Lawyers Discuss DUI on K-Talk
Heading into the July 4th weekend, Los Angeles and San Diego area DUI/DWI attorney Myles Berman is interviewed about holiday drunk driving checkpoints by LA talk radio show host Al Rantel. Find out what kind of advice top DUI arrest attorney Myles Berman has for anyone pulled over by police at a drunk driving checkpoint over the weekend and his thoughts on everything from the legality of field sobriety tests to the work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). If you are in need of a DUI defense attorney, contact Myles Berman at Top Gun DUI today.
KABC AM 790 TALK RADIO – AL RANTEL PODCAST – JULY 3, 2008 7PM
Holiday DUI CheckpointsDUI Arrest Statistics
DUI Arrests and Employment – How Drunk Driving Convictions Can Affect Your Job
Field Sobriety Tests – Can You Refuse to Take Them?
Drunk Boating – What You Should Know
The Hands-Free Cell Phone Law and Probably Cause for DUI Arrests
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
Breathalyzers and Blood Testing
How to Behave if You are Pulled over at a DUI Checkpoint
What You Should Know about Interacting with Police Officers
Drinking and Driving Legality
General Guidelines for the Consumption of Alcohol
Breathalyzer Testing Advice
DMV Proceedings and Court Proceedings Following a DUI Arrest
Drug vs. Alcohol Arrests
HOLIDAY DUI CHECKPOINTS
At the start of the interview, Los Angeles DUI attorney Myles Berman and LA radio host Al Rantel discuss Holiday DUI checkpoints in Southern California and the stigma surrounding drunk driving arrests and convictions. Mr. Berman urges Holiday partygoers to be conscious of police checkpoints when driving through hot spots like Sunset Boulevard.
Rantel: Right now it is time for our twice a year visit—the last time he was here was December of 2007. Before I knew how sick I was. Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman here, for the drunk driving that will go on over this holiday weekend.
Myles L. Berman: But it’s really great to be here, Al. And it’s great to see you. You look great. All the listeners should know Al looks great
Rantel: Thank you
Myles L. Berman: And we’re all glad to have you back.
Rantel: How do you like my haircut? (laughter). You’ve known me for how many—9 years and I never had hair like this before.
Myles L. Berman: I must admit it hasn’t been that short before, but you got a full head of hair and it’s growing out and it looks great.
Rantel: Yeah, it’s growing back.
Myles L. Berman: It’s good to be here and it’s good to see you.
Rantel: Just think of all the money on haircuts in the last six months. It could make up for the gasoline prices.
Myles L. Berman: I’m sure you’d have rather spent the money.
Rantel: I would have rather spent the money at a Beverly Hills salon, I can tell you that. Absolutely. But thank you for everything.
Myles Berman: Speaking of Beverly Hills, they got a checkpoint going again tonight.
Rantel: Well, it’s a holiday weekend. That’s why you’re here.
Myles L. Berman: It is except when I left my office to come here, I got offended because it was right in front of my office. In the six o-clock hour, there were two empty squad cars on Sunset just west of Doheny. There were two empty squad cars sitting there and it could be a precursor to the checkpoint that’s coming later on.
Rantel: Well Sunset Boulevard is a great place to look for drinking and driving, isn’t it?
Myles Berman: You know a lot of people that are driving westbound on Sunset Blvd—I understand it’s going to go through midnight tonight. They’re driving westbound on Sunset Blvd. They’re coming from the clubs and they’re coming from parties and it’s a place where people are probably going to get arrested for DUI.
DUI ARREST STATISTICS
Mr. Berman discusses how commonplace DUI arrests have become throughout California and illustrates how devastating drunk driving convictions can be if not handled properly by an experienced DUI/DWI attorney.
Rantel: Well, we’re going to talk about what you should do if you get pulled over and a bunch of other controversial things. You know why I love having Myles on the show? Because you’re one of the few guests that comes on that gets a lot of mad callers. Because people think that drunk driving is such a horrible offense because you could kill somebody and people know somebody who has been killed or injured by drunks. A lot of people think that defending them is bad for society. I guess that’s the best way to put it. You hear that all the time, I’m sure. How many times have we heard, “how would you feel, Myles, if you got some guy off of DUI and he went off and killed one of your family members?” I mean you’ve heard that a million times.
Myles Berman: Yeah, I heard that a lot. I don’t hear it as much now as I used to hear it.
Rantel: Oh, yeah?
Myles Berman: Probably because so many more people have been arrested for DUI as compared to 10 years ago. And as we’ve talked in the past, most people that get arrested for DUI are first time offenders. So when a person gets arrested for DUI—and in California it’s about 200,000 people a year.
Rantel: Is it that many?
Myles L. Berman: Oh yeah. It used to be more. Go back 10 years and that’s 2 million arrests over the last 10 years in California… probably more than 2 million. Most of those arrests are first time offenders and anybody who gets arrested for DUI the first time; it still can be devastating unless the case is handled correctly.
