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Driver in DUI crash that injured woman sentenced to work furlough program
A motorist whose blood-alcohol level was 4 1/2 times the legal limit when his vehicle slammed into the back of a car in Rancho Bernardo, seriously injuring a young woman, was sentenced Friday to a work furlough program.
Brian LaRose, 39, pleaded guilty in November to DUI causing injury and admitted an allegation that he drove with a blood-alcohol level above .15 percent.
Deputy District Attorney Chandelle Konstanzer argued that LaRose should go to prison for five years, calling the defendant an "extreme danger" to society. LaRose was supposed to be at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting the night he caused the accident that left 19-year-old Heidi Wise with a brain injury and other serious injuries.
But the prosecutor acknowledged that the victim's family was OK with a custodial sentence in a work furlough program, which allows LaRose to work during the day and report to a halfway house at night, according to a News 8 report. He was ordered to report for custody Feb. 27.
LaRose has a young child with autism and another child with a serious auto-immune disease that requires daily care, according to his attorney.
Superior Court Judge Robert F. O'Neill placed LaRose on probation for five years and suspended a five-year prison term that could be imposed should he violate probation.
Casey in the News on NBC 7, Jon Koppenhaver Arrest
Non-Driving Crimes *Please Note: The Law Offices of G. Cole Casey, APLC is an exclusive DUI Defense firm. Due to Attorney Casey's longtime affiliation with the UFC and MMA fighting associations, he has made a rare exception in representing professional fighter Jon "War Machine" Koppenhaver in a non-DUI case. If you have been accused of an offense that is not driving under the influence related, our firm is happy to refer you to competent representation. The Law Offices of G. Cole Casey, APLC will continue to remain exclusively dedicated to DUI Defense. We appreciate your understanding.
Cole Casey, recently interviewed by Channel 7 News Reporter Greg Bledsoe, showed support for Jon Koppenhaver, aka War Machine, stating the Fighter is often targeted due to his UFC and MMA affiliations. Koppenhaver is currently free on bail after his most recent assault case resulted in his arrest on March 30th, 2010.
Fighting took Jon Koppenhaver far. "This guy is a walking promotional."
After success as a professional UFC fighter, Koppenhaver changed his name to War Machine.
His Attorney, Cole Casey, said "He's a good fighter. He's a very impressive fighter to watch."
But his attorney says it's fighting that's also gotten War Machine into trouble.
Most recently Tuesday night at a bar in Pacific Beach. Police say he punched a bouncer during a brawl.
A picture from T-M-Z shows him wearing a spit mask while being arrested three blocks away, after police say he ran from officers. Possibly because he was on probation.
Koppenhaver stated "I just need to realize, I need to relax, think before I act."
In that interview last year, War Machine talked about being arrested in Las Vegas after a fight at a night club.
And in 2007, he pleaded guilty to assault after another fight here in San Diego.
At Throwdown gym, trainers say it's not the image they want of this sport, and say War Machine's arrests are the exception.
"These guys are very well disciplined. They're really well respected. You just don't see them out there abusing their talent."
He's the son of an police officer who died when Jon was a kid. His attorney says he hopes the judge sees there's more to this 28-year-old than fighting.
His Attorney added, "You know, he's had a tough life, that's not an excuse for him, but the way he is sometimes portrayed on some of the websites out there is just sort of this maniac out there. I've been fortunate enough to know Jon, that there's a complete other side to him, that he's actually a very, very good kid."
SAN DIEGO - A mixed martial arts fighter accused of getting into an altercation at a Pacific Beach bar pleaded not guilty Thursday to three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
The charges against the TV actor legally known as War Machine, but formerly named Jon Koppenhaver, stem from a March 30 fight at Thrusters Lounge on Mission Boulevard, as well as another incident at a different bar in which glasses were knocked over, said defense attorney Cole Casey.
As War Machine, the man appeared on the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter, produced by the Spike TV channel by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In recent years, he has lost jobs with both the UFC and Bellator Fighting Championships because of his outlandish behavior and controversy-stirring comments on MySpace, according to published reports.
