Articles Posted in Sentencing

Many of our clients believe that a probation violation is a minor charge and does not require the need for a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer. This is absolutely untrue. In fact, a probation violation requires the need of a legal expert as much as, if not more, than other criminal charges because it can potentially affect future criminal proceedings.

When you have been found guilty, or have pled guilty for a criminal charge, you will be given a sentence. More often than not, part of that sentence is probation. There are two types of probation; summary probation and formal probation.

Formal probation requires that you check in with an officer and report your activities. Summary probation is informal and does not require that you check in with anybody, but that you do not get convicted or arrested for any additional crimes and that you adhere to laws and procedures. Probation orders can also have specific requirements on each individual person depending on their criminal history and the charge they have been convicted of.

California has it all, good weather, great mountains, and lots of things to see and do. It is a popular tourist destination. But what happens when you are visiting the Golden State and are charged and convicted with a criminal offense? What happens if you are sentenced to minimal jail time in California, or are ordered to complete rehabilitation classes in California? It hardly makes sense that you move to California for that time period or commute to weekly classes.

It is important to understand that this is something that happens quite often, but it is not a hopeless situation. You are given the same rights to argue and defend yourself against a criminal charge whether you live in the state or not. You are not forced to immediately plead guilty without a chance to be heard so that your case is completed sooner rather than later.

A Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has the authority to appear without you in Court on your behalf. The attorney is authorized to negotiate, enter a plea and request additional continuances or hearings on your behalf.

When you have been arrested and charged with a crime in San Diego, that does not mean you are guilty of unlawful activity. It merely means that you have been suspected of violating a California law, and will be tried before a Judge in a Court of law to determine whether you are actually guilty or not.

A person will only be convicted once the government has proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the person being charged did in fact commit the crime. Once the person has been tried, and found guilty, a sentence will be imposed.

Sentencing is not a black and white standard. Not all crimes deserve the same punishment and therefore, the legislative provides a range of possible sentences. For example, let’s consider an assault charge by comparing two different scenarios.

Under California Penal Code § 594, it is unlawful for a person to maliciously deface with graffiti or other inscribed material, or cause to damage or destroy any real or personal property that is not his or her own.

Let’s consider two examples. In the first scenario, Dan goes out at night and uses spray paint to write on a wall at the public park. He is caught by officers and arrested, eventually being charged with Vandalism.

In contrast, David goes out to his backyard at night and takes a crowbar to the gate connecting his house to the field behind his house.

California Vehicle Code §4461(a) makes it unlawful to use a handicapped placard fraudulently. There are generally several different acts that would be punishable under this code section.

The first is if a person who has been authorized to use a handicapped placard lends it to another who is not authorized for its use. Additionally, a handicapped person shall not knowingly allow the use of the handicapped placard by another that is not authorized for its use.

The relevant code section has outlined the potential range of consequences if a person is convicted for allowing the use of an unauthorized handicapped placard. They could be penalized under a civil penalty of anywhere between $250 to $1000 and may also be charged as a misdemeanor with a fine between $250 and $1000 and/or imprisonment in County Jail anywhere up to six months.

California Penal Code §211 makes it unlawful for any person to take personal property that is in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by force or fear.

Several different elements must be met before a person can be convicted of robbery.

One element is that the personal property must be in the possession of another. The person from whom the property is stolen must have actual possession of the item.

A person who is charged under California Penal Code §647(f) is charged with Drunk and Disorderly conduct. For a person to be convicted under this section, the government must demonstrate that the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the requisite elements. The person must be willfully intoxicated, they must be in a public place, and they must be a harm to themselves and others, or be obstructing the public walkway in one way or another.

The specific code section does not provide a range of potential consequences, so those of a general misdemeanor will apply. For misdemeanor charges the potential sentence is up to one year of informal probation, a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in County Jail.

Informal probation is probation that is not supervised. You do not have to check in with a probation officer. You are simply asked to stay out of trouble for the time that you are under probation, or a probation violation will arise, and may lead to additional penalties added onto the current sentence being served.

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.

There are two types of charges involving a spouse in domestic violence. One is charged as a felony domestic violence and involves bodily injury resulting a traumatic condition (California Penal Code 273.5), and the other is a misdemeanor battery against a spouse (California Penal Code 243(e)(1)).

The final sentence for your case will fall along a spectrum that has been established by legislation. This range will differ based on the Penal Code section under which you have been charged, along with varying factors that comprise your background and the facts of your case. A person charged under California Penal Code 273.5, a felony, may be sentenced anywhere up to a year in county jail, 2 – 4 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $6,000. In contrast, those charged under CPC 243(e)(1), a misdemeanor, may be charged with up to a year in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000.

Potential consequences for your case will depend on several different factors. Prosecution will consider you criminal background, relationship history as well as the specific facts of your case before proposing a final sentence to the Judge. There is a great amount of subjectivity open to argument and debate. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has developed a solid reputation among the prosecutors and Judges in Los Angeles. It is through this knowledge that they are able to prepare a influential argument that will ensure your final sentence falls along the lower end of the spectrum and helps you avoid serving and jail time!

When a Juvenile case is presented before the Criminal Judge, the factors considered are different from those in an Adult case when deciding upon the appropriate sentence. For A juvenile case, the biggest concern is to reform the individual and prevent them from becoming a part of the criminal system in the future. They want to educate and deter the juvenile and break any habits that may be forming, before they become an adult.

With those goals in mind the Judge considers many different aspects of a youth’s background. They look at how often the child skips or is late to school and what their grades are. If the child’s grades are high, then they might be getting bored in school and will look to provide more of a challenge so that the child remains engaged with the tasks they are given. Additionally, they will look at the company the child keeps. Who are they hanging out with? Who do they associate themselves with and what kind of habits do these kids have?

Another factor considered that differs from an adult criminal case is family background. The Judge will look at the home life of the child and in many cases may determine that the child needs to be separated from the home if he or she feels that the environment at home is negative or conducive to bad habits. Is there alcoholism or substance abuse? If there is, it may lead the Judge to conclude that the kid has a negative influence from the parents and could be reformed if he was given positive attributes and examples to follow.

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