IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH HIT-AND-RUN

Posted on: May 29, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Vehicle Codes 20001 and 20002

Orange County criminal defense attorneyWhen a traffic accident leads to property damage or injuries, all drivers involved must exchange insurance and driver information – names, contact information, and license numbers. In California, intentionally leaving the scene of an accident that results in property damage or injury is considered hit-and-run. If you are involved in a traffic collision in southern California, do not leave the scene of the accident. If you’re convicted of misdemeanor hit-and-run under California Vehicle Code 20002, the penalties can include:

  • up to 6 months in jail
  • up to 3 years’ probation
  • a fine of up to $1,000 along with court-assessed penalties
  • restitution to any victim(s) whose property you damaged
  • two points on your driving record

If you damage someone’s property and leave the scene without identifying yourself and leaving contact information, you may face a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge. If you’re arrested, call an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at once. If it’s your first offense and there are no aggravating circumstances, the charge can usually be dropped after you make complete restitution. However, if there is an injury or a fatality, the hit-and-run will almost inevitably be charged as a felony. If you are convicted of felony hit-and-run under California Vehicle Code 20001, the penalties can include a fine of up to $10,000, up to three years in prison, and up to four years in prison if a death or a serious injury is involved.

The precise circumstances of an accident and its immediate aftermath are the key to any hit-and-run case. But even if you crash into a deserted property or an unattended vehicle, you are still legally required to leave your name, contact information, and license number for the owner if he or she cannot be found. If for any reason – your own fears, a misunderstanding, or a misidentification – you are charged with hit-and-run in Orange County, get the legal help you need, and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU DRIVE

Posted on: May 27, 2015 by in DUI
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California Vehicle Codes 23152(a) and 23152(b)

Orange County DUI lawyerMichael Kimmel, 40, was arrested in April in Kentucky because the police say he was riding a horse while intoxicated on U.S. Route 23 in Floyd County. In January, Steve Anderson was arrested for operating a Zamboni machine while intoxicated at a high school hockey game in Fargo, North Dakota. Kenneth Welton, 53, was arrested in Garden City, Colorado, last year after allegedly driving drunk from bar to bar in Garden City on a lawnmower. Earlier last year, Jeffrey Rose, 35, of La Quinta was arrested for suspicion of DUI when a passenger fell from his golf cart. People have been charged with DUI for operating mopeds, tractors, ATVs, bicycles, and adult trikes. If you’re charged with DUI in Orange County under California Vehicle Codes 23152(a) and 23152(b) – whether you were riding a horse or driving a big rig – take your case at once to an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer, and get the legal help you’re going to need as quickly as possible.

The law in California provides a broad definition of what’s legally a “vehicle,” so it’s always wiser to give someone else the keys – or the reins. It really doesn’t matter what you’re driving or riding; if the police believe that you are intoxicated, and you’re operating any kind of transportation device – or creature – they’ll charge you with DUI or a related charge. People in California have been charged with DUI for sleeping in a parked car, sitting in a parked car, and even for traveling in a wheelchair.

If you are accused of DUI for any reason in southern California, politely exercise your right to remain silent, and politely insist on your right to have an attorney present during questioning. An experienced Orange County DUI lawyer can fight aggressively for justice on your behalf. If you need legal help for a DUI charge, don’t wait to make the call.

DUI-RELATED CRIMES IN CALIFORNIA

Posted on: May 25, 2015 by in DUI
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California Vehicle Codes 21200.5 and 23103.5 and California Harbors and Navigation Code 655

Orange County DUI defense attorneyAt least three crimes in California are related to driving under the influence or are based on California’s DUI law. Those crimes are “wet reckless” (reckless driving involving alcohol, California Vehicle Code 23103.5), cycling under the influence or “CUI” (California Vehicle Code 21200.5), and boating under the influence or “BUI” (California Harbors and Navigation Code 655). If you are charged with CUI or BUI in southern California, it’s imperative to obtain legal representation immediately by contacting an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney.

