VC 23153: Felony DUI Requirements, Penalties & Defenses

When is a DUI a felony DUI? What is required to charge someone with DUI? What must the prosecutor prove? What are the penalties if one is convicted of felony DUI? What are the defenses to felony DUI? To read answers to each of these questions, please click on the following link.

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Speed Traps & Engineering and Traffic Surveys

When and how can one get a speeding ticket dismissed or a motion to suppress granted based on an improper traffic stop based on speeding? How does a traffic survey matter in this analysis? Which Vehicle Codes address this issue? Can this be used for a DUI stop or a traffic stop for suspicion of transporting illegal drugs? To read more about when a traffic stop for speeding may be illegal, click on the following link.

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What’s Needed for Compassionate Release from Prison?

When is early release from prison allowed when not based on a legal error by a judge, improper conduct by a prosecutor or ineffective assistance of counsel for defendant? When can someone be released, for example for having a terminal medical condition that doctors estimate will cause the prisoner’s death within weeks? Penal Code § 1170(e) addresses “compassionate release.” This type of release is often misunderstood. To clarify the standards for such release, click on the following link to read a short article about compassionate release.

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Can a Judge Deny a Request to Expunge a DUI under VC 12810?

The answer to the question posed in the title to this blog post is yes, much to the surprise of many judges, defense attorneys and even prosecutors. Under Penal Code § 1203.4(c)(1) and (c)(2), a judge has discretion to deny a petition for dismissal (expungement) when the conviction is for an offense listed under Vehicle Code § 12180. DUI is listed under § 12180. For more information about this little-known provision, click on the following link.


Four New Post-Conviction Relief Laws Effective in 2019

There are four rather earth-shaking new laws that took effect on January 1, 2019. One law allows veterans suffering from certain mental health issues, who were convicted prior to 2015, to seek resentencing on the charge(s). Another (AB 1941) allows Penal Code § 17(b)(3) relief for someone convicted of a felony and sentenced to state prison to seek reduction of the conviction to a misdemeanor. To read more about these two new laws, plus two more, click on the following link.

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Strategies to Avoid Deportation on a Drug Offense

As the reader of this blog post may be aware, there are immigration consequences for being convicted of possession of a controlled substance for purposes of sales. Being charged with this crime, however, does not necessarily mean there will be a conviction for such a charge if the facts permit, one has a zealous criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor is willing to resolve the case through a plea bargain to an alternative charge. To read more about how this may take place, please click on the following link.

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Nine Criminal Laws Changed, Effective January 1, 2019

Starting on January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 1437 became law, revising the felony-murder rule to allow resentencing of those sentenced as aiders or abettors, or accessories to the crime. This law is estimated to affect several thousand people. Senate Bill 215 also takes effect, restricting the crimes for which mental health diversion is available and setting in place a new procedure for judges reviewing such motions. To read about other more significant laws affecting criminal sentencing, victim rights and criminal liability, click on the following link.

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New Laws for Jury Selection (CCP 222.5) Effective in 2019

Many experienced trial lawyers will agree that jury selection is when a case is won or lost. It is when jurors first form opinions about credibility, trust and even the facts of the case. This area has been closely regulated by judges for many years, but effective January 1, 2019, there seems to be some easing of the rules that seemed to limit what an attorney could and could not do or say. To read about these new, more liberal standards, click on the following link.

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Fourteen New Criminal Laws to Take Effect in 2019

2019 brought with it a huge number of new laws that will affect many more people facing criminal sentencing or already in prison or jail, much more so than the laws that were ushered into effect on January 1 in prior years. For example, Penal Code § 1209.5 provides that a judge may allow a person convicted of an infraction to perform community service in lieu of paying a fine if the person shows financial inability to pay the fine. For examples of other new laws effective January 1, 2019, please click on the following link.

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How Does Prop 47 Affect PC 667.5(b) Sentence Enhancements?

There is no shortage of reported decisions addressing the collateral effects of a Prop 47 reduction of a felony conviction to a misdemeanor. In the following summary of a recent reported decision, the First Appellate District decided that a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor does remove the one-year sentence enhancement otherwise applicable for a prior prison sentence due to a felony conviction. The opinion, however, is valuable for understanding how a prison sentence can be reduced, even resulting in one being released from prison, if one understands how Prop 47 applies. To read a short summary of this case, please click on the following link.

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