Rantel: Do you think that if a person gets arrested for drunk driving, it’s a symptom that they have a drinking problem?
Myles Berman: No.
Rantel: Because the state seems to think that because they send everybody to alcohol school. And they think that you must have a drinking problem.
DUI ARRESTS AND EMPLOYMENT – HOW DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTIONS CAN AFFECT YOUR JOB
At this point in the interview, Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer Myles Berman transitions to the topic of DUI arrests, the economy, and employment. He discusses the “ripple effect” and how DUI convictions not only negatively affect the person arrested, but also their family and livelihood. Mr. Berman gives advice concerning what you are required to disclose to employers about a DUI arrest and discusses the long-term effects drunk driving convictions can have on your job and credit history. To learn more about DUI arrests and convictions, contact Top Gun DUI today.
Myles Berman: My definition of a drinking problem is somebody who has to drink everyday and throughout the day in order to get through the day. Other people who propose abstinence think that anybody who drinks at all has a drinking problem. So, it depends on who’s defining it but you get so many people arrested for DUI, and it doesn’t just affect the person arrested. It affects the spouse. It affects the employer. It affects the kids. Other extended family members. So, it has a ripple effect and I think over the years—
Rantel: There’s a stigma to it, isn’t there?
Myles L. Berman: Yeah, of course there is. Of course. And what’s happening now, especially in this economy, where it used to be you lose your job and you can get another job somewhere else. You can go from job to job.
Rantel: Why would you lose your job for a DUI?
Myles L. Berman: Well sometimes—
Rantel: You don’t have to tell your boss.
Myles Berman: Well, no, no. If you’re a professional, for example: lawyers and doctors and dentists and anybody that’s regulated by the state, it’s required to have malpractice insurance. The carriers every year ask if any of the employees, depending on what profession they’re in, if they have ever been convicted, be it a felony or misdemeanor or even ask if they have had an alcohol related offense. In addition if a professional licensed by the state—now this is in California—you get convicted of DUI, the state is notified of it by the court or the prosecutor. And, you know, the state licensing agency. You’ve got that professional element to it. If you take a side of professional and non-professional—although contractors are licensed by the state—I don’t think they get notified by the courts but it wouldn’t surprise me if that would happen. Nurses. That’s another example.
Rantel: Or you may not be able to drive depending on the situation.
Myles L. Berman: Yeah, here’s the thing. If driving is part of your job like if you’re in sales, you can’t do that. Or driving to and from work.
Rantel: Don’t they give you—even if you get convicted—don’t they let you drive to work?
Myles L. Berman: You can-
Rantel: Get like a permit or certain hours or a restricted license?
MylesBerman: Well, you say “they” and if you’re not successful in fighting the case—with the DMV as well—then your license can be suspended for four months or three months with a five month restriction. Or excuse me, 30 days with a five month restriction. But the consequences of it, for example, if you want to buy a house, DUI convictions are showing up on credit reports all throughout the country.
Rantel: Is that right? I didn’t know that.
MylesBerman: Sure. And now with what’s happening with the economy, everybody’s job is much more precious to them. It’s always been precious, but it’s extremely precious now because before if you were making 80-, 90-thousand dollars a year or 60-, 50-thousand. Whatever the number is it wasn’t as difficult to find a replacement job, but today—forget about it. Companies aren’t—you haven’t heard of too many hirings lately.
Rantel: No, there’s a lot of cutbacks going on everywhere.
Myles L. Berman: Yeah, and if a company knows that a person has been arrested for DUI and they’re looking to lay somebody off, I think they can be probably justified that they want to let somebody go because this person has been convicted of DUI.
FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS – CAN YOU REFUSE TO TAKE THEM?
In this section of the interview Los Angeles DUI/DWI attorney Myles Berman raises the issue of field sobriety tests. Mr. Berman discusses the subjective interpretation of field sobriety tests by police officers and is asked whether the tests can be declined. Read on to learn more about how to protect your rights if you are asked to perform a field sobriety test.
Rantel: Now being that it’s a holiday weekend, I think everybody should know. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about this before, that the same laws apply if you’re behind the wheel of a boat as a car, isn’t that right?
Myles L. Berman: Yeah, except that—
Rantel: I don’t think we’ve ever talked about that.
Myles L. Berman: That’s a good point. There is drunk boating. And the penalties for drunk boating are similar to the penalties for DUI. As we talked before, DUI prosecutions are based on voodoo science like the breath test machines as well as the field sobriety tests, which as far as I’m concerned have no relevancy as to whether somebody can drive. I’ve never seen anybody tooling down the road with their eyes closed, their head tilted back and touching their finger to their nose alternating their left and right index finger. Or doing some of these silly tests that the cops have people do and I think they are silly especially under the circumstances under which they do it.
Rantel: Well they’re trying to figure out if your coordination is impaired, aren’t they?
