So Cal DUI Attorney Blogs on DUI topics, DUI law, California DUI Defenses

Newport Beach DUI Enforcement Planned This Weekend


As we enter the final stretch of summer, spending time at the pool or barbequing with friends and family, the Newport Beach Police Department would like to remind everyone of the importance of celebrating responsibly. Newport Beach DUI Police Officers will be conducting DUI Saturation Patrols from Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3, 2018, in support of our ongoing efforts to stop drunk driving and help save lives. Officers will be patrolling the areas of our city with the highest frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests, looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes in 2016, which is an average of one person every 50 minutes. Unfortunately, the Labor Day holiday weekend is one of the deadliest times of year in terms of alcohol-involved traffic deaths, with a third of all fatal collisions involving drunk drivers.

“We are dedicated to the safety of our residents and visitors every day,” said Chief Jon T. Lewis. “During this holiday weekend, we’re putting more officers on the road to watch for the signs of impaired driving. This is not about writing tickets, or making arrests; it’s about getting the message out to everyone that you have to be sober when you get behind the wheel. Impaired driving is illegal, and it can be deadly.”

The Newport Beach Police Department supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a warning about driving or operating machinery on the label, you might be impaired enough to be arrested for DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing (especially when used in combination with alcohol or other drugs) and can result in a DUI arrest.

In the ten years from 2005-2015, the number of drivers in fatal collisions who had a drug other than alcohol in their system rose from 26.2% to 42.6%. As far back as 2012, a study of active drivers showed that more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. Everyone should be mindful that, if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify impairment.

If you will be drinking, plan your sober ride home before the festivities begin. Remember these tips to stay safe on the road:

· Designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or use a ride-sharing service to get home safely.

· If a friend or family member is trying to drive while they’re impaired, take away their keys and make arrangements to get them home safely.

· If you see a drunk driver, call 911.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the Newport Beach Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Josh Ehlers, Commander
Office of Community Outreach & Media Relations
601 North 7th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As Californians get ready for holiday travel, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is set to begin its Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP). The holiday enforcement effort is designed to help ensure the safety of the motoring public during a time when celebrations are in full swing.

The MEP begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 22, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, December 25. The focus of the MEP is speed limit enforcement, but officers will also be watching for all signs of impaired driving. During this period, all available officers will be out on the roadways for enhanced enforcement efforts and assisting motorists wherever needed.

“We want everyone to enjoy their holiday celebration, which means protecting yourself, your passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians,” CHP Acting Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Fasten your seat belt, drive sober, and pay attention to the roadway.”

The winter holidays are meant to be a joyful and relaxing time, but they unfortunately also result in a considerable loss of life on the nation’s roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nationwide, 781 people died in impaired-driving related collisions during December 2016.

Twenty-three people died in collisions in CHP jurisdiction during the 2016 Christmas MEP. Of the 16 vehicle occupants who were killed, half were not wearing a seat belt. Five pedestrians and two motorcyclists were also killed and 621 people were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in CHP jurisdiction. In all California jurisdictions, including local police and sheriffs’ departments, 36 people died in collisions.

Any impaired driving, whether by alcohol, legal drugs, or illegal drugs, can result in a DUI arrest. A slowed reaction due to medication is as dangerous as any other impairment and will increase the risk of a traffic collision. An impaired driving arrest can also mean a major hit in the wallet. The fine for a first-offense DUI along with associated costs can total more than $15,000 in California. If you see an impaired driver, call 9-1-1 when you can do so safely.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

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If you were arrested for DUI, impaired driving by alcohol, legal drugs, or illegal drugs, over the holidays or at any time during the year, you should contact The Law Office of Richard Wagner, A Professional Corporation, for help.

