Archive for the ‘Traffic Offenses’ Category

Analyzing the Famous 4th of July DUI Checkpoint Video

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

By now, there is a good chance that you’ve seen or at least heard about Libertarian Chris Kalbaugh’s DUI video showing a police checkpoint that occurred on the Fourth of July. If you haven’t yet seen the video, you can watch it in its entirety above. But while it’s one thing to hear what Kalbaugh has to say about the legality of a DUI checkpoint and vehicular search, it’s another to hear a qualified DUI lawyer in Vista evaluate the actions of the police officers involved.

The first thing that happens in the video is that the officer asks Kalbaugh to roll his window all the way down. While Kalbaugh claims he does not need to do so, for safety reasons, police do actually have this right.

The officer then asks Kalbaugh how old he is, which, while the video claims that’s against the law, the officer has the right to do so at a sobriety traffic stop because different laws apply to those under the age of 21. While a San Diego DUI lawyer will generally advise you to invoke the Fifth Amendment regarding questions that involve where you are coming from or going because these types of questions can be used to gather evidence against you, you should answer all questions related to your identity.

After the officer asks the driver to pull over, Kalbaugh asks if he is being detained. The officer avoids answering the question. As the writing on the video points out, police need a valid reason to detain someone, and if a person is not being detained he or she has the right to leave the scene.

As for attempting to open the car door, Kalbaugh is wrong about this one. If the officer is going to have you exit the car, he has the right to open the door. If necessary, police can reach in to take the keys out of a car’s ignition or to restrain a driver who is attempting to assault the officer or civilians.

Kalbaugh is again wrong when he claims that the officer cannot ask him to see his driver’s license. Because these documents are technically property of the state, police can request a driver show them at any point. A Vista DUI attorney will always urge you to show your license to police officers when asked to during a traffic stop.

Once again, the text on the video is incorrect about the police having no right to search your vehicle without your consent. While they must have a probable cause, they do not need a warrant or consent -this is why the officers get the drug-sniffing dog to see if there are any drugs in the vehicle.

Kalbaugh claims that the drug dog only targeted his car at the command of his master, but according to a dash cam of the incident, police did later discover two marijuana seeds and a little residue in his car although this was edited from the video. Whether or not the officer caused the dog to scratch on the window wouldn’t matter when these drug substances were uncovered.

Eventually, Kalbaugh was released without being arrested, but if charges were brought up, this video would provide plenty of evidence for any Vista DUI attorney to fight the charges. That being said, it is important to remember to take the legal advice of those not in the legal profession with a grain of salt. Many of the “facts” Kalbaugh presents are actually untrue and believing legal fallacies could end up getting you in a lot of trouble if you are ever arrested.

Vista DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss is knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to DUI checkpoints and drunk driving traffic stops. If you have any questions about your rights in these situations, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Consequences For Police Evasion In California

Friday, May 31st, 2013

police evasion in Vista defense lawyer

Fleeing the scene is one of the most common responses to doing something wrong, and while most people surrender when police try to stop them, some people find the potential consequences too intimidating to face, and they run. While this reaction is fairly instinctual, it is still a crime, and the penalties for evading the police are sometimes worse than the penalties the person may face for their original crime. Fortunately, it is possible to fight police evasion charges with the help of top Vista criminal attorneys.

Most police evasion charges are misdemeanors, but when drivers resort to using reckless driving tactics to avoid the law or caused any kind of property damage, the crime can be increased to a felony. If you are convicted of felony reckless evasion charges, you will face a minimum six month jail sentence and up to a  maximum of three years in state prison.  You also face the loss of your driver’s license. If the crime is a misdemeanor, you will face a sentence of up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

It is important to realize that while most evasion cases involve motor vehicles, you can still be charged with this crime if you were riding a bike or on foot. In order for the prosecution to prove you are guilty of fleeing the police, they must show that you were intentionally evading a police officer who was driving a marked vehicle with at least one lit red lamp that was visible from the front that was in your view. The officer must also have been in a distinctive uniform and sounded the siren as needed. If all of these requirements were not met, a defense attorney in Vista should be able to show there is not enough evidence for you to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have been accused of evading the police or similar charges, such as resisting arrest or

