Mother and Daughter Killed in Fatal DUI Crash

At the beginning of this year, a mother and daughter were involved in a fatal car accident that cost them their life. The incident occurred Sunday, Jan 2, 2022 at approximately 10:30 a.m. near the intersection of Foster and Studebaker in Norwalk, California. Victims Shannon Alvarez, 50, and her 13-year-old daughter Ashely Alvarez were driving in a Chevrolet Camaro when they were suddenly struck by a Dodge Charger.

According to Lt. Brian Sanford of the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station, the woman driving the Dodge Charger, later identified as Brittany Lopez, 26, was traveling northbound at a dangerously high speed when she ran the red light and T-boned the victim’s vehicle. Emergency personnel transported Shannon Alvarez and Ashely Alvarez to a nearby hospital for medical treatment where they unfortunately succumbed to their injuries. Authorities determined Lopez was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the collision took place and took her into custody shortly after she was treated for her injuries. She was detained on vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license with a set bail of $50,000. Records show that the district attorney’s office refused to file charges against Lopez because further investigation was needed. She was released the following Tuesday morning.

If you have been charged with a DUI in California and want an expert to evaluate your case, the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor provide defense attorneys that are well-versed in various types of DUI cases and can ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.

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Off-Duty Sergeant Arrested on Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence

Just a few weeks before the new year, Sgt. Timothy Luke Everts was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The incident occurred on Friday, December 17th, 2021 at approximately 11:30 p.m. The LBPD confirmed that Sgt. Everts was attending a retirement party off duty, in his own vehicle, when he crashed into several parked cars near the intersection of East 8th Street and Coronado Avenue. According to investigative reports, a citizen called in about a driver in a white pickup truck passed out behind the wheel. When authorities arrived at the scene of the crime, Sgt. Everts was found unresponsive with a large life on his lap. Once he regained consciousness, he was uncooperative with the responding officers and refused to exit the vehicle. Consequently, the officers deployed tactical measures, including use of spoke strips, during the arrest incident. He was taken into custody at the Signal Hill jail and was released early Sunday morning.

Police officers who are arrested for driving under the influence will normally be subject to an internal investigation. Once the investigation is finished, the penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case, including whether the office was involved in an accident, if anyone was injured, whether the officer has prior DUIs, and whether the officer has other serious driving offenses on their record. The department’s policies will factor into the work-related penalties an officer might face. In most cases, the officer could face consequences such as dismissal, administrative leave, or having to complete a substance abuse treatment program.

The Long Beach Police Department made the following statement:

“Sergeant Everts was off duty, driving a personal vehicle at the time of the incident, was booked at the Signal Hill jail for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and was released on his own recognizance. Segreant Evert remains employed by the City of Long Beach. This is the only statement that will be provided regarding this incident, and we will not be providing further comment.”

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Is a Lawyer Necessary For a DUI Arraignment?

A DUI arraignment typically occurs a few days following a DUI arrest. This is the first actual courtroom appearance where the defendant is formally charged with a DUI. During an arraignment, the defendant is called into court by a judge who inquires the following:

· Whether the charged suspect has an attorney or needs one appointed

· Lists the charges against the defendant

· Ask how the defendant would like to plea

· Determines bail amount (if applicable)

· Schedules future court dates for upcoming proceedings

· Hands over evidence including copies of police reports and results of chemical/blood tests to the defendant or their lawyer

The arraignment is the first step in your case to determine your guilt or innocence. The plea you enter and the judgement following your arraignment will have considerable consequences on your freedom. You do not want to face such potentially life changing decisions on your own without the assistance of a lawyer. Even if the suspect cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney at no cost.

The arraignment for DUI is a critical step in the DUI process. It is important to note that hiring a DUI attorney, or at least contacting one for a consultation and obtaining a free case evaluation, can positively affect your case outcome and is highly recommended to avoid costly, common mistakes. A DUI lawyer will be able to make the right strategic decisions regarding time waivers, whether to accept a plea bargain, or a number of other considerations.

Here at the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor, our DUI attorneys specialize in helping you deal with your criminal charges in a way that would be most beneficial for you.

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Benefits of Hiring a DUI Lawyer

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in California, the first thing a prosecutor will do in most cases is offer you a “deal” if you agree to plead guilty. Ideally, a plea bargain is supposed to give a defendant a favorable punishment for opting to forgo a trial.

Prosecutors are not on your side when offering you a plea bargain. Having a private DUI lawyer by your side early in the process can reduce the likelihood of facing the maximum possible penalties.

Hiring a private DUI lawyer comes with several advantages—these include:

· The ability to represent you at the DMV suspension hearing

· The freedom to represent you in court without your presence for misdemeanor charges

· Extra time outside of court to evaluate the facts of your case and prepare your defense

· A lesser charge

· A more lenient penalty

If you consult with a DUI defense lawyer, you may find out your case is not as bad as it looks and is beatable. The more time spent building a solid defense for your DUI case, they may be able to discredit or suppress key evidence the prosecution is relying on and ultimately negotiate for better treatment. When this happens, the prosecution is likely to offer you a much more generous deal. In some cases they will even reduce the charge to a lesser offense, so that you can keep your license and have no DUI on your record.

If you have been charged with a DUI in California and want an expert to evaluate your case, the Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor provide defense attorneys that are well-versed in various types of DUI cases and can ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.

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DUI Preliminary Hearing

A preliminary hearing, sometimes referred to as a probable cause hearing, is a hearing in which a judge determines whether probable cause exists for the crime or crimes that a defendant has been charged with. This only occurs in felony cases after the defendant pleads not guilty at their arraignment hearing.

Preliminary hearings are like mini trials. At the hearing, the court examines the prosecution’s evidence to determine whether it is substantial enough to convince a jury that the defendant committed the crime or crimes which they are being charged with.

In DUI cases, the court will review whether or not the law enforcement officer had probable cause to make the stop (except if the defendant was arrested at a DUI checkpoint). Next, the court will examine whether there was sufficient evidence to believe the defendant was driving under the influence. This evidence may include:

  • the smell of alcohol
  • bloodshot eyes
  • slurred speech
  • performance on field sobriety tests
  • results from an alcohol breath or blood test

If the judge finds that probable cause in fact exists, the defendant will be held to answer for the charges and the case will proceed to trial, unless a deal is worked out between the prosecution and the defense before the trial date.

The defendant must attend a preliminary hearing. It is possible to waive this hearing and proceed straight to trial, but that is not advisable. The defendant can benefit from a preliminary hearing because it provides the defense a preview of the prosecution’s case and gives the defense an opportunity to see how strong the case is against them.

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