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Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

When people are arrested for a crime, they are often scared and stressed out about what potential consequences they face. Hiring a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can help ease the worry knowing that a trained professional is protecting your rights and fighting to minimize any penalties. However, how does a person know that they have spent their hard earned money on a good attorney, and one that will get them the results that they want? When meeting with attorneys, there are several questions you should ask them before you put down any payments.

One of the most important factors that should be considered is the Criminal defense attorney’s experience the attorney has. Is your case the first that he or she is handling, or have they done the same type of case thousands of times? Ask the attorney how long they have been practicing in that particular field and how many cases they generally handle similar to yours. When an attorney is experienced they have seen the many different variations of possible facts, potential defenses and the most successful strategy and argument for the case. With this experience, they have the knowledge and expertise to proceed in a manner that will guarantee success.

Experience will also help build a solid reputation for the attorney among prosecutors, judges and courtrooms. They are familiar with the different styles of Judges and prosecutors and are able to proceed with cases accordingly. For example, if certain prosecutors are known to lean towards negotiation and will be flexible with terms, the attorney will know not to accept the first plea bargain made by that prosecutor, and will instead counter with another offer. Similarly, some Judges are known to be harder on those with prior criminal records, but an attorney who is familiar with the Judge’s practice will come prepared with documents or evidence to offset the prior criminal record.

Entrapment is a defense that may be used in some California Criminal cases. Entrapment is a valid defense when police officers engage in conduct that would cause otherwise law abiding citizens to commit a criminal act or unlawful conduct. Although the concept seems fairly straightforward, it is a very complex defense that must be used properly for it to be effective.

In order for someone to successfully use the entrapment defense a significant distinction must be made between opportunity and pressure, fraud or inducement. If someone is given a mere opportunity by a police officer to commit an unlawful act, it will not be enough to constitute entrapment.

The officer must have pressured you for entrapment to apply. This means applying a significant amount of pressure, not just a minimal amount. They may have offered you a high payment or bothered you until you felt that you had no choice in the matter and felt that you must complete the task they are asking of you. For example, let’s assume an officer is dressed undercover and asks you to sell him some drugs, asking you to engage in the illegal act of California Drug Sales. You politely decline and the officer continues walking along. There is no pressure in this situation, the officer merely asked once and when he was turned down, he left. This is more of an opportunity. The officer offered an opportunity for you to sell drugs illegally, but since nothing came of it both parties went their separate ways.

Entrapment is a complete defense in some criminal cases. A person will be said to have been entrapped if a law enforcement officer engaged in conduct that would cause a normally law abiding citizen to commit a crime. The definition of entrapment may seem fairly straightforward, but in actuality it is a lot more complex in it’s application.

Entrapment will be a successful defense when there is pressure, harassment or fraud applied by the law enforcement officer. Anything less than that will not be considered entrapment. The definition of what constitutes enough pressure or harassment is subjective, and therefore is open to many different interpretations. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has handled many entrapment defenses and can determine whether a specific case has a strong or weak entrapment defense.

One of the biggest elements that will distinguish a valid entrapment defense from what is not entrapment is the element of predisposition. If a person is predisposed, has the inclination to engage in certain kinds of behavior, there is a weak argument in favor of entrapment. The Supreme Court ruling in Mathew v. United States (485 U.S. 58 (1988)) determined that entrapment will only be successful in cases where there is a lack of predisposition on behalf of the person being charged. If the government can establish that the person trying the entrapment defense was predisposed to commit the unlawful act then he or she will not be able to use the defense successfully. It won’t be entrapment when the person is already willing to commit a crime and the law enforcement officer merely provides the opportunity to do so.

When a person is charged with Prostitution, a commonly used defense is entrapment. An entrapment defense will be successful when it can be proven that law enforcement engaged in behavior that would cause an otherwise law abiding citizen to engage in an unlawful act. If it is shown that a law enforcement officer pressured or persuaded a person to engage in prostitution, there is a strong defense in favor of the person charged and will lead to a dismissal of the case.

The legislation defines prostitution as a lewd act between persons for money or other consideration. California Penal Code § 647 (b) punishes those that solicit, agree to participate, or participate in prostitution. Therefore, if a person is pressured or coerced by a law enforcement officer to engage in prostitution they will have a valid entrapment defense. However, if there is no fraud or pressure and it can be proven that they have a predisposition to engage in prostitution the entrapment defense will not be valid. The prosecutor will demonstrate that a person has the predisposition to commit a crime through the use of any existing criminal record and proof of character. Predisposition to commit an unlawful act will strongly weaken an entrapment defense.

For example, let’s say that Person A has nothing on their criminal record besides a lot of parking tickets on their record and cannot afford to pay them. Additionally, she is not known by friends and family to be of a promiscuous nature. An officer contacts Person A and asks her if she would like for him to make the tickets disappear, and all she has to do is come over to his home and engage in some activities with him. Person A says no. The officer continues to call her asking for the same, and eventually tells her that he will make sure that due to the huge amount of unpaid tickets, he will make sure that she not only owes steep fines, but will serve jail time as well. Person A, terrified at the idea and scared agrees and engages in unlawful conduct that results in a charge of prostitution.