Man Charged in DUI Crash Injured Uber Driver, Passengers


A Los Angeles man was charged late yesterday with driving under the influence and other crimes related to a New Year’s Day crash that hurt an Uber driver and critically injured four passengers, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Michael Steward Forno of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty during his arraignment yesterday afternoon. A preliminary hearing for case BA464023 is scheduled for Jan. 17 in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Forno is charged with one count each of driving under the influence of alcohol; causing bodily injury to another person while having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more; hit and run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person; and hit and run driving resulting in property damage. The charges include special allegations of causing great bodily injury to more than one victim while driving under the influence.

Forno was driving a 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL450 when he allegedly rear-ended a vehicle just north of Hollywood Boulevard on Jan. 1. Prosecutors further allege that he fled the scene in his car, hitting a 2007 Toyota Prius driven by an Uber driver who was transporting four passengers less than a mile away at Vista Street and Melrose Avenue. The Uber driver and passengers were taken to a local hospital.

Forno faces a maximum sentence of 14 years, 2 months in state prison. Bail was set at $330,000.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department West Traffic and Wilshire divisions.

San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office Awarded Special DUI Prosecution Grant



SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Those arrested for DUI in San Bernardino County, especially repeat offenders and those involved in fatal or injury crashes, can expect to face highly trained, specialized prosecutors, funded by a $211,883.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). The grant to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office will fund a Vertical Prosecution team that will work cases from arrest through conviction and sentencing.

“I will always remember CHP Officer Ruben Rios who lost his life to a drunk driver while on duty protecting the public,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “Officer Rios had spent so much of his time as an officer educating the community about the dangers of drinking and driving. We can’t say or do anything to bring him back, but we can carry on with the work that was near and dear to his heart. This grant will allow us the chance to add more resources to protect our citizens and ultimately hold those who decide to drink and drive responsible for their actions.”

In 2015 there were 85 deaths and 1997 serious injuries as a result of DUI crashes in San Bernardino County. Funding from this DUI Prosecution Grant will aid the San Bernardino County Attorney’s Office in handling cases through each step of the criminal process from crash scene to sentencing, prosecuting both alcohol and drug-impaired driving cases.

Prosecution team members will work with California’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Training Network to expand knowledge and resources in the office by obtaining and delivering specialized training, including the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving. Team members will share information with peers and law enforcement throughout the county and state.

“Vertical prosecution teams working serious DUI cases get the positive results needed,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will be working to help keep the streets across San Bernardino County safe for everyone.”

While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.

Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Deputy District Attorney Jack Liu is currently assigned to the unit.

Since his assignment in the Fall of 2015, DDA Liu has trained over 600 police officers regarding the investigation and enforcement of DUI/DUID cases. More recently, in an effort to combat the rise in opioid and marijuana use by drivers, DDA Liu spearheaded an effort by the District Attorney’s Office to bring Drug Recognition Expert training to the county.

On Oct. 16, 2017, DDA Liu co-hosted the county’s first ever DRE training at the Ontario Police Department, which allowed over 40 police officers to be trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.




RIVERSIDE – Drivers arrested in Riverside County on suspicion of driving under the influence
of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs can expect to continue facing highly specialized
prosecutors funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The $423,895 grant to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office continues to fund a
vertical prosecution team that will handle driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases
from arrest all the way through sentencing. The new grant covers two deputy district attorneys
for fiscal year 2017/2018.

Over the previous grant period from Oct. 1, 2016 to Set. 30, 2017, the DA’s Office countywide
filed 7,344 DUI cases. Of those, 474 filed cases across Riverside County were driving under the
influence of drugs only and another 382 cases filed were a combination of drugs and alcohol.
While alcohol remains the primary cause in DUI crashes, the DA’s Office supports the new effort
from the state Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) that aims to drive home awareness that “DUI
Doesn’t Just Mean Booze”. Prescription medications and marijuana can, by themselves or in
combination with alcohol, impair drivers resulting in a DUI arrest.

Under the grant, prosecution team members will work with the state’s Traffic Safety Resource
Prosecutor Training Network to expand knowledge and resources in the office by obtaining and
delivering specialized training, including the emerging problem of drug-impaired driving. Team
members will share information with peers and law enforcement personnel throughout the
county and across the state.

