Articles Posted in DUI

E-scooters are a convenient way to get ahead of what may seem like unnecessary traffic in San Diego. E-scooters provide an alternative means of transportation and a source of entertainment for some riders. The rise in popularity of e-scooters in San Diego and other cities across the nation opens the door for a greater possibility of illegal activity such as riding under the influence of alcohol or other substances, which often result in DUI charges.

Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Illegal E-Scooter Activity

Yes, you can receive a DUI for riding an e-scooter under the influence. Law enforcement is taking steps to crack down on illegal activity on e-scooters. In fact, an article in Good Day Sacramento shows that the City of Los Angeles had its first DUI prosecution for a person riding a Bird e-scooter under the influence of alcohol.

The offender knocked over a 64-year-old on a sidewalk. Law enforcement determined that his blood alcohol content level was three times the legal limit, which is 0.08% in California. For his actions, he must complete 36 months of probation and also complete a DUI program.

E-Scooter Riders Must Follow the Law

As we mentioned in a previous article regarding traffic tickets and the new e-scooter regulations, e-scooter laws are enforceable by the San Diego Police Department. This means that as an e-scooter rider, you must follow the laws concerning the operation of the scooter.

The San Diego Municipal Code and California Vehicle Code explain the laws pertaining to scooters.

E-Scooter Incident Statistics

A recent study released by the UC San Diego Health system revealed the following statistics:

  • Approximately 40% of e-scooter injuries involve alcohol
  • 52% of e-scooter users involved in accidents tested positive for drugs
  • 65% of those injured on a e-scooter are men

An article in Consumer Reports shows that there were 1,500 e-scooter injuries in the United States in 2018. For this reason, e-scooter companies like Lime are taking necessary measures to protect riders and pedestrians and prevent incidents such as riding under the influence by developing systems and software to reduce the speed of the e-scooter if a rider is driving recklessly.

What to do if You Receive a DUI While Riding an E-Scooter

If you receive a DUI for riding an e-scooter under the influence, you should discuss the matter with an experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. It is important to retain the services of an attorney who can help you handle the full range of charges that may arise. Continue reading

Absent the distinctive scent associated with smoking marijuana, how can the police determine if you are driving your vehicle under the influence of marijuana? Marijuana use for personal consumption is legal in California. It is illegal, however, to drive under the influence of marijuana in California.

Field Sobriety Testing

When the police stop a driver under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, but cannot readily observe marijuana use, they may request that the driver participate in field sobriety tests to determine if he or she is impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Generally, a suspected impaired driver may be asked to perform a series of the following tests:

  • The one-legged test requires you to stand on one leg for a period of time. If you are able to do so, you pass this test.
  • The walk and turn test requires you to walk in a straight line. You are evaluated for balance, staying on the line, walking and stopping, and following directions. If you are able to remain on the line walking as instructed, you pass this test.
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test, also known as the HGN test, requires you to follow the gaze of the police officer’s finger or an object in the police’s hand. You are evaluated for compliance with the instructions and the nature of your eye movements. If you are able to follow the gaze as instructed, you pass the test.

If you fail the field sobriety tests, the police have probable cause to arrest you under suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana.

Chemical Tests

Every time you drive on California’s roadways, you have already consented to submit to a chemical test if asked to participate in one by law enforcement. Once in police custody, law enforcement may require you provide samples of your blood, breath, or urine to conduct chemical tests. With respect to marijuana use, the tests would measure the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana to support the DUI (marijuana) element of the charge. As of the Spring of 2019, there is no breath technology that can measure THC in a person’s breath in use by San Diego’s Police Department. All three tests are less able to measure THC as time passes.

Cotton Swab Tests

In San Diego, police at DUI checkpoints may use a cotton swab to collect a saliva sample from a driver. The cotton swab test can detect the presence of THC as well as crystal meth, methadone, cocaine, and some prescription drugs.

Charged with illegal use or possession of marijuana or driving under the influence of marijuana in San Diego? Hire a knowledgeable and experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyer to help you resolve your case. Continue reading

With Memorial Day in our rear-view, we have entered what law enforcement calls the 100 dangerous days of summer on the roads. According to California Highway Patrol (CHP), there were 1,099 DUI arrests made in California this past Memorial Day weekend, averaging 14 arrests per hour. This is a 4% increase from last year.

