Archive for the ‘ Criminal Defense ’ Category

IDENTITY THEFT IN REAL LIFE

Posted on: July 3, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

Orange County criminal defense attorneyCalifornia Penal Code 530.5

If you’ve seen the 2013 film Identity Thief, you know that it’s a heartwarming comedy starring Jason Bateman as a victim of identity theft and Melissa McCarthy as the thief. While the Melissa McCarthy character in the film is a bold and guilty-as-sin identity thief – with a heart of gold, of course – in real life, some of those charged with identity theft aren’t guilty at all. In many cases, there’s been an honest mistake or a misunderstanding; in other instances, the charge has been entirely fabricated, and no identity theft even happened. If you are charged with identity theft under California Penal Code 530.5, it’s a serious charge. Get serious legal help at once and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

The law in California defines identity theft as the “unauthorized use of personal identifying information to obtain credit, goods, services, or medical information in the name of another person.” People usually commit identity theft for money, but revenge and retaliation can also be motives. Identity theft in California may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the particulars of the crime. A conviction for felony identity theft is punishable by up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A conviction for misdemeanor identity theft is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If you are convicted under the federal identity theft statute, you’ll face substantially higher fines and in some cases up to thirty years in federal prison.

Identity Thief is a fine comedy, but in real life – whether you are victimized by the crime or charged with it – there’s nothing fine about identity theft. If you are charged with identity theft in southern California, don’t try to act as your own attorney. Get the legal help you need as quickly as possible and speak immediately with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

CLEANING UP YOUR RECORD

Posted on: June 29, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

Orange County criminal defense attorneyCalifornia Penal Code 1203.4

In the state of California, if you have been convicted of a criminal charge, it’s something that could conceivably follow you for the rest of your life. Even a misdemeanor conviction can keep you from obtaining a better-paying job or a professional license. With help from an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney, a misdemeanor conviction and sometimes even a felony conviction may be expunged from your record. If you’ve been turned down for a number of jobs in southern California and you need to learn more about expungement, arrange at once to speak with a good criminal defense lawyer. In most cases, you are entitled to expunge your conviction under California Penal Code 1203.4 if you were convicted of a crime and you:

  • have successfully completed probation
  • are not facing another pending criminal charge
  • are not serving a sentence for another conviction

If you pled guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor charge, you may be eligible to have your record expunged after three years if you have satisfied and completed all of the terms of your probation. Sometimes, even if there was a probation violation, you may still have the conviction expunged if you eventually completed probation successfully. Some felony convictions can also be expunged in some circumstances with an attorney’s help.

Today’s technology lets prospective employers see your criminal record with the click of a mouse. You’ll need to work alongside a good criminal defense lawyer – an attorney who regularly handles misdemeanor and felony expungements – if you want your record cleaned up. If your attorney determines that you’re qualified for expungement, he or she will be able to help you. If a previous conviction is preventing you from getting the job you need or hurting you in any other manner, arrange at once to talk about expungement with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

BAD CHECKS, HONEST MISTAKES, AND CRIMINAL INTENT

Posted on: June 26, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

Orange County criminal defense attorneyCalifornia Penal Code Section 476(a)

If you write a bad check in California, you can be criminally prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 476(a). If you write a check, you know that the funds are insufficient, your intent is to defraud, and the state can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, you can serve time behind bars. If you’re charged with writing a bad check in Orange County, you need to get good legal help fast – you’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

Writing a bad check is a felony in California if the amount exceeds $950, and it’s a misdemeanor for lesser amounts. If you’re convicted of the felony charge, you could serve up to three years in a California state prison. If you’re convicted of the misdemeanor charge, you could serve a year in a county jail. It doesn’t matter if you have insufficient funds in an ongoing account or if you write the check against a closed account; the crime is committed the moment you write a check with the intent to defraud.

A criminal charge, of course, isn’t the equivalent of a conviction, and if you are accused of writing a bad check, a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If it’s a checking account that you routinely use, it’s possible that you simply weren’t aware of your balance and you made an honest mistake. In other cases, someone may have forged your name. Always keep your checks in a secure location. If you close a checking account, always completely destroy any leftover blank checks.

If you’re accused of writing a bad check in Orange County or anywhere else in southern California, don’t try to explain anything to the police. Their job is to obtain evidence against you, so don’t say anything. Politely exercise your constitutional right to remain silent, and then contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Tags:.

