Monday, April 28, 2014

If pulled over for California DUI - what to do, Penalties, Evaluation of Under Influence of Marijuana

What To Do If You Are Pulled Over for California DUI Marijuana, Attorneys Discuss:
If you are pulled over in California, and you believe the DUI officer may suspect you of driving under the influence of marijuana, the best thing to do is remain calm, do not make any statements or admissions to the officer, and wait patiently until you are released from jail and given a court date to have your California DUI lawyer start fighting your case. 
Retain a top California DUI attorney who practices in San Diego if this happened in San Diego or in the jurisdiction where you were arrested.  In California after a typical DUI arrest, your lawyer has 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest to request a hearing before the DMV to determine whether your license should be suspended. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be suspended automatically unless you only had marijuana in your system and there is no evidence of alcohol.
Colorado and Washington, which both recently legalized weed, consider it a crime to operate a vehicle with 5 nanograms active THC per milliliter of blood or more, though in Colorado medical marijuana patients can fight the automatic DUI conviction. But until better and more scientific tests are developed, it is much more difficult for the authorities to tell (and to prove in court) whether a person is under the influence of weed than it is to tell if they are drunk. A good lawyer should be able to poke all kinds of holes in the prosecution’s evidence that you were driving under the influence of marijuana.
Whether its booze, weed, or DayQuil, do not drive on the road if you even think you may be too impaired to drive. On the road, don’t get pulled over in the first place. Observe all traffic laws and make sure all your vehicle lights work. A little window tint, or dice hanging from the mirror is a primary offense. (Even if you’re lawful, the sad reality is you can be arrested for being the wrong color in the wrong town at the wrong time.)
But if you are arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, it does not need to be anything more than a bump in the road.
What Are The Penalites if Convicted of a California DUI?
If you are convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana, there are a range of punishments you could incur. The severity of the punishment takes into account several things including the facts of the case, your criminal history, and even the county you were arrested in. For a first time DUI conviction, you could receive three to five years of probation, up to six months in jail, fees and fines that can run to over $2,100,  a California DUI program and a 6-month suspension of your California driver’s license convertible to a restriction.
For a second offense, you’re looking at several days of actual jail time, even higher fees and fines, and an even longer DUI class. Subsequent offenses generally will increase your punishment and depending on the circumstances may even be charged as felonies, which carry possible state prison sentences.
You Can Get Charged with a California Marijuana DUI
If you are pulled over or encounter a cop who expects you are under the influence of marijuana, he will often call in a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) to the scene. The DRE is trained to look for signs that prove that someone is impaired from marijuana. These signs include dilated pupils, elevated pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, giving off the odor of marijuana, tremors, relaxed demeanor, dry mouth and short term memory impairment. If the DRE determines you are under the influence of marijuana, you will be arrested for suspicion of DUID, taken to the station, possibly subjected to a blood draw, and the DRE will testify to his conclusion at your trial.
What is a DUI for Marijuana?
A DUI for drugs is considered driving under the influence of drugs (in this specific case, marijuana). Sometimes, it can be difficult to prove what constitutes a “DUI” for marijuana, since blood tests can’t prove when you consumed marijuana, just that you did at some point. “It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects,” the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) writes.
According to California law, in order to be convicted of a DUI for drugs, you must be impaired to such an extent that you lack the “ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.”
Thus, the charge and conviction can be rather subjective and usually takes into account some combination of your driving pattern, physical appearance, performance of field sobriety tests, and a blood test for marijuana.
California continues its seemingly inexorable march toward marijuana legalization, but even if weed becomes legal, driving under the influence won’t. Tens of thousands will still be prosecuted for allegedly driving when their ability to see, think or operate their motor vehicle is impaired by any psychoactive substance, including marijuana.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

California Police caught on video inconsistent with reports, evidence planted by police & charges dropped, DUI attorneys share

A couple more California police officers have been caught lying.   Thank goodness for videos, San Diego DUI lawyers proclaim!

