Archive for the ‘ Criminal Defense ’ Category

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.

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.

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.

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.

WHEN YOU BUY IT, KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM

Posted on: May 6, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 496

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIn California, it is against the law to buy, sell, conceal, receive, or withhold property that you know is stolen. However, before you can be convicted for receiving, possessing, or trafficking in stolen property, a prosecutor must be able to prove that you knew the property was stolen. More precisely, to convict you of receiving stolen property, the state must prove that you either knew or “reasonably should have known” that the property was stolen. If you are charged with receiving stolen property in southern California under California Penal Code 496, arrange at once to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

If you buy a $1,000 watch from a stranger on the street for $35, for example, a prosecutor may contend that you “reasonably should have known” that the watch was stolen. On the other hand, those charged with receiving stolen property may be innocent for several reasons. If you genuinely did not know that the property was stolen, if you genuinely believed that the property was legally yours to begin with, or if the property came into your possession without your knowledge – someone hid it in a closet or in the trunk of your car, for example – a good defense attorney will clearly explain your side of the story to a prosecutor, a judge, and if necessary, to a jury. However, you must put your attorney on the case as early as possible. Evidence can deteriorate, witnesses can become forgetful, and evidence and witnesses can both disappear if you don’t act promptly.

Receiving stolen property is a “wobbler” charge in California, meaning that it can be prosecuted either as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the details of the crime and the suspect’s criminal record. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony conviction is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In Orange County, if you are charged with receiving, possessing, or trafficking in stolen property, it’s imperative – call an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney immediately.

HONESTY IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY

Posted on: May 4, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense lawyerIf you are charged with a serious felony – or even with a less serious misdemeanor – one of your concerns will be what to say and what not to say. When it comes to consulting with your own defense attorney, however, the answer to that dilemma is easy. You must be entirely candid and honest with your attorney. That’s the only way you can be properly and effectively represented in a criminal proceeding. If you give your attorney any inaccurate information, or if you withhold information, your defense may be at risk if the truth is disclosed later and unexpectedly. If you’re charged with a theft or a robbery, a sex crime or a drug crime, or with DUI in southern California, contact a trustworthy and experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

When you are a criminal defendant, your consultations with your lawyer are protected by attorney-client privilege, one of the most basic foundational principles of our entire legal system. What you tell your attorney is more privileged and protected than anything else you say to anyone under the law. Don’t withhold anything. Tell it all candidly and frankly. You do not want your defense attorney to be in the dark about anything pertinent to your case.

The best defense attorneys often can craft a defense that turns the negatives in your story into positives. Let’s say that you broke into a convenience store to steal beer because you are addicted to alcohol. That’s a negative. But the case looks much different if you’re a combat veteran who’s been trying to obtain alcohol treatment through the Veterans Administration and that treatment has been delayed by bureaucratic inefficiency and red tape. While no guarantee of an outcome can ever be promised in any particular criminal case, those are the kinds of facts that can make the difference between jail time and probation. If you face any criminal charge for a theft, a robbery, a sex or drug crime or DUI, speak at once – honestly – with an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer.

ROBBERY, BURGLARY, AND CALIFORNIA LAW

Posted on: April 27, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Codes 211 and 459

Orange County criminal defense lawyerAlthough people typically use the terms “burglary” and “robbery” interchangeably, in California law, these are two different and distinct terms and crimes. If you are charged with either in southern California, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. Jail is a potential penalty for either crime.

In California, what is the difference between burglary and robbery? Under California Penal Code 459, burglary is “entering a structure with the intent to commit a theft once inside.” Actually committing a robbery or a theft isn’t required for a burglary prosecution, and neither is a forced entry. If the prosecution can demonstrate that a defendant “entered” a “structure” with the “intent” to commit a theft or a robbery, that defendant can be convicted of burglary.

When you take something from someone else through the use of violence, force, threats, and/or fear, that’s the definition of robbery in California. In this state, first and second-degree robbery are considered felonies under California Penal Code 211. A conviction for first-degree robbery can land you in a California prison for up to nine years, and a second-degree robbery conviction can put you there for up to five years. A conviction for first-degree residential burglary can put you in a state prison for up to six years, and you may also face a fine of up to $10,000.

Of course, to convict you of either robbery or burglary, a prosecutor must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s not always easy. People are sometimes accused of these crimes because of mix-ups, misinterpretations, and misidentifications. Sometimes someone with a grudge will completely fabricate a robbery or burglary story. Still, if you’re accused, you’ll require the help of an attorney who regularly defends burglary and robbery suspects – someone who can fight tenaciously for justice. If you are arrested and accused of burglary or robbery in southern California, arrange to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer immediately.