Myles L. Berman: They are.
Rantel: Because you’re on alcohol.
Myles L. Berman: Yeah, but how many people can walk a straight line perfectly? How many people can close their eyes and hit 30 seconds perfectly and count 30 seconds? Or close their eyes and tilt their head back and stand there.
Rantel: Or one of the other ones they do is say the alphabet without signing it? Starting with the letter F or something?
Myles L. Berman: Right. We talked about this.
Rantel: Yeah we did. I can’t say the alphabet without singing it.
Myles L. Berman: Remember I told you that the alphabet is the same tune as twinkle, twinkle little star?
Rantel: C, D, E, F, G… yes it is.
MylesBerman: But you see how primary this is? I mean it’s primary. It’s humiliating.
Rantel: It is humiliating.
Myles L. Berman: Women, for example, they’re in high heels, so what are they going to do? They’re either going to do these tests in high heels or they’re going to do them barefoot on the side of the road with stones under their feet. Either way they lose. So they have no way to perform it to the officer’s satisfaction.
Rantel: Well if the officer wants to arrest you, he can interpret those tests any way he wants, right?
Myles L. Berman: That’s correct.
Rantel: It’s completely subjective on his part, isn’t it?
MylesBerman: We’ve had cases where we’ve talked to the prosecutor, “Look, the field sobriety tests, they did it perfectly.” Their response is, “Well, they must have a high tolerance for alcohol and therefore that’s why they did it so well.” Either way people lose. These field sobriety tests are designed as a pretext—first to collect evidence—and second as a pretext to get them to blow into the portable breath test machine.
Rantel: Okay, so you recommend, then that if someone is asked to do the field sobriety tests: walk a straight line, tilt your head back, blah, blah, say the alphabet… you recommend they decline.
Myles L. Berman: People don’t have to do them. They don’t have to do them. They are completely voluntary. And they have the right—
Rantel: But most people think if they refuse they’re going to look guilty. How do you balance that?
DRUNK BOATING – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Earlier in the interview Los Angeles DUI lawyer Myles Berman pointed out that penalties for drunk boating are similar to the penalties for a DUI conviction. Following a discussion of the subjective interpretation and ineffectiveness of field sobriety tests, Mr. Berman turns the discussion back to drunk boating to illustrate his point. Learn more about what to expect if you’re behind the wheel of a boat and pulled over for suspicion of drunk boating.
MylesBerman: Think about this logically. If they want to investigate further and by doing so they want you to do a field sobriety test so they have more information to make the decision. If you don’t give them the information to make that decision then they shouldn’t be able to make the decision to arrest. Now we know they do, but now they don’t have as much evidence against you. But you were talking about drunk boating and just to go back to that for a moment, what they do is when they pull somebody over, they take them out of the boat and then they have them do the same field sobriety exercises.
Rantel: What do they want them to walk on the water? There is only one guy we know that ever did that. (laughter)
Myles L. Berman: He can’t do it now but supposedly he did it before.
Rantel: Yeah (laughter)
Rantel: How do you do a field sobriety test on the water?
MylesBerman: There are some people who think they can walk on water.
Rantel: Yeah. Most of them are in Washington.
Myles L. Berman: They take you on land—on dry dock. And now a person has what’s called sea legs.
Rantel: Oh yeah, that’s right. That’s true.
Myles L. Berman: You’ve been on a boat. You’ve been on a tour. You’ve gone wherever and you get out of the boat and you have a little trouble walking, especially your first few steps. Now when you’re pulled over for drunk boating and you get out of the boat—guarantee it’s going to be in the report, “the person couldn’t even get out of the boat without help.” Often times—we just came back from a tour. We were on vacation.
Rantel: Well, if the boat is flipping around the dock, you stumble off.
MylesBerman: They are. I mean you’re putting weight on the edge of the boat and depending on the size of the boat—
Rantel: Or the person.
Myles L. Berman: But even on a giant cruise ship—you’re walking down a gate plank—you’ve still been on water. And so your equilibrium and your body is not the same as if you were just standing around.
Rantel: You’re good at making excuses.
Myles L. Berman: This is absolutely what happens.
Rantel: Well I know it’s your job, I understand.
Myles L. Berman: It’s not an excuse. It’s absolutely what happens. Al, we know that people get pulled over for running a stop sign and they’re scared out of their mind. And think about it, what’s the worst that can happen? They can get a ticket and they either go to traffic school, or they fight it, or they pay the fine with the conviction. But we know how nervous people get when the cops come up.
Rantel: You can actually feel your heart increase.
Myles L. Berman: Everything is surreal. Life stops. Now that’s just for a ticket and you’re not even asked to get out of the car.
Rantel: Well when we come back I want to ask you if DUI will be impacted by the new law that went into effect a few days ago on the cell phones and a few other controversial questions. Then we’re going to be taking calls. One of our least popular guests—well not in terms of people listening but in terms of—
Myles L. Berman: I’m actually a very nice guy.