A couple of weeks ago, the San Diego County DUI Law Center reminded the public that California police do lie and have been caught.  See this Attorney Blog.  Here we go again.

The Los Angeles Times reports today that a couple of LA Sheriff's deputies arrested two men: one on suspicion of having an unregistered firearm, another for possessing Ecstasy in the presence of a firearm.

A year later, the Sheriff's Internal Criminal Investigation Bureau began investigating the incident, the Los Angeles district attorney's office said. 

During that inquiry, officials discovered a video recording from inside the dispensary that they say was "inconsistent" with the deputies' reports.

Charges filed against one of the men falsely arrested were dropped, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.  But the second man had already pleaded no contest to the drug charge before investigators determined the evidence was planted, she said.

Now the deputies have been charged with planting guns at a medical marijuana dispensary to arrest two men, one of whom prosecutors said was sentenced to a year in jail before the bad evidence was discovered.

Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, face two felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and altering evidence, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced Wednesday. 

Martinez was charged with two additional felony counts of perjury and one count of filing a false report.
If convicted of the charges, the former deputies face more than seven years in prison.

Martinez said he followed the man to the dispensary and watched him discard the gun near a trash can, the complaint says. The deputies said they found a second gun sitting on a desk near some Ecstasy pills.

In court documents filed last week, prosecutors said that on Aug. 24, 2011, the pair shut off electricity and a video surveillance system inside the dispensary, then planted the weapons. Martinez and Paez were patrolling West 87th Place that day when Martinez said he saw a man with a gun in his shorts pocket take part in a drug deal, the felony complaint states.

But prosecutors said that Martinez had kicked a wall outlet to shut off the electricity, and that Paez then opened a drawer, pulled out a gun and put it on a chair.

Prosecutors said Paez planted another gun on top of the desk, which he had crawled under to disable the security system.

Monday, April 21, 2014

San Diego California DUI Warrant Scam Warning

San Diego California DUI Warrant Scam Warning:

It's a startling phone call you could receive: "There's a warrant out for your arrest." A scam going on right now in many counties hopes that fear will cause you to act without thinking.

The caller is very pushy and poses as an employee of the Sheriff's Department. To make the pitch very convincing, the scammer will:

 use the name of an actual Sheriff's Department employee
 give the actual telephone number of a Sheriff's Station or Substation
 have some of your personal information such as a former address or your date of birth
 threaten you with jail time or taking away your driver license
 ask for more personal information
 ASK FOR MONEY either with a credit, debit or prepaid card.

Impersonating a Sheriff's Deputy is a violation of state law. REMEMBER, no deputy or employee of the
San Diego Sheriff's Department will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment. If you get this type of call, hang up immediately.

People with outstanding warrants - California DUI or any San Diego misdemeanor or felony - are encouraged to turn themselves in Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at any one of the Sheriff's Court Facilities For more information on warrants and bail notices, visit To check if you have an outstanding warrant in the County of San Diego, visit

To watch a safety video about warrant scams, follow YouTube:

Media inquiries regarding the warrant scam can be directed to Lieutenant Jeff Duckworth of the San Diego
Sheriff's Financial Crimes Unit at (858) 974‐2322.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

5 California DUI arrests at San Marcos San Diego Drunk Driving roadblock Friday Night - Saturday Morning, lawyers report

Common San Diego California DUI checkpoint locations can be found by motoring folks at this free San Diego County DUI Lawyer Center site.  Regularly updated geographical efforts by local San Diego California DUI police roadblocks should be viewed before driving around the area on weekends.

Last night the San Marcos DUI Checkpoint staged by San Diego California DUI Sheriff's Deputies trapped over 3,200 drivers.  Over 750 motorists were "screened" for California DUI evaluation purposes.  Over 30 vehicles went to drunk driving "secondary," San Diego attorneys are told.

Just 5 San Diego DUI arrests were made:  4 for California DUI alcohol and 1 for California DUI drugs.

