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Articles Tagged with San Diego DUI Defense Lawyer

On Friday, March 27 a lawsuit was filed in San Diego federal court on behalf of three very young siblings who sustained injuries in a head-on crash on November 12, 2018. The suit is being filed against the children’s mother, who was driving the car while intoxicated.

 

Mayra Alejandra Gonzalez, 30, drove on the wrong side of Camino del Norte and smashed into another vehicle head-on. The driver of the other car was injured as a result of the crash. Gonzalez had a blood alcohol content of .29% after the crash, which is more than three times the legal limit.

 

Her three children sustained significant injuries from the incident. Her 9-month-old daughter was not in the proper child safety seat during the crash, but instead was being held by one of her sisters. When the accident took place she was thrust into the vehicle’s windshield and sustained a skull fracture and brain bleed. The young child still requires a feeding tube. Gonzalez’s two other daughters, aged 2 and 8, had facial injuries.

 

The suit alleges negligence and many other allegations against Gonzalez, San Diego County, and three social workers. The suit claims that the county was negligent in preventing Mayra from continuing to drive drunk, which she had done many times before the November 12th crash. She had a documented history of drunk driving, and social workers employed at the county’s Health and Human Services Agency were aware of her reckless behavior but ignored it, which put the children in immense danger.

 

There were four incidents in which Gonzalez was inebriated when she was driving with at least one of her children as a passenger in the car. Three were crashes that law enforcement and HHSA knew about. A crash in 2015 recorded her BAC at .26% and social workers indicated that services were necessary to assist Gonzalez and protect her children. However, no services or plan was made available and she was not required to attend substance abuse classes or parenting classes.

 

In 2016, she was driving drunk while pregnant and while her 5-year-old daughter was in the car. She caused another DUI crash which resulted in her arrest. She was charged with a felony and was sentenced to  five years of probation. Even though social workers considered her a high risk to the safety of her children, they did nothing to intervene and help.

 

Gonzalez pled guilty to felony child abuse and DUI from the November 12th crash. She is currently serving her 14-year sentence in state prison. 

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There were six DUI arrests made on a Saturday night last month. The San Diego Police set up a downtown checkpoint at the 1400 block of G Street and there were 1,765 vehicles that drove through the site. Out of the vehicles that passed through, 526 were screened.

The checkpoint was successful in stopping approximately 10 drivers. The SDPD set up the checkpoint between 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night until 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. The screens stopped six drivers who were suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. There were two drivers who received citations for operating a vehicle without a license. In addition, two drivers were reported to have been issued citations for unspecified reasons.

DUI Checkpoints in San Diego

There have been eight DUI checkpoints around the city since the beginning of 2020. There were over 60 in the area in 2019.

DUI checkpoints are sometimes called sobriety checkpoints. Police will block traffic and signal various drivers to pull over when they arrive at the checkpoint. When the officer approaches the vehicle, he or she will ask to see your license and registration. Then the officer will proceed to ask various questions about what activities you were engaging in during the night. Those drivers who are not intoxicated or are not presumed to be by an officer pass through the checkpoint and continue on their way.

Drivers who exhibit slurred speech, abnormal movements, or other unusual behavior will cause the officer to believe intoxication is likely. Drivers who are suspected of drunk driving will be asked to perform a field sobriety test. What you will be expected to do in a sobriety test include:

  • Standing on one leg with your arms to the side
  • Walking a straight line putting one foot ahead of the other
  • Following a moving object with the eyes while keeping the head still

You cannot refuse a DUI checkpoint and avoid arrest in California, so do not try. These stations are not considered actions by police that violate individual constitutional rights. In addition to field sobriety tests, there are other tests that may be administered. Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) is one that may be used. This is a portable breath test. 

After you are arrested for a DUI, you will take either a blood or a breath test. If you do not comply with taking the test after the arrest has been made, you are going to make your situation worse. Additional charges will be added to your DUI.

Do You Need a DUI Defense Attorney in California?

Charges of drunk driving result in immediate suspension of your license. When a drunk driving accident results in bodily harm or death, it is critically important that you obtain aggressive representation because your charge will be considered a felony that will automatically come with prison time. Continue reading

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

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

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.

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