Author - Ted Burgess

About Ted Burgess

Ted Burgess is an experienced and passionate lawyer with The Los Angeles DUI Experts. He attended law school at both McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. In 1992, he earned his Juris Doctorate and then furthered his education at King’s College in London with a certification in International Law from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. In is free time, Ted is a world traveler, musician, marathon runner, and blogger.

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

10 Things Lawyers are Shocked they never learned in Law School

DUI lawyers Los Angeles California

Interestingly, even though you learned all about the law in law school, there was one major area of your education that was lacking: business management. Law has been taught the same way for so long that it has gotten stuck in a rut and has forgotten to keep up with the needs of the times. Hundreds of years ago, lawyers weren’t nearly as prevalent as they are today. If you had a degree in law, you had clients because there were no other options. Today, that’s not the case. That’s why several new lawyers are shocked that they never learned these 10 essential things that all lawyers need to understand.

Accounting

Accounting skills are essential for a new lawyer just starting out. Getting paid, getting your bills out, and tracking your invoices aren’t exactly glamorous, but they are essential to keeping your practice running. You’ll have to have a rudimentary knowledge of these things to stay in business.

Ethical Billing

What should you be charging your clients, and how should you be tracking it? With all of the classes in law school, it’s amazing that billing doesn’t come up. The clear thing here is that you bill for what you actually do. Detail all of your bills with exactly what you are charging for and the amount for each item. Try to bill in half-hour to one-hour blocks. Larger blocks can be harder to justify and detail. Also, always bill in simple language. Your clients aren’t lawyers and won’t understand overly technical bills.

Employee Management

You won’t be running a law office alone. You’ll need paralegals, a secretary, a billing department, and so on. Lawyers need to learn how to create a positive working environment for their employees. Be appreciative, check in with your employees on occasion, create a pleasant atmosphere in which to work, and whenever possible, treat them as equals. Remember, as a lawyer, you are only as good as your support staff allows you to be.

Networking

Hopefully, you learned a bit about networking while pulling all-nighters, but there is a lot more to networking than sharing lattes and pizza with potential colleagues. Learning to effectively use social networks is invaluable, but the real breadwinner knows how to close the deal with face-to-face meetings.

Mentors

Just because you are licensed to practice law doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about the job. Having a mentor gives you a huge advantage because they will have already been through many of the growing pains that you’ll experience. Often, you can find a lifelong mentor in a nearby city or at your college.

Client Communication

Your clients don’t speak legalese. If you can’t explain things in a language your clients understand, you’ll have a very short career. Make sure everyone in your office is personable and knows how to treat clients like the human beings they are. Be honest and up-front, and if you have to deliver bad news, do it as a human, not as a lawyer.

Choosing Technology

Make sure you have up-to-date tablets, laptops, and smartphones for all of your employees. The world is starting to go tech-crazy, and you’ll need to keep up. There is plenty of proprietary software out there to choose from to help you run your business. Go online and check out some of the savviest lawyers in the social media world and ask them exactly what they recommend you use.

Cost-Effective Office Management

Running a lean office will allow you to stay in business even when your client stable is dwindling. Consider eliminating as much paper from your office as possible. Digital technology has made shuffling stacks of paper a thing of the past. The best way to do this is to adopt a cloud computing mentality to help reduce the soft costs of running your business.

Marketing

Law is one of the most competitive fields in the world. It is a shame that more schools aren’t teaching lawyers how to market their practices. Learning about traditional television and print marketing is important, but online marketing is really taking off. Your best bet is to find a marketing company to help. Marketing is a rabbit hole that runs deep and could potentially suck up time you should be spending with your clients.

Cultivating Referrals

When you first start out, your client list is small. School has failed to ready you for this client drought. Build up your stable by checking with old friends either by phone or through an old-fashioned paper-and-ink letter. Create a tickler file that you can use to check in on potential clients. Do a client review in which you contact old clients to see what their current needs are or if they know anyone who needs your services.