The grant period runs from Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018. Funding comes from grants by
OTS, through the National Highway Traffic Administration.




SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) will continue to serve as the statewide traffic safety training agency through its acceptance of two grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a training and Vertical Prosecution Program. OCDA was given $672,500 for the Alcohol and Drug Impaired Driver Vertical Prosecution Program and $594,600 for the California Traffic Safety Resource Program Training Network. OCDA has been working in partnership with OTS on Traffic Safety and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) prosecutions since 2011.

With the decriminalization of marijuana, California expects to see a rise in the number of drug-impaired driving cases that will be investigated and prosecuted by statewide law enforcement entities. In Orange County, the crime lab reported a 40 percent increase in drug impaired driving submissions from 2015 to 2016. In 2011, OCDA developed a multi-agency collaborative DUID prosecution, investigation and toxicology model which has served as the innovative foundation for the development of a statewide DUID program.

In October 2016, OCDA expanded their training role to the Southern California region, serving as the lead agency in prosecution and law enforcement training. This includes the delivery of live trainings, roundtables, training videos, and legal updates. In 2017, OCDA began to develop a statewide training program through its administration of the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP) and training program. As part of this process, OCDA has begun to align law enforcement and prosecution agencies throughout the state to create a massive statewide training, resource and education network. This new responsibility offers agencies throughout the state the opportunity to share expertise in the area of traffic safety as the OCDA works in partnership to proactively investigate and prosecute traffic related crimes, increasing public safety in all jurisdictions throughout California. A series of informative videos created through this partnership that bring public awareness to the dangers of drug-impaired driving may be found here.

As part of this grant opportunity, OCDA maintains eight vertical DUI-Drug prosecutors assigned throughout the county. These deputy district attorneys review, file and prosecute all drug-impaired driving cases. Collectively in the 2017 grant year, OCDA prosecutors reviewed 1,060 DUID cases and charged 925 of them. Many of those cases are still pending, but in the 2017 grant year, our vertical prosecutors obtained 522 convictions on DUID vertical prosecution cases. This year, the eight prosecutors assigned to the program are Deputy District Attorneys Mina Said and Alyssa Staudinger of Central Justice Center, David McMurrin and Dalia Wahab of West Justice Center, Lauren Boyd and Vincent Marinaccio of Harbor Justice Center, and Erin Henry and Stephen Ladsous of North Justice Center.

“I want to thank the Office of Traffic Safety for recognizing the outstanding work by OCDA prosecutors and our law enforcement partners, and for granting us the tools necessary to aggressively prosecute impaired drivers with specialized prosecutors,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Sadly, a large majority of perpetrators and victims of DUID are young adults. Through education, we can prevent this crime.”

The Appellate and Training Unit is under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Keith Bogardus. Assistant Heads of Court Susan Price and Nichole Nicholson, and Deputy District Attorneys Hoon Chang and Kate Wagner, oversee and administer all OTS grant operations.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Safety Administration.


If you have been arrested for DUI drugs or alcohol and/or driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more, then contact The Law Office of Richard Wagner, A Professional Corporation to defend yourself against the severe and excessive penalties and punishments.



SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was sentenced to three years in state prison for crashing into an Orange Police Department (OPD) officer who was standing behind his patrol vehicle on a residential street.

Circumstances of the Case

  • At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2016, three officers from OPD responded to a call for service on a residential street.
  • While at the scene, Officer Doe stood near the back of his patrol vehicle, which was parked alongside the curb, to gather paperwork.
  • Bertolino had a blood alcohol level of .13 percent and was under the influence of methamphetamine and THC while driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone.
  • The defendant drifted towards the curb and crashed into Officer Doe and the back of his patrol vehicle.
  • The other officers at the scene ran to assist Officer Doe, who was pinned underneath Bertolino’s vehicle, and the defendant exited her vehicle.
  • Bertolino was detained by OPD officers until officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), who investigated this case, arrived on scene.
  • Officer Doe was transported to a local hospital and was hospitalized with major injuries.
  • Bertolino was evaluated at a local hospital and arrested the following morning by CHP.