Entrapment is a full defense that is common to certain types of criminal cases. Among these are drug sales cases, prostitution and charges of lewd conduct. Depending on the specific facts of the case, as well as the individual’s background, the defense may be successful and will result in a dismissal.

One of the types of charges where Entrapment is argued often is in drug sales. The typical case will involve an undercover officer who asks to buy drugs from a known dealer. The dealer sells drugs to the officer and is arrested and charged with a violation of the California Health and Safety Code § 11352. §11352 makes it unlawful for any person to be transporting or selling a controlled substance.

The defense will only be successful if the person was coerced or pressured into selling the controlled substance to the officer. It must be more than a suggestion, it must be enough to make reasonable person feel that they cannot refuse but do as the officer asks. If the person is predisposed to selling drugs then the entrapment defense will not work. The prosecutor will demonstrate that a person has the predisposition to commit a crime through the use of any existing criminal record and proof of character.

Many of our clients ask us about a letter they receive shortly after having been charged with shoplifting from the merchant. This letter often comes from the store asking for money to be paid in an attempt to recoup their losses.

Under California Penal Code §490 (b) and (c) the merchant who has allegedly been stolen from has the right to seek civil remedies against the person. They may demand anywhere between $50 to $500 in civil liability, as well as the cost of the item stolen. However, there must be a loss. If the item stolen was recovered, then the merchant has no right to seek compensation for the losses, since the item was returned.

The Civil Demand letter is something is concerned with Civil liability, not criminal. If there are any issues or debate over the amount being asked for, or liability itself, it is a matter for civil court. Civil court is a matter between the injured party and the one being accused, whereas criminal court is a matter between the state government and the person being accused.

The United States Constitution, under the Fourth Amendment, gives each person the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure. If evidence is gathered as the product of an unreasonable search and seizure, then that evidence will not be admissible by prosecution during the criminal case.

The most common question our clients have is in regards to drugs that are found via a search of their vehicle or home. There must be a reasonable suspicion before an officer can check a person’s vehicle or home for drugs. For example, if a person is driving a vehicle and is stopped for a broken taillight, does the officer have a right to search the vehicle for marijuana possession?

The officer may not search the vehicle unless he has a reason to believe that there may be marijuana in the car. Such reasons include if the officer smells the marijuana in the car, or if he sees that the person looks like he or she has been smoking, or they observe something that leads to a strong belief that there is marijuana in the car.

When a person is charged with a crime, they are often taken into custody. In order to be released, they have to pay a bail amount. A bond hearing may be requested during the first criminal court appearance to reduce the bail, however, the person must remain in custody until their first court date.

Because the bail amount is usually a lot more than can be afforded by any one person, there are bail bondsmen that can help you out. A bail bondsman will pay the bail for you, and will ask you for 8 to 10% of the amount as a fee for their services. Some bail bondsmen ask for some property in the state where the person is arrested as collateral if they feel it is necessary.

There are many bail bondsmen located in your area, and you will see many standing outside of the jail handing out cards and offering you the best rate. So then how do you know which one to trust? There are some companies that will take a long amount of time before they can get your loved one released. They ask for lots of personal information, including bank account information and social security number before they say they can help you. It is difficult to determine whether the company you choose is trustworthy and will get you the results that you want.

When a person has been taken into custody for a criminal violation, there will be a monetary bail amount set. The bail amount must be paid in order for the person to be released from custody. This amount serves as collateral, that the person will make all required appearances in court and will not get into any further trouble until their case has been closed, and if found guilty, a sentence has been ordered.

The important issues are considered by the Judge; whether the person is a flight risk, and whether this person would be a harm to society. If either is found to be a significant concern for a person, the bail will likely be denied, or it will be set very high.

There are several factors that can be stressed to prove to the court that a person is not a flight risk. The court wants to be certain that if a person is released from custody, they will uphold their obligations to the court and appear on scheduled dates and follow court orders. A knowledgeable San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney might show that they have lots of contacts in the area that would make them unlikely to leave. This would include things like family that they live with and have close by. The larger the family, and the closer their ties to them, the stronger the argument would be that they are less likely to leave. Additionally, if the person has a steady job that they have been at for an extensive period of time, it shows commitment and dedication, especially if they hold a higher position within that job. This makes it unlikely that they would leave a steady job and income. The Judge may also consider if they are a notable person in the community, do they volunteer or are they active in difference organizations that shows they are tied to their community.

When a person has been arrested and taken into custody for an alleged criminal violation, a bail amount is set. A bail amount is a monetary amount set by the court that can be paid in exchange for a person to be released from custody.

If a person has not been released from custody before their first appearance in court, known as the arraignment, a bond hearing can also be requested. The Judge will hear a bond hearing, at the same time as the arraignment. The purpose of the bond hearing is to present an argument asking the criminal Judge to reduce the amount set for bail. In cases where there is no bail set, the person charged may present evidence and an argument that will convince the Judge to allow bail.

The Judge will take into consideration two very important issues when determining the amount set for bail. They will look into whether the person is a flight risk and whether they are a danger to society. If it seems like either or both issues will be a problem, the Judge will oftentimes deny the person bail. A powerful argument can be made by providing the court with evidence that goes to show that the person is neither a flight risk nor a danger to society.

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