Category Archives:California driving laws

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Drunk Driver Leads Police in a Pursuit through Orange County

A drunken man led Orange County Sheriffs from Stanton to Anaheim in a pursuit that began in a fast-food restaurant drive through lane and ended when a deputy opened fire on the suspect. The pursuit ended on Ball Road and Gilbert Street in Anaheim early Saturday morning.

Orange County Sheriff’s deputies chased a drunken man Saturday morning after he passed out in a fast-food restaurant drive-through lane and rammed a patrol car trying to escape, authorities said.

Deputies arrived at a McDonald’s, 11097 Beach Blvd., at 3:07 a.m., and found the man, Lt. Joe Balicki said.

When authorities attempted to talk to the driver, he woke up and became uncooperative, authorities said. The man then hit an occupied patrol car, escaping the drive-through lane.

Authorities said the man drove north on Beach Boulevard, turning east on Ball Road. Deputies managed to stop his vehicle near Ball Road and Gilbert Street in Anaheim.

During the pursuit on Ball Road, an officer fired one or more shots at the driver just before Dale Street, Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Doan said.

Authorities did not confirm whether the man was shot, but Orange County District Attorney officials are investigating at the scene, as it is protocol for all officer- involved shootings, Doan said. No deputies were injured, but the driver was taken to a hospital. He is expected to survive. Upon being released from the hospital, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrested him on felony DUI and assault with a deadly weapon charges for ramming the patrol car.


If you are facing a criminal charge in Riverside or Orange County, contact an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to assist you in fighting and/or reducing your charges. Do not hesitate and contact Don Ho, today!

Published by Don Ho Law. Don Ho is a criminal defense and employment attorney in Orange County, CA. 

U.S. Traffic Accidents Causing Fatalities Soar 13.5 Percent in the First Quarter 2012

Despite the best efforts to build cars to better withstand accidents and diminish threats posed by distracted driving, traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2012 have shown a substantial increase compared with statistics from a year earlier.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes for the first quarter this year, a 13.5% increase compared with the same period in 2011, when there were 6,720 fatalities. Data provided by the NHTSA indicates that the first quarter numbers would represent the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in traffic fatalities since the government began recording them in 1975.

While it is likely not the only factor involved, AAA agrees that warmer-than-average winter weather may have contributed to higher vehicle miles traveled, and ultimately more fatal crashes,” said Jacob Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research with the Automobile Association of America. 

Within southern California, July has brought several traffic accidents involving multiple vehicles and multiple fatalities. On July 22, two construction workers were killed on the 405 Freeway in Torrance when vehicles driven by two suspected drunk drivers collided, sending an SUV spinning into a group of freeway workers. A third construction worker was taken to a local hospital with injuries. On July 23,  five people were injured in a multi-vehicle crash that shut down the southbound Interstate 5. It is reported that a truck involved flipped multiple times onto the right shoulder of the freeway.

Finding legal responsibility for an accident or injury (often called “liability”) can be complicated, but often rests on whether someone was careless or “negligent”. This can be established by violating the California Vehicle Code, or just because the defendant’s conduct that caused the accident had fallen under the standard of care. Under California Comparative Negligence, even if the plaintiff bringing the law suit is partially at fault, he or she may be able to recover a percentage for which they are not at fault; these will be reduced in proportion.

If you have suffered a serious injury that was caused by another person’s negligence or fault, contact the Orange County and Riverside Law Offices of Don Ho, LLP. The dedicated and experienced attorneys at Don Ho, LLP will advocate zealously on your behalf.

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Teen Sentenced to Jail for Texting and Driving

A Massachusetts teenager was sentenced Wednesday to spend a year in jail for a fatal traffic accident that happened while he was texting.
Person using cell phone while driving.
Person using cell phone while driving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aaron Deveau of Haverhill was sentenced to 2 1/2 years behind bars with a year to serve and the remainder suspended for the February 2011 crash that took the life of Donald Bowley Jr., 55, of Danville, N.H., and seriously injured Bowley’s girlfriend.  Prosecutors say the then-17-year-old high school student sent 193 text messages the day of the crash, including some just a minute or so before impact and dozens more after it.

It took the jury less than four hours of deliberation to find Deveau guilty on two counts: vehicular homicide and texting while driving.  The Judge sentenced Deveau to two and a half years imprisonment on the former charge and two on the latter, though the sentence was ultimately reduced to one year in jail, three years of probation, the loss of Deveau’s driver’s license for 15 years, and a monetary sum that has yet to be determined.
While citations under Massachusetts’ anti-texting law are fairly common, this is the first time in the state’s history that anyone has been convicted of vehicular homicide while texting.
California has a law specifically banning texting while driving.  The Wireless Communications Device Law took effect in January 1, 2009 and makes it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle.  The base fine for the FIRST offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. With penalty assessments, the fine can be more than triple the base fine amount.
The Wireless Communications Device Law actually followed two additional laws dealing with the use of wireless telephones while driving that went on the books in 2008.  The first law prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123).  Motorists 18 and over may use a “hands-free device.  The second law effective July 1, 2008, prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).
California is one of 39 states with laws against texting while driving, and one of 10 with laws against using hand-held phones.
  • Drivers 18 and over are allowed to use a “hands-free” device to talk on their wireless telephone while driving. 
  • The law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving.
  • It is legal to use a Bluetooth or other earpiece, however you cannot have BOTH ears covered.
  • The “hands-free” law allows you to use the speaker phone functions of your wireless telephone while driving as long as you are not holding the phone. 
  • The “hands-free” law DOES NOT allow divers 18 and over to text message while driving.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 may not use a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile services device to speak or text while driving in any manner, even “hands-free.” EXCEPTION: Permitted in emergency situations to call police, fire, or medical authorities (VC §23124).
  • The law stricter for provisional drivers because statistics show that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks. Teen drivers are vulnerable to driving distractions such as talking with passengers, eating or drinking, and talking or texting on wireless devices, which increase the chance of getting involved in serious vehicle crashes.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 may not use the hands-free feature while driving even if the car has the feature built in.
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If you received a citation for texting while driving, the experienced Orange County Criminal Law firm of Don Ho, LLP can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
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