When Can a Prior Juvenile Offense Be Used as a Prior?

A prior adjudication of guilt (the rough equivalent of a conviction in juvenile court) may be used to enhance a sentence in adult court if it qualifies as a prior strike under California’s Three Strikes Law and the juvenile was sixteen years or older at the time of the act. Other prior adjudications cannot be used to enhance an adult sentence. To read more about this rather complicated area of sentencing, click on the following link.


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Prior Convictions Outside California – Effect Here?

Convictions outside of California often are not even known by prosecutors in many cases we have handled. However, when the prosecutor is aware of such a conviction, i.e. for DUI or what may a “strike offense” under California’s Three Strikes Law, there is a sense of urgency in knowing what effect, if any such a conviction will have on sentencing here in a pending case. It is not always an easy answer to reach. To read about such out-of-state convictions and their effect, click on the following link.


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Prior Convictions – How Can They Affect a Current Case?

Not all prior convictions will affect sentencing or even proving a pending, current case, but many prior convictions certainly do have this affect or this role. For sentencing, a prior conviction’s effect depends on how recent it was suffered and what it was for, as well as what the current case alleges. Sometimes, it disqualifies one from serving a sentence in county jail. Other times, a prior conviction can cause the sentence for the pending case to double. To read more about prior convictions and their effect on a pending case, click on the following link.


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Defendant’s Right to Not Testify & Not Take the Stand

In many cases, defendant may not want to testify because he or she is fearful a clever prosecutor will cross-examine him or her in a way that suggests guilt to the judge and/or jury. But can the prosecution, knowing defendant wishes to assert his or her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, simply call the defendant to the stand just to force defendant to assert the right, thereby drawing juror and judge attention to defendant’s unwillingness to testify and thus, suggest guilt? To read more about his issue, click on the following link.


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No Cash Bail & Arraignment Deadline for One in Custody

Senate Bill 10 (SB10), while subject to a referendum vote in November of 2020, is nonetheless an intriguing possible change to California bail. If cash bail is indeed eliminated as SB10 set forth, when will one be arraigned if one is not released from jail? Will it be later than currently required, specifically 48 hours within an arrest? Will the pretrial risk assessment required by SB10 take more than 48 hours? Will California law on the exceptions to a speedy arraignment be amended to permit a proper pretrial risk assessment? To read more about this problematic issue, click on the following link.


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When Are Polygraph (Lie Detector) Results Admissible?

It is generally understood that polygraph tests are inadmissible in court because such tests, while reliable in sixty to ninety percent off all matters, are not “reliable enough” for a jury or judge to make a decision on guilt or innocence.  However, are there situations when such test results are admissible?  When is this?   To read more about this interesting issue, click on the following link.


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Examples of Good Cop Behavior – Manipulative, but O.K.?

Not all “good cop, bad cop” behavior is just a manipulative, but legal investigation technique. Sometimes, police do go too far. What are some examples of legal “good cop” behavior and what are some examples of illegal “good cop” behavior? Is there a general test to whether such behavior is legal? If so, what is it? To read more about this common police tactic and its limits, click on the following link.


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When Is a Statement to Police Considered Involuntary?

It is often said by our clients that a police officer tricked our client into giving a statement. The officer may have lied about the evidence to suggest a statement from our client would not change his or her case much, when in fact it was critical. What about if the police officer uses threats or physical stress to elicit a statement? When is such pressure or trickery sufficient to render the statement subject to exclusion because it is considered involuntary? To read a short article on this issue, click on the following link.


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The Exceptions to Advising Someone of Miranda Rights

As one might expect, sometimes police are in the heat of the moment trying to prevent a crime or protect public safety from an urgent, impending danger, so the officer cannot compromise public safety or delay catching a suspect by providing a suspect a calm, deliberate Miranda warning that may take up valuable time. What is the general principal or rule on when such a warning can be legally omitted if a police officer is interviewing a suspect? To read about this exception, click on the following link.


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What Is Business & Professions Code § 2052? Punishment?

The unlicensed practice of medicine is codified at Business & Professions Code § 2052. We often see this arise in the context of selling medicine online that requires a prescription or a person impersonating a medical doctor, often through after one’s license was suspended or revoked. It can be a serious danger and a serious crime. It is therefore a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. To read more about this offense, including the defenses, click on the following link.


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