Tag Archives: arrested

How can you avoid county jail as a repeat DUI offender? You can Scram.

Over the last 17 years, I’ve represented many clients that find themselves facing jail time because their drinking has caused them to make bad choices.    Whether its a 2nd offense DUI or any other criminal offense that stems from issues with alcohol, I’ve been able to use Scram to help them avoid substantial jail time and also treat their underlying alcohol issues.

Scram is an electronic device that monitors your blood alcohol content through a skin sensor.   It is typically worn on your ankle and it communicates with a base station at your house.


I’ve saved countless clients from having to go through the side door of the courtroom into jail by being proactive and having a scram device ready before we see the judge.    You see, most judges do not want repeat alcohol offenders on the road.   They want them in jail so that no one else gets harmed and the Judge gets blamed for allowing them out in the first place.

The voluntary installation of the Scram device on my clients has impressed judges in many ways.  First, most judges trust Scram to keep people from drinking.  No amount of AA classes or increased bail assures a judge that you will not drink the minute you are released.   On the other hand, a Scram anklet tells the judge you are taking responsibility for your actions and you are being proactive in helping get through them.

This past January I had a client that was facing 2 years in prison.   He not only had alcohol issues in the past but his present problems were caused by alcohol as well.    I met with my client’s family and had my Scram representative get the process started.   I then met with the Judge and the prosecutor where I extolled the virtues of this service coupled with counseling.  The Judge loved it and agreed to release my client from jail on the strict condition that he gets the Scram device installed immediately.      Needless to say, if it was not for our approach,  this young man would have been sitting in a jail cell right now.

If you’d like to know if Scram can help you in your case, please feel free to contact us at LABestDefense@gmail.com or 562 907 4448


An Attorney must advise his client of all the possible consequences of his choices in court.

When you are facing Criminal Charges in Los Angeles, it is important to hire an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney who knows how to protect your rights and advise you of the consequences of what happens in court. I’ve represented clients in Los Angeles Criminal Courts for over a decade and firmly believe that every client needs to fully aware of their options and legal consequences before making decisions that may change their life. This recent U.S. Supreme Court decision further echoes my beliefs. If you are looking for a an experienced and aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles, please contact us for a free consultation.
Defense attorneys have a fundamental obligation to tell their immigrant clients they face possible deportation when pleading guilty to certain crimes, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The 7-2 ruling was closely watched by the Justice Department and a number of immigrant rights groups.

“The severity of deportation — the equivalent of banishment or exile — only underscores how critical it is for counsel to inform her noncitizen client that he faces a risk of deportation,” said Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the opinion for the court.

“It is our responsibility under the Constitution to ensure that no criminal defendant — whether a citizen or not — is left to the ‘mercies of incompetent counsel.’ To satisfy this responsibility, we now hold that counsel must inform her client whether his plea carries a risk of deportation,” he wrote.

The high court’s conclusions affirm that constitutional guarantees of “effective assistance of counsel” extend to legal advice for noncitizens.

The appeal involves Jose Padilla, a Vietnam-era veteran living in Kentucky but originally from Honduras. He had been a resident of the United States for more than 40 years, but never applied for citizenship. He was arrested in his tractor-trailer and charged with transporting and trafficking marijuana, an “aggravated felony” under federal law.

He pleaded guilty in 2001, and said his lawyer assured him he “did not have to worry about immigration status since he had been in the country so long,” according to court records.

But the fact that the crime was an aggravated felony meant he would automatically be sent back to Honduras after serving his jail sentence. A state court said he could not withdraw his guilty plea, and that lawyers have no obligation to inform defendants on immigration.

Padilla is not related to a convicted terrorist conspirator and “enemy combatant” with the same name, who was arrested after the 9/11 attacks. That defendant is now in a federal prison serving a life term.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already mandate that immigrant defendants be given the right extended by the high court. Stevens noted previous plea deals are not likely to be affected by the Supreme Court ruling.

Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts agreed in this case that Padilla’s lawyer misled her client on the consequences of a guilty plea. But they said that, in general, defense attorneys cannot be forced to have a “mastery of immigration law” in service to their clients.

“A criminal defense attorney should not be required to provide advice on immigration law, a complex specialty that generally lies outside the scope of a criminal defense attorney’s expertise,” Alito wrote.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas disagreed entirely with the majority, saying the Constitution does not guarantee “accurate advice” to criminal defendants, immigrants or citizens alike.

Immigrant rights groups hailed the ruling as one of fundamental fairness.

“Even though most immigrants’ primary concern is their ability to stay in the U.S., they often plead guilty unaware that the result would be permanent exile from their families and communities,” said Michelle Fei, co-director of the Immigrant Defense Project. “We’re thrilled that the Supreme Court has recognized that deportation is an extreme penalty and that noncitizens have a constitutional right to legal advice about the consequences of pleading guilty.”

The case is Padilla v. Kentucky (08-651).

New Laws for 2010 for those arrested for DUI


California continues to crack down on those arrested for DUI by ratcheting up penalties.