Rantel: Well I know you are but a lot of people, well they would like you if they needed you. But as long as they never need you they think that what you do is terrible.
Myles L. Berman: Yeah sometimes people come up to me but after I talk to them for a little while they walk away feeling better.
Rantel: Okay, we’re going to come back with Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman. Our semi annual show; we do one at Christmas and one at the Fourth of July usually, or memorial day or somewhere like that.
Myles L. Berman: We hit the holidays.
Rantel: We’ll be right back, KABC
THE HANDS-FREE CELL PHONE LAW AND PROBABLE CAUSE FOR DUI ARRESTS
At this point in the interview Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer Myles Berman is asked about California’s new hands-free cell phone law and how it impacts DUI arrests. This leads into a discussion of probable cause. Read on to discover Mr. Berman’s predictions concerning how the new cell-phone law will affect DUI arrests in the future.
Rantel: Alright, we’re going to take calls in the next half-hour for Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman because this is a holiday weekend and a lot of people will be arrested on the water and on the land for driving drunk. Now the cell phone bill law that took effect July first saying you have to be hands free. How will that impact them pulling people over and checking for DUI?
Myles L. Berman: Well, you have said this before and you have a friend who is a prosecutor who says that the vehicle code is—
Rantel: He calls it the book of probable cause. Meaning you can find anything in there to pull people over.
Myles L. Berman: Right.
Rantel: Your taillight is dirty. Your plate is dirty. You know—
Myles Berman: Now you’re talking on a cell phone. And surprisingly we’ve seen a little bit of a spike in the last couple of days for new clients getting pulled over for talking on a cell phone or texting. A lot of our clients get pulled over because they’re texting. So don’t text while you’re driving because they end up weaving.
Rantel: And then the cop sees you weave and thinks that you might have been drinking.
Myles L. Berman: It’s not so much that they’ll see you talking on a cell phone, although if they can see you talking on a cell phone or get the impression that you’re—I’m waiting for the case where the cop says—which will happen—that the cop will say that they pulled the client over because they were talking on the cell phone when actually the guy was putting his finger in his ear or scratching his head. Because if you’ve got a cop on the left hand side. You’re on the freeway. You have a cop on the left hand side and you’re both going the same direction and the guy’s got his hand by his ear for whatever reason or scratching his head, the cop’s going to say, “I think he’s talking on a cell phone.”
Rantel: Right. Could be.
Myles Berman: And the cop may realistically think that the person is talking on a cell phone. So there is going to be more people that are pulled over in violation of the new law, as well as perceived violation of the new law.
MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING (MADD)
When the interview moves to a discussion of penalties for first offenders in DUI cases Mr. Berman takes the opportunity to discuss the role of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). After praising their success in instituting alcohol consumption limits for drivers nationwide he also points out that the erosion of the rights of those arrested for drunk driving is a completely separate issue. To learn more about how to protect your rights following a DUI arrest, speak with an experienced drunk driving attorney.
Rantel: Do you think that the penalties for first offense DUI have gotten too harsh?
Myles Berman: I have been saying this for years that—
Rantel: Because we used to be very easy on drunk drivers. It looks like MADD came along and said, “Hey, people have been killed.” There’s all these—you know, the deaths on the highways because of drinking.
Myles L. Berman: I tip my hat to Mothers Against Drunk Driving for two reasons.
Rantel: You do? As someone who fights with them.
Myles Berman: Well sure.
Rantel: I don’t think they like you very much.
Myles L. Berman: You know, surprisingly, I do have good relations with some of the members of MADD. They understand what I do doesn’t impact what they’re doing. What I do is protect someone once they’re arrested. What they have done through their aggressive lobbying efforts has convinced the federal government to require all states—all 50 states are a .08. That was a tremendous—
Rantel: Meaning the legal alcohol limit.
Myles Berman: Correct. All 50 states and there were some states that were resistant to that.
Rantel: Do you think it’s too low?
Myles L. Berman: Oh, I don’t know. In California it’s been a .08 so long.
Rantel: It used to be a .10, wasn’t it?
Myles Berman: It was a .15 years before.
Rantel: Was it really?
Myles L. Berman: Yeah. It was a .15, then a .10, then a .08. It’s been a .08 so long that I’m kind of desensitized to whether or not it’s right.
Rantel: Well why do you think the penalties are too harsh?
Myles L. Berman: Well, let me just finish up with MADD because there was two points.
Rantel: MADD wanted that as a deterrent.
Myles L. Berman: One is that they have helped make the laws tougher. And the second one is they have actually decreased the carnage on the road—that’s the terms that the courts use—there are less people who are killed by drunk drivers since Mothers Against Drunk Drivers have taken up this issue. Arrests are also down. So in that respect, they’re very good. Now I don’t blame Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the legislature and the courts eroding our rights in prosecuting drunk driving cases, because those are two different issues.
