Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A few new California laws which may affect your life or those close to you, San Diego DUI lawyers announce

The San Diego County DUI Law Center proudly updates motorists daily.

Today's California Highway Patrol's sharing of new laws, say San Diego
DUI attorneys:

Search Warrants: Chemical Tests (SB 717, DeSaulnier): This amendment
to current law authorizes the issuance of a search warrant to draw
blood from a person in a reasonable, medically approved manner, to
show that the person violated California misdemeanor DUI provisions when that
person has refused an officer request to submit to, or has failed to
complete, a blood test. 

Hit and Run: Statute of Limitations (AB 184, Gatto): This law extends
the statute of limitations for hit-and-run & DUI/hit and run collisions in which death
or permanent, serious injury was a result. A criminal complaint may be
filed within three years of the offense, or one year after the person
was initially identified by law enforcement as a suspect in the
commission of the offense, which ever comes later, but in no case more
than six years after the offense. 

Teen Drivers (SB 194, Galgiani): This law prohibits a person who is
under 18 years of age from using an electronic wireless communications
device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while
driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device, regardless of
California DUI or not.

Registration Fees: Vehicle Theft (AB 767, Levine): This law authorizes
counties to increase registration fees by $1 for passenger vehicles
and $2 for commercial vehicles to fund programs related to vehicle
theft crimes in those counties.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Anti-drunk driving campaign announced by California, DUI attorneys say

California DUI lawyers say there are alternatives to being busted for drunk driving this holiday season.  In fact, San Diego bars are cooperating with California in preventing DUI, attorneys say.

The California Office of Traffic Safety is working to keep our roads safe this holiday season.
The second annual anti-drunk driving campaign hit town Friday night and some local bars are doing their part to help out.
Shot glasses galore are waiting for people outside the Air Conditioned Lounge in North Park San Diego but these aren't just any cocktails.
Sunshine Vejas has prepared pitchers full of her favorite alcohol-free drink as part of a statewide holiday crackdown on drunk driving.
The popular North Park bar is one of 100 partners with the state Office of Traffic Safety in the Designated Sober Driver VIP program launched this month.
"It's a way to contribute to your community and the people that you care about," said Vejas.
Representatives with the state agency set up a red carpet and a photo op for all the designated drivers who are ensuring their friends find a safe ride home.
Getting behind the wheel was dangerous for California drivers last year. Drunk drivers claimed the lives of 802 people in the state, according to government statistics.
In addition to DUI checkpoints the OTS and local law enforcement are sponsoring this awareness campaign in hopes of empowering designated drivers.
Anyone walking into the Air Conditioned Lounge will see the PSA and the statistics as well, and that's what organizers say could save lives.
The Office of Traffic Safety is also holding similar events in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Friday, December 27, 2013

California Highway Patrol reports only 28 DUI arrests in San Diego County this Christmas, say San Diego DUI attorneys

California DUI lawyers' news release flash indicates drunk driving pops are pretty low this Christmas 2014 season, say San Diego DUI lawyers.

San Diego DUI arrests and California DUI numbers are low this year:

SAN DIEGO - Christmas holiday statistics reported by the California Highway Patrol revealed the number of arrests for suspicion of driving under the influence statewide and countywide were both down markedly compared to last year.

Fatalities decreased statewide, but were higher in San Diego County compared with 2012, according to the CHP. 

For the Christmas holiday period which started at 6:01 p.m. Christmas Eve and ended at 11:59 p.m. Christmas Day, there were 700 arrests for suspicion of DUI and 15 fatalities reported statewide in 2012 and 221 arrests and five fatalities for the same period in 2013. 

In San Diego County, there were 28 arrests for suspicion of DUI and no casualties last year, compared to 12 arrests and two casualties this year. 

DUI arrests include only those made by CHP officers. Fatalities reported are from all law enforcement agencies. 

The CHP investigates all crashes on freeways and all roads in unincorporated areas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Checkpoints increase for Holiday Season in San Diego County, California DUI attorneys announce

San Diego County DUI Law Center flags Drunk Driving Roadblocks & California DUI Checkpoints in San Diego County, lawyers remind.  This past weekend saw checkpoints in both Encinitas & Vista, San Diego California attorneys share.

Avoid the 16 hits San Diego County California hard this Christmas season.  There are even drunk decoy operations throughout the county.

