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Auburn California Criminal Defense Blog

How to handle being pulled over after drinking

All California residents understand that they shouldn't drink and drive. However, that doesn't mean it never happens. If a person has been drinking and is pulled over for whatever reason, they'll need to know how to handle the situation properly.

As stated by Forbes, a person can still exercise their Fifth Amendment rights when being pulled over on the side of the road. They will likely not be reminded of these rights because they aren't being arrested, but they are still in effect. This is because incriminating evidence that a person says can be used against them in court later. Answering questions about the amount of alcohol that has been consumed or how drunk a person feels is considered potentially incriminating and thus doesn't have to be responded to. While a driver must provide information like proof of insurance, registration, and license, they do not have to answer any questions.

How do ignition interlock devices work?

As a resident in California who has been convicted of a DUI, it's possible that you may have to deal with an ignition interlock device. Many people including yourself may know the basics of these devices, or at least what their main purpose is, but what are the finer details? Just how do they work?

LifeSafer lists out several different features that ignition interlock devices may have. There's the most basic feature, which is the "initial test". This is the test most people are familiar with, in which you have to breathe into the device before you're able to start the car. The device won't allow the engine to engage if it detects any alcohol on your breath. The duration of being locked out of your car can last minutes initially, and lengthen during subsequent failures. Data is also collected and sent to the Department of Motorized Vehicles and the court that you went to. Be mindful of the fact that all test failures will be recorded.

Is sex addiction to blame in sex crimes?

With the inexplicable self-destructive acts of Anthony Weiner, which have culminated now his 21-month prison sentence for sexting, sex addiction certainly seems to be a plausible explanation. But the short answer to the question about whether sex addiction can take some or all of the blame for sex crimes is “maybe but probably not,” according to current standards.

Sex addiction and addiction to pornography, have been given as explanations for the inability of some criminals to control their behavior. According to Psychology Today, notwithstanding uncertainty around sex addiction, defendants’ claims of sex and pornography addiction have been offered in criminal defense cases as ways to explain how their criminal acts become possible for them. In the case of Jared Fogle, a TV personality, who was charged with possession of child pornography and other sex crimes, presented evidence in his defense that his hypersexuality explained, in part, his child sex crimes. Other notorious criminals have claimed that addiction to sex and pornography caused them to lose control of their minds and their lives, and led them to commit their crimes.

Yes, a DUI may signal problems for your college career

You put in your applications, which these days often include a list of your accolades up until this point in your life, an essay and anything else that gives you an edge over the competition. You feel good about the packets you put together.

Before you send out your applications, you spend some time out with friends and have a few drinks. On your way home, you see the flashing lights of a police car in your rear view mirror. When the officer tells you that you are above the legal limit, one of your first 10 thoughts may be whether a DUI will affect your chances for college admission.

How can DUI affect serious driving offenses?

California drivers have a lot to lose if they get slapped with a conviction for a serious driving offense. At Leupp & Woodall, we provide the information you need to determine just how much of a threat these convictions can be to your ability to live a normal life.

Felony DUI is a top serious driving offense in California. Felony DUIs usually involve either severe injury to another person, or death. Vehicular manslaughter is a serious offense regardless of whether or not you were drinking at the time, but an additional DUI charge can compound the sentence and make the penalties you could face even harsher.

Studies disagree on Uber's effect against drunk driving

When California drivers go out for a night on the town, many use Uber or Lyft to keep themselves from driving drunk. However, numerous studies disagree about whether or not ride-sharing services can take credit for lowering drunk driving rates.

As the New York Times explains, a study of four New York boroughs found that there were 25 to 35 percent fewer alcohol-related accidents since 2011, when Uber came to town, compared to areas that do not have ride-sharing available. The independent study means that there were about 40 fewer collisions caused by drunk driving, which adds up. However, other studies have had less stunning results. Some scientists warn against making broad assumptions based on correlations in one study, which is a striking difference between a 2015 study commisioned by Uber and several independent studies, regardless of their results.

What is a search and seizure?

As a California resident who has been charged with possession of illegal substances, you should know everything possible about your rights, and about the legal process for a search and seizure.

According to The Free Dictionary, a search and seizure is legally defined as a situation in which law enforcement agents or officers hunt for "property or communications" that they have reason to believe has been involved in a crime. The procuring and taking of these items is the "seizure" part of the search and seizure. In this particular case, the item or items that are being searched for are usually the drugs themselves, drug-related paraphernalia, or communications that suggest drug dealing has been done.

Differences between vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide

California residents who have been in a lethal car accident may be facing numerous severe charges. Vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter could be among those charges, so it may be important to know the difference between the two.

As stated by the Free Dictionary, vehicular manslaughter is defined as an act in which a driver's negligent actions causes the death of another person, whether they're  a passenger or in the car as well. Examples of negligent actions include speeding, aggressive driving, or driving while under the influence. These charges can either fall under felony or misdemeanor categories, with driving under the influence almost always netting the person charged with a felony. Speeding or gross negligence, on the other hand, may be charged as a misdemeanor.

Guess what? Breathalyzer results aren't always accurate.

If you were to take a test that could significantly impact the rest of your life, you'd no doubt want the test results to be accurate, right? If someone were to tell you that the results of a particular test could cost you your freedom, your desire to make certain test results were true would likely increase even more. Is it really possible to go to jail based on results from a test that may not have been administered properly or was defective in some way? The answer is yes.

Let's say police pulled you over because your car allegedly veered a tiny bit over the yellow line. Although your initial thought might be that it's really not that big of a deal, and the officer will likely issue a warning then tell you that you're free to go, it may not play out that way if the officer suspects you've been drinking alcohol. In situations like this, it's not uncommon for a law enforcement officer to request that you take a Breathalyzer test. It's crucial to remember that if you refuse, you may be subject to administrative penalties, and if you do take the test, the test results may be faulty.

How can California prevent drunk driving?

Although few would say that California goes easy on drunk drivers, some groups are pushing for even stricter punishments. As LA Weekly reports, California ranked in the top ten for severe consequences for drunk drivers when it comes to raising insurance premiums, license suspension and jail time after a conviction. But with new reports saying that a third of all traffic deaths are due to drunk driving, the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving is fighting for even harsher penalties.

The group, which rates states based on the strictness of their drunk driving laws, only gives California 3.5 out of five available stars. MADD would like to see Golden State legislators enact harsher penalties that include longer suspension of drivers' licenses and also conduct more sobriety checkpoints across the state. The group says that improvements could also be made in the areas of prevention and recidivism among drunk drivers. They would also like it to be a felony when drivers are intoxicated while driving minors. Arizona was at the top of the list of "Strictest States," and South Dakota is considered the most lenient state for those convicted of a DUI.