Judge David Szumowski allowed the 28-year-old defendant to remain free on $30,000 bail, Casey said Thursday.
The attorney told the judge that his client has a target on his back wherever he goes because of what he does for a living. And he said witnesses have come with differing versions about the fight at Thrusters.
Prosecutors told the judge it was a one-on-one fight between the defendant and another person, but police reports indicate as many as 15 people may have been involved, Casey said outside court.
The attorney said his client was at Thrusters to celebrate a friend's wife's birthday and is upset that the incident happened.
Casey said War Machine and his friends went to the Pacific Beach lounge because they were told there weren't a lot of people there.
The defendant currently has professional fights scheduled in this country and internationally, Casey said.
Two years ago, and before he changed his name, Koppenhaver pleaded guilty to felony assault for choking and punching a man outside a North Park fight club. A judge reduced the conviction to a misdemeanor and Koppenhaver was placed on three years probation.
San Diego Magazine Feature: Cole Casey, April, 2010 Issue
THE LAW OFFICES OF
G. COLE CASEY, APLC
G. Cole Casey is San Diego's premier DUI attorney. If you ask any of the high-profile clients he has successfully defended, he is San Diego's best.
Why should someone choose an attorney who specializes in DUI Defense? According to Casey, "An attorney needs to know both the law and science behind blood alcohol testing. It's a highly specialized area of law.
Casey's experience and jury trial record assure the best possible outcomes for his clients, whom he describes as "good people having no criminal history whatsoever". He emphasizes . "It's important to go with a legitimate DUI defense firm, not just a law firm that may handle DUI cases." Casey's expertise has been recognized locally and nationally, and he was recently selected to assume authorship of California Drunk Driving Defense, the bible for DUI lawyers in California.
Vincent Jackson gets Work Release for 2009 DUI
SignOnSanDiego: Latest News story on the Vincent Jackson case Attorney Casey is defending...
Jackson Draws 4 Days Work Release
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 12:02 a.m.
Brent Schrotenboer: (619) 293-1368;
Chargers Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson will receive four days in a work-release program, possibly roadside trash pickup plus a likely NFL suspension this fall, after pleading guilty to his second drunken-driving offense since 2006.
Jackson, 27, also was sentenced to five years’ probation, a $2,408 fine and 15 days of community service stemming from his DUI arrest in January 2009. Because it’s his second DUI offense, Jackson likely will be suspended by the NFL, according to the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The suspension could be about two games, but his overall punishment could have been much worse. The San Diego City Attorney’s Office asked a Superior Court judge to punish him with “substantial custody” — as much as 180 days in jail — after hearing Jackson make comments in a local radio interview last month that prosecutors apparently considered irreverent, according to court documents.
In that interview with Darren Smith of XX Sports Radio, Jackson was making reference to a different incident: his traffic stop a few hours before the Chargers playoff game against the New York Jets on Jan. 17.
In that interview, Jackson said, “I’m sure that once it’s all said and done, we’ll definitely get the last laugh and hopefully our law enforcement will definitely continue to support us in the way that they have.”
Jackson’s attorney, Cole Casey, was advised that City Attorney Jan Goldsmith was “upset by the radio interview,” according to court documents that Casey filed. “Specifically, he was apparently upset about Mr. Jackson indicating in the interview he would ‘have the last laugh,’ insinuating, at least in the minds of the city attorney, that Mr. Jackson was laughing directly at the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement.”
As a result of that traffic stop, Jackson was charged with driving with an expired registration and a suspended license. (His license had been suspended as a result of his second DUI arrest. Casey said:
Jackson will plead not guilty next week to charges stemming from that traffic stop ..."there’s a genuine issue in that case as to whether Vince knew his license was suspended versus whether it was restricted. Jackson’s DUI sentencing was standard punishment for a second DUI".
Court records show that Jackson didn’t get a jail sentence but is to serve 96 hours in a Sheriff’s work-release program, which in similar cases often constitutes roadside trash pickup over two weekends. Although the city attorney attempted to punish him for being a celebrity and making comments on the radio, he was treated as any other second offender. He wasn’t given any special treatment, nor did he ever ask for any.