This holiday season, The San Diego County Sheriff's Department San Marcos Station will be out in force cracking down on impaired drivers with special California DUI Checkpoints, lawyers remind.

A California DUI checkpoint is scheduled for December 20, 2013 at an undisclosed location within the city limits of San Marcos between the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. to help keep roads safe for holiday travelers, California DUI attorneys are told today.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is giving fair warning to all partygoers. “In addition to DUI/Driver's License Checkpoints, you will also see cops making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period."

The fun and celebrations of the holiday season can lead to terrible decisions – and serious legal consequences. Data shows that the holiday season is a particularly deadly time due to the increased number of California DUI drivers on the roads, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department San Marcos Station is prepared to stop and arrest any California drunk driver they see to keep roads safe.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

San Diego California DUI cops love to chase drunk drivers, on the roads and sometimes on foot, while Coronado cops make more DUI arrests than you would think, say California DUI attorneys

San Diego California DUI cops love to chase drunk drivers, on the roads and sometimes on foot, say California DUI lawyers.   Coronado cops make more DUI arrests than you would think, say California DUI attorneys.

Here's the 2 California DUI stories:

A drunk driver got away on foot after crashing into another vehicle while leading officers on a brief freeway pursuit in the Lincoln Park area early Thursday, San Diego DUI attorneys say.
The pursuit began on southbound Interstate 805 at Imperial Avenue around 2:15 a.m., according to the California DUI lawyers.
The suspect, driving a black BMW 328i, led CHP officers on a pursuit that ended when the driver crashed into another vehicle and bailed on foot, the CHP said on its website. No injuries were reported.

Coronado California DUI Arrest reports released by police Dec. 10.
  • Hit & Run: A 20-year-old San Diego man was arrested at 9:15 p.m., Oct. 25 on the 2000 block of Silver Strand Boulevard.
  • DUI: A 36-year-old Coronado man was arrested at 12:21 a.m., Nov. 30 on the 300 block of C Avenue.
  • DUI: A 31-year-old San Diego man was arrested at 1:58 a.m., Dec. 1 on the 400 block of Fourth Street.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Los Angeles California pays $6 million to cops suing over ticket cases, say San Diego DUI attorneys who post LA Times article

What motivates California cops to get the most DUI arrests per year, California DUI lawyers ask?   MADD gives an annual MADD Award to the cop who makes the most arrests for the big ticket winner in a California police department, Califiornia DUI attorneys know.

San Diego Police Department Officer James Zirpolo is a frequent winner of the annual MADD (Most
Arrests for DUI Dept), remind San Diego DUI lawyers.  Money from overtime is the underlying motivation.  Promotion from awards and drunk driving arrests helps.

Any other reason to be motivated?  How about a police department captain that insists on a certain # of DUI arrests for the DUI enforcement cops, ask San diego dui attorneys.  Sure.

But WHY would cops sue their own department for imposing a quota?   A little odd, right?  Read this from today's LA Times:

