Crime Law: Jury found Client Not Guilty of DUI with two prior DUI convictions!

Jury found Client Not Guilty of DUI with two prior DUI convictions!After a three day jury trial, my client was found NOT GUILTY of DUI and driving with blood alcohol concentration over .08.  There were special allegations of two prior DUI convictions.  If found guilty, he could have been subject to 120 days minimum jail and indefinite loss of his driving privileges.The arresting officer testified along with two California Department of Justice experts for the prosecution.  Blood alcohol evidence was presented that my client’s BAC was .10, 45 minutes after arrest.A single defense expert and witness testified for the defense.  Evidence of a Rising Blood Alcohol was presented. Additionally, the court excluded the evidence of a preliminary alcohol test taken in the field because the peace officer failed to inform my client of his right to refuse the test.The jury reached its verdict in just over one hour of deliberations.

Source: Crime Law: Jury found Client Not Guilty of DUI with two prior DUI convictions!

I Am Innocent! Why Should I Hire A Criminal Attorney?

I Am Innocent! Why Should I Hire A Criminal Attorney?

‍If you are taking prescription drugs, please be aware that you can be charged and convicted of a DUI – and you can even face jail and a suspended license.

If you are using any prescription that causes drowsiness or dizziness, please do NOT drive because you can be charged with a DUI even if you have small amounts of narcotics in your system.

There are even more complications when you drink alcohol while you are taking medication. It is impossible to know what effects the alcohol and medication will have in your system and the consequences of driving after consuming alcohol with medication can turn deadly and you can be charged with a felony DUI if you injure or kill someone as a result of your driving.

Have you been arrested or charged with a crime? If so, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

But I am Innocent! Won’t the Courts Straighten it Out?

If you are innocent of the charges you are being accused of, you need to have legal representation that will advocate effectively on your behalf.

Innocent people are arrested and convicted all the time, so in order for you to ensure you are not convicted of a crime you did not do, contact an attorney that handles criminal, DUI and traffic offenses.

Can I Represent Myself In Court?

The Sixth Amendment gives the right to represent oneself, but that does not mean you should do it. 

For a defendant to represent himself, there must be a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver, giving up the right to an attorney.  A defendant must make the request, but the judge is not required to grant the request.

When a defendant chooses self-representation, the court will require a hearing in order to evaluate a person’s competency where the trial judge will ask legal questions to evaluate whether the defendant is competent. The test the judge uses is whether the defendant is intelligently waiving the right to counsel.  Even if the judge finds the defendant competent, the court may appoint a standby counsel to assist.

If the defendant exercises his right to self-representation, the defendant cannot later complain that the quality of his defense denied him effective assistance of counsel.

Do I have a Right to a Lawyer?

A defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches when the government initiates adversarial criminal proceedings.  Arraignments are the first of many criminal proceedings and thus, the assistance of counsel clause is guaranteed by all defendants in misdemeanor and felony cases.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to have an attorney represent him.  If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, one must be appointed at the state’s expense.  The attorney must give effective assistance, and the representation must be conflict free.

Do I Get a Pick My Own Lawyer?

Most people do not know that if you retain your own attorney, you have a right to choose the attorney.  By hiring an attorney that best suits your needs, you will obtain a DUI or criminal lawyer that has experience, knowledge of the law, and will provide you with proactive strategies to obtain the best possible results.

What If There is a Conflict of Interest?

Defendants must also receive conflict free representation.  Lawyers have conflict of interests when one client has an interest adverse to those of the other client.  The most common example is simultaneous representation.  An attorney may not concurrently represent multiple defendants (co-defendants) in a criminal case.

Likewise, an attorney cannot represent a new client when there was previous representation of a witness, victim, or other co-defendants. Lawyers owe a duty of loyalty to their clients and forcing an attorney to jointly represent forces the lawyer to choose between the clients.  When there is a conflict of interest, the judge must appoint new counsel that is free from the conflict.

How Do I Know If I Need a Lawyer?

If you do not know if you need legal counsel, the best way to find out is contacting an honest and reputable criminal defense law firm. By contacting an experienced lawyer immediately can help you, especially when you are innocent of the charges against you.

http://www.fresnodefenders.com/blog/hire-criminal-attorney

Man Who Looks Like Jesus Arrested For 5th OWI

Kyle Gindorff, age 31, of Lake Geneva, performed poorly on standardized field sobriety tests and refused a preliminary breath test.