In an article by Times of San Diego, the CHP reports that while DUI arrests are down from last year, it is still a huge safety concern for California residents throughout the summer. Now that you are aware of the statistics, let us take some time to explore what a DUI is and what California law says about DUIs.

DUI and California Law

DUI is the acronym for driving under the influence. A DUI is simply the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. California Law states it is unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle if he or she is:

  • Under the influence of any alcoholic beverage.
  • Addicted to the use of any drug.
  • Under the influence of any drug.
  • Under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug.

If you were recently cited for DUI, this can be a frightening time. With help from Boertje and Associates, you can avoid three mistakes people usually make when they receive a DUI citation.

Speaking Up at the Wrong Time

Being cited for DUI can be overwhelming. During this time, you may be upset. Naturally, you will want to speak up for yourself and tell the officer your side of the story about what happened.  At this point, you are so shaken up that you may have forgotten about your constitutional rights. You do have the right to remain silent, remember? Save yourself a headache and do not make the mistake of speaking up for yourself at the wrong time.

Ignoring the DUI and Wishing it Away

Whether this is your first DUI offense or not, ignoring it and wishing the DUI away will not do you any good. This is not the time to sit and twiddle your thumbs as if the DUI does not exist.

If you continue to ignore the DUI, your driving privileges will be in jeopardy. As a result, your license can be suspended or even revoked. You can also face jail time, receive hefty fines and costs, and be required to do community service. If this piece of information is not enough to get you moving, as of January 2019, the State of California requires anyone arrested for DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in his or her vehicle after the arrest.

Waiting Until the Last Minute to Hire an Attorney

You should never attempt to pursue a DUI case on your own. Now is the time to hire an attorney to represent you in your criminal matter. An experienced, qualified DUI defense attorney is a great resource to assist you with your DUI defense. If you want to obtain favorable results, do not wait until the last minute. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin planning a defense strategy for your case. Continue reading

Individuals arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California are now required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their motor vehicle after arrest. Effective January 1, 2019, an individual facing DUI charges will be able to maintain unlimited driving privileges while their regular license is suspended so long as the IID is installed in this or her motor vehicle.

Changes to the Vehicle Code

Senate Bill § 1046, signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown, amends the Vehicle Code to require individuals convicted of DUI to install an IID on their vehicle for at least six months following their conviction.

What is an IID?

According to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, an IID is about the size of a cell phone and is connected or wired to your vehicle’s ignition. The IID requires a breath sample before the engine will start. If the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the engine will not start. The results of the failed test are also sent to the court, including the probation or parole officers assigned to your case, triggering a violation of a bail, probation, or parole condition. You will be asked to pull over and stop driving while you conduct a repeat test to make sure there is no alcohol in your system.

Duration of IID in Vehicle Depends on Conviction Record

The general rule is, if it is your first DUI conviction and no passenger or pedestrian got hurt, you may be offered the option to choose between installing an IID for six months with full driving privileges or not installing an IID but having a restricted (or suspended) license for one year. If a passenger or pedestrian gets hurt because you were driving under the influence, you will be required to install an IID in your vehicle for six months.

Repeat offenders will need to install and maintain an IID for more time. Second DUI conviction will require you to install an IID for one year. A third DUI conviction will require you to install an IID for two years. A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction will require an IID installation for three or more years. Continue reading

NPR just published a relatively detailed story on how difficult it is to enforce DUI (driving under the influence) laws for those under the influence of marijuana. Like the rest of the nation, the state of Colorado has seen a sharp increase in marijuana DUI arrests. So far, State Patrol data illustrates that the number of citations rose from 316 in 2015 to 398 this year.

Colorado’s marijuana DUI law is modeled on the one for alcohol, which sets a number for blood-alcohol levels to determine when someone is too intoxicated to drive. For pot, that number is five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. That means it is illegal to drive if you have anything over that level. However, according to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego, measuring a person’s THC is actually a poor indicator of intoxication. This is because unlike alcohol, THC gets stored in your fat cells, and is not water-soluble like alcohol. As a result, one can still test positive for THC even a week after consumption. This is something defense attorneys all too easily point out.

As far as policy implications, scientists at UCSD say that what cops really need is a simple roadside sobriety test.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in California

Aside from normal DUIs, California is one of the many states that have a specific statute that addresses driving while under the influence of marijuana. See CA Vehicle Code 23152(e). One is considered “under the influence” of marijuana if, as a result of consumption, his or her mental and physical abilities are impaired so that he or she cannot drive like a sober person.

