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Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers Blog
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When a person has been convicted of a criminal charge in Los Angeles, it is likely that they will be put on probation for at least three years. As a part of the probation, the person charged will have certain conditions and requirements placed on them.

There are two types of probation:

  1. Formal

Formal probation is generally a part of felony convictions. It requires that the person convicted check in formally with a probation officer. It also requires that the person not leave the county or the state (depending on the terms) and may include additional provisions as well. For example, the person being charged may be required to not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at any point, and may have to submit to random drug or alcohol testing. As with all probation, the person charged must stay out of trouble and not be charged, arrested or convicted of any further criminal charges.

  1. Informal

Informal probation is usually about three years and requires that a person not be charged with, arrested or convicted of any additional criminal charges. Unlike formal probation, the person is not required to check in with a probation officer and they are generally not restricted from leaving the county or the state.

There are also two types of probation violations:

  1. External

An external probation violation is where a person commits further criminal offenses that result in an arrest, charge or conviction. This is a violation outside of their own specific terms of probation, but a violation of general criminal code sections.

  1. Internal

An internal violation is a violation of the person’s specific terms and provisions of probation. For example, a person is restricted from alcohol and drug use is tested to have cocaine in their system. They are in violation of the terms they agreed to.

Probation violations are serious charges and can result in their own conviction on top of any other convictions the person may have. A probation violation has its own sentence and consequences, and can also result in probation being revoked and the sentence for the original offense that put the person on probation being increased.

If you find yourself with a probation violation it is highly advisable to hire a Los Angeles Probation Violation lawyer with years of experience. A probation violation can be dismissed if it is presented properly to the Judge and argued efficiently. Doing so will avoid a significant amount of problems for the person being brought before the Court. If you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate and do not underestimate the potential consequences. Contact a professional as soon as possible!

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What happens when you have a prior criminal record in California, and you are charged with a crime in a different state? This question becomes important when there is a potential probation violation due to the previous case. In order to better understand this process, it is best to define it through the use of examples.

David is a Los Angeles resident and works as a consultant for a company. His job requires him to travel a lot. One night while David was out with friends in LA, he was charged with drunk and disorderly conduct. David was drinking and him and his friends were causing some disturbances on the street outside of a restaurant, and were consequently too drunk to be allowed back in. This led David to be charged, and eventually convicted of a misdemeanor drunk and disorderly conduct.

As part of the sentence, David was put on three years of informal probation. Informal probation does not require that David check in with an officer, nor does it require that he not leave the state or the county. It does, however, require that David not commit any additional offenses while he is on this probationary period.

Unfortunately for David, he is still on informal probation when he goes on business to New York. In New York, he meets up with some of his college friends, and they end up going out and about on the town, which eventually leads David to be arrested for Disturbing the Peace.

He is arrested and charged before the New York State court. The question then becomes, will he be charged with Disturbing the Peace in New York and a Probation Violation?

A person may be charged with a probation violation when they are under probation and have violated the terms of their probation. In this case, David was under probation and was not to commit any other offenses during that probationary period. However, by being arrested and charged with Disturbing the Peace, he has violated the terms of his probation and can, therefore, be charged with the additional charge.

It will be up to the New York state court if they want to charge David with the probation violation. The probation terms are not theirs, and they are not required to uphold the terms. They may if they want to, but there is nothing requiring them to do so. Additionally, the prosecutor in New York may not even know about the probation pending in California. If they do not, chances are they will not even address it.

If you are being charged with a case in another state and are currently on probation in California, consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney to assure that you are properly addressing the issues in the event that probation violation moves forward.

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If you have been charged with a criminal charge in California, you have several rights available to you. These rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and taken very seriously. You have the right to an attorney, you have the right to trial…and among other things, you also have the right to present evidence.

Presenting evidence in a criminal case is a very important right because it allows you to state your case and support your case with the proper evidence. In order to prevent false or misrepresentative evidence from being considered by the Judge, there is a set of rules outlines in the Evidence Code. The Evidence Code is specific in its requirements and prevents the Court from considering evidence that could be falsified.

The Evidence Code is complicated. However, a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney will be well versed in what the code requires and what evidence can be presented. If there is pertinent evidence that needs to be presented to the Judge, the attorney will know how to ensure its admissibility.

This is important, because if there is a key piece of evidence that can make or break your case, you will want to ensure that it can be considered by the Judge.

Generally evidence in a criminal case includes possible surveillance, test results, police reports, and other pieces or items from the time of the arrest. The process of obtaining evidence from the police department is referred to as discovery.

It takes time to receive discovery, and it needs to be requested in the right manner. If it isn’t, you risk not receiving what you need in time for Court. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know exactly how to obtain that information quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, an experienced defense attorney will be familiar with the police department, the officers, the prosecutor and the courtroom from their years of practice.