Now that you have an idea of what you need to get your legal practice up and running, get out there and start doing it!

By Ted Burgess
Google

10 of the Worst Celebrity Mugshots

Being arrested can certainly do damage to a celebrity’s public image, making us think of them as possible law-breakers and look down on their behavior. But sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The difference between how a famous person looks on the red carpet and how they look at their absolute worst, when they’ve been dragged into a police station for booking, can be shocking (and sometimes a bit amusing as well). Let’s take a look at some of the most unflattering celebrity mugshots out there:

1. Nick Nolte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The undisputed king of terrible celebrity mugshots is the often-parodied Nick Nolte pic from 2002. Is it the crazy hair? The dazed look? The Hawaiian shirt? Personally, I think it’s the total package. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a look like this as a Halloween costume!

2. James Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Godfather of Soul is also the godfather of drunk mug shots. While not as outlandish as Nolte, the hair and unshorn face here are just enough to make this the best musician mugshot of all time, though only barely.

3. Randy Travis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If they did full-body mugshots, Randy Travis would have beaten out James Brown. His naked romp that ended in a single vehicle accident led to one of the best country music stories of 2012. This bloody mugshot is one of those that will be remembered “forever and ever, amen.”

4. Yasmine Bleeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The former “Baywatch” babe looked more like the poster girl for “Cops” in her September 2001 mugshot. Her story was quickly buried by the events of September 11th, but recently, the media has rediscovered it. Then-and-now stories are always better with a great mugshot, don’t you think?

5. Wynonna Judd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s no surprise that there are multiple country music stars on the bad mugshot list. After all, country music does have a lot of drinking in it. Judd knows all about it from experience. When she was booked for DUI in 2003, her blood alcohol content was 0.175 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

6. Rip Torn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was Rip Torn drunk? Well, he refused a breath test, and he looked like this. I’d say it’s a pretty sure thing that the glazed-over eyes and the fact that he hit a semi-tractor with his car were two strikes against him right away. But hey, maybe it wasn’t such a bad deal for him. Rip did get a stint on “30 Rock” the very next year!

7. Gary Coleman

 

 

 

 

 

Was Gary Coleman the devil? This mugshot is pretty good evidence. Although he may have been doing an early audition for a darker version of Yoda in the next “Star Wars” trilogy instead. All in all, this is one of the scariest celebrity mugshots of all time.

8. Mike Tyson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, that’s Iron Mike. He had several mugshots to choose from, but this one from 2006 was by far the best. On this night, he nearly struck a police cruiser and was found to be both under the influence and in possession of two baggies of cocaine.

9. Michael Madsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s no surprise that Michael Madsen made this list. After all, if you get arrested on a yearly basis, you’re bound to have a bad mugshot in the bunch. This one came with a breathalyzer of 0.20 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

10. Charlie Sheen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would any mugshot list be complete without Charlie Sheen? His antics are widely known to both his friends and the media. This shot from 2009 shows Sheen looking a bit upset with his arrest for domestic abuse. Well, at least he still had “Two and a Half Men” … oh yeah, I forgot how that worked out.

By Ted Burgess
Google

Biggest DUI Cases in California since 2005

DUI attorneys in Los Angeles

I’ve found that most of the biggest cases of DUI in California almost always center around celebrities behaving badly. Since 2005, celebrity DUIs have been a public fascination, and why shouldn’t they be? Here are some of the biggest in recent memory.

Let’s start with the kid from The Sixth Sense, Haley Joel Osment. He may have seen dead people in real life after flipping his car on its roof in 2006. He broke his rib and dislocated his shoulder and was found to be under the influence as well as in possession of some marijuana. Of course, the media ran with this one because of his childhood stardom, even though there are dozens of cases like this every month in California.

Paris Hilton is another one of those celebrities who kept finding herself in trouble for a few years. Her 2006 DUI, while not the most spectacular, did garner attention because of her 45-day jail sentence. Most celebrities don’t end up spending even a day in jail for DUI. In her case, it took getting caught driving twice on a suspended license that finally got her jail time.