Casey’s court filings also state that in the 14 years of his DUI law practice, including more than 7,500 cases handled with the City Attorney’s Office, he has "never experienced, on a misdemeanor case, a request to the Judge, by the City Attorney’s Office, for additional custody due to statements made by a defendant in contrary or in criticism to the city attorney’s positions or beliefs".
Judge David Danielsen’s only remark about the case, according to the City Attorney’s Office, was that he was going to treat Jackson “like everyone else.”
“In light of the fact that Mr. Jackson still has a case pending our lawyers are unable ethically to discuss this beyond simply stating what occurred in the courtroom,” Goldsmith said in an e-mail.
Casey had fought the second DUI case last year on the basis that Jackson’s rights were violated after his arrest when his blood was drawn against his will with his arms handcuffed behind his back. Jackson had requested a breath test instead, as was his right, but a California Highway Patrol officer considered him to be slow-moving and recalcitrant with the breath test, so he administered the blood test instead.
The case was delayed by two continuances since November, helping Jackson avoid a conviction until after the football season.
Casey’s court filing also says the city attorney wanted additional custody for Jackson because of the “amount of continuances that were requested.”
However, the city attorney did not oppose any of the continuances at the time.
Jackson’s blood-alcohol content in January 2009 was measured at 0.17 percent, more than double the state limit. Jackson’s previous DUI conviction stemmed from his arrest in June 2006. For that conviction, he received five years of probation and a $1,750 fine. Attorney Casey did not represent Jackson in his 2006 DUI case.
Receiver's Attorney Deserves a Game Ball
SignOnSanDiego:January, 2010 news story on the Vincent Jackson case Attorney Casey is defending....
Jackson's attorney deserves a game ball
Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.
For Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, a Pro Bowl-caliber season has many essential components.
A good quarterback is key. So is staying healthy.
It also helps to have a good attorney.
Jackson likely was headed for an NFL suspension this season after being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving last January, his second DUI arrest since 2006. But he avoided league discipline all year in large part by having his case delayed with legal procedures, including two continuances since November. The latest continuance came Tuesday in San Diego Superior Court.
“I don’t want him concentrating on anything else except catching footballs right now, and it’s pretty obvious that’s what he’s concentrating on,” said Cole Casey, Jackson’s attorney.
The maneuverings helped him stay on the field, where he helped lead the Chargers on a playoff run with 68 catches for 1,167 yards and nine touchdowns. Tomorrow he faces the New York Jets in a playoff game at Qualcomm Stadium.
His ultimate price, besides possible jail time, could be an NFL suspension — possibly a few games this fall. To have his case delayed again this week, an attorney for Jackson indicated to the judge there would be a plea deal in place or a trial date set the next time they appeared in court in March. If Jackson pleads guilty to an alcohol-related offense, it would be his second such conviction since 2006, when he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving and received five years of probation.
“Discipline for a second or subsequent offense is likely to be a suspension,” says the NFL’s substance-abuse policy for alcohol-related offenses.
Jackson was not suspended by the league after his first conviction, which came about four months after his June 2006 arrest. He was on probation at the time of his second DUI arrest on Jan. 6, 2009. His blood-alcohol content then registered at 0.17 percent, double the state limit.
Casey argued in court last June that Jackson’s blood test results should be tossed out because his blood was drawn against his will, in violation of his rights against illegal searches and seizures.
Casey said Jackson repeatedly requested a breath test instead, as was his right. But the breath machine didn’t immediately accept his sample, and Jackson moved slowly while removing personal items to be inventoried, according to the testimony of a California Highway Patrol officer.
Because of this, the officer considered Jackson to be refusing the breath test. As a result, Jackson’s blood was drawn from his arm while his arms were handcuffed behind a chair.
A Superior Court judge rejected Casey’s argument, leading Casey to attempt an appeal in July.
That put the case on hold until October, when a judge determined the appeal attempt to be premature. On Nov. 3, Casey said, “I’m just going to continue it (the case) until after the season.”
