Criminal Defense

Recent Posts in Criminal Defense Category

  • Maximum Jail Sentences for Misdemeanors

    What Is the Maximum Sentence? California recognizes three categories of criminal offenses : infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are the least serious and aren’t considered true criminal convictions. Many infractions are simple traffic citations and are punishable by nothing more than a fine. Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions and considered criminal convictions. ...
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  • How a California Conviction Can Affect Your Medical License

    Conduct On and Off the Job Medical professionals in California are held to high standards. Not only do licensed medical professional need to be at their best on the job, but they also need to be mindful of their conduct off the job as well. Medical professionals have to abide by a code of ethics whether they are treating a patient or not. In our society, we often look to physicians and other ...
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  • Criminal Traffic Violations

    Infractions vs. Criminal Convictions Not all traffic tickets are created equal. Traffic citations (i.e. tickets) can vary in seriousness from simple “fix-it” tickets for non-moving violations to criminal traffic violations for offenses such as driving under the influence or reckless driving. And, as you might assume, the consequences for traffic citations can vary quite a bit as well. For some ...
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  • Reckless Driving and Your Commercial License

    Commercial drivers in California are held to higher standards than non-commercial drivers are, both on and off-duty. A commercial driver’s entire career can be on the line if he or she does not drive safely at all times. Unfortunately, they face an increased risk of committing traffic offenses due to the sheer amount of time these drivers put in behind the wheel and the challenges they face on the ...
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  • Witness Testimony and DMV Administrative Hearings

    Defending Yourself at the DMV If you are facing DUI charges, you will be involved in two separate proceedings: the criminal court process and the DMV administrative process. The DMV is only concerned with your driving privileges. As a DUI defendant, you have a right to request an administrative hearing from the DMV. At this hearing, you will have the chance to challenge the DMV’s decision to ...
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  • DMV Proceedings and Your Rights

    Your Legal Rights According to both the state and federal constitution, you have a right to due process of the law . That right applies to both criminal and civil court and administrative systems, such as the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV must provide a hearing before taking action against your driving privilege, just as you have a right to a hearing before you are convicted in ...
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  • Low-Income Housing and Criminal Backgrounds in California

    The Far-Reaching Consequences of a Criminal Conviction Among the many consequences of a criminal conviction in California, difficulty finding rental housing is perhaps one of the most disruptive. Your options for rental housing in California can be limited by your criminal background, and this is even truer when it comes to low-income (i.e. public) housing. If you are one of the hundreds of ...
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  • Is My Criminal Record Publically Available?

    Is Your Private Business Public? In the interest of public safety and transparency in the court system, many court records, including records of criminal convictions , are part of the public record . To make matter worse, private companies compile public records from courts all over the U.S. and sell the information online. Almost anyone can run a background check through one of these companies ...
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  • Common Reasons for California License Suspensions

    It Takes Less Than You Think to Lose your License in California Driving in California is a privilege, not a right. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) oversees the driving privileges of California residents and can issue, suspend or revoke licenses. The DMV can suspend your driving privileges for many reasons, not all of which are related to driving. If your driving privileges are ...
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  • New Testing for Drugs During DUI Stops

    Changing Times Call for A New Method Public opinion on the safety of marijuana has grown in recent years, which has prompted the legalization of recreational use . Though many agree marijuana is a relatively safe substance to use, law enforcement argues recreational use is not safe when driving. Accordingly, the legalization of marijuana is cause for concern for California law enforcement, which ...
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  • What Your Criminal Record Will Show After a Dismissal

    The Before and After of Record Cleaning Cleaning your criminal record can significantly improve your chances of getting a job, housing, or a loan. But doing so is an investment in your time and money, and there are no guarantees your petition will be granted. Many people want to know exactly how a dismissed conviction will appear on their record before and after the dismissal process. This is ...
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  • Interfering With Domestic Violence Reporting

    Obstructing the Aid Response We rely on law enforcement and EMTs to help us in our time of need. Access to emergency aid is a right, but sometimes this right is violated. In domestic violence cases, in particular, it is not uncommon for the alleged abuser to attempt to prevent the alleged victim from obtaining help. An alleged abuser might commit such an offense in the heat of an argument , but, ...
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  • How to Get a Stay of Your License Suspension

    Putting Your License Suspension on Hold If you’ve received notice that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your driver license , you might be wondering what, if anything, you can do to keep your license. You might have a specified period of time before your suspension goes into effect. Take advantage of this time, and speak with an attorney. You might be able to save ...
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  • Gun Seizures: How Long Can Law Enforcement Hold Firearms?