For something more spectacular, we don’t have to look any further than Mel Gibson. Gibson was pulled over in 2006 doing 87 in a 35 mph zone and then launched into one of the most famous anti-Semitic rants in recent history. This came on the tails of his release of the controversial Jesus biopic The Passion of the Christ. The rant was focused on the officer who pulled him over, who he assumed to be Jewish. While there is an audio transcription of the encounter, the tape has never been released to the public. However, if you want to hear some alleged Mel Gibson rants, browse YouTube for a minute or two and you’ll find several examples.

Perhaps the biggest DUI case in California, at least as far as the media is concerned, was involving Lindsay Lohan. It’s not the actual 2007 DUI that was so special but the media circus that surrounded it. Her image quickly went from that of a wholesome teenage starlet who was the darling of Hollywood to an out-of-control young woman with multiple DUIs, drug problems, and a complete lack of discipline. She had multiple run-ins with the law and then even more problems following the instructions given to her by the court.

While celebrities get all of the media attention, perhaps the biggest DUI case in recent history was actually a case of laboratory error in Orange County. The lab in Orange County provided inaccurate blood alcohol tests in more than 2,000 cases filed by prosecutors in 2013, according to letters sent out by prosecutors in November of that year. In more than 900 of these cases, the accused was convicted, at least partially based on these inaccurate results. The lab is downplaying the errors and has stated that only about 20 cases will see the 0.08 percent over-the-limit reading fall below the legal limit once the results are recalculated. Still, in those other cases, defendants were arguing at a disadvantage and likely received greater punishments than they deserved. This is what makes this case the biggest and most important in California in the past 10 years.
By Ted Burgess
Google

Top 12 Tips For New Lawyers

drunk driving lawyers in Los Angeles

Congratulations on joining the ranks of the legal profession! Now, it’s time for you to learn all of the things they don’t teach you in law school – the important things. Here are the 12 most important tips that I can give you to make your transition from legal novice to seasoned professional as smooth as possible.

  1. Listen three times as much as you talk. People around you who have been in the system know things that will come in handy. You don’t have to know the answers to everything – in fact, you’ll learn more from those around you than you ever did in class.
  2. Keep your staff happy at all costs. Without their support, you will find that you are working 10 times as hard and getting half as much done.
  3. Sometimes, you will be the one doing the legwork while someone else is getting the credit. This is just part of the process. To get to the good stuff, you’ve got to be willing to spend some time in the trenches. Those people you helped will be valuable allies later on down the road.
  4. It isn’t as important to tell someone the answer as it is to teach them why the answer is correct. This makes the recipient feel like you care about them because you took time out of your day to give a full explanation, and it will help you gain a reputation for intelligence as well as compassion.
  5. When a client or colleague is in your office, you are a host. Make sure you take care of them. This is all part of the reputation-building process. People are more likely to recommend someone they like – be that person.
  6. Be early for your appointments. There is nothing more inconsiderate than showing up late or wasting someone else’s time. If you are going to be late, call ahead and explain the situation. This shows the person you are having the meeting with that you value their time. Everyone likes to be valued.
  7. Understand how your client thinks. Your client cares about the value you bring in relationship to your cost. Don’t base your rates on what others around you think you should be charging – base them on what your client base is comfortable with.
  8. Take time to relax. All work and no play makes Jack an ineffective worker. You need to remain in balance to keep your mind sharp. Don’t neglect a vacation, and try not to take your work home with you.
  9. You don’t always have the best answer. If someone else does, give them credit for it. The client will get the best value, and you will have gained the trust of your colleague, who will likely want to work with you again.
  10. Manage your online image. Your clients and colleagues know how to Google you, and they will. Make sure your professional profiles are professional and your personal profiles are tasteful. If you post something that is polarizing on your social media channels, you risk alienating potential clients and coworkers.
  11. Sometimes a client doesn’t need you in the capacity of a lawyer. There is a modicum of trust in your position, and your client might just need someone they trust to talk to. You don’t always have to be making a case: Sometimes, just listening is enough.
  12. Your job is to communicate and communication is a two-way street. If no one understands what you are saying, you aren’t communicating. Use clear, concise language. Just because you have a huge vocabulary doesn’t mean everyone else does. Keep it simple.

