Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

California Penal Code §647 defines the different situations in which a person may be charged as engaging in disorderly conduct. Solicitation falls under this statute, and those that are accused of solicitation will be charged and tried in court.

Specifically, CPC §647 (b) makes it unlawful for any person to solicit or even agree to engage in the act of prostitution. The statute also makes it unlawful for any person to engage in any act of prostitution.

The statute defines a person as engaging in an act of prostitution when they manifest a specific intent to engage in the act. They must demonstrate an acceptance or an offer of solicitation. However, the agreement to engage in prostitution is not enough. There must also be an overt act that demonstrates a furthered intention to commit the act.

A person who has been charged with a criminal case in Los Angeles will be brought before the Criminal Court so that a case can be conducted to determine whether they will be guilty or not. A Prosecuting attorney will set out to prove that the person being charged is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The criminal defense attorney will present a defense that goes to show that there is not enough evidence to determine guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by casting doubt on the evidence presented.

There are two types of evidence that a prosecutor and a defense attorney will use to prove their arguments; direct evidence, and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is evidence that is directly observed, it provides direct evidence of guilt. An example of direct evidence in a DUI case is a blood test that reads over .08. A blood test reading will provide evidence that the driver was intoxicated.

Direct evidence in other criminal cases will include direct police observation, and the testimony of that officer on the stand stating that what he or she observed. If there is a case for assault, direct observation would also include a nearby witness who saw the assault happen. For example, lets say Dan and Victor were having a heated discussion on the street outside of a bar. Will is the guy working at the door and checking I.D’s. The discussion between Dan and Victor escalates and Dan hits Victor. Will standing nearby witnesses the whole incident and is questioned later by authorities that are called. The testimony that Will provides will be direct evidence.

When a person is charged with a criminal case in southern California, the burden is on prosecution to prove that the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Looking at an example will provide clarification. Dan was stopped by officers on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was sleeping in the backseat of his parked car, in a parking lot, with the engine off and the key in his pocket. The parking lot was to a Target store, and no bar, club or restaurant. Dan submitted to a breath test and blew a .10, well above the legal limit for blood alcohol.

When brought before the Judge, prosecution will argue that Dan was in fact driving under the influence, even if he was found sleeping in the backseat of his parked car. They will use the facts of the situation ( known as circumstantial evidence) to create a scenario for the court that demonstrates that at some point, Dan was driving while under the influence.

At the time of arrest, police officers can be a little aggressive in questioning the person being charged as well as in searching private spaces that should be protected by the Fourth Amendment. This often leads to uncooperative behavior by the person being arrested because they do not feel as if they are being treated properly.

In certain situations, uncooperative behavior can result in additional charges such as resisting arrest. California Penal code §148 (a)(1) makes it illegal for any person to willfully resists, delays or obstructs any public officer will be charged accordingly. Any penalties arising from a resisting arrest charge will be in addition to charges sentenced for the crime during which the person was being uncooperative.

If a person is convicted of a resisting arrest charge, they may be sentenced anywhere up to a year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The final penalty will depend on the specific facts of the arrest and the person’s prior criminal history. If the person has several charges of resisting arrest in the past, they are likely to have a higher penalty. Similarly, if the person was being highly uncooperative and obnoxious, there may be a higher sentence.

Many people do not realize that fraud is classified as Los Angeles theft under the California criminal code. There are many different ways a person commits fraud, one being obtaining money through false pretenses. What many people don’t realize is that their actions give rise to fraud, resulting in a theft charge.

For example, we had a recent case in which a girl was working in the financial aid office of her college. She had the responsibility of receiving tuition payments from students and directing them towards their account. However, she was allocating them into her own and paying her tuition. This is a form of theft, since she was not given the money for her own expenses, and she was falsely diverting the funds for purposes that they were not intended for.

Many more common incidents of fraud are scams in which people gather money for a charity that does not exist, or money is not donated to the charity. If someone went door to door asking people to donate to the Cancer Association, but used the money for their own expenses, the actions would amount to fraud.

A commonly used defense in California drug sales, illegal gambling and prostitution cases is entrapment. Entrapment is a defense that the person engaged in unlawful conduct due to the coercion or pressure from a law enforcement officer. To be a successful defense, the person must not be predisposed to committing the illegal act being charged and there must be actual harassment, fraud or pressure directed by law enforcement towards the person charged.

Entrapment is a frequently used in situations where an undercover officer asks to buy drugs or solicit from a person who obliges and are subsequently charged with the sale of drugs or prostitution. If the entrapment defense is successful, then any evidence obtained is excluded from trial. This is what is referred to as the exclusionary rule.

For example, let’s discuss a situation where Person A is a law abiding citizen. He is a family man, is a high paying vice president of a large corporation job and has never been arrested or charged with any criminal offense besides several unpaid parking tickets. Person A is approached by an officer and asked to sell him some heroin. Person A refuses and explains that he is not the person to talk to, and he wouldn’t know where to obtain any illegal controlled substances. The officer insists, and begins to call and appear at places Person A is with his family. After repeatedly asking for a week, the officer calls up Person A and tells him that he will have Person A sent to jail for unpaid parking tickets and will personally assure that he serves jail time if he doesn’t comply with the officer’s demands. Person A, afraid of jeopardizing his job agrees and obtains the heroin. The officer immediately reports Person A and has him charged for felony drug possession. As evidence the officer presents pictures and recorded conversations of Person A obtaining the heroin from a known drug dealer and transferring it over to the officer.