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday agreed to pay nearly $6 million to a group of police officers who accused their superiors of imposing a secret traffic ticket quota system on the Westside.
The settlement, approved unanimously, brings to more than $10 million the amount of taxpayer money spent on payouts and legal fees from the ticket quota cases. But that number could grow because one more officer's case is still pending.
The ticket controversy has been a black eye for the Los Angeles Police Department. Ticket quotas are against state law. After the officers' allegations were made public, LAPD officials met with police union representatives and signed a letter emphasizing that the department prohibits quotas.
Dennis Zine, a former City Council member and career LAPD motorcycle officer, said the settlement calls into question LAPD's traffic division management. Zine is also incensed that Capt. Nancy Lauer, who ran the LAPD's West Traffic Division at the time of the allegations, has been promoted.
"This whole thing clearly shows me that management did not do what they needed to do, and taxpayers are footing the bill for that,'' said Zine, who lost a bid for city controller in this year's municipal elections.
Matthew McNicholas, one of the officers' attorneys, called the action "a very fair" resolution. "These guys had targets put on their backs and nothing happens to this captain. In fact, she's since been promoted. The message that sends from the department is, 'We do what we want, how we want.'"
The $5.9-million settlement approved Tuesday resolves two lawsuits filed in 2010 by 11 LAPD officers assigned to a motorcycle unit. In the lawsuits, the officers detailed what they said were strict demands for tickets placed on them by Lauer.
The lawsuits alleged that Lauer, who ran the division starting in 2006, required officers to write at least 18 traffic tickets each shift and demanded that 80% of the citations be for major violations.
Officers who failed to meet the minimums or raised concerns about them were reprimanded, denied overtime assignments, given undesirable work schedules and subjected to other forms of harassment, according to the lawsuits. In a few instances, Lauer attempted to kick officers out of the motorcycle unit, the lawsuits said.
In a statement, Chief Charlie Beck defended the division's practices. Management set "goals" to reduce traffic violations that resulted in serious injury and death, Beck said, but the jury in a separate 2009 case interpreted that as quotas, he said.
"We do not agree with the original jury's findings," he said. "Unfortunately the large jury award in the earlier court case made settling this case the most prudent business decision."
Lauer, who currently runs one of the department's patrol divisions, said she instructed officers to ticket illegal driving but did not set quotas.
The focus at West Traffic Division "was always on reducing traffic collisions and saving lives," Lauer said. "We saw too many innocent people die at the hands of speeding and other dangerous drivers."
The payment is the latest fallout from Lauer's time at the helm of the traffic division, which patrols for traffic violations throughout the city's Westside.
In 2009, two other motorcycle officers, Howard Chan and David Benioff, made similar allegations against Lauer and members of her command staff in a separate lawsuit.
In testimony, Lauer denied she had enforced a quota, saying there was "apparently some confusion" among officers, records show. If a certain number of tickets had been mentioned, it would have been used as "a goal" for officers instead of a quota, she said.
Similarly, lawyers for the city tried to persuade jurors that the department had simply established broad goals rather than specific quotas, and that supervisors were trying to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities.
The officers testified that they were ordered to scrap regular patrol assignments and sent instead to specific streets where they were more likely to catch motorists committing moving violations. Though not illegal, being sent to those so-called orchards or cherry patches, they said, reinforced the belief that hitting ticket targets trumped other aspects of the job.
The jury sided with the officers, awarding them $2 million. The verdict was a particularly sharp rebuke because lawyers for then-City Atty. Carman Trutanich had rejected an earlier offer to settle the case for $500,000, according to officials from the union that represents rank-and-file officers.
In August 2011 — after the current group of 11 officers, along with another officer who filed his own lawsuit — followed with their allegations of retaliation, Trutanich outsourced the legal work in the cases to a private law firm, Albright, Yee & Schmit.
The firm billed the city nearly $2.4 million for its work on the cases, according to figures provided by the city attorney's office.
The officers appeared to have a strong case. A lieutenant who monitored workplace issues for the department testified in a deposition that after looking into the officers' allegations, he concluded that Lauer had, in fact, imposed a ticket quota, court records show.
When Trutanich was unseated as city attorney by Mike Feuer this year, Feuer changed course, instructing his assistants to try to settle with the officers, according to city records and interviews.
The settlement is the latest in a long string of seven-figure payments the city has made to resolve police officers' reports of retaliation, discrimination and other workplace misconduct. In the last several years more than a dozen other officers have won million-dollar-plus jury verdicts or settlements from the city.
An earlier Times review of city records from 2005 to 2010 found police officers filed more than 250 lawsuits against the department over workplace issues. The city paid more than $18 million in about 45 of those cases and had appealed other verdicts worth several million dollars more, the records showed.
As the losses continued to pile up, the department came under increasing scrutiny for its apparent inability to identify workplace problems and resolve them before they blew up into legal action. With the Police Commission, which oversees the department, demanding improvements, LAPD officials have made changes and have said that the number of lawsuits brought by officers has dropped. Commission members, however, have said it is too early to conclude that the problem is under control.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Will Los Angeles Clippers sign Lamar Odom after DUI conviction, California DUI lawyers ask?

Lamar Odom's 1 year refusal DMV administrative hearing is coming up, say California DUI attorneys.

Lamar pled to a California DUI charge yesterday.  He was placed on 3 years summary probation, ordered to attend a three month first conviction program and pay $1,814 in fines, say California DUI lawyers.

The California DUI judge accepted his change of plea after his drunk driving arrest on 8/30/14 while cruising in his white Benz SUV at 50 mph "in a serpentine manner," say California Highway Patrol DUI officers.