Follow this advice and you’ll quickly find yourself in demand while your classmates wallow in the trenches for years on end.
By Ted Burgess
Google

11 Of The Oddest Laws in California

Los Angeles drunk driving attorneys

California often gets a bad rap for having too many regulations. For the most part, though, these laws make life easier and safer for everyone. However, I’ve found that there are laws on the books that are either amazingly specific or things that should be common sense. I wonder why some of these things even became laws in the first place. For example, this first one seems like it should be a no brainer, yet here it is, passed in 2012.

  • It is Illegal to have sexual activity with detained persons. Yep, police officers and government employees are not allowed to touch people in incarceration in any sexual way. The full text of the law is very specific and mentions rubbing of breasts, sodomy, and other potential sexual activities.

Not every law is nearly as obvious as the first one. Most of these other laws fall into the category of “really? We needed a law for that?” A little bit of digging gets to the truth. Most silly laws are actually silly interpretations of laws that make sense or are holdovers from a bygone era.

  • In Los Angeles County, it is illegal to throw a Frisbee without the permission of a lifeguard. Why? That’s a really good question. The actual law is that if a lifeguard asks you to stop throwing a football, Frisbee, or other beach toy for the safety of other beachgoers, then you can be fined up to $1,000 for failure to comply.
  • In Norco, you have to get $100 permit to keep a rhinoceros. This is actually a law that covers all exotic animals. The residents of this area tend to have quit a few exotic pets and on occasion they get out. This necessitated the ordinance. Here is the text of the law:
    Section 8.05.020 Permit – Definition
    Except as provided in this chapter, no person shall possess, keep, maintain or have in his possession or under his control, within the city, any elephant, bear, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, lion, tiger, leopard, panther, ocelot, lynx, cougar, wolf, alligator, fox, raccoon, coyote, monkey, ape, chimpanzee, birds of prey, poisonous reptile, other dangerous or carnivorous wild animal, other vicious or dangerous domesticated animal or any other animal of wild or vicious propensities, without first applying to and receiving a permit from the city of Norco to do so.
    (Ord. 581, Sec. 1 (part), 1988)
  • In Los Angeles, it is illegal to wear a zoot suit. This law doesn’t make much sense today, but back in the 1930s and ’40s, good fabric was hard to come by because of the war effort. Zoot suits, because of their excessive fabric, were seen as unpatriotic. These suits were mainly worn by Hispanics in the Los Angeles area and led to several fights between the Hispanics and whites in the area. The law was passed to stop these large-scale altercations.

Some laws, however, just leave me scratching my head. These are laws that seem to exist for no other reason than to make life more complicated than it needs to be or to punish a single individual in a single locality. Let’s start with one from Fresno.

  • In Fresno, no one may annoy a lizard in a city park. Of course, the lizard is only part of the law. But did we really need a law to stop harassment of animals in city parks?
    Section 8-410. Disturbing animals in parks.
    No person shall hunt, pursue, annoy, throw stones or missiles at, or molest or disturb in any way, any animal, bird or reptile within the confines of any park. (Orig. Ord. 1076).
  • In the city of Walnut, it is illegal for a man to dress up like a woman unless prior permission has been gained from the sheriff.
    17-31 Male dressing as female.
    No man or boy shall dress as a girl or woman without a permit from the sheriff, except for the purpose of amusement, show or drama.
    (Code 1959, 4237.1)
  • Also in Walnut, no child can wear a Halloween mask without permission from the sheriff.
    17-32 Mask or disguise-Wearing.
    No person shall wear a mask or disguise on a public street without a permit from the sheriff.
    (Code 1959, 4237.2)
  • In Dana Point, you may not use your own bathroom if the window is open. It would seem that this law was meant to prevent certain smells from leaking out. Still, did we really need a law saying you have to close your windows before going number two?