BREATHALYZERS AND BLOOD TESTING
While discussing how it is possible for the courts to infringe on our rights when enforcing DUI laws, the interview transitions to the topic of checkpoints and breathalyzer tests. Mr. Berman questions the assumed accuracy of breath test machines and goes on to clarify breathalyzer testing guidelines under California law. Hear directly from an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer what your options are if you’re asked by a police officer to take a breathalyzer test.
Rantel: How are they eroding our rights?
Myles Berman: Well, for example the checkpoints that we’ve talked about tonight. Checkpoints have become legal because the US Supreme Court said in a Michigan case years ago that, in essence, checkpoints are okay. Now think about this. We’ve got police officers who are stopping people on the road with no probable cause to check and see whether or not they’re—
Rantel: And they may ask you for an ID or they ask you, “Have you been drinking?” Because John had that happen to him.
Myles Berman: But you’re talking about not just a DUI, but because they made DUI checkpoints legal then states said—
Rantel: Oh now they have checkpoints to check your license and whatever.
Myles L. Berman: Infant seats. There have been checkpoints to determine whether or not children under four are in a seat. Or a seatbelt checkpoint. I think that that has somewhat eroded our rights by not being able to travel freely like we used to. In addition, most people think that just because you get arrested for DUI that you must be guilty and the breath test machines, as you’ve heard me say for years, are based on voodoo science. And for the life of me I don’t understand why people accept the breath test machines as being 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.
Rantel: Well nothing is 100 percent accurate. If someone blows a .20 or something, you wouldn’t think they might be drunk?
Myles L. Berman: In California it’s 2 tests. If a person blows a .20 or a .22 two minutes later, I have a problem with that because a person doesn’t go from a .20 to a .22 in two minutes, yet in California those two results are admissible because it complies with the State’s protocol. This is what I’m talking about in voodoo science. And then we’ve got cases where they take a breath test. They don’t listen to me, they take the portable breath test on the road before they’re arrested, which they don’t have to—they have the absolute right to refuse. And they have a blood test. They take a blood test after they are arrested and hour or so later; the results are totally inconsistent because the breath test is based no voodoo science. Blood testing isn’t always that accurate either. There’s plenty of problems with blood testing. Would you feel that a blood test—when you go to a hospital and you have a blood test.
Rantel: God knows I’ve had plenty of those.
Myles Berman: Okay. You get a blood test. You get the results. You expect the results in 2 or 3 days. The doctor is going to call you or you call the doctor, or they say if there is a problem we’ll call you. I’d never buy that, I’m still following up anyway.
Rantel: Yeah, yeah.
Myles Berman: Okay. So you know in two or three days you’re going to get the results, right? And that’s reasonable. We’ve had cases where the government has analyzed the blood results a month, six weeks, two months later. Now how reliable do you think that is? I don’t think it’s that reliable. But yet because of the aura of DUI and the scare that people are under, that they somehow will accept the State’s evidence. And this is how our rights have been eroded as well.
Rantel: Let me take a break and we’ll come back. Now it’s time for you to talk to Myles. If you are upset with what he does we’ll put you on, too at 1-800-222-KABC. Right back.
HOW TO BEHAVE IF YOU ARE PULLED OVER AT A DUI CHECKPOINT
In this part of the interview Los Angeles DUI attorney Myles Berman discusses how to behave if you are pulled over at a drunk driving checkpoint. Mr. Berman clarifies what information you are (and are not) required to give police officers and provides tips concerning how to politely interact with police officers when you are pulled over. Read on to learn more about how to protect your rights at drunk driving checkpoints. Visit Mr. Berman’s website for DUI tips from a drunk driving attorney and contact Top Gun DUI if you would like to speak directly with an attorney.
Rantel: The Al Rantel Show. Holiday weekend coming up. Really quick, if you get in one of those roadblocks the cop is liable to pull you over and say, “Have you been drinking tonight, sir?” In that nice way they ask, “Drinking tonight sir?” What’s the answer, Myles?
Myles L. Berman: Well that depends on whether or not you have been drinking.
Rantel: Okay, so you may not give a truthful answer?
Myles L. Berman: No, no, no. If you haven’t been drinking, then absolutely say you have had nothing to drink.
Rantel: If you had a drink before? Even one?
Myles L. Berman: This is what I think people should know when they’re in this situation because it doesn’t matter if you’re driving through a checkpoint or if you get pulled over. It’s still the same thing.
Rantel: And don’t they always ask you have you been drinking tonight?
Myles L. Berman: Sure, of course they do. And people should know that they don’t have to tell the officer where they are coming from, where they are going.
Rantel: They always ask you that too, “Where are you coming from?”
Myles L. Berman: And they don’t have to tell them how much they have had to drink. They don’t have to say anything other than identify themselves. License and—
Rantel: Give me your ID.
