Monthly Archives - September 2014

What A DUI really means for your Bank Account

Perhaps you aren’t aware that drinking and driving is a cash cow for the legal system. Maybe you think that it’s just a slap on the wrist and a few fines and then you’re back to driving again. If that’s what you think, your mind is about to be blown.

According to MSNBC, “A typical DUI costs about $10,000 by the time you pay bail, fines, fees, and insurance, even if you didn’t hit anything or hurt anybody.” That was back in 2011. A new report by the Automobile Club of Southern California says that a first-time DUI conviction in California can cost you as much as $15,649. Are you under 21? If so, the news is worse: You can expect it to cost you $22,492, according to the same report.

Right. That’s a lot more than a slap on the wrist. It’s a full-fisted grab into your bank account, and it’s one that keeps taking and taking. Here’s how some of the costs break down:

  • Bail: $150 to $2000.
  • Towing: $100 to $300.
  • Vehicle Impounding: $100 to $400 depending on the length of impound, and if you don’t retrieve your vehicle in 60 days, it can be sold at auction.
  • Insurance Increase: Up to $40,000 over a 13-year span, according to DMV.org. Some of this fee is the required SR-22 certification for the first three years. After that, the costs are from increased premiums as compared to the baseline for your age.
  • Legal Fees: Up to $25,000. A competent DUI lawyer is going to cost around $4,000, with higher costs for more experienced and high-profile cases.
  • Fines: $390 minimum, up to $3,000. The judge may allow you to do community service or jail time instead of paying part of the fine.
  • Alcohol and Driving Classes: $550 and 12 to 45 hours, depending on the judge’s discretion, on the first offense. A second offense carries 18 months of required classes. The cost for the 18-month class is significantly higher and varies depending on the school.
  • Monitoring Devices: $300 to $1,200. Generally, first-offenders are not required to wear a monitoring device. If, however, the judge deems it necessary, these devices are available for rent and will cost about $100 a month plus a security deposit of $200 or more.
  • Ignition Lock: $100 to $200 plus monthly rental fees of $70 to $100.
  • License Reinstatement Fee: $150.

What none of this takes into account is the lost work time that comes with a DUI. In addition to money being siphoned out of your bank account at an alarming rate, you must spend a lot of time in court and attending classes. This is time taken away from your job. So not only are you spending money, but you aren’t making as much, either. In felony cases, your employer may even fire you based on your single DUI conviction.

If you are facing a potential DUI conviction, contact a lawyer specializing in DUI defense right away. Don’t go it alone; you could be costing yourself tens of thousands of dollars.

By Ted Burgess
Google

10 things you Don’t Expect from a DUI Conviction

DUI Lawyer

You’re probably well aware that you can lose your driving privileges if you get convicted of a DUI in California. What you may not know is that there are several ways that a DUI conviction can affect your life outside of needing to count on someone else for rides for six months or longer. Here is a list of ten things that you don’t expect from a DUI conviction but that may happen.

Fines, Fines and More Fines

In addition to losing your license, you are going to be subject to fines and court costs. It’s $75 here, $30 there, and pretty soon, you could be paying up to $1,000 in fines for your very first DUI conviction. Habitual offenders can expect anywhere from $1,800 to $18,000 in fines depending on the seriousness of the offense and your previous driving record.

Loss of Job

First, your employer may have a provision in their handbook that allows them to fire you over any criminal offense. Since DUI can be a felony charge, your employer can choose to fire you over it. Also, the DUI will require you to take a lot of time off to meet with lawyers and to spend in court. Your employer may not take kindly to that, and you may end up out of a job.

No Car Insurance

Yes, your car insurance can drop you for a DUI. Yes, you will still be able to get new insurance, but it’s going to cost you a pretty penny. Even a single DUI conviction is enough to nearly double your current insurance rates.

Home and Health Insurance Increase

A DUI can cause your heath and home insurance rates to go up. Many insurance companies consider a DUI a risk factor that indicates poor decision-making. Although the increases may not be as steep as with your car insurance, they will add up.

Ignition Lock Devices and DUI Classes

When you get convicted of a DUI, the court can force you to have an ignition lock device on your car at your cost. You may also be required to attend DUI classes, also at your cost. These items can quickly add up to $500 or more.

Professional License Forfeiture

Many professions have associations that govern their licensing. Doctors, lawyers, and other specialists may have their licenses revoked by the governing agency for a DUI conviction. Usually, it will take a track record of poor performance or judgment, but most professional associations make it possible to revoke a license for a single felony.

Missed Work for Court Dates

As mentioned earlier, you may have to take significant time off from work to prepare for and attend court hearings. This can result in lost wages in addition to the fines and other costs associated with a DUI.

Job Application Issues

As a felony, a DUI must be put on job applications and shows up on background checks. If a hiring manager has narrowed hiring down to you and a candidate without the same DUI history, you may lose out on the job because of that one poor decision.

Scholarships May Be Unavailable

Many colleges won’t give scholarships to those with an arrest record. Also, you may be passed over for acceptance based on your DUI record.

