What are the Immigration Consequences of a Plea to Criminal Threats (Penal Code § 422)?

Terrorist threats, also known in the California Penal Code as criminal threats, is a serious offense.  However, the offense can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Regardless of how it is charged, the punishment can cause the conviction to be seen as an aggravated felony for removal purposes.  To read more about this offense and considerations a defendant (and defense counsel) should make, click on the following link.



In DUI, Police Can Download Car’s Computer to Show Speed

As the reader of this post may be aware, if one is convicted of DUI while driving twenty or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit, the minimum punishment is sixty days in addition to any punishment the client may face for DUI.  This is provided for at Vehicle Code § 23582.  Must the polic have a warrant to download the data from a car’s computer to read the speed of a DUI driver? Click on the following link to read about a case where this happened.


Traffic Stop for Texting Proper When Driver Parked, Texting?

By now, late September, 2015, the law against driving while texting is well-known.  Can police cite someone for violating this law if the person is parked, but texting?  Does it matter if police observed the driver driving before parking the car?  Does it matter if the car’s ignition was on?  For answers to these questions, click on the following link.


Murder and Robbery Conviction Overturned Where Defendant Confessed in Reliance on Detective’s False Promises of Leniency

Police understand very well that lying to a scared, vulnerable suspect can be an effective investigative technique to elicit valuable information.  But what are the limits to such lying?  Are there limits to police lying?  Click on the following link to read about one case where an appellate court ruled that the detective went too far.


What is Receiving Stolen Property (Penal Code § 496)?

Ever bought something from a garage sale, consignment store, a friend or even a pawn shop that just felt slippery?  It did not feel right?  Did you suspect it was stolen property?  Do you know someone charged with this offense?  What are the the defenses?  What is the punishment?  Click on the following link to find out answers to these questions.


Restitution Award Vacated Because Calculation Not Rational

In our experience, since we have handled a significant number of civil cases involving the preponderance of the evidence burden of proof, many criminal law judges (especially those with no civil case experience) are vulnerable for ordering legally improper restitution awards.  The judges just do not have experience to understand the correct applicable burden of proof.  For a good example of where this happened, click on the following link.


Can a Conviction for Disturbing the Peace Lead to a Sentence of 25 Years to Life in State Prison?

To most people a resolution of a case for disturbing the peace is the result of a plea bargain wherein the prosecution tried to get a conviction for something serious, but there were factual problems or mitigating factors.  In other words, a disturbing the peace conviction is usually reserved for minor offenses, even infraction-level conduct.  However, if one has a prior criminal history, sentencing enhancements can boost the punishment quite a bit.  Can the punishment lead to a sentence of 25 years to life?  Click on the following link to read about such a case.


Court May Not Involuntarily Commit a Mentally Retarded Person Without Showing that the Retardation Causes Violence

If a mentally disabled person commits a crime of violence, is that person automatically committed to a mental institution?  What if the mental disability prevents him or her from reading?  What if it prevents him or her from understanding abstract concepts?  What if the disability prevents the person from feeling empathy or sympathy?  Click on the following article to read answers to these questions..


Confrontation Clause of Sixth Amendment and DNA Evidence

Is a report stating DNA from a crime scene matched the DNA of the suspect testimonial in nature?  If so, is it hearsay because it is an out-of-court statement being offered for the truth of the matters stated therein (Evidence Code § 1200, the definition of hearsay)?  It there is no witness to lay a foundation for the report, it is inadmissible?  To read answers to this interesting question and the even more interesting way the court resolved the issue, click on the following link.


Sixth Amendment Violated if Informant Testifies in Disguise?

The right of an informant to remain confidential for his or her own safety can conflict with the Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses who testify against you.  How is this resolved, while trying to safeguard both interests?  What if the witness testifies in a wig, wearing sunglases or some other disguise?  Will this violate the Sixth Amendment because the questioner cannot see the witness’ demeanor?  For answers to these questions, click on the following link.