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AWhat is Entrapment? An affirmative defense is a legal argument that is raised by the defendant.  The basic premise of an affirmative defense is that even if all the elements of the crime have been proved by the prosecution, the defendant is still not guilty because of the affirmative defense.  There are different types of...
AWhat is a Necessity Defense? An affirmative defense is a legal argument that is raised by the defendant.  The basic premise of an affirmative defense is that even if all the elements of the crime have been proved by the prosecution, the defendant is still not guilty because of the affirmative defense.  There are different...
AMany defendants wonder what a background check will reveal in cases an arrest occurred but charges were never filed or in cases that were dismissed or expunged.  First, keep in mind that once a person is arrested or charged with a crime, that information goes on their RAP sheet.  However, RAP sheets are confidential documents...
ADefendants have the right to bail in all criminal offenses, except capital offenses, pursuant to Penal Code sections 1270.5 and 1271.  Specifically, Penal Code section 1270.5 states “ A defendant charged with an offense punishable with death cannot be admitted to bail, when the proof of his or her guilt is evidence or the presumption...
ACalifornia Criminal Procedure Arraignment The first stage of a criminal case is the arraignment. This is the very first appearance in court, where a defendant officially learns what the charges are. The charges are listed in a document called the “complaint”. Bail conditions and amount are often set at the arraignment. The defendant is given...
AWhat is Custody Credit? When a defendant is sentenced to custody in county jail, he receives credit for good behavior, pursuant to Penal Code section 4019.  For a long time, a defendant received 2 days of credit for every 4 days of actual custody.  That meant if a defendant spent 8 days of actual time...
AOn June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would not deport certain undocumented persons (aka illegal aliens) who entered the US as children.  The undocumented persons who would receive this benefit are the same people who were the subject of the controversial DREAM act.  The DREAM act was a proposed law that would...
ADeportation and Denial of Admission (Inadmissibility) When a non-citizen is convicted of a crime in California, the conviction can result in immigration consequences.  The two types of immigration consequences are deportation and denial of admission or inadmissibility.  Deportation is the forced removal of the individual from our country.   If a defendant were convicted of a...
ACalifornia District Attorneys In every criminal case, there is a government agency that exists to prosecute the Defendant. In state courts, the vast majority of crimes are prosecuted by District Attorney offices. There are a few places where misdemeanor crimes are prosecuted by the local city attorney`s office. In those places, the City Attorney`s office...
ACertain vehicle code offenses carry points with the DMV.  Many infractions such as speeding or unsafe lane change can carry one point.  There are some offenses, mostly misdemeanors and felonies, that are two point violations.  California Vehicle Code section 12810 specifies which crimes result in a two point violation.  The following crimes all require a...
AAggravated White Collar Enhancement Attorney Pursuant to Penal Code section 186.11, any person who is convicted of two or more fraud-related or embezzlement-related felonies, in a single prosecution, that result in a loss of more than $100,000 shall be punished with an additional consecutive imprisonment.  This enhancement is known as the aggravated while collar enhancement....
AFirearm Enhancement Attorney Penal Code section 12022.53, commonly known as the Gun Enhancement or Firearm Enhancement, can increase a sentence if a firearm was used during the commission of the offense.   This enhancement can only applied to certain felonies, which include: — Murder, Penal Code section 187 — Mayhem, Penal Code section 203 or 205...
AGang Enhancement Attorney Penal Code section 186.22, also known as the Gang Enhancement, adds additional penalties to gang members who commit crimes.  Penal Code section 186.22(a) penalizes gang members who willfully “promotes, furthers or assists felonious conduct” by other gang members.  Penal Code section 186.22(a) is a wobbler.   If the court grants probation to a...
AGreat Bodily Injury Enhancement Attorney One of the most common enhancements is the Great Bodily Injury enhancement, pursuant to Penal Code section 12022.7.  Great Bodily Injury is defined as a significant or substantial bodily injury.  There are two types of GBI enhancements.  Penal Code section 12022.7(a) and (b) apply depending on the extent of the...
AAn enhancement is a special allegation that the District Attorney’s office can add onto a felony charge that adds additional prison time to the base term of a felony.   Enhancements do not apply to misdemeanors.  While a defendant can be found “guilty” or “not guilty” of the underlying felony, an enhancement is either “admitted” or...
ACriminal cases may have affect a student’s ability to qualify for or maintain federal aid for school.  Federal Student Aid is governed by the US Department of Education.  The Department of Education restricts the ability of some people to qualify for and keep their student loans or grants depending on their criminal status.  For more...
AIn any criminal case, a defendant has the right to have a jury trial where 12 people must unanimously find him “guilty” before he can be convicted of a charge.  If the 12 jurors unanimously find him “not guilty”, then the defendant is acquitted.  However, iif there is a split in the votes (also known...
AMost Sheriff Offices in Southern California no longer honor requests by ICE to hold a defendant beyond their original custody commitment. In the past, if a noncitizen defendant was in custody, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could request the Sheriff’s Office to place a hold on that defenant, preventing the defendant from being released,...
AIntent All crimes in California require that the defendant have an intent to commit the crime.  If you a defendant accidentally does something, he is not criminally liable.  For example, if a person is walking through a park and they accidentally bump into someone, that’s not a battery.  The contact was accidental. General Intent Most...
ACalifornia License Suspenion Attorney: There are certain types of crimes whereby a conviction may or shall result in a driver’s licence conviction.  These crimes include vandalism and drug offenses. Vandalism: California Vehicle Code section 13202.6(a) requires a driver’s license suspension for up to two years for any person who is convicted of a violation of...
