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Palm Desert DUI Law Blog

New grant provides money for DUI prosecution in Riverside County

We recently discussed the large number of arrests in the Riverside County area over Labor Day weekend. It looks like the number of DUI charges in Palm Desert won’t be slowing down anytime soon. The California Office of Traffic Safety just awarded a grant to the District Attorney’s office to assist the agency’s DUI Vertical Prosecution Unit.

The purpose of the Vertical Prosecution Unit was to go after drug-impaired drivers in an effort to reduce the number of drug impaired road fatalities and injuries. Former District Attorney Paul Zellerbach was responsible for activating the Unit.

The grant is worth $490,280 and must be expended by September 30, 2016. This money will provide more resources for prosecutors in the area to go after drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The grant will be used towards the western county region and will pay for a deputy district attorney. The new deputy district attorney will help handle misdemeanor cases involving drug-impaired driving, specifically from the criminal filing to the adjudication stage. The agency also intends to add three more deputy district attorneys to prosecute misdemeanor cases.

With these new prosecutors, drivers should be aware of what they may be facing if they get pulled over for a DUI. Standard DUI charges are typically classified as misdemeanors. A DUI can be raised to the level of a felony if there is an elevated blood alcohol concentration, bodily harm, children in the vehicle or prior convictions. If a charge is upgraded to a felony, that can mean more serious consequences for the driver.

Labor Day weekend results in many DUI arrests in Riverside area

Labor Day weekend is widely considered to be the last weekend of the summer season. In an effort to give summer a proper send-off, many California residents celebrate with a few drinks and brats by the pool. Unfortunately, some of these celebrations end with a party-goer getting arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Over the weekend, one officer reported that there were three deadly crashes in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

During Labor Day weekend 2015, 122 people were arrested throughout the Inland Empire. The California Highway patrol announced a “maximum enforcement period” that went from Friday evening to Labor Day before midnight. Officers from Beaumont, Indio, Riverside and Temecula stations were out and about, focused on catching DUI suspects and other potentially negligent drivers.

This deployment happened to be at the same time as Riverside County’s weekend enforcement campaign. The campaign required law enforcement agencies all across the county to conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints. The National Highway Safety Administration’s nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign was the basis for both of these local efforts.

With these increased enforcement efforts, more people find themselves facing DUI charges. If convicted of such a charge, a person may find themselves in serious trouble, even if it is just their first offense. Drivers can face license suspension, hefty fees, and possible jail time. While most first-time offenders are charged with a misdemeanor, in more serious cases, a DUI charge can be a felony. However, being charged with a DUI does not mean that you will be convicted. A legal professional may be able to advise you on some of your options.

What happens after a DUI arrest?

On this blog, we have discussed DUI stops and arrests. But what happens after the arrest? Many Palm Desert residents who get arrested for a DUI have never been involved in a criminal case before. It is in your best interest to learn about the court process and the penalties so that you can be prepared for what potentially lies ahead.

A significant part of most DUI cases is the arraignment. In many cases, if you are accused of a DUI and plead guilty, the arraignment will be the only time you will be in court. However, this will depend on the evidence in the case. The arraignment will occur after the arrest, booking and initial bail phases of the DUI process. The U.S. Constitution grants you a right to a speedy trial. Therefore, your arraignment should be held within a few days of the arrest.

The arraignment involves the DUI suspect coming to court and being called in front of a judge. The judge will typically read the criminal charges against the suspect, who will be referred to as the defendant. The defendant has a constitutional right to an attorney if he faces the possibility of jail time. Therefore, the defendant will be asked if he has an attorney or if he would like one appointed to him by the court.

At this point, the defendant will be asked how he pleads to the charges. He can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. The judge will then determine whether to release the defendant on his own recognizance or change the bail amount. The preliminary hearing and trial dates will be announced, though many cases are settled before that point. During the arraignment, the prosecutor will typically give any police reports, possible evidence, and other relevant documentation to the defendant and his attorney. The defendant’s attorney will look over all of the evidence and formulate a strategy considering what is in the best interest of their client.