When fighting a criminal charge, it is necessary that you consult with the best and ensure the best possible odds for your case. If you are not represented by an attorney, you may spend months collection evidence, and it may not be admissible. Furthermore, you may have evidence the day after a court hearing which may not even be considered at all because it is untimely.

Oftentimes an attorney will request letters from counselors, or teacher or your peers that will help support your argument and demonstrate your character. This evidence may be admitted for specific reasons under the Evidence Code and is prohibited for other reasons. This knowledge comes from years of practice, and studying the Evidence Code in detail. Don’t take your chances. Let a professional do it for you!

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If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important that you not only consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney right away, but also with a family law attorney if you are going through a dissolution.

It used to be that domestic violence charges could be dropped by the alleged victim, however, the courts have taken a very strict approach in recent years. Whether or not you will be charged will depend on the prosecutor and the facts of your case.

A domestic violence charge on your record can affect your future with employment, jobs, financial institutions and schools. If you are facing such a charge, consult with a legal professional right away so that they can assess the facts of your case and argue to have your case dismissed, or in the very least dismissed.

If the domestic violence charge occurs during a pending dissolution case, or prompts a dissolution case, you should also consult with a family law attorney.

The domestic violence arrest alone can also affect your custody and visitation rights, as well as your spousal support.

If there are children involved, the party who is being charged may have a weak case when it comes to arguing for custody and visitation with the children. For example, the alleged victim may request that the court issue a restraining order preventing you from being around not only the alleged victim, but also the children. If they get the restraining order, it will be very difficult for you to argue for 50/50 or sole custody.

If you are the party that has been charged with domestic violence, and are requesting spousal support, it may bar your right to support completely. California Family Code §4320 outlines factors that the court will consider when issuing spousal support. One of the factors is domestic violence. If you have been charged with or convicted, the court will consider denying any request for spousal support.

If you are being charged with domestic violence it is extremely important that you have that charge dropped or reduced. If you are charged while undergoing a dissolution or other family law case, it is even more important that the charge be dismissed.

A Los Angeles Domestic Violence attorney can help you address the court, and prepare your evidence and arguments so that you can give yourself the best possible chance of reducing the charge. A conviction on your record can cause problems for years to come, which is why the charge needs to be properly addressed when it happens.

Please do not take a chance, and accept the negotiations and offers from Prosecutors. It may close your case quickly and resolve the problem for the day, but it will continuously cause issues for you in the future. Talk to a specialist today!

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When you have been charged with a criminal offense, you will be given the opportunity to appear in court before a criminal Judge and have your case heard. This hearing will be referred to as an Arraignment. At the Arraignment, several things will happen:

  1. Your rights will be read to you
  2. The potential sentence will be read to you
  3. You will have the option to enter a plea
  4. And you will be given a plea bargain

Each of these things are important and if you do not have a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney representing you, it is highly suggested that you think long and hard about each of these steps. For example, entering a plea can affect the rest of your case, your future, and any potential sentence. If you are not an experienced attorney, how do you know whether you have entered the right plea, or if you are being coaxed to? How will you know if your rights are being violated?

In an effort to move cases along the justice system quickly, prosecutors will offer you what is a called a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an offer for a specific sentence if you agree to plead guilty that day. How do you know if the sentence they are offering is actually a good sentence, or if it is merely standard? How do you know that they are not just convincing you to plead something worse, when your case is strong enough to be litigated and you have a strong chance of it being dismissed? Unless you are a criminal law professional, you do not.

Let’s consider an example. Dina goes to court on a drunk and disorderly conduct charge. She was drinking a virgin margarita outside of a restaurant during a very busy fourth of July block party. Officers stopped Dina and told her that drinking in public was not allowed and that she was being loud due to her intoxication. In reality, Dina does not drink alcohol. The party itself was very loud and there were concerts going on everywhere. Dina was dancing along, but not due to her intoxication. Officers did not even question her drink, simply threw it out and stated she was being charged .

Dina appears in court on her own and is given a offer by prosecutors. She is offered no jail time and a minimal fine if she pleads guilty to a misdemeanor offense under the Penal Code. Dina is scared and wants the case to be over. She agrees to plead guilty and does so.

If Dina had spoke to a Criminal Specialist, she would have learned that the officers had no case against her. They had thrown out the only piece of evidence they had, and evidence that would have proven her innocence. Regardless, without any evidence, prosecutors are unable to make a case. Furthermore, drunk and disorderly conducts rarely allow for jail time. It is likely that Dina would not have gotten jail time if she had fought the case. This is why it is extremely important to speak to an attorney before making any decisions on your own Criminal case.

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One of the most important rights you are granted by the United States Constitution is your right to counsel. Unlike other areas of law, criminal law will provide an attorney for you if you are unable to hire one on your own. This is because your rights in a criminal case are extremely important, and the consequences of your case can affect your life, your livelihood, and many other aspects of your life. This is why it is important to be fully aware of your rights, and the consequences of your pleas in a criminal court.