This California DUI checkpoint was located at 1300 West San Marcos Blvd from 8 pm Friday to 2:00 a.m. Saturday:
Map data ©2014 Google

Sunday, April 13, 2014

7 Trapped at famous Ingraham St. Bridge DUI Checkpoint in San Diego, California, DUI attorneys share

Stay away from Pacific Beach on San Diego weekends, California DUI lawyers warn.  That's because between 80 and 90% of all San Diego Drunk Driving arrests happen there, California DUI attorneys are told.

Last night and this morning 7 folks found themselves facing California drunk driving charges.  They were trapped in a San Diego DUI roadblock staged at 2600 Ingraham, the famous "bridge trap." This location has been previously posted as a warning to citizens at this valuable site.

Once you go up the bridge, you can't turn around.  At the bottom and to the right of the median lies the perfect San Diego DUI checkpoint trap.  Over seven hundred vehicles had nowhere to go but inside the California roadblock between 11 and 3 a.m.  Over five hundred were screened for possible DUI, attorneys report.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How do we know Police Lie In Reports & In Court? It's been documented over-and-over, say San Diego California DUI research attorneys

It's long been noted policemen will sometimes lie under oath or in the police report.  Prosecutors have pointed this out.  Attorney Generals/Governors have pointed this out.  Courts have noted it. [People v. Cook, 22 Cal.3d 67 (1978)]

3 reasons have been stated why police perjury may occur:

"1. That the natural desire of a police officer to see a criminal brought to justice may cause him to be less than candid in connection with a collateral inquiry which does not go to what appears to him to be the only relevant question:  was the defendant a thief? 

2. That law enforcement is often a 'competitive enterprise' (Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 12 [20 L.Ed.2d 889, 900, 88 S.Ct. 1868]Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14 [92 L.Ed. 436, 440, 68 S.Ct. 367]; and 

3. That a police officer who has conducted an illegal search and seizure may be subject to criminal, civil and disciplinary sanctions."  [People v. Dickerson, 273 Cal.App.2d 645, 650 fn.4 (1969)]

Police sometimes lie especially in DUI or Drugs cases say San Diego California DUI lawyers.

Police lying is why we need video and audio taping in California patrol cars and breath test rooms to monitor DUI cops, say San Diego attorneys.

Courts have laid out rules for deciding cases when there is evidence contradicting police testimony.

Police lying has been noticed by numerous legal commentators.  Sometimes the police testimony is "inherently unreal." Sometimes there is "independent contradiction of the police testimony" or corroboration of the defendant's testimony. Videos always help.

The Los Angeles Times today reports that LAPD police officers incorrectly testified that they had seen drug defendant Guillermo Alarcon discard a small box as they chased him into his Hollywood apartment. 

The police officers in a criminal trial said officer Evan Samuel had quickly located the box and found it stuffed with crack and powder cocaine. 

In Alarcon's criminal trial, LAPD Officers Manuel Bernardo Ortiz, Evan Samuel and Richard Amio committed perjury. 

Charges against Alarcon were abruptly dropped when Alarcon's criminal defense attorney presented in court a video that contradicted all three officers' testimony.

The criminal defense lawyer showed a video proving it took multiple officers about 20 minutes of searching before the container was found.

The video also featured officers talking about Ortiz finding the box, which directly contradicted his testimony. Ortiz had said he did not participate in the search.

Officer Manuel Bernardo Ortiz, who was convicted of one count each of perjury and conspiracy, must perform 900 hours of graffiti removal or work for the California Department of Transportation.

Ortiz, 40, was one of three Los Angeles Police Department officers convicted in connection with the arrest of Guillermo Alarcon Jr. Former officers Evan Samuel and Richard Amio were convicted of multiple counts of perjury for testifying falsely during different court proceedings. Samuel also wrote a police report that contained inaccuracies.

Ortiz was relieved of duty without pay during the criminal proceedings, according to a police source with knowledge of the case who requested anonymity because officer discipline matters are confidential. The department will now press ahead with efforts to have Ortiz fired if he does not resign first.

