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California DUI Law &DUI Law &Technology hudson on 21 Jun 2010

Ignition Interlock Pilot Program

Starting July 1, 2010, individuals arrested and then convicted of a first offense DUI, in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties, will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device on their vehicle. First offenders will be required to install these devices for 5 months (12 months if an injury was involved). Despite proponents claims that these devices only cost $75 to install and $50/month to monitor, our check of local service centers found much higher prices. A first time DUI offender should expect to pay at least $500 over the the five months on top of other fines and penalties.

The implementation of the Ignition Interlock requirement in the four “pilot” counties was contingent upon funding to be created to cover the costs of the program. The law offices of Kapsack and Bair continue to investigate the source of the pilot program funding (Freedom of Information Requests have been served on the District Attorney for Alameda County, the Department of Motor Vehicles, California Attorney General and other government agencies), it appears likely that if you were arrested for a DUI after July 1, 2010 you will have to add an Ignition Interlock to the cost of losing your first offense DUI case.

Under legislation currently before the Public Safety Committee, if you are arrested and then convicted of a second offense DUI you will be eligible for a restricted license after 90 days of actual suspension after installing the Ignition Interlock Device. In the four pilot counties second offenders will be required to install the ignition interlock devices for a minimum of twelve months.

While it remains to be seen what will happen to individuals currently serving suspensions for multiple DUI convictions or administrative actions, it seems likely that the shortened suspension periods will only effect those persons violating the DUI statututes after July 1, 2010.  It also remains unclear whether persons who’s licenses are suspended through the administrative process will be eligible for the same treatment.  Meaning, if your license is suspended for a multiple time for through the administrative process, and you are convicted of a multiple offense DUI in court, you may not be eligible for the shorter restriction following installation of the Ignition Interlock Device.

Kapsack & Bair staff on 11 Jun 2010

New Sacramento Office

Kapsack & Bair have been defending DUI cases in the Sacramento area for over a dozen years. We have great familiarity with the courts and DA’s in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, and El Dorado Counties.

More and more people arrested for DUI in these areas have been looking to our expertise to see them through. Now Kapsack and Bair are happy to announce we will be meeting with clients and offering free initial consultations in a convenient downtown Sacramento location.

Sacramento DUI Lawyer
Esquire Plaza
1215 K Street
17th Floor
Sacramento, California 95814
United States
(916) 930-1967

Kapsack & Bair staff on 07 May 2010

Free Cab Rides for Oakland’s First Friday

Kapsack & Bair are very happy to be teaming up with Oakland’s Friendly Cab company to offer Free cab rides for the city’s monthly downtown art’s festival – the Oakland Art Murmur.

The Oakland art murmur happens the First Friday of every month is a collective community party that celebrates art, music, and fun. It is a great time time to show off the revitalization of Oakland’s Uptown District.

During First Friday many of Oakland’s premier bars and clubs also participate as their mixologists vie to out-do one another with fancy libations. While art, music, fun, and cocktails can sometimes come together, at Kapsack & Bair, we know that drinking and driving never do.

If your First Friday fun involves cocktails, please get a short-hop cab voucher from one of our partner drinking establishments:

California DUI Law &DUI Enforcement &DUI Law hudson on 30 Mar 2010

Discretionary Lifetime Suspension on 3rd Offense

Earlier today a bill passed out committee that would permit Judges to permanently revoke the drivers license of persons convicted of a third offense. AB 1601 sponsored by Assembyman Jerry Hill will allow Judges to revoke the driver’s license upon conviction of a third offense DUI.

While both the California DUI Lawyers Association and the ACLU spoke against passage of the bill it moved from the Public Safety Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committe on a 5-2 vote.

This bill, seems to serve a noble purpose, removing from the roadways persons who seemingly can’t exercise good judgment when they drink alcohol. However, like most legislation in the DUI arena, it makes for great headlines and publicity for the elected official but it doesn’t serve justice and certainly doesn’t accomplish the goal which is to reduce the number of drivers under the influence.

This bill does not limit the “look back” period as state law does (10 years) and would permit a Judge to permanently revoke a person’s license upon conviction of a third offense even if the two prior convictions were many years in the past and/or separated by many years.

What about juvenile DUI’s, do these lapses in judgment or “youthful indiscretions” count? What if the person was under 21 but was a .1? Does this count? Can’t the law provide for a more compassionate punishment for the mistakes of persons who are convicted of DUI? Maybe a longer period with an ignition interlock device, maybe take into consideration the fact that upon conviction the defendant is sentenced to a minimum of 120 days of jail, often times it is the first time a person convicted of DUI actually does any “real” jail time.

It also ignores that alcohol is the number one “self prescribed” medication, several times a person will turn to alcohol to deal with the death of a parent, divorce or other emotional situation. During the grieving period they may turn to alcohol to help “cope” such behavior can result in multiple DUI’s during a very short period, should these otherwise law abiding citizens lose their licenses for life? Take away their livelihood at the very time when they need support in their delicate emotional state?

