Friday, August 27, 2010

How Much Does a Cab Ride Really Cost?

This life continues to show me things I just don't understand. For example, a morbidly obese cardiologist or a pulmonologist smoking at the back door of the hospital; some things that are just so counterintuitive that they defy reason. Nevertheless, we all see them on a daily basis and we either ignore it or roll our eyes and shake our heads and remark about how idiotic some people can be, especially when they know better.

Recently there was a story in the news about a family who couldn't swim but had a picnic on a riverfront beach...six of them drowned. While the story itself is tragic beyond comprehension, one can't help but wonder what made playing in a river a good idea to a group of non-swimmers.

The same is inexplicably true of EMS providers. As more and more paramedics, EMTs, firefighters, nurses, and police officers learn that there is an attorney committed to defending them, my own call volume is increasing with calls for help; calls that stem from situations where each one of them knew better. That is to say, I have a client...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Drunk in Public (PC §647)

Public Intoxication (a.k.a. Drunk in Public) is certainly not the most serious crime law enforcement handles. However, for the defendant this charge can be very damaging if not handled quickly and carefully and, in many cases, as quietly as possible.

Employers, schools, administrative agencies, and others tend to see an arrest for public intoxication as a sign of poor judgment and a direct reflection of the defendant's decision-making ability. In reality, many Drunk in Public charges are unsubstantiated either because the defendant was not actually drunk or law enforcement failed to properly investigate. Unfortunately, once those handcuffs snap into place, the stigma is there and the fight to clear your good name begins.

If you or someone you care about are arrested for public intoxication, follow these simple rules:

1. Remain Silent
Other than to give basic identification information, like name, date of birth, and social security number, nobody in the United States can be forced to answer police questions intended to elicit an incriminating response. The police will tell you that they just want to fill in blanks on the report or they just need some answers so they can let you go. Remain silent.

Every question they ask is intended to get an answer that will help convict you.

When asked ANY questions, simply tell the officer, "I am invoking my right to remain silent and I will not answer any questions without an attorney present."

2. Remain Calm
Being arrested and going to jail sucks. However, arguing, fighting with, or challenging law enforcement will only make it worse. Like Chinese finger-cuffs, the harder you fight, the more powerful the police become. Always remember that respect will win the day. If they tell you to do ten jumping-jacks, do ten jumping-jacks. If they say stand there, sit here, face this way, you do it. And you do it quietly.

3. Contact an Attorney
At the first opportunity, contact an attorney to guide you through the rest of the criminal justice process.

At the Law Office of David J. Givot, we do more than just help you through. We will carefully and methodically examine the charges and the evidence against you. If law enforcement has not done everything necessary to convict you in front of a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, then we will attack the charges from every available angle to achieve the best possible result. Even more importantly, we will vigilantly consider how any resolution will affect your professional, educational, and/or personal future.
The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to an attorney to anyone facing criminal charges. Read more:
NIOSH report details Ga. firefighter-medic rollover LODD
Car, ambulance crash injures 8 in Md.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

So, You Can't Afford a Cab?

You are out and about with some friends. You have a few drinks. You don't feel too buzzed, but you are comfortable. You drink water for an hour or so before you drive (or, more humorously, coffee) to wash away the delicate inebriation. When it's time to go, you feel fine.

As you start the car, you do another little self-assessment; you glance in the mirror, tug your eyelids - not too red - you're not buzzed at all (just a little tired) and off you go. Home is only 5 minutes away on side streets. No problem.

Moments later, the red and blue lights in your rearview mirror come as a terrifying surprise because you did not know you had a tail-light out or that your turn-signal was broken or that the light for your license plate was out, or whatever.

Suddenly your heart is pounding in an otherwise empty chest and scenarios run through your mind too quickly to contemplate. Your fingers and hands feel very weak as you roll down the window. Please let it be a cop I's not, you don't really know any cops.

Asking for your license and registration becomes mere formality when he smells the faint "odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from your breath and person." (that's how he will write it in the report.) "Have you had anything to drink tonight?"

...Tell the truth? Lie? Tell the truth? Lie?

The immediate confusion about how to answer sends you into autopilot. "Just one, much earlier." In your mind the answer is perfect; you explained the smell, but eliminated the possibility that you are under the influence... because it was just one, much earlier.

That balloon is quickly burst when he asks you to step out of the car. You quickly play the rest of the cards in your imaginary deck, before he initiates
sobriety tests. Of course he is unfazed by any of the names you drop, where you work, or who you know and he is not the least bit interested in the fact that your best friend's brother's neighbor is a sergeant in a police department three states away.

Things get worse when you figure out that the sobriety tests, which are
totally optional in California, do not differentiate between fear and intoxication. Before you know it, you are handcuffed, your car is being towed, and you are headed for fingerprinting, photographing, and an overnight stay with some new friends -- some, perhaps, more interested in you than others.

Oh, by the way, the chemical blood-alcohol test is 0.09, just barely above the legal limit in California. But, before you get too excited, the mathematics on a 0.09 an hour or so after the arrest equals a significantly higher level at the time of driving.

The next morning, you are released either on bail or on your own promise to appear for your court hearing. Once out, you either pay the $300-$500 to get your car out of impound or you leave it there to rack up additional $99+ per day fees. You search for lawyers on the Internet, but none answer on a Sunday (except me - I answer every day) and when you do get through you see that attorney's fees will run anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000 or more and that defense attorney's don't like payment plans.

Then, you see they have taken your driver's license and replaced it with a suspension slip/temporary license and, in California, you have only 10 days to request a hearing from the DMV to try and avoid having your license suspended beyond the absolute minimum of 30 days.

Then there is your employer. You get to tell the people who pay your salary that you are a very poor decision-maker. But you can't tell them about the case because your Lawyer told you not to discuss the case; your employer demands an explanation or you will face discipline.

Assuming there are no loopholes through which to get out from under this nightmare, you are stuck.

When all is said and done, not paying for that cab ride you couldn't afford will have cost you a night in jail, a suspended driver's license, employer discipline, a damaged reputation, and roughly $7,000 or more in fees and fines and other related expenses. Oh, and
the DUI, that stays on your record in California for about ten years.

So, what was that about not being able to afford a cab?

The Law Office of David J. Givot aggressively defends drivers accused of DUI. Call today for your free consultation (310) 699-0070 or go to