No Weapons Permit for You

Having a felony on your record will prevent you from being able to carry a firearm. This can limit your ability to find a job or to continue in a job where carrying a weapon is part of the requirement.

These are only ten of the things that can happen because of a DUI conviction. If you or a loved one is facing one, please contact a DUI lawyer immediately to discuss your case. It will be the most important thing you do today.

By Ted Burgess
Google

7 Easy Tips to Avoid a DUI

Drunk Driving Lawyer Los Angeles

As I’ve mentioned before, getting pulled over for a DUI is one of the scarier things that can happen to a person. The threat of a DUI charge can cause people to act in ways they normally wouldn’t, especially if they’ve had a bit to drink. The best way to avoid a DUI is to not do anything to get yourself pulled over in the first place. Here’s what you should be doing if you’re going out for a night cap or attending a party where there is social drinking involved.

  1. Make sure to eat something while you’re drinking. It will help slow down the intake of alcohol into your system. When you drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol is absorbed more quickly and your blood alcohol content (BAC) rises at a faster rate than if you are eating. Have some pretzels or other appetizer foods and spread out the alcohol so you don’t end up with that dreaded 0.08 percent BAC.
  2. Keep your car in good condition. Having a light out or an expired tag is enough to get you pulled over. This is especially true at night when cops can easily pull you over for a burned-out headlight or failing blinker.
  3. Follow traffic laws. While you should always follow the law, follow it even closer if you’ve had a bit to drink. Don’t forget to use your signal light when changing lanes and stick to the speed limit. You don’t want to give an officer any reason to pull you over and do a field sobriety test.
  4. Keep your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information in easy-to-access places. If you fumble around for those items, that’s going to go on the officer’s report as reasonable suspicion to do a field sobriety test.
  5. Keep informed about DUI checkpoints in the area and avoid them. If you are an L.A. local, look to Mr. Checkpoint on Twitter. Otherwise, most DUI crackdowns are required to be mentioned in a public forum, usually on a local police website or in the community paper. Know where these checkpoints are and plan a route around them.
  6. Stay focused on the task of driving. Although you may be able to hold a phone conversation and switch radio stations when you’re sober, don’t do it if you’ve been drinking. Your reaction time is slower, and you need all of your concentration on the road to avoid even small swerves.
  7. I’m not going to tell you not to drink to avoid a DUI: That one is common sense. However, having a designated driver is a good idea. If you are caught driving while impaired, it can cause all kinds of problems in your everyday life. If you get in an accident, it can be even worse because you could be responsible for ending someone else’s.

While these are all good ways to avoid a DUI, the real focus should be on driving safely and getting yourself home without an accident. If you feel like you’ve had too much to drink to drive safely, call a friend or call a cab and get a ride home.

By Ted Burgess
Google

Marijuana and DUI: All you need to know

Los Angeles Marijuana lawyer

Personally, it seems to me that California is well on its way to legalizing marijuana like Colorado and Washington. Making it legal won’t eliminate all of the legal ramifications that come with using it, though. For instance, a marijuana DUI would be just as likely with legalization as it would be while the drug is still illegal.

The difference between a regular DUI and a marijuana-related one is in the way that the drug is measured. This makes it both easier to be arrested for and easier to fight in court. According to California Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC, the arresting officer must believe that your marijuana use has hindered your “ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.” Basically, the officer has to think you are unable to drive.

Here’s what needs to be proven in a court of law:

  • You were operating a motor vehicle.
  • You were under the influence of marijuana.
  • Your mental abilities were impaired to a point that it affected your decision-making process.

Let’s break this down. Operating a motor vehicle can be as simple as placing the key in the ignition. If you were in the driver’s seat and the key was in, this fulfills part one. Most DUI cases don’t hinge on this particular point, but if you were arrested before starting your vehicle, this could come into play.

The second part is where the subjective nature of a marijuana DUI comes into play. If the officer who has pulled you over suspects that you are under the influence of marijuana or any other drug, they are likely to call in a DRE (drug recognition expert) to determine if you are under the influence. This officer will look for common signs of marijuana use including dilated pupils, a fast heart rate, elevated breathing rate, the smell of marijuana, red eyes, dry mouth, and slowed reaction times. Even though the officer may be an expert, these things are hard to prove in a court of law.

If the DRE determines that you are under the influence, you will be arrested and taken in to the station to be given a blood test. If you have a medical condition that prevents a blood test, a urine test may be taken instead. Both tests have fundamental flaws that make them unreliable as a method of saying you were under the influence at the time of your arrest. They do not indicate when you used marijuana or how much was used. Also, since there are no set levels of intoxication, there is no standard for the court to base its findings on.

If you are arrested in California for a marijuana DUI, you face the following penalties:

  • Probation for three to five years
  • A minimum of 96 hours of jail time and maximum of six months
  • Fines of $390 to $1,000
  • License suspension for six months

If you have been arrested for a marijuana DUI, speaking with an attorney who specializes in this area is extremely important. A good attorney can often poke holes in a marijuana DUI case and get your life back on track like nothing happened.

By Ted Burgess
Google