Myles L. Berman: Correct. And so people should take that into consideration. And if they want to politely refuse, I have it on my website—some tips. Topgundui.com, which deals with your specific question, but people don’t have to tell the officers where they’re coming from, where they’re going to and don’t have to cooperate but—
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INTERACTING WITH POLICE OFFICERS
At this point in the discussion Los Angeles DUI/DWI lawyer Myles Berman outlines the best way to behave if you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. Mr. Berman gives advice concerning how to politely deal with questions from a police officer while at the same time protecting your individual rights. Read on to learn more about what kind of information can be used against you by police officers if you are pulled over and questioned.
Rantel: I think a lot of people are intimidated that if you don’t answer the cop’s question he’s going to be mad at you and probably arrest you.
Myles L. Berman: Sure, but—
Rantel: But you think that’s not worth the tradeoff.
Myles L. Berman: What’s the issue here? Is the issue here that you really want to—you’re getting me closer. After all these years you’re getting me closer now. But the issue is that if you upset the cop, I mean, okay. So the cop gets upset, but you’ve got your life flashing in front of you. A lot of people are really at that point where they’re thinking, “Oh my God. I’m getting pulled over for DUI. I’m going to go to jail. I’m going to lose my job. It’s going to cost a bunch of money. All kinds of things are going through a person’s mind so they aren’t really thinking clearly anyway. Nevertheless, they don’t have to tell the officer or give that officer the information. We have that right. This is America.
Rantel: So he says, “Where are you coming from tonight sir? You been drinking?” You can say, “Officer I’d rather not answer any question?” In a nice way?
Myles L. Berman: “I appreciate what you’re doing, officer. I respect police officers but I just decline to answer your questions.” And you can stand on that point. Now this may be the first time when I’ve said—“You’re getting me there.” This is the first time I think I’ve gone that far and said that on your show, Al. But that’s in honor of you being back because I’m happy to see you back.
Rantel: Thank you. And the cop at that point will decide if he’s got evidence to arrest you. Oh, well he may ask you about the field sobriety tests and to blow in to the machine.
Myles Berman: Correct. Correct. Or sometimes they get so befuddled that they call for backup because they don’t know what to do. That’s happened as well. But we’ve seen many cases where clients end up—they don’t say anything to the officer, and sometimes the officer’s attitude causes the client to clam up because if the client can see right away that the officer is aggressive, the guy knows he’s not going to get a fair shot. On the other hand sometimes officers are so nice and so sweet that they just get people to—
Rantel: Talk too much.
Myles Berman: Yeah. We both know what the words are that I’m thinking but we don’t want to say it on the air. But yes, they get people to talk and they talk their way into being arrested.
Rantel: The defendant admitted to having come from a nightclub and had drinks. Right? They put that in evidence? Because you opened your mouth.
Myles L. Berman: Right. Everything.
Rantel: And that’s fair.
Myles L. Berman: People have to remember that—
Rantel: Everything you say can be used against you.
Myles L. Berman: Will be used against you if they can.
Rantel: And we learn that on those TV shows.
Myles Berman: I don’t think it’s fair if a police officer has a tape recorder going when he pulls you over.
Rantel: That’s right. They usually tape it.
Myles L. Berman: Often times they do. I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s fair that they got video cameras—
Rantel: Well at least you know it’s accurate.
Myles L. Berman: Unless they tell you. They should tell people, “Hey listen—“
Rantel: You’re being taped.
Myles Berman: Of course.
Rantel: They don’t have to tell you you’re being taped?
Myles L. Berman: No they don’t have to tell you and they don’t tell you. Now, by the way, most of the time these audio/video recordings actually help us because they show our client is sober and certainly different then what the cop—
DRINKING AND DRIVING LEGALITY
In this part of the interview DUI defense attorney Myles Berman takes a call from a listener. The discussion touches on the legality of drinking and driving and Mr. Berman goes on to share his views concerning responsible drinking. Read on to find out the general rule of thumb for how much alcohol can be consumed without exceeding the legal limit for driving a motor vehicle. If you are facing DUI charges in Los Angeles or another location in Southern California, contact Top Gun DUI today.
Rantel: We have a caller here who doesn’t like you. Z?
Z: How you doing?
Rantel: Good. You don’t like Myles?
Z: Glad to have you back, first of all. Mr. Wahl did a fabulous job.
Rantel: Thank you.
Z: I’ve heard your show so many times on the Fourth of July special with Mr. Berman. And I just don’t get it, I mean you work for rights and the government and politics and everything that’s right in this country—
Rantel: I’m for rights. I think the people that get arrested in this country better get a lawyer for everything
Z: But the thing is when you get a drivers license you’re not issued a drivers license to bee-bop with loud music, or tapping on the wheel, or drunk, or anything else. Your job is to drive only. So if you’re breaking the law… if you have any alcohol in your body, that’s breaking the law.
