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Obama Urges Reversal On Prop. 8 While U.S. Military Liberalizes Benefits For Gay Couples

96981501_video_large.jpgOn February 28, President Barack Obama urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn California's same-sex marriage ban. His action is the first time a U.S. president has urged the nation's highest court to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Specifically, the president's brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court justices to strike down California's Proposition 8 ballot measure, which currently prohibits gay marriage in the state.

Benefits Not Available to Gay Couples

While California - and seven additional states - allows same-sex civil unions, marriage is not allowed, precluding gay couples from enjoying the benefits afforded to heterosexual couples, including:

  • Social Security benefit.
  • Tax-free inheritance for the surviving spouse.
  • Family and medical leave.
  • COBRA health insurance benefits

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8, gay marriage will be legal in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Continue reading "Obama Urges Reversal On Prop. 8 While U.S. Military Liberalizes Benefits For Gay Couples" »

DUI Arrests Up Over Labor Day Weekend Which May Complicate A Child Custody Dispute

September 8, 2011, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

Child-Endangerment-OTS-145x145.jpgStatewide, there was an increase in drunken driving arrests and alcohol-related fatalities this Labor Day weekend compared to last year, the California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday.

Statewide, 1,531 drunken driving arrests were made over the three-day weekend, compared to 1,521 last year.

There were also 21 fatalities in CHP jurisdiction, compared to 10 last year, the CHP said.

Drivers who had children in their vehicles at the time of their arrests can face additional criminal charges of willful cruelty or child endangerment.

Continue reading "DUI Arrests Up Over Labor Day Weekend Which May Complicate A Child Custody Dispute" »

MADD Would Like to See Random Breath Tests for Drivers

December 18, 2010, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

According to Terry Davidson of the Toronto Sun, if Mothers Against Drunk Driving CEO Andrew Murie has his way, drivers across Canada could be forced to take a breathalyzer test anywhere, anytime — whether police suspect drunk driving or not.

This new policy would replace Canada’s current, 40-year-old way of doing things, where police can demand a breath test only if they have reason to suspect a driver is too drunk to drive. 

I for one believe, as Nathalie Des Rosiers of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association does, this new policy would be a slippery slope for a free and democratic country such as Canada and the United States. 

DUI attorney Lawrence Taylor is correct when he warned that MADD USA will soon push to make random stops and breath tests their next legislative goal. This is a logical progression in the long series of drunk driving laws and court decisions which have steadily eroded our Constitutional rights.  Where does it end? 

I, like the majority of Americans, recognize that the number of drunk drivers must be minimized, but at what cost?  Remember, there is a very delicate balance between freedom and security.  You can’t have an increase in one without a decrease in the other. 

At what cost to our personal freedom are people willing to accept to gain some sense of artificial security?  I for one value security but at no time do I ever want to live in a police state.  As Thomas Paine once wrote: “It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”

While government does exist to protect us from each other, government has gone beyond its limits when it decides to protect us from ourselves.

DUI CHECK POINTS: SURVIVAL TIPS

November 26, 2010, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

Although the Holidays are when many Police Officers and California Highway Patrol are stepping up their enforcement of Sonoma County DUI checkpoints. Any time of year a Santa Rosa DUI checkpoint can be in place.  It’s often the off time of year when some folks reckon that they can get away with a few drinks. Avoiding DUI penalties and hefty DUI insurance rate increases.

A sobriety checkpoint is a tool that law enforcement use to evaluate random drivers for signs of drug and alcohol impairment. A sobriety checkpoint may be a stop on the road, freeway, or other public road. Law enforcement decides ahead of time what process to use when stopping vehicles (i.e. every fourth car is stopped).

Contrary to what many people thing, sobriety checkpoints are legal.  In 1990, the United States Supreme Court declared that sobriety checkpoints did not violate citizen's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. They decided that when these checks are preformed with minimal intrusion under specified guidelines, the benefit of these checkpoints greatly outweighs the minor intrusion on individual's rights. Each state has adopted laws of their own regarding sobriety checkpoints. Currently, approximately eleven states prohibit the use of sobriety roadblocks; however California is NOT one of the eleven. 

The most common signs of impairment which are looked for during a sobriety checkpoint stop are:


  • the odor of alcoholic beverages or drugs

  • blood shot eyes

  • the presence of alcoholic containers or drug paraphernalia in the vehicle

  • slurred or difficult speech

  • fumbling or other physical signs of intoxication

  • admission of drug or alcohol use

  • inconsistent responses to answers

  • detection of alcohol by a passive alcohol screening tool


As with any routine stop, you are required to provide identifying information such as your name, address, driver's license, and registration. By law, you do not have to say anything. REMAIN SILENT. Anything you say could potentially be used against you. Admitting to drinking or consuming drugs (even in small amounts: “I just had one!”) can be construed as admitting guilt. DON'T SAY ANYTHING.

 Most police officers will not tell you this, but you do NOT have to take field sobriety tests (FST). Those are the ones where you have to walk a line, touch your nose, and do other similar stunts. These are designed for failure. You are not required by law to take these tests.  However, if you do refuse you probably will be arrested on suspicion of DUI.  What is best for you defense later on down the road is not always the best if you are trying to avoid an arrest all together. 

While you are not required to take the initial breathalyzer test, which many consider to be just another FST, you ARE required, under implied consent laws, to submit to chemical testing of your blood, breath, or urine, at the request of an officer upon arrest on suspicion of DUI. These may be done, out of the flow of traffic, at the scene of the checkpoint, or you may be brought to a nearby facility for this testing. If you are not arrested after testing, you are free to leave and do not have to say anything.

If you were charged with drunk driving after a sobriety checkpoint investigation this holiday season, you need the help of a competent attorney as soon as possible. Contact JVS Law today for your free initial consultation.

Aggressively Defending You Against Harmful DUI Charges

November 18, 2010, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

Being charged with a DUI or drunk driving conviction can be a frightening and confusing experience. With so much riding on a favorable outcome to your charges, the assistance of an experienced lawyer can be vital to protecting your wallet, your driving privileges and even your freedom.

At the Law Offices of James V. Sansone, our attorney understands the fears associated with clients who have been charged with DUI and works diligently to offer you the support you need to limit or eliminate the harm stemming from a conviction. With more than nine years of experience in the Northern California area, our staff provides the insightful and detailed assistance you need to ensure that your rights and your best interests are adhered to throughout your proceedings.

We leverage a detailed knowledge of Santa Rosa courts, prosecutors and judges to offer the insightful advice you need to make the strongest defense decisions possible when you have been charged with a DUI or underage DUI. We represent clients both during the criminal proceedings associated with your charges and the administrative license hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles.

On your behalf, we carefully examine the events leading to your arrest, the actions of the arresting officer and the evidence obtained against you during the investigation. Any inconsistencies in evidence or deviations from police procedures can then be used to apply pressure on the prosecution. We will seek to have your charges dropped or will negotiate a favorable plea arrangement, saving you hundreds of dollars, the inconvenience of a license suspension and a lasting mark on your record.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, our staff can help. Contact our office online or call 707-623-1875 or toll free 877-224-8103 to schedule a free consultation.