What Is Formal Probation? Difference from Summary Probation?

Television and movies seem to always portray probation as requiring face-to-face meetings between the probationer and a probation officer, often in a cubicle tucked away in an old, big government building.  This is often exactly how formal probation does work, but it is not always how it proceeds.  What is informal or summary probation then?  Is it different and if so, how?  Click on the following link to find out.


Will the Judge and / or Jury Be Told I Am an Illegal Alien?

Our office does represent quite a few people at some stage in the immigration process.  Some have not started the process or are even back in the United States after being deported earlier.  The client may not speak English well, or even not at all.  The client is often distinctly aware that his appearance and use of a translator could create unfair prejudice against him.  The key question that always seems to follow is whether the judge or jury will know he or she is an illegal alien?  What is the answer?  Click on the following link to find out.


Admission to Psychotherapist of Sexual Abuse Not Privileged

There are many relationships that our law holds as protected or privileged from disclosure because of the need to solve a medical problem (doctor-patient), a legal problem (attorney-client) or religious issue (priest-penitent).  However, certain information is excluded from that privilege so as to protect the public.  If someone admits to committing sexual abuse of a child, is that statement privileged or protected from disclosure?  Click on the following link to read about a recent case that put that issue to the test.


What’s Grand Theft (PC 487) & the Defenses to This Charge?

Grand theft is often charged when the value of an item is several thousand dollars or more.  However, what is the lower limit for charging grand theft?  Is it a felony always?  What are the defenses?  What is the punishment and are their sentencing enhancements?  Click on the following link to read answers to these questions.


Can a Criminal Trial Proceed without Defendant Present?

The Sixth Amendment to our Constitution expressly guarantees the right of an accused to face their accuser at trial.  Can this right be waived?  May such a waiver be implied by conduct?  What if a Defendant refused to come to court?  Can the judge proceed with the trial?  To find out more about this issue and the judge’s powers, click on the following link.


What Are Community Service, Community Labor and Cal-Trans?

In many cases, a plea bargain will involve a term that the client perform a specific number of hours or days of community service, community labor or Cal-Trans.  What is the difference?  What is involved or required?  Which is hardest?  To read answers to these questions, please click on the following link.


Is a Warrantless Blood Draw Proper If a Suspect Fights the Police?

In many cases, when a suspect fights the police and is disrespectful or obviously committed a crime, courts are reluctant to reward arguments that police violated the suspect’s Constitutional rights or acted improperly.  The following case involving a DUI and an uncooperative suspect exemplified this reluctance in ruling whether a search warrant was required to draw blood from the suspect.  To read about this case, click on the following link.


AB 109 Violates Prop 36, the Court of Appeals Finds

Do provisions of AB109 and the Post Release Community Supervision Act violate Prop 36?  If someone is on Prop 36 and they violate its terms, is prison or jail time statutorily mandated.  The answer was yes for many years until just recently, when Evan Armogeda challenged his jail sentence after violating Prop 36.  The court of appeal agreed with Armogeda, for reasons that can be best termed procedural and reveal very good lawyering.  To read about this, click on the following link.


Are Honey Oil & Dabs Covered by the Compassionate Use Act (CUA)?

Does Prop 215 allow a medical marijuana certificate to apply to allow legal possession of honey oil and dabs, as they are forms of marijuana?  For years it has appeared that the answer is no, but the recent case of People v. Sean Patrick Mulcrevy seems to broaden the interpretation of the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) to include concentrated forms of marijuana.  To read about this, click on the following link.


Is It Proper to Require DNA Samples from Felony Arrestees?

If someone is arrested on an illegal basis for a felony and is forced to provide a DNA sample, is that an unlawful search and seizure?  It would certainly seem so, however, our U.S. Supreme Court and California courts have struggled to answer this question.  In the latest California case, People v. Mark Buza, the First Appellate District answered the question in the negative.  The reasoning, however, is what is important.  To read this, click on the following link.