San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

Se Habla Español 818.783.5700

Boating Under the Influence

I had lunch today with a few colleagues who do criminal defense. We started out talking about the election and the possibilities of simply sailing away to some sort of paradise. At some point a younger attorney in the group asked if any of us had ever handled a BUI case. Of course. Boating under the influence is not so common here in inland Los Angeles County and is often more prosecuted in areas where there is a heavy recreational boating community. Lake Havasu comes to mind as a place that sees a lot of this sort of thing. But it also …

Read More

Valley Criminal and DUI Defense Lawyers Relocated

San Fernando Valley Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyers Jeffrey Vallens and Ross Erlich Have Relocated In the olden days I would have called up my printer and had formal announcements printed up which “announce” my move. I would then actually stick the announcements in envelopes and mail them to everyone I know or at least to everyone who I think might care that we moved. In the digital era, it seems that printed announcements are no longer necessary, but I do want people to know that after 9 years at the old location we moved about a mile down the …

Read More

The Right Way to Do Criminal Defense vs. The Wrong Way to Do Criminal Defense

I was in CCB* Tuesday on a motion to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor and expunge an old felony conviction for a client. When I first met the client, I told him that there is a right way and a wrong way to run this motion. The wrong way is to fill out the form and mail it in to the court with the $120 filing and wait and see what happens. In fact, a few years ago, another lawyer had been paid by this client to do this very same thing. That lawyer’s requests were denied, mine were granted. Why …

Read More

Vandalism Charges Dismissed

It took over a year, but I finally civilly compromised another vandalism case. My client and his friends were out smashing mailboxes, light fixtures and even a couple car side view mirrors. The third and final victim finally cashed my check and signed off on the civil compromise. What does this all mean to my client? It means no probation, no fine, no jail or trash pickup duty, no driver’s license suspension and no conviction. That’s right: a conviction for vandalism can cost you your driver’s license for at least a year. How did I do this? Under California Penal …

Read More

“When Darkness Reigns”, By Philip R. Dunn

When Darkness Reigns, by Philip R. Dunn A couple months ago I rented a new office in the Conejo Valley in order to better serve my Ventura County clients. The office is located near the Thousand Oaks Auto Center at 141 Duesenberg Drive, Suite 10, in Westlake Village. I had the opportunity to rent space from a veteran criminal defense lawyer named Philip Dunn. Like many of the great defense attorneys, Phil started his career as a public defender in Ventura County with the likes of Tim Quinn and others great defenders of the Constitution. When I started talking to …

Read More

How to Deal with Criminal Protective Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

How to Deal with an Emergency Protective Order or Criminal Protective Order in Domestic Violence Cases If you have been arrested for domestic violence there is a good chance there will be an emergency protective order issued immediately after your arrest. There will most likely be a Criminal Protective Order which will follow you during the pendency of your criminal case and during probation, should you be convicted of a crime. An Emergency Protective Order is a short term order, normally valid for 5 to 10 days, issued by a judge based upon a declaration of police saying that some …

Read More

Mental Health Issues in DUI and Criminal Defense

I have often said that the majority of my cases involve substance abuse, financial pressures or relationship troubles. Many involve more than one of these issues. More and more lately, my clientele seem to be effected by significant mental health issues. I’m not a doctor but sometimes it can be easy to tell when a client has a problem and it is often very hard to deal with it. Sometimes however, it’s not so easy to tell. I was referred a client recently from a local judge. The client is facing a second DUI with a high blood alcohol and multiple traffic collisions. At …

Read More

Twenty Years of Criminal and DUI Defense

Yesterday was my twenty year anniversary practicing law. May 28, 1996, I was sworn in as a lawyer, meaning that I was officially able to start “practicing” law. It seems appropriate that my swearing in occurred in a courtroom in Van Nuys, California. Since that time, I have appeared in court in Van Nuys courtrooms more than other courthouse. But what does 20 years of criminal and DUI defense mean to you, the potential client? Quite simply, I’ve been doing criminal and DUI defense for a long time now. I am successful and I am good at what I do. Some lawyers …

Read More

How to Avoid Posting Bail in California Criminal/DUI Cases

How to Avoid Posting Bail Not everyone has to post bail in order to secure their pre-trial release from custody. Just yesterday I walked a woman into court after a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was charged with DUI with a prior, a special allegation of having a blood alcohol concentration over .20, one out of time prior (over 10 years old) and she was the cause of a three car traffic accident. The amount of the warrant was $60,000. The client wanted to walk into the nearest police station and post bail. That would have cost her …

Read More

Reducing and Expunging Criminal Convictions

The Importance of Reducing and Expunging Convictions I get a lot of questions these days about expunging convictions, reducing felonies to misdemeanors, sealing records and even certificates of rehabilitation and pardons. Definitions First, there are a lot of legal terms I just used. These terms apply only to California and California state court convictions. Expungements under Penal Code Section 1203.4: When probation is granted in a case and it is successfully completed for the entire term then probation naturally expires. After probation expires, or upon early and successful termination of probation, we may ask the court to let us withdraw …

Read More