At the very first hearing you will attend after being charged, the arraignment, the court will read you your rights. One of these rights being your right to counsel. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you. This would be a public defender.

Public defenders are very experienced and competent representatives, however, they are overwhelmed with cases. At any given point they are handling a large amount of cases before the Judge on the same day as your case. This means they have minimal time to be able to spend preparing for your case and speaking to you beforehand.

Private counsel on the other hand has the option of taking a limited number of cases at any point. Furthermore, when they appear in court, it is likely that they do not have more than two cases on that day. Oftentimes, it is only your case that they are appearing for. This means that they have plenty of time to speak to you in the weeks prior to your hearing, to review the discovery in your case, to speak to you in detail about the facts and the be fully prepared prior to court.

If initially you decide to go with a public defender, you always have the option to hiring private counsel. As stated previously, your right to counsel is an important one, and one the court will take very seriously. If you inform the court that you would like a continuance so that you may hire an attorney, you will be given that opportunity. If you proceed with a public defender but find you want that more focused one on one attention from your attorney, you may start shopping around looking to hire. You are in no way locked to one attorney.

In any case, it is very important to your rights, your future and your case that you speak to an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney regarding your options. There may be numerous defenses or arguments available to you, and you want to make sure you are taking advantage of the stronger facts in your case. If you do not practice law, and are not regularly in front of a Judge handling these types of cases, you will be lost. Make the smart decision and give yourself the best possible chance of getting your case reduced or dismissed.

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Our clients lead busy lives and with work, school, and social obligations. It is often stressful and proves to be difficult for them to clear up the day they are required to appear before the Criminal Judge. Fortunately, once they have retained an Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney, they are not required by the law to appear in Court. The attorney can appear on their behalf.

It is different for cases that are misdemeanors and for felonies. If the case is a misdemeanor an attorney is able to appear on the person’s behalf without them having to be present. If the case is a felony, the criminal system requires that the person being charged must always appear.

For example, David has been charged with domestic violence. He was stopped on a routine DUI, with nothing out of the ordinary. He did not hit a person or an object, he did not damage any personal property and it was his first DUI. Due to the facts of his case David’s case will be a misdemeanor and a San Diego DUI Attorney will be able to make the appearances on his behalf.

In contrast, Daniel has also been charged with a DUI. However, it is Daniel’s second DUI, and he was stopped on suspicion of a DUI because he hit another vehicle and caused the other driver injury. Because there was an injury due to Daniel’s actions, his case will be charged as a felony DUI. It will be mandatory that Daniel appear at each of his criminal court appearances.

If you have hired a legal professional but would like the chance to appear in Court, then you always have the option to do so. Many times the hearing involves some wait time. It is likely that the criminal defense specialist has to speak to the Prosecutor, review evidence and make his argument. If there is no negotiation, the attorney may want to appear before the Judge, or he may want to continue the hearing to gather more evidence. It is one of the benefits of hiring an attorney, that you do not have to appear in Court and miss a day of work, especially to wait while the attorney does his work. The attorney will always be able to update you on what has happened when he returns to the office from court.

If you do not have an attorney, you must appear in court on any scheduled date. Failing to do so can result in a bench warrant, which is a separate criminal charge. You will have to appear in front of the Judge separately on the charge to have it dismissed or reduces.

In addition, when you appear in Court without an attorney, you will be required to wait in line for the court to call each person. The process can be quite lengthy and eat up your entire day.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to seek the advice of an attorney. Not only does hiring an attorney assure that you are guided throughout the entire process, it makes sure that you are making decisions that are in your best interest. Most of all, it saves you the hassle and frustration of appearing in court by yourself.

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if you have been cited or arrested for a criminal offense, you have likely been given a court date on which you must appear before the criminal Judge. It is imperative that you appear at this hearing, referred to as the arraignment. If you do not appear, a warrant can be issued for your arrest.

At the arraignment, you will be read your rights, the potential sentence that you are facing and be given an opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. What many people do not know is that you also have the option of continuing the hearing, if you would like.

Everyone has the right to a speedy trial. This means that once you have been arraigned, your case must be heard within a set period of time. If it is not, your right can potentially have been violated. If you continue your arraignment, the Judge will ask if you are waiving time, and you will have to agree in order to receive a continuance. Overall, waiving time does not necessarily hurt your case, but to be absolutely sure, it is always advisable to contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney.

People will usually request a continuance for several reasons:

  1. To obtain discovery:

Discovery includes video surveillance from the arrest and a police report. These items are necessary in order to make a powerful argument and provide necessary evidence to the Court. These items must be requested from the Court. If they are not requested, you will not be able to obtain them. A Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney will know precisely how to obtain the discovery and can get it efficiently and directly from the prosecutor’s office.

