A 19-year-old man was charged on Tuesday with murder and driving under the influence (DUI) of a drug in connection with a crash in North Hills where three others died.

The defendant was the only occupant in his vehicle when he struck the other vehicle, carrying four occupants, head-on.  The crash occurred closed to 3:00 a.m. near Roscoe and Haskell.

DUI murder in California is also known as “Watson” murder and is charged as a second-degree murder offense.  Unlike felony DUI causing death, which requires ordinary or “gross” negligence while operating a vehicle, Watson murder is more serious and usually involves allegations of conscious disregard for human life.  In order to be convicted of a Watson murder in California, the prosecutor must prove that: 1) the death resulted from an intentional act, 2) the natural consequences of that act are dangerous to human life, and 3) you knowingly acted in conscious disregard for that fact.

The most common issue the prosecution has in pursuing a Watson murder conviction is proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, this third element of “knowingly acted in conscious disregard…”  This is so difficult since your mental state at the time is a central issue and can be tough for a prosecutor to illustrate, and convince, a jury of this.

It should be noted that if you have had a prior DUI conviction, a prosecutor can prove implied malice via your initials on the box of those waiver forms where the Watson advisement is given.

A conviction of Watson murder in California carries a potential 15 years  to life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a strike pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law.  Additionally, if there are other, surviving, victims who have been seriously injured, you could face additional and consecutive prison terms.

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI murder, a DUI causing death, a DUI causing great bodily injury or any other DUI or DUI-related offense, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Having an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side early in the process can end up being the best decision you make down the road.  Approaching your case in a proactive manner prior to any criminal charges being filed can result in the reduction, or prevention, of more serious charges from being filed.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

A suspected drunk driver crashed his car and ejected one of the passengers during a police pursuit in East Los Angeles early Saturday morning.

Monterey Park Police tried to pull over the vehicle, which was driving without headlights, when the car failed to yield and got onto the 60 freeway.  It was during the transition to the 710 freeway when the car crashed and one passenger was ejected from the car while the other passengers suffered more minor injuries.  The driver was booked on suspicion of DUI.

While the booking charge in this case is your standard DUI offense, it will likely be filed as a DUI causing injury, a more serious offense in Los Angeles.  DUI causing injury in Los Angeles is a “wobbler”, which means that the prosecutor can charge the offense as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the facts of the case, injuries, prior record and other considerations.

If charged as a felony, you will be looking at 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison (more if someone suffered a great bodily injury), 1 strike, an 18-month alcohol program, significant fines, revocation of your driver’s license and possible restitution to any victim(s).

If the case is charged as a misdemeanor, you could, potentially, face county jail time, probation, alcohol program, fines, restitution to any victim(s) and a suspension of your driver’s license.

If you have been charged with a DUI or a DUI causing injury in Los Angeles, it is crucial to contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to avoid having the DMV automatically suspend your driver’s license without a hearing.  This will happen if you, or your attorney, fails to contact the DMV within 10 days of the date of arrest and request a hearing.  Contacting an attorney early in the process may also help to avoid felony charges by allowing attorney Ross Erlich to open lines of communication with law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office prior to them determining what type of charge to formally file.

Likely charges and resolution’s of your case will vary greatly depending on the facts of the case, injuries to passengers or victims, blood alcohol level and other considerations.  Attorney Ross Erlich handles all DUI-related offenses in the Burbank Courthouse, Metropolitan Courthouse, Metro Courthouse, East Los Angeles Courthouse, Airport Courthouse, Van Nuys Courthouse and Pasadena Courthouse.

Contact the office today at (323) 222-4529 for a free case consultation.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles County made 499 arrests at various DUI checkpoints from Friday through Sunday this past Memorial Day weekend.  The final tally is 30 arrests fewer than the same time last year.

This DUI checkpoint campaign was part of a multi-agency collaboration and was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI or other driving under the influence offenses, contact our office today for a free case consultation and evaluation. Remember that once you are arrested for a DUI, you have 10 days from the date of arrest to contact the DMV before they automatically suspend your license.  Also keep in mind that DUI checkpoints have to conform to certain requirements under state law and the failure of law enforcement to meet every requirement can help get your case reduced or even dismissed.

A DUI arrest in Los Angeles can be a serious, and tricky, case to handle.  A good defense attorney must keep track of the criminal court and DMV proceedings which are both separate and do not depend on one another.  Thus, you might have your case completely dismissed in criminal court and still be facing an administrative proceeding with the DMV seeking to suspend your license.  You may also face additional administrative action if you hold a professional license with a California State Licensing Board or any form of professional license.

Being convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles can bring jail time, fines, probation, the suspension of your driver’s license, driving under the influence classes and restitution for any damage caused by the incident.  For a more in-depth discussion of the DUI process click here.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Downtown LA, the Westside, Santa Monica, Culver City, North Hollywood, Beverly Hills or anywhere in LA County, contact attorney Ross Erlich today.

 

A man was hospitalized with major injuries when he was ejected from his car following a rollover accident that occurred on the 10 freeway.  The woman who was driving the other car in the accident was booked into jail on suspicion of DUI.

The man was ejected from the car as it ran up an embankment on the shoulder of the freeway near the Lincoln off-ramp.  The woman who was arrested was speeding and “driving erratically”, and lost control when she was trying to avoid hitting another vehicle.

Whenever a DUI-related accident results in injuries, the suspect is booked for felony DUI and the bail is set according to the felony-level charge.  Depending on the court that the case goes to, the extent of the victim’s injuries and the facts of the case, the prosecutor may file the case as a misdemeanor or keep it as a felony.

