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Most DUI charges in the state of California are classified as misdemeanors.  This is the case most of the time even if you have previous misdemeanor DUI convictions on your criminal record. The caveat concerns what are known as “aggravating factors.”  The purpose of this article is to explain the types of aggravating factors capable of justifying a felony DUI charge. If you have been charged with felony DUI in California, you need to contact an experienced California DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for a felony DUI conviction are severe. With your future, finances, freedom, and reputation at stake, you need a skilled attorney.

Aggravating Factor #1: Causing Injury or Death While Under the Influence

The first aggravating factor serving as grounds for a felony DUI charge in California is causing injuries or fatalities to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol. The number one concern of California’s driving-related laws, including those pertaining to drinking and driving, is the health and safety of the state’s drivers and pedestrians. In the eyes of the state, then, injuries or fatalities that result from a conscious decision to drink and get behind represent the most flagrant violation of California’s driving laws.

In California, there are three different types of manslaughter: involuntary, voluntary, and vehicular. If you have been charged with any of the three crimes, it is imperative that you rely on a skilled California criminal defense attorney to mount the strongest possible defense.  Conviction for manslaughter comes with serious penalties. The purpose of this article is to differentiate between the three types of manslaughter charges in the state of California.

Involuntary Manslaughter Involves an Unintentional Killing

In California, involuntary manslaughter is the appropriate charge when one person kills another unintentionally. Specifically, the unintentional killing occurs during the commission of a separate crime that, while unlawful, is not considered an inherently dangerous California felony, or during the commission of an otherwise lawful act that is capable of producing death in the absence of adequate caution. Importantly, and unlike murder, involuntary manslaughter does not require the element of “malice aforethought,” a broad category that includes intent to kill.  Involuntary manslaughter is a felony under California law, and is punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you have been charged with first degree murder in the state of California, your future, your freedom, your everything hangs in the balance. You need to mount the strongest possible defense, and this requires the dedication of a skilled California criminal defense attorney. In order to convict you, the state will have to prove every element of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. The purpose of this article is to explain the elements of the charge of first degree murder in the state of California.

First Degree Murder is a Statutorily Created Crime

First degree murder is a criminal charge created by statute – a version of the more general charge of murder. The crime of murder dates back to the common law era in England and is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. First degree murder adds the elements of premeditation and deliberation to the longstanding definition of murder.  So then, first degree murder is a statutorily created crime in the state of California and is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, premeditation, and deliberation.  Again, to convict, the state must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have been charged with a hit and run offense of the state of California, you need to know what to expect if you are convicted.  The precise consequences depend first on whether the offense is categorized as a misdemeanor or felony. If you have been charged with either type of hit and run offense, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney.

Vehicle Code 20002 VC Governs Misdemeanor Hit and Run Offenses in California

In California, Vehicle Code 20002 VC governs misdemeanor hit and run offenses. Under the code, a misdemeanor hit and run offense transpires when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without first identifying him or herself to the other party or parties involved. A perpetrator of a hit and run accident can drive away or leave the scene on foot before exchanging name and insurance information with the other party or parties involved in the accident. The accident must involve damage to a vehicle, home, business, or other personal property for it to be considered a hit and run.

While California’s “three strikes” law conjures images of America’s national pastime, it is anything but fun and games.  A “third strike” criminal conviction in the state of California can have serious long-term consequences in the form of a lengthy prison sentence. The purpose of this article is to explain how California’s “three strikes” law works. If you have been charged with a second, third, or subsequent felony in the state of California, it is imperative that you rely on a skilled and experienced California criminal defense attorney. Your future is at stake.

California’s Three Strikes Law was Reformed in 2012

There is some good news with regard to California’s Three Strikes Law. In 2012, the law was reformed to substantially limit the imposition of mandatory 25-years-to-life prison sentence for third-time offenders whose third offense does not rise to the level of a “violent” or “serious” felony. Think, for example, of the felony of possession of a controlled substance. Responding to public sentiment that the existing law was both unfair for treating non-violent offenders just as harshly as violent offenders, and costly for resulting in so many taxpayer-funded lengthy prison sentences, the reformed law makes important and effective distinctions. California’s three strikes law is still potent and bears much weight on an offender’s future freedom.

Juvenile delinquency charges are a serious matter in the state of California. Conviction can lead to confinement in security facilities surrounded by barbed-wire fences. Tens of thousands already reside in these wards, while still many more live out their youth under strict probation terms. The state aims to punish juvenile offenders severely, and for this reason a juvenile delinquency or other criminal charge must be taken seriously. Besides confinement and probation, there is the potential impact on one’s educational or career prospects. A conviction can have a lasting impact on one’s ability to attend the school or pursue the career of one’s choice. The purpose of this article is to educate juveniles and their parents or guardians of the California’s juvenile delinquency laws. If you or your child have been charged with juvenile delinquency in the state of California, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney.

Juvenile Delinquency Court Tries Minors Charged With Crimes In the State of California

In California, minors charged with crimes are not prosecuted in the same court system as adults. The underlying philosophy to having separate court systems is the long-held belief that minors charged or convicted of wrongdoing are less culpable than adults. Culpability is synonymous with blameworthiness. In the eyes of the law, because minors are still developing intellectually – still learning right from wrong – and gaining firsthand knowledge of what constitutes ethical conduct, they should be held to different culpability standards than adults.

If you have been charged with violating a restraining order in the state of California, you need an experienced California criminal defense attorney who will work to protect your rights.

Four Types of Restraining Orders in California

In California, there are four types of restraining orders. These orders are sometimes termed “protective” orders.

If you have been charged with violating the terms of your probation in the state of California, you need an experienced California criminal defense attorney. An adverse determination against you could result in more strict probation terms or even the revocation of probation resulting in jail time.

Penalties for Violation of Probation

To determine the penalties for a probation violation, the court first looks to whether the probation terms pertain to a misdemeanor or felony. On the most general level, a felony is more serious than a misdemeanor. In the state of California, misdemeanor probation usually lasts between one and five years and involves performing community service and paying fines (in lieu of serving jail time). Individuals serving misdemeanor probation must periodically appear before the judge to make a progress report. This arrangement benefits both the individual and the state. For the individual, jail time is avoided. For the state, money need not be spent on jail time.

California Penal Code 422.55 PC defines hate crimes in the state of California. The purpose of this article is to explain the state’s hate crime law and the penalties for conviction. If you have been charged with a hate crime in California, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney.

California Penal Code 422.55 PC Defines Hate Crimes in California

Under California Penal Code 422.55 PC, it is a hate crime to harm, threaten, or harass a person because of their disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.  Of course, it is already a crime to intentionally harm, threaten, or harass someone. In other words, you can already be charged and prosecuted for a crime even if hatred for disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation were not a motivating factor in the commission of the crime.  

Criminal arson charges are a serious matter in the state of California. If you have been charged with arson, it is important that you contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The state’s prosecutor will be working to prove every element of the charges against you, and, depending on the specific charges, a lengthy prison term will result from conviction. The purpose of this article is to explain the elements of a criminal arson charge in the state of California.

California PC 451 and PC 452 Criminalize Arson in California

The laws that define arson in the state of California are PC 451 and PC 452. These laws make it a crime to set fire to any building, forest, land, or property, whether recklessly or with a willful and malicious intent. The latter part of the legal definition of arson requires some explaining.  Recklessness, in the eyes of the law, deserves less culpability than willfulness and maliciousness. In other words, reckless behavior is not necessarily intentional behavior; it may simply involve poor judgment or overly risky behavior.

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