October 27, 2008

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Detection Tests on the Way

A recent Los Angeles Times blog by Susan Brink talks about new tests just like a Breathalyzer that researchers hope will detect drivers operating under the influence of illegal drugs. The National Institutes of Health has reportedly released guidelines on possible ways to conduct these tests. Just as suspected drunk drivers are asked to blow into a Breathalyzer, someone suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or cocaine may be asked to spit into a cup. Your saliva will then be tested for the presence of drugs.

Experts are hoping that these new guidelines, which are still evolving, will be a good way to identify drivers under the influence of drugs and keep them off the roadways. But the question is: Is this an effective way of finding out if drivers are really impaired? As DUI and drug crime defense attorneys in California, we have consistently found that Breathalyzers that are used in the field by police are not at all an effective measure of blood alcohol content (BAC). A lot of these testing devices are not calibrated properly and show wrong readings, which we have challenged in court and won.

Officials who authorize field tests should seriously consider their efficacy and reliability. First, the tests must be reliable. Secondly, the officers who are conducting the tests should be trained properly and be able to carry out the tests in a proper manner. We’ve seen that hasn’t been the case with Field Sobriety Tests. Even the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies show that these tests are not an effective way of measuring whether a driver is intoxicated.

An experienced and knowledgeable Southern California drunk driving defense attorney will be able to help you fight your DUI despite Breathalyzer tests that show a BAC of 0.08 or higher. A truly skilled DUI defense attorney can effectively challenge field sobriety tests and defend the charges against you. If you or someone you love has been arrested on suspicion of a DUI, please call us to schedule a free consultation.

October 20, 2008

DUI Suspect Pursued By Police Strikes and Kills Pedestrian

Los Angeles Police officers arrested 41-year-old Robert Palacios on suspicion of murder in Lincoln Heights after he struck and killed a pedestrian during a police pursuit, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police say it was not considered a “pursuit” because officers did not turn on lights or sirens. They followed Palacios because officials say they suspected him of driving under the influence after seeing him “drive erratically” near Figueroa Boulevard and Avenue 52.

The pedestrian was identified as 61-year-old Demetrio Sosa. Palacios also reportedly struck a minivan, but the occupants of the minivan did not suffer major injuries. Sosa was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Los Angeles, you could face serious charges especially if the incident involves death and/or injuries. If convicted of murder, Palacios will be in serious trouble and will likely face 25 years to life in prison. Generally, those convicted of drunk driving also face hefty fines and suspension or revocation of their driving privilege.

If you or someone you know has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, it is very important that you contact an experienced and knowledgeable Southern California DUI defense attorney. We have the skill and the resources it takes to conduct an independent investigation and build a strong defense that it takes to get you acquitted or get your charges reduced. We have former district attorneys and investigators working with us – people who know very well how law enforcement and prosecutors think and work. Call us today to discuss your case.

October 13, 2008

Camarillo Man Arrested on Suspicion of DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter

Nicholas Lagrotta, 23, of Camarillo was arrested Aug. 28 on suspicion of striking and killing a jogger on a Thousand Oaks street. Police say, Lagrotta, who hit 46-year-old Kerry Marsh as she was jogging in a bicycle lane on Lindero Canyon Road, was driving under the influence of alcohol, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

The impact from the crash reportedly threw Marsh into some bushes by the side of the road. Police, who responded to Lagrotta’s accident after he crashed into a tree, realized he had hit someone when they saw Marsh’s running shoes on the side of the road. Apparently, they had to use a thermal imager to find Marsh’s body. Lagrotta was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.

A driver may face a vehicular manslaughter charge when he or she causes an accident, which causes the death of another person. If alcohol was a factor in the accident, prosecutors tend to charge the driver with vehicular manslaughter even if he or she was not at fault and even if the accident was unavoidable. Law enforcement officials often jump to the conclusion that the drunk driver was at fault. Police and CHP reports tend to be prepared in a hurry and are almost always slanted against the intoxicated driver.

If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving, you should bring an experienced California vehicular manslaughter lawyer into the case immediately so an independent toxicology analysis and accident reconstruction can be done while the evidence is still fresh. Time is of the essence in these defense investigations. Our Southern California DUI defense attorneys have successfully handled vehicular manslaughter cases as former prosecutors and now, as defense lawyers. Our background in law enforcement and connection with some of the top collision and alcohol consultants in the case helps us get our clients acquitted and keep them out of jail.

October 6, 2008

Sexual Assault against Patients Lands Doctor in Jail

A 44-year-old doctor in Rowland Heights has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting his patients during office visits, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. Dr. Wazir Nadir Ali was reportedly booked on five counts of penetration with a foreign object and one count of sexual battery under false pretenses, according to Whittier police reports.

Police arrested the doctor after a 20-year-old woman told officials that he sexually assaulted her under the pretext of physically examining her. A similar allegation came from a 53-year-old woman. Both incidents allegedly occurred during medical appointments in 2005 and 2007 at a Bright Medical Associates facility on Whittier Boulevard in the city of Whittier where Ali had his practice.

This doctor has not yet been found guilty of the allegations. But he resigned from the hospital as soon as the allegations surfaced. According to the report, Ali’s medical license has also been suspended and he runs the risk of losing it permanently. This case is a great example of how your life could change if you face California sex crime allegations. Not only is your reputation tarnished – whether you are convicted or not – you also risk losing your job and your livelihood.

If you are facing sex crime charges in California, your best bet is to retain the services of an experienced California sex crime defense lawyer who will listen to your side of the story and independently investigate your case. Our Southern California Criminal Defense attorneys have extensive experience with sex crime cases and can help you fight the charges. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.