While the relevant (to this discussion) changes made to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) took effect on January 1, 2018, many CA residents don't yet know about the way the state imposed new restrictions on an employer’s ability to make pre-hiring and personnel decisions based on a person's criminal history. ...Which is a shame as the change in the law came about as an effort to give ex-offenders a second chance at becoming upstanding citizens who contribute successfully to their communities.
Writing on this subject, Forbes magazine stated: "A 2011 study found that employment was the most significant influence on whether a formerly incarcerated person re-offended. 'Two years after release nearly twice as many employed people with records had avoided another brush with the law than their unemployed counterparts.' A three-year study found that a year of employment reduced the recidivism rate by 34%, as compared to the Department of Correction’s average recidivism rate."
Previous to this change in the law, only state and local agencies were prohibited from asking an applicant about their criminal record until the person was found to be otherwise qualified for the position. Now however, all employers (in California, and with five or more employees,) are prohibited from (1) asking about the applicant's criminal history on the initial job application, (2) asking about or considering the applications criminal history until after the applicant has received a conditional job offer, or (3) considering or sharing information about the applicants criminal history where: the applicant was arrested, but never charged, (subject to some exceptions under the Labor Code), the applicant earned a dismissal of their case through participation in a diversion program, or the conviction was expunged, dismissed or sealed.
Your next question is probably "so what if I'm conditionally offered a job, and then I disclose my conviction?" In that case, the employer is prohibited from denying you the job based solely on the conviction(s) without performing an assessment of the facts, particular to the applicant. As part of the assessment, the employer should consider the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the arrest and the completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought. In order to deny he applicant the job, the employer needs to show that the conviction is linked to the applicants proposed job duties, and the applicant must be informed of the employer's intent to deny the applicant the position, if there is to be one, in writing.
As part of the written disclosure, the employer needs to give the applicant notice of the convictions which form the basis for the denial, provide the applicant a copy of the conviction history paperwork (if it is available,) and inform the applicant that they have 5 business days to provide a response. To be relevant, the applicant's response should address statements regarding the accuracy of the conviction report, evidence mitigating the offense, or evidenced of the persons rehabilitation. The employer must wait for the 5-day period to expire before making a final decision to deny employment.
In order to mitigate the consequences of any arrest or conviction, speak with a qualified attorney.
We’ve seen it used a million times on TV, but in the real world successfully asserting an insanity defenseis rare and difficult.
When the court looks to whether a person in “insane” for the purposes of a criminal matter, it uses what we call the M’Naghten rule. In order to be insane, the defendant must no—at the time of the offense—have been able to either understand the nature and quality of his or her act or must not have been able to distinguish between right and wrong. For example, a person could be held to be insane, and would have a defense to animal abuse charges, if they heard imaginary voices, telling them that the world was going to end shortly unless the defendant sacrifices a goat to the God Anived, so the defendant does, indeed sacrifice the goat. However, if a defendant who suffers from depression or anxiety, and only felt relief when she was hitting her boyfriend would not be able to successfully use the defense, even though the anxiety or depression caused her not to care about the possible consequences of hurting the young man.
Because insanity is a legal defense, it is the defendant, not the government, that bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidencethis aspect of a case. At trial, the two issues (first, whether the defendant did the act for which they are being accused, and then second, if they were insane when they committee the act) are heard separately.The issue of guilt is heard first, with this portion of the case being just like what you see on TV: the various witnesses to the crime testify about the evidence. Then, if the jury finds the defendant guilty, the jury decides the issue of sanity. During this portion of the case, usually the only witnesses are qualified medical professionals.
However, a lot of people do not realize that a defendant whois held to be insanedoes not get a free pass; they are ordered to be committed to a state hospital for treatment, not only to try to rehabilitate the defendant, but also to protect society.A defendant can be held in that mental facility until one of three things happen: (1) doctors believe that the defendant has regained sanity, (2) the maximum term of imprisonment for that crime has expired, or (3) the doctors feel that the defendant would be successfully in addressing the underlying issue via outpatient treatment program.
Found in Penal Code § 25
Recent statistics claim that only 1% of all defendants assert the defense.
