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Fresno Legal Issues Blog

Survey: Ride-sharing risks personal injury from late recalls

When it comes to riding in a ride-share vehicle, do you know how safe you are from personal injury? You may be surprised to know that many vehicles enrolled in Uber and other ride-sharing services actually increase your risk of personal injury because they are not compliant with issued recalls. Some of the recalls are relatively minor, but others could be potentially deadly for both drivers and their occupants.

What types of recall violations have been found for Uber and other ride-sharing services? A recent survey showed that 22 percent of the vehicles surveyed had an active recall. Some of those violations included small mechanical issues, while others addressed systems like airbags and other critical safety features that could save lives in a motor vehicle accident. Some surveyed drivers even had issues with their tires, which could easily cause severe car crashes.

Polygraph for sex crimes viewed as 'excessive'

Is it ethical for law enforcement officers in California to rely on lie-detector tests? These tests, often known as polygraphs, are generally considered too unreliable for use in civil or criminal trials, but some states are still using them to thwart criminal defense arguments. For example, in Colorado, a controversial polygraph program is again under fire, with the state having spent more than $5 million in lie-detector tests for sex offenders during the past several years.

While law enforcement officers and corrections officials believe that polygraph tests are useful in determining parole status for sex crime convicts, others are not convinced. In fact, a multidisciplinary, bipartisan group is questioning Colorado's use of the tests, citing their widespread "junk science" status in the forensic community. Flawed lie-detector testing can lead to lower-risk offenders being forced to stay in custody while others who may be more dangerous are released to the public sphere.

Is your state's Breathalyzer program up to snuff?

The accuracy of your blood alcohol testing results can be key to fighting drunk driving charges in California. An example out of Colorado is helping defendants statewide create more effective DUI defense strategies after a laboratory technician's surprising revelation. Official reports show that thousands of drunk driving convictions in that state could be overturned because the technician's signature was repeatedly forged, stating that the Breathalyzers were certified when they had not been calibrated.

How did this discovery come about? One driver decided to fight a DWAI charge - a lesser version of drunk driving - after he reportedly blew a 0.071 on a state trooper's Breathalyzer in May 2016. The man had used a portable Breathalyzer of his own before he got behind the wheel. He said he waited more than an hour to drive after measuring his own blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.05 percent.

Pile-up personal injury wreck leaves 1 dead, 9 wounded

A horrific motor vehicle accident near Glendale, California, left one victim dead and several others injured when several big-rig collisions led to a pile-up on April 25. The personal injury accident occurred when one tractor-trailer rig jumped the median on the Golden State Freeway, shutting down traffic in both directions. At least nine people suffered injuries in the collision, with one woman in her 20s listed in critical condition.

Officials are still attempting to sort out exactly what happened to cause the accident, which led to at least one of the tractor-trailer rigs catching on fire and sustaining significant damage. The incident led to a hazardous materials leak that was managed by local fire departments and emergency personnel. Fuel, oil, and other dangerous substances were reportedly leaking from the remains of the pile-up.

The surprising repercussions of a DUI conviction

Red lights flashing in the rearview mirror can evoke many reactions, especially if you are trying to get home from a night on the town. You may have tried to act cool, pop some gum in your mouth or try to distract the officer, but police are trained to recognize the signs. Before you knew it, you were on your way to the police station.

You may have heard that California goes easy on first-time offenders, but you haven't heard the entire story. The penalties of a DUI conviction are not merely fines and license suspension. In fact, if a judge convicts you of this offense, you may spend the rest of your life trying to iron out the consequences.

Can I be arrested for a DUI if I'm high, not drunk?

Did you know that driving under the influence of drugs is considered to be just as serious of an offense as driving while drunk? In California, you may be required to mount a DUI defense because you were allegedly driving while high. In addition, you could be arrested for "driving while addicted to a drug," according to California law.

What does it mean to be driving while addicted to a drug? The law is based upon the idea that those who are going through drug withdrawal are just as dangerous as those who are high or drunk. The state argues that both conditions lead to altered states of consciousness that compromise a driver's ability to maneuver their vehicle. This, of course, raises the question of the definition of "addiction," which was decided in a 1965 court case. Defendants that are "emotionally dependent" on the drug and suffer physical dependency are considered to be addicted to the substance for the purposes of DUI law in California.

Truck accident kills 1, injures 4 on California highway

A semitruck crash in California on March 31 left one man dead and several others injured after the driver of the large vehicle lost control of the wheel. The personal injury accident left a Wyoming man dead and gave four other drivers minor injuries. Authorities report that the accident is still under investigation, but alcohol and drugs are not thought to be a factor in the deadly collision.

Official reports show that the accident occurred in the early afternoon on Highway 46 near the Shandon rest stop. The collision happened when the semitruck driver reportedly allowed his semi to drift off of the right shoulder of the highway and clipped a pickup truck. That caused the semitruck's left-front tire to pop, which sent the vehicle careering out of control and into oncoming traffic.

DUI allegations could cost Uber, drivers

Can a history of drunk driving affect your ability to participate in the California gig economy? We have written in the past about the ways in which a conviction for driving under the influence can compromise your professional licensure - but so much more depends on the success of your criminal DUI defense. That was demonstrated in April by the punishment levied upon gig economy staple Uber, which has been accused of failing to vet those who have been accused of drunk driving.

Uber's official party line is a zero-tolerance policy toward those who operate vehicles while intoxicated. The company supposedly terminates employment for those who are accused of driving for Uber while they are drunk. In practice, though, this may not be entirely true - dozens of complaints from riders have gone unanswered in recent months. Now, the state of California wants to slap the company with a $1.3 million fine for its failure to address intoxicated drivers.

Why juvenile criminal defense is important for kids' futures

Most teenagers engage in some kind of "delinquent" behavior these days - but what about the few that are unlucky enough to get caught up in the California judicial system? When it comes to criminal defense for juvenile crime, defendants can suffer long-term consequences that prevent them from getting jobs or achieving success in life. That is why it is so critical to provide our juvenile clients with the best possible representation.

Youngsters who are introduced into the juvenile crime system tend to fare worse than their counterparts, particularly when it comes to health and social outcomes. Those who are captured in the criminal defense system tend to have higher rates of addiction, teen pregnancy, school truancy, and other key indicators that predict overall life success. In addition, those young people who have been detained because of juvenile crimes tend to have a markedly higher suicide rates than their peers.

Do not underestimate the potential impact of a concussion

Did you receive a diagnosis of a concussion after a car accident? This type of traumatic brain injury is a rather common type of car accident injury, which may be the reason why it is often misunderstood and underestimated. In reality, a concussion can be quite serious, taking a serious physical and emotional toll on the victim.

Concussions differ from person to person, and it is impossible to know for sure the number and severity of symptoms that you may experience over the next days and weeks. Some California concussion victims are not fully aware of the extent and impact of their injury until several days or even weeks after an accident.

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