NFL star Aldon Smith arrested under suspicion of California DUI

Star athletes are getting in trouble with the law more and more frequently in recent months. The San Francisco 49ers recently released Aldon Smith after his latest run in with the law. The star defensive end was arrested in California earlier this month on charges of driving under the influence, vandalism and hit-and-run.

Smith allegedly was arrested after he damaged a parked car while parking his own vehicle. He allegedly caused additional damage with his door while exiting the car. According to an SCPD press release, Smith reportedly left the area without reporting the accident or leaving his identifying information. When he returned to the parking area, he was contacted by officers. The officers determined that he was displaying symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol. Smith was then required to submit to a field sobriety test administered by officers on the scene.

Smith was booked into a nearby jail and bail was set at $26,000. Smith left jail a day later. Upon his release, he stated that there was no DUI and that justice will be served.

Smith has been in trouble with the law before. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI in January 2012 and September 2013. He also served a nine-game suspension in 2014 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies.

Being charged with a DUI does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty. Officers on the scene can make a lot of mistakes when it comes to administering Breathalyzers and field sobriety tests. These mistakes can lead to dropped or reduced charges.

Former NFL star arrested on suspicion of DUI

A possible California DUI conviction can be overwhelming, especially when it is not your first time dealing with DUI charges. A retired NFL star is now facing his second DUI after a car accident earlier this summer. Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb, was driving near Phoenix when he rear-ended another vehicle. No injuries were reported in the accident.One officer who responded to the scene said that McNabb exhibited signs of drunk driving, including bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. McNabb was arrested on suspicion of DUI.Lab tests show that McNabb’s blood alcohol level was .17, which is over twice the legal limit. In video of the incident, McNabb told the officer that he was driving home from a nearby sports bar at the time, but that he had not been drinking. He reported that he was sick and been taking cough medicine.McNabb was cited and released from the police station. Because McNabb’s blood alcohol level was above .15, he may be facing an extreme DUI that could result in more serious consequences. He previously pled guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge in 2013 and was jailed for one day. As a result of that charge, he was ordered to pay a fine and entered an outpatient treatment program.

Whether you are being charged with a felony DUI or a misdemeanor, you may be facing a number of consequences. Fines, outpatient treatment programs, license suspension and jail time are just some of the things that could be in your future. You may be able to limit these consequences with a solid defense strategy in place.

Pedestrians injured by alleged drunk driver in Riverside County

An accident in Riverside County left two people hurt and one man facing DUI charges. The man was reportedly involved in a fight with some family members before the accident occurred. He then got in his car and struck a fire hydrant and two pedestrians walking on the sidewalk. The two pedestrians were evaluated to the hospital and are recovering from their non-life threating injuries.

The man was arrested for suspicion of DUI and a domestic violence hit and run. Police allege that he drove his car over the curb in order to hit the pedestrians.

Drunk driving charges can arise out of a variety of different driving scenarios. An officer can pull over a driver if the officer has probable cause to suspect criminal activity or if the officer has personally observed a crime. Many times an officer will make a lawful traffic stop, only to have it lead to a DUI arrest. Once a driver is pulled over, officers will be on the lookout for any signs of drunk driving, including slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and erratic behavior. However, all arrests must be lawful and protect citizens’ constitutional rights. If an officer makes an unlawful arrest, certain evidence may get thrown out of the case.

If the officer suspects that a motorist was driving under the influence, the officer could require that the driver to submit to a breath test. If administered properly, the test will most likely be able to determine whether your blood alcohol content level is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. If it is, the breath test results will likely be used against the driver in a DUI charge.

Riverside County teen charged with drunk driving

Drivers who are under the legal drinking age of 21 are held to stricter standards when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that underage drinking leads to a greater risk of fatal accidents, even at low levels.

Because of this, all states have adopted some form of zero-tolerance law when it comes to underage drunk driving. This means that while .08 is the limit for drivers that are of legal drinking age, drivers under 21 are limited to anywhere from 0.00 to 0.02 percent blood alcohol concentration, depending on the state. These strict laws mean that a teenager could face a DUI for driving after just one glass of wine at dinner.

One 19-year-old Indio man is now facing misdemeanor DUI charges after an accident earlier this month. The teenager allegedly lost control of his vehicle and drove over a traffic circle median, before crashing into a light pole in La Quinta.