Creative Commons Image by Craig ONeal

Hit and Run Accidents Carry Serious Consequences

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

hit and run accident attorney vista

If you were involved in an accident, you may be tempted to flee the scene, particularly if the accident was your fault or if you were breaking the law by not carrying insurance or driving under the influence. While this may seem like a fair solution to escape the possible complications an accident will cause, it is against the law and if you are caught, you will face criminal charges for the hit and run on top of any other legal issues arising from the accident itself. If you have been accused of leaving the scene after an accident, it is crucial you call someone experienced in this area of the law, such as Vista DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss.

It is important to realize that any kind of accident can result in a hit and run charge. Even if you just back into your neighbor’s fence and damage one of the posts, if you leave the scene without providing identifying information (including your driver’s license number and vehicle registration details), you can be charged with a hit and run. Additionally, it doesn’t matter if the accident was your fault. If someone hits you and you leave the scene without exchanging information because you were in a hurry to get somewhere and weren’t worried about the damage to your vehicle, you can still be charged with a crime. If the accident was negligible, in some cases, a Vista traffic offense attorney may be able to show that you left the scene only because you did not even realize that an accident occurred at all.

Hit and run charges may be felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances of the accident. If no one was injured and the accident only involved property damage, the crime will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and $1000 in fines. You will also have two points added to your DMV record and be required to pay restitution to the victim. These charges can often be dropped if your Vista DUI attorney is able to reach a compromise with the other party, generally involving some form of restitution.

If you left your car at the scene of the accident, the police will impound your call and contact you about the accident.  If you drove away, the police will still be looking for you.  You should immediately contact a criminal lawyer before answering any questions from the police.

In cases where someone was injured, hit and run charges will be felonies. The punishments for these crimes will vary based on the severity of the injuries and the criminal record of the driver who fled the scene. Generally though, anyone facing felony hit and run charges will face three or four years in a state penitentiary. In cases where a person was injured in an accident, the other driver is not only required to stay at the scene, but also offer a reasonable level of assistance to the other person. While these charges are very serious, you can fight them, especially with the help of an experienced Vista hit and run lawyer.

In many cases, the other party in the accident will claim someone hit them and fled the scene without any proof. In these cases, it is up to the prosecution to prove that you were involved in the accident, which can often be difficult if the only witness is the other party.

If you have been accused of a hit and run, please call Vista DUI defense lawyer Peter Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Creative Commons Image by Salim Virji

Driving With Fraudulent Registration

Monday, February 18th, 2013

vehicle registration fraud Vista

Whether you are trying to save a little extra cash or just don’t want to deal with the DMV, at some point, you might be tempted to counterfeit your license registration sticker rather than properly registering your car with the state and getting official tags. Unfortunately, what seems like a quick way to save some money and hassle can easily result in felony criminal charges that carry up to three years worth of prison time. If you are accused of using fraudulent vehicle registration tags or documents, it is critical you immediately contact a skilled Vista defense attorney as soon as possible to help you fight these serious charges.

Under state law, falsifying, forging or counterfeiting vehicle registration stickers, license plates or registration documents is an act of fraud. While that sounds pretty straight forward, there are many ways to violate this law, many of which might not even seem that serious. For example, if you misrepresent the year of your vehicle so you can get around smog laws, you could be charged with fraud. It is similarly illegal to understate the value of your vehicle when registering it so you can avoid taxes. It is also against the law to register your car in another state, despite living in California, just so you can avoid paying California registration fees and taxes. Most people are charged with DMV fraud for having a registration sticker not matching the vehicle.  This means that even if you have confused two cars you own by having the registration switched, it can be interpreted as fraud.

If you have been caught doing any of these activities, you may be tempted to believe that they are not that serious and that you cannot end up in any real trouble. Unfortunately, this sort of thinking is dangerous and if you do not contact Vista defense lawyers as soon as possible to start building a strong case on your behalf, you may end up facing serious penalties later on.