Being charged with a DUI in Los Angeles is a complex and multifaceted case.  Not only are there immediate steps to be taken with the DMV, but also criminal court proceedings that are completely separate and unrelated from those with the DMV.  If you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, you must contact the DMV within 10 days from the date of arrest to request an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing and have a stay placed on the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

If convicted of a DUI in criminal court, you are facing the possibility of county jail time or Cal Trans work, fines and fees to the court, a drinking and driving program that can range from 3 months to 18 months, probation and the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your car.  A step-by-step approach to a DUI arrest can be found by clicking here.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for, or charged with, a DUI in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Burbank, Airport, Downtown, Hollywood or North Hollywood, it is crucial to contact attorney Ross Erlich within the first 10 days of your arrest.  There are many factors to consider in evaluating your case, including, but not limited to, time of chemical test, probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, what was said to you at the time of detention, chemical test results, field sobriety tests, weather conditions, lighting, what you had to eat that day, were you taking medications, when was the last time you slept…  The list goes on.

Do yourself a favor and consult with an aggressive and experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney and contact Ross Erlich today.

Justin Bieber was released from a Miami jail on Thursday morning following his arrest for driving under the influence, driving on an expired license and resisting arrest.  Law enforcement say they stopped Bieber while he was drag racing down a Miami Beach street in the early morning hours.

Law enforcement stated that they initially pulled him over for speeding down a residential street, but started the DUI investigation after the arresting officer “immediately smelled a strong odor of alcohol” coming from Bieber’s person.  At issue is the fact that Bieber’s blood alcohol level only measured 0.014%, and not the 0.04% that was claimed by law enforcement sources.  While any blood alcohol level over 0.00% is illegal for someone under 21 years old, there is a big difference between 0.04% and 0.014%.  Additionally, the discrepancy between the reported number and actual number is a major issue when it comes down to police officer credibility and whether or not the entire police report is accurate.

Police claim that Bieber admitted to smoking marijuana, taking prescription medication and drinking after being arrested.

In Florida, persons under the age of 21 are considered driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .02% or more, plus an automatic 6 month license suspension.

In California, if you are under 21 years old and your blood alcohol level is above .05%, you are facing a DUI misdemeanor charge and an automatic 1 year license suspension.  If your blood alcohol level is below .05%, this charge is an infraction but still carries the automatic 1 year license suspension.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, it is crucial to contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  You only have 10 days from the date of arrest to contact the DMV and request a hearing or have your license suspended automatically.

Attorney Ross Erlich handles all DUI DMV and Court proceedings from beginning to end and offers 24/7 availability.  Call today for a free DUI consultation and learn what your rights are and what to expect for your case.

Former UFC Champ Tito Ortiz was arrested on Monday morning on suspicion of DUI following a crash on the 405 freeway in West Los Angeles.

According to the California Highway Patrol’s initial investigation, Ortiz was driving on the freeway when he lost control of his vehicle and struck the concrete median.  CHP officers responded to the scene after Ortiz has pulled off of the freeway.  No one was injured and Ortiz’s vehicle sustained moderate damage.

Being arrested for a DUI causing injury or with a traffic collision is more of a complex case than a straightforward DUI.  When there are injuries involved, you may be charged with a felony, there may be jail time involved and the possibility of a large amount of restitution to the victim.  A DUI with a traffic accident, in most situations, will not lead to jail time, but will trigger a longer driving under the influence education program, community service or Cal Trans work, and restitution to the victim(s).

Remember, if you have been arrested for a DUI, you or your attorney must contact the DMV within 10 days of the arrest to request an Administrative Per Se hearing.  Not doing so can result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license!

There are many other factors that should be addressed immediately after being arrested for a DUI and one of those is consulting with an experienced DUI lawyer.  Attorney Ross Erlich has handled hundreds of DUI cases in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.  Ross Erlich knows what facts to look for, what procedures law enforcement needs to follow and, most importantly, how to resolve your case in the best possible way.  Contact the office of attorney Ross Erlich today for a free DUI consultation and fight for your rights.

A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to three years probation for driving with more than twice the legal blood alcohol limit, hitting another vehicle, injuring the occupant of that vehicle and then fleeing the scene.

The former deputy will have to wear an alcohol-monitoring device for two years and will have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle that is registered to him.

Michael Grundy, the ex-deputy mentioned above, was driving under the influence of alcohol and another unspecified drug when he hit another car in a South Los Angeles intersection.  He was ultimately found by two other deputies, returned to the scene of the crime and arrested by the CHP.

Grundy had already completed a 180-day rehabilitation program at the time of sentencing and was ordered to pay over $25,000 in restitution to the victim in the case. Grundy had previously been arrested for drunk driving in Riverside County in 2005.

Grundy was originally charged with felony DUI causing injury, which is a very serious crime in Los Angeles.  Considering there was likely an additional charge of hit-and-run, prosecutors likely sought jail time and a substantial amount of restitution.  Many people believe that if you are driving under the influence and get into an accident, the best course of action is to attempt to flee and avoid arrest.  The problem with that choice is if you get charged with a separate count of hit-and-run, you are looking at additional punishment, fines and restrictions on your driver’s license.

If you have been charged with a DUI or hit and run in Los Angeles, it is important to contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  The DMV must be contacted within 10 days of the date of arrest to prevent an automatic suspension of your driver’s license so contact us before it is too late!

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