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Appearance without client’s presence – Felony v. Misdemeanors

Generally, a criminal defendant must be personally present in felony cases. Cal. Penal Code § 977(b). However, this general rule does not apply in most misdemeanor cases, and the defense attorney may appear on their client’s behalf. See Cal. Penal Code § 977(a) . A defendant who chooses not to personally appear pursuant to Section…

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Demystifying California Gun Laws – Concealed and Loaded Firearms

California gun laws are notoriously complex and difficult to distinguish, even for attorneys who handle firearms-related cases on a regular basis. One key area of confusion that comes up is the distinction between loaded firearms and concealed firearms. Below, we discuss relevant codes regarding these distinctions. Cal. Penal Code § 25400  – Concealed Weapons in…

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Forced Blood Draws, DUIs, and Suppression of Blood Evidence under the Fourth Amendment

        DUI  Blood Draws Justified on grounds of Exigent Circumstances under the Schmerber and  McNeely decisions.    In Schmerber v. California (1966) 384 U.S. 757, the US Supreme Court determined that a warrantless compulsory seizure of blood for the purpose of a blood-alcohol test did not offend the Fourth Amendment if the procedure:  (1) is…

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Proposition 64: Reaping the legal benefits of the new age of cannabis in California

California Voter’s approved recreational marijuana for statewide use last November 2016 with Proposition 64. What many may not know is that the passage of the Proposition is that the law was changed not just to allow future use and possession/ cultivation of cannabis, but also corrected past draconian and unproductive punishments and criminal records created…

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Limits on DUI Checkpoints and the