What Is a Protective Sweep by Police? When Is It Improper?

Is a “protective sweep” search by police just kind of a free, warrantless search that police are always granted “just in case” there are weapons?  It can certainly seem that way when judges regularly deny motions to suppress when there are no articulable facts to support such a search, even including rational inferences from such facts.  What is the latest judicial ruling on such a problem?  To read about it, click on the following link.


Four Facts About Miranda Rights That Everyone Should Know

Of all the rulings that have come down from the U.S. Supreme Court over the years, the Miranda case is perhaps the most misunderstood by non-attorneys – and perhaps even some attorneys.  Hundreds of time, our office has heard, “but I was never read my rights” as a suggestion that the police engaged in some type of misconduct or violated the law in speaking to the client.  What exactly must the officer do and when?  Click on the following link to better understand Miranda Rights.


Immigration Issues: 2013 Motion to Vacate 1989 Conviction?

Our office has handled several motions to vacate a judgement based on a person subject to deportation who had entered a plea years earlier without being advised of the immigration consequences of such a plea.  The motion is often difficult to win because one must show prejudice that he or she would never have pleaded guilty had the immigration consequences been explained.  The following article shows how one can make such a winning argument.  Click on it to read such an example.


What Is the Marital or Spousal Privilege? Its Limits?

In law school, one of the evidence professors described the marital privilege by saying, “Marry her and seal her lips.”  This quip was his way of saying that even after a crime is alleged, someone can marry a material witness and then assert the privilege to prevent testimony from that spouse.  Is this true?  Are there exceptions to this?  Click on the following link to find out more about the marital or spousal privilege in California.


L.A. County Case with Liberal View of Prop 47 & PC 484e(d)

Felony grand theft of an access card (Penal Code § 484e(d)) is a unique crime in that once one has access to a bank account or other account, theft can take place at any time remotely and easily.  Despite this, there have been many folks convicted of this who seek to characterize their conviction as misdemeanor petty theft.  Does this argument fly?  It does, as the the following article explains.


Does Prop 47 Apply to Joyriding (VC 10851(a))?

In interpreting Proposition 47, courts have differed in whether felony joyriding falls under Penal Code § 490.2 as petty theft.  Some courts believe it does, while others distinguish joyriding as more than just theft because it involves a vehicle and takes away the transportation of someone.  For a sampling of a recent appellate court ruling that tackled this dividing issue, click on the following link.


What Is a Motion to Reclassify a Felony as a Misdemeanor?

Not all charges can be brought as a felony or a misdemeanor.  However, for those charges that have this dual nature, when the prosecutor brings charges as a felony, can the defense attorney ask the judge to consider if a misdemeanor is more appropriate?  The answer is yes, which is what a “17(b) Motion” does.  What type of arguments is the judge keen to read?  What factors are important?  To read more about 17(b) motions, click on the following link.


Convictions for Pimping & Pandering with Character Evidence

In sex cases, there is often evidence of a defendant’s prior behavior, such as text messages showing illegal sex crimes, that a prosecutor may seek to introduce to show motive or knowledge about the sex offense being charged.  The defense will argue against its introduction, saying such evidence is an attempt to show defendant has bad character and that evidence of prior acts is not admissible to show conduct at a later date.  How do judges rule on this issue?  For a summary of a reported case that tackled this issue, click on the following link.


Little Known Facts About Your Rights in DUI and the DMV

The DMV has quite a bit of power over one’s driving privileges when someone is accused of DUI, but it is often difficult to understand how the two seemingly parallel processes can affect each other.  The following article points out just a few of the nuances that even many experienced DUI attorneys do not know, but should.


Prop 47 Relief on Prior Drug Convictions – Where to File?

Sometimes, what attorneys seem to take for granted as obvious is not obvious at all to a person who has not had any legal training.  After all, if a judge has jurisdiction over a person due to a pending case, can that judge resentence the person on an earlier case?  This seemed to be the logic of Christopher Marks in petitioning for resentencing.  Why was this considered incorrect?  Click on the following link to find out.