Must the Prosecutor Prove a Gang Enhancement to Every Gang?

Criminal street gangs frequently have gang subsets, i.e. the Nortenos, Crips and the Bloods each have subsets that are affiliated with the larger gang.  If someone is charged with committing a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang, must the prosecutor prove predicate acts and that the activity was in furtherance of both the larger gang and the smaller subset?  To read about a recent case that addressed this issue, click on the following case summary.

What Is Discriminatory Prosecution? What Is a Murgia Motion?

Are you being singled out for prosecution because of your profession, sexual preference, race or gender?  Did you see other people, who were not arrested, that were doing the same exact thing, but were members of another profession, gender, race or sexual preference?  You may want to seek dismissal based on discriminatory prosecution through a Murgia motion.  While this is an exceptionally tough motion to win, they are granted with the proper factual support.  To read about this motion, click on the following link.

Drug Tests: How Long After Use Are Certain Drugs Detectable?

Our office is often called about cases involving public intoxication or driving while under the influence of drugs.  We are usually asked how long the human body takes to “flush out” the drug, as the asker usually is aware that the amount of time varies by the type of drug.  In other words, within what time would a hair follicle or urine test be meaningful if negative for the presence of certain substance?  Click on the following link to find out.

Are You Required to Give a DNA Sample in Orange County?

If you face a felony or a misdemeanor case in Orange County, you most likely are told by the prosecutor that you must provide a DNA sample. Why is this so?  After all, why are they so insistent upon this?  Is this constitutional?  To read all about this requirement and how it arose in Orange County, click on the following link.

What Is Argued in a Motion for Appointment of an Expert?

If one needs an expert witness appointed in a case, with his or her fees paid for by the State of California, how does one request this?  What should the party, usually defendant, say in such a motion for appointment of, for example, a gun shot residue expert, or a fingerprint expert?  To read about what the judge needs to read under Evidence Code § 730, click on the following link.

So There Was an Informant Involved in Your Case – Who Is It?

Can defendant find out who an informant is on their case?  The answer depends upon whether the person is a witness to a material fact and may give testimony that could exonerate defendant in the case or a witness to only probable cause for the arrest.  The distinction between the two roles is often blurred.  However, what does defendant next need to do to have the judge order disclosure of the informant’s identity?  To read about this issue, click on the following link.

What Is the Law on Challenging the Search of a Vehicle?

What is the “automobile exception” to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment for searching a car?  Can the police search anywhere in the car?  What do the police have to establish before conducting such a thorough search?  What are the more important cases that have addressed this issue?  To read about this common issue, click on the following link.

Restitution Award Improper for Damaged Truck under PC 1202.4.

There is an often overlooked principle in restitution awards that restitution is intended to make the victim whole, but not to bestow an economic windfall on the victim.  This fundamental concept is often overlooked when the victim is the victim of a serious or violent felony and the defendant seems to deserve a significant punishment.  Restitution, however, is not the proper way to effect this, as the summary of a recent reported decision describes.  To read this summary, click on the following link.

What Rights Do Pro Per Defendants Have for Their Defense?

If one decides to represent oneself (“go in pro-per”), it is important to know what special rights are available.  For example, what right does the self-represented have to an investigator and who pays for it?  How about an expert witness?  How about additional telephone privileges in jail? Are there limits and what issues will a judge consider?  To read about this topic more, click on the following link.

Texting While Driving with Accident – Beware of a Civil Case

If you are charged with texting while driving and there is an accident, your criminal defense attorney must be vigilant not to admit civil liability by a guilty plea.  In this type of criminal case, it is vital that your attorney seek to distance you from admitting causation from the texting, if that caused a lapse of attention to the road, and seek to resolve the case on other charges such that the plea cannot be used against you in civil court and make you vulnerable to a large civil award that your auto insurer may not cover because criminal conduct was the cause.  To read more about this difficult type of case, click on the following link.