May 28, 2017
Spring and summer bring out the local bears from hibernation and they are looking for a meal. Be careful, understand that feeding a bear acclimates them to humans and puts them in danger of being killed. The bears and their cubs are out in full force this season. If you see a bear or bears, do not approach them! The cubs are cute, but they have very sharp claws that can hurt you, and the mama bear is close by and will protect her cubs.
Please follow the Pine Mountain Club association rules and DO NOT FEED the bears or leave trash outside. Take your trash to the Transfer Site often to keep the bears’ temptation at bay. The Transfer Site is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, and stays open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays during bear season. Also, bring in your dog food bowls and cat food, the bears will smell it and that could create a danger to your pets.
Every year Pine Mountain Club residents see deaths of their pets due to leaving out food and attracting a nuisance.
November 14, 2016
This article discusses what happens at the DMV hearing following an arrest for drunk driving in Kern County. If you were arrested for DUI and hired an attorney chances are he requested a DMV hearing to challenge the drivers license suspension that you are facing. The hearing is a result of the notice of suspension issued to you by the arresting officer, or the pink piece of paper you received. The date will be set out usually a month or two in order to allow the lawyer to obtain the state’s evidence and prepare.
If you took a breath or blood test the issues will be 1. Whether you were lawfully arrested. 2. Whether you were driving, and 3. Whether at the time of driving your blood alcohol level was .08 or more. The hearing is seperate from the Court date you were given upon your release from jail.
The hearing is very informal, there is no Judge, there is no bailiff or a Court Reporter. The hearing is conducted in an office and is presided over by a DMV employee with the title “hearing officer”. The procedure is as follows: first, the DMV will seek to identify all documents received by the police agency such as the arrest report, breath or blood results and any other documents prepared by the arresting officer. The attorney will make any objections to the evidence such as any evidentiary defects that may affect their admissibility. The hearing officer will usually overrule the objections and admit the documents over objection. If a witness has been subpoenaed then they will testify and cross examined. The attorney will be allowed to argue that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the burden of proof and can present case law or legal reasons why the Department should dismiss or set aside the suspension.
In many cases the client will be advised to be available by phone but not personally appear. The reason for this is that there is no right against self incrimination at a DMV hearing and therefore the hearing officer can question them about anything relevant to the case. If there is a defect or some evidence lacking in their case the DMV can “fill in the gaps” by questioning the licensee. For example, if the officer failed to include information in the documents that is crucial to the case the DMV can get that evidence from the client. Further, they can put the client in a tough position by questioning them about the number of drinks they had consumed. In some cases it is vital to the defense that the client testify, but most of the time, the attorney will focus on making the DMV meet their burden of proof and not shift the focus to whether the client is credible or not. For instance, if there was some error in the procedure, a regulation was not followed or the officer made some mistake, this will be dwelled upon. Once the attorney receives all of the DMV evidence he will call you to discuss the specific strategy in your case.
At the conclusion of the hearing the DMV will render a decision. In some cases, the hearing officer may take the matter under submission and send out a written decision of their findings. This can sometimes take weeks but the client will be able to continue to drive pending a decision.
January 23, 2016
If you were involved in a hit and run and it was alcohol related, many people make bad decisions that can be avoided. Let’s face it, Being involved in a hit and run can be very nerve wracking, it is easy to make bad decisions after the incident but getting the right advice can be very important.
A commonly asked question is whether the involved party should report the car stolen following the hit and run accident. the short answer to this question is it is not advisable in that the report could result in additional felony charges if the crime is detected. This reaction seems to be the way to go to many people in that they think they can cover up the hit and run. The better option is to retain the services of a kern county criminal defense attorney who can advise the individual of proper courses of action.
In many cases, a detective or police investigator will call the suspected party in an attempt to extract inculpatory or incriminating admissions. Here, again the person would be well advised to have a lawyer on retainer to act as an intermediary, counselor and insulator from law enforcement and the danger of bad knee jerk decisions. A lawyer can insulate you from pointed questions that are sure to be difficult to answer such as whether you were drinking prior to the incident.