Myles Berman: Well, Z, is that your name?
Myles L. Berman: Z, actually it’s, what he just said—
Rantel: It’s legal to drink and drive isn’t it?
Myles L. Berman: Mothers Against Drunk Driving has done a great job of convincing people that it’s against the law to drink and drive but it’s not against the law. And they’ll be the first ones to tell you that it is not against the law to drink and drive.
Z: Is that right? Is that’s what was issued on your license? C’mon!
Myles L. Berman: You c’mon. It’s not against the law to drink and drive. Period.
Rantel: It’s against the law to drink too much and drive.
Myles Berman: That’s correct. It’s against the law to be a .08 or greater. By the way, Z, do you drink alcohol?
Myles L. Berman: Okay, so you have no idea at what point you would be a .08, do you?
Z: No I don’t.
Myles Berman: Nobody knows at what point they would be—
Rantel: At what point would you be—
Myles L. Berman: It depends.
Z: Okay so you’re a lawyer so you make me look bad, but honestly, honestly. Would you want your kids to get behind the wheel next to you?
Myles L. Berman: Z, you’re not looking bad. I respect how you feel, but it’s important that the listeners know the perspective from where you’re coming from. Most people who do drink oftentimes drive. Most of us who do that still feel that we can drink and still get behind the wheel and drive safely. People can go out and have a glass of wine for dinner, or even two glasses, or even three or four over a longer period of time.
Rantel: With food.
Myles Berman: With food if you’re out for four or five hours. And, Z, if you check the paperwork you got with the DMV, the DMV will even tell you that after you’ve drank, how much you—although it’s not accurate. But even the DMV doesn’t discourage people from drinking and driving. It’s just saying be responsible about it. If you drink you should wait an hour per drink, something like that, before you drive.
Rantel: To burn off the alcohol.
Myles L. Berman: Right. That’s just the reality of the world in which we live.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR THE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL
In this segment, Los Angeles DUI attorney Myles Berman and radio show host Al Rantel discuss the general guidelines for the responsible consumption of alcohol before you drive.
Rantel: Isn’t each ounce of alcohol a .02? That’s the rule of thumb that I’ve always heard. Is that true?
Myles L. Berman: Yes, go with that. Each drink—
Rantel: So if I had three—but it’s got to be only an ounce because some of the bartenders make them doubles.
Myles L. Berman: When you say an ounce, you’re actually talking about a shot, which is an ounce and a quarter of like vodka or 80 proof liquor.
Myles L. Berman: That also equals one twelve ounce can of beer, and once four ounce glass of wine. Wine is actually pretty potent. Not too many people just have a shot. But sometimes they’re doubles or triples when you have scotch or something like that. But oftentimes when you have a mixed drink you have one shot in there—
Rantel: Like a Long Island iced tea which has four ounces of alcohol.
Myles L. Berman: That’s a different story, correct.
Rantel: You’ll be a .08 right after that.
Myles L. Berman: Actually, you pretty much can be. In your particular case, Al, it depends on weight. You look the same weight as you always have so I’ll give you the same number so each drink would be a .02 for you. Now if somebody is 100 pounds or less, or by the same token, 300 pounds. It’s less in the 300 pounder but would be more in the 100 pound person.
Rantel: Alright were going to come right back. More of your calls for Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman. Remember it is a big holiday weekend for drunk driving arrests; in fact they were putting up one of the checkpoints when Myles was on his way here.
Myles L. Berman: Yeah I couldn’t tell what it was. It was the first time I had seen it but they had two—
Rantel: Well the orange cones will be coming out soon.
Myles L. Berman: I would think they’re going to be there but they had two Beverly Hills squad cars
Rantel: Sunset Boulevard is like fishing with a fishing net. I mean that street…
Myles L. Berman: Oh, yeah. It’s up and down the street. You know, people—
Rantel: And if you try to escape going up the canyon if you see the road block; that’s what people do. But you’re not going to get out of it.
Myles L. Berman: It’s very difficult to try to avoid a roadblock. Because they know that people are trying to escape. So even though people are allowed to not drive through checkpoints—
Rantel: But you’re going to wind up in the canyon.
Myles L. Berman: Oh I thought you said you’re going to wind up in the can. (Laughter)
Rantel: We’ll be right back KABC.
Rantel: Our time is running out with Myles Berman but when we come back after the news at 8 o-clock we’ll have Dick Morris who has a book. His book has already gone to number two on the New York Times bestseller list.
Myles L. Berman: That’s impressive.
Rantel: Yeah, it’s called Fleeced.
Myles L. Berman: I’m on his email list.
Rantel: Yeah, I think everybody is.
Myles L. Berman: I don’t know how I got on it but I’m on it.