2 new laws that will go into effect in 2010 deal with those convicted of Drunk Driving/DUI in Los Angeles County.  One of the laws is a pilot program that seeks to have those convicted of first offense DUI be forced to install an ignition interlock device in each car that they have access to.

The ignition interlock devices (IID) are to be purchased by those convicted of DUI and each time the driver starts the car, he needs to blow into the device to show there is no alcohol in his system.  Details of the pilot program have not been released yet, but it is clear that avoiding a DUI conviction is now more important than ever.  Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer can help improve the chances of reducing or removing any penalties for your DUI arrest.

The second law that will go into effect has to do with 2nd or 3rd time offender and their ability to get a restricted license.   This also deals with the (IID) device and will be monitored through the DMV.

If you have questions about your recent DUI arrest, feel free to contact me at anthonyarzili@gmail.com or our office at 562-907-4448 for a free consultation.

Best of Luck and Happy New Year,

Anthony A. Arzili

LA DUI Attorney

Shocking Arrest of Former Detective on Cold Case

Shortly after she sat down at her desk on the third floor of LAPD headquarters Friday morning, Det. Stephanie Lazarus was told a suspect in the basement jail had information on one of her cases. The 25-year police veteran went quickly downstairs.

As Lazarus removed her firearm to pass through security, she unknowingly walked into a trap. There was no suspect — only questions about a terrible secret police believe she has been harboring for more than two decades.

Now disarmed, Lazarus, 49, was confronted by homicide detectives and arrested on suspicion of the 1986 slaying of a woman who had married Lazarus’ ex-boyfriend. The dramatic break in the decades-old case sent shock waves through the tight-knit LAPD community, marking one of the few times in the department’s history that one of its own officers has been accused of murder.

“It’s painful,” LAPD Chief William J. Bratton said. “But murder is also very painful.”

Calling it an apparent “crime of passion,” Deputy Chief Charlie Beck said Lazarus allegedly beat and fatally shot Sherri Rae Rasmussen, a 29-year-old hospital nursing director, two years after joining the department.

Three months after they were married, Rasmussen’s husband returned to their Van Nuys condominium on the evening of Feb. 24, 1986, to discover his wife’s badly beaten body on the floor in the living room. She had been shot several times, Beck said.

Days after the slaying, two men robbed another woman in the area at gunpoint. Homicide detectives suspected that the pair had also killed Rasmussen when she came upon them burglarizing her home, according to news reports from the time. Rasmussen’s parents, newspapers reported, offered a $10,000 reward for the men’s capture.

The search for the men led nowhere. Like thousands of other homicides from the period, the case remained open and collected dust on storage shelves as detectives struggled to keep pace with L.A.’s dramatic surge in violent crimes.

But with homicides in the city falling to historic lows, LAPD detectives have had unusual freedom in recent months to revisit cold cases. Detectives returned to the Rasmussen killing in February, testing blood or saliva samples from the crime scene and thought to have been from the killer. The DNA tests showed that the attacker was a woman, disproving the theory that Rasmussen had been killed by a man.

Detectives scoured the original case file for mention of any women who could have been overlooked during the investigation. Beck said they found a reference to Lazarus, who was known at the time to have had a romantic relationship with the victim’s husband, John Ruetten. Ruetten allegedly broke off the relationship and soon after became involved with Rasmussen, said sources familiar with the investigation who were not authorized to speak publicly.

With suspicion falling on an LAPD cop, the case took on sensitive and explosive tones inside the department. To minimize the chances that word of the reopened investigation would leak, only a small circle of detectives and high-ranking officials were made aware of it. Last week, an undercover officer surreptitiously trailed Lazarus as she did errands, waiting until she discarded a plastic utensil or other object with her saliva on it, police sources said.

The DNA in her saliva was compared with the DNA evidence collected from the murder scene. The genetic code in the samples matched conclusively, police said.

Lazarus was not pursued as a suspect at the time of Rasmussen’s slaying, according to Beck. The two homicide detectives originally assigned to the case have retired and had not yet been contacted by police, he added. Beck declined to say why the detectives did not look more closely at Lazarus as a possible suspect.

Asked at an afternoon news conference whether Lazarus had been either deliberately or mistakenly overlooked because she was a cop, Beck said: “I don’t know the answer to that at this point.” Reached at his home in Arizona, Rasmussen’s father, Nels E. Rasmussen Jr., indicated that he believes so. “We are not surprised that the arrest was made,” he said.

One of the original detectives in the case, Lyle Mayer, said he never interviewed Lazarus in the course of his investigation and continued to believe the burglary theory until his retirement in 1991.

Police officials declined to comment on whether they believe anyone else was involved in the killing. Lazarus was being held without bail and could not be reached for comment.

Officers responded with shock as news of the arrest spread through the department.

“Never in my wildest imagination would I ever think she could do something like this,” said one longtime officer, who socialized frequently with Lazarus. “We drank beers. She was always quick to give you a hug or tell a joke.” The officer spoke on condition of anonymity. Lazarus’ current partner, Det. Don Hrycyk, refused to comment.

