Archive for the ‘ Criminal Defense ’ Category

HATERS NEED TO KNOW

Posted on: March 11, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75

Orange County Criminal Defense AttorneyIn California, a hate crime is a crime committed against a person, property, or group when the crime is motivated by an alleged bias or hatred towards the apparent race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, gender identity, or other characteristic represented by the victimized person, property, or group. If there is evidence of hate on the part of a suspect, that suspect can be additionally charged with a hate crime. If you’re accused of any crime in Orange County and authorities charge it as a hate crime, arrange immediately to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

California’s hate crime laws work in two ways. Under California Penal Code 422.6, it is a crime to interfere with someone else’s civil rights or to damage or destroy someone else’s property because of that person’s racial, ethnic, or other protected traits. Under California Penal Code 422.7 and 422.75, if you commit a crime like assault or vandalism, and you are motivated in part because of the victim’s racial, ethnic, or other protected traits, your offense will be considered a hate crime, and your sentence for the original crime can be enhanced.

For most felonies in California, that enhancement is one to four years, although it depends on the crime itself and the circumstances. Enhancements for misdemeanor hate crime convictions can include community service, fines, and in some cases up to a year in jail. In addition to a criminal conviction, you could also be sued by the victim or victims in civil court.

To convict you of a hate crime, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a motivating factor was your intention to interfere with an individual’s or a group’s civil rights. That’s not always easy to prove, and it’s a reason why you must have a good criminal defense attorney fighting for justice on your behalf. If you’re charged with any hate crime in Orange County, take your case to an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

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WHAT IF YOU CAN’T BE IN COURT?

Posted on: March 9, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense lawyerIf you’ve been charged with a felony in California, there’s no way around it; you’ll have to be physically present in the courtroom. But if the charge against you is a misdemeanor, you do not have to be present provided that your attorney is in court to represent you. In many misdemeanor cases, once you’ve retained legal counsel by contacting an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer, you may not have to appear in court at all, and your attorney can appear on your behalf. Nevertheless, if you’re accused of DUI, a drug or sex crime, or a fraud or robbery in southern California, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, you still need to contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

Of course, you certainly have the right to appear in court if you choose to, and if you do not have legal representation, you must. If you do not have an attorney, and you do not personally appear in court, the court can issue a bench warrant, and your failure to appear will be filed as a separate criminal charge. When you appear in court without an attorney, the process can also be lengthy, and just waiting for your case to be heard can eat up your entire day.

It is always in your best interests to seek the counsel of a trustworthy, experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney if you are charged with a crime in Orange County. The right attorney will guide and advise you from start to finish, and you’ll be able to make the informed decisions that are best for you. When you are charged with a misdemeanor, a good defense attorney can save you from the trouble and aggravation of missing work or school and taking an entire day off to appear in court. If you face any misdemeanor or felony DUI, drug, sex, or robbery charge in Orange County, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

YOU REALLY MUST WATCH WHAT YOU SAY

Posted on: March 2, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense attorneySimply making a threat to physically harm someone may be a crime in California. Specifically, the crime is making a threat to kill or injure another person in such a way that the person being threatened is put in a state of reasonably “sustained fear” for his immediate safety or for the safety of his or her family. The law requires “an immediate prospect of execution of the threat” for the threat to be a crime. The threat can be verbal, written, or even sent through e-mail or social media. Making criminal threats can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony under California Penal Code 422.

If you’re accused in Orange County of making a criminal threat, speak at once with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. You cannot be convicted of making a criminal threat if the threat was vague or ambiguous, if the recipient wasn’t in actual fear or if the fear was only momentary, if you merely made a threatening gesture, or if there was no threat and you have been falsely accused. To convict you, the prosecution must establish that the recipient of the threat actually feared for his or her safety or for the safety of his or her family. If the person didn’t take the threat seriously, no crime was committed.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor for making a threat, you face up to a year in jail. If you are convicted of a felony, you could serve up to four years in a California prison. If you use or brandish a weapon while making a threat, another year will be added to your sentence. Thoughtlessly saying something that you didn’t mean, in most cases, isn’t a crime, but if you are charged with making a criminal threat in Orange County, obtain legal representation at once and call an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING EVIDENCE

Posted on: February 27, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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Orange County criminal defense lawyerIf you’re accused of DUI, a drug or sex crime, or a fraud or robbery in Orange County, don’t wait to get legal representation. Contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer immediately. Along with your other legal rights when you are charged with a crime, you have the right to present evidence on your own behalf. Your legal right to present evidence in a criminal case is fundamental. To prevent false or misleading evidence from being considered in a trial, California enforces a set of rules for evidence called the Evidence Code. The Evidence Code is complicated and quite precise, but a good Orange County criminal defense lawyer is familiar with what the Evidence Code requires and what evidence can be considered.

In criminal cases, your defense attorney can examine the evidence that the state has gathered against you. The process of obtaining and examining that evidence is called “discovery.” It takes time and must be done by the rules, but an experienced criminal defense lawyer routinely obtains and examines evidence on behalf of defendants. If you are not represented by an attorney, you could spend months gathering evidence that might not even be admissible. Discovery is governed by precise guidelines, and any blunders could delay and hurt your case. Don’t take that chance.

