Los Angeles Drunk Driving, DUI / DWI Defense Attorneys – Top Gun DUI Lawyers
Drunk driving defense attorney Myles Berman joins a KABC radio discussion to talk about the increase in DUI checkpoints in the Orange County and Los Angeles area during holiday weekends.
KABC AM 790 Talk Radio – Al Rantel Podcast Part 2 – Dec 21, 2007
Rantel: It’s our annual drunk driving show with Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman. And man, oh man, the arrests are pouring in. Now what happens Myles when you see—they love to do this up on Sunset Boulevard right by your office.
Myles L. Berman: I brought a list of checkpoints and that’s number one on my list.
Rantel: What is a checkpoint, first of all?
Myles L. Berman: A checkpoint is where cops set up a road block. It’s almost like a funnel and you can’t get out once you’re in, you’re in.
CHECKPOINT LOCATIONS AND RANDOM STOPS – DOES LAW ENFORCEMENT FOLLOW PROPER PROCEDURE?
In this portion of the discussion, DUI attorney Myles Berman talks about the legality of DUI checkpoints; law enforcement is required to publicize the locations of checkpoints and are supposed to randomly stop vehicles. However, in many cases, law enforcement does not follow procedure.
Rantel: How do they decide who to pull into the funnel? Are they allowed to just, “let’s pick the next red Mustang that comes by?”
Myles L. Berman: Here’s what happens a lot of times. It’s supposed to be every third car, every fourth car. It’s supposed to be random based on a reasonable space between cars. But after two, three hours if business is slow, they’ll start pulling over every car.
Rantel: Business is slow…
Myles L. Berman: We hear that a lot. It’s a big business! There’s no question about it. These checkpoints—they’re beautiful. They light up the sky and you drive in, the cones are laid out so nice and neat and the lights are all set up. They have the BAT mobile. Do you know what the BAT mobile is?
Rantel: The BAT mobile… blood alcohol testing.
Myles L. Berman: BAT mobiles. I think that’s really cute. And there is a checkpoint in front of my office as you exit West Hollywood and enter Beverly Hills on Sunset Boulevard. And again, I’m offended. I’m looking at this and going, “why do you guys do this right here?”
Rantel: Well it’s one-stop shopping. (laughter)
Myles L. Berman: We’re closed, but we’re available by phone 888-4-TOPGUN. But anyway, there’s checkpoints. A lot of checkpoints between now and up through New Year’s—
Rantel: And the law requires that they tell the public where they are, even though they go out of their way not to.
Myles L. Berman: They are supposed to publicize checkpoints. There’s times when—one year you asked me if I could find checkpoints so I called around and a number of agencies said why should we tell you? Well, that’s because it’s the law. I think it’s important that everybody knows where checkpoints are because that will make the road safer in those areas.
PUBLICIZING DUI CHECKPOINTS – WOULD IT MAKE THE ROADS SAFER?
In this segment of the radio interview, Los Angeles DUI lawyer Myles Berman says he believes publicizing DUI checkpoint locations would act as a deterrent against drunk driving. Contact Top Gun DUI if you have been charged with a drunk driving offense.
Rantel: How does it make it safer?
Myles L. Berman: Well, because if people know there’s checkpoints, either—obviously they won’t drive in that area—
Rantel: They may drive drunk somewhere else.
Myles L. Berman: Well, now wait a second. If they know that there’s checkpoints all over the place, I think a reasonable person would say, “you know what–”
Rantel: You’re right. It’s a deterrent.
Myles L. Berman: Absolutely.
Rantel: So where are they Mr. Berman?
Myles L. Berman: Aside from the one exiting West Hollywood, entering Beverly Hills—
Rantel: That’s like Sunset and Doheny.
Myles Berman: Correct. There is one on main street South of Torrance Boulevard in Carson tonight from 7 – 3. I’m sorry, tomorrow night.
Rantel: Oh, tomorrow.
Myles Berman: No, no. I’m sorry, Al. It’s from tonight at 7 o-clock to 3 am Saturday.
Myles L. Berman: So it’s right now until three in the morning. And then Saturday night, there’s one on Hawthorne from 8 pm to 4 am, Sunday.
Rantel: Late partiers on Hawthorne.
Myles Berman: At the twelve, two-hundred block of Crenshaw Boulevard. How’s that for specificity? And then there’s one at the 4300 block on PCH in Torrance. So those are four checkpoints. I’m providing a public service to the motoring public—your audience—that there’s checkpoints at least in those four areas—
CHECKPOINT FUNNELS AND EXIT ROUTES – DO THEY INFRINGE ON OUR CIVIL RIGHTS?
In this portion of the interview, Los Angeles drunk driving defense lawyer Myles Berman discusses DUI checkpoint funneling and escape routes. While DUI turn-off routes exist, law enforcement may have cops at the exit routes, as well as at checkpoints. At exit points, cops can still pull you over for traffic violations, making checkpoints difficult to avoid.