Lazarus joined the department in 1983, a year after she graduated from UCLA with a degree in sociology, LAPD and university records show. After several years as a rank-and-file patrol officer, she was promoted to detective and, in 2006, landed a high-profile assignment with Hrycyk tracking stolen artwork and forgeries. There are references in department publications to Lazarus earning public commendation for her work.

She hardly shunned the spotlight. In a recent LA Weekly profile, Lazarus joked that all she knew about art was that it “hangs on the wall” and that “after working here and seeing all the phony art, I said, ‘I can do that.’ ” Lazarus, who according to police has a young daughter and recently married another LAPD detective, told the newspaper that she had started taking oil-painting classes and had first become interested in art when she visited Europe as a teenager. Last year, she gave interviews after helping capture two men convicted of a string of art thefts in the Wilshire area and in Beverly Hills.

Until her death, Rasmussen was director of critical-care nursing at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Her slaying stunned colleagues, who referred to her as a vital member of the staff, according to news reports. On the day she was killed, she had reportedly stayed home from work after straining her back in an aerobics class. In an article about the family’s reward, her father said Rasmussen had entered college at 16 and had taught for a period at UCLA.

“It’s safe to say we have some closure,” said Ruetten, the victim’s husband, when reached at his home in San Diego. “It’s been a horrible thing to go through it all again.”


Article by LA Times

DUI in L.A.? Be Smart, not a Smart-aleck.

If you have gotten behind the wheel after drinking, you have already made one mistake.  Here’s some info that helps you from making one mistake turn into a night of mistakes.

1) Be smart.

Short and Sweet.  If you are pulled over for a DUI, (and you have been drinking), don’t give the police officer anything more than you need to.  Hand over your license and registration.  Be polite.  But as far as telling the officer, how many beers you had and when you ate, etc.  It only serves to expedite things to a DUI arrest!   You are under no legal obligation to answer questions from the officer about what you drank or when you drank.   If he want you to do field sobriety tests and you don’t think you can pass them, politely decline without giving a reason.  You have no legal obligation to do FST’s.

2) Don’t be a smart-ass.

Take an attitude with the officer that pulls you over, and you can rest assured that he’s going to make this encounter a memorable one.  Trying to argue your way out of a DUI is about as smart an idea as driving drunk in the first place.  Most officers will make up their minds on whether they are going to arrest you, based on the first few minutes of talking with you.   Blabbing away does two things: 1) it makes the officer get defensive and lean more towards arresting you, 2) It makes you seem more drunk by being overly talkative and argumentative.

Being Arrested for a Crime? Rule #1, shut up!

I know deep down inside you feel that you can explain yourself to these officers.  You think that once they hear your story, they’ll be like “Oh OK!, sorry guy, we had you all wrong.  We’ll uncuff you and have you on your way with our deepest apologies”   Ok, let’s snap out of fantasy land.  In our real world, police officers have a theory of what happened before you open your mouth.  You are the suspect.  You did what your accused of.  As the words come spilling out of your mouth, all the officer is doing is writing down what he thinks supports the theory that you are guilty.   Every thing that you say will be documented and rest assured it will find its way to the police report.  From there, those same words will be used to convict you in court.    The easiest thing to do (keep your mouth closed) can save you from prison, jail, a felony conviction.   But for far too many people, its unavoidable.   They will put their foot in their mouth because they fall prey to the following myths.

1) Apologize to the police and they will go easy on you. 

You should alwasy treat officers with respect and courtesy.  For the obvious reasons, and also because they can make your life very hard if you don’t.   But apologizing to the officers or telling them how you regret what you’ve done is one of the biggest myths out there.  Most people are under the perception that once you are arrested for a crime, if you just fess up right away and say how darn sorry you are, that they will either let you go or take it easy on you.   While officers respect your honesty, that’s never going to be enough to let you off the hook.  You did what you did, and now they have you admitting to it, so get ready to do your time.  This is not Law & Order, where they ask the suspect to say what he knows and they will take it easy on him.  I guarantee that anyone that is questioning you has absolutely no power to get rid of your charges or to reduce them.  That’s just not how it works in the real world.  So to summarize, be courteous and cooperative but do not admit or confess to anything with police officers.

2) You can outsmart the detectives.

You might think you are smart or that you have the perfect story that may help you get out of your mess.  Here’s the problem, you don’t control this game.  The detectives can hide facts, lie to you, even scare you into saying what they want.  You are in their game.  They do this for a living and they can likely finish your sentences on what you have to say.   Just tell them, you’ve got nothing to say until you see a lawyer. 

I’ve had trials with confessions and without confessions.  I had a case where my client confessed on audio tape in a detailed statement.  We were able to get the jury to find our client not guilty of the felony charges that he confessed to.  But that is more the exception than the rule.  I recently had a case with a wealth of evidence against my client, but the best thing my client did was say nothing to the police.  This allowed us to focus on attacking the evidence and not on defending his confession.  

Best Regards,

Anthony Arzili