francisco DUI attorney to assist you. Enjoy the summer, and be safe.
You've been found guilty of, or plead guilty to, a DUI. The judge has sentenced you to do at least two days in jail. However, "jail" can mean many things, if the judge allows it, in San Francisco.
The most common sentencing alternative is the Sheriff's Work Program. You can schedule it at your convenience. It involves somewht physical work, such as cleaning up streets and sidewalks in San Francisco, or on the highway. You check in in the morning, and go home at night.
Another possibility is community service. If you have physical limitations or injuries, you can do work in an approved community service program. This involves little or no physical labor, and could also be used to pay some of the DUI fines.
Electronic monitoring is used for sentences that are significantly longer than two days. They allow some flexibility, and freedom. You can go to work, do your counseling program, and basic living chores, with some limits.
Work furlough is also available for longer sentences, and allows you to go to work each day, and then go to jail to sleep. The main advantage to this program is that you get to keep your job and earn money. However, you pay for the work furlough program.
Overall, there are alternatives to basic jail time. Contact a San Francisco DUI attorney to get the program that suits you best.
You've just been released from jail after a harrowing night. You've been stopped, subjected to field sobriety tests, humiliation, breath tests, and handcuffs. What do you do next?
The first thing you need to do is read that pink paper that the officer gave tp you. This is your temporary driver's license. On the back of this paper, in small print, are instructions on how to challenge your license suspension. You only have ten days to contest the suspension from the time of your arrest. If you don't do anything, your license will automatically be suspended!
In California, the DMV suspension hearing is different from the court date you were also given when you were released. That date, which is your arraignment, will allow you to get a copy of the charges against you, and the police report.
A wise thing to do is hire an experienced San Francisco DUI attorney immediately. Let that attorney handle all the deadlines. An experienced San Francisco DUI attorney knows the labryinth of time requirements and forms that need to be done. But don't delay. You only have ten days.
In evaluating a possible resolution of a DUI charge, a qualified San Francisco DUI attorney will see whether a reduction of the DUI charge to a wet reckess is possible. A wet reckless is an inside term for an alcohol related reckless driving charge. It is no different from a DUI charge in that it can be used in future DUI charges to increase the penalities for ten years. Insurance companies will treat a wet reckless as a DUI for rate considerations.
The benefits of a wet reckless are considerable. There is no mandatory license suspension. There may be no Offender's Program, or a shorter program (if available). Also, there are benefits to certain offenders who have licenses in the state that could be impacted by a DUI conviction. Jail time may be reduced or nonexistent. Finally, the fines and fees imposed are generally half of what could be incurred with a DUI conviction.
Obviously, you should have a qualified San Francisco DUI attorney examine your case to determine if you qualify for this option. If you are looking at a DUI charge alleging priors, this option becomes even more important.
In looking at reducing or modifying a DUI charge for a possible plea short of trial, one option in California is what is known as a "Dry Reckless."
A dry reckless is essentially reckless driving not involving alcohol. A plea to this reduced charge will usually result in a fine and court probation, with a possibility of an alcohol education program. However, there are significant differences with this charge and a true DUI. It can't be used against you as a prior DUI in future charges to enchance penalties. In addition, your license can not be suspended, and no SR22 insurance is required. However, if you had a DMV hearing, and lost, then SR22 insurance would be required, and you would face an administrative suspension of your license.
A qualified San Francisco DUI attorney can discuss this option with you, among other alternatives to a straight DUI plea.
A DUI conviction in California carries with it penalties and consequences. For aliens, a conviction, or even just an arrest, has additional consequences.
One of the eligibility requirements for naturalization is that a person must be of "good moral character" for five years prior to submitting an application. Generally this means that an alien must show that he or she has not violated any laws or pursued conduct that was inappropriate.
This, of course, includes a DUI conviction. It may also include a DUI arrest which resulted a plea to a lesser included offense. An alien can not be on probation at the time a naturalization aplication is filed.
If an alien has the DUI conviction expunged, or erased, from his or her record, the conviction is still relevant for purposes of immigration. In other words, it must be revealed to the immigration agency.