Man Who Looks Like Jesus Arrested For 5th OWI

MILWAUKEE, WI — Tuesday morning, at about 3:50 a.m., deputies responded to a call of a driver slumped over the wheel of his car on the I-43 westbound S. 76th Street off-ramp.

According to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office, Kyle Gindorff, age 31, of Lake Geneva, performed poorly on standardized field sobriety tests and refused a preliminary breath test. He was arrested for Driving Under the Influence-5th offense. Gindorff has a pending DUI-5th offense from May of this year, and if convicted on that prior charge, this arrest will become a DUI-6th offense.

Gindorff’s driver’s license was in revoked status, and he had an open beer in the center console. In addition to the felony DUI-5th and DUI-5th party to a crime charges, he faces felony Bail Jumping, misdemeanor Operating While Revoked, and traffic citations for Parking/Standing where Prohibited and Keep Open Intoxicants in Motor Vehicle.

If convicted of all charges, Gindorff faces potential imprisonment of up to 26 years.

Source: Man Who Looks Like Jesus Arrested For 5th OWI – Greenfield, WI Patch

Alcohol & Marijuana DUI Law for Commercial Driver’s Licenses –

When it comes to driving under the influence, the rules for Alcohol-related DUI’s and marijuana DUI’s are far more stringent for drivers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) than drivers using a standard license.The legal blood alcohol limit established for drivers over 21 is 0.08. With a CDL, that legal limit is slashed in half to 0.04. The stricter guidelines are the result of several variables including the massive size/weight of most commercial vehicles as well as the presence of hazardous materials.The marijuana DUI laws are also less lenient. Any CDL driver found with even the smallest trace of THC in his/her system are looking at an automatic DUI charge.Find out more about CDL DUI law by watching the video above. Be sure to check out my older blog posts for informative videos about marijuana DUI law, and Busting the Legal Limit Myth.

Source: Alcohol & Marijuana DUI Law for Commercial Driver’s Licenses –

WA State legislator proposes bill that would make fourth offense DUI a felony

Now that the 2015 Washington State legislative session is under way.  The annual what can we do to make DUI laws tougher here in Washington State has begin.  The latest example is a proposed bill that would make a fourth offense DUI a felony.  Currently under Washington law a felony DUI law charge applies if a driver has been convicted of a DUI four times within the past decade, essentially making a fifth offense DUI a felony.  This legislation was proposed last year, and the year before, and the year before it seems.  And it always comes back to the same thing.  Money.  Like all things it always comes back to money.  Regardless of how you feel about DUIs, and by now means do I condone drinking and driving.  But the cost of new legislation and implementing the laws means more in some cases than the idea.  Would making a fourth offense DUI a felony be a good idea.  Of course it would.  Despite being a DUI Attorney in Seattle, if a driver doesn’t learn their lesson by the third time then chances are nothing is going to help them.  At least that is my opinion.  Perhaps facing a lengthier jail sentence would cause a multiple repeat DUI offender to reconsider their choices.  The problem with this legislation is how will the bill be implemented financially.  It is not as simple as saying okay your fourth DUI is now a felony.  There are costs that need to be factored.  Probation, jail, and monitoring fees are just a few off the top of my head.  If you’re interested in an article about this new legislation here you go.  I would be surprised if this bill passed.  Again not because it is not a good idea, but we still don’t have any money here in Washington State.

Source: Seattle DUI Attorney – Leyba Defense PLLC: WA State legislator proposes bill that would make fourth offense DUI a felony

Want 30 Days Jail Credit ? Get a Vasectomy.

Nashville’s News Chanel Five reported yesterday of one Tennessee judge’s unusual method to reduce one’s jail sentence. White County Tennessee General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield entered a standing court order granting 30 days of jail credit to those serving jail sentences. The catch to getting the jail credit is to agree to have a vasectomy or the have a birth control device implanted.It strikes me as an extreme abuse of judicial power. Judges in Tennessee determine the jail sentence if no plea bargain is entered into. The court holds the keys to the jail cell once a sentence is imposed. It puts the court in an unfair bargaining position. Everybody in jail wants out of jail. To force one to have themselves robbed of their ability to reproduce is a practice that should not be tolerated. To his credit, the local District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway agrees. Here is his statement from the report. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway, who oversees prosecution of cases in White County is worried the program may be unethical and possibly illegal.“It’s concerning to me, my office doesn’t support this order,” Dunaway said.“It’s comprehensible that an 18-year-old gets this done, it can’t get reversed and then that impacts the rest of their life,” he added.The American Civil Liberties Union also took a position.”Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional. Such a choice violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity by interfering with the intimate decision of whether and when to have a child, imposing an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it. Judges play an important role in our community – overseeing individuals’ childbearing capacity should not be part of that role.”In Davidson County Tennessee, it is common to work out a probation violation case on the condition that the defendant will enter a drug or alcohol program and be released upon the condition that they complete the program. This is completely different than court sanctioned sterilization. While the court’s actions may be well intended, it is simply wrong. No Tennessee law sanctions this type of conduct by the courts to reduce jail time.I suggest we watch this story and see how it develops.