A first continuance in such a case is generally granted almost automatically, said Randy Grossman, a local attorney and adjunct faculty member at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
For a second continuance, “good cause” is required, he said.
On Tuesday, Jackson received a second continuance because his attorney represented that there would be a “guaranteed disposition,” according to the city attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case. A “guaranteed disposition” generally means a plea deal, but Casey said that’s not certain to happen.
Casey said Jackson is not trying to get off on a technicality or delay justice but instead is exercising his constitutional rights. He said it’s not uncommon for a trial to take place a year after an arrest.
Jackson said before the 2009 season the off-field issues were “something that’s unfortunate.”
“But I definitely have a positive outlook about it,” he said then. “My teammates have confidence in me, so I don’t worry that much about it.”
That’s his attorney’s job.
“It’s ultimately going to be up to Vince and I what we do, and we will wait until football season is over until we make that decision,” Casey said.
Brent Schrotenboer: (619) 293-1368; email@example.com
10 News San Diego: Cole Casey Winning Marijuana DUI Cases
Channel 10 Newscast on Marijuana Drugged Driving Laws:
San Diego Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Cole Casey was recently interviewed by Channel 10 News as a leading DUI expert and specialist lawyer who is pioneering the successful defense of persons accused of DUI due to testing positive for the presence of THC (Marijuana, Pot) in their bloodstream.
Cole Casey, a 13 year veteran of DUI Defense and a frequent guest speaker and legal expert on DUI Laws in California, was interviewed in September 2009 by Channel 10 News anchorwoman Charisse Yu. Attorney Casey discusses recent U.S. Department of Transportation reports that contradict and disprove previous conclusions reached by the California Department of Justice regarding the effects of Marijuana on a driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
California DUI Jury Trial expert Casey is innovatively winning marijuana impaired & drugged driving (DUID) cases based on published government reports that state "it is not possible to conclude anything about a driver's impairment on the basis of his or her plasma concentrations of THC". To read more about San Diego Marijuana & DWI, please view our recently added section on Pot: Drugged Driving Defense.
San Diego Attorney Casey Defends Jon Koppenhaver's Fighting Career
Channel 10 News Coverage of MMA Fighter's Career Save:
San Diego Lawyer Cole Casey, a long time Mixed Martial Arts fighter and avid Ultimate Fighting Championship fan, successfully defended and mediated the threat to Professional MMA Fighter Jon "War Machine" Koppenhaver's UFC Fighting contract. Attorney Casey specializes in DUI cases and is well known throughout the San Diego legal community, as well as statewide and nationally as one of the top DUI attorneys in the country.
Cole Casey made an isolated exception by taking a non-DUI case, when he took on the felony assault case against "The Ultimate Fighter" star of Spike Television. Casey was persuaded by the fact that a felony conviction would void Koppenhaver's ten fight contract with the UFC and bring an abrupt end to Jon Koppenhaver's promising professional career. As Jon's defense counsel, he arranged a mutually agreed upon settlement of $2300 to the victim, Darren Zatkow, of San Diego and convinced the Judge, Frank Brown, to accept a misdemeanor plea for the incident in which a witness stated Koppenhaver choked unconscious and punched the victim in the face while he lay on the ground. Zatkow's doctor stated the victim suffered four fractures to his left eye socket resulting from the beating.
Koppenhaver, a.k.a "The War Machine", agreed to 30 days of community service, a misdemeanor, and $2300 restitution for the broken facial bones and resulting medical expenses. Without the experience and skill of his attorney, Koppenhaver not only risked the loss of his fighting career, but was also facing a probable prison sentence.
Driving Related Laws Enacted in 2009
2009 Legislation Affecting California Drivers:
On January 1st, 2009, several laws were enacted that potentially affect San Diego motorists. The summarized statutes listed are not intended as a comprehensive report, but rather a brief sampling of legislation most likely to affect or be of interest to DUISanDiego.com site visitors.