A qualified DUI attorney competent in immigration can advise an alien as to the effect of a DUI conviction on a naturalization application, and the options that are available to the alien.
You have been charged with a DUI in California. You have a court date coming up. You were not driving at the time the office came up to you. How can you be charged with "driving" under th influence?
There are actually several ways this can happen. The most common way is that the officer was following you and observing your driving. You perhaps made some errors, swerving, driving too slow, no turn signals, or some other traffice violation. Perhaps there is a mechanical defect with your vehicle.
Another way to prove you were driving under the influence is if you were "called in" by another driver or pedestrian via cell phone. The officer will receive the tip, and then locate you. If you are still driving, he will follow you and make his own observations. If you have stopped, and the person who called you in is reliable or known, he will come up to your car and begin the process. At a trial, the person who called will have to be a witness in order to show probable cause for the officer to detain you and administer sobriety tests.
Finally, it comes down to location, location, location. Unless you can prove someone else was driving, your presence in the driver's seat with the car engine off on the side of the highway could be sufficient to prove you were driving.
There may be other ways to prove driving as well. It is the job of the District Attorney to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving. If it is an issue, don't handle it yourself. Contact a qualified California DUI attorney to tackle your case. If it can't be shown that you were driving, you can't be convicted of a DUI in California.
Before you get out on the roads in California, there are simple ways to avoid a DUI stop. The most common reasons for a California police officer to stop a vehicle are :
Being careful when you drive will significantly lower your chances of a DUI in California.
As a San Francisco DUI attorney, many clients inquire about how to avoid a DUI charge in the first place. I have discussed the "rules of the road" which give the San Francisco police officer or California Highway Patrol officer probable cause to stop your vehicle.
THere are other things you can do before you even go out for a few drinks, whether it's a road trip to San Jose, or a short trip to the Richmond District. Know your vehicle. If you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with your car, you are more likely to make mistakes. If you fit in this category, sit in the car before you leave. Take a moment to know where everything is before you start to drive. Simple things such as turn signal levers, emergency brake lights, headlights, high beams, windshield wipers and so on. Adjust the seat and steering wheel BEFORE you drive away.
If you normally drive a car with a clutch, acclimate yourself to an automatic transmission. Drive the vehicle for a while before you make your trip.
Another thing you should do is make sure everything works in the vehicle. All the lights are in good working order, the registration tags are current, and so on. Avoid being stopped simply because your tail light is out, or broken.
Taking the time to go over the car itself can make your evening more enjoyable, and avoids an arrest for a vehicle infraction while you're driving home in San Francisco. Don't make the officer's job easy.
As a San Francisco DUI lawyer, I have clients come into my office from all over the Bay Area with their DUI citation. Once I get the police report, I become frustrated by the statements made by the client to the police officer. The problem is that most people do not know that they have the right to refuse to answer questions that might incriminate them before they are arrested.
It is important to know that everything you say from the point you are approached y the officer until you are released from custody can, and most likely will, be in a subsequent police report, and it may be used against you at trial. You do not have to say anything to the officer other than your name and insurance information. Do not offer information such as "I only had three beers" or "I'm upset because my boyfriend broke up with me." Don't make jokes to the officer. Don't argue with the officer, or swear at the officer. You will later regret it.
While it is possible for a DUI attorney to get the statements thrown out, it is possibly that a judge may leave them intact. They will then be intact for a jury to hear.
So remember, be quiet, give out only essential information, and hope for the best.
After a night out with your family in the Mission District of San Francisco, where you had too much to drink at dinner, you are stopped by a San Francisco police officer. The embarassment of being arrested for DUI in front of your family is humiliating. You get released the next day, and figure all you need to worry about is the DUI charge, and trying to keep your license at the DMV hearing.
Wrong. As any San Francisco DUI attorney can tell you, there are potential enhancements and additional charges that can come out of that family night out. The most serious is a misdemeanor child endangerment charge. You were driving, under the influence, with your young chidren in the car with you. This can add jail time and fines to your DUI charge. It potentially could involve the child welfare department, depending on the circumstances, and the blood alcohol level.