Those laws make some sense, but there are some that are absolutely ridiculous. Don’t believe it? Check these California laws out.

  • In Chico, detonating a nuclear device incurs a $500 fine. Because $500 is going to take care of the damage done by a nuclear weapon, surely.
  • No vehicle may exceed 60 mph if there is no driver. This one leaves me scratching my head.
  • In San Francisco, it is illegal to store your things in your garage. The housing code makes this explicit and allows fines of up to $500 for improper use of the garage.
    Chapter 6 of the San Francisco Housing Code 399-89
    (a) No automobile or other motor vehicle shall occupy any portion of an apartment house or hotel except in a garage which meets the requirements of the Building Code and other provisions of the Municipal Code.
    (b) Use. Private and public storage garages in apartment houses and hotels shall be used only for storage of automobiles.
    (c) Separation. See Section 406.1 of the Building Code. When approved, existing separations in existing buildings may be acceptable.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to odd California laws. Almost every community has an ordinance covering something minor that has happened in the distant past. The good news is that most of these laws are not actively enforced, but they are still on the books.

By Ted Burgess
Google

Over The Limit: Blood Alcohol Content By State

DUI breathalyzer test in Los Angeles

There was a time when driving over state lines could save you from a DUI. That’s not true anymore. Every state in the union has adopted the same over-the-limit point: 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). But that doesn’t mean that every state has the same penalties. Many states have an enhanced over-the-limit policy for drivers who are significantly above the legal limit. For California, a BAC over 0.15 percent will immediately put you in the enhanced category and get you higher fines and stiffer jail and rehabilitation penalties.

Obviously, these higher penalties are meant to serve as both preventative and punitive measures. It is interesting to note that enhanced BAC levels start at 0.15 percent and can reach 0.20 percent in some states before grater sanctions are imposed on drivers.

Here is when the enhanced penalties kick in:

  • Alabama: 0.15 percent
  • Alaska: 0.15 percent (at judge’s discretion)
  • Arizona: 0.15 percent
  • Arkansas: 0.15 percent
  • California: 0.15 percent
  • Colorado: 0.17 percent
  • Connecticut: 0.16 percent
  • Delaware: 0.16 percent
  • District of Columbia: 0.20 percent and 0.25 percent
  • Florida: 0.20 percent
  • Georgia: 0.15 percent
  • Hawaii: 0.15 percent
  • Idaho: 0.20 percent
  • Illinois: 0.16 percent
  • Indiana: 0.15 percent
  • Iowa: 0.15 percent
  • Kansas: 0.15 percent
  • Kentucky: 0.18 percent
  • Louisiana: 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent
  • Maine: 0.15 percent
  • Maryland: 0.15 percent
  • Massachusetts: 0.20 percent for underage drinkers
  • Michigan: 0.17 percent
  • Minnesota: 0.20 percent
  • Mississippi: N/A
  • Missouri: 0.15 percent
  • Montana: 0.16 percent
  • Nebraska: 0.15 percent
  • Nevada: 0.18 percent
  • New Hampshire: 0.16 percent
  • New Jersey: 0.10 percent
  • New Mexico: 0.16 percent with mandatory jail sentences
  • New York: 0.18 percent
  • North Carolina: 0.15 percent
  • North Dakota: 0.18 percent
  • Ohio: 0.17 percent
  • Oklahoma: 0.15 percent
  • Oregon: 0.15 percent
  • Pennsylvania: 0.16 percent
  • Rhode Island: 0.10 percent and 0.15 percent
  • South Carolina: 0.15 percent
  • South Dakota: 0.17 percent
  • Tennessee: 0.20 percent
  • Texas: 0.15 percent
  • Utah: 0.16 percent
  • Vermont: N/A
  • Virginia: 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent
  • Washington: 0.15 percent
  • West Virginia: 0.15 percent
  • Wisconsin: 0.17 percent, 0.20 percent, and 0.35 percent
  • Wyoming: 0.15 percent

In addition to the enhanced penalties for having a high BAC, there are other ways to get an enhanced penalty in certain states. For example, in Michigan, if a chemical test is refused at the time of arrest, there will be an administrative license suspension. The same is true in South Dakota, with a minimum of 30 days of suspension. Texas extends the suspension for test refusal to six months, and in Florida, refusal of a chemical test results in a year of license suspension.

