San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

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Recent Changes in Criminal Defense in Ventura County

By now a lot of people have heard or dealt with the changes that have occurred in Ventura County’s criminal justice system. The biggest change is the seemingly permanent closure of the work furlough program. Work furlough is a jail substitute where people who were convicted of crimes and sentenced to jail could serve their time at a facility located at the Camarillo airport. The location was supervised by probation officers and allowed “inmates” to leave during the day for work and return to the facility at night, thereby getting day for day credit for their stay in the program …

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How Much Should it really cost to hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

I got an unsolicited email this weekend. A potential client was asking how much I would charge to represent them in a drug possession for sale case. God bless this potential client who said she was trying not to take too much of my time, but wanted to get an idea of what it would cost to hire me. I emailed back that I had some questions: Where is the case, some background information on the client, criminal history, some specific facts about the case, etc. The client indicated she had been quoted about $5,000 from two different lawyers. She seemed to …

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Before you go out Drinking, Have a Plan

If you start the night off with a plan, you are more likely to end the night sleeping in your own bed instead of sleeping at the grey bar motel. Throughout the past 20 plus years I have been representing people for DUI in California, I have found that when people have a plan at the beginning of the night, their night tends to end more successfully. What does that mean to you? Before you go out drinking, formulate an action plan for your night. Decide several things before you leave your house. First, even before you decide who is going …

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Drunken Boater Not Charged in Connection with Friend’s Death

A Los Angeles man was sentenced to 36 months of probation in Sonoma County Superior Court on October 12th, 2016 in connection with the death of his lifelong friend while wakeboarding out on Lake Sonoma earlier this year. The defendant, 30-year-old Andrew Scheff, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, while a concurrent misdemeanor boating under the influence charge was dismissed. According to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors found that there was insufficient evidence to prove that boating under the influence caused the …

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Military Diversion Avoids any Criminal Conviction

Getting Clients into Military Diversion Have you ever heard of Veteran’s Court? Some people have, but even fewer people have heard of the Military Diversion Program. Diversion is a concept that was all but done away with back in the late 1990’s . Back then, if you were arrested for a drug crime, you could agree to waive time for 18 months to three years, remain crime free and complete an outpatient drug program in order to get your case dismissed. Since 1997, the deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) program replaced the drug diversion program. The big difference between the two programs is …

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DEJ is Better than Prop 36

No I don’t Want Prop 36 When I can get Diversion Drug cases these days are interesting. If the case does not involve sales or possession for sale, it will normally be a misdemeanor. When I speak to a prosecutor about settling the case, prosecutors often suggest “Prop 36” as a settlement. I bite my tongue and suggest that my client appears to be “DEJ” eligible. This week I actually had a prosecutor look at me and say, “Do you think that’s enough for your client” suggesting the client should have more intensive therapy instead of the 20 week outpatient program …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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