Source: Want 30 Days Jail Credit ? Get a Vasectomy. : Nashville Criminal Law Report

What is a Lesser Included Offense, and Why is it Important?

Lesser included offense laws can play a significant role for the defense in a Texas criminal case. However, they can also be used by the prosecuting attorney to secure an advantage at trial. If you’ve been charged with a crime, the key to success with lesser included offenses is proper strategy, which requires an in-depth, meticulous understanding of how the law works. An experienced Collin County lawyer can tell you more about the application of these laws to your unique situation, but it’s helpful to review the basics and recognize the potential advantages.Lesser Included Offense Under Texas LawAccording to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a lesser included offense is one that:Can be proved by the same facts, or less than all of the same facts, that would prove the crime actually charged by the prosecution;Is only different from the crime charged, in that it involves a less serious injury or risk of injury to the person, property, or public interest;Is different from the crime charged, in that it involves a less blameworthy mental state of mind; OR,Bears the characteristics of an attempt to commit the crime charged or an otherwise included crime.EXAMPLEA common scenario used to describe the concept of lesser included offenses is the crime of strangulation, which falls under Assaultive Offenses in the Texas Penal Code. Assault is knowingly causing or threatening to cause bodily injury to another person, and it’s a Class A Misdemeanor.Choking someone is a type of assault; however, there’s the added element that it involves stopping the airflow of another person. The assault crime of strangulation is elevated to a Third-Degree Felony.Based upon this example, assault would be a lesser included offense to strangulation. It can be proved by less than all of the same facts because, for assault, it’s not necessary to establish that the defendant stopped the airflow of another person.Implications of a Lesser Included Offense at TrialThe Texas statute on lesser included offenses can be part of an effective strategy in defending your rights in a criminal case. Ultimately, your goal is to get the option of a lesser included offense before the jury when they go to deliberate.Not a Separate Charge: When a lesser included offense is an option in your case, it will not come as a separate charge. Only a judge can order the jury to consider whether to convict you for a crime that’s not part of the official charges against you, and he or she would do so through jury instructions.How Jury Instructions Work in Texas: When the prosecutor has presented the evidence against you and you have presented all facts and arguments for your defense, the jury will deliberate about the case. However, they receive instructions from the judge before heading off to discuss your guilt or innocence, such as the essential elements of the crime.Prosecuting and defense attorneys submit their requests for jury instructions; if they’re approved by the judge, the jury is required to adhere to them when making a decision.Getting the Lesser Included Offense Before the Jury: A specific instruction on a lesser included offense is necessary to ensure the jury considers this as an option; otherwise, the jury will only consider the crime that’s described in the official charges.In general, a defendant has the right to a jury instruction on lesser included offenses if the evidence would allow the jury to reasonably find him or her guilty of the lesser offense – but NOT guilty of the greater offense.Texas courts have held that anything more than a “scintilla” of evidence may be sufficient to include a jury instruction on lesser included offenses. There may be grounds for appeal if a judge declines to include the instruction, because the refusal to allow the jury to consider a lesser offense harms the defendant’s case.

Source: What is a Lesser Included Offense, and Why is it Important? | Rosenthal & Wadas

Beyond Alcohol: How Other Drugs Affect Driver Performance

Most people are fairly familiar with the effects that drinking alcohol can have on their driving performance. Alcohol loosens inhibitions, so people are apt to take more risks even as their reaction times are slowed, and they can become more easily distracted and unable to concentrate on driving. Alcohol can also impact a driver’s sense of direction and their ability to judge situations on the road and make good decisions.drug-dui-los-angeles-defense-attorney

Other types of drugs have similar, although not identical effects. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers found that the number of drivers with alcohol in their system had declined by nearly one-third since 2007. But there wasn’t much cause for celebration; the survey also found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs. Nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect their safety on the road, according to the NHTSA.