If there is important evidence that a judge or a jury needs to see, your defense lawyer will know how to present that evidence. In a criminal case, evidence can include blood test results, police accident reports, surveillance tapes, and essentially any other items that pertain directly to the case. Don’t try to act as your own attorney, and don’t accept a plea bargain without consulting first with an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer. If you’re charged with any drug or sex crime, DUI, or fraud or robbery in Orange County, make the call promptly.

NO MORE DATE RAPE!

Posted on: February 25, 2015 by in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
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California Penal Code 261

Orange County criminal defense lawyerGovernor Jerry Brown signed the “Yes Means Yes” bill into law last September. It’s the law that requires college students in California to give “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement” to any sexual activity. Silence or a lack of resistance does not imply or constitute consent according to the new law, and a drugged, drunk, or unconscious person cannot give consent. If you’re charged with rape under the new provision or with any other sex crime, you’re in very serious circumstances, and you will need serious legal help at once. Contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

“Yes Means Yes” gives sex crime victims additional legal tools and protections, but some believe that false accusations will increase and that many may be wrongly accused. When lawmakers were considering the bill, critics said it may send universities into murky legal waters. Under criminal law, rape and sexual assault occur when one person forces another into sex despite the denial of consent, a standard commonly referred to as “no means no.” The new California standard, “yes means yes,” means that a sex act can only be presumed consensual if both partners have unambiguously consented. Even if no objections are raised, unless explicit consent is obtained, a sexual encounter may be legally considered rape. The standard is not new in California; state universities have operated under these rules for several years. Now, however, the same standard will be applied to every public and private campus that receives state funding.

What hasn’t changed are your basic rights. If you’re charged with any sex crime in California, the state still must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Let an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you. If you are charged with violating the “Yes Means Yes” law or with any other sex crime in Orange County, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

GUN LAWS IN CALIFORNIA’S WILD, WILD WEST

Posted on: February 23, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Codes 417, 16590, 25400, 26100, 26500, and 30600

Orange County criminal defense attorneyStarting in January 2016, if you believe that a close relative is about to commit gun violence, you can ask a California judge to have the police seize that person’s firearms at least temporarily. The Gun Violence Restraining Order or “GVRO” was created by Assembly Bill 1014, which Governor Brown signed into law last year. In Orange County and across southern California, if you are charged with or being investigated for any firearms-related crime, get in touch immediately with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

California law specifies precisely what kinds of firearms are and are not legal and who may and may not own, carry, and use a firearm in this state. Several types of firearms including automatic weapons are illegal in California. An experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney can defend suspects charged with these crimes and other weapons charges:

– brandishing a firearm or weapon: California Penal Code 417
– carrying a concealed firearm: California Penal Code 25400
– committing a “drive-by” shooting: California Penal Code 26100
– possession of illegal firearms: California Penal Code 16590 and 30600
– illegal sale of a firearm: California Penal Code 26500

A GVRO will temporarily prohibit someone from owning, carrying, or using a firearm or firearms ammunition. Beginning next January 1, when a GVRO is issued against someone, a legal hearing must be scheduled and held within 21 days. The person requesting the restraining order will have to offer persuasive evidence that the subject of the GVRO should not be allowed to have firearms. If the court is persuaded, a one-year GVRO will be issued and possibly extended after additional hearings on a year-by-year basis. In Orange County, if you are accused or suspected of violating any California firearms law, don’t wait – arrange at once to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

BICYCLISTS ARE HIT-AND-RUN VICTIMS TOO!

Posted on: February 20, 2015 by in Criminal Defense, Violent Crime
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California Vehicle Code 20002

Orange County criminal defense lawyerIn recent years, politicians in Los Angeles and Orange counties have increasingly asked residents to explore alternative transportation as local transportation agencies deal with stricter emissions standards and dwindling resources. According to the Los Angeles Times, hit-and-run accidents involving bicyclists increased by a disturbing 42 percent from 2002 to 2012 in Los Angeles County, and at least 36 bicyclists died in crashes where drivers fled the scene. Hit-and-run accidents involving bicyclists are on the rise in Orange County too, including the tragic death of 44-year-old Daniella Palacios in Anaheim on the day after Halloween last year.

You may be charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run under California Vehicle Code 20002 if you leave the scene of an accident, but if anyone is injured or killed, the hit-and-run will be charged as a felony. Call an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible if you are charged in Orange County with either felony or misdemeanor hit-and-run.

For bicyclists who are injured by drivers, a major disappointment is how rarely hit-and-run drivers are caught. About 80 percent of the hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles from 2008 to 2012 remain unresolved. With so many hit-and-run offenders getting away, prosecutors are aggressively prosecuting those who are arrested. It’s a crime you really do not want to be charged with in southern California these days.