Also, many folks go to the police station after the incident in an attempt to get their car released only to discover that a “hold” has been placed on the vehicle and it can only be released when you give a statement to the detective assigned to the case. Here again, the person is faced with either having to lie about the incident or confess, either of which will likely result in criminal charges. Be wise, exercise your constitutional right to be represented by counsel. The attorney can reach out to the detective in many cases and negotiate a release without the necessity of the client giving a statement.
Having the right and accurate legal advice during this very turbulent time is crucial to a favorable and just outcome of any hit and run case. The biggest mistake you can make is to listen to and follow the advise of a non-lawyer such as a friend, co-worker or relative. Our law firm has over twenty years experience handling serious hit and run allegations, contact us or visit Bakersfield DUI Attorney on the web for additional information and resources for any type of criminal case you may be facing.
In the vast majority of cases (over 90 percent) we have been successful in avoiding charges for our clients and kept their records clean. When you consider that a DUI conviction can cost you over $15,000 and a misdemeanor or felony charge can easliy cost 10k or more to defend, hiring a lawyer early is well worth the money.
October 6, 2015
Recently the local Courts announced a change in the way citations are handled for speeding, reckless driving, commercial violations and many other traffic matters. It used to be the case that an attorney could set a case for trial and on the day of trial negotiate directly with the CHP officer for a reduction or dismissal of the charges, this is no longer the case.
The Kern County District Attorney recently issued a memo that disallows direct dealing with the cop for dismissal of a charge. Now the lawyer has to request a reduction from the Judge who can exercise discretion to reduce certain charges to non moving violations under certain conditions.
For example, if a commercial driver gets a speeding ticket and hires an attorney, the lawyer can request a reduction from the Court if the driver has a clean record an a copy of his or her driving record is produced. This does not apply to DUI or other misdemeanors. In Lamont Court Judges will permit a reduction in most cases. Lamont covers interstate 5 through the grapevine and covers cities such as Frazier Park, Pine Mountain Club, and Taft.
October 4, 2015
The CHP actively patrols the Interstate 5 area of Kern County for speeders and reckless or drunk drivers. They are most aggressive in this area due to the high number of deaths caused by accidents related to speed. Most drivers are pulled over when the officer detects a high speed on their front or rear radar. The units are passive which means they are always on and on mounted on the front dashboard and rear deck of the car. In some cases the officer can observe fast drivers and estimate the speed based on training and experience. At which time they may “pace” the suspect vehicle using their speedometer as a reference. In either case a ticket may result which could then lead to other charges depending on what the officer observes during the contact.
If the charge is simply speeding, not DUI or reckless driving, then the driver gets a ticket to appear in Kern County Superior Court, often Lamont, Shafter or Bakersfield. Our Attorneys can handle the case for you, we show up in Court and enter a not guilty plea, set the case for trial and then again show up at a future date to contest the ticket. Bruce Blythe had fought all manner of tickets for 20 years and therefore is respected by the Courts as experienced and knowledgeable. He boasts a near 90 percent dismissal rate for most speeding tickets due to his familiarity with the local Judges and officers that issue citations. When the case cannot be completely thrown out he will negotiate a lesser charge or mitigate the offense for traffic school, lower fines, etc.
August 8, 2015
Kern has as many as 9 Courts in various parts of the county. The location of your arrest will determine where you will be attending Court. For example, if you were pulled over on interstate 5 you will likely be appearing in Shafter a Court on Central Valley Highway, this is called North Kern Court.
June 19, 2015
In California a a DUI can be enhanced for many reasons, excessive blood alcohol, priors, refusal and perhaps the most severe, the dreaded speed enhancement. The speed of the vehicle can add 60 days or more to a sentence.
If the DA alleges that you were driving 20 miles above the speed limit on a city street or 30 mph above the limit on the freeway and the speed was reckless than the Court can impose a 60 day jail sentence, even on a first offense.
This punishment can be avoided through negotiation however and it is not mandatory, so it is important to consult a lawyer to discuss your options. Kern County does not often allege the enhancement but can overlook the penalty.