Amio resigned from the LAPD in February, the source said. Samuel, who had left the LAPD for the Chino Police Department in 2008, was fired from that agency following his conviction.

Prosecutors argued that all three officers should serve time in state prison, but the men instead were sentenced to perform community labor.

Chicago Drug Cops just got caught lying, too. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Should there be a law requiring police to videotape all California DUI driving, testing and questioning, attorneys demand?

Of course the cops should be legally required to collect and preserve all audio and video taping of their observations of a person accused or suspected of DUI, California DUI lawyers reasonably know.

Otherwise, cops can exaggerate or even fabricate evidence without being checked, San Diego California drunk driving criminal defense attorneys confirm.  Video cameras have been led to result in dismissal of 79 DUI cases when cops fabricated evidence.

Do you really want to see special needs people punched by cops?  Videos like this can expose this abuse of power and perhaps help stop excessive police conduct!

Should citizens of California be outraged that Los Angeles Police Department have removed antennas from patrol cars, thereby successfully tampered with taping of DUI and other suspects?

The cameras, which turn on automatically whenever an officer activates the car's emergency lights and sirens or can be activated manually, are used to record traffic stops and other encounters that occur in front of the vehicle. Officers also wear small transmitters on their belts that relay their voices back to the antennas in the patrol car. Regardless of whether they are in front of the camera, officers' voices can be recorded hundreds of yards away from the car, said Sgt. Dan Gomez, a department expert on the recording devices.

The distance an officer can roam and still be recorded depends on what buildings and other objects are interfering with the signal. Removing an antenna does not render the voice recorder useless but cuts its range by as much as a third, Gomez said, citing information from the manufacturer.

Most of the antennas were removed from cars in the Southeast Division, which covers Watts, Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens, where relations between police and minority communities have historically been marred by mistrust and claims of officer abuse. The in-car video cameras have been touted as a powerful deterrent to police misconduct and a tool for defending officers against false accusations.

A federal judge last year formally ended more than a decade of close monitoring of the LAPD by the U.S. Department of Justice. The judge agreed to lift the oversight, in part, after city and police leaders made assurances that the LAPD had adequate safeguards, such as the cameras, in place to monitor itself.

The first sign of a problem came in early July when a Southeast supervisor noticed the cameras in a few patrol cars were missing antennas, said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a spokesman for Beck. Vehicles are equipped with two small antennas, one for each of the officers assigned to the car.

After the supervisor's discovery, a check of the entire fleet of cars in Southeast and the other divisions in the department's South Bureau was done. With a total of about 160 antennas installed in Southeast Division vehicles, 72 had been removed, Smith said. Twenty antennas from cars in other divisions were missing as well.

Because cars in the Southeast Division had been equipped with cameras since 2010 and different shifts of officers use the same car each day, officials decided an investigation into the missing antennas would have been futile, according to Smith and Capt. Phil Tingirides, the commanding officer of the Southeast Division.

Instead, warnings went out at roll-call meetings throughout South Bureau, and new rules were put in place requiring officers to document that both antennas were in place at the beginning and end of each shift. To guard against officers removing the antennas during their shifts, Tingirides said he requires patrol supervisors to make unannounced checks on cars.

"We took the situation very seriously. But because the chances of determining who was responsible was so low we elected to … move on," Smith said, adding that it cost the department about $1,500 to replace all the antennas.

Since the new protocols went into place, only one antenna has been found missing, Smith said.
Soboroff said Beck briefed him on the problem in September and assured him it had been resolved. Around the same time, the commission's inspector general, Alex Bustamante, learned of the antennas and opened an investigation, commission records show.

The department has not identified any cases in which poor audio quality left officials unable to judge whether an officer had acted appropriately, Smith said. It is impossible, however, to know if conversations were not recorded at all because of missing antennas.