If you are convicted of an enhanced-penalty BAC offense in certain states, a mandatory ignition lock may be placed on your primary vehicle. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Other states make it mandatory for repeat offenders or as a discretionary measure that can be added by judges. Currently, California has a pilot program in place in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare, and Sacramento counties that makes ignition locks a mandatory part of sentencing.

By Ted Burgess
Google

19 Celebrities With DUIs

Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer

Celebrities are real people, too. You may think they get away with things that the normal individual wouldn’t – and in some cases, you’d be right. But when it comes to drinking and driving, celebrities get DUIs just like the rest of us. Don’t believe me? Here are 19 reasons that you should.

Some of the names on this list will seem ludicrously obvious, while others might leave you a little shocked. Just know this – every celebrity on this list has had at least one DUI since 2007:

  1. Michelle Rodriguez
  2. Paris Hilton
  3. Kevin Hart
  4. Mike Tyson
  5. Vince Neil
  6. Shia LaBeouf
  7. Heather Locklear
  8. Michael Madsen
  9. Kiefer Sutherland
  10. Lindsay Lohan
  11. Jaime Pressly
  12. Jeffrey Donovan
  13. Mel Gibson
  14. Mischa Barton
  15. Nicole Richie
  16. Amanda Bynes
  17. Randy Travis
  18. Nick Nolte
  19. Gary Busey

Let’s talk about a few of these. It certainly makes sense that kids from ultra-rich families like Paris Hilton and her friend Nicole Richie are on this list. The same goes for rocker Vince Neil and perennial bad boys Michael Madsen and Nike Nolte.

You might not have been shocked to see Gary Busey on the list – he’s a weird one for sure, but strangely enough, the DUI you might be thinking about was something of a shock. That one was actually a staged event – Busey was framed by a local Malibu couple. Even though he was spotted “driving erratically,” when he was pulled over, he passed all of his sobriety tests. Lt. Rich Erickson, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, said, “Deputies determined that [Busey] was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Apparently, he’s just not that good a driver.”

In addition to the not-so-surprising part of the list, there is also that group that can be described as young kids having a good time and not really thinking too much about the consequences. Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan top this part of the list. I bet you’re surprised not to see Miley Cyrus on the list – it’s probably because she lets other people drive her around!

Let’s talk about some of the people who shouldn’t be surprises but were to me. Randy Travis is one. He tied one on so well in the summer of 2012 that he was found naked after crashing his Trans Am. He’d been having a bad run at that time and after the crash blew just under three times the legal limit – 0.21 percent.

Heather Locklear was another one that surprised me. Her DUI wasn’t a true case because she pleaded no contest and the case was dismissed, with her only having to pay a $700 fine and take 12 hours of road safety classes. Her DUI wasn’t alcohol-related but rather drug-related, although the details were not released.

I’ve saved the best for last – Shia LaBeouf. Back in 2008, LaBeouf was tagged with a DUI. This was long before his crazy plagiarism case and Twitter apology. This may have been the start of his downward spiral, as he clipped a car turning left at Fountain and La Brea avenues. He ended up getting a one-year license suspension for refusing a chemical test at the hospital.

Of course, there are hundreds of DUIs given out in Los Angeles County every day, so it stands to reason that at least a few of them will be given to celebs. There’s no doubt that we will see at least a few more high-profile DUIs this year.