Providing impetus for the bill was a headline grabbing story regarding two drivers who racked up more than two dozen DUI convictions between them. Unfortunately, the back story is that only 310,000 drivers in California have 3 DUI convictions a relatively small percentage of the more than 22.5 million licensed drivers (<a href="http://www.statemaster.com/graph/trn_lic_dri_tot_num-transportation-licensed-drivers-total-number"). Further, it assumes the worst in people, nearly every adiction clinic advises it's participants that sobriety is a daily task, that mishaps and backsteps occur, to allow a license to be revoked following such an incident seems a travesty.

DUI Law bruce on 21 Oct 2009

Justice Roberts Rails Against the Fourth Amendment

Recently Chief Justice Roberts fired off an opinion against most of his fellow Justices for not agreeing to review a case from Virginia regarding a DUI stop from an anonymous caller.  The Virginia case was simple; someone called 911 anonymously to report an alleged drunk driver.  Officers responded and found a vehicle matching the caller’s description.  The officers followed the vehicle and despite no bad driving to substantiate the anonymous call, stopped the vehicle.  The Virginia Supreme Court found this to be an unreasonable action in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution but the State asked the United States Supreme Court to review the decision.  The majority of Justices declined leading to Justice Roberts’ outburst.

What Roberts does not seem to grasp is that the Supreme Court has routinely held that standing alone an anonymous tip of illegal activity is not sufficient to accost a citizen UNLESS the illegal activity can be confirmed.  In Florida v. J.L. the Court stated that a 911 call of an Continue Reading »

DUI Defense &DUI Law bruce on 01 Oct 2009

Deposition of Marcelline Burns

Although it goes back to 1988, lately we’ve been getting requests for a copy of the transcript of the deposition Marcelline Burns conducted by Kapsack and Bair.

As experts in the field, you will recall that she is the person most responsible for legitimizing field sobriety tests. What many of you may not know is that we were the first law firm to formally depose her.

The transcript of the deposition is available on our main website as one of our DUI Resources.

Uncategorized hudson on 21 Sep 2009

Welcome to Canada, Now go home…

As the winter Olympics approach we are contacted be more and more persons who are planning on traveling to British Columbia to see some of the events in Whistler. Many of the persons contacting us have read about Canada’s prohibition of person’s charged and/or convicted of driving under the influence in the United States. Unfortunately, this is indeed the case, if you have been convicted of an alcohol related driving crime in the United States your admission to Canada may depend upon the good will of the person you encounter at the border. As a general rule, if you have been convicted, you can not expect to be admitted. That being said, admission is ultimately determined by the person inspecting the documents and making the decision at the border.

For many people, purchasing expensive tickets to sporting events and hotel rooms, the uncertainty is disconcerting. Recently, an article was published regarding the admission policies of the Canadian government. The article accurately states that there are three ways to ensure admission, apply to be a temporary resident, apply for rehabilitation or be deemed rehabilitated. The availablity of the particular process relies upon how much time has passed between the conviction and the attempted admission. For more information check out the article or review the official Canadian website .

Kapsack & Bair bruce on 03 Sep 2009

New Review for Innovative DUI Trial Tools

I realize not everyone receives The Champion – the trade magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), so I thought I would mention Allen Trapp’s review of Innovative DUI Trial Tools in the July issue.

Allen who serves as Georgia’s Delegate to the NCDD points out that not all of the techniques will work in every jurisdiction – fair enough. He goes on to say

the chapter on opening statements is definitely worth reading, while the chapter on cross-examination alone is worth the price of the book.

Allen also had nice things to say about the chapter on closings

The lawyer who defends DUI cases on a daily basis will find the chapter on closing arguments fertile with practical solutions to nagging problems.

Innovative DUI Trial Tools is currently available from James Publishing.

DUI Law &Kapsack & Bair bruce on 31 Jul 2009

Quote in LawyersUSA Story

In the recent story by Sylvia Hsiehin in LawyersUSA on the ramifications of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, I provided some clarification on the scope of the ruling.

Melendez will be an issue only in criminal DUI prosecutions, not in civil or administrative hearings, noted Bruce Kapsack a criminal defense attorney with Kapsack & Bair in San Francisco.

For more details on what exactly this ruling means see my earlier post,
United State Supreme Court Reaffirms The Constitutional Right Of Confrontation

DUI Law bruce on 25 Jun 2009

United State Supreme Court Reaffirms The Constitutional Right Of Confrontation

In a decision that has major implications for citizens accused of driving under the influence (DUI), the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Melendez-Diaz vs. Massachusetts. Mr. Diaz was accused of possessing drugs, and pursuant to the usual procedures the alleged drug was sent to a crime lab for analysis. Rather than bringing in the person who performed the testing, the prosecution merely produced a declaration of the test results. The US Supreme Court held that this violates the right to confront a witness guaranteed to all citizens under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

In the context of DUI cases, many jurisdictions allowed the same procedure; that the blood or urine test results could come in merely by way of a sworn affidavit. For years defense attorneys have argued that this violated the accused’s Constitutional right to question a key witness against them. Now it is clear that it does.

The Court stated that many labs are not in fact “neutral”; they are branches of the law enforcement team. As such they “may feel pressure-or have an incentive- to alter the evidence in a manor favorable to the prosecution”. Further, since the labs are products of the police agencies they often “sacrifice appropriate methodology for the sake of expediency”. In other words, sometimes people rush or take shortcuts and sometimes they fudge because they work for the same team.

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