In the 90s, the legislature amended the law to prevent the court from finding a criminal defendant insane based solely on the basis of a seizure disorder, a personality or adjustment disorder, or addiction to/abuse of an intoxicating substance.
More likely than not.
Of course, a defendant can enter a plea of “guilty by reason of insanity,” in which they admit they did the bad thing they are accused of, but claim the defendant should not be held accountable due to the defense of insanity.
People v. Superior Court (Williams) (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 477, 485.
That said, a defendant may be further confined, if the person still has a diagnosed mental disease or disorder and is a substantial danger of physical harm to others.
Law enforcement is legally allowed to pull you over if they see that you are violating even the most insignificant of laws, even if that minor law violation is merely a pretext for investigating a hunchthat the driver has done something else more sinister. Because of this, it is not uncommon for a DUI driver to have originally been stopped for something trivial like having a taillight out, having something hanging from the rearview mirror, or, as relevant to this blog post, a license plate violation.
California law requires that you have both a front and rear license plate on your car, and that that license plate be “securely fastened to the vehicle . . .as to prevent the plates from swinging,” “mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and so that the characters are upright and display from left to right,and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible.” Further, the license plate can only be covered by (1) a security cover—as long as that security cover does not obstruct any portion of the license plate numbering, or the registration stickers—or (2) a car cover on a parked car, used to protect the vehicle from the weather.
Now, speaking of those registration stickers… they need to be attached to the license plate properly, in the correct location: with the “month” sticker on the left, and the “year” sticker on the right. Should you accidently put the stickers on the wrong side of the plate, (I’ll be honest: I’ve done it!) you’ll need to take extra care in remedying the problem as they stickers have been designed to be especially difficult to remove so that thieves cannot steal a person’s valid registration sticker and put it on their own, non-registered vehicle. Should you try to just peel the incorrect sticker off, don’t be surprised if the sticker rips apart, making itself perfectly unusable. Should this happen to you, the easiest thing to do it to just order new stickers from the DMV.
Lastly, starting this year, when a car dealer sells a car, the dealer will be required to give you temporary license plates, and it is required that you keep both of those license plates on the vehicle until the permanent plates arrive. These temporary license plates must include a plate number, what the DMV calls a “report of sale number,” the Vehicle Identification Number, Year, Model and Make of the vehicle, and an expiration date that is 90 days after the date of sale. As of the time of writing this post, it is expected that each of these valid temporary license plates will include security features, helping to thwart theft of the plates.
In today’s world, when we’re all so busy with the things that “really” matter in life, it’s easy to become complacent about the little things that are wrong with our cars, but ignoring these little things is practically inviting a bored police officer to run your plate or pull you over, all in the name of simply “doing his or her job.”
So don’t be funny and put your license plate on upside down.
Cal. Vehicle Code 5201.
As the result of the passage of Assembly Bill 516.
If you lose one or both of the temporary plates, you’ll need to go back to the dealerfor replacements.
One of the scariest parts of any criminal action is the fear surrounding what the potential punishment may be. Every defendant knows that their crime is often different from a crime committed by someone else, even if the two defendant's actual records reflect the same conviction. There could have been mitigating circumstances! There could have been life circumstances which may sway a judge to give them a lesser sentence! The Defendant could have been coerced into committing the crime! Thankfully, California is well aware of all of these possibilities and seeks to have every sentence reflect the seriousness of the particular offense.
In California, the law requires the preparation of a "probation report" in all cases in which a felony conviction is obtained. This report is prepared by the Probation office after an interview with the defendant, at which time the defendant can do a little more explaining. A defendant him- or herself, often through his or her attorney, can also prepare a "statement in mitigation," which is a more in-depth analysis of all of the relevant factors they hope the judge considers before handing down a sentence. The court should use this Presentencing Report and the Statement in Mitigation in determining the appropriate length of a prison sentence and in deciding whether probation is appropriate. The report can be helpful as it should contain factual findings by the probation officer including, but not limited to, the facts and circumstances of defendant’s crime, recommendations as to a grant of probation and its terms, and any other sentencing recommendations.
