Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dumb DUI Facebook Post can lead to Revocation of DUI Probation Hearing, California Attorneys warn

San Diego DUI lawyers suggest that people convicted of drunk driving or on California DUI probation not put negative information on social networks such as Twitter or Facebook.

California DUI attorneys do not want clients to make incriminating statements on social media as they could come back to bite.  Today's Yahoo story is no exception.

Getting in trouble for a post on Facebook is becoming common. When a DUI Probationer who is not supposed to be consuming alcohol but passes a random breath test she maybe should not pass, don't blow it by publicizing it.  You could face a DUI probation violaton.  Here's how:

Back in 2012, Colleen Cudney was convicted for drunken driving. As part of her punishment, she was put on probation, and so on the day after St. Patrick’s Day, the 22-year-old was ordered to come to her Westland, Michigan probation office for a random breathalyzer test. She managed to pass it and celebratedthe good news on Facebook. That Facebook post, as WDIV Local 4 News reports, was a pretty stupid move.  She purportedly posted:

 “Buzz killer for me, I had to breatalyze this morning and I drank yesterday but I passed thank god lol my dumba**." There’s There are a lot of problems with this status update. Why don’t we go over them? (Note: Notice how I criticized her writing and then proceeded to make a mistake myself? Karma.)

  1. It’s “buzzkill,” not “buzz killer.”
  2. I know you meant “breathalyze,” but that isn’t a word. (I stand corrected, because it's pointed out breathalyze IS a word. I shouldn't have been so quick to be smarmy. This was a rough stretch for me, huh?)

Colleen Cudney (WDIV)

Cudney’s post gained the attention of a Westland police officer, who then notified the probation office. Did the probation office then say something like, “Oh well, she got us. She wins this round”? Nope. They called her up and told Colleen they wanted her to take a urine test, something that would detect whether she had had alcohol in the previous 80 hours. Colleen then…hung up on the probation officer. You’re not supposed to do that.

Colleen's Facebook post (WDIV)

Hanging up the phone on the probation official was a probation violation. And to think, her probation was set to end in a few weeks. Colleen Cudney will be back in court on April 1 for a probation hearing and faces up to 3 months in jail.

Friday, March 28, 2014

San Diego's U.S. District Court dismissed Jane Doe's claims against 9 past San Diego Police Department Supervisors of Anthony Arevalos, convicted of sexually assaulting women in the famous "No DUI for Sex" scandal, California DUI attorneys report

San Diego's U.S. District Court dismissed Jane Doe's claims against 9 past San Diego Police Department Supervisors of Anthony Arevalos, convicted of sexually assaulting women in the famous "No DUI for Sex" scandal, California DUI lawyers report today.

One such victim, Jane Doe, said his supervisors covered up repeated sexual misconduct, violating her rights.  But the court said there lacks evidence even though he's presently in jail for almost 9 years for San Diego Gaslamp District DUI stops, California DUI attorneys are told.

The ruling does not change the fact that the City of San Diego is responsible under the law for Arevalos' misconduct while on duty, regardless of the fact that SDPD could not have prevented it. Plaintiff's attorneys, however, had sought to broaden the scope of the trial scheduled for May to include the claims which are the subject of Judge Anello's ruling. The ruling narrows the scope of the trial.
"The upcoming trial is about what injuries Jane Doe suffered and how much she should be awarded," said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who pointed out that the City settled with the other 12 victims because the City understands its legal responsibility. "She says she fears being outside because of the incident, for example, and should be awarded damages for that. We want the jury to see all the evidence and set a reasonable amount for whatever injuries they find she, in fact, suffered. That's what the case is about."
The decision does not change the City's commitment to an independent federal review of SDPD's processes. "The federal review is not about legal liability. We want to know how SDPD can do better," said Goldsmith. "We want SDPD to meet a standard of excellence and we want people to have confidence in our police officers."

Arevalos was convicted in November 2011 of felony and misdemeanor charges involving five women, including multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe and assault and battery by a police officer. He was acquitted of other serious charges involving two other women.
Two of the convictions were overturned last month. Arevalos's attorneys are also seeking a new trial because handwritten notes from Doe, who is the main accuser, were not turned over to the defense.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Being on wet reckless probation not the same as DUI probation if stopped and blow .01% or higher.