Poor recordings during a shooting investigation drew the attention of commission members in February. They were puzzled why several cameras in cars at the scene had poor audio quality, while another had good, clear recordings. Even though the recorded conversations did not seem germane to the incident, the commissioners asked for answers about the problem.

Last month, the department conducted a follow-up audit and found that dozens of the transmitters worn by officers in Southeast Division were missing or damaged.

This time, department officials opted to open a formal investigation into whether officers broke or lost the devices intentionally.

Los Angeles Times reports police officers tampered with voice recording equipment in dozens of patrol cars in an effort to avoid being monitored while on duty, according to records and interviews.

An inspection by Los Angeles Police Department investigators found about half of the estimated 80 cars in one South L.A. patrol division were missing antennas, which help capture what officers say in the field. The antennas in at least 10 more cars in nearby divisions had also been removed.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other top officials learned of the problem last summer but chose not to investigate which officers were responsible. Rather, the officials issued warnings against continued meddling and put checks in place to account for antennas at the start and end of each patrol shift.
Members of the Police Commission, which oversees the department, were not briefed about the problem until months later.  In interviews with The Times, some commissioners said they were alarmed by the officers' attempts to conceal what occurred in the field, as well as the failure of department officials to come forward when the problem first came to light.

"On an issue like this, we need to be brought in right away," commission President Steve Soboroff said. "This equipment is for the protection of the public and of the officers. To have people who don't like the rules to take it upon themselves to do something like this is very troubling." Beck said there was no deliberate attempt to keep the commission in the dark, saying the failure to alert the board was "unintentional." "The department did not try to hide this issue," Beck said, emphasizing that he has been a vocal advocate for the in-car video cameras that rely on the antennas.  Commissioner Robert Saltzman said he plans to ask department officials to answer questions publicly about how they handled the issue at a meeting this month.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Which roads to stay away from when going downtown San Diego on weekends, California DUI attorneys warn

Because the cops work hard to keep DUI checkpoint locations secretly under seal until a poor motorist finds himself or herself trapped, often the only help San Diego DUI lawyers can provide is to track the "usual suspect locations."

Like most human beings, drunk driving police are creatures of habit.  Last night's 1500 Fifth Avenue California DUI checkpoint is a common location for SDPD's "weekend crashers."

It's just a matter of knowing the streets to stay away from.  Avoid 1st Ave and G Street (East Village) when exiting Gaslamp.  Avoid Garnet and Grand Avenues in Pacific Beach and going towards the I-5; instead use far west streets north towards La Jolla even though it's longer drive to the north or use far west Mission Beach routes south towards Ocean Beach.

If you did not avoid 5th Avenue last night just before 11 pm until 3 a.m., you might have been one of the 10 unlucky drivers who found themselves unable to avoid yet another California DUI checkpoint in downtown San Diego on the weekend, local attorneys are told.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 2014 is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, California's San Diego Sheriff's Department announces

April 2014 is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, California's San Diego Sheriff's Department announced today.

Any California driver that texts or uses a hand-held cell phone can cause a crash that leads to serious injuries or even death.  Drivng while using a cell phone can be more dangerous than drunk driving.

San Diego's Sheriff's Department will have a "zero tolerance" policy toward drivers caught using a hand-held cell phone, attorneys are told. San Diego California DUI Deputies will dispatch special distracted driving enforcement patrols across the county on April 3rd, April 8th, April 17th and April 22nd, lawyers report.

One can view a California public safety video on the dangers of distracted driving by following the San Diego Sheriff's Department on YouTube:  Put the phone in the trunk if drinking, DUI lawyers remind.

If you are stopped for violating California's cell phone laws, you will be cited and face a minimum fine of $161 plus court fees with subsequent violations being higher.

California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) claims drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

"We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously," said Sheriff Bill Gore. "Sheriff's Deputies are always on the lookout for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones to prevent accidents that could seriously hurt people.  DISTRACTED DRIVING: IT'S NOT WORTH IT!"