To help both probation and the defense focus their arguments, California Rule of Court 4.410(a) outlines list of general objectives for sentencing in California: protecting society, punishing the defendant, encouraging the defendant to lead a law abiding life in the future and deterring him or her from future offenses, deterring others from criminal conduct by demonstrating its consequences, preventing the defendant from committing new crimes by isolating him for a period of incarceration, securing restitution for the victims of the crime, and achieving uniformity in sentencing. Subsection (b) of that same rule provides that “Because in some instances these objectives may suggest inconsistent dispositions, the sentencing judge must consider which objectives are of primary importance in the particular case.” Also, California Rules of Court, Rule 4.414 lists several criteria the court can look to when deciding whether to grant probation. These criteria include facts related to the crime, and facts related to the defendant.
So which factors matter enough to have been expectedly listed in the law?
Factors relating to the crime include that:
Factors relating to the defendant include that:
If you would like to speak to an attorney ready, willing and able to help you put the best possible spin on your case, get ahold of Devina Douglas.
One of the first thoughts that run through an arrestee's mind after landing in jail is quite simply "how fast can I get out?" Usually, the fastest way out is to post bail: your promise, secured by money, that you will appear at the upcoming court dates.
The Constitution guarantees a person the right to jail in almost all circumstances, and a person's bail is often set by a schedule, a set of guidelines adopted by the government that establish uniform guidelines correlating each crime to a dollar amount of bail. We have bail schedules to try to ensure the defendants who commit the same crime are held on the same bail throughout the state. But both the prosecution and the defense can request deviations from bail. When deviating, the court often looks to these factors:
If you are in custody, and want to speak to a criminal defense attorney, give Devina a call.
The exceptions her in California being Capital (a) crimes when the facts are evident or the presumption great, (b) Felony offenses involving acts of violence on another person, or felony sexual assault offenses on another person, when the facts are evident or the presumption great and the court finds based upon clear and convincing evidence that there is a substantial likelihood the person's release would result in great bodily harm to others; or (c) Felony offenses when the facts are evident or the presumption great and the court finds based on clear and convincing evidence that the person has threatened another with great bodily harm and that there is a substantial likelihood that the person would carry out the threat if released. The purpose of the exception to the right to bail for capital defendants is to protect the public from those who commit intensely serious crimes.
We are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in America, right? Why then, for so long, were those defendants whose convictions had been overturned, deprived of their ability to get a refund on the fines and fees paid in the underlying case? Who knows. But thankfully, that is no longer the case.
While our Supreme Court often divided, it ruled in a 7-1 decision that Colorado, one of the few states that frequently held on to money taken from defendants in such situations, had to be refunded. "After a conviction has been reversed, unless and until the defendant should be retried, he must be presumed innocent of that charge," Justice Ginsberg said. "Colorado may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary extractions."
I have repeatedly posted warning here against drinking and driving, but I realized the other day that I have only given my readers a scant amount of information that can help them decrease their alcohol consumption. So, as we are in the midst of the “drinking season”—a time of the year when going out with friends for a drink or two (or three of four,) always seems like a more inviting idea than during the rest of the year, or maybe dealing with the stress of force family interaction causes us to act out a bit—I thought I would share a post aimed at helping us all manage to get through the holidays without alcohol. Here are a few suggestions:
I realize that I may be asking too much of you to have an entirely sober holiday season, so here are a few more tips to keep you safe if you decide to go the less-than-sober route.
Be safe out there!
Want to drink at home? Look no further than this site. Or this one. Or this one. And for you Pinterest fans, I give you this.
Fall and winter have always been one of my favorite times of the year (mainly because this time of year includes not only my birthday, but also Thanksgiving and Christmas!) It’s the time we see beloved family and friends, gorge on food we otherwise couldn’t justify, have a perfectly good excuse to curl up on the couch for some serious binge-watching, and celebrate old traditions. For some, these traditions include office gift exchanges, holiday parties, ugly sweater parties, building snowmen, sledding, and decorating the tree. Sadly, there’s another tradition that few like to think about: the documented rise in DUIs.
