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What is Child Abduction (Penal Code § 278)?

Are you or someone you know being charged with a violation of Penal Code § 278, child abduction?  What must the prosecutor show to prove this?  What are the defenses?  If convicted, what does one fae in punishment?  Can this happen if both parents have joint custody of the child?  To read answers to these questions, please click on the following link.

Juvenile Who Stole and Totaled Car Must Pay Restitution Including the Interest on Car Loan

We have all heard of a teenager who joyrides a car and totals it. Hopefully, the reader of this post does not have personal experience with this, especially if he or she was the car owner.  If, however, this does happen, does the juvenile have to pay the interest on the car loan?  If so, why?  Click on the following article to read a summary of a published decision that addressed this issue.

What is Kidnapping and Aggravated Kidnapping?

Here in the United States, we rarely see kidnapping in the context of kidnapping for ransom like in other countries or in movies.  However, kidnapping often is charged in the context of child custody disputes, domestic violence where a victim in moved some distrance or even in sex crimes that take place in a car that may move even a short distance.  What then is aggravated kidnapping?  For answers to this question and more information about these two crimes, click here.

DUI Conviction Upheld Based on Ambien-Induced “Sleep Driving”

There is a basic principal in the law that to be convicted of a crime, one must have a criminal intent or reckless disregard for the consequences in committing some type of act.  For example, it is not a crime to hurt someone due to a muscle spasm that causes one’s leg to move rapidly.  However, if one voluntarily puts oneself into such a condition, the conduct that results becomes less involuntary, especially if it is foreseeable.  Click on the following article to read how this was applied to abien-induced “sleep-driving”.

Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction Upheld For Father Who Injured Son Eight Years Earlier

It is difficult to understand how someone can be charged with manslaughter when the victim does not die for eight years after defendant does something that allegedly causes the death.  The justice department, for example, considered charging John Hinckley with murder of James Brady for Baker’s death 33 yeares after Hinckley shot Baker, but the Justice Department decided against filign such charges.  Read about a case, however, where such charges were filed and a conviction results for injuries inflicted eight years earlier.

When Must a Juvenile Be Sentenced to a Juvenile Facility?

In certain crimes committed by a juvenile, there is a question of whether the serious nature of the offense merits harsher treatment than is typically associated with juvenile court, where the emphasis is on rehabilitation of youthful offenders.  When must such a case stay in juvenile court?  When can it be transferred to adult court?  What factors are considered?  Click on the following link to find out.

In Juvenile Vandalism Case Involving Graffiti, May Restitution Include Investigation Costs?

It is quite common, in our experience to see restitution estimates that deserve a close, second look.  This is particularly true in vandalism cases involving graffiti, when a city is a “victim.”  We have seen a $650 estimate to cover over a very small painted word and realized $620 of the estimate is for city anti-graffiti programs.  The following case exemplifies the personal experiences we have had and is a good reminder to question everything.

Can an Out of State Conviction Count as a Strike under California’s Three Strike Law?

It can come as quite a surprise to some that a conviction in another state can count as a “Strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law. Indeed, when we ask potential clients if they have any prior record, we often hear, “yes, but it was in another state,” implying that it cannot be used against them because it was not in California.  For those who may have suffered a conviction outside California for a serious offense, the following article describes why this can still constitute a “Strike” here.

Confession Is Inadmissible When Probation Officer Promised Shorter Sentence if Suspect Waived Right to an Attorney

It is understandable that probation officers want cases that are closed quickly and not dragged out by a lengthy court process.  A thorough attorney will diligently investigate the facts and the related legal issues, but it does take time.  It is much easier for a probation officer if a suspect simply confesses or admits conduct.  The temptation to elicit such an admission or confession caused one probation officer to promise a shorter sentence as an incentive if the suspect waived his right to an attorney?  Can a probation officer even sentence someone? Is such a promise illegal?  Click on the following link to find out.

Operator of Medical Marijuana Collective is Entitled to Assert Defense under Prop 215 and the MMPA

Proposition 215 is a widely misunderstood law in California.  It was certainly originated as a defense for individuals in possession of a medical recommendation for use of marijuana.  Can it be used by someone trying to sell marijuana, if the quantity is within certain limits (i.e. not 25 kilos)?  Click on the following link to find out in a case where the operator of a medical marijuana clinic tried this.


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