By Ted Burgess
Google

19 Jun

Everything You Need To Know About DUI Law

DUI Lawyers in Los Angeles

Everything You Need To Know About DUI Law

In Los Angeles, DUI is one of the most common arrests made. This could be a function of all the DUI checkpoints, the number of drivers on the road, or just an ignorance of the law. I am going to try to get rid of that last one for you. Once you understand how the law works and what your options are, you’ll be better equipped to handle a situation where you are face to face with an officer.

Intoxication Limits

The first thing you need to know about DUI is what the legal definition is. Depending on your age and the type of license you have, the legal blood alcohol percentages (BACs) are different. If you are a typical driver, over the age of 21, with no special license provisions, the legal limit is .08%. If you have a commercial license, the limit is half of that – .04%. For underage drinkers, the limit is 0.00%. This zero tolerance policy means that taking cough medicine could technically land you with a DUI.

Police Procedure and Your Options

If you are pulled over by an officer or stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you have options. The very first thing you can do if the officer starts asking you questions that you are uncomfortable answering is state in a very polite way that you refuse to answer any more questions without the presence of a lawyer. You may also refuse a field sobriety test because they are not required by state law.

If you are under 21, this is the end of your options. If you are provided with a breathalyzer test you must take it. At 21 years of age you may decline this particular test. Keep in mind, the court may feel that your refusal to take a sobriety test is an indication of guilt, and that if you are found guilty the judge may come down with a harsher penalty due to your uncooperative nature at the time of the incident.

Legal Process

Officers may decide that you are unable to drive and take you into the station to await an arraignment. You can post bail at this time and have someone else pick you up from the station. Your car will normally be impounded and there will be a fee to release it back to you. If there is another person in the car with you, they may be asked to drive and you will be released on your own recognizance.

At your arraignment you may choose to plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. If you choose guilty or no contest you forfeit your right to contest the charges and you will be sentenced there on the spot. If you plead not guilty, you will be scheduled for a future court date.

At the time of your arrest for DUI, the officer is required to take your license and give you a notice of suspension and a temporary 30 day license. The suspension begins 30 days from your arrest date. If you are pleading not guilty in your DUI case, you should also challenge this administrative suspension to ensure you do not have your license suspended. You must request a hearing within 10 days of receiving your temporary license or the suspension will be considered no contest and go into effect.

Potential Outcomes

If you are found guilty of a DUI in Los Angeles, the penalty will depend on your past record. If this was your first offense you will get a mandatory 6 month suspension on your license, up to 6 months in county jail, sentenced to attend 3 to 9 months of alcohol classes and have to pay fines of between $390 and $1000. You will also have 2 points added to your license and your insurance rates will go up.

A second DUI within a 10 year period will result in a 2 year suspension of driving privileges, 4 days to 1 year in county jail, 18 months of alcohol classes and a $390 to $1000 fine.

A third DUI in 10 years will get you a 3 year license suspension, 4 months to a year in county jail, 18 months of alcohol classes and another $390 to $1000 fine.

By Ted Burgess
Google

By Los Angeles DUI Info 0 Comments Read more...
11 Jun

How Much Are College Students Really Drinking?

Los Angeles DUI Attorneys

Every year, there is a story or two about drinking on college campuses. It usually focuses on a tragedy due to some sort of fraternity or sorority event. Of course, these sensationalized stories focus on the tragedy at hand and then talk about the amount of drinking on college campuses. This is a huge concern for me, personally, because I end up defending a lot of college students accused of driving under the influence. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and studies from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Core Institute paint a very stark picture when it comes to college drinking and binge drinking in particular.

How much are college kids drinking? A lot – at least according to these self-reported surveys.

According to Core Institute study participants:

  • Seventy-two percent of college students reported having a drink in the past 30 days, and 84% had a drink in the past year.
  • In the under-21 crowd, 69% had used alcohol in the past 30 days, and 82% had in the past year.
  • Freshmen reported drinking an average of more than five and a half drinks per week; 45% also reported binge drinking in the past two weeks.
  • Thirty-three percent of freshmen reported an increase in their drinking since entering college.
  • Seventy-nine percent of fraternity members felt that drinking is a central part of social life.
  • Seventy-two percent of sorority members felt that drinking is a central part of social life.