Lamar, who is very athletic, allegedly had trouble with the field acrobatics and roadside gymnastics, California DUI lawyers are told.  He is remorseful.  I hope his footwork is better when he rejoins the NBA.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Do California cops arrested for DUI get preferential treatment? If not, then why happened in San Diego, ask California DUI lawyers?

Let's say you are a California police officer and YOU get a DUI in San Diego?  Should you go to jail, ask San Diego California DUI attorneys?  Would you go to San Diego jail if you were NOT a cop, quiz California DUI lawyers?

Apparently the California Highway Patrol, a puppet of MADD, grants special favors to other police officers when arresting them for drunk driving.  What?

In San Diego County, if you are arrested for DUI by CHP, you are going to jail.  That's not always the case if arrested for a California DUI by Carlsbad or Chula Vista Police Department.

But the California Highway Patrol makes sure you get locked up in a jail cell if arrested for DUI.  CHP publicly advertises that ANYONE who drinks and drives is "taken to jail."

Of course not if you work for San Diego Police Department and your name is twenty-seven year old Amanda Estrada.  She was stopped by California Highway Patrol on Rancho Bernardo Road, east of the 15, an area who-knows-why The California Highway Patrol need to be looking for drunk drivers (the San Diego Police Department does a decent job with DUI arrests).

The California Highway Patrol cop thought the San Diego Police Dept cop was DUI.  A so-called "field sobriety test" known as a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test was done.  This is actually a breath test that comes into evidence in most San Diego courts on a daily basis.

Her results were below .08% say the California Highway Patrol but the CHP cop thought the SDPD was still "under the influence of alcohol."  Instead of "arresting" her which is the norm, she was "cited."  She did not go to San Diego jail.  She took home a ticket.

The citation is a promise to appear.   A California Highway Patrol Sgt. said she was trusted to appear based on her "promise to appear" in court.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

How many DUI Cops have lied, drove drunk or committed crimes, ask California DUI attorneys?

How many California DUI police officers have a history of misconduct, lying and even drunk driving, attorneys?  The LA Times has disclosed that although background checks were made, the Sheriff's Department hired many problem cops a few years ago, say California DUI lawyers.

Nearly thirty of those hired have convictions for battery, disturbing the peace reduced from prostitution, violence against wives, theft, and even drunk driving, remark California DUI attorneys.  How many of those cops were involved in California DUI investigations or prosecutions?

The Sheriff's Department hired dozens of Los Angeles Southern California officers even though background investigators found they had committed serious misconduct on or off duty, sheriff's files show, says the LA Times.
The department made the hires in 2010 after taking over patrols of parks and government buildings from a little-known L.A. County police force. Officers from that agency were given first shot at new jobs with the Sheriff's Department. Investigators gave them lie detector tests and delved into their employment records and personal lives.
The Times reviewed the officers' internal hiring files, which also contained recorded interviews of the applicants by sheriff's investigators.
Ultimately, about 280 county officers were given jobs, including applicants who had accidentally fired their weapons,  had sex at work and solicited prostitutes, the records show.
For nearly 100 hires, investigators discovered evidence of dishonesty, such as making untrue statements or falsifying police records. At least 15 were caught cheating on the department's own polygraph exams.
Twenty-nine of those given jobs had previously had been fired or pressured to resign from other law enforcement agencies over concerns about misconduct or workplace performance problems. Nearly 200 had been rejected from other agencies because of past misdeeds, failed entrance exams or other issues.
Several of those with past misconduct have been accused of wrongdoing since joining the department, including one deputy who was terminated after firing his service weapon during a dispute outside a fast-food restaurant.
David McDonald was hired despite admitting to sheriff's investigators he had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl whom he  kissed and groped. He was 28 at the time.
"I was in love," he said in an interview with The Times. "I wasn't being a bad guy."
McDonald had been fired from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department amid allegations he used excessive force on prisoners. A fellow deputy told a supervisor that he didn't want to work with McDonald because he harassed inmates.
L.A. County sheriff's officials made him a jail guard, a decision that surprised even McDonald.
"How can you put me back in the jails when I already had a problem there?" McDonald told the newspaper.