In California, if you are on DUI probation for a Vehicle Code Section 23512 (DUI) conviction, you have to submit to a PAS.  If over .01%, your license is pulled and you get cited for VC 23514, San Diego DUI lawyers remind.

If your client suffered a DUI conviction, you may attack other issues like PAS coordinator, records, lack of timely accuracy checks, variances, thermometer, 15 minute observation and the like.

If your client suffered a "wet reckless" conviction, you are in luck.  That is VC 23103 per 23103.5 which reads on a printout VC 23103.   It is not VC 23152.

This is another advantage of a reckless driving, alcohol - related reduction.  It's an issue for San Diego California attorneys to remember for both court and DMV.

A cop may think the person is on DUI probation but misunderstood the conviction showing up on his or her screen.

When the person admits he or she is on DUI probation, that is enough for a cop to cite and force a trial.

I like to think I won today's trial based on lawyering but in reality it was a DMV printout which saved the day and prevented a delayed decision.  That printout showed client convicted of VC 23103(a), NOT VC 23152 (DUI) as required by VC 23154.

It also  helped that the new case was not a new DUI as the client blew under .08%.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feds look at San Diego "No DUI for Sex" cops, report California attorneys

The Los Angeles Times reports that the federal government will look into San Diego California's Police Department which has been the subject of "Sex for No DUI" and sexual assault cases, San Diego California drunk driving attorneys are told.

15 criminal cases were cited by the San Diego Union Tribune today.

The most famous California drunk driving interest may revolve around the San Diego Police Department officer who is presently in prison but recently won an appeal, say California DUI lawyers.

This federal audit will include a review of the recruitment, training, supervision and Internal Affairs practices of the department, as well as interviews with officers, citizens of San Diego and others,  United States Attorney Laura Davis announced.

Lansdowne, 69, former San Diego Police Department chief for more than a decade, retired March 3, the day that Faulconer was sworn in as mayor. At Faulconer’s request, Zimmerman was quickly approved by the City Council as his successor.

In 2011, San Diego Officer Anthony Arevalos was convicted of demanding sexual favors from women after making traffic stops. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison, although a recent appellate decision might reduce his sentence. He was fired after the accusations were made.

The City Council has approved a total of $2.3 million in payments covering 12 of 13 lawsuits involving women allegedly assaulted by Arevalos. One case is set for trial in federal court.

Linda Workman, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff, known only as Jane Doe, said that the study is only a “short-term” review and that its recommendations are not binding.

“This is too little too late for victims like Jane Doe who have had their lives ruined by SDPD misconduct,” Workman said. She added that the department did “some voluntary cleanup of this type of misconduct” in the past, but “it obviously did not last.”

In 2011, Lansdowne initiated a number of reforms amid about 10 allegations of drunk driving, spousal abuse, rape, stalking and excessive force involving officers. Some of the incidents occurred while the officer was off duty.

Monday’s news conference occurred as a former officer appeared in Superior Court court on charges of abusing women while on duty. A second officer has been suspended and is being investigated.
U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy, noting that the department has been “under fire” for recent misconduct cases, said she has spoken to Zimmerman about the new chief’s plans to restore the department’s once sterling reputation.

Associate Atty. Gen. Tony West praised Lansdowne and other city officials for seeking the outside review. “When misconduct does occur, it is our collective responsibility to act and to act swiftly to demand accountability and correct the situation,” he said.

In his final days as chief, Lansdowne, reacting to current allegations, ordered that whenever a woman is taken into custody, there must be two officers in the police car. Also, the department is testing the use of body cameras for patrol officers to record their dealings with members of the public.

Zimmerman, who was assistant chief under Lansdowne, has begin a series of public Meet the Chief meetings in communities throughout the city.

Faulconer said Zimmerman “is breathing new life into our city” by promising to “restore public trust” in the police department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to review the management practices of the San Diego Police Department with a goal of helping the department avoid officer misconduct and restore its reputation as an “innovative, progressive, trusted force,” officials announced Monday.

The audit comes amid recent allegations that two officers assaulted women while on duty. In the last four years there have been about 15 cases of misconduct of various kinds among the department’s 1,856 officers, officials said.

The review  will take six to eight months to complete and include periodic reports to the public and recommendations to the department about better ways to spot problem officers.

The review was requested by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, City Atty. Jan Goldsmith, and former chief Bill Lansdowne.