We all know the chances of getting into a collision go up if there are more cars on the road and when the weather is bad, when you factor in an increased number of DUI drivers the chances of getting in an accident go off the charts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), notes that, on an average, day 36 fatalities occur per day in the United States in which an alcohol-impaired driver is involved. However, during the holiday season that average gives to 45 fatalities per day, and over New Year’s weekend, that number jumps even higher to soared to 54 per day!No surprise, the highest incidences of DUI arrests occur late November through very early January, and some bartenders refer to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as “Black Wednesday” as that is their busiest night of the year.
So please be careful out there this time of year. And while I always welcome the business, and appreciate that my clients have chosen me to help them defend against a DUI, it always breaks my heart to see a client walk through the door because someone was injured or killed as a result of their drinking and driving.
In case you’re curious, the Fourth of July is considered the deadliest day of the year.
Limiting the involvement of state and local law enforcement agencies in federal immigration enforcement.
The fact that California is activity trying to resist the Trump administrations’ immigration policies is news to no one. Here’s what you need to know about California’s recent response to Federal Immigration policy.
Existing federal law states that any authorized immigration officer can issue what’s called an “Immigration Detainer-Notice of Action” to any other federal, state, or local law enforcement agency. This detainer advises these other law enforcement agencies that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking to take an alien presently in the custody of thatagency, into the custody of the DHS for the purpose of arresting and deporting the alien.In short, it is a request that such that the other agency advise the DHS, prior to release of the alien, so that the DHS can arrange to pick up the alien. This is commonly referred to as an “immigration hold.” The other law enforcement agency is then supposed to maintain custody of the alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours.
However, there have been fears that Trump’s Executive Orders and other related Department of Homeland Security memorandums amount to essentially an “outline [for] a mass deportation strategy that will encompass a broad category of immigrants.” The proponents of this bill back up these statements by citing statistics indicating that deportations have increased 40% and approximately 10,800 of these deportations were of aliens whose only criminality was either entering or staying in the county in violation of law.
In response, California passed SB 54. This change in the law now makes it so no California law enforcement agency can use agency or department money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes. This includes prohibitions on usingagency or department money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes. This includes prohibitions on (1) inquiring into an person's immigration status, (2) detaining a person on the basis of an immigration hold request, (3) providing non-public information regarding a person's release date unless such information release is in response to a notification request that where the person meets specified criteria regarding their current or past offenses, (4) providing non-public personal information about a person, including, but not limited to, the individual's home address or work address; (5) making or intentionally participating in arrests based on civil immigration warrants, or (6) assisting immigration authorities in the specified activities allowed under federal immigration law or performing the functions of an immigration officer.
Perhaps equally as important, California Law Enforcement Agencies cannot transfer a person to immigration authorities unless the transfer has previously been authorized by a judicial warrant or judicial probable cause determination, or if the individual meets specified criteria regarding their past offenses.
Law enforcement, however, can still (1) investigative and enforce violations of federal law for illegal reentry after removal following conviction of an aggravated felony, (2) respond to a request from federal immigration authorities for information about a person's criminal history, (3) participating in a joint law enforcement task force, if the primary purpose of the task force is not immigration enforcement, or (4), or give immigration authorities access to interview an individual in law enforcement custody.
Other law also states that notwithstanding any other provision of law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not in any way restrict a government entity or official from sending or receiving Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.
Federal law also allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to enter into agreements that delegate immigration powers to local police, with the negotiated agreements between ICE and the local police being documented in some form of memorandum of agreement (MOA).
excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays
Senator De Leon, as noted in the Assembly Floor Analysis of SB 54 dated September 15, 2017.
In this particular situation, responses are not required, but permitted, provided they do not violate any local law or policy.
As we have discussed here before, both the DMV and the Court system have the ability to suspend your driver's license after a DUI. There are, however, few circumstances wherein the Court can order the DMV to re-issue someone’s license. This most frequently happens when the DUI charges are dismissed by the District Attorney's Office or an acquittal is obtained after a trial, after which a "Dismissal hearing" is held to refute the DMV's previously obtained evidence against the driver. The other way this can happen is through the use of a “Helmandollar” Plea. In the original Helmandollar case, the driver beat the DUI charges in court after losing the DMV hearing.