Here’s a look at how several other types of drugs can impact drivers’ performance.

Marijuana

Whether you call it pot, cannabis, Mary Jane or something else, marijuana can have a suprisingly profound impact on driving skills. This has become more of a concern since seven states and the District of Columbia of Columbia have now legalized the recreational use of pot, many other states have decriminalized possession of small amounts of it and other states are allowing its use for medical reasons.

One of the problems in determining the effects of marijuana is that it can be smoked or eaten in food, which can affect the way that the body reacts to it. The amount of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) in products also varies. In addition, there are no good tests to determine how much THC is actively influencing a driver, since the chemical remains in the bloodstream for durations that are hard to predict through simple tests. For instance, the half life of the drug and its metabolites depends sensitively on things like your weight, your genetics, your metabolism, etc.

In general terms, however, it’s clear that marijuana can have a detrimental effect on driving. A study at the University of Iowa, funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, looked at the impacts that inhaled marijuana had on driving. (Researchers used a driving simulator). As the levels of THC in their bloodstreams increased, the study participants showed increased weaving within a lane of traffic. (They did not, however, leave the lanes or speed while weaving as often as those participants who consumed alcohol did.) The researchers also found that those who consumed both alcohol and marijuana did worse than drivers who had consumed only one of the substances.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study, “Acute use [of marijuana] has been shown to moderately diminish virtually every driving‐related capacity, generally in a non‐linear dose‐response fashion: psychomotor functions, cognition, attention, vigilance, tracking, reaction time and coordination.” Marijuana use is “generally regarded to affect automated/routine driving more than that requiring conscious effort. Effects depend on dose, absorption, time since peak blood level, history of use, and skill/tasks.”

Cocaine

Like marijuana, cocaine can have physical effects on drivers that include heightened nervousness and greater alertness but poorer concentration. Unlike pot smokers, however, cocaine users are more likely to exhibit reckless driving behaviors and/or reduced driving ability, according to a 2008 article in the Traffic Injury Prevention Journal.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) website notes that the observed signs of cocaine impairment in driving performance have included subjects speeding, losing control of their vehicle, causing collisions, turning in front of other vehicles, high-risk behavior, inattentive driving, and poor impulse control. It further states that as the effects of cocaine wear off, subjects may suffer from fatigue, depression, sleepiness, and inattention, which can all impact driving.

ADHD Medications

Not all drugs have a negative impact on driving. Medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, such as Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta, can actually improve driving skills.

In 2007, the Journal of Safety Research published a scientific literature review that looked at the effect that medications for controlling ADHD could have on driving competence. The authors’ review demonstrated that there were “well-documented driving risks and impairments associated with ADHD” and that there were “positive effects of stimulant medications on driving performance.”

They concluded that “Clinicians should educate patients/caregivers about the increased risk of adverse outcomes among untreated individuals with ADHD and the role of medication in potentially improving driving performance.”

CHADD (the national resource on ADHD) agrees. It points out on its website that drivers with untreated ADHD (especially young drivers) are at greater risk for vehicle accidents and are more likely to receive traffic tickets for speeding, failure to obey traffic laws and reckless driving. “In a striking comparison, the untreated symptoms of ADHD in a teen driver can impair the driver’s ability so much that it resembles intoxicated driving.”

The website also states that “Research shows that teens who are treated for ADHD are better drivers than teens receiving no treatment. Teenagers who have never been treated with stimulant medication are involved in more vehicle crashes than those who had medication treatment for at least three years.”

Benzodiazepines (Benzos)

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs used to treat disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression and insomnia. Common “benzos” include Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam).

Benzos can be very helpful in treating people with anxiety and most people can use them safely. But according to established research, users can suffer a battery of side effects that include drowsiness and a hangover-like-state that affects driving ability.
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Many people worry about the effects that marijuana legalization will have on DUI. But the dangers of driving while under the influence of benzodiazepines may have been under reported. When the State of Alabama’s Department of Forensic Science conducted a review of traffic stops, they discovered that benzos were the second leading cause of impaired driving in the state. They found that Xanax was involved in 29 percent of DUI cases in the state, while marijuana was involved in only 23 percent of DUIs.

Tranquilizers

Drugs like Valium (diazepam), Halcyon (triazolam) and Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) are all examples of tranquilizers. They may have effects similar to alcohol on driving: they dull the senses and impair decision-making ability.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned about the dangers of driving while on tranquilizers. For example, the NHTSA notes that “diazepam is a moderate tranquilizer, causing sleepiness, drowsiness, confusion, and some loss of anterograde memory.” (Anterograde memory is the linked to the ability to remember new information.)

