Archive for the ‘ Criminal Defense ’ Category

HOW TO (SORT OF) CHANGE HISTORY

Posted on: October 23, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense attorneyCalifornia Penal Code 1203.4

Time travel stories are fun, but we all know that you can’t actually change history. However, if you’ve been convicted of a crime in California, you might be able to do the next-best thing, and have the conviction expunged. In the past it wasn’t always a pressing matter, but today potential employers – and potential landlords and even potential dates – can just click a mouse and see your criminal history. Anyone can conduct a damaging background check in just seconds. However, you may be able to have a criminal conviction expunged with the help of an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you’ll need to do all you can to overcome that stigma and enhance your ability to find work. When a conviction is expunged, you are honestly able to say that you do not have a criminal record.

However, not everyone with a conviction qualifies for an expungement. If you did time in a California state prison for your original sentence or for a parole violation, you are not eligible for expungement. Some California criminal convictions cannot be expunged, including sex offenses committed against children. In most other cases, however, you may expunge your criminal records under California Penal Code 1203.4 if you were convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor charge, you successfully completed probation, and you are not currently:

• charged with another crime
• on probation for another conviction
• serving a sentence for another conviction

A good Orange County criminal defense attorney can help. Items that a judge may consider during an expungement hearing include your criminal record, your probation performance, and the reason you are seeking the expungement (such as to obtain a good job to support your family). If you need to have a felony or a misdemeanor conviction expunged from your record in California, make the call immediately, and let an experienced criminal defense attorney help.

HIT-AND-RUN: WHAT YOU MUST KNOW

Posted on: October 19, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense lawyerCalifornia Vehicle Codes 20001 and 20002

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, a 19-year-old man was arrested in October in connection with a fatal hit-and-run. Sheriff’s investigators arrested Andrew Christopher Michaels at his Laguna Niguel residence. Cesar Medina, 23, was skateboarding and crossing at a green light in San Juan Capistrano when he was hit by a Dodge Ram truck, according to witnesses. The driver fled from the scene, and Medina was rushed to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where he was declared dead. Sheriff’s investigators received information that led them the next day to Michaels’ home, where they found a Dodge Ram truck believed to be the one that struck Medina.

The details of a hit-and-run incident are key to determining a suspect’s ultimate guilt or innocence. Depending on the damage, injuries, and other circumstances of the case, California prosecutors may charge hit-and-run crimes as felonies or as misdemeanors, but if there’s an injury or a fatality, a hit-and-run is almost always a felony in California. If you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor hit-and-run in southern California, you will need immediate, high-quality legal representation. You’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

If you are convicted of misdemeanor hit-and-run under California Vehicle Code 20002, you face up to 6 months in jail, up to 3 years on probation, up to $1,000 in fines, restitution to any victim(s), and two points are placed on your driver’s license. If you are convicted of felony hit-and-run under California Vehicle Code 20001, the penalties can include a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, up to 3 years in prison, and up to 4 years if the accident caused a fatality or a serious injury. If you are charged with hit-and-run in Orange County for any reason, now or in the future, put your case promptly in the hands of an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

SHOULD YOU ACCEPT A PLEA DEAL?

Posted on: October 16, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense attorneyAfter a criminal charge has been filed in California, a plea bargain can be negotiated at any point in the legal process. In some cases, an agreement can be offered and accepted at the arraignment; in other cases, agreements are reached at the last moment, after a jury has started deliberations. Plea bargains are good for the courts and the public, because they mean fewer trials and less spending. Plea bargains are also good for district attorneys, because a conviction – even for a lesser charge – is still a conviction. But are plea bargains good for defendants in criminal cases? Like so many questions about the law, the answer is, “It depends.” Before you accept a plea bargain, if you are charged in Orange County with a theft, a drug crime, a sex crime, a white-collar crime, or a DUI, discuss your case and your options with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

If you are charged with a crime and offered a plea bargain, it’s important to remember that prosecutors offer these deals for their own purposes and not out of the goodness of their hearts. A plea bargain may or may not be right for you. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can negotiate for the best possible deal or advise you to reject any deal and fight for your acquittal. Everything depends on the details of the charge and the strength of the evidence against you, but if you are charged with committing any crime, it’s imperative to retain high-quality legal counsel and then adhere to the advice your attorney provides.

