Articles Tagged with criminal defense

Some individuals are not aware that there are differences between “battery” and “domestic battery.” Battery can be a less personal crime and does not depend on the relationship between individuals. Domestic battery, however, refers to violence that occurs between two people with a special relationship including spouses, fiancees, parent and child, family members, or cohabitants. To be convicted of domestic battery, no visible injury is required. The penalty for domestic battery is a maximum of a day less than a year in county jail and a fine of $2,000.

Because the statistics behind domestic violence are alarming, California law enforcement zealously pursues violators of domestic violence laws. Domestic violence laws in California are designed to severely punish individuals who break them. This article will provide various pieces of advice to help others who are convicted of domestic violence charges in California:

  • Abide by Court Orders: If the court issues “no contact” or other types of orders, it is in your best interest to follow these orders. To ensure that the least negative effects possible arise from your case, it is imperative that you adhere by these orders.

Being arrested is a stressful experience. Due to the large number of individuals arrestedeach year in California, it is a wise idea to know some essential advice in case you find yourself arrested by California law enforcement. While false arrests do occur, it is always best to be prepared to handle the situation should the unfortunate circumstances arise. Due to the high pressure of the situation, many individual become scared and emotional. What follows are some essential pieces of advice to follow after being arrested in California:

  • Never Resist Arrest. Being arrested can trigger a wide range of emotions in individuals. If you find yourself arrested, fight all temptation to resist the arrest. Even if you are innocent, resisting arrest can result in an additional charge being brought against you. Instead, remain calm, know that everything can be taken care of at a later time.
  • Remember You Have the Right to Remain Silent. The Fifth Amendment provides individuals with protection against self-incrimination. As a result, individuals should remain silent during an arrest because law enforcement can and will use anything that you say against you at a later time. If you must say anything, say that you will remain silent until a lawyer is present.

In addition to Assault and battery, theft, driving, drug, and sex crimes, fraud is among the most common criminal charges in the state of California. If you have been charges with any of these common yet very serious crimes, you need a skilled and experienced California criminal defense attorney to fight to protect your legal rights and mount the strongest possible defense against the state’s aggressive efforts to convict you. Besides the damage to your reputation, which has serious ramifications on educational, vocational, and professional aspirations, conviction may result in jail time, fines, fees, community service, probation, loss or restriction of driving privileges, and more.

Types of Fraud

California is tough on fraud of all kinds. Fraud charges point directly to one’s honesty or lack thereof, usually in regards to finances, whether those of an individual, business, or the state itself. One of the oldest types of fraud – check fraud – is the manufacture, possession, or attempted manufacture or use of a check with the intent to defraud the party being paid. The illicit intent in check fraud is revealed by a representation that the bad check is actually genuine.  If you have seen the film Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, then you know something about check fraud. While check fraud is on the wane in the debit card / smart phone / Internet era, it does still occur, and is still punished harshly by the state.  

Arson is punished harshly in California. One reason for this is because arson is capable of creating state-declared emergencies. This is especially the case in a span of drought-ridden years when even a small spark can spiral into out-of-control blazes, endangering both the state’s natural resources and the lives of firefighters who bear the responsibility of combating wildfires. If you have been charged with arson in the state of California, you need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights and mount the strongest possible defense against the state’s efforts to convict you. The purpose of this article is to explain the crime of arson and punishments for conviction.

There are Two Arson Laws in the State of California

In California, there are two laws against arson. The reason for this is the belief that different mental states contributing to the commission of a crime deserve different levels of punishment. Sometimes, when a crime is committed, a person specifically intends to commit the crime. Other times, however, a crime is committed as the result of recklessness or carelessness.

If you have been charged with a crime in California and already have previous convictions in the state on your criminal record, it is imperative that you contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney.  California has a “Three Strikes” law that serves as a basis for enhanced punishments for repeat offenders.  While the law has been reformed to be less punitive than in the past, it still packs a punch and can be applied to dole out lengthy prison sentences to repeat offenders. What counts as a “strike” under the law is of great importance. An experienced attorney will work hard to either defeat the charges against you or argue that they should not rise to the level of a “strike” under California’s “Three Strikes” law. In other words, an experienced criminal defense attorney will work to either keep you out of jail altogether or minimize the length of the sentence. Your very freedom is at stake, so do not delay in securing the skilled legal representation you so dearly need.

A Skilled Attorney May File a Romero Motion to Lessen the Number of Strikes Against You

One of the potential tools in the arsenal of an experienced California criminal defense attorney is what is known as a Romero motion. The name comes from the 1996 case People v. Romero, and allows a judge to, when appropriate, cancel previous strike allegations and the reduce the duration of a prison sentence.  In the case itself, Romero – the defendant – was convicted of possession of cocaine. Ordinarily, conviction for this type of drug possession would result in incarceration of up to three years. However, because of California’s “Three Strikes” law, prior to its reform, Romero faced a much longer potential sentence – life in prison. This is because the law, in its original form, authorized life sentences even if an offender’s third “strike” was for mere drug possession. Romero already had strikes for separate burglary convictions – both classified as serious felonies under state law. The possibility of life in prison for a drug possession third strike did not sit well with the Romero judge, so he decided to take action to circumvent the harshness of the law. Using discretion granted to California judges to dismiss actions “in the furtherance of justice,” the Romero judge reclassified the defendant’s previous convictions as non-strike offenses. The effect was to make the possession offense a first strike rather than a third strike, and the defendant was sentenced to six years rather than life in prison.

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.

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.

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