The police do not charge you with wet reckless. It’s a charge offered by prosecutors to DUI defendants as a plea bargain. You’ll serve a sentence that is somewhat more lenient than a DUI sentence, and you won’t have a DUI conviction on your record. If you are charged with DUI in southern California, contact an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney immediately, and don’t accept a wet reckless or any other plea bargain before receiving your attorney’s advice.

The Harbors and Navigation Code makes it against the law to operate a recreational watercraft with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher or a commercial vessel with a BAC level of 0.04 percent or higher. A BUI conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and/or up to six months in jail. Although your driver’s license will not be suspended, a BUI conviction can be counted as a prior DUI conviction if another DUI is committed within ten years.

No blood alcohol content level is spelled out by the law for CUI. You can be charged with CUI on the basis of a police officer’s observations of behavior such as erratic or reckless bike riding. A CUI conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $250. If you are charged with any of the DUI-related crimes in Orange County, fight the charge with the help of an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney, and make the call as quickly as possible.

ASSAULT, BATTERY, AND CALIFORNIA LAW

Posted on: May 22, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Codes 240 and 242

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIn the state of California, assault and battery are two of the serious crimes you can be charged with if you hurt someone or try to hurt someone. While you do not have to have actual physical contact with someone to assault that person under California Penal Code 240, you can be charged with battery under California Penal Code 242 if you make physical contact. The law defines battery as the “willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Even slapping or shoving someone can land you in jail for up to six months and cost you up to $2,000 in fines. If you are charged with either assault or battery – or with both crimes – in Orange County, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at once for the legal help you will very much need.

Of course, it’s always wisest to think first before you act, but a battery charge isn’t necessarily the equivalent of a conviction. If you acted in self-defense, if someone else committed the crime and you were misidentified, or if the charge is a complete fabrication, an experienced criminal defense attorney can challenge the state’s case against you and make sure that your side of the story is fully told and clearly understood.

A prosecutor doesn’t have to prove that an alleged victim was seriously injured; the prosecutor can win a battery conviction simply by proving that you made illegal, hostile physical contact with the alleged victim. If you are arrested for either or both crimes, politely exercise your right to remain silent and politely insist on your right to have an attorney present during any questioning. Don’t try to act as your own lawyer, and don’t plead guilty to anything or sign any agreement or admission of guilt. Speak immediately to an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney if you are charged with assault and/or battery in southern California now or in the future, and don’t wait to make the call.

YES, CYCLING UNDER THE INFLUENCE IS A CRIME

Posted on: May 20, 2015 by in DUI
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California Vehicle Code 21200.5 and California Penal Code 647(f)

Orange County DUI defense lawyerIt’s almost summer again in southern California, but if recreation and celebration are part of your schedule this summer, plan ahead so that your fun doesn’t include a DUI charge – or something worse. In California, when you arrange for alternative transportation to avoid a DUI charge, a bicycle is not a good option, because you can be prosecuted in this state for “CUI” or cycling under the influence under California Vehicle Code 21200.5. If you’re charged with CUI in Orange County, put your case immediately in the hands of an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer.

No jail time will be required if you are convicted of CUI, but you may be fined up to $250. CUI is a misdemeanor in California, so a conviction establishes a criminal record. California does not allow anyone under 21 to drink alcohol in any circumstance, so if you’re under 21 and you’re convicted of CUI, you can also lose your driving privilege for a year. If the police officer on the scene reasonably believes that you are a risk to the safety of yourself and the general public, or if you interfere with or obstruct the movements of others, you may be charged with “drunk in public” under California Penal Code 647(f). Drunk in public is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

If you injure someone while you are intoxicated on a bicycle, you could also end up on the wrong end of a personal injury lawsuit in civil court, and if you’re found guilty of CUI or drunk in public, it’s probable that you’ll lose the lawsuit too. If you anticipate doing any drinking this summer, keep the bicycle at home. You’ll have to find another way to get around. If you are charged with DUI, CUI, or drunk in public anywhere in southern California, contact an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer for the legal help you need as quickly as possible.