THE OLDEST (ILLEGAL) PROFESSION

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

California Penal Code 647(b)

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIt’s called the oldest profession, but in California, it’s a profession that’s against the law. Suspects arrested for prostitution – or for solicitation of a prostitute – are aggressively prosecuted in California. If you’re charged with prostitution or solicitation in southern California, you’re going to need legal help immediately. Contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at once to retain the high-quality defense representation you’ll need.

Prostitution is defined as engaging in a sexual act in exchange for money or for some other consideration (drugs, for example). In California, it’s against the law to engage in prostitution or to hire (“solicit”) or to attempt to hire someone to engage in prostitution. Any third party who arranges or profits from prostitution – a “madam” or a “pimp,” for example – may also face a solicitation charge.

Under California Penal Code 647(b), prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors. If it’s a first offense and you are convicted, the crime is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Innocent people are often accused of prostitution because they’ve been “entrapped” by police officers or some other misunderstanding has occurred. If you’re accused of prostitution or solicitation, the police still must adhere to legal investigation and arrest rules, and a prosecutor still must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s completely possible that you simply said something that was inappropriate, that you had no criminal intent, or that you were misinterpreted; it’s also possible that you’ve been misidentified or that you’ve been falsely accused.

A good criminal defense lawyer can help if you’re accused of prostitution or solicitation in Orange County or anywhere else in southern California. Exercise your right to remain silent. Don’t try to act as your own attorney. Instead, insist on your right to have a lawyer present during any questioning, and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Tags:.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS

Posted on: June 19, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

California Penal Code 422

law3Even though Californians have the right to freedom of speech – and we exercise it ceaselessly – the free speech right is not absolute. Libel and slander, for example, are against the law. The legal system has always recognized some reasonable limits when it comes to freedom of speech. For example, if you threaten to kill or physically harm someone in California, it may be a serious crime. Making criminal threats can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony under California Penal Code 422. If you are arrested for making criminal threats in southern California, get the legal help you need by promptly contacting an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

A “criminal threat” in California is making a threat to kill or injure someone, without ambiguity and with enough specificity that the person threatened reasonably feels “sustained fear.” The threat may be spoken, written, or transmitted electronically. The communication must be meant as a threat, whether or not there’s an actual intention to carry out the threat. If the threat is vague, ambiguous, or ridiculous, no crime is committed. The law requires “an immediate prospect of execution of the threat” for the threat to constitute a crime. However, if you make a serious criminal threat and you then aggressively approach or intimidate the person you’ve threatened, the incident could be charged as an assault, which is an even more serious offense.

If you thoughtlessly said something that you didn’t really mean, or if someone has falsely accused you of making a criminal threat, you’ll need an attorney who can explain your side of the story and make certain that it is understood. In southern California, if you are arrested and accused of making a criminal threat, don’t try to explain anything to the police. Politely exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

DO YOU HAVE TO BE THERE?

Posted on: June 15, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

Orange County criminal defense lawyerSouthern California is the home of people with busy lifestyles. Most of us hardly have a moment to spare. And even if we do manage to set aside a few minutes, we don’t want to spend them in court. A court appearance can be aggravating, fraught with anxiety, and even downright scary. However, if the charge is a misdemeanor, and if you quickly retain legal counsel from an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer, you may not have to be present in court, and your lawyer can speak and act in your place.

There’s no way out of it, however, if you are accused of a felony; you have to appear personally in the courtroom. But so long as your lawyer is present to represent you, if the charge against you is a misdemeanor, you do not have to appear. Of course, you have the absolute right to be there if you choose to, and if you do not have a lawyer, you must be present. Failure to appear when you are required to appear is a criminal charge, and a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If you go to court without a lawyer, the process can be quite time-consuming and you could wind up there for the entire day.

Any time anyone is charged with a crime in Orange County, it is always in that person’s interests to have the advice and services of a trustworthy, experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. The right attorney will help you make the best decisions. When you are charged with a misdemeanor, a good defense attorney can save you from the hassle and aggravation of taking a full day for court and missing work or school. If you face any criminal charge in southern California, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

THE REAL COST OF A DRUG CONVICTION

Posted on: June 8, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

California Health and Safety Code 11350 and 11351

Orange County criminal defense lawyerTwenty-one years ago, Bruce Harrison was part of a motorcycle gang that was targeted by undercover federal drug agents. The agents asked Harrison to transport large amounts of cocaine and marijuana for $1,000 per run. Harrison, now 63, hasn’t even served half of his sentence. He’s got about twenty-nine years to go. Federal sentencing guidelines have been revised since Harrison’s conviction, but the decorated Vietnam vet remains behind bars because he was convicted during the “war on drugs” when sentences were harsher.