    Reassuming Your Rights Gun violence is one of the most highly publicized crime categories in California and for a good reason. Public outcry tends to influence policy, and so there are some situations in which the government can temporarily assume control (i.e. seize) of firearms. Typically, the purpose of the seizure is to give the firearm owner time to “cool off” to mitigate the risk of violence ...
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  • Can I Get a Suspended Sentence for a Felony?

    Alternatives to Imprisonment Being convicted of a felony can change your life. A felony in California is punishable by up to three years in a county jail, up to life in prison, or the death penalty. That’s nothing to bat an eye at considering the many non-violent crimes that can be charged as felonies. Since misdemeanors are only punishable by up to a year in jail, felonies are far more serious by ...
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  • Employment Bans and Criminal Convictions

    Banned For Good When you are convicted of a crime in California, you end up with more than just a criminal record. You gain a stigmatization that will make it difficult to find a job, too. Needless to say, few employers will give an applicant with a criminal record a chance. And in certain fields, an applicant with a criminal conviction may be banned from employment indefinitely. Whether or not ...
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  • How Long Are Convictions Discoverable on Background Checks?

    Background Check Basics Today, almost anyone with a credit card and Internet access can run a background check on someone. It’s not surprising that most employers, landlords, and lenders run background checks on applicants. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, this poses a problem . Unfortunately, being denied access to a job, housing, or a loan is just one of the residual ...
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  • Understanding the California DMV Point System

    Tracking Unsafe Drivers To keep tabs on dangerous drivers, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) operates the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS). Under the NOTS, the DMV assigns points to traffic code violations that involve or affect safely operating a vehicle. These points are added to motorists’ driving records and can prompt action from the DMV. How the Point System Works ...
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  • DUI Convictions and Rideshare Driver Eligibility

    DUIs and Missed Opportunities The consequences of a California DUI conviction are far reaching. Missing out on certain employment opportunities is just one of them. Driving for rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft is an easy way to make some extra money, but a DUI conviction can jeopardize your ability to drive for one of these companies for several years to come. Currently, California ...
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  • Defining Injury in Domestic Violence Cases

    Injuries Matter In domestic violence cases, the victim’s injuries or lack thereof play a significant role in how a defendant is charged and sentenced. Because not all domestic violence victims sustain injuries, California law distinguishes between two types of domestic violence charges: spousal battery, which does not require the victim be physically injured, and corporal injury on a spouse , ...
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  • Understanding California’s New Law on Date Rape Drugs

    Increased Punishments In the midst of ongoing changes in the California Department of Justice and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, many penalties for non-violent crimes have been reduced. Penalties for offenses involving certain date rape drugs, however, have increased. Possession of date rape drugs coupled with the intent to commit a sexual assault may be charged as a felony under a ...
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  • Evidence and Your DMV Administrative Hearing

    An Administrative Review A California driver who has received notice from the DMV regarding action taken against his or her driving privileges (e.g. a suspension) may request an administrative hearing to challenge the action. Administrative hearings differ from court hearings in several ways. They are less formal, heard in front of a hearing officer rather than a judge in a courtroom, and are ...
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  • On the Hunt for a Job? What to Know About Your Juvenile Record

    Moving on From Past Mistakes When on the hunt for a job , mistakes made in your youth shouldn’t hold you back. Fortunately, there are protections in place to prohibit most California employers from considering your juvenile criminal history when making a decision on whether or not to hire you. Let’s look at the specific protections are you entitled to. As of January 1, 2017, California employers ...
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  • What Is a Habitual Traffic Offender?

    The Penalties for Points Think driving is a right? Think again. In California, driving is a privilege. And if you take advantage of that privilege, it can be suspended or revoked. If you continue to drive and accumulate more points on your driving record while your privilege is suspended or revoked, you can be designated as a habitual traffic offender. This is more than just a title. Habitual ...
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  • What Happens if a DV Witness Refuses to Testify?

    When the Key Witness Won’t Speak In domestic violence cases, the victim plays an influential role. Often, it is the victim who notifies law enforcement and provides necessary information regarding the offense. If the police decide to file a report, this commences the domestic violence case process. During this first stage in domestic violence cases, the information the victim provides is ...
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