Ask A Lawyer – Criminal Law

First, do not speak to the Coast Guard or arresting officer or anyone else regarding this matter until you have spoken to a BUI/DUI lawyer. Consequences for BUI are generally much tougher than DUI because driving on water is deemed more unsafe than on land. Read the full answer…

It depends on whether you actually did beat up your girlfriend, and if so, the circumstances surrounding that incident. Pursuant to California Penal Code section 12022.9(a), a 5-year sentencing enhancement is imposed on a defendant who knows or reasonably should know that a woman is pregnant, and yet commits a felony during which he or she personally inflicts injury upon that pregnant woman that results in the termination of her pregnancy. Read the full answer…

Under the Child Abuse and Neglect provisions of the California Penal Code, doctors have a statutory obligation to report to authorities a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect that they discovered within their scope of employment or professional capacity. (Penal Code § 11165.7.) If a doctor does come across a case of reasonable suspicion of child abuse and does not report it, that doctor may liable for the resulting injuries in a negligence cause of action. Read the full answer…

It depends on what you’re seeking. If you’re seeking a criminal case against Walmart, it depends on your state’s specific gun laws. Some states have really lax gun laws, while other states have more stringent requirements that mandate certain types of background checks. As you may have heard in the news, the federal government is having trouble passing a law that would require mental health and strict background checks in order to purchase guns. Read the full answer…

It depends. Under the Fourth Amendment, the home is sacred and generally, the police cannot enter without at least a warrant, consent, or some sort of exigent circumstance. While the police can ask you for consent, they cannot threaten or coerce you to give it. The United States Supreme Court has held that any consent given to the police or other government official to search must be voluntary, that is, free of duress or coercion. Read the full answer…

Unfortunately, if you are not the owner of the bike and the bike is not under your name, then there is not much you can do. One question that remains obvious is the circumstances under which you claim ownership of the bike. How is it that you claim to own the bike when there is another owner and your name is not on the title? Read the full answer…

Unfortunately, the answer is no. The “fruit of a poisonous tree” doctrine that you reference comes from well-settled United States Supreme Court case law regarding the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures of their “persons, houses, papers and effects.” Read the full answer…

The answer depends on whether there actually was an error committed by the District Attorney. Was your son actually protected by the restraining order but there was a clerical error? Based on the facts your provided, that is the only seemingly plausible error that might subject you to liability. However, it is not up to your wife whether the DA will reopen the case, it is simply up to the DA. Read the full answer…

A summons or subpoena is a common tool used by lawyers to mandate that witnesses show up to hearings and/or provide information. If served with a summons, it is imperative that you abide by it or face contempt of court (which could include fines and/or possible jail time). Read the full answer…

Assuming you have the money to pay for a private defense attorney, there are several ways to find one who is experienced in the area of felony rape, including internet and standard phone book searches. Typically, I find that the best way to select an attorney is through referral by others, which is a good way to gauge an attorney’s reputation and experience. Read the full answer…

Generally speaking, in California there are three sentencing ranges for each offense: lower, middle and upper. There’s a criminal sentencing chart that judges and criminal attorneys use that specify the ranges for each specific crime, and statutorily, this is the guideline that the judges have to follow. Read the full answer…

The first important fact I would need to know is where the parking lot is located.  Is it a parking spot located in the curtilage of your house?  If so, then there may an illegal search issue, since a very recent United State Supreme Court decision held that canine sniffs at a home are searches that require warrants under the Fourth Amendment.  If it is a parking lot located in a public area or a shared parking lot in an apartment complex, for example, then there is less of an expectation of privacy and more likely the canine sniff was not a search. Read the full answer…

The first important fact I would need to know is where the parking lot is located.  Is it a parking spot located in the curtilage of your house?  If so, then there may an illegal search issue, since a very recent United State Supreme Court decision held that canine sniffs at a home are searches that require warrants under the Fourth Amendment.  If it is a parking lot located in a public area or a shared parking lot in an apartment complex, for example, then there is less of an expectation of privacy and more likely the canine sniff was not a search. Read the full answer…

Unfortunately, the photos taken by the officers of the mark on your wife’s chest can be used as evidence against you.  Oftentimes in domestic violence cases the alleged victim refuses to testify or is unwilling to cooperate with the case.  However, that in itself does not preclude a prosecutor from pursuing criminal charges against you. Read the full answer…

Generally speaking, deadly force likely to cause bodily harm is not justified to merely defend property.  Typically, deadly force is only justified when the person using it reasonably believes that the intruder is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to you or a third-person that you are privileged to protect.  Therefore, unless the thief is using deadly force against you to steal your motorcycle, you likely do not have the right to shoot him or her. Read the full answer…

Unfortunately, the photos taken by the officers of the mark on your wife’s chest can be used as evidence against you.  Oftentimes in domestic violence cases the alleged victim refuses to testify or is unwilling to cooperate with the case.  However, that in itself does not preclude a prosecutor from pursuing criminal charges against you. Read the full answer…

It may not be fair that you are getting charged for what was essentially you trying to protect yourself.  However, if you are claiming self-defense then it will be your burden to prove that you did not act unlawfully. California Penal Code section 693 essentially gives a person the right to use reasonable force to repel an assault. Read the full answer…

There are many facts that need to be hashed out in order for an attorney to be able to properly answer your question. Most importantly, what is the charge in the case?  If it is a domestic violence dispute, the fact that a victim is not willing to testify does not preclude a prosecutor from pursuing a criminal action against you. Read the full answer…

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