There are two rather large challenges in being able to enter a Hellmandollar plea, however. Perhaps most difficult is getting the prosecutor to agree to dismiss the DUI charges and admit there is some deficiency in the evidence that is great enough to equate to actual innocence of the driver. Then, of course, the judge must agree to accept such a plea. Once that happens the driver's license suspension and DMV conviction are set aside under Vehicle Code 13353.2 which states, “If a person is acquitted of criminal charges relating to a determination of facts under [the administrative per se law]…the department shall immediately reinstate the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle.” (However, this language does not apply to a suspension based on a driver's refusal to take a chemical test.)
While these pleas are certainly hard to get, if you are a person who cannot stand to lose their driver's license an experienced DUI attorney can help you explore this option.
Prior the passage of Senate Bill 1391, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, which was enacted by Proposition 57, allowed the district attorney to make a motion try a minor in the adult criminal court (1) if the minor is alleged to have committed a felony when he or she was 16 years of age or older, or (2) in a case in which a serious offense is alleged to have been committed by a minor when he or she was 14 or 15 years of age. This bill would repealed the authority of a district attorney to attempt to try the minor as an adult in the latter of these two cases, unless the minor was not apprehended prior to minor’s 18thbirthday.
In the 1960s, the Arnold-Kennick Juvenile Court Act established 16 as the minimum age for which a minor could be transferred from juvenile court to adult criminal court. Over 30 years later, the law changed, lowering the age at which a minor could be transferred to adult criminal court from 16 to 14 years of age, in large part due to concerns of increasing crimes of violence being committed by teens. In 2000, once again citing public safety concerns, legislators passed Proposition 21, increasing sentences for specified gang-related crimes, authorizing a prosecutor to file charges against a juvenile offender directly in criminal court for specified felonies, prohibiting the sealing of juvenile records involving Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b) offenses, and designating additional crimes as violent and serious felonies.
However, over the last several years there have been a series of U.S. Supreme Court casesrecognizing the inherent difference between juveniles and adults for purposes of sentencing. These cases have relied on research on brain and adolescent development which suggests that juveniles have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform. The Supreme Court held that they have a “ ‘lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility,’ ” leading to recklessness, impulsivity, and heedless risk-taking,. Further, they “are more vulnerable . . . to negative influences and outside pressures,” including from their family and peers; they have limited “contro[l] over their own environment” and lack the ability to extricate themselves from horrific, crime-producing settings.
So how does the system work in these cases? After the DA’s office makes the decision that they feel the minor should be tried as an adult, the DA is required to make a motion to have the case moved from juvenile court system to the adult criminal justice system. From there, it is ultimately the court’s (the judge’s) decision whether or not to allow the transfer. In reaching that decision, the judge is required to consider certain factors.
First, the degree of criminal sophistication exhibited by the minor. This factor tends to hinge on the minor’s age. maturity, intellectual capacity, physical, mental and emotional health at the time he committed the crime, the minor’s impetuosity or failure to appreciate the consequences of his actions, the effects of the minor’s family environment, and whether there had been any sort of childhood trauma. Second, the circumstances and gravity of the offense. Third, whether the minor can be rehabilitated prior to the minor’s 18thbirthday, and previous attempts by the juvenile court to rehabilitate the minor. And fourth, the minor’s prior criminal history.
While the passage of the bill was widely celebrated throughout the state, it was not without it’s critics who that some crime are so horrific that this change in the law does not respect victims and coddles teens who are the types of offenders who will never be reformed.
The main cases include: Roper v. Simmons (2005) 543 U.S. 551 [125 S.Ct. 1138, 161 L.Ed. 2d]; Graham v. Florida (2010) 560 U.S. 48 [130 S.Ct. 2011, 176 L.Ed. 825]; J.D.B. v. North Carolina (2011) 564 U.S. 261 [131 S. Ct. 2394, 180 L.Ed. 310 ]; Miller v. Alabama (2012) 567 U.S. 460 [132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed. 2d 407].)
For an opposing position see this 2015 Law Review article.