There are strong defenses against this crime though, most notably, if you did not mean to act in a fraudulent manner, you cannot be convicted of fraud. These types of cases are unique in that they require the prosecution to prove you had the intent to deceive and good Vista defense attorneys can help prove that was not your intent.

No matter what the specifics of your crime, Vista defense lawyer Peter M. Liss can help you fight charges involving fraudulent vehicle registration. If you have been accused of this serious crime, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.


Disability Placard Abuse is a Serious Crime

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

disability placard fraud in vista

Everyone knows that parking in a handicapped spot without proper documentation is a crime, but few people are aware just how serious the charges can be. Whether you borrow a placard from a friend to get a better space at a sporting event or actually create your own fake disability placard so you can park in handicapped spots wherever you travel, you can be charged with handicap placard abuse. Fortunately, no matter what the specifics of the offense you have been charged with, a criminal attorney in Vista, CA can help you fight these serious charges.

In some cases, charges may be brought up against someone for an honest mistake. For example, if you and a relative both have handicap placards and you accidentally used the wrong ones. In these sorts of cases, a defense lawyer in Vista, CA should be able to get the charges dropped right away.

One of the most misunderstood aspects of this crime is that not only will the person who misuses the placard be charged, but if a disabled person willingly provided the driver with a placard knowing the driver would misuse it, the handicapped individual may be charged for disability placard abuse as well. If someone you know was brought up on charges for misusing your handicapped placard, you may want to contact defense attorneys in Vista, CA before the police contact you about the placard.

If you are convicted for this crime, you could face up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail. That is why it is so important for anyone charged with disability placard abuse to immediately contact criminal defense attorneys. Additionally, if you have a disability placard which has been forged or altered, you can also be charged with possession of fraudulent government documents.

Vista, CA lawyer Peter M. Liss can help you fight these charges. Please call (760) 643-4050 if you have been charged with misuse of a handicap placard.

Creative Commons Image by Keoni Cabral

Driving on a Suspended License in California

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

If your license was suspended after you were convicted of drunk driving or another serious driving offense, you may be tempted to use your vehicle anyway and just hope you don’t get caught. No matter how badly you need to get around though, Vista DUI lawyers will always tell you that it’s not worth the risk.

The penalties vary based on the reason for your license suspension, but they are all serious. At minimum, people convicted of the crime will face a 5 day jail sentence and $300 in fines. Driving on a suspended license will also add two points on your DMV record. Even if you plead the case down to an infraction, you will still have the points added to your record. If you get four points in a year the DMV will suspend you for being a negligent operator.

If your license was suspended for drunk driving, you will face a 10 day jail sentence for your first offense and for offenses thereafter, the penalty increases to a minimum 30 days in jail, all the way up to a year. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device into your car for up to three years.

You can be declared a habitual traffic offender if, during the course of one year, you were involved in two or more serious driving-related crimes, received three general moving citations, or involved in three car accidents that resulted in injuries or property damage totaling over $750. If you are declared a habitual traffic offender and arrested for driving on a suspended license, you could face a permanent license revocation and a mandatory vehicle impound.

As you can see, these are all serious penalties you do not want to face alone. If you have been charged with driving on a suspended license, immediately get in charge with your DUI lawyers.

Vista allows for some people with suspended licenses to get a restricted license in order to travel from work or school. If you have had your driver’s license suspended, this is your best option to avoid having to risk driving without a valid license.

If you have any questions about restricted licenses or the consequences of driving on a suspended driver’s license, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible.

Creative Commons Image by Adam Engelhart

Excessive Speeding While Driving Drunk In California

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Everyone knows that excessive speeding and drunk driving are both crimes, but did you know that when done together the penalties for the crimes are greater than the individual sentences put together? Of course, this doesn’t apply to all forms of speeding. If you are only going five miles over the speed limit when pulled over for a DUI, the officer will often avoid citing you for speeding. Even if he does give you a ticket for minor speeding though, it will be the same as any other speeding ticket.

