Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Many of our clients believe that a marijuana possession charge is the same as being charged while driving. This in fact, is not the case. Marijuana possession (less than one ounce) is made unlawful by California Penal Code §11357(b), however, having marijuana in a person’s possession (less than an ounce) while driving is made illegal by California Vehicle code §23222(b).

Both charges have traditionally been filed as misdemeanors, however, as of January 2011, possession of marijuana under one ounce is now charged as an infraction, whereas VC §23222(b) remains a misdemeanor. Regardless of which section a person is charged under, they will likely be penalized with a fine and possibly community service, unless they have a criminal history. Whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction will have a significant impact on a person’s criminal record. An infraction is treated similar to a citation, and does not go on a person’s permanent criminal record. A misdemeanor remains on a person’s record until it is properly expunged.

There are several defenses available to a person who has been charged with marijuana possession while driving. If you hold a valid Medical Marijuana Prescription, the charge may be dismissed if the marijuana was properly placed in a legally allowed location in the car and was under the allotted amount.

On April 16, 2011, actor Nicholas Cage was arrested by officers when he was involved in a violent argument with his wife of six years in New Orleans. Additionally, when approached by officers, he refused to cooperate and taunted officers to go ahead and arrest him, which they did and charged him with an additional Disturbing the Peace.

Disturbing the Peace in California is charged under California Penal Code §415 and is referred to as a “wobbler”. A “wobbler” is a charge that can be charged as an infraction, misdemeanor or felony, depending on the facts of the case. A Disturbing the Peace charge can be filed as either an infraction or a misdemeanor.

Penal Code §415 is broken down into difference sections based on the actions that led to a disturbance including; disturbing the peace caused by unlawful fighting, unreasonable noise, and fighting words. A San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney is knowledgeable in the different defenses available to a person who is charged under PC §415. They may be able to argue that there was no intent to disturb the peace, or that they were not the ones causing the disturbance. Furthermore, if a person is engaged in a constitutionally protected activity, such as a peaceful protest, they are protected from being charged with disturbing the peace.

Anyone who has ever watched a courtroom drama unfold on television has often come away with the impression that the judge is the most powerful and influential player in the ultimate outcome of a DUI or other Criminal case. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, it is not the judge, but the prosecutor who in most circumstances can make a significant difference between whether a case is successfully resolved through a plea bargain. Every defendant, or person charged with a DUI or Criminal charge has a choice to either work out a negotiated settlement, or have their day in court by exercising their constitutional right to have a jury trial.

In a typical case, a person is represented by an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney who reviews all of the evidence contained in the arrest reports with his client, both evaluating all of the positive evidence in his client’s defense, as well as considering all negative evidence and witnesses against his client. Once this has been done, one must evaluate its clients story, which includes all exculpatory evidence and witnesses which can show the factual weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

When a person is asked by the Court to appear on a certain date, it is extremely important that they adhere to the request. If it is absolutely implausible for them to be able to make the scheduled hearing, they must take steps to inform the court or to change the date.

When the scheduled appearance is missed, a Bench Warrant is issued on the person who failed to appear. A Bench Warrant is an order made by the Judge that allows law enforcement to pick up the person and bring them before the Judge to explain their failure to appear. This allows police to bring you into court if you are pulled over for any routine stop, and give them the right to come to your house and take you to court.

A failure to appear can become a serious issue, if not taken care of right away. It not only gives off a negative impression of a person, but also causes unnecessary hassle in your life.

Section 594 of the California Penal Code makes it illegal to destroy or damage personal property. This offense is typically a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail.This one small section of sanctioned criminal offenses covers hundreds of variations of conduct which results in damage to personal property.

Damage can he give me caused by an intentional or negligent act. Examples of conduct is putting graffiti on public property, puncturing someones car tires, setting off a false fire alarm in a hotel causing fire sprinklers to turn on causing damage to the hotel’s lobby, kicking out the window of a police car by an angry suspect taken into custody, damage to a house as the result of a fraternity prank or throwing a person’s cell phone in the ocean by an angry loved one.. These examples are only a few of the conduct giving rise to a prosecution for malicious mischief.

The potential penalties for violation of this code section include probation, as well as fines, and possible jail time for more serious violations resulting in substantial damage to property. An important part of a sentence for one convicted, is restitution. Restitution, is the requirement that somebody reimburse the victim of the damage for any out-of-pocket expense associated with restoring or replacing the damaged property to its original condition.

