New Stop & Snatch Law Severe, But Not Hopeless
New Stop & Snatch Law Severe, But Not Hopeless
by Lawrence Wolf, Esq.
The new Stop & snatch law that went into effect July 1, 1990 enacts much more severe penalties than before for driving under the influence. Under the law, any driver who is found to have a .08 or above blood alcohol level will immediately have their driving license confiscated. First offenders will lose their license for four months while repeat offenders will be denied a license for one year.
California, like other states, was under pressure to pass this law or risk loosing federal transportation funds. Although no one should ever drink and drive, in my opinion the new law is unduly severe, particularly for first time offenders.
I feel strongly that there should be a provision whereby first time offenders could still drive to and from work. The law would accomplish the same results in terms of alcohol awareness and restriction while not impeding ones ability to work.
While there have been some amendments to the bill, each change has made it harsher, such as lowering the acceptable alcohol levels and extending suspension periods.
Despite the severity of the law, if your clients get into this situation, all is not hopeless. There are ways to attempt to defend against it. One way is to suggest they get a commercial license which requires that they pass a commercial written and driving test in a vehicle that carries ten or more passengers. A mini-van is an appropriate example.
Other defenses exist and are being developed daily. Watch for updates in upcoming newsletters or contact me directly at 213/277-1707.
Did You Know?
that a conviction on a traffic ticket is not always a conviction?
Many people dont realize that paying a fine on a traffic violation is equal to a conviction and traffic point on ones driving record.
Its important to know that one has 180 days after the conviction date to reopen the case and prevent that violation from going on the record. Thus, there is a six-month period when a conviction is not really a conviction.
This is particularly useful information if your client has accrued several traffic violation points. Someones license can be revoked if they have four points in a year, six points within two years and eight points within three years.
You can help your clients by going into court and challenging the ticket or requesting traffic school to remove it from their records.
If you get the surprise mid-night wake-up call from a client who has gotten his or her own surprise and is calling from jail, here is a checklist of the information you should get:
- The name and phone number of a family member out of custody.
- The clients booking number and his location.
And you’ll want to advise your client:
- Not to make any statements before consulting an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the matter at issue.
- Of the name and number of a good bail bondsman (feel free to call us for a reliable referral).
If your clients license has been suspended or revoked, you should ask the DMV for a hearing. Depending on the reason for the suspension, their license can be reinstated if:
- They lost their license because they had no insurance or they had too many points.
- They can show a change of circumstances.
Would You Believe?
The Case of the Incompetent Lookout:
Two years ago, a case came our way that was very unusual. I went to go see a man who the police accused of being a lookout during a burglary. They maintained that my client was waiting in the gateway car while his two friends robbed a nearby house.
My client, however, firmly declared his innocence, telling me that he had known nothing about the burglary. The police, on the other hand, felt firmly that they had their man.
On the surface, it did not look good for my client: when the police arrived on the scene, they had caught the two thieves and did find my client sitting in the car.
He insisted that he had simply accepted his friends invitation to come along for the ride and hadn’t thought anything of it when they stopped at some ones house for a minute. Besides, he protested, it was an impossible notion that he would be a lookout!
And he was right, when the police finally learned the truth, they were terribly disconcerted. My clients case was thrown out while his two friends stood trial and were convicted. My client, you see, was blind!
Tip Your Client:
A Little Knowledge may Diffuse a Dangerous Situation
Advise Your Clients:
- It is critical to contact an experienced attorney immediately upon being contacted any individual involved in law enforcement. Never wait to see what develops or hope that it just goes away.
- Carrying a firearm within the interior or a vehicle is legal only if the firearm is unloaded and not concealed.
- If stopped for driving under the influence, you are not required to take any field sobriety tests (touch the nose or walking a straight line). However, you are required to submit to a chemical test.
- Not to make any statements to the authorities at the scene of an accident or arrest. You may not realize how your statements could be used against you. Situations such as these call for a lawyer who will deal with the police most cautiously.
- Any involvement in a hit and run is an involvement in a crime. You should call an attorney for criminal advice immediately.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (310) 277-1707.