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.

A task force consisting of combined Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies arrested 414 people on suspicion of DUI during the first 3 days of the Fourth of July weekend.  The arrests were made between 12:01 a.m. on Thursday and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

The arrests, while seemingly high in number, are actually down more than 15% compared to the same time period last year and are up by more than 22% statewide so far this year.  As is always the case, holiday weekends are times when the roads are heavily patrolled by law enforcement and are times when DUI task forces and special units are set up to make arrests.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is important not to simply wait until your court date to “figure things out.”  First and foremost; you must contact the DMV within 10 days from the date of arrest to request an Administrative Per Se hearing concerning your driving privilege and a stay on the suspension pending the outcome of that hearing. If you fail to do so, your license will be suspended automatically without any sort of hearing and without the ability for you to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.

Aside from the potential license implications, a DUI conviction may lead to jail time, court fines, probation, community service, mandatory alcohol programs and other penalties.  For a more detailed explanation of the process, click here.

Many different factors can impact the outcome of your DUI arrest.  Some of these factors include: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), nature of driving before being pulled over, health conditions, whether you had a valid driver’s license at the time of the arrest, what type of chemical test you submitted to and many others.

What is important to know if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI is that you are under no obligation to answer any of the officer’s questions about where you were coming from, what you’ve had to drink, etc…  You are also not under any obligation to submit to the mobile PAS device (commonly known as “the breathalyzer”) and that you may elect to take a blood or breath test at the police station.

If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Burbank, West Los Angeles or anywhere in Southern California, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to get the process started.  Don’t be that person who waits until their court date to “figure things out” while your license has already been suspended for 6 months!

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.

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.


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