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.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended at their hearing today in Washington that states lower the definition of drunk driving from a blood alcohol concentration of .08% to .05%.  The NTSB claims that the risk of a crash while driving at a .05% is half of what the risk is at .08%.

One immediate problem with this proposal is that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2 groups that are strand advocates against drunk driving) are not pushing states to make this change to .05%.  The main reason for this, they say, is that lowering the legal limit does not address the underlying issue of someone’s decision to drive a vehicle while impaired and that it will do nothing to combat the driver who gets behind the wheel regardless of the amount of drinks they have consumed.

So, what is the real difference between .08% blood alcohol concentration and .05%?  According to a study prepared by Johns Hopkins University, the difference is 1 to 2 mixed drinks, glasses of wine or 12-ounce beers over three hours, depending on body size and gender.  For example, a 180-pound man could consume 4 drinks in 3 hours before reaching .05% and a 140-pound woman could have 3 drinks in the same time period.  Thus, be prepared to make your “cut-off” 1 to 2 drinks earlier than you have been.

Many highway safety groups and anti-drunk driving groups have been advocating for increased “passive detection” of alcohol impairment as well as automatic ways to prevent driving.  For example, many popular ideas among these groups are increased use of passive alcohol-sensing machines which can detect alcohol on a driver’s breath during a traffic stop without requiring the driver to blow into the machine.  Another popular idea is expanding what is not law in some states after a DUI conviction, that being an Ignition Interlock Device which requires a driver to blow into a machine before their car can start.

It is not yet clear whether or not this proposal will gain traction or whether or not it has the strength to actually become law, but it does signal the fact that advocacy groups and the government takes driving under the influence and DUI-related accidents very seriously.  DUIs can be very costly, embarrassing, time-consuming and possibly detrimental to your job or reputation.

Attorney Ross Erlich handles all aspects of DUIs and DMV proceedings in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties.  If you have a DUI in Metro Court, Burbank Court, Airport Court or East Los Angeles Court, contact attorney Ross Erlich today.  Remember that you have 10 days after the arrest to request a hearing from the DMV or you will face a license suspension without getting a chance to make your case!


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