Should I Go to Court with My Attorney Even If Not Required?

Our clients often ask if their coming to court on a misdemeanor offense when no appearance is required would be helpful. The answer is generally no, but there are a few exceptions. Generally speaking, the prosecutor and the judge do not engage in any evaluation of the defendant if the person comes to court and is dressed well or is particularly good looking. However, sometimes, there may be some legal issue or factual controversy that can be resolved by defendant’s appearance in court. To read more about this common concern, please click on the following link.

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What Are the Most Common Direct Consequences of a Conviction?

An expected answer to the question posed in the title to this blog entry is “well, it depends upon what the conviction if for.” While this is true in a case specific sense, there are more general answers that are common to many convictions, including revocation of one’s driving privilege, fines, penalties and assessments, and immigration consequences, among others. To read about other more common direct consequences, please click on the following link.

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Evidence Code § 1109 – How to Exclude Prior Domestic Violence?

In every domestic violence case, it is wise for an attorney to ask the client if the he or she and the victim had any other contact with police over alleged domestic violence. This is so because, even though the prior contact may not have led to an arrest or a criminal case, the prosecution may seek to introduce such evidence under Evidence Code § 1109 to show a jury defendant’s “propensity” to act a certain way and thus make it more likely that he or she acted similarly in the present pending matter. To read more about this provision under the law, please click on the following link.

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Will They File a Case? If No, Why Not? If Yes, Why?

The question posed in the title to this blog post is one we are asked at least three or four times every week. We usually do not have the police report to review prior to answering the question, but the caller is eager to tell us as many facts as he or she can. Our answer is most likely unsatisfying to the caller:  “Without reading the police report, but assuming everything you told me is considered by the police and nothing else, . . .” This is rarely the reassurance sought. However, what are some more general legal principals that may apply? To find out, please click on the following link.

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DUI with a Passenger under Age 14 – What Happens?

Our legislature recognizes that DUI is a more serious crime if one has a passenger under the age of 14. That passenger probably did not contribute to the driver becoming DUI and may be a very young child who depends upon the driver as a parent for his of her protection. So, when that parent not only ignores that duty, but disregards it in favor of drinking to excess or to impairment, our law punishes that person more than if the passenger is older. What exactly does such punishment include? To read a short article about this, please click on the following link.

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What Are Some Examples of Conduct Sentence Enhancements?

In general, there are two types of sentence enhancements. There are those for status and those for conduct. What types of conduct falls under a conduct sentence enhancement? To begin with, the list includes crimes based on the injury inflicted (which can include death), the status of the victim as particularly young or old (and other categories), using a firearm or other weapons and particular, specific crimes that our legislature has particular interest in punishing more harshly than other crimes. What are some of those particular crimes singled out for more punishment? To find out, please click on the following link.


What’s the Habitual Sex Offender Sentence Enhancement?

Our criminal justice system is quite forgiving, some may say, on almost any first-time offender, except if the case involves a very serious felony such as murder or mayhem. However, as can be seen with the example of DUI, a second-time offender usually feels the full weight of our laws. This is especially so with any second-time sex offender when the crime is considered a serious felony. Probation is not allowed and the sentence can be twenty-five years to life if the defendant is deemed a “habitual sex offender.” Such laws recognize the special nature of sex offenses. To read more about the habitual sex offender consequences, please click on the following link.

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When Can a Judge Admit a Prior Conviction to Impeach?

As one can imagine, a judge may not admit just any prior conviction for possible impeachment, or else our courts would disintegrate into the chaos of a Jerry Springer show. To prevent this type of atmosphere and preserve the integrity of our justice system, a judge will limit the type of prior convictions that may be introduced for impeachment of a witness. What are those limits? To read about this, click on the following link.


What Are Some Examples of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude?

What is a crime of moral turpitude? Must it involve conduct that is dishonest? Must it involve a felony? For a listing of 36 crimes (with the supported authority) that have been classified as crimes involving moral turpitude, click on the following link.


Is a Two-Tiered Parole Evaluation Method Valid?

What is a two-tiered parole evaluation method? Is is valid under Proposition 57 and its provision for consideration of qualified prisoners who complete the primary term of a nonviolent offense? May the CDCR follow a two-step, or two-tiered, method to determining if someone is eligible for early parole consideration? To read about this controversial method and a judge’s decision on whether it is proper, click on the following link.