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Palm Desert DUI Law Blog

Man arrested on suspicion of DUI following Palm Desert accident

When a driver is charged with a DUI in California, the potential consequences can be overwhelming. With license suspension, fines, alcohol treatment programs and possible jail time, those convicted of DUIs can expect their lives to change drastically. Fortunately, a DUI charge does not necessarily guarantee a conviction.One Cathedral City man is potentially facing these consequences after being arrested on suspicion of DUI earlier this month. The man allegedly crashed his pickup truck into a medical transport van. According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, after rear-ending the van the truck bounced off a nearby light pole and turned over. While the two employees in the van were not injured, the man in the pickup was trapped in the wreckage. Firefighters managed to free him and take him to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. He was booked shortly afterwards at the Riverside County jail.In California, a DUI conviction requires mandatory alcohol education and treatment. A convicted driver will also lose his or her license upon arrest. For first time offenders, there will be a license suspension period of four months.

The court may also require the driver to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle. This device will prevent the car from starting if the driver’s breath contains more than a minimal amount of alcohol. A driver with multiple offenses could also lose his or her vehicle. With so many consequences, it is important to be prepared to aggressively defend oneself against the charges. Consulting an experienced DWI defense attorney can help ensure one’s rights are fully protected.

More Californians may face license suspension after DUI decision

One of the many potential consequences of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is the loss of your driver’s license. In the state of California, a driver who has had his or her license suspended as a result of a DUI arrest can request an administrative hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles to fight the suspension.With a recent case out of Orange County, the California Supreme Court just made it more difficult for drivers facing DUIs to hold on to their licenses. The Court ruled that the DMV may consider circumstantial evidence to show that a driver’s blood alcohol level was above the .08 legal limit. That means driver behavior and field sobriety test results can be used to build a case against a driver.The court warned that while DMV hearing officers are allowed to use this type of evidence, they should be reasonable and not use it to discredit expert testimony. However, many defense attorneys are concerned that hearing officers will use it to punish drivers statewide.Among those most affected are drivers with inconclusive blood-alcohol levels, and those with blood-alcohol levels close to the legal limit. This ruling will make it more difficult for them to prove that they were not impaired while driving. However, the ruling can also help drivers who were over the legal limit. These drivers can use other evidence to show that while they may have tested over the legal limit, they were still able to drive straight. In any case, this ruling will have a profound impact on DUI license suspensions in the future.

DUI checkpoints could result in DUI arrest

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 10,000 people were killed in accidents involving drivers who were under the influence of alcohol in 2012. In fact, drunk driving accidents cost more than $59 billion a year and lead to one death every 51 minutes. For that reason, many state officials are insistent on cutting down on impaired drivers on the California roadways.Officials take various measures to try to catch as many drunk drivers as possible. Officers may stop motorists if they have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so. Additionally, many law enforcement officers enforce the .08 Blood Alcohol Content limits by using sobriety checkpoints. While these are noble efforts, they often leave unsuspecting, and oftentimes innocent, drivers facing serious criminal allegations.

These checkpoints give officers a way to determine a driver’s level of impairment. California, along with many other states, set up these checkpoints during major drinking holidays, such as the Fourth of July. Even though drivers are stopped at random intervals (i.e. every tenth driver), sobriety checkpoints are still legal due to the fact that the state’s concern for public safety trumps concern for driver privacy.If a driver is arrested for a DUI as a result of one of these checkpoint stops, the arresting officer will take away their license immediately. If he is found guilty, the driver may face license suspension, alcohol treatment programs, fines and even jail time. However, there is a set protocol for running a DUI checkpoint. If the checkpoint is not conducted lawfully, a defendant may have a solid defense available to protect himself from these consequences.

New sobriety screening devices could lead to more DUIs

Over the past few years, law enforcement has been cracking down on driving under influence. Despite their efforts, drunk driving still causes a number of road fatalities each year. However, new technology may help cut down on drunk driving related deaths in California.In the past, interlock ignition devices have been used to prevent drivers with DUIs from starting their vehicles if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Many drivers with DUIs can only get their licenses reinstated if they agree to install the device in their vehicle. This doesn’t take care of the drivers who drive without a license just to avoid installing the device.The main issue is that, as of now, it is up to the police to catch drunk drivers. This means that a lot of drunk drivers are slipping through the cracks. Experts say that by the time a driver is stopped for a DUI, he may have already made about 80 trips under the influence.New sobriety screening systems are now in the works to make it easier to stop drunk drivers. The screening tool is still in development, but once it’s ready, it could be installed in every new vehicle on the market. The new devices are easier to use and far more reliable than the devices we have now. Over a fifteen year period, older vehicles without the devices will be coming off the roads, and new vehicles with the devices may start to take over. Researchers believe that the $400 per vehicle devices could eliminate nearly $343 billion in costs from drunk driving deaths and injuries. It is also believed that these new devices could help prevent 85 percent of alcohol-related road deaths.As these new devices start getting installed, law enforcement will have more time to focus on drunk drivers on the road. Facing drunk driving charges can be a difficult time in a person’s life and the potential consequences can be devastating. However, merely being arrested for a DUI does not guarantee a conviction. Many defenses are available to help drivers avoid serious penalties.

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Dale Gribow Attorney at Law
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Phone: 760-837-7500
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73-061 El Paseo, Suite 220