New Crime Related Laws for 2015 to Keep in Mind Now

The start of 2015 seems long ago, but there are some new crime-related laws that came into effect on January 1, 2015 which may be overlooked or underestimated for their effects.  To read about such new standards and rules, click on the following link.

Can Someone Be Convicted of Criminal Threats without an Oral or Written Threat?

In a nutshell, the answer to the question posed in the title above is yes.  Why?  How?  What is an example of facts that might allow this?  What must the jury still find to be true?  To read more about such a seemingly unfair situation, click on the following link.

What Is Penal Code § 4573.5, Bringing Contraband into Jail? What Is the Punishment?

It is not uncommon at all for someone to be arrested for DUI or shoplifting or public intoxication, taken into jail and then searched inside, only to have a baggie of meth or ecstasy discovered in the person’s pocket, sock or bra.  The person is then charged with bring a controlled substance into jail, or contraband if a weapon is found.  What happens in this type of case?  Click on the following link to find out.

U.S. Supreme Court Changes the Legal Requirements for a Police Officer to Make a Traffic Stop

It is very common for our clients to tell us, “all of a sudden, there was a police officer behind me with his siren on and his flashing lights.  I was driving perfectly, but he said . . .”  This familiar confusion arises over what standard is required for a police officer to make a traffic stop.  If the reason is speeding, for example, must the officer pace the suspect or use radar?  If the reason is something else, what must the officer observe?  To read more about this “hot topic,” click on the following link.

How Long After an Arrest Is Too Long to Conduct a Warrantless Cell Phone Search?

Any non-consensual search without a warrant is presumptively unreasonable and illegal under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  However, there are many exceptions to this general rule, mostly related to an exigency or emergency that requires an immediate search to prevent a greater harm or the destruction of evidence.  In the case of a cell phone, once the police arrest the suspect and wait an hour, can the police then claim an exception to the Fourth Amendment and conduct a warrantless search of the suspect’s cell phone?  If so, on what grounds?  Click on the following link to find out answers.

Which Convictions Require Registration As a Sex Offender under Penal Code § 290?

Does a ticket for public urination always require one to register as a sex offender?  What types of convictions require this?  Is there a list?  After all, such a requirement is a big consideration in resolving a case.  To read about which convictions require registration under Penal Code § 290 for life, click on the following link.

Does a Probation Violation on a ‘Joint Suspended’ Sentence Always Means Prison?

With a probation violation on a joint suspended sentence, many attorneys will advise their client that they are powerless to prevent imposition of the prison sentence.  This is simply wrong.  The attorney has an important role at this critical time.  He or she should remind the judge that the judge has discretion to modify the terms of probation, reinstate probation with custody time as a sanction or impose a previously ordered prison sentence.  To read more about this issue, click on the following link.

Can Restitution Be for Victims Not Named in the Complaint?

Is there a due process violation if a complaint only names two victims of a DUI with injuries, but the defendant is ordered to pay restitution to not only those two named defendants, but two more victims involved in the crash?  After all, if defendant enters a plea to DUI with injury, he did not enter a plea to injuring such additional defendants.  To find out how this issue was resolved, click on the following article.

Is a Certificate of Rehabilitation Possible After a Successful Motion to Reclassify a Felony As a Misdemeanor under Penal Code § 17(b)?

The answer to the question in the title above is no.  Why, one may ask?  After all, a certificate of rehabilitation is available to anyone convicted of a felony.  Why would a motion under Penal Code § 17(b) take this away?  To read the answer to this interesting legal issue, faced by many felons, is contained in the following article.

Does Prop 47 Apply to the Three Strikes Reform Act?

Anyone moderately knowledgeable about Proposition 47 would answer the question posed in the title above with a quick “no.”  Indeed Prop 47 only applies to three low level theft offenses involving $950 or less, forgery and three drug possession provisions.  However, Prop 47 disqualifies anyone from relief if that person poses “an unreasonable danger to public safety” and specifies how this is evaluated.  Does this same methodology also apply to the Three Strikes Reform Act’s meaning of “unreasonable risk to public safety,” which is not defined?  Click on the following link to find out.