HOW MANY INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE BEHIND BARS?

Posted on: May 18, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense attorneyWrongful convictions are more common than you might think. Since 1989, 321 people have been exonerated of serious crimes by new DNA evidence according to the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal group that works to exonerate people wrongly convicted. But isn’t the criminal justice system designed to ensure that only the guilty are punished and the innocent are acquitted? It is, but the legal system is also comprised of human beings, and as we all know quite well, human beings make more than a few mistakes. There’s simply no way to know how many innocent people are behind bars for crimes they did not commit. If you are charged in Orange County with a sex or drug crime, a robbery or theft, or a DUI, your best chance to avoid being wrongly convicted is to obtain promptly the advice and services of an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

Although every case is unique, the Innocence Project reports that 72 percent of the people wrongly convicted of crimes and later exonerated were convicted because of misidentifications by eyewitnesses. People are also wrongly convicted on the basis of informant testimony, because informants sometimes provide inaccurate testimony in return for consideration from prosecutors and the police. Coerced false confessions and inadequate legal defenses are also among the reasons for the large number of wrongful convictions. Many wrongful convictions happen for a combination of reasons that can make it exceedingly tough to prove someone’s innocence.

Forget about what you see on television. In real life, police officers make mistakes, some crimes are not fully investigated, and the wrong people sometimes end up in jail. If you are charged in Orange County with a DUI, a robbery, theft, sex crime, or drug crime – whether you believe that you are innocent or guilty – get good legal representation at once and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

DUI, INJURY OR DEATH, AND YOU

Posted on: May 15, 2015 by in DUI
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California Vehicle Code 23513, California Penal Codes 191.5 and 187(a)

Orange County DUI defense attorneyIn a worst-case scenario, if you are driving in California while you are intoxicated, you cause an accident, and someone is killed or injured, you’ll be probably charged with a felony DUI under California Vehicle Code 23513, “DUI with Injury.” If you’re convicted of DUI with injury, you could be sentenced to as much as five years in a California prison depending on your prior DUI and “wet reckless” convictions, if any. If you’re accused of DUI with Injury in Orange County, fight the charge with the help of an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney.

While DUI with Injury is almost always the charge when an intoxicated driver in California causes an accident with injuries, if you cause an accident that results in one or more fatalities, you could be prosecuted for DUI vehicular manslaughter under California Penal Code 191.5 or even for DUI second-degree murder (known as a “Watson” murder) under California Penal Code 187(a).

Most DUI charges in California are misdemeanors, and even a first-offense misdemeanor DUI can land you in jail for up to a year. But when you’re intoxicated behind the wheel, anything can happen, and you have little or no control. Any time that you drive under the influence, it’s a drive that could end with a DUI second-degree murder charge. If you are planning to drink, take a taxi, a limo, a bus, a ride service, or have a designated driver. Get a room or stay over at a friend’s if you have to. The few dollars you save by refusing a taxi or getting a room for the night are nothing compared to the cost of a DUI with Injury. If you’re charged with DUI in Orange County – whether it’s a first-offense misdemeanor or a DUI vehicular manslaughter – or anything “in-between” – get the legal representation you need by consulting an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney immediately.

WHAT IS LEWD AND LASCIVIOUS CONDUCT?

Posted on: May 13, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 288

Orange County criminal defense lawyerIn this state, “lewd and lascivious conduct” with a child is a serious crime, and if you are convicted, you’ll face serious penalties. Lewd and lascivious conduct is defined as touching, fondling, or groping a child with the intention or purpose of sexual gratification. If you are accused of lewd and lascivious conduct in Orange County under California Penal Code 288, take your case immediately to an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

In their zeal to protect children, prosecutors have sometimes charged innocent people with lewd and lascivious conduct. In some cases, a child is either lying or honestly mistaken. In other cases, a parent, counselor, or attorney has coached a child into making an allegation. The right defense lawyer will focus on the facts, learn and tell the court precisely what happened, and fight aggressively for justice on your behalf. To convict a defendant of lewd and lascivious conduct, the state must prove that:

  • You purposefully touched a child on the bare skin or through clothes; or that
  • You purposefully caused a child to touch his/her own body, your body, or someone else’s body, on the bare skin or through clothes; and
  • You acted with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of yourself or of the child; and
  • The child was under the age of 14 years old.