Obviously a DUI, and a loss of license privileges, will create even more problems for your family. In addition, potential jail time, enhanced by the child endangerment charge, will cause havoc for you and your family. While a good DUI attorney can work to reduce the impact of the child endangerment charge, including dismissal of the charge, it is something to keep in mind when you go out with your family, and consume alcohol.
You are applying for a new job. You are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime. You remember back to that DUI you got when you were out on the town in the Richmond District in San Francisco three years ago. You have to admit that you have a DUI. Say good bye to that job. Even if the question isn't on the application form, your potential employer will run a criminal background check, and that DUI will be there.
What do you do? One option is to expunge your DUI record from your criminal history. If you have successfully completed probation, paid all your fines, committed no other crimes (other than traffic infraction tickets) you can petition the court to expunge or erase the conviction. When the Court grants your petition, you can mark "No" on an employment application asking for criminal conviction.
The expungement does not free you from future enhancements if you get another DUI, nor does it prevent you from admitting to a conviction that was expunged for certain California licenses and immigration applications. But it does allow you to lessen the burden of a prior conviction to let you get that job you want.
A qualified San Francisco DUI can explain the process of expungement and its benefits, and prepare your petition.
Harris County Texas Sheriff's Deputy Craig Miller was killed in an unfortunate motor vehicle collision on February 21, 2008.
Deputy Miller was on his way to relieve another Deputy conducting surveillance on a suspected criminal activity.
Jose Vieyra, driving a box truck, pulled out onto Katy Freeway in Houston, Texas, in front of Deputy Miller.
Deputy Miller did not attempt to brake as there were no skid marks in his lane; Miller passed away at the scene.
Vieyra was charged with criminally negligent homicide.
Now the Rest of the Story:
- Deputy Miller was not wearing his seat belt,
- Deputy Miller had a .27 blood-alcohol content,
- Vieyra had a valid driver's license at the time of the accident,
- Vieyra had no criminal record,
- Initially Sheriff's Dept. indicated that the .27 would not effect Vieyra's charge,
- Charges against Vieyra, in light of Deputy Miller's .27 bac,were dismissed,
- Vieyra may be deported as his papers had expired.
Harris County is known for its surveillance efforts:
Thanks to Harrisonburg DWI Lawyer Bob Keefer, www.BobKeeferLaw.com, for providing us with this information.
Sheriff Tommy Thomas has been accused of being racist due to some emails that were discovered.
You decide for yourself: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/feature?section=news/13_undercover&id=6231156
As you may remember from other blogs, the Harris County Texas Sheriff has been criticized and sued.
Thanks to Harrisonburg Virginia DWI Attorney Bob Keefer, www.BobKeeferLaw.com, for keeping me informed of this apparent abuse of police power.
Once you've been stopped by a San Francisco police officer for a possible DUI, the officer has already made a decision that he or she has probable cause to stop you. As you roll down your window to talk to the officer, and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, the likelihood that you can leave at that point is slim. And then you begin to speak.
The most damaging evidence in a DUI case are the statements you make to the officer. Admissions of drinking, the amount you've consumed, and other responses to questions the officer is asking you. A San Francisco DUI attorney is going to try to determine if these damning statements can be suppressed under Miranda.
In a situation where you have been "arrested" the officer must give you your Miranda advisals: telling you that you have the right to remain silent, seek advice of an attorney, that anything you say can be used against you. The question becomes "when" you've been arrested. In a DUI case, the officer most likely has determined you are under the influence based on errative driving, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, and other usual factors. Additional questions are asked in an effort to further allow you to incriminate yourself, and have the statements used against you in court. Without the advisals.
A qualified San Francisco DUI attorney will determine which statements are "spontaneous" and thus allowed into a trial, and those which are solicited after you are technically under arrest. Those statements can be suppressed because they were made without the Miranda advisal.
Beyond the obvious advice, which is to say nothing other than your name during an arrest, sometimes that advice goes out the window when you are in a panic, or are attempting to get out of a DUI at the road stop. It doesn't work. If you remain silent, there are no statements to suppress. If you talked too much, hire a DUI attorney to get those statements thrown out.