ACalifornia License Suspension Attorney Vehicle Code section 13202.5 requires the DMV to suspend the driver’s license of an underage defendant who commits certain crimes.  An underage defendant is someone who at least 13 years old, but under the age of 21.  The most common crimes that require a one year suspension are: Business & Professions...
APenal Code section 1001.94 established a deferral of sentencing program for a variety of first-time misdemeanor offenses in Los Angeles County.  This is a pilot program which means that it’s an experimental program only available in Los Angeles County and only available until January 1, 2018.  It is possible that the deferral of sentencing program...
AIn November 2008, the voters of California a Victim’s Bill of Rights commonly known as Marsy’s Law.  The law amends the California Constitution to afford more rights to victims of crimes.  The law was named after Marsy Nicholas, a UC Santa Barbara student, who was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.  The driving...
AWhat is Megan’s Law? Megan’s Law is named after seven year old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a registered sex offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge.  In the wake of this tragedy, state legislatures enacted laws that require information about known...
ACrimes of Moral Turpitude Attorney What is a crime of moral turpitude? Crimes of moral turpitude are crimes that tend to show a person’s dishonesty or their “readiness to do evil”.  Typical crimes of moral turpitude that show dishonesty include theft, burglary, forgery, check fraud.  Crimes of moral turpitude that show a “readiness to do...
ANIK stands for Narcotic Identification Kit.  The NIK test is a presumptive test that allows law enforcement officers to quickly identify illegal drugs and/or controlled substances.   Police officers begin the identification process with a general test, but then can identify popular drugs through a series of different tests.  Common drugs that can be identified by...
AIn October 2011, several new criminal laws in California were passed, collectively known as the Realignment.  Amongst these new laws was the enactment of Penal Code section 1170(h) which mandates that certain felons sentenced to prison will serve their time in county jails as opposed to state prisons.  The crime itself will specify whether it...
APenal Code section 666: Petty Theft with a Prior If a person is charged with petty theft and they have a prior theft related conviction, then, depending on the circumstances, the new petty theft conviction can be charged as a felony.  Pursuant to Penal Code section 666(a), petty theft is a wobbler and can be...
ACalifornia Preliminary Hearing Attorney In all felony cases, the Defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing (aka “prelim”) is like a mini-trial. The District Attorney`s office is required to put forth evidence (usually through witness testimony) to prove that the Defendant committed the crime(s) in question. However, there are some big differences...
AThe Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, commonly known as Prop 57, passed in November of 2016. The three main parts to the law are (1) affecting how juveniles are prosecuted, (2) affecting when adult prison inmates are eligible for parole and (3) affecting how adult prison inmates can behavior credits in prison. Different...
AProposition 47 is a recent law that went into effect November 6, 2014.  Proposition 47 reduces penalties for drug possession and other nonviolent crimes.  Under this measure, all crimes for drug possession that were previously felonies are now downgraded to misdemeanors.  Prop 47 applies to crimes that involve simple possession; drug sales or possession for...
ACalifornia Public Defenders Every person is entitled to an attorney to represent them when facing criminal charges. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint the Public Defender`s office to represent you. Public Defenders are trained criminal attorneys, just like private criminal defense attorneys. Many public defenders are intelligent, hard-working and caring people....
AEvery criminal defendant has the right to a speedy trial.  However, some situations arise where a defendant is charged with a crime but is never made aware of the fact that charges have been filed against them.  If the prosecution files charges against a defendant but never lets the defendant know that charges have been...
AStandards of Evidence In any type of legal case, there are different standards of evidence by which the case is proved.   The different standards are: preponderance of the evidence; clear and convincing evidence; beyond a reasonable doubt. Preponderance of the Evidence Preponderance of the evidence is the lowest standard of proof.  It requires that the...
ACalifornia Statute of Limitations Attorney The statute of limitations is a limit as to the time that the District Attorney`s office can file charges on a case. The statute of limitations usually depends on the maximum punishment allowed.  In felony cases, the statute of limitations varies depending mainly on the maximum punishment of the crime....
ACalifornia Three Strikes Lawyer California has enacted a “Three Strikes Law” designed to punish repeat offenders.  The law designates certain felonies as “strikes”.  A strike is a serious or violent felony, as defined by Penal Code sections 667.5 and 1192.7.  The law increases penalties if defendants have strikes on their record.  “Three Strikes” is actually...
AA DUI conviction in California (or in any other state) will prevent travel to Canada.  Anybody with a DUI conviction is deemed “criminally inadmissible”.   Canadian authorities are quite strict about who is allowed to enter the country and even lesser-DUI related charges, such as a “wet and reckless” will count as a DUI conviction.  It...
ATypes of Crimes – Infraction, Misdemeanor, Felony An infraction is defined as a crime for which you cannot go to jail. Most traffic tickets are infractions. If you are charged with an infraction, you can usually represent yourself in traffic court. If you are charged with an infraction, you are NOT entitled to the use...
ASouthern California Warrant Attorney A warrant is a court document that authorizes the arrest of a person. All warrants have to be signed by a judge. There are two types of warrants — arrest warrants and bench warrants. An arrest warrant is requested by a law enforcement agency and/or the District Attorney`s office when they...
AWobbler Overview A wobbler is any crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  Common wobbler charges include: *  Penal Code section 245(a)(1) – assault with a deadly weapon *  Penal Code section 273a(a) – child endangerment where GBI can occur *  Penal Code section 273d(a) – child abuse *  Penal...

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