The tricky thing with driving while under the influence of marijuana is that there is no “per se” amount of THC in the bloodstream that can easily establish impairment unlike alcohol (.08%).  Chemical tests still cannot accurately reveal how much THC one has consumed, or how recently.  As a result, police will have to look to other factors, such as: your driving pattern, physical appearance, statements to police, and your performance on field sobriety tests.

If convicted of a marijuana DUI, one may face probation for three to five years, and six months in jail. You will also face extensive fines  and a suspension of your driver’s license. If someone is injured or killed as a result of the impaired driving, then one may be facing a felony charge punishable by state imprisonment and a suspension of a driver’s licenses for a year.    Continue reading

Last month, officials from the city of Riverside announced that they will not be repainting some of their unmarked police vehicles back to the standard black and white. The idea was discussed at department meetings after City Councilman Mike Soubirous, who happens to be a retired California Highway Patrol officer, questioned why city police have more unmarked cars than marked vehicles. Out of the Riverside PD’s 345-vehicle fleet, 124 cars are marked, 195 are unmarked, and others are specialized vehicles.

Police chief Sergio Diaz has reportedly claimed cost to be a primary determining factor.  It would cost $2.6 million to convert unmarked cars to marked ones, and he did not believe having more visible police cars would deter crime.  The City Council did not dispute the Riverside PD and will not be taking any action.

It is Legal for Police to Use Unmarked Vehicles to Give Out Traffic Citations

In lieu of the start of the school year for many college and school-aged students, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in Northern California has received a $50,000 grant from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) for programs to combat underage drinking and alcohol sales to minors. The Roseville Police Department will participate in the grant, assisting the Sheriff’s office in providing training regarding alcohol-related crimes and their effects for school staff members, parents, students, and the community. The Sheriff’s Office plans to target ABC licensed stores that sell alcoholic beverages to minors and obviously intoxicated adult patrons. Minor-decoy and shoulder-tap operations also will be conducted countywide in an effort to reduce minors’ access to alcohol.

Counties throughout the state are cracking down on alcohol sales to minors.  Earlier this summer, an undercover operation across the state called Operation “Shoulder Tap” led to the arrest or citation of over 400 people in San Diego for purchasing alcohol for a minor.

Minors in Possession of Alcohol

With the start of the legislative session, California Senate members were given cards with a number for 24 Hour transportation.  As exposed by the Sac Bee, California Senate officials have hired two part-time employees to provide late night rides for members while they are out in Sacramento, following the high-profile drunk driving arrests involving lawmakers in recent years.  In particular, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) has failed three field sobriety tests, Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) recently plead guilty to a “wet reckless” charge, and Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-Solana Beach) and Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) have both plead no contest to DUI charges.

It is no secret that California has a high rate of DUIs, and police will be cracking down.  It seems as if both lawmakers as well as citizens will likely encounter a field sobriety test at one point or another—even if they have not been drinking at all.

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

Field sobriety tests are a series of tests a police officer will request on the side of the road if the officer suspects you have been driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  They typically occur on the side of the road after you have been stopped, so law enforcement can make sure you are not too impaired (above the legal limit) to drive.

There are over 12 different tests, but according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 3 main standard field sobriety tests that are most effective:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)- In this test, police will waive a pen in front of your face and telling you to follow it with your eyes.
  2. The divided attention (aka walk and turn)- Police will ask you to take steps down a straight line in a heel-to-toe manner.  This will test your concentration in doing two things at once.
  3. One leg stand: You will be asked to stand on one leg and count out loud.

Other tests include balancing on different legs, counting backwards, or reciting the ABC’s.

You May Refuse a Field Sobriety Test

Under California law, you may legally decline to take a field sobriety test; there are no penalties, although prosecutors will notably paint your refusal as a “consciousness of guilt.” Moreover, the police may have already made their judgement when they decided to stop and ask you to volunteer evidence against yourself.

Continue reading

As another Saint Patrick’s Day kicks off in sunny San Diego, the SDPD will certainly be out in full force looking out for drunk drivers.  According from the most recent California DUI statistics from 2007, there were nearly 1,500 alcohol-involved fatalities and more than 200,000 DUI arrests.

In California, there are 2 ways to get a DUI (“driving under the influence”)/ DWI (“driving while intoxicated”). The first occurs when one’s blood alcohol content is:

  • 0.08% or higher (21 years old).