As you would expect, suffering a DUI conviction results in a myriad of punishments. Despite having to pay fines and fees in the neighborhood of $2,000-2,500 and do some mandatory jail time, for those of us here in CA who are dependent on our cars to get around, carry out our daily tasks, get to work, go to medical or dental appointments, and visit family, perhaps the harshest penalty is the mandatory suspension of our driver’s license. For a driver who suffers a standard first DUI, the DMV will suspend his or her driver’s license for 4 months. A standard second offense within 10 years will cause that same driver to lose his or her license for two years, and that driver will be without a license for 3 years for a third offense. These penalties get harsher if the driver refused to take a breath or blood test after the arrest or was under 21 at the time of arrest.
However, California allows a person who has been convicted of a DUI to applyfor a restricted license, allowing them to drive (1) to and from their worksite, and driving they need to do for work, (2) a dependent child to school, (3) to necessary medical appointments, and (4) to any alcohol-education or self-help classes. A driver (in most DUIs) is allowed to apply for a restricted license after 30 days if convicted of a first offense DUI, 90 days if convicted of a second offense DUI, or 180 days if convicted of a third offense DUI. As part of the application the driver must also submit proof of enrollment in an appropriate Driving and Driving Education Program (DDP), and submit proof of current financial responsibility (an SR-22 form.) …And, of course, the DMV will charge a license re-issuance fee of $125.
Once both the DMV-ordered and court-order suspension period has elapsed, a driver is eligible to apply for their full driving privilege back. To have a full license reinstated, the driver will need to show proof ofcompletion of the DDP class and, once again, pay a $125 reissuance fee.
As the application for both of these licenses requires a driver to personally appear at a DMV office, and DMV waiting times have become exceedingly long, it is strongly suggested that drivers schedule their appointments as early on in the process as possible.
Obtaining a restricted license if a complicated legal process. Obtaining an experienced attorney to guide you and ensure all your documentation is in order will ensure your driving privileges are reinstated as quickly as possible after a DUI conviction.
 The length of the DDP program is dependent on the facts of the case. One common factor that determines the length of the program is the level of your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). In California, these programs typically run for 3, 6, or 9 months. A second or third offense will require a driver to complete an 18-month class.
 You can obtain an SR-22 from your current insurance carrier (if they do not cancel on you) or from a different insurance company (if you were dropped). Obtaining an SR-22 can be costly as the DUI conviction is strong evidence to the insurance carrier that you are a high-risk driver. Generally, you must maintain an SR-22 on file with the DMV for about 3 years, however, it can vary case by case.
So you got a DUI and now need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. Here's everything you need to know:
On which cars do I need to install an IID?
An IID needs to be installed on any car you drive or have registered to you. If
a family member often drives a car registered to you, it may be advisable to go down to the DMV and have the title transferred to that family member so that your loved ones do not need to bear the burden of having to use an IID as well. When the transfer is interfamily, the transfer fees can be low.
How do I find an IID provider?
These programs are recognized by the state:
How much is this going to cost?
Costs vary by provider. That said, installation costs usually run between $75 and $100+, (the cost can be affected by the type of car you drive; as you could expect, it's a lot easier to add technology to some cars than it is to others,) and then there are monthly monitoring fees which run anywhere from $50-100 per month. Overall, the costs usually come down to about $3-4 a day.
How long do I need to have the IID in the car?
Usually the length of the IID requirement is govern by the court orders, however, as of 2019, an IID will need to be installed in your vehicle for at least 6 months after a 1st offense DUI, 1 year after a 2nd offense, and 2 years after a 3rd offense. Keep in mind, however, that having an IID installed in your car may qualify you to get a restricted license from the DMV sooner.
How embarrassing! Ways to disguise that IID:
There are several products on the marker to help you disguise the IID installed in your car. Check out these sites:
Yes. If you want to read the law, see the text here.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a landmark bill (which will go into effect in October 2019,) into law in late August, which will make California the first state to abolish cash bail, instead giving judges discretion--which is supposed to focus on the person's risk to public safety--to decide which defendants should stay in jail pending trial, and which are lucky enough to get to go home, released on their own recognizance or under certain "pre-trial release" conditions. Currently, bail is usually set according to a “bail schedule,” a standardized chart which directs a judge to set a certain bail in relation to the severity of the offense and the defendant’s previous criminal history.
