What Is the Law on Self Defense? What Are the Limitations?

In many cases involving domestic violence and fights in bars, or in the parking lot outside a bar, self defense is an issue.  When is self defense a valid defense?  Does one have to sustain a punch, hit, kick or push first for it to apply?  What is the reasonable amount of self defense before it exceeds what is necessary?  Click on the following link to find out.


In a DUI, May an Officer Rely Upon Old Law to Draw Blood?

As most DUI attorneys are aware, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled recently that a warrant is now required to draw blood from an individual if getting a search warrant can be done without too much trouble.  What if an officer is not aware of this recent change in the law and just orders a nurse to draw blood from a suspect, although it would have been easy to secure a warrant?  Does a court have to suppress the evidence, as it was obtained illegally?  Click on the following link to find out.


May the DA Comment upon My Sexual Orientation to the Jury?

The answer to the question posed by the title is generally, no.  The precise answer will depend upon the facts of the case, the charges, the defense and the relevance of one’s sexual orientation.  In a sex offense case, one’s sexual orientation can be relevant, but often is not.  In contrast, in a DUI case, one’s sexual orientation most likely is irrelevant.  To read about one case where a witness’ sexual orientation was arguably relevant toward motive, click on the following link.


Were You Caught Shoplifting and Now the Store Is Trying to Sue You for $400?

In most shoplifting cases at large retail stores (i.e. Macy’s, Walmart, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Home Depot, Albertson’s, Home Goods, Sears, Nordstroms, etc.), loss prevention will conduct an investigation of the suspect and then send the suspect a letter threatening a lawsuit unless payment is made for up to $500.  Does this mean that if one pays this demand, the criminal case will be dismissed?  Is the demand even related to the criminal case, or is it related to a separate civil case?  What should one do in response?  Click on the following link to find answers to these common questions.


When Is a Police Detention Illegal under the Fourth Amendment?

Does it matter if a detention of someone is outside or inside a home?  In the famous case of Terry v. Ohio, police were found to have lawfully detained a person on a street corner based on a reasonable suspicion.  Do the same rules apply if police detain someone inside a home?  Are exigent circumstances required to detain someone without a warrant if the detention is inside a house?  Why, if not?  Why if so?  To read answers to these questions, click on the following link, as police often do detain people inside a house and the legality of this, as well as evidence obtained in a subsequent search, is often at issue.


Getting Police Records Via a Pitchess Motion Is Now Easier

Whenever someone believes that an officer was racially biased, used excessive force, coerced a confession or fabricated evidence (or destroyed evidence), the issue becomes whether this is a practice or habit of the officer.  Does the officer have a documented history of doing this?  To find out, one can file a Pitchess motion as long as there is a threshold showing of reasonable cause.  In the past, the motion might be granted, but it would be tough to ever get the records.  The following ruling changes that.  To read more about this, click on the following link.


What Is the Waiting Period for Requesting a Certificate of Rehabilitation on a Sex Case?

As with most things in the law, the answer to the question posed by the title above is “it matters.”  What matters most to a court?  Click on the following article to read about an appellate court opinion that respectfully considered a claim that the seven year waiting period for someone convicted of indecent exposure or having child pornography should apply to someone convicted of annoying a child as well.  The court disagreed with the petitioner, but explained why in a way that is worth the read.  To read it, click on the following link.


What Is a Pretext Call in a Sex Offense Case and Why Is It Very Dangerous?

In sex offense cases, there is often a complaining party who has no evidence other than her (or his) word.  Sometimes, the reporting is delayed by weeks, months or even years, so police are often skeptical.  They must investigate, but often reluctantly.  One of their techniques is to have the victim call the suspect and confront him or her about the alleged abuse.  The police then record the suspect’s answers without the suspect knowing the police are eavesdropping.  This is a “pretext call.”  Why can it be so dangerous?  Click on the following link to read about this.


What Is a Plea Subject to or Pursuant to People Versus West?

In some courts, as we found out recently in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, a plea entered pursuant to People v. West is quite unusual.  In other courts, such as in Los Angeles County, it is quite common and in fact, advisable under certain circumstances.  What exactly is such a plea entered with reference to People versus West?  What advantage is there to doing so?  Is there a disadvantage to doing so?  Click on the following link to read more about this issue.



Is It Illegal for the Judge to Order Someone to Provide His or Her Social Media Passwords to the Probation Officer?

Facebook and other social media websites are where people discuss things, announce life events and talk to others, even threatening others.  The postings are limited to those people someone chooses to be in the audience, so there is a semblance of privacy.  However, such postings can constitute harassment and criminal threats.  Therefore, can a judge order a person on probation to provide a probation officer with his or her social media passwords?  Is this order going too far into areas of privacy?  Click on the following link to find out.