A WOBBLER IS NOT A FUZZY STUFFED ANIMAL

Posted on: April 24, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense attorneyEveryone in California has heard of felonies and misdemeanors, but not everyone has heard of “wobblers.” Although they sound like fuzzy stuffed animals, they’re not. Wobblers are quite serious. In California, they are the crimes that can be prosecuted as either felonies or as misdemeanors. The law leaves that choice to the discretion of the prosecutor. If you’re charged with a felony or with a misdemeanor in southern California, either way, you’re going to need quality legal help at once. Contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney immediately.

A number of crimes in California may be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or as felonies. A prosecutor’s decision will be based upon the details of the particular crime and the defendant’s prior criminal record. A suspect with no priors who is accused of a crime that’s a wobbler will probably be prosecuted for a misdemeanor, whereas another defendant who commits the same crime may be prosecuted for a felony if that defendant has previous arrests and convictions. Every jurisdiction and every prosecutor is different, of course. Some prosecutors charge wobblers mostly as felonies, while others charge them mostly as misdemeanors. If you’re charged with a crime that’s wobbler, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Even before the charge is filed, in some cases, your attorney may be able to persuade a prosecutor to go with the misdemeanor charge rather than the felony.

In every criminal case, you must have experienced, quality legal representation whether you are eventually charged with a felony or with a misdemeanor. If you are arrested and charged for any crime in southern California, let an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney handle your case, address your concerns, and advocate aggressively for justice on your behalf. If you face any criminal charge, now or in the future, make the call as quickly as possible.

PUNISHMENTS, PARENTAL RIGHTS, AND THE LAW

Posted on: April 20, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 273(d)

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIn the state of California, the law acknowledges that parents have the right to discipline their children as they see fit – within reasonable limits, of course. Nevertheless, parents can be charged with a crime under California Penal Code 273(d) if the physical punishment of a child is or appears to be cruel or excessive. To quote from the statute itself: “Any person who willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition is guilty of a felony.”

If you are a parent or a guardian in southern California, and if you are accused of physically abusing your child, you’ll need to retain legal representation as quickly as possible. You’ll need to arrange at once to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. How is “cruel or inhuman” defined by the law? There’s no fixed legal definition in California; the courts consider all of the circumstances in each individual physical abuse case. Spanking is not deemed cruel or inhuman, and despite some efforts in the past to outlaw it in California, corporal punishment remains legal. However, if a child suffers a long-term or visible injury, criminal charges may be filed.

A conviction for physical child abuse could conceivably land a parent or guardian in prison for up to six years and result in a fine of up to $6,000. A restraining order might also be issued, and you could be sentenced to attend court-ordered counseling sessions. Of course, the overwhelming majority of parents would never intentionally harm their children, and in a number of these cases, an accident or a misunderstanding is what has happened – not a crime. If you are charged with physical child abuse in Orange County, make the call at once to an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

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BEING LEWD IS RUDE, CRUDE – AND CRIMINAL

Posted on: April 17, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 647(a)

Orange County criminal defense attorneyIf you are charged with lewd conduct in southern California now or in the future, arrange as soon as possible to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. Lewd conduct is defined in California law as touching or groping your own or someone else’s genitals, rear, or breasts – in public – with the intent of sexual gratification or offending someone who is watching or may be watching. Under California Penal Code 647(a) – lewd conduct occurs when the suspect knew – or should reasonably have known – that someone else was probably observing the behavior.

Lewd conduct is a misdemeanor in California, but that does not mean it isn’t serious; a conviction is punishable by fines, probation, community service, and/or jail time. However, a conviction does not require you to register as a sex offender. There are a number of reasons you could be accused of lewd conduct. Perhaps the person who saw the incident entirely misunderstood what he or she was witnessing. Maybe you’ve been misidentified, or perhaps someone just fabricated the entire story. For some suspects, mental illness will be the defense.

Of course, before anyone can be convicted of lewd conduct, the state must prove that person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A prosecutor must prove that touching happened in a location open to public view, that gratification or offense was the motive, and that you knew or should have known others would see the conduct. That’s a lot to prove. Whether you believe that you are guilty or innocent of lewd conduct, if you are charged with the crime in Orange County, obtain trustworthy legal help immediately. If you are accused of lewd conduct or an offense such as indecent exposure or public drunkenness, take your case at once to a skilled and experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

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