If you’re charged with any drug crime in southern California under California Health and Safety Code 11350 and 11351, get high-quality legal help immediately and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer at once. The last thing you want is to end up like Bruce Harrison and grow old in prison. Harsh sentences continue to have lasting ramifications for inmates and for the nation’s prison system. Inmates past age 50 are the fastest-growing group in the federal correctional system, which housed approximately 31,000 50-plus inmates in 2013. As you might imagine, the aging of inmates is also driving up health-care costs in the prison system. The Bureau of Prisons spent over a billion dollars on healthcare in 2013.

If you’re charged with a drug crime in southern California – whether the charge is international drug trafficking or possession of marijuana – exercise your right to remain silent and insist on having a lawyer present during any interrogation. Do not try to act as your own attorney. Instead, you’ll need to retain a criminal defense attorney with considerable experience in California drug cases, someone who can fight aggressively for justice on your behalf. If you face any drug-related criminal charge in Orange County or elsewhere in southern California, take your case at once to an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

WHAT CONSTITUTES AUTO BURGLARY?

Posted on: June 3, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

California Penal Code 459

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIn California, you can be charged with auto burglary under California Penal Code 459 if you break into a locked vehicle or the trunk of a vehicle with the intent to commit grand theft auto, steal property from inside the vehicle, or commit some other felony once you’ve gained access to the vehicle. For the burglary statute to apply, there must be evidence of forced entry into a locked vehicle. Simply opening an unlocked vehicle – by itself – is not be enough to constitute auto burglary.

Auto burglary is usually prosecuted as second-degree burglary, and in California, the charge is a “wobbler,” which means it may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the details of the case and the suspect’s prior convictions. A conviction for misdemeanor auto burglary can land you in jail for up to a year, but if you’re convicted of felony auto burglary, you could be sent to prison for up to three years. Of course, being charged doesn’t mean that you’ll be convicted; a prosecutor must still prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney can use a number of legal tools to fight the charge on your behalf. Someone accused of auto burglary may offer defenses including but not limited to:

  • You believed the automobile was yours and no burglary was intended.
  • You were retrieving items or property that are, in fact, yours.
  • You’ve been misidentified and someone else committed the crime.
  • The entire story was a fabrication and no auto burglary occurred.

If you are suspected and arrested for auto burglary in Orange County, politely exercise your right to remain silent, and insist on your right to have an attorney present during any questioning. As quickly as possible, get the legal help you’ll need and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

DEPORTATION AND DRUG LAWS

Posted on: June 1, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

California Health and Safety Codes 11350 and 11351

Orange County criminal defense lawyerIf you are an immigrant in the United States, and if you are arrested and charged with any drug crime in Orange County under California Health and Safety Codes 11350 and 11351, speak at once with an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer. When Jesús Cordero was arrested in Los Angeles in 2011 for possessing Ecstasy, his lawyer recommended that Cordero should plead guilty so that he could get help and take advantage of drug counseling. When defendants accept that plea bargain and successfully complete counseling, the charge is dropped. In California, many suspects accused of minor drug crimes accept that deal. But Cordero was in the United States without documentation, so for him, a guilty plea could trigger a deportation procedure.

Minor offenders like Cordero may be about to receive some help. California’s legislators this year will consider a proposal to protect immigrants from deportation for minor drug convictions. It makes no difference whether you crossed the border last week without documents or if you’ve been residing here for years with a green card – a drug conviction can make you a candidate for deportation. The proposal now under consideration in Sacramento would let someone charged with minor drug possession choose treatment prior to entering a plea, and if the treatment is successfully completed, no plea would have to be entered. Those failing to finish the treatment would still face the charges and their consequences. This alternative would not be made available to offenders with previous drug sale convictions or violent or serious felony convictions.

Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton, the proposal’s sponsor, told the Los Angeles Times, “For those who want to get treatment and get their life right, we should see that with open arms, not see it as a way of deporting somebody.” But for the moment, if you are charged with a drug crime in Orange County, you’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer immediately.

IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH HIT-AND-RUN

Posted on: May 29, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
No Comments

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.