The NHTSA further warns that “At high doses, excitement, disinhibition, severe sedation, and effects on respiration occur, particularly if respiration is impaired by other drugs or by disease. Diazepam can produce a state of intoxication similar to that of alcohol, including slurred speech, disorientation, and drunken behavior.”

Oklahoma’s Emergency Medical Services Authority says that the use of tranquilizers can lead to a lack of coordination, altered perceptions and slower reaction time. Drivers on tranquilizers don’t track the road as well as sober drivers, struggle to maintain lane positon and frequently neglect roadside instruction.

Source: Beyond Alcohol: How Other Drugs Affect Driver Performance — Los Angeles DUI Attorney Blog — April 23, 2017

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

New Illinois Supreme Court Case – The HGN Test Is Not All It’s Been Touted to Be:The Supreme Court of Illinois  in The People of the State of Illinois v. Joanne Mckown last week issued an opinion regarding the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) field sobriety test and made some remarkable findings. First, the Court held that the HGN test can not be used to show actual loss of the normal use of mental or physical faculties, but instead, can only be used to show that a “defendant may have consumed alcohol and may, as a result, be impaired.”  There is no more of this, “they failed the HGN so they are therefore intoxicated” arguments.Second, the Court held that just because a scientific test is regularly relied upon in law enforcement does not make it admissible in court.  The test is whether the particular test is relied upon in the scientific community, not the law enforcement community. Third, just because a test meets the standards for admissibility under Frye, that does not preclude the trial court from conducting a balancing test  and deem the evidence “inadmissible on grounds of undue prejudice.”Finally, the Court held that the test must strictly comply with the NHTSA standards for performing the test.  This means the cops aren’t going to be allowed to come in a testify, “I did it the way I was trained to do it.”  They are going to be held to the standard of the NHTSA.Here’s hoping the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will at least read this opinion.  Even more importantly, here’s hoping that the trial courts in Texas will read the case and understand that they truly are gatekeepers for the admission of evidence.

Source: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus : Houston DWI Law Blog

How long can police detain me for a traffic stop?

Consider a hypothetical: a police officer stops you for a minor traffic violation or suspicion of an Oklahoma DUI charge. He goes through the usual routine of checking your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, and they all check out. He writes you a warning about the traffic infraction. You think that the encounter is over, and want to get on your way. But for some reason, the officer does not seem to want to let the matter rest. Next he asks you for permission to walk a drug sniffer dog around your vehicle. You refuse to give permission, and the officer refuses to let you leave. Backup arrives. The officer does the dog pass around your car anyway, and the dog alerts to the presence of an illegal drug. You are arrested on charges for drug possession.You ask yourself: was it reasonable for the officer to continue the traffic stop once he issued the warning? How long is too long to conduct a routine traffic stop?Interestingly, earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court examined this very issue, and its conclusion may make a significant difference in how police perform traffic stops in Oklahoma and other states.The above hypothetical is not just a thought experiment. It really happened to a driver in another state. The driver argued that prolonging the traffic stop without any basis in reasonable suspicion violated his constitutional rights and that accordingly the drug evidence should be suppressed. The prosecution countered that the added time – seven to eight minutes – represented only a “de minimis” intrusion on the driver’s personal liberty and was therefore acceptable. The trial court sided with the prosecution, as did the Court of Appeals. For its part, however, the US Supreme Court disagreed. In an opinion that found support from both its conservative and liberal Justices, it ruled that unless reasonable suspicion exists for the officer to do a drug search, including a dog sniff, he or she cannot extend a traffic stop to search for drugs in your car. The officer can stop you long enough to complete the “mission” of the traffic stop – for example, to issue you a ticket or warning for the original reason for stopping you – but then must let you go without prolonging the stop in the hope that a dog sniff of your vehicle might turn up something. The Court also disagreed with the prosecution’s argument that if the officer conducting the traffic stop does it “expeditiously” that should somehow grant additional time for a drug search.  In short, performing a dog sniff test is beyond the scope of the mission of a vehicle stop based on a traffic violation, meaning that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution cannot countenance absent grounds for reasonable suspicion for a search. If you are held longer than you believe is reasonable for a traffic stop, and police use that extra time to do a drug search of your vehicle, you should inform your defense attorney of this – it might make the difference between being convicted of an offense or not.

Source: Oklahoma DUI