The man then restarted his car and fled the scene before police arrived. However, police managed to find him soon thereafter and arrested him under suspicion of misdemeanor drunk driving and hit-and-run. The young man was booked into the Indio jail, but was released on bond a few hours later.

A young person facing DUI charges may be worried about the impact that a conviction could have on their future. It is important to understand all of the potential consequences involved with a DUI conviction and come up with an effective defense strategy to potentially protect yourself from the more serious penalties.

Where does California rank in study on DUI strictness?

Law enforcement officials all across the nation are making an effort to crack down on drunk driving. In 2012, 31 percent of car accidents were caused by drunk driving. While this number is still too high, it is good to know that this number is considerably lower than when states first started making an effort to stop drunk driving in the 1980s. In fact, from 1982 to 2013, drunk driving fatalities dropped 52 percent.A major reason for this decrease has to do with strict DUI penalties that drunk drivers face nowadays. A recent study by WalletHub ranked all 50 states in order from strictest to most lenient when it comes to DUI charges and convictions. The study considered various factors such as criminal penalties and prevention methods. California was ranked number 31 on the list.The potential consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe, from license suspension to possible jail time. In California, merely being arrested for a DUI typically results in an administrative suspension of your license for four months. Your license could be taken away for longer depending on whether you are convicted. Many other states have similar suspension periods. A DUI first offense in California should also typically expect to spend at least two days in jail.Additionally, alcohol assessment and/or treatment is required in 37 states. Almost half of the states require all DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. These devices prevent driers from starting the car if they have been drinking. These consequences make it clear that a DUI conviction can have a major effect on your future.

Driver arrested for DUI after fatal La Quinta accident

A California DUI conviction can change your life in ways you never expected. Television director and producer, Marty Pasetta, was recently killed in an accident involving an alleged drunk driver. The 82-year-old Pasetta directed numerous award shows and television specials all over the world from 1967 to 1991.The accident occurred in La Quinta, less than 10 minutes from Palm Desert. The driver of the vehicle had stopped his vehicle to drop off Pasetta and another passenger. Once the two passengers had exited the vehicle, the driver attempted to exit the vehicle himself. Tragically, the driver left the car’s transmission engaged, and the car proceeded to crash into the two passengers.Pasetta was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The other passenger was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver suffered minor injuries and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He has been taken to the Rivers Side County jail in Indio.Pasetta is one of 10 people to have been killed in a pedestrian accident in the area this year alone. If you were involved in a drunk driving accident where someone lost a life, you may have serious consequences awaiting you. DUI convictions may result in steep fines, license suspension, alcohol treatment programs and even jail time. It may be in your best interest to seek legal counsel and come up with an effective defense to the charges you face. Facing DUI charges can be unnerving, but with a proper defense in place, you may be able to avoid some of, if not all of, the potential consequences.

What is an ignition interlock device and how can it affect me?

Much of our blog has been dedicated to discussing the penalties you could face if you are convicted of a DUI. While a jail sentence, fines, and license suspension are all very real possibilities, there are other consequences that have far-reaching effects. For example, having a criminal record could seriously tarnish your reputation, making it difficult to get a job or find adequate housing. Another penalty you could face is forced implementation of an ignition interlock device.

An ignition interlock device is a machine that is installed in your vehicle and prevents it from starting without you submitting a breath sample free of alcohol. Any trace of alcohol on your breath will disallow your car from starting. Even as you operate your vehicle, you must submit to periodic breath tests to ensure that you are refraining from driving under the influence.

While a nuisance, an ignition interlock device can also drastically affect your life. The cost of installation could significantly burden you and if you take a prescription medication that utilizes an alcohol base, then you may have to make a difficult decision between taking your medicine and being able to drive your car. In the event that the ignition interlock device fails or you submit a failed breath test, then you may miss work, school or important family events.

Therefore, as you can see, there is a lot at stake when facing a DUI charge. The good news is that you do not have to fight the allegations alone. Instead, a competent defense attorney can help you with your criminal case. With a strong legal ally by your side, you may be able to reach an outcome that is fair and avoids the harshest of penalties.

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