At the sentencing hearing, Officer Doe and his wife made powerful impact statements to the court pursuant to Marsy’s Law. Officer Doe spent five years in the United States Marine Corps, stating in part, “When I decided to leave the Marine Corps to become a police officer, my mindset never changed. I knew the dangers related to my job. I knew that not every day was guaranteed.” His tibia and fibula were broken and he lost nine pints of blood at the scene. In the ambulance after the crash, Officer Doe stated, “Two tours in Afghanistan and now I am going to lose my leg.” His leg was saved, but he is in constant pain with limited mobility. In addition to broken bones, the victim suffered from a brain hemorrhage and received skin grafts, including an artery from a cow.

Officer Doe spoke about what he hopes defendants can learn after hurting people in the commission of crimes, and stated, “I was hoping the incident would have taught you a similar lesson. But your behavior during the incident, arrest, and later on, as you were out on bail showed me with most certainty you did not.”

The victim’s wife spoke about the toll this incident has taken on their family and stated in part to the defendant, “The very thing that my children and I prayed every night to help protect us from, YOU made it a horrific reality … he is so unbelievably strong willed and he’s a survivor. The surgeons said the tourniquet saved his life.” She spoke about how her husband loved to hunt, fish, run, and play soccer with his kids prior to the crime, all activities he may never be able to do again. She then concluded, “The time you serve is ultimately irrelevant to [my husband], our children and myself because on that night you already sentenced US to a life that is forever changed.”

Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez, Special Prosecutions Unit, Case # 16CF3123

MLB Pitcher Danny Duffy DUI Arrest



Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy was the latest celebrity arrested for being under the suspicion of DUI  -according to an Overland Park police spokesperson.

WHB reporter Kevin Kietzman said police were called after Duffy fell asleep in his car in a Burger King drive-through. The pitcher reportedly tried to get someone to drive his car for him in order to avoid an arrest.

Royals GM Dayton Moore’s statement:

We are obviously disappointed in the news we have received regarding Danny Duffy’s DUI arrest on Sunday night. We obviously do not condone anyone driving while under the influence, but this is now a legal matter and we will allow the process to unfold and cannot comment any further.

For help if you have been arrested for DUI in California, call 714-721-4423 or contact DUI Attorney Richard Wagner at The Law Office of Richard Wagner, A Professional Corporation for your free consultation.

Off-duty trooper charged in DUI crash; Cherry Hill woman hurt



CECILTON, Md. – Maryland State Police say an off-duty trooper has been charged with driving while impaired after he rear-ended a car while driving a state police vehicle.

A 49-year-old Cherry Hill woman and her 10-year-old passenger, who were in the car struck by the trooper, were injured, authorities said.

State police said the crash happened late Sunday in Cecil County, just west of the Delaware border. Authorities said Trooper First Class Tanner Nickerson was driving a state police vehicle when he ran into the back of a Mercedes.

Witnesses told troopers the police vehicle’s emergency lights were activated.

Officials say the Cherry Hill woman and child were treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Nickerson was not hurt.

Nickerson was charged with driving under the influence, driving while impaired, failure to control speed to avoid a collision, reckless driving and negligent driving.

Nickerson, a six-year veteran of the state police, was suspended with pay.

5 Ways Your DUI Can Spin Out of Control


California DUI Sentence Enhancements

 1. California Vehicle Code Section 23582 aka Speed Enhancement

If you are convicted of violating California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 or 23153 while driving 30 or more miles per hour above the speed limit on a freeway, or 20 or more miles per hour over the speed limit on any other street in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23103 (reckless driving), California Vehicle Code Section 23582 says you must be punished by an additional consecutive term of 60 days in the county jail.  If the court grants probation or suspends the execution of sentence, the court must require, as a condition of probation or suspension, that you serve 60 days in the county jail, in addition and consecutive to any other sentence prescribed by the Vehicle Code.