1.California has declared "zero tolerance" (a term typically associated with minor drivers under 21 years of age with a blood alcohol level of .01% or above) on any individual who is on probation for a prior DUI offense and is caught driving any vehicle with ANY measurable trace of alcohol in their bloodstream. The probationer violation will result in automatic suspension of the violator's drivers license or restricted license, if applicable. The term "vehicle", when applied to DUI charges, can be a car, truck, boat, plane, motorcyle, bicycle, scooter, lawn mower, ATV, or any other motorized or self propelled form of transportation.
2.One of the most prolific new California Driving Laws of the year is the illegalization of typing, sending or reading text messages on electronic devices (phones, pda's, netbooks, laptops) while operating a motor vehicle. This infraction commonly falls under the term of "distracted driving". Texting while driving can result in a traffic stop by police, and ultimately suspicion of driving under the influence.
3.Any Driver in California who chooses to speak on a cellphone or other electronic device while driving MUST use a hands free device. This new statute also falls under the category of "distracted driving" and carries a fine for a first time offense. Drivers may use a handsfree device installed in their automobile, or an earpiece that connects directly to their cellphone. If a police officer observes a motorist texting or using a cellphone without the required handsfree instrument, it provides the officer with probable cause to pull the driver over, and subsequently resulting in a DUI charge if the operant is at or above the legal BAC limit of .08% for adults, and .01% for minors under 21 years of age.
4.As of July, 2009, authoritative and administrative jurisdiction of Ignition Interlock Devices will be transferred from the criminal courts to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, who will monitor adherence to IID requirements. In addition, any driver convicted in California of DUI, whose blood alcohol level at the time of arrest was .15% or above, will be potentially subjected to use of an Ignition Interlock Device, or "IID", if allowed to continue driving on a restricted or unsuspended license following a guilty drunk driving conviction.
If you have been affected by new DUI legislation in San Diego, or have questions regarding your arrest or charges, please feel free to contact our law offices at 619.237.0384 or reach DUI Attorney Casey directly by email 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
M ADD’s INFLUENCE ON DUI LAWS:
Since 1980, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been spearheading efforts to bring attention to the issue of drunk drivers and efforts to decrease the number of impaired drivers on the roads. MADD has a significant influence on law makers. Many of the laws promulgated against impaired drivers, arguably breach basic Constitutional rights of citizens. Regardless of such, MADD systematically teams up with various Federal and State law enforcement agencies and other government entities such as the Department of Transportation in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to employ strategies and campaigns to arrest impaired drivers.
In November 2006, MADD announced a new four point plan to eliminate drunk drivers. The four strategies revived by MADD are to:
1. Intensify high-visibility law enforcement.
2. Fully implement alcohol ignition interlock technology.
3. Explore other and new forms of vehicle technology that could be used
to prevent drunk driving.
4. Mobilize MADD’s grassroots support.
With respect to the second and third points in MADD’s recent campaign, MADD is increasing it’s pressure on legislators and courts to order all drivers convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles. The IID requires the driver to blow into a mechanism that measures the individuals blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If the mechanism detects any traces of alcohol, it will prevent the vehicle from starting. This is one of the high tech areas of interest MADD and law enforcement entities are looking into to assist them in preventing impaired drivers from operating vehicles.
Currently, a judge may order an IID installed when/if exacerbating circumstance exist. Such circumstances include but are not limited to: driver’s adjudicated as a repeat offender, driving under the influence with children in the car or if the BAC was extremely high. MADD is pressuring legislators to pass laws requiring all drivers convicted of driving under the influence to install an IID in their vehicles. MADD even wants the IID ordered for individuals convicted of their first offense regardless of BAC and exacerbating circumstances.
Another point in the MADD campaign is the law enforcement use of sobriety checkpoints. All but 10 States permit Sobriety checkpoints and MADD’s goal is to get these 10 States to join the other 40 in the use of Sobriety checkpoints in their crusade against impaired drivers.
Free DUI Case Consultation
G. Cole Casey heads the top San Diego drunk driving defense firm. As a well known San Diego DUI lawyer, his proven track record and DUI Jury Trial Case Results are unmatched and unprecedented by any other DUI attorney in the region.
Call us twenty four hours a day at (619) 237-0384 or eMail Cole directly now to discuss a legitimate and effective defense strategy for your driving under the influence case.
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