On the other hand, if you were driving more than 30 miles per hour above the speed limit on the freeway or more than 20 miles per hour above the speed limit on a public street, then you could face a sentence enhancement for excessive speeding while intoxicated. This additional penalty is a minimum 60 day jail sentence and a mandatory alcohol/drug education program being added to any penalties you are sentenced to for the DUI. This crime requires the expertise of highly experienced DUI lawyers. Vista courts take these crimes very seriously, so do not wait to call a legal representative as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the prosecution must prove that you were not only excessively speeding and driving while intoxicated, they also must show that you were driving recklessly. This is a particularly high standard to prove as the prosecution must be able to show that you were driving with a conscious disregard for the safety of other persons or property. When you work with a skilled Vista DUI lawyer like Peter M. Liss, your defense will show that unless you knew your conduct was likely to injure someone, that you should not be subject to the excessive speeding enhancement.

Common acts that qualify as reckless driving include almost hitting pedestrians or other vehicles, weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed and running stop signs and red lights. While some drivers do engage in these behaviors, it is rare for the prosecution to be able to prove that someone did so while drunk and excessively speeding. If they cannot show that you did all three together, your Vista DUI attorney will show that you cannot be convicted for excessive speeding while intoxicated.

Even if you were doing all three activities, your defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain that will enable you to avoid this sentencing enhancement.

If you have any questions about excessive speeding while driving drunk, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Creative Commons Image by Ana Patricia Almeida

Open Container Laws in California

Monday, March 5th, 2012

You probably know that driving with an open alcoholic beverage in your vehicle is illegal, provided it’s not locked in the trunk, but you might not know the true consequences and complications involved with open container laws.

While most people assume getting caught while driving with an alcoholic beverage in hand is similar in severity to driving drunk, it’s actually drastically different. In fact, driving with an open alcoholic beverage is only an infraction in California, meaning those who are caught will be issued a citation similar to a traffic ticket. While you might be able to fight the infraction with the help of DUI lawyers, Vista courts will not add these tickets to your criminal record and in most cases, you will probably find it is easier and cheaper to simply pay the fine.

That being said, if you have an open beverage in your vehicle, the officer who pulled you over will have reason to believe you are also driving under the influence, so you will most likely be asked to go through a variety of sobriety tests. If you have not been drinking, you will probably want to take these tests in order to get back on your way as soon as possible.

On the other hand, if you have been drinking and worry you will fail the sobriety tests, you may choose to skip the tests, even if it means getting arrested. Remember that if you are charged with drunk driving, having an open beverage in the car will already be used against you as evidence, so if you fail the sobriety tests, you will be providing the prosecution with even more proof of your guilt.

There is one case where having an open alcoholic beverage in your car will count as a misdemeanor though, and that is if you happen to be a minor in the vehicle. If a minor was holding the alcohol or driving, he or she may be charged with minor in possession of alcohol, a misdemeanor charge.

Any alcohol or drug conviction for a person under 21 years of age will result in the automatic loss of the person’s driver’s license for one year.  The license suspension applies even if no vehicle was involved in the arrest incident.  A minor caught in possession of alcohol at the beach or even inside a private residence is subject to a one year license suspension.

While a simple open container violation is something an adult will probably want to handle on his or her own, minor in possession charges are very serious and those accused of these offenses should always consult a Vista DUI lawyer like Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible.

Creative Commons Image by Chris Coyier

California Felony & Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

While most traffic offenses are merely infractions, punishable through a fine only, certain cases are much more serious and require the expertise of a skilled Vista traffic attorney. Offenses such as reckless driving, hit and run accidents, vehicular homicide, street racing and driving under a suspended license can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. These cases require a special level of representation that only a criminal lawyer can provide.

If you are convicted of one of these crimes, you may not only lose your license and face massive fines, but also spend time in jail and be forced to forfeit your vehicle. These offenses should never be taken lightly.

Fortunately, Peter M. Liss has the experience necessary to help fight these serious traffic charges. If you have been accused of a serious driving offense and are facing a misdemeanor or felony as a result, please call our office at (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible.

Creative Commons Image by smays