In Orange County, most criminal cases end when the state and the defense agree to a plea bargain. The defendant pleads guilty to one or more charges, and in return, the prosecutor drops or reduces the remaining charges or recommends a reduced sentence. For example, a defendant charged with DUI may plead guilty to the lower charge of wet reckless, accept the less severe penalties, and avoid a DUI conviction. In some cases, depending again on the specifics of the charge, you may be able to avoid jail time by accepting a plea bargain. However, before accepting any plea deal, if you’re charged with a theft, a drug crime, a sex crime, a white-collar crime, or a DUI in Orange County, speak first and at once with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

THE CRIME REMAINS THE SAME

Posted on: October 14, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County defense attorneyCalifornia Penal Code 647(b)

In the last thirty years, there have been a tremendous number of changes in the law. Same-sex marriage and medical marijuana are legal, but the DUI laws are tougher. One thing that never seems to change, however, is “the oldest profession.” The laws forbidding prostitution and solicitation are still enforced and aggressively prosecuted in California. You may not engage in prostitution, offer to engage in prostitution, or hire or try to hire someone for prostitution in this state. “Madams” and “pimps” who organize or gain financially from prostitution may also be charged. In Orange County, if you are charged with prostitution or with solicitation, you’ll need immediate legal help. You’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County defense attorney at once.

Misunderstandings and mistakes can sometimes lead to prostitution charges. If you were being inappropriate or if you were misunderstood, it’s possible that you might be charged. It’s also possible that you’ve been falsely accused or misidentified. If you’re charged with prostitution or solicitation under California Penal Code 647(b), the state still must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. No lawyer can ever promise or guarantee a result in any criminal case, but the truth is that prostitution and solicitation charges are sometimes reduced or entirely dismissed when a good attorney advocates on your behalf.

Solicitation and prostitution are misdemeanors in California, but if you’re convicted, you could still serve time in jail. The potential penalties for a conviction on a first offense can include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Penalties are harsher with subsequent convictions. If you are charged with prostitution or solicitation in Orange County, you’ll need trustworthy legal representation fast. Don’t plead guilty. Fight the charge. The help you need is right here. Don’t try to act as your own lawyer, and don’t accept any agreement or plea bargain unless you’ve consulted first with an experienced Orange County defense attorney.

NOW MORE THAN EVER, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Posted on: October 9, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense lawyerCrime-fighting technology has come a long way, but crime continues. You probably remember the old cop shows on TV, when the technology for detecting crime patterns was a map on the wall and a box of push-pins. Those days are gone, but the crimes that detectives tracked are not. In Orange County, if you are charged with a drug crime or a sex crime, a robbery, theft, or DUI, retain the legal help you need immediately and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

Today’s detectives rely on computer technology instead of maps and pins to record and analyze crime patterns, and Orange County is no exception to the trend. Residents in Fountain Valley are now able to benefit from this crime-fighting technology. Now, Fountain Valley residents can view live, real-time updates about police activity in their neighborhoods. In September, the Fountain Valley Police Department enhanced its website with a feature called “Community Dashboard,” which shares crime statistics and trends. Using Google Maps, the site will chart aggravated assaults, residential and commercial burglaries, vehicle burglaries, and car thefts in Fountain Valley. “Timely information helps residents to better protect themselves and their property,” Fountain Valley police Captain Mike Simko told the OC Register.

