General FAQs

What is the sentence for drug possession in California?

Possession of a controlled substance is typically a misdemeanor offense in California.  Under the law, if you possess a controlled substance (such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamines) without a valid prescription, then you can be charged with a crime.  This is...

What Does “Statute of Limitations” Mean?

A statute of limitations provides a timeframe during which prosecutors can accuse a person of wrongdoing. If they file a charge after the statute of limitation, the accused can request a dismissal of charges. There are statutes of limitations for civil cases and...

How do I expunge my criminal record in California?

In California, expungement is a process available for many people who have been convicted of misdemeanor or felony offenses.  An expungement — also known as a dismissal — releases a person from the negative consequences of a criminal conviction for most purposes....

What are the Different Degrees of Murder in California?

If you face a homicide charge, you must act with a sense of urgency by contacting a Southern California criminal defense lawyer. An experienced attorney not only can present a powerful defense, but a highly skilled lawyer knows how to plead down a homicide charge to a...

How do I fight a DUI in California?

There are a number of potential strategies for fighting a California DUI.  The best strategy will depend on the facts of each individual case. California prosecutors may charge a driving under the influence (DUI) case in one of two ways.  First, if your blood alcohol...

How do I get a failure to appear dismissed?

Failure to appear is a California crime that is charged whenever a person is charged with or convicted of a California crime, released from custody, and then willfully fails to appear from court when required to do so, in order to evade the process of the court. ...

How Does a Criminal Record Hurt Your Future?

If you face a criminal charge, you have to fight the charge by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney who has compiled an impressive record of successfully litigating criminal cases. The stakes are too high for you to settle for a lesser criminal defense...

How does a judge participate in a murder trial?

In a California murder trial, a judge has five main duties.  First, he or she will preside over the proceedings and ensure that order is maintained in the courtroom.  Second, the judge will determine the admissibility of evidence that the parties seek to introduce. ...

What Is Reckless Burning in California?

California has experienced an unprecedented number of fires over the past decade and, along with them, great loss. The reduce the number of wildfires and minimize destruction, the state has implemented strict arson laws. In fact, the laws are so harsh that...

What Is First Degree Murder?

First-degree murder is generally considered one of the most heinous crimes anywhere in the world. Conviction involves proving that the individual meant to kill the victim and spent time planning the final act. However, there is more to first-degree murder than just...

What is California’s Three Strikes Law?

On March 7, 1994, California’s Three Strikes and You’re Out law went into effect. The purpose of the new law was to increase the legal penalties for defendants convicted of a felony that also have a prior felony conviction for one or more crimes. The Three Strikes and...

What is a Pretrial Conference?

Also referred to as a pretrial hearing, a pretrial conference is a meeting between the parties participating in a legal dispute. Although most people associated a pretrial conference with a civil case, the meetings are also part of the criminal defense process. The...

What happens when you get three strikes in California?

If you are convicted of three strike offenses in California, then you will face an enhanced sentence. The length of the sentence will depend on whether the third strike is a serious or violent felony. A person convicted of three strikes will be sentenced to 25 years...

What are the Defenses for a Kidnapping Charge?

Kidnapping is one of the most serious criminal charges made against suspects in California. Simple kidnapping can carry a prison sentence of up to eight years, while aggravated kidnapping can lead to a sentence of life in state prison. If you face the serious criminal...

What are the California Arson Laws?

Because the crime is highly destructive and frequently deadly, arson is considered one of the most serious of crimes. In California, arson is defined as the “willful and malicious burning of property.” The devastation caused by California wildfires over the past...

What are Alternative Sentencing Options?

Alternative sentencing is when a person completes his/her criminal sentencing within the community (from their home) rather than in the custody of a state prison or county jail. Alternative sentencing options in California are carried out through a community or state...

Pleading the Fifth: What Does It Mean?

You probably have watched at least one law or police drama that included a scene where a law enforcement officer explained to a suspect that “You have the right to remain silent.” The “right to remain silent” comes from the Fifth Amendment to the United States...

Can you refuse to give ID to police?

In California, you can refuse to provide your identification to the police.  California does not have a “Stop and Identify” or “Papers Please” statute that would require you to provide ID to the police upon request.  The police cannot force you to show ID without just...

Can you go to jail after an arraignment?

Yes. If you are in custody at the time of arraignment, you may return to custody after you are arraigned unless bail is modified or exonerated. While it is unusual, there is a possibility that you could be taken into custody after an arraignment even if you were not...

Can you smoke marijuana in a parked car in California?

While the recreational use of marijuana is legal in California, there are still restrictions on where it can be used.  For example, the consumption of cannabis products, whether through smoking, ingesting, drinking, or vaping, is not legal in public places. When it...

Computer Hacking FAQs

What Is Hacking? Hacking, which is more formally known as “unauthorized computer access,” is defined in California law under Penal Code 502 (c) as intentionally accessing any computer, computer system or network without permission. Examples of hacking...

Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI?

After being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, your driver’s license will be subject to an automatic suspension from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  This suspension does not take place immediately.  You have...

Can you be charged with a crime without knowing?

It is possible for you to be charged with a crime without knowing about it. While there are many situations where you could be arrested on the spot for allegedly committing a crime, there are other times where the police investigate crimes after the fact. A prosecutor...

Can the defense call a prosecution witness?

Yes.  The defense may call a prosecution witness during their case-in-chief.  Although unusual, there may be several important reasons for calling a prosecution witness on behalf of the defense. First, the prosecution witness may simply be an eyewitness or someone who...

Can Prior Strikes Be Removed By a Court?

There are two ways that a strike can be removed by a court. First, the prosecutor in a case may choose to strike allegations related to a serious or violent felony. This may be done because they don’t think that the defendant deserves a strike sentence. A prosector...

How much does it cost for murder defense?

The cost of hiring an attorney for a murder defense charge in California will depend on a number of factors.  Murder cases are the most serious charge in California, and will generally cost more than more simple, straightforward cases, such as a misdemeanor assault...

Is It Possible to Appeal a Three Strikes Sentence?

If you have been convicted and sentenced under the Three Strikes Law, you can file an appeal of that sentence with the assistance of a seasoned Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. These appeals can be made under Proposition 36 or on a constitutional basis. Prop 36...

Is CBD oil legal for truckers?

Under both federal and state law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.  While truck drivers can legally use CBD oil in California when they are not working, doing so may put their livelihood in jeopardy. The federal...

Is it legal to drive on CBD?

CBD — the abbreviation for cannabidiol — is a non-psychoactive substance found in marijuana. It has become increasingly popular as a way to obtain the health benefits of marijuana without getting high.  CBD products typically have a low amount of the psychoactive...

Does California still have the three strikes law?

California’s three strikes law is still in effect, although it has changed since it was initially enacted in the 1990’s. It was passed as a way to reduce the number of violent recidivist offenders in the state. Under the three strikes law, if a person is repeatedly...

Do I need a lawyer for an arraignment?

At your arraignment, the judge will advice you of your Constitutional rights, including the right to be represented by an attorney. While you do not necessarily need to have an attorney present at your arraignment, having one can be important in several ways. First,...

Do you go to jail right after trial?

If you are found guilty of a criminal offense in California, then you will not necessarily go to jail immediately after trial.  The judge has three options: (1) keeping you in custody if you were already in jail; (2) ordering you into custody even if you were not in...

How long does an arraignment hearing take?

There is no set length of time for an arraignment hearing. As an initial matter, it is important to understand that even if your hearing is scheduled for a specific time, court calendars are often incredibly busy. It isn’t unusual for a hearing that is set for 9:15...

What is SB 1437?

SB 1437 is California’s new felony murder rule.  Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2018, it effectively limits who can be prosecuted for felony murder.  Under the previous law, any person could be convicted of felony murder if a person died during...

Do I have to consent to a breathalyzer test?

In California, drivers must consent to breathalyzer tests in certain situations.  At other times, drivers have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test.  The determination of whether to consent to a breathalyzer test is based on the facts of the specific case....

What crimes fall under the three strikes law?

In California, a “strike” offense is any conviction that is defined as a serious or violent felony under the California Penal Code. Serious felonies are listed in California Penal Code Section 1192.7(c). They include, but are not limited to: Murder or voluntary...

What are the Robbery Laws in California?

According to California law, taking another person’s property by force or by using intimidating tactics constitutes robbery. The crime always carries a felony conviction, with penalties reaching as high as nine years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000....

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

Named after a monumental United States Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona, the term Mirada Rights requires law enforcement personnel to inform criminal suspects of three important legal rights before the start of the first interrogation session. The answer...

What are the Drug Possession Laws in California?

The well-known saying “How California goes, so goes the nation” typically is linked to the state’s leadership in developing innovative technologies and introducing revolutionary political reforms. However, the saying has relevance for drug possession laws, as many...

What is Trade Secret Theft?

Have you ever wondered how Coca-Cola continues to dominate the soda industry? It comes down to one thing: The recipe the company uses to produce its iconic Classic Coca-Cola. The recipe is considered a trade secret in that only a few of the good folks at the company...

What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

One of the most confusing elements of criminal law concerns knowing the difference between assault and battery. Many people believe the two crimes are the same, with defendants receiving a charge for assault and battery for the same crime. However, like most states,...

How long does a DUI stay on your record in California?

The state of California takes the crime of driving under the influence (DUI) seriously. That is why there are significant consequences for a DUI conviction, both criminally and in other ways. If you are convicted of a California DUI, then it will go on two separate...

Do felony charges ever go away?