In our state, it’s a felony to flee the scene of an accident that kills or severely injures someone, and a conviction can mean up to four years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Even in misdemeanor hit-and-run cases with no serious injuries, you could face up to $1,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. If you’re charged with hit-and-run in Orange County or elsewhere in southern California, do not plead guilty, and do not try to act as your own attorney. Get trustworthy legal representation instead, and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer at once.

DESTROYING EVIDENCE WILL NOT HELP YOUR CASE

Posted on: February 18, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 132, 134, 135

Orange County criminal defense attorneyRandy Daniel Shattuck of San Jose was sentenced on September 5, 2013 to 21 months in prison for destroying evidence. The judge also imposed a fine of $3,000 and sentenced the defendant to three years of supervised release. It’s always right and natural to protect ourselves and our freedom. Sometimes, however, some of us go about it the wrong way. In California, it’s illegal to conceal or destroy evidence that you know is relevant to a trial or to any other legal investigation or proceeding. If you’re being investigated for a crime or if you’re accused of destroying evidence, get legal help at once and speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. Even if the evidence is important only in a non-criminal proceeding like a personal injury case or a divorce, it’s still illegal to destroy or conceal it.

California Penal Code 135 makes it a crime to destroy or conceal evidence, but it is a crime only if you know that the evidence is going to be used as evidence and only if you destroy it “willfully.” It can put some people in a dilemma. You have a right not to incriminate yourself, but you cannot dispose of or hide evidence that might be considered incriminating. If you end up in this situation for any reason, speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Lawyer-client confidentiality will apply, but your attorney can only offer sound legal advice after learning the complete details of your situation.

Destroying or concealing evidence is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Offering false written or false physical evidence in any California legal proceeding is a felony punishable by 16 to 36 months in prison under California Penal Code 132 and 134. If you’re charged with DUI, a drug or sex crime, or a theft, fraud, or robbery in Orange County, or if you have any concerns about evidence that may be in your possession, get the legal advice you need and consult immediately with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

KIDNAPPING

Posted on: February 11, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 207, 208, 209, and 209.5

Orange County criminal defense attorneyWhen someone is convicted of kidnapping in California, that person faces up to eight years in prison. However, sometimes what’s happened is a mistake or a misunderstanding rather than an actual kidnapping. These are the three elements that constitute kidnapping in California and the elements that the state must prove to convict a kidnapping defendant:

1. A kidnapper took, held, or detained someone by force or by instilling reasonable fear.
2. A kidnapper moved the victim or made the victim move a substantial distance.
3. The victim did not consent to that movement or was too young to consent.

If you’re charged with kidnapping in Orange County, get the legal representation that you’re very much going to need and speak immediately to an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. Kidnapping is a serious felony and a “strike” crime under California’s Three Strikes Law. Aggravated kidnapping is an even more serious crime. Aggravated kidnapping happens when force, fear, or fraud is used and the victim is a child under age 14; when a kidnapper makes a ransom demand; when a victim sustains serious injuries or dies; or when a kidnapping is linked to a carjacking or another other crime. Life in prison can be the penalty for aggravated kidnapping in California.

A kidnapping charge is not the equivalent of a conviction. If you actually believed that an alleged victim was accompanying you voluntarily and you had no criminal intent, that’s a defense; sometimes kidnapping claims are completely fabricated and only later discredited by a skilled defense attorney. Some kidnapping cases also depend on the exact interpretation of the terms “movement” and “substantial distance.” If you pull a person into the next room, it’s probably battery, but it’s not kidnapping. Get legal representation if you are charged with kidnapping in southern California and contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at once.

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MILLIONS SPENT ON KEEPING AN EYE ON SEX OFFENDERS

Posted on: February 9, 2015 by in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
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California Penal Code 243.4, 261, and 261.5

Orange County criminal defense attorneyParoled sex offenders in the state of California must take periodic lie detector tests and participate in more treatment programs in response to calls for stricter oversight. In 2014, the state spent about $8.5 million on contractors who provide polygraph exams, treatment programs, and other sex offender services, and lawmakers plan to more than double that amount this year. If you are convicted of a rape or sexual battery in California, it’s a conviction that will follow you for the rest of your life. If you are charged with any sex crime in Orange County, it’s a serious matter. Get serious legal help immediately and arrange to speak with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

The state is working to identify California’s most dangerous sex offenders and to reduce parole caseloads. The idea is for parole agents who oversee the highest-risk offenders to handle fewer cases than their colleagues who manage lower-risk offenders. Additional polygraph exams will help parole agents confirm that offenders are complying with their release conditions. Parolees could be asked about attendance at 12-step addiction programs or inappropriate contact with other convicts. All sex offender parolees are now required to participate in specially-designed treatment programs. Previously, only high-risk offenders had to do that. California now has more than 7,000 paroled sex offenders.

You very much want to avoid being convicted for any sex crime in California. Sometimes sex crime charges are based on mistakes, misunderstandings, misidentifications, or false accusations. A good criminal defense lawyer is often able to offer real legal help to clients facing any of these charges. If you face any charge for any sex crime or sex-related crime in Orange County or anywhere in southern California, for the high-quality defense representation you need and deserve, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.