San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

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Pre-Plea Diversion

As of January 1, 2018, California courts are offering “pre-plea”diversion in some drug cases. The benefit of pre-plea diversion is that defendant’s are not actually convicted of the charges and can earn a complete dismissal down the road. Prior to January of 1997, California offered diversion programs similar to the new law. After 1997, the law changed from “diversion” to “deferred entry of judgment”. The difference between the two is that diversion does not require a plea to be entered prior to accepting this as a settlement. This means that the defendant is never “convicted” of the crime. In the deferred …

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What Can Be Done About Your Hit And Run?

If you are driver involved in an automobile accident and there is any property damage, regardless of fault, you are required to stop and leave your name and address with the other party or leave a note with your name and address and a statement about what happened with the owner of the property or in a conspicuous place where the accident occurred. If you are involved in an accident where there are injuries to people, you must stop the car, identify yourself to the other driver or the police and give address and names and addresses of any passengers …

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Recent Developments in Bail Law in California

If you ask most lawyers about bail, they will tell you to call a bail bondsman. Many will even suggest you call one that they know and regularly do business with. This is probably not the answer you want to hear when you or someone you love is in custody and has questions about bail. What you want to hear is how your lawyer can help explain how bail works, what the options are for the client or the client’s family and how recent changes in the law may dramatically reduce the cost of bail. Bail Reduction First, when a client …

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Mental Health Problems and the Criminal Justice System

I have had the troubling situation lately of having to deal with a number of clients with mental impairment. Specifically, I have had to three cases in the last year where a client was charged with a crime or crimes and they were unable to either grasp the nature of the criminal proceedings; unable to assist in their own defense; or, more commonly, they were unable to communicate with me. Or at least I was unable to communicate with them. Definitions Insanity in California requires some very specific findings. In order for a defendant in a criminal case to be …

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Prior Bad Acts in Domestic Violence Cases

A new client came in a few months ago. He was charged with felony domestic battery and violating a criminal protective order from a prior misdemeanor DV conviction. The allegations of the new case were pretty serious. In fact, the police reports were so bad that two different judges and the district attorney refused to offer him a misdemeanor settlement. We set the case for preliminary hearing. Twice the district attorney wasn’t ready to go. One time, I was in trial and now we have the case set for prelim on Tuesday. Friday I got 100 new pages of police reports and a …

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Pitchess Motions and Getting Better Results in Criminal Defense Cases

Leveraging Better Results in Criminal Defense Cases: Pitchess Motions Almost every time a new client comes in they want to know how their case will end up. Often times, clients want me to “lay odds” about what will happen with their case. I have to tell them the same thing every time: Every case is different. Every result is different. I may have some idea about how a case should work out, but I never know exactly how the case will resolve. What I do know is that I can frequently do things to increase my client’s odds of a …

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My Boyfriend Told me to Refuse the Test

My Boyfriend told me to Refuse the Test I repeat client called me yesterday to tell me she was arrested for her third DUI last weekend. She was driving home from work at a local night club and was pulled over for swerving. I asked her about the contact with law enforcement and she told me she performed the field sobriety tests and attempted the field breath test at least 6 times. She was then arrested and taken to Van Nuys Police Station for booking. The officers asked her if she wanted to take a breath or blood test at the station …

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Meet Your Lawyer Before You Hire Him

I got a call Friday from a potential client. I was walking out the door to meet a colleague for lunch when the phone rang. I asked the caller if I could call her back in 90 minutes. She said o.k. and I set off for lunch. When I got back, I returned the call and was told that my potential client was completing the process of hiring another lawyer. My loss, right? Wrong. For years I have been saying the same things and they are more true today than they were when I first started writing blogs. Please, please, …

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The Mill vs. the Real Criminal Defense Lawyer

Almost every criminal defense lawyer who is under 70 and has been practicing for more that 6 weeks, has a website. Some sites are better, and some are worse. Some sites are larger and some are simply a splash page with contact information. I was recently retained by a very interesting fellow. He is a computer programmer who works at a very high level for very significant clients. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that he hired me. After all, I’m good at my job. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and I offered this client exactly what …

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Jail Alternatives in LA’s Criminal Justice System

Welcome to Los Angeles County. Home of the largest municipal jail facility in the world; Home of one of the most overcrowded jails in the country; Home of some of the most disgusting jail conditions in the country. Even inmates in Los Angeles County Jail are almost always released far early than the terms of the sentence require, many people simply do not want to spend a night amidst the filth and violence within the jail system. For years I have said that I would gladly pick up garbage on the side of the freeway (Cal-Trans) for a month before …

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