Since being hired by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, McDonald said he has been disciplined in connection with using physical force on an inmate.
"They want you to be more touchy-feely," he said of the discipline. "Whenever you're gonna jack up an inmate, you have to call a supervisor first."
After sheriff's officials learned The Times had access to the records, they launched a criminal investigation to determine who had leaked them. They also said they would review whether some applicants had been improperly hired. The union representing deputies unsuccessfully tried to get a court order blocking publication of information from the files.
The records provide a rare look into hiring decisions at the nation's largest sheriff's department, an agency dogged in recent years by a string of scandals related to deputy abuse and racially biased policing.
The department's hiring files detail proven and unproven allegations of misconduct based on information from past employers, romantic partners and others. The files also document when applicants were arrested or charged for alleged crimes but not convicted. One new hire had been charged with assault under the color of authority, and another had been arrested for assault with intent to murder and rape.
The Times, however, focused its analysis on allegations that had been proved in court, sustained in workplace investigations or in cases where the applicants themselves admitted to wrongdoing to sheriff's investigators.
The Times attempted to contact all of the new hires through visits to their homes, phone calls or by email. More than a third granted interviews or declined to comment. Others received inquiries but did not respond. Some could not be located. Of those who did respond, some disputed the contents in their files. Others characterized past problems as mistakes made many years ago that did not reflect how qualified they are to work in law enforcement today.
Law enforcement experts said hiring officers with problematic backgrounds undermines the department's integrity.
I was under the impression that people with backgrounds like that were not being hired.”
— Edward Rogner, a retired Sheriff's Department commander
"Cops are held to a higher standard than the average member of society because we've got to be able to trust them," said Edward Rogner, a retired Sheriff's Department commander who was involved in the expansion but not in hiring decisions.
When told about The Times' findings, Rogner added: "I was under the impression that people with backgrounds like that were not being hired."
Sheriff Lee Baca declined to comment, but his spokesman said Baca was not aware people with such backgrounds were hired.
Before he knew of the newspaper's investigation, Baca told Times reporters that people with records of violence or dishonesty have no place in law enforcement. He said applicants who had been fired from other agencies shouldn't be given a second chance, and that he would not hire applicants with histories of illegal sexual conduct.
"Men that take women and use them as a sexual object are going to always come up against my wrath," he said.
As a county police officer, Ferdinand Salgado had just gotten off work when he was arrested on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute who was actually an undercover cop at a Yum Yum Donuts parking lot in El Monte. According to authorities, he grinned at her, asked for oral sex and arranged to meet her at a motel.
Ferdinand C. Salgado

Ferdinand C. Salgado

Age: 52 years old
Hired rank:
During the sheriff's background investigation, it was determined that he tried to manipulate the results of the polygraph test by controlling his breathing, a common tactic used to manipulate the outcome of the exam. He denied it, but admitted knowing about a memo circulating among his colleagues on cheating techniques.
He pleaded to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace. During his Sheriff's Department interview, he denied he said anything to the woman.
"I ain't buying it,"  an investigator told him after reviewing the police report. "You know you're not telling me the truth."
Salgado, who was hired as a jail guard and has since left the agency, wasn't the only one with a conviction on his record.
Records show almost 30 other hires had been convicted of drunk driving, battery or a variety of lower-level crimes. About 50 disclosed to sheriff's background investigators misdeeds such as petty theft, soliciting prostitutes and violence against spouses.
One hire told investigators of having inappropriate sexual contact with two toddlers as a teenager.
In another case, Linda Bonner was given a job after revealing that she used her department-issued weapon to shoot at her husband as he ran away from her during an argument. He wasn't hit; he was lucky he was running in a zigzag pattern, she told investigators, because if not the end result "would have been a whole lot different."
About four years ago, a Los Angeles County police force called the Office of Public Safety was disbanded. Its responsibilities — patrolling county buildings, parks and hospitals — were handed over to the 18,000-person Sheriff's Department in an effort to save money.
The Sheriff's Department was not required to hire any of the former county officers, officials said.
The agency ended up hiring about 280. The majority were taken on as sworn deputies, while others were hired as custody assistants in the department's troubled jail system, security guards or for other lower-level positions.
Waldie, now retired, said he personally reviewed many of the applicants' files. He said he was unaware of any hires with histories of significant misconduct.
Presented with some of The Times' findings, Waldie said: "That information was not brought to me ... I don't recall any of these specifics so don't ask me anymore."
Waldie then said he and his aides were under "significant pressure" from the county Board of Supervisors and other officials to hire as many county officers as possible.
"We had to have grave reasons for not hiring them," Waldie said.