How Does a Win at the DMV Affect a DUI Case in Court?

If one is fortunate enough to receive a set aside of the suspension of one’s driver’s license at an admin per se hearing, we find many clients expect the prosecution of their case to end in a similar manner. Is this certain? What if one “wins” in court with a wet reckless plea bargain, how can one use that at the DMV? What is a Helmandollar dispo? For answers to each of these questions, click on the following link.


Can I Sue Accuser for False Allegations in Criminal Case?

We are frequently asked by our clients, especially when falsely accused of domestic violence or violating a restraining order, if our client can sue (and win) in a civil lawsuit for defamation. Sometimes, the client wants to sue for false imprisonment. The answer depends on the facts of the case and, while the client does not like to be told this, whether the client is willing to risk having the case dismissed and pay the accuser’s attorney fees. In other words, the answer is not a simple yes or no. To read about such a lawsuit, click on the following link.


What Is Brandishing a Weapon or Pulling a Gun on Someone?

Did you exhibit a weapon to someone and get arrested by the police for violating Penal Code § 417? Did you do so in self-defense? Were you really just joking around or was it done to intimidate someone? Punishment for this offense, even if charged as a misdemeanor (it is a wobbler, so it can be charged as a felony, too), is a minimum of 30 days in county jail. Having a competent, local criminal defense attorney can be a wise investment. To read more about this crime, click on the following link.

What Are Penalties and Assessments? How Much Are They?

Did your attorney, a prosecutor or a judge mention that penalties and assessments would be added to your base fine to make the amount you owe the court several hundred dollars or even thousands of dollars more than the fine? Why are penalties and assessments added? Where does this money go? What is it for? Are all convictions subject to the same penalties and assessments or does it matter what crime is at issue? To read more about penalties and assessments, click on the following link.


What Is an Inventory Search? When Is It Allowed?

You may have heard that law enforcement claimed to find drugs or stolen property after conducting an inventory search of a car or someone’s property (typically a homeless person’s backpack, duffel bag or suitcase). What is an inventory search anyways? Is a warrant required? What is the scope? Why does it take place? Is it just a “backdoor” was to claim an administrative search was taking place when in fact it was the investigative goal of the police from the outset? To read more about an investigative search, click on the following link.


If Police Only Offer Blood Test, Is Consent Invalid?

The following case summary is one that can be easily misunderstood. To a casual reader, it seems to say that if police demand a blood test, never giving the suspect the option of a breath test, and the suspect submits to a breath test without objecting, that the lack of a proper police admonition is legally irrelevant. This is not what the ruling says. Since the suspect in his particular case was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and drugs, a blood test could be required even if the suspect first submits to a breath test, so the incomplete admonition for this case was moot. Otherwise, if a suspect is only suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, the incomplete admonition may render the consent to a blood test invalid. To read more about this ruling, click on the following link.


Juvenile Probation Condition Too Vague So Ruled Invalid

Well-meaning juvenile court judges, with the best intentions, often order probation conditions that just are illegal because no one can determine if there is a violation. This can arise in many contexts, but in the following case it involved a probation condition that a juvenile “act peacefully and not aggressively with law enforcement.” Clearly, such a condition is subjective in nature to a degree and thus difficult to enforce except in obvious cases where, for example the juvenile might physically fight with a police officer. To read how the First Appellate District evaluated this probation condition, click on the following link.


Can a Minor Violate PC 148(a)(1) in a Warrantless Detention?

A minor cannot be convicted of violating Penal Code § 148(a)(1), resisting or obstructing a police officer, if the minor is detained without a warrant. The article that follows about the published opinion is written because in almost twenty years of practice, we have seen this charged several times in almost identical circumstances as in this case out of Barstow. We have argued against the charges without success. The following link is to a summary and an opinion every juvenile law practitioner should be aware of.


What Is Human Trafficking of a Minor for Commercial Sex, Penal Code § 236.1?

Do you know someone who has been charged with human trafficking of a minor for commercial sex? Do you think it is just a trumped-up charge that does not fit the facts? What does a prosecutor need to show to a jury for the jury to convict someone of this? What are the defenses? What is the punishment if one is convicted? To read answers to each of these questions, click on the following link.


When Is a Police Pat-Down Search Valid – Bulges in Pockets?

It is generally understood that police are legally permitted to conduct a pat-down of a suspect that the police officer believes could be armed and dangerous. But police can’t just pat down every single person they come in
contact with unless there are “specific and articulable facts” the officer can describe to support his pat-down; otherwise, a judge can exclude from evidence what the officer found in such a search. How about if the officer
just sees a person with bulging pockets, obviously full of something? Click on the following link to read a summary of a reported decision that evaluated this police officer’s claim.