Separately, a “case specific” criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney and FBI will focus on whether other officers have been guilty of misconduct. “Every rock should be turned over,” Goldsmith said.
Zimmerman, a 30-year veteran of the department who was named chief three weeks ago, said she is “not going to tolerate this misconduct and betrayal of our badge and profession.”

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Texting is more dangerous than California DUI driving, San Diego attorneys echo KOGO's smart reporter

San Diego County DUI Law Center's attorney Rick Mueller regularly has alerted public to the new, most dangerous type of driving:  driving while texting (DWT).

"DWT" is more dangerous than California DUI, say San Diego DUI criminal defense lawyer Rick Mueller who defends DUI - DWT cases and can be reached at 1-800-THE-LAW-DUI.

The bad news for drinkers & drivers is that texting while driving gives a California cop a reason to stop your vehicle.

Texting also gives the drunk driving cops in California "times." California DMV will gather San Diego DUI documents to try to properly establish facts warranting suspension of one's license.

The top newscaster Chris Merrill usually is right on.  That's why he's so popular.  He did a great job in this new San Diego DUI / California drunk driving - texting article.

Can texting and driving REALLY be more dangerous than drunk driving?

"Texting while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk. That is what the California Highway Patrol said as the number of convictions across the state continues to soar.
If you drink and drive, you are four times more likely to crash. If you text and drive, you can be up to 23 times more likely to crash.
Within seconds of setting up at the intersection of Mission Center Road and Camino De La Reina in Mission Valley Wednesday, 10News found driver after driver texting away.
The CHP says the number of convictions in California for texting while driving has spiked 42 percent. In 2011, there were 14,000 texting citations in California. In 2012, there were 21,000.
As for those caught talking without a hands-free device, those convictions have gone down from 460,000 to 425,000.
CHP Officer Jake Sanchez told 10News, "An average text message takes approximately 4.6 seconds to read and another 4.6 seconds to send out. In essence, your eyes could be off the road a total of 9.2 seconds."
San Diego resident Rick Foss said, "You're not looking forward, you're looking down and you just don't know have the vision of view and what's happening in front of you. You can't react to anything quickly if you're looking down."
"That distraction itself … imagine how far you've traveled in that period with your eyes essentially off the road," said Sanchez."
California DUI lawyers thank you for spreading the word, Chris.

Monday, March 3, 2014

San Diego California DMV corruption scam / bribery conspiracy results in 30 guilty pleas

California's DMV, Department of Motor Vehicles, may be ready for yet another nickname after this bribery scam.  DMV is notorious for challenged service and misunderstandings, California DUI lawyers remind.  In San Diego, 30 people pled guilty to a Department of Motor Vehicles corrupt scam to get illegal driver's licenses for people, San Diego DUI attorneys report.  Here's the scoop:

This  San Diego California DMV scam involved corrupt state DMV employees at the DMV in El Cajon California, and their accomplices between 2009 and 2012, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The investigation is still active because agents say the scheme could still be going on, possibly at other California DMV offices.

In the bribery scam or conspiracy, U.S. Driving School owner Kuvan Piomari told his students he could guarantee them a driver’s license – for a price – even if they had already failed the driving test, per the FBI.

Students in some cases didn’t even have to take the test. 

Piomari’s corrupt connections at the El Cajon DMV provided people with a license with no questions asked, as long as they paid anywhere from $500 to $2,500.

Word of the scheme apparently spread north to Los Angeles and beyond. One client even flew in from Dallas, agents said.

“There was an applicant who they considered very, very dangerous and they joked about this person obtaining a license knowing this person presented a danger to the driving public and the public overall,” said Special Agent Darrell Foxworth.

Some candidates paid for commercial licenses that allowed them to driver tanker trucks carrying hazardous materials.

“Think about having someone behind the 10,000 pound vehicle, going down the street and they don't have the training to control that vehicle,” NBC reports.  Court records showed hundreds of licenses were obtained through the scam, until a new DMV manager arrived and reported the suspicious activity.

Undercover FBI operatives, surveillance and court-ordered wiretaps helped investigators uncover the root of the problem: Piomari, DMV examiner Jeffrey Bednarek, DMV employee Jim Bean and two other employees.

All 30 defendants charged in the conspiracy pleaded guilty to bribery and identification document fraud.. Bednarek will be sentenced in April, and Bean was already sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The FBI is speaking out about this case again because it wants people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity. If you have any information, call the agency at 1-800-NO-BRIBE.