The biggest problem with the Core study is that it is a self-report. People aren’t always truthful when they are asked to self-report things, even anonymously. In this case, the self-reporting is likely to have trended higher because of the attitudes of the students toward drinking. Drinking in college is seen as socially acceptable and, in some cases, a requirement for being part of the “in crowd.” It’s this attitude that really stands out in the survey.

That leads to the real problem, which, according to the NIH, can be seen in the estimated number of injuries and deaths attributed to alcohol in this particular subset of society.

  • It is estimated that nearly 600,000 students between 18 and 24 are accidentally injured while under the influence of alcohol every year.
  • Among students of the same age range, 1,825 are killed in alcohol-related motor-vehicle crashes and through other unintentional injuries.
  • The most shocking number is the estimated 3,360,000 students ages 18 to 24 who drive under the influence of alcohol.

The NIH numbers made me shake my head – especially the estimated number of students who drink and then drive. When police and government officials see numbers like that, they get worried. If they are true, there is good reason to target and pull over young adults who might be swerving or otherwise driving erratically. This is one of the arguments that is brought up all the time to defend DUI stops in the LA area. Of course, being part of the college student demographic shouldn’t make you a target for unwarranted searches. Unfortunately, it might. If it does, call me – I can help.

By Ted Burgess
Google

By Los Angeles DUI Info 0 Comments Read more...
04 Jun

The Best TV Lawyers You Hate to Love

Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

Don’t feel bad if you’ve fallen for some of those “less than perfect” lawyers that invade your home on weekday nights. I’m a professional and still find myself rooting for Saul Goodman (In fact, I can’t wait for Better Call Saul to start). That made me think – what other lawyers are out there that people have really mixed feelings about? Let’s take a look at a few.

Saul Goodman – Breaking Bad

Saul is probably the whole reason that this article even exists. He has a shrewd legal mind and he doesn’t mind using it to help those in less than legal professions. His morals are questionable, but he sure is entertaining. He is willing to do just about anything (from class action lawsuits to helping Walt get set up with an entirely new identity). But the real reason we love Saul is his cheap and clever advertising and his ever optimistic take on things.

Saul sums up his character better than anything anyone else could say about him when he tells Skylar, “Walter never told me how lucky he was. Clearly his taste in women is the same as his taste in lawyers: only the very best… with just a right amount of dirty!”

Patty Hewes – Damages

Glenn Close played one of the most impressive evil lawyers in the history of television. As Patty Hewes, she came off as a brilliant master manipulator and could be described as the most ruthless lawyer ever to air on TV. She commanded the screen like few others have before or since. She was so good in this role that Glenn Close earned two Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for her portrayal.

I’m not sure why I don’t loathe this character more. There is something about understanding her motivations and needing to watch as she justifies the actions she takes that makes me cling to her. I followed the show when it jumped networks just to watch where Close took her character (and apparently I wasn’t the only one).

Denny Crane – Boston Legal

No one loves Denny Crane more than Denny Crane. He’s egotistical, smoke fine cigars and downs expensive scotch. He exaggerates his success (6,000 cases won and never a loss). He is shameless about the way he hits on women. Really, he is the epitome of what a sleazy lawyer looks like. Why do I love him? Because he’s all show.

He loves his guns and is a strict Republican through and through, but has a very close relationship with Alan Shore – a liberal to the core. In moments when he isn’t in court or on show – the private ones in his office – he shows that there is a real, feeling man under there. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the guns. Denny loves his guns and they come into play far more often than you’d expect.

The condition that really draws me close to him, though, is his struggle with memory and the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. William Shatner plays the part to perfection.

Who is your favorite? Is it someone not on the list like Ted from Scrubs? Let me know. These are just my three favorites.

By Ted Burgess
Google

By Los Angeles DUI Info 0 Comments Read more...