Welcome to Fall! I hope that everyone is staying safe and ready for the busy holiday season to begin.
In my last newsletter, I was truly optimistic about the signs of our state’s reopening, but the rise of Delta variant cases has slowed much of that progress — and the effects are far-reaching.
In Santa Barbara County, all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are now again required to wear face masks in all public indoor areas, which includes courtrooms. In addition, the Orange County Superior Courthouse in Santa Ana and the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, have put in place administrative orders requiring that everyone in the building wear a mask. This comes after several individuals in these courts were diagnosed with COVID-19 and could have potentially exposed others.
Some places have taken things even further. Los Angeles court employees, for example, are now required to get vaccinated. The state is also now requiring all of its more than 2 million healthcare workers to get vaccinated by the end of September. And we have become the first in the nation to require teachers to provide proof of vaccination or be required to undergo regular testing.
It seems COVID-19 is here to stay for a little while longer. I will continue to be here, however, to help my clients navigate their way through the justice system, which has seemingly become more complex because of this pandemic. I continue to be grateful for my clients, my team, and my colleagues as we manage this uncertain time together. I hope that by the next time you hear from me here we are again moving toward the end of COVID-19.
What Has Been Happening
In a long-awaited ruling that could have wide-reaching consequences, the California Supreme Court ruled that California businesses must provide employees with meal and rest breaks or pay workers a premium equal to an hour of pay. It comes after a bartender filed a lawsuit alleging that her employer failed to properly pay premiums for non-compliant meal and rest breaks because it omitted nondiscretionary incentive payments from the calculation.
In addition, German chemicals company Bayer AG has lost an appeal of the California jury verdict that tied the use of its Roundup weedkiller to cancer — and awarded a couple $86 million in damages.
What Is Coming Up
We are quickly heading into the holiday season. With that comes decorations, lots of food, parties, and presents. At the same time, you will probably find yourself spending a lot of time with your family, including your spouse. For some couples, the stress of the holiday season and all that time together can lead to problems. I imagine this is especially true thanks to the additional stress caused by the uncertainty of COVID-19.
If you find yourself having marital problems and believe that divorce is the right option for your marriage, I work with several trusted partners who can help, including Positive Divorce Resolution, which offers a course for parents who are involved in or are considering divorce. In addition, my trusted partner Laura and Rusell Collins are an attorney-psychotherapist team that seeks to produce low-conflict parenting and property settlements in divorce matters.
In addition, many individuals find themselves drinking more during the holiday season. In fact, according to research, Americans have been found to double their booze intake during the time from Thanksgiving to New Years. That can present significant problems — especially when drinkers decide to get on the road and drive.
According to the 2019 Holiday Drinking and Impaired Driving Report by DriversEd.com, 62% of Americans say they are more fearful of drunk drivers than hazardous road conditions during this time of year. In fact, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows impaired driving related crashes spike throughout the Thanksgiving holiday period, making it one of the deadliest holidays on the roads.
DUIs During the Holiday Season
Before you decide to drink and drive after a holiday party, make sure that you understand the potential consequences.
If you are pulled over for a DUI misdemeanor — meaning you did not injure anyone or cause property damage while driving under the influence — and it is your first offense, the consequences will be less severe than if this is a second offense or if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was extremely high. Jail time of 96 hours to 6 months can be imposed, along with fines up to $1,000 and the six-month license suspension. Offenders are also expected to attend alcohol education classes. The consequences only increase severely from there.
If you are pulled over for a DUI, you will also incur attorney’s fees as you navigate the situation, which can feel like another significant ramification. That cost will ultimately be determined based on your specific circumstances, including the law firm or attorney you use, the seriousness of the case and whether the case is settled or tried. However, for a first offense without aggravating factors, fees could typically range from as little as $1,000 to $2000, up to more than $10,000 with an extensive jury trial.
Grateful for all of my clients!
As we head into the fall and winter holidays, I hope you will take the time to leave me a review my Yelp and Facebook listings if you feel as if I have helped you this year. It is the best gift that I could ask for.
In the meantime, please continue to stay safe out there. Take care of your friends and family and yourselves so that you can enjoy the holidays, even if we are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you need my services, I will be here, ready to fight aggressively for you and your rights.
Know your rights, options and defenses. Call 805-564-3101