BREATHALYZER TESTING ADVICE
At this stage of the interview the discussion with Los Angeles drunk driving attorney Myles Berman turns practical. Mr. Berman addresses the issue of breathalyzer testing before and after arrest, including the right to refuse a breathalyzer test and the penalties associated with refusing a breathalyzer test following arrest. Read on to learn more about how to protect yourself when you are facing possible arrest for driving under the influence. If you are interested in speaking with a Los Angeles or Los Angeles DUI attorney, contact Top Gun DUI today.
Rantel: John, you’re on with Myles. Go ahead.
John: Hi, glad to have you back on the radio, Al.
John: I’d like to know what happens if you refuse the breathalyzer test and then you refuse to take a blood test or can you refuse to take a blood test? If you do, what’s the penalty?
Myles L. Berman: When you say refuse the breathalyzer you meant the portable breath test before you’re arrested?
Myles L. Berman: Yeah. After you’re arrested, look, breath is less reliable than blood but in California—I don’t want to say that people should refuse a blood or a breath after they are arrested. But in California—
Rantel: What about before you’re arrested?
Myles L. Berman: Before you’re arrested, if you’re older than 21, absolutely refuse to take the portable breath test. This caller, he’s got it. So, after you are arrested if you refuse, if you’re convicted of DUI in court, the penalties are greater and your drivers license could be gone for a year with no chance of restriction from the DMV from a separate proceeding.
Rantel: Because you refused?
Myles L. Berman: Because of the refusal, right. As opposed to not refusing for a first offense I think that’s what the caller asked. For a first offense you get a four month suspension or a 30 day suspension and a 5 month restriction, but again that’s assuming that the person doesn’t beat the DMV. We are successful with the DMV so I’m not saying all is hopeless but I think that’s what he’s asking.
DMV PROCEEDINGS AND COURT PROCEEDINGS FOLLOWING A DUI ARREST
Toward the end of the interview, Los Angeles DUI/DWI lawyer Myles Berman addresses the difference between DMV hearings concerning the future of your drivers’ license and legal proceedings in a court of law. Find out more about what to expect during a DMV hearing following a drunk driving arrest.
Rantel: Wait a minute. I’m a little confused. The DMV makes what decision as opposed to the court?
Myles L. Berman: Interestingly enough—
Rantel: They’re two separate things, right?
Myles L. Berman: When a person gets arrested for DUI in California they take away your license and the license is sent to the DMV for an administrative proceeding which is an attack on your license. The court is a different proceeding, which is an attack on everything. But with the DMV the issues are less. You don’t have a judge you have a hearing officer who also is the prosecutor and the judge at the same time—we’re talking about the DMV. They make decisions and most of them try to be fair, but it’s not neutral like a judge where you have a judge, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney, and a jury. So, it’s a different proceeding but here’s what’s interesting with the DMV. In California and you get arrested driving under the influence of alcohol they take your license but if you’re driving under the influence of drugs they don’t take your license. You have no hearing with the DMV.
DRUG VS. ALCOHOL ARRESTS
Mr. Berman goes on to identify the distinction between DMV proceedings for those arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol as opposed to those arrested for driving under the influence of narcotics.
Rantel: So if you’re smoking marijuana, for example? They don’t take your license?
Myles L. Berman: Yeah. For the life of me I don’t understand why they draw that distinction. Forget marijuana. Cocaine! Any narcotic.
Rantel: How can the test you on the side of the road to see that you’re on cocaine? How would they know that unless you had it on you?
Myles L. Berman: That’s also more voodoo science. Where they take what’s called a pupilometer. I think you remember this, with the cardboard.
Rantel: Oh, with your eyes?
Myles L. Berman: It’s like cardboard with holes in it and they measure the holes in your eyes.
Rantel: Measure the holes in your eyes?
Myles L. Berman: Your pupil. I heard the music and it threw me. The holes in the cardboard.
Rantel: And that’s how they tell if you’re on coke?
Myles L. Berman: Well, how big your eyes are dilated to tell whether or not you’re under the influence.
Rantel: I see.
Myles L. Berman: So, anyway…
Rantel: How many grams are you allowed to have snorted before you’re over the limit?
Myles L. Berman: Nothing. That’s zero tolerance as well.
Rantel: But they don’t take your license.
Myles L. Berman: They don’t take your license for drugs, or they shouldn’t and the DMV will not attack your license just for being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs.
Rantel: Very interesting. You’re always so fascinating, Myles. Drive safely.
Myles L. Berman: Thank you, Al.
Rantel: And your parting words of advice are?
Myles L. Berman: I want everyone to have a safe and sober holiday weekend and I wish everybody a great Fourth of July and what a great country that we live in.
Rantel: We’ll see you at Christmas.
Myles L. Berman: Yes sir.
CONTACT TOP GUN DUI TODAY
Drunk driving defense lawyer Myles Berman represents individuals charged with DUI offenses in San Diego County, Orange County, LA County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County, and Santa Barbara County. If you are interested in speaking with a top Southern California DUI/DWI lawyer, contact Top Gun DUI today.
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