Rantel: Now what would happen if you pull up and you see… well I don’t know. Do they usually put the checkpoint in a place where, by the time you see it, it’s too late for you to go anywhere else?
Myles Berman: Well, yes and no.
Rantel: You know what I mean? If you see a way ahead and you turn, maybe… I mean, you shouldn’t be driving—You know I would avoid it even if I wasn’t drinking. And I don’t drink and drive. I don’t drink hardly anymore at all. But I would avoid it.
Myles L. Berman: Of course. Who wants to go through that stressful thing? And be looked at as if you’re another bad guy.
Rantel: But do they set it up so you can’t avoid it?
Myles Berman: There is supposed to be an escape route and you have a prosecutor friend who calls the vehicle code the book of probable cause.
Rantel: Yeah, he says in California, they can stop you almost any reason on the car. “Your tail light is dirty. Your license plate is partly covered”
Myles Berman: It’s almost impossible to drive without some violation of the vehicle code. And so if you go into one of these turn-off routes, the cops are there as well. They know there are people that will turn off, so they’ll get them too. Unfortunately that’s the way the system is designed. I’m sure that most of the people say, “Yeah, yeah. This is great,” until it happens to them. Once it happens to them, they go through the system and the consequences can be so devastating.
Rantel: But most people would think, I think, look, you have nothing to worry about if you’re not drinking and driving. If you’re not drunk.
Myles L. Berman: Yeah, well that doesn’t deal with reality. The reality is there is unfairness built into the system, that everybody thinks the breath test machines are great, that people think that the government has the upper hand, although in our cases I don’t agree with that. Once we take the case to trial things are pretty much on an even field because of the skill that we have.
Rantel: Well, you’ve been doing this for…
Myles Berman: Of course. So the general public doesn’t get this concept until they actually go through—
Rantel: Do you think the laws are too strict? I mean in the old days before MADD, the laws used to be much laxer.
Myles Berman: You mention groups like MADD. I’ve actually given them money.
Myles L. Berman: Yes.
Rantel: You’ve given Mothers Against Drunk Driving money?
MADD AND STRICTER DUI LAWS AND PENALTIES
In the final segment of the radio interview, DUI defense lawyer Myles Berman discusses how successful Mothers Against Drunk Driving have been in getting stricter DUI laws and penalties put in place at both the federal and state levels. However, the strict penalties for first time offenders are so harsh, those convicted of a DUI often lose their jobs or can’t find new jobs.
Myles Berman: I have. I respect them on a couple of fronts. First, they have learned how to take control of the government on a specific issue and make the penalties so great that other organizations can take a lesson from them and they probably have. So they know how to get the job done in the Congress and in the states. Secondly, they have gotten the message out there of the dangers of drinking and driving. Now having said that, it still doesn’t have an effect on how I feel that we want to fight and win every DUI case that comes in. There is no connection in what there objective is and what our objective is.
Rantel: But do you think they’ve gone too far and made the penalties too high?
Myles Berman: They’ve been so successful—and I’ve been advocating for years to decriminalize most first offense DUI cases because the penalties are so severe. Just the average person that gets arrested for DUI has the chance of losing his or her job. That alone—forget about that it can stay on your record for 10 years, which will probably be lifetime. The tens of thousands of dollars it can cost between fines and insurance increases and alcohol programs and legal fees. Being branded a convicted criminal—forget about all of that. Just on the narrow issue of a person’s ability to make a livelihood, especially in Southern California where public transportation is next to nil. So if somebody’s license is suspended, they may lose their job.
Rantel: Well don’t they let you drive to work?
Myles L. Berman: If your license is suspended, without getting too complicated, you can look at losing your license for at least 30 days on a first offense, assuming the court doesn’t come down on you, as well as the DMV. If you lose the DMV, you get a 30 day suspension and not a restriction. But still, the evidence is this: most first offenders do not repeat.
Myles Berman: That’s our experience. That’s the overwhelming majority.
Rantel: They learn their lesson. They get scared.
Myles L. Berman: Correct. I think most first offenders are less of a risk of a DUI than before they were arrested.
Rantel: Alright, we’re going to take your calls with Myles. We always get great calls when Myles is here and some people don’t like what he does, so feel free if you’re one of them. You know I have to always say that.
Myles Berman: Yes, I understand. I’m cannon fodder for you.
Rantel: For God’s sake, after nine years you should know. 1-800-222-KABC. He looks at me like…
Myles Berman: Here we go again.
Rantel: Any question, we’ll take it. Right back.
CONSULT LOS ANGELES DRUNK DRIVING DEFENSE ATTORNEY MYLES BERMAN
If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, it is important that you have a qualified DUI defense attorney on your side. Contact Los Angeles DUI defense attorney Myles Berman for a review of your case.
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