If the Criminal Defense attorney you have hired is not providing you with ethical and professional legal representation, there are several options available to you. An attorney that you have retained to represent you in your Criminal Case has certain ethical obligations to provide you with competent and diligent legal help. If you feel that you are not receiving the help that you hired the professional for, then you should look into switching attorneys as soon as possible or explore the option of representing yourself.

After you have decided that you would like to change attorneys, you must inform your attorney as soon as possible. Give them notice and let them know that a new attorney will be contacting them for the file. In criminal cases, the file is generally composed of the discovery (the police/arrest report) the attorney picked up at your arraignment. The attorney may not refuse to let you change attorneys. It is your choice if you feel that you are not being properly represented and the attorney must comply by providing you with a copy of the file. The attorney may charge a small fee for the price of copies and mailing if it is necessary.

In most cases, the retainer fee you have paid to retain the attorney is non refundable. In addition, the attorney may keep a part of your payment for work that has been completed. You are not entitled to a full refund except for in very specific situations. For example, let us assume that a client has retained an attorney for aDUI case and has paid the attorney $500 as a retainer and made a payment of $300. The attorney has been retained for a month and has made one court appearance. In addition, the attorney has spoken to the Prosecutor on several occasions, set up an alcohol rehabilitation and education program for the client to complete and has requested and reviewed the officer’s report. In this situation, the retainer fee will not be refunded and most likely the $300 will also be kept. The client may also owe the attorney more based on the significant amount of work the attorney has also completed for the client. However, the client still has the right to hire new counsel, but must still pay the previous attorney.

Many people hire and pay asked attorney’s fees so that a knowledgeable attorney can protect their rights and interests in court, but very few know their rights when it comes to an attorney that they have hired to represent them. The California code of ethics lays out very specific standards to which an attorney must adhere to when dealing with their clients.

One of the main obligations an attorney has to a client is to be open with communication. If a client calls the office, the attorney, or someone under their direction, must return the phone call within a reasonable period of time. A reasonable period of time does not mean within the hour, or as soon as possible. If a client calls the attorney on Tuesday morning, the attorney may return that call later on that day or on Wednesday. A reasonable period of time would be within that day or the next, unless of course the attorney feels that it is a matter that requires immediate attention. Matters that would demand a phone call right away would be if the client has been arrested again or if the client has a court date the following day and there has been a change to the calendar.

When you have hired an attorney to represent you, they must appear in court on your behalf, provided that they have been retained to do so. If you have a court date and the attorney has been notified but fails to appear they have violated their duty to you as your attorney. You are paying an attorney to protect your rights and interests and oftentimes a failure to appear in court can be detrimental to your case as well as your criminal record. Make sure that your criminal defense attorney is a professional and will appear on your behalf in court without you having to worry about it. A great way to check whether an attorney is responsible is to ask previous clients or look up the attorney’s record on the California State Bar website. An attorney can get sanctioned by a judge if they fail to appear in court and it has an effect on the client’s case. If an attorney has been sanctioned before, it will be on their public record as an attorney.

When a Southern California Criminal Defense lawyer quotes you a fee for the completion of your case, several different factors will be taken into consideration. It is important to understand what the basis for the fee is in order to know whether you are overpaying, or if you are paying an adequate amount for an attorney that has the experience and knowledge that you need.

One of the biggest factors that will be considered when quoting an attorney’s fees is the complexity of the case. If the case is a very simple straightforward case the fee will be much lower. For example, if a DUI case has an accident, and a blood alcohol level of .12 with another injured party involved, it is going to be a complex case. There are several factor that make it a felony, including injury and an accident as well as a high BAC. In contrast, take a DUI case where the driver was pulled over on the side of the road asleep in the backseat with a BAC of .07. The latter case is much simpler and could probably be resolved in one or two court appearances.

Whether the case is a felony or misdemeanor will make a difference when quoting a fee. Felony cases are generally more extensive, require more defense work and court appearances and consequently will warrant a higher fee. Also, the lawyer will work hard at preparing a defense that will give your case the best chance of being reduced. Misdemeanor cases generally do not require jail or prison time and can be resolved in fewer appearances requiring less time from the attorney.

One of the biggest concerns when hiring a Southern California Criminal Defense attorney is the amount it will cost you. Many people are on a budget and the expense of an attorney is not something that has been planned for, making it difficult to be able to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney with the budget they have. Fortunately, there are many options so that a person who needs the help of a well established attorney is able to get it.

Many personal injury cases or civil litigation type cases will allow what is known as a contingency fee. This allows the person being represented to not have to provide any money initially, or as a retainer. The attorney gets paid from any money that is awarded or part of a settlement. The general percentage given as a contingency fee is generally around 33%.

Criminal cases, however, do not use contingency fees. It is against the California Rules of Ethics for attorneys to charge a contingency rate on a criminal case. Additionally, there is rarely any money that is being sought in criminal court, therefore such a fee method would not make sense. Beware of a criminal defense attorney who agrees to do your case on a contingency basis, they may be violating ethical obligations they have to the California State Bar.