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Visalia Criminal Law Blog

Driver of motorhome that crashed into house facing DUI charges

Police in California have reported that three people were injured on the night of June 6 when a motorhome crashed into a house in Riverside County. The driver of the motorhome was taken into custody at the scene by Moreno Valley Police Department officers according to media reports. Two of the vehicle's five occupants were also placed under arrest after officers allegedly discovered that they had outstanding felony warrants.

Eyewitnesses are said to have told first responders that the motorhome was traveling down a hill at speeds of up to 60 mph and narrowly avoided striking pedestrians before it hit a curb and crashed into a house on La Casa Drive in Moreno Valley at approximately 11:00 p.m. They also claim that its driver made no attempt to slow his vehicle or take evasive action prior to the accident.

Actor Vince Vaughn to face DUI charges in California

Vince Vaughn was taken into custody by California police on drunk driving charges during the early morning hours of June 10. The 'Wedding Crashers" and 'Hacksaw Ridge" star has also been charged with resisting, obstructing or delaying officers, according to a Manhattan Beach Police Department representative. The sequence of events unfolded when Vaughn's car approached a DUI sobriety checkpoint in Manhattan Beach at approximately 12:30 a.m.

Media accounts do not indicate what led officers to suspect that the 48-year-old actor was operating his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, but they do reveal that both Vaughn and his male passenger were uncooperative and refused to exit the car when ordered to do so. However, officers at the scene were quick to point out that the situation did not escalate beyond raised voices and no force was needed to subdue Vaughn.

Artie Lange sentenced for heroin possession

California fans of comedian Artie Lange might be interested to learn that he was sentenced on drug possession charges in New Jersey on June 2. The 50-year-old received four years probation and 50 hours of community service. In addition, he must complete an outpatient substance abuse program.

In May 2017, Lange was arrested after he was observed driving his Range Rover in an erratic fashion on New Jersey's Garden State Parkway. During a subsequent traffic stop, an officer noticed a bag of heroin on his lap and placed him under arrest. He was initially charged with possession of heroin, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia, but the cocaine and paraphernalia charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain. In December, he pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of a controlled substance.

BART board member wants to send public drug users to jail

A board member for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System wants to change California law to stop rampant drug use inside transit stations and elevators. Under her proposal, individuals caught using hypodermic needles within the transit system could be charged with a felony and sentenced to up to 18 months in jail.

On May 22, a San Francisco TV station aired a photo of a man shooting up drugs in a BART system elevator. The board member says that such situations are becoming increasingly common and are a public safety issue for transit riders and employees alike. She claims that the state's current drug laws are too lax on drug abusers.

Californian convicted in $2.8 million embezzlement scheme

A 61-year-old San Mateo man was convicted of several felonies for his role in an embezzlement scheme, local prosecutors said on May 14. The man reportedly collaborated with the manager of an upscale condominium complex in San Mateo to embezzle $2.8 million.

While the man owned Professional Painting Inc., he reportedly worked with the general manager of the complex to embezzle money from the property. When the manager was fired in September of 2013, 150 false invoices made out to Professional Painting were discovered next to the manager's computer.

California city places DUI checkpoint at accident hot spot

Civil rights groups have questioned the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints, but they remain permissible under California law. Police departments say that high visibility enforcement techniques such as DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols deter irresponsible behavior and make the roads safer, and these arguments are supported by studies revealing that such checkpoints, when they are well-publicized, have been found to reduce drunk driving accidents by as much as 20 percent.

Media outlets have reported that a DUI checkpoint will be held in Marin County. The Novato Police Department say that they will be checking vehicles for intoxicated drivers between 6:00 p.m. on May 18 and 1:00 a.m. on May 19. The location of the checkpoint was not revealed, but a NPD representative said that it would be conducted at a known accident and drunk driving hot spot. Police say that they will also be checking driver's licenses during the seven-hour operation, which is being funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Bam Margera receives plea in DUI case

Actor Bam Margera was taken into custody in Los Angles in January 2018 after a traffic stop conducted by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Authorities had originally stopped him for driving while on his cell phone. However, after making contact with him, they noticed an odor of alcohol. His poor performance on field sobriety tests resulted in being charged with two counts of DUI.

Margera eventually agreed to a plea deal that comes with three years of probation. This is in addition to fines and other fees that he was ordered to pay, and he also has to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Although it was the first time had been taken into custody for DUI, the actor admitted in the past to having a problem with drinking. However, he reportedly went to rehab, and his mother says that he has embraced being sober.

Man pleads guilty to selling drugs on dark web

A 39-year-old California man entered a guilty plea in federal court on May 2 for engaging in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of illegal drugs by offering them on the so-called "dark web". The man also admitted to laundering illicit drug money by purchasing cryptocurrencies. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies.

According to the prosecutors who are handling the case, the man faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in federal prison. The man admitted that he bought and sold drugs on the dark web from 2014 until he was arrested in June 2017. He used several different anonymous handles to engage in illegal drug transactions on several dark web marketplaces.

TV talk show host to enter DUI diversion program

Steve Wilkos may be known to fans of his talk show in California and across the country for his hard-edged approach to the guests dealing with personal issues on his television program, but he is seeking the application of a softer touch to his own run-in with the law. Wilkos, known for his stint as security director on the Jerry Springer TV show before launching his own television talk program, flipped over his car in January 2018 in a drunk driving incident near his home in Connecticut.

On April 23, 2018, the judge overseeing the drunk driving case agreed to admit Wilkos to a diversionary program when he attended a hearing in Stamford Superior Court. By successfully completing the program, Wilkos can have the DUI charges erased from his criminal record. The talk show host noted that he had previously completed a rehab program in an attempt to deal with ongoing struggles with alcohol; the diversionary program will include 15 weeks of alcohol education classes and participating in a panel with victims of drunk driving.

California sobriety checkpoint leads to 3 DUI arrests

Drunk driving checkpoints are legal in California because they are considered to be administrative inspections like baggage searches at airports. According to law enforcement, placing sobriety checkpoints at busy intersections and in areas with numerous bars and restaurants acts a deterrent by reminding drivers of the consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking. In addition to looking for signs of intoxication, police at sobriety checkpoints verify that driver's licenses and vehicle registrations are current and run records checks for outstanding warrants.

One such checkpoint was conducted between 7:00 p.m. on April 13 to 1:00 a.m. on April 14 at one of the busiest intersections in Chula Vista. Police say that 751 vehicles were stopped at Palomar Street and Broadway during the six-hour operation and three motorists were taken into custody on drunk driving charges. Reports indicate that police also impounded nine vehicles and issued citations to 21 motorists for not having a driver's license or driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license.

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