One of the most common and, arguably, most dangerous criminal offenses is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI driver poses a risk not only to themselves, but to the general public as well. Because of the possible severe consequences of a DUI, California imposes severe punishments. Here’s a quick list of tipson what to do and what not to do if arrested for a DUI.
It is a common misconception to group assault and battery as one in the same even though they are typically charged jointly. The California Penal Code defines “assault” and “battery” differently, making them two distinct criminal acts that require their unique set of requirements. Assault is defined under California Penal Code Section 240, whereas battery is defined under section 242.
Assault is defined under Penal Code Section 240 as, “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” Assault seeks to protect pure psychological injuries because every person has the right to be free from apprehension of a potential injury. What does this mean? As stated in Penal Code Section 240, assault is the unlawful attemptto commit an injury. This means that no actual injury is required, rather the simple attemptto commit the injury is sufficient. For example, shouting profanities at someone does not constitute assault, as mere words are not enough. They do not create a justified apprehension of harm. However, if the words are coupled with physical actions such as balling your fists, or grabbing for a bat, then it could be deemed sufficient. It is the justifiable fear that a person can create towards another from their actions that assault seeks to protect against.
Battery, on the other hand, is taking an assault a step further. Penal Code section 242 defines “battery” as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. Battery seeks to protect the bodily integrity of the person. Unlike assault, battery requires that physical contact be made. But what type of physical contact? Typically, this refers to person-to-person contact, such as punching or pushing. However, courts over the years have expanded the meaning of physical contact. The courts have even held that making physical contact with an item that the other is holding, if in close proximity, injures their bodily integrity. Here’s an example, A slaps a plate out of B’s hand. Although A did not make physical contact with B, the plate is considered part of B’s bodily integrity because he was holding it. Another way the courts have expanded the physical contact element is by considering an alleged victim’s particular personal preferences, but only if that preference has already been articulated to the would-be batterer. An extreme example: B is afraid of being hugged. A, knowing of this, lunges at B to hug him. Although hugging is normally a socially acceptable act, B’s prior verbal communication of his sensitivity makes it unacceptable to him. If A hugs B, A had committed a crime.
As always, the intricacies of assault and battery charges depend on the facts. Make sure you find an experience lawyer to assist you, as both assault and battery carry severe penalties if convicted.
As the summer reaches its peak, many drivers are utilizing any available means to stay cool and out of the sun. One of the most common efforts in doing so involves window tinting. Window tinting is utilized for various different reasons, for example: added privacy, prevent damage to the interior of the vehicle, or—as tinting film can reflect incoming light and therefore reduce the glare and heat inside the car—to keep cool. Although many Californians have their windows tinted, window tinting has always been heavily regulated by law enforcement and can be used a means for initiating a traffic stop. In fact, in 2015, the California Highway Patrol reported a total of nearly 2000,000 tickets issued to drivers for violating California window tint law between January 2015 and August 2017!
Vehicle Code §26708 generally prohibits drivers from placing any material that may reduce or obstruct their view through the windshield. (Ironically, it seems Californians are constantly encouraged to do the complete opposite. Parking permits are a great example. Whether instructed to be placed on the windshield or hung on the rear-view mirror, based on the language of the law, doing so could be construed as a violation.) Also, other regulations address the darkness and location of the tint. For example, despite there being no current limitations on the darkness of rear windows, the front side windows must allow more than 70% of light to pass through into the inside the car, and a car can only have non-reflective tint on the top four inches of the windshield.
Through the passage of AB 1303, California created a small but important exemption to the window shield tint and object placement prohibition; Californians who obtain a signed certificate by a dermatologist indicating the driver has a sensitivity to UV rayscan now tint their windshields. It is important to keep in mind, however, that those utilizing this exemption can still expect to have interactions with law enforcement stemming from their use of tint as officers can still use a perceived violation of the tinting laws as probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. …And once an officer has probable cause to pull you over, his observations while conducting that routine traffic stop are all fair game.
So if you are one of the drivers for whom window tint is medically recommended, by all means take advantage of the new exemption created by AB 1303. But remember, this could potentially result in an increased likelihood of interactions with law enforcement so make sure your other documentation such as license, insurance, and registration are all up to date!