A felony is the most serious criminal offenses under California law. Like other criminal convictions, a felony conviction will remain on your record — unless you take action to have it removed through a process known as expungement. Some people who have been convicted...

How long do you stay in jail if you can’t pay bail?

If you cannot pay bail, then you will remain in jail until your case is resolved. The amount of time that you stay in jail will depend on the type of case and how you choose to move forward. After you are arrested, the first court date will be within 3 business days...

What do I do if I am accused of rape?

If you are accused of rape, you should be aware of the serious nature of this crime.  Under California law, rape is nonconsensual sexual intercourse accomplished through threats, force, or fraud OR with a victim who is unconscious or otherwise incapable of...

Do DUI checkpoints check everyone in the car?

As a general rule, no.  The purpose of DUI checkpoints is to stop the danger of individuals driving while under the influence.  That is why courts have made an exception to the rule that probable cause is needed to pull over motorists for probable cause — because of...

What does out on felony bond mean?

If you have been arrested for a California crime, the court will generally set an amount that must be paid in order to secure your release, known as “bail.” In some cases, you can be released on your own recognizance, which means that you do not have to post bail in...

When Should You Accept a Plea Bargain?

If you watch a television crime drama such as Law and Order, you might conclude that every criminal case ends up going to trial. The fact is more than 90 percent of criminal cases never go to trial. Instead of prosecutors and defense lawyers slugging it out in front...

What happens if you are arrested while out on bail?

If you are arrested while out on bail, it can have serious implications for your criminal case. First, if your criminal attorney Orange County, CA was attempting to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you, it may cause the prosecutor to stop any...

What happens if you get caught with a dab pen?

With the passage of Prop 64 in California, the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal for adults aged 21 and older as of January 1, 2018.  This includes up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis  — such as wax/dabs, commonly used in dab pens. If...

What happens if you get three felonies?

If you have three felony convictions in California, you may be sentenced under California’s three strikes law, as described above. This law is applied whenever a defendant is convicted of serious or violent felonies. However, if the convictions were not for serious or...

Will I go to jail for first offense shoplifting?

In California, shoplifting is defined as entering an open business with the intent to steal merchandise worth $950 or more.  For a first offense, shoplifting will typically be charged as a misdemeanor.  The punishment for a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction is up to...

What happens if you are accused of stalking?

In California, stalking may be charged if you follow, harass, and/or threaten another person to the point where they fear for their safety or the safety of their family.  Stalking is a wobbler offense, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a...

What Happens If I Fail a Field Sobriety Test?

The state of California employs several different tests to determine if drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence should be arrested for DUI. California law does not require you to submit to any of these tests, and we recommend politely refusing them....

Can a case be dismissed if your rights aren’t read?

Depending on the facts, a case may be dismissed if the police fail to read your Miranda rights.  Under the law, law enforcement officers are required to give you these warnings before an in-custody interrogating.  If they fail to do so, any statement that you make...

Can charges be dropped at an arraignment?

Although it is rare, it is possible for charges to be dropped at an arraignment. This may happen through a probable cause hearing, which typically occur during an arraignment. A probable cause hearing is made after a criminal defense lawyer Los Angeles, CA requests a...

Can a Three Strikes Defendant Get Parole?

Possibly.  In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 57, which amended the California Constitution. Under Prop 57, every person who has been convicted of a nonviolent felony is eligible for parole, provided that they have served their primary sentence, which is...

Can a judge overrule the jury?

No.  Once a verdict has been rendered, either guilty or not guilty, the judge cannot overrule the jury. However, under California law, a defendant can make a motion for judgment of acquittal before the evidence is submitted to the jury.  If the prosecution has failed...

Can I refuse a DUI checkpoint?

DUI checkpoints are legal in California.  The police are required to follow certain procedures when conducting these checkpoints, such as stopping every fourth vehicle, in order to comply with the law.  Providing that the DUI checkpoint itself is legal, then you...

What happens after you are arrested?

If you are arrested, you will be taken into custody by law enforcement.  The arresting officer(s) should read you what are known as Miranda warnings, which will advise you of various constitutional rights.  These include the right to remain silent and the right to an...

What happens at an arraignment in California?

An arraignment is the first formal court hearing after an arrest. During an arraignment, the court will advise you of your Constitutional rights, and notify you of the specific charges that have been filed against you. At this point, you will have the chance to enter...

What happens if a cop finds a gun in your car?

If the police find a gun in your car, you may be charged with carrying a concealed firearm.  In addition, if you are prohibited from possessing a firearm, you may be charged with a felon in possession. In California, it is a crime to carry a concealed firearm on your...

What Happens at a Deposition?

A deposition, which represents a sworn statement made out of court, is a frequent part of civil court proceedings in the United States. The primary purpose of a deposition is to provide the attorneys handling a civil case on both sides of the aisle the opportunity to...
Call Us Today