Actress Lindsay Lohan appeared before the Judge in Los Angeles on February 9, 2011 regarding her Grand Theft case. Lohan is being charged with allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace from a local jeweler. The 24 year old claims the necklace was lent to her by the store.

Lohan is considering the possibility of a plea bargain in exchange for no jail time. In a plea bargain, you are asked to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced charge, or sentence. You do not have the option to plead not guilty, or no contest.

A plea bargain is often an option for everyone in a Los Angeles Grand Theft case. However, it may not always be the best choice. If you have a strong case against Prosecution, you might want to argue the case, rather than accept a plea of guilty. A Los Angeles Grand Theft attorney can guide you by explaining to you the strength of your case and possible defenses. Then you can make an informed decision.

Lindsay Lohan is being accused of stealing a $2,500 necklace from a store in Venice Beach. Investigators claim they have surveillance footage of the 24 year old actress wearing the necklace inside the store shortly before it was discovered missing. A search warrant was obtained to search Lohan’s home, but the necklace was returned by an associate before authorities got a chance to present the warrant. Sources of the actress defend that she was lent the necklace and her assistant failed to return it on time.

Theft is defined as the unlawful stealing, taking, or carrying away of the personal property of another. When the item in question is valued over $950, it is considered Grand Theft and is regulated by California Penal Code §487. If charged, Lohan could potentially be facing a Grand Theft conviction.

Grand theft in the state of California is a wobbler. A wobbler is a charge that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on several factors. Prosecution will look at your criminal history and the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

A city attorney hearing can be a very valuable opportunity for a client and his attorney to present mitigating testimony and even evidence at an informal hearing before a city prosecutor, instead of a judge. Not all judicial districts, and their prosecutors use these type of hearings to screen out certain types of cases from formal court proceedings.

Our law firm frequently request, prior to formal charges being filed, that the city attorney’s office schedule such a hearing were all parties and witnesses convene with a single prosecutor to preview the relative strength or weakness of the evidence, before deciding whether to file formal criminal charges. At these hearings, all favorable evidence and witnesses can be brought out to show a more favorable side to our clients story. These proceedings are not bound by the numerous rules of courtroom evidence, or other restrictions. These fact finding sessions allow our clients to be seen in the most favorable light, and can be viewed as real people, instead of just been a case number.

Mitigation, which is a legal term meaning to soften or lessen the outward appearance of certain facts, allow the prosecutor to understand the state of mind of our clients, as well as feel their remorse for the conduct that may have landed them in this less than positive situation with the law.

Although Juvenile court is structured differently from adult criminal court, it is a good idea to have an experienced California Criminal Defense attorney who is knowledgeable on the process of the juvenile court system and familiar with the Judges and Prosecutors.

Regardless of which court you are being tried in, you want to protect your Constitutional rights and want to obtain the best possible results for your case with minimal or no jail time. Juvenile court, in comparison to adult criminal court, emphasizes rehabilitation and treatment, not punishment. The goal is to help change the life path of the youth and hope that they make better decisions in the years to come. It is also to provide strong guidance and direction to a youth who is otherwise lost or in need of a positive influence. This goal can be achieved in many different ways, and is specific to each individual, not set by legislation.

Because the goal is to seek positive change, the final sentence given by a Judge is open to negotiation and leniency. Consequently, an attorney who has handled thousands of California juvenile cases knows exactly how to present the strengths of the case as well as the youth to obtain desirable results by all parties involved.

Experience provides an individual with the expertise necessary to carry out a task successfully, being able to account for possible obstacles from previous incidents and to move forward efficiently and with the ease of having completed that task on numerous prior occasions. Although the term may be used universally, it wholly applies to the practice of Criminal Defense.

Experience adds a fundamental element to a knowledgeable San Diego Criminal Defense attorney’s representation. The attorney has tried thousands of cases similar to yours and knows which arguments are effective and powerful and which are less so. He or she is well versed in the complexities of the Penal code and can immediately tell you your options, defenses and potential consequences based on the specific facts of your case.

Furthermore an experienced San Diego Criminal Defense attorney will be familiar with the courts in your area, as well as the Judges and Prosecutors. Consequently, the lawyer you hire will be familiar with which arguments certain prosecutors use and what defenses and sentences Judges prefer. Knowing beforehand what to expect allows the attorney to better prepare a powerful argument on your behalf so that you are sure to get the results you desire!

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