As crime-fighting technology advances, the rights of suspects in criminal cases can be endangered. Technology complicates the legality of surveillances, searches, and other police activities. If you are arrested in Orange County, let an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney review your case to determine if the police violated your rights in any way during an investigation, a search, an arrest, or an interrogation. When you’re arrested for any crime, you have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Politely insist on your rights after any arrest and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

IF YOU ARE ACCUSED OF ROBBERY

Posted on: October 5, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense attorneyCalifornia Penal Code 211

In this state, robberies happen frequently. In 2012, more than 56,000 robberies were reportedly committed in California. If you’re accused of committing a robbery in Orange County under California Penal Code 211, you’re going to need high-quality, reliable legal assistance, and you’re going to need it fast. Contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney after any arrest for robbery. The law in California defines robbery as the “taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”

Robbery is charged as a felony in this state, although the law recognizes robbery in two degrees. A first-degree robbery is a robbery committed in a structure that’s inhabited, the robbery of a passenger or a driver on a bus, taxi, streetcar, subway, or cable car, or the robbery of anyone who has just used an ATM and is still in the ATM’s vicinity. A conviction for first-degree robbery is punishable in California by three to nine years in a state prison. If a firearm is used during the crime, the sentence has be increased to ten years or more. Second-degree robbery is punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison.

Of course, if you are accused of committing a robbery in Orange County, the state cannot convict you unless it can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s possible that you genuinely believed that what you took was yours and that you had no criminal intent. It’s also possible that you didn’t rob anyone – that you’ve been misidentified or that no robbery even took place. A good criminal defense attorney can guarantee that your side of the case will be precisely told and fully understood. If you’re accused of any robbery in southern California, do not try to act as your own attorney. Instead, take your case immediately to an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

TO ACCEPT OR NOT TO ACCEPT

Posted on: October 2, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense lawyerIf you are arrested and charged with a crime in Orange County, your first court appearance is called the arraignment. At an arraignment, your rights and the potential sentence you face are read to you, you may enter a plea, and in most cases, the prosecution will offer you a plea bargain. It’s imperative that you’re accompanied to your arraignment by an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Do not plead guilty or accept any plea bargain unless your attorney recommends it. Plea bargains provide a swift resolution to cases in a criminal justice system that’s continually backed up and crowded. If your attorney believes that you will be found not guilty at trial, or if your attorney is confident that the charge against you will reduced or dismissed, you’ll be advised against taking the plea bargain.

It happens far too often. A person very much like yourself is arrested for a misdemeanor. You’re innocent, but you’re afraid of going to jail because you’ll lose your job. The prosecutor offers you a fine and community service in return for a guilty plea and reminds that that if you turn down the plea and force the case to go to trial, jail is likely if you’re convicted. You accept the plea bargain out of fear, without realizing that the state really had no conclusive evidence against you. A good defense lawyer could probably have negotiated to have the charge dropped, but now you’ll pay a fine and have a criminal conviction on your record.

Don’t let that happen. In southern California, if you’re charged with a drug or sex crime, a theft or fraud, DUI, domestic violence, or a white-collar crime, you really must retain the counsel of an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer. If you’re accused of a felony or a misdemeanor in Orange County now or in the future, make the call as quickly as possible.

YOU CAN DETER BURGLARS

Posted on: September 30, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 459

Orange County criminal defense lawyerIf you commit a burglary in California and you’re found guilty, a number of penalties may be imposed by the court if you are convicted. In the state of California, burglary may be prosecuted as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the incident, what was stolen, if weapons were used, if injuries occurred, and if the suspect has prior convictions. If you are charged with burglary in Orange County or anywhere else in southern California, promptly contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer who can fight aggressively for justice on your behalf.

The crime rate has been declining in California. Roughly 1.2 million arrests were made by California police officers in 2014. That sounds like a lot, but it’s the lowest arrest figure since 1969 in this state. To help keep the crime rate low in Orange County, these are some recommendations for protecting yourself and your home from burglars:

  • If plan to be away for a night or longer, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home.
  • Lock everything whenever you leave home, even if it’s only for a quick errand.
  • When you leave your home, leave some lights on.
  • Don’t tell everyone on Facebook if you’re going to be away from home.
  • Keep valuable items out of sight.
  • If you have a security system, use it.