If you do not have discovery at the first arraignment date, it is a good idea to continue the hearing. This way you can state your case knowing exactly what evidence is on the table.

  1. To hire counsel

If you appear at the arraignment without an attorney, you will be granted a continuance to obtain an attorney. This is your constitutional right. If you inform the court that you would like time to seek the help of an attorney and to discuss your case, the court will grant it. It is a good idea to consult with a criminal defense attorney. They know the court system and will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

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California Penal Code §273.5 makes it unlawful to inflict corporal bodily injury against someone with which the offender has a familial relationship with the alleged victim. Unlike domestic violence battery, an injury has to occur for a person to be charged under California Penal Code §273.5. If there has been no injury, simple the use of force of violence, the charge would be under California Penal Code § 243 (e)(1).
Under California Penal code §273.5, any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim with whom they have a relationship as defined in this code section shall be guilty of a felony.

The key under this code section is that the person must willfully, have inflicted an actual injury on the alleged victim for it to qualify as domestic violence. In addition, the person being charged with the offense and the victim must have one of the following relationships:
• The offender’s spouse or former spouse.
• The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant.
• The offender’s fiance or fiancee, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship,
• The mother or father of the offender’s child.
• Holding oneself out to be the husband or wife of the person with whom one is cohabiting is not necessary to constitute cohabitation as the term is used in this section.

If one of these relationships do not exist, then the charge would not be brought under this particular code section. There would still be a charge, but likely as assault under a different code section of the California Penal Code.
The code section also defines a range of potential consequences, or sentencing guidelines. A person who has been found guilty and has been convicted of domestic violence shall face a fine of up to $6,000, up to four years in jail or prison, or both. The reason the legislature has provided a range is because the facts of each case are different. A Judge will use his discretion, based upon the facts of the case and the person’s criminal background, before ordering a specific sentence .
Let’s consider an example. Harold and his wife Wilma get into an argument. In anger, Harold throws a beer bottle at Wilma and it strikes her in the face, causing her to bleed. Wilma has suffered serious injuries and is immediately taken to the emergency room. Wilma calls the police, and they arrive, arresting Harold. This is the second time that Harold has been arrested by officers for domestic violence. After a trial is held, Harold is found guilty. The Judge will likely order a sentence on the higher end of the scale because Harold has a previous history of domestic violence and his actions caused serious injury to Wilma.
If you find yourself facing a charge under this code section of the penal code, take it very seriously. It is a felony, and if there was any actual injury, it is likely it will be charged as such. It is important to consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney as soon as possible!

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California Penal Code §243 (e)(1) makes it unlawful to commit a battery against someone that you have some familial relationship with. It differs from the general definition of battery as it specifically defines the relationships the person being charged, and the alleged victim have. If they do not share a relationship specified under this code section, is it not a domestic violence batter.

To understand the components of a domestic violence battery, it is important to read the code section under which it is defined. California Penal Code §242 defines battery as a “willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another”.

California Penal Code §243 simply defines the relationships that will cause it to be considered domestic violence. To be charged as domestic violence, the person being charged and the alleged victim must be one of the following:

  • A spouse
  • A person with whom the defendant is cohabiting,
  • A person who is the parent of the defendant’s child,
  • Former spouse, fiance, or fiancee,
  • A person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship

 

The California Penal Code §243 (e)(1) in addition to defining the relationships, also specifies the range of potential consequences a person who has been convicted under this code section may face. The potential consequences are a fine not to exceed $2,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year in county jail, or both. In addition, it is necessary that the person who has been charged attend a batterer’s intervention program which is generally a 52 week program.

 

It may seem strange that the potential sentence is defined by the statue as a range, and is not specifically stated. That is because each case is different. The background facts for each case and each persons criminal history will vary, and one set sentence may not be suitable for each case. It is up to the Judge’s and the Prosecutor’s discretion as to what the sentence will be.

 

It is very important to note that for a person to be charged and convicted of battery, it is not necessary that the alleged victim suffer from any actual injury.

 

Let’s consider an example. Harry, and his wife, Wendy, have an argument one night. Out of anger Harry yells at Wendy and throws a beer bottle at the wall directly behind her. The beer bottle nearly misses Wendy head, and shatters behind her. Wendy calls the cops as she is scared and Harry is arrested and charged with domestic violence battery. Harry has no previous criminal record, and this is the first time he has been charged with any criminal offense.

 

Harry can still be tried for domestic violence battery, even if Wendy was never touched or harmed. Harry acted with violence and force. If Harry is convicted, his charge will be on the lower end of the scale because he has no criminal history, Wendy was not significantly harmed, and the facts were fairly straightforward, without any serious injury.

 

If you face a domestic violence charge, do not delay, immediately contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case.