State’s ticket amnesty program deadline past

For some people in California, a traffic violation can result in a fine so high that it is not able to be paid. The financial hardship that can result can add insult to injury for people in this situation. In addition, when a driver’s license suspension is part of the equation, people can experience severe hardships due to some very minor infractions. Two years ago, the state of California’s Governor signed a bill that created a one-time program granting amnesty to some of these people.

The goal of the program was to give drivers a chance to clear their records and have a fresh start. Excluded from the program were drivers with reckless driving, drunk driving or other misdemeanor offenses on record as well as drivers with unpaid parking tickets. Any driver who had active arrest warrants or were required to pay restitution to other parties were also inelligible for participation.

People who were eligible were potentially able to reduce the amount they had to pay by up to 80 percent of the amount owed. The exact amount of money taken off the fines owed was based in part by drivers’ income levels. In additoin to fine reductions, holds on suspended licenses may be released. If drivers had been making payments on their fines but were delinquent they could not have the fines reduced but might have been able to get marks regarding failure to pay or appear in court removed from records. This program ended in early April.

After receiving a traffic ticket, it may help to talk with an attorney to learn what unique options might be available to help them.

Source: KPBS.org, “California Traffic Ticket Amnesty Program Ends Monday,” April 3, 2017

Reviewing the charge of “DUI Causing Injury”

Say you were out and about in Encino, had a couple of drinks with friends, then decided to drive home and ended up striking another vehicle, causing injuries to its occupants. What you have described has happened to many of the clients that we here at [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-3″] – Law Offices of Amir Soleimanian and Associates Inc. have worked with in the past. Depending on the exact circumstances of your accident, you could be facing criminal charges. The question then becomes how severe those charges may be, and whether or not they are merited by the law.

Section 23153 of the California Vehicle Code states that it is unlawful for you to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and concurrently doing any other act forbidden by law that results in injuries to another. If you are involved in such an accident, you could potentially face a charge of DUI Causing Injury, which could result in a prison sentence for up to 10 years, followed by a five-year revocation of your license.

Yet would such an accident warrant such penalties? Notice how the law says that you must be driving under the influence while doing another illegal activity in order to meet the standard set by this statute. To clarify this law, let’s return to the scenario mentioned in the beginning of this post. If you struck the other vehicle while under the influence and also speeding, then the law may apply as the court may cite speeding as the cause of the accident. However, if you were not speeding, you may end up only facing a misdemeanor charge as it may be difficult to prove that any other actions caused your accident.

You can discover more information about disputing felony DUI charges here on our site. 

Hit-and-run accidents: what type of charges am I facing?

Hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in California. If you leave the scene of a car accident, you could end facing criminal charges. Even if you did not cause the accident, state law prohibits drivers from leaving the scene. According to CBSLA.com, drivers who leave the scenes of car accidents can be criminally charged up to six years after the date of the events.

There are many reasons why your accident occurred. You may have been drinking or distracted. No matter the cause, the severity of the charges you face depend on if there are injuries, death and property damage. To better understand what is at stake, you should learn more about hit-and-run charges and their penalties.

Misdemeanor charge

Hit-and-run accidents that result in a small amount of property damage and no injuries are usually misdemeanors. If you receive a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge, you can expect to pay fines, restitution and spend up to six months in jail. If all you did was damage another person’s vehicle that does not mean that you will only face a misdemeanor charge. There are other factors that are used to determine the seriousness of the crime and appropriate penalties.

Felony charge

If someone is seriously hurt or dies from their injuries, you may end up facing felony charges. A felony hit-and-run charge is more serious than a misdemeanor charge because the penalties include prison time and thousands of dollars in restitution. Additional charges are possible if other traffic rules and laws were broken.

Hit-and-run accidents are serious crimes that you should not take lightly. Your ability to handle them depends on the circumstances and if you decide to seek out counsel. This information is only intended as educational material and should not be used as legal advice.

DUI charges are for more than drunk drivers

When you injured your back a few days ago, your doctor prescribed muscle relaxers. You are supposed to take two per day for the next ten days. Right on schedule, you took your second dose a couple of hours ago, but now you forgot to eat. In-N-Out Burger is just up the road, it will be a quick trip to go grab a burger and come home. Besides, you do not feel drowsy or incapacitated in any way. You were on your way home with your burger when a police officer pulled you over.