To deter auto burglaries:

  • Park exclusively in well-lit locations.
  • Lock your vehicle and take your keys.
  • Take valuable items with you or lock them in the trunk, out of sight.

If you are charged with committing a burglary in Orange County, you could be innocent for a number of reasons. You may have genuinely believed that what you took was yours. You might be misidentified or the victim of a false accusation. If you are charged with burglary in Orange County under California Penal Code 459, put your case immediately in the hands of an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

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MORE EMBEZZLEMENT ALLEGED IN L.A.

Posted on: September 21, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 503

Orange County criminal defense lawyerProsecutors have charged two executives of a Los Angeles County group home for young people with embezzlement. The charges against Gary Batchelor and Steven Smith, the financial officer and executive director of Moore’s Cottage, mark the second time in a year that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has alleged criminal wrongdoing within the multimillion dollar group home industry that cares for some of our state’s most at-risk youth. Batchelor and Smith are accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from Moore’s Cottage. If you’re charged with embezzlement in Orange County, you’re going to need good legal help fast. You’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

Embezzlement in California is the direct theft, misappropriation, or falsification of financial documents to obtain funds illegally. Embezzlement is punishable under California Penal Code 503 as grand theft or as petty theft – it depends on the value and the type of property embezzled. If the property is valued at more than $950, the embezzlement is grand theft and may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. A conviction for misdemeanor grand theft embezzlement is punishable by a year in custody; a conviction for felony grand theft embezzlement may be punished by up to 3 years in a California state prison. When the property stolen is valued at less than $950, the charge will be petty theft embezzlement, a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to 6 months in jail.

If a mistake or a misunderstanding leads to an embezzlement charge against you, you’ll need an experienced Orange County defense lawyer who can explain the misunderstanding and help to clear you of the charge. In the worst situation – the evidence against you is overwhelming, and you’re convicted – a good defense attorney will fight for reduced or alternative sentencing on your behalf. If you are charged with embezzlement in southern California now or in the future, call an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

HATE CRIMES DOWN IN ORANGE COUNTY

Posted on: September 18, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75

Orange County criminal defense attorneyBack in June, California Attorney General Kamala Harris reported a significant decline in hate crimes in this state in 2014. Now Orange County is reporting the same good news. Hate crimes in Orange County dropped 18 percent in 2014 from 2013, and in the last decade, hate crimes in the county have declined by fifty percent, according to the Orange County Human Relations Commission’s annual report released in August. A hate crime is any crime motivated by an alleged hatred of a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or gender identity. If you’re accused of a crime in Orange County and the authorities charge it as a hate crime, immediately contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

Blacks continue to be the top target of hate crimes in Orange County as they have been since 1991. Eleven hate crimes were reported against black people in Orange County in 2014, the same as in 2013. There were also eight hate crimes against gays and lesbians in Orange County in 2014, six hate crimes against Jews, and three hate crimes directed at Arabs or Muslims. Under California Penal Code 422.6, you may not interfere with someone else’s civil rights or damage or destroy another person’s property because of that person’s racial, ethnic, religious, or gender traits. Under California Penal Code 422.7 and 422.75, if you commit a crime of violence motivated by the victim’s racial, ethnic, religious, or gender traits, the offense will be prosecuted as a hate crime, and if you are convicted, your sentence for the original crime can be substantially enhanced.

“We’ve been seeing a steady and consistent decline in hate crimes, so it’s really good news,” said Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. He credited the decline to a “collaborative effort” between law enforcement and community organizations. To convict you of a hate crime, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that hate was a motivating factor, so if you are charged with a hate crime, you must have a good criminal defense attorney fighting on your behalf. If you’re accused of any hate crime in Orange County, put your case immediately in the hands of an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.