Also of note, (1) a driver is required to have dual side mirrors if the rear window of the car is tinted, and (2) a driver cannot use red, amber or blue tint on any window.
For example if the driver has either Lupus or xeroderma pigmentosum
There's an interesting discussion taking place surrounding the jail sentence of Julie Eldred. The following info was cut and pasted from this site.
"Julie Eldred [originally convicted of theft-related charges] was a drug addict on criminal probation – which required her to stay clean. She was trying to. But as so often happens, she couldn’t. The judge sent her to jail for 10 days. Is that what our society ought to do? Is relapse a crime requiring time behind bars – or a symptom of disease requiring treatment? ..."
"The irony is both dark and profound: Only in death do drug users become victims. Until then, they are criminals. In addition, a vast majority of American prisons deny opioid addicts access to medication-assisted therapy, or MAT, which uses Food and Drug Administration-approved medications that can relieve opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Most addiction specialists say MAT is far and away the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder."
One "argument, which is shared by many medical professionals, is that incarceration poses a threat to the recovery process—not that court-ordered drug treatment or testing is unfair, or that criminal sanctions shouldn’t be imposed on probationers who don’t comply with treatment. Eldred had been on a regime of anti-craving medicine, Suboxone, for five days when she relapsed.
'From a therapeutic perspective, it is very disruptive to put somebody in a position where they’re afraid if they talk about relapse—or even talk about cravings to relapse—they could be jailed,' said Newman-Polk, who previously worked as an addiction counselor. 'If the court feels that addiction treatment is a necessary probation condition, then the court system shouldn’t interrupt the treatment process.'”
The case, set to decide if requiring probationers to remain clean is constitutional is currently pending in the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
The California legislature continues its pursuit towards safer roads and its never-ending battle against driving under the influence. Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft once seen as a tool to combat drunk driving, have lessened the frequency of such criminality, but the cost of a ride can still serve as a disincentive for drinkers to request a ride-share.
Prior to the passage of AB 711 this year, alcohol manufacturers were limited to whom they could offer discounted rides(event invite-only guests). However, California sought to change this. AB 711 seems like a win-win proposition that benefits both the manufacturers and the public. Manufacturers can use these rides as marketing tools while the drinking public benefits from free rides and the general public can rest assured that there are potentially less drunk drivers on the road. Manufacturers can now offer discounted–or even free–rides, which many of us would prefer over the typical fare the manufacturers usually try to bribe us with: koozie or bottle openers. From the potential rider’s consumer point, perhaps the best part about AB 711 is that these free or discounted rides cannot be conditioned on the purchase of the manufacturer’s goods.
Surprisingly, it took six yearsafter the introduction of companies like Uber and Lyft to the general public for this law to be implemented, allowing California to join the vast majority of states in which this type of “advertising under guise of drunk driving prevention” is legal. So why did it take CA so long to implement AB 711? After all, AB 711 on its face seems like a great idea, eliminating those high costs of the ride that can sometimes discourage a person from requesting a Lyft or Uber, andallowing businesses to advertise through the offering of discounted or complimentary rides. Perhaps the delay in enacting such a law was the result of the many critics who opposes bills such as this one. One critic, Reverend James Butler. the executive director of the California Council on Alcohol Problems, was public in his criticism, positing that “[i]f they get free transportation, maybe instead of two beers they have six.” Further, it’s feared by critics that free transportation incentivizes people to drink morethan they would normally drink. Alcohol Justice, a San Rafael-based nonprofit, opposed the bill as they believe it would promote the “overconsumption of alcohol” and “[i]f AB 711 is passed and signed into law it will negatively impact public health and safety and increase the potential of alcohol-related problems,” such as potentially increasing the occurrence of other offenses that typically involve alcohol such as fights, being drunk in public, incidents of domestic violence, or resisting arrest.
So next time you are out in the town, check to see if the establishment you are in offers the services AB 711 seeks to provide, but if they don’t, make sure to request a ride from a sober driver, or one of the various ride services out there such as Uber, Lyft, or taxis. Remember that although that $20 ride may seem expensive at the time, it is nothing compared to the cost of litigating a DUI charge.
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