AM Station 1070 – KNX
FRANK MOTTEK: While we have you driver’s attention, getting a DUI often means unnecessary and potentially disastrous financial hangover. Drunk driving still gets the blame for a big percentage of tragic accidents over the holidays and the police all over are on the lookout for drunk drivers. With us now is Southern California attorney Myles L. Berman who specializes in handling DUI cases. Mr. Berman, thank you for taking time to speak with us here. I’m sure you would agree that the best thing to do to avoid a DUI over the holidays is simply not getting drunk and getting behind the wheel of a car, because the cost of a DUI can be unbelievably costly. Tell us about that.
MR. BERMAN: Well somebody who gets convicted of DUI—it has implications in many different aspects. First, increase and cancellation of auto insurance, it can go anywhere from 15 to 25,000 dollars if you’re not cancelled. Fines on a DUI conviction can be anywhere around $2000.00 not to mention the loss of your job, loss of driver’s license, any implication that could have so it can actually be very devastating.
FRANK MOTTEK: So it is actually cheaper then to hire a limousine, load it up with champagne and not drink and drive and save all that money and not risk a DUI.
MR. BERMAN: Best way is not get behind the wheel of a car, but actually have somebody else drive you or get a limousine. You know, with the holidays upon us now there are more check points during this time of year and from what I’m reading there are more check points this year than last year. Arrests are up from this year compared to last year. The police are out in full force. They just want to keep the roads safe.
FRANK MOTTEK: Tell us what you should do if you run into one of those check points.
MR. BERMAN: I can tell you what the law is and that is that you don’t have to tell them where you’re coming from, where you’re going to or how you had to drink. And field sobriety tests are completely voluntary as well. If you’re older than 21, you do not have to take the portable breath test machine before arrest. After the arrest, or if you are in fact arrested then you have a choice of taking a blood or a breath. We’ve been successful with both scenarios but breath testing is not as accurate as blood testing. Breath testing has a lot of margin of errors.
FRANK MOTTEK: Alright say you go out for dinner and have a glass or two of wine, how likely it is that you might get a DUI if you drive after that.
MR. BERMAN: Everybody’s different. It depends on how much you had to drink over what period of time, what you’re body weight is and how much you had to eat. So it’s not against the law to drink and drive. So having a couple over a couple of hours, an hour or two, you should be okay. Again depending on what you’re drinking and how much you weigh and how much you had to eat. Again, everybody is different, so it’s just best not to get behind the wheel, especially during this time of year.
FRANK MOTTEK: Alright and the laws are changing I understand for habitual drunk drivers. The penalties are getting a bit stricter here in California. Give us an update on what the laws are here at the moment.
MR. BERMAN: First, California has some of the—in general—California has some of the toughest DUI penalties in the country. There’s a new law that’s going to go into effect on January first. It is that for a third offense, courts now can revoke a driver’s license up to ten years. That’s new as compared to the DMV usually taking action and not the courts. Where the DMV would take the license for three years. Now after a third offense courts can take it up to 10 years. The other one that I want to talk about which is really significant as well—especially for first time offenders—most of the people who get arrested for DUI are first time offenders and not involved in any crashes and no injuries. Just basically they’re getting stopped at the wrong place at the wrong time or going through a check point, but for people who live in L.A.—or who have their cases in L.A. County—if they’re convicted of a first offense DUI they’re going to have to install an ignition interlock device in any car that they own or have access to for five months. That could severely put a damper on the business person who is driving for going to an appointment or to entertain. Not to mention the personal stigma outside the business arena if you’re getting in the car with somebody and they have an ignition interlock device placed in their car for five months.
FRANK MOTTEK: Alright bottom line, don’t drink and drive and don’t risk the problems associated with a DUI but certainly it’s important to be armed with this important knowledge. Attorney Myles L. Berman’s specializes in DUI defense. Thank you very much Myles, all the best to you. Happy New Year and look forward to talking to you again sometime here in the KNX business hour.
MR. BERMAN: Yes, I want to wish everybody a safe and sober holiday weekend and the rest of January, after January 2012 and thank you very much, it’s a pleasure talking with you.
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