Charges for driving under the influence (DUI) are not limited to drunk drivers. A law enforcement officer can issue a DUI if he or she suspects a driver is under the influence of any kind of mind-altering substance. This includes drugs such as cocaine, LSD, marijuana and even legally obtained prescription drugs. If you have been charged with a DUI, you can fight the charges. A defense attorney in the Encino area can help you stand up against a DUI charge.

How do officers judge if you are under the influence?

When it comes to drunk drivers, officers have certain tests they can administer to judge whether a driver is intoxicated. Breathalyzers and Blood Alcohol Content tests can provide fairly accurate results. In cases where the driver is under the influence of other substances, other tests might provide positive results. Urine tests and bloodstream tests can have positive results for marijuana for weeks after use. However, there are no tests that accurately detect impairment.

There are some officers that are specially trained to judge whether or not a driver is under the influence of drugs. These officers will examine eye movements, the motorist’s actions, and other factors to determine if there might be drugs in someone’s system.

Prescription drug use

Some drugs, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxers and painkillers can have negative effects on drivers. They can often cause a driver to operate a vehicle in state similar to alcohol intoxication. Legally prescribed medicines and even medical marijuana can cause a driver to behave in an intoxicated manner and result in DUI charges. Unfortunately, possession of a legal prescription is not a defense to a DUI.

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. A driving under the influence conviction can cause problems for years to come.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

How accurate are breathalyzer tests?

Almost everyone in Encino (whether they do or do not drink) recognizes the number .08 as being the threshold for one’s blood alcohol content in order for him or her to be considered legally drunk. That knowledge has no doubt come from the various advertisements released through popular media showing law enforcement officers performing roadside breath tests. Yet have you ever wondered exactly how accurate breathalyzer devices truly are?

Law enforcement officials may have you believe that they are failsafe, and that any reading above .08 is ironclad proof that you are too intoxicated to drive an automobile. That is the reason why such a measurement virtually guarantees that you will be arrested for DUI after registering that reading at a checkpoint or after having been pulled over. There is a reason, however, that a confirmatory blood test is later taken to prove your BAC. The question is how big is the discrepancy between those results and a breathalyzer reading?

Research data shared by the National Motorists Association shows that breathalyzer readings can have up to a 50 percent margin of error when compared to your actual BAC. That means that registering a reading of .08 could actually indicate that your BAC could be as high as .13, or as low as .03.

If you do produce a lower measurement in a subsequent blood test, some may argue that it simply means your body has metabolized the alcohol. However, such a wide margin of error could help you in arguing that your BAC may not have actually been above the legal limit at the time of your arrest. While this information should not be considered to be legal advice, it may help in influencing your decision as to whether or not to refuse a breathalyzer test

Distracted driving affects all motorists

Prevention of distracted driving must be a concern for all motorists traveling in and around Encino. This entails knowing which behaviors fall into this dangerous category, as well as the ramifications of driving while distracted. While accidents can’t always be prevented, it’s up to each driver to do his or her part to ensure others remain safe on the road.

According to EndDD.com, many motorists don’t fully comprehend just how serious distracted driving can be. There are three different types of distracted driving behaviors, each of which can negatively impact one’s ability to maneuver a vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner. When drivers take their eyes off the road, even momentarily, this is considered a visual distraction. This can be a matter of looking away to change the radio station, or even use a GPS.

Drivers can also be distracted mentally, which entails letting their minds drift away from the task at hand or daydreaming. Removing one’s hands from the wheel is a classed as a manual distraction, such as when using a mobile device. Use of mobile devices or smart phones while driving is perhaps the riskiest behavior, as this combines all three types of dangerous driving behaviors into one activity.

To understand the real threat of driving while distracted, one only needs to look at recent statistics regarding the issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that every day it’s estimated that up to 660,000 motorists are actively using mobile devices behind the wheel. To this end, 391,000 injuries and 3,477 deaths were linked to distracted driving behaviors in 2015. Younger drivers are particularly at risk, with teens being the most affected by distracted driving fatalities.