Defendants convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct can serve up to eight years in prison, and the conviction is a strike under the California Three Strikes Law. If the alleged victim was 14 or 15, and the suspect is ten or more years older than the child, a conviction could result in three-year prison term. If you are accused of lewd and lascivious conduct in Orange County, exercise your right to remain silent and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

THE PLEA BARGAIN-VS.-TRIAL CHOICE

Posted on: May 11, 2015 by in DUI
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California Vehicle Codes 23152(a) and 23152(b)

Orange County DUI defense attorneyIf you’re charged with DUI in Orange County under California Vehicle Codes 23152(a) and 23152(b), exercise your right to remain silent, and immediately retain the services of an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney. Your attorney will fully explain the charges against you and your defense options. You’ll have to make one major decision: Do you go to a trial and try to persuade the jurors to acquit you, or do you take a plea bargain or plea “deal” from the prosecuting attorney? It’s your decision alone, but you’ll need to decide carefully and consider the advice of your DUI attorney.

In almost every California DUI case, the prosecutor will offer the defendant a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement to plead guilty or no contest to a lesser charge and to accept the penalty for that lesser charge. If you accept the plea bargain, you’ll be convicted for the lesser charge, and no trial will take place. If you reject the plea bargain, you’ll face a trial. If your case goes to trial and you win, your driver’s license will be returned and you’ll suffer no penalties. However, if you are found guilty of DUI by a jury, the sentence you receive will inevitably be harsher than the punishment you would have received by taking the plea bargain.

Don’t make the plea bargain-vs.-trial choice too quickly. First, consider fully the consequences of either choice for your family, your work, and your driving privilege. Be certain that your lawyer is told everything so that he or she can provide you with the best possible legal advice, and be certain to call your attorney as quickly as possible after any DUI arrest. After a DUI arrest in Orange County or elsewhere in southern California, arrange at once to speak with an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney.

CHILDREN, HOT CARS, AND CALIFORNIA LAW

Posted on: May 8, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Vehicle Code 15620 and California Penal Code 273a

Orange County criminal defense lawyerSummer’s almost here, and that means southern California children will once again be at risk. Under California Vehicle Code 15620 – known as “Kaitlyn’s Law” – leaving an unsupervised child in a motor vehicle is a violation punishable by a $100 fine. If you “hop out” for a moment to “run in” a convenience store, for example, and you leave your child in your car, you could be cited for violating Kaitlyn’s Law. However, if an unattended child becomes injured in a vehicle, or if “medical services are rendered on that child,” you could face a charge of child endangerment under California Penal Code 273a. If you are charged either with child endangerment or with violating Kaitlyn’s Law, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Vehicles warm up rapidly in the California sun. When it’s 85 degrees outside, a vehicle parked in the sun can reach an interior temperature of 120 degrees in under an hour. Since 1998, every summer in the U.S., an average of 38 children die from hypothermia in unattended, overheated vehicles. Even in the best weather conditions, however, leaving an unattended child in a vehicle is extremely risky. Parents can take these precautions:

  • Never leave a child alone in or around a vehicle.
  • Never overlook sleeping infants.
  • Make sure all the children exit your vehicle when you arrive at your destination.
  • Keep car keys away from children at all times.
  • Always lock your vehicle, even at home.
  • Teach children never to play in, on, or around vehicles.

Child endangerment is a “wobbler” charge in California, which means that it can be prosecuted as either a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the exact circumstances of the case. A felony conviction for child endangerment could land you in prison for up to six years. If you are charged in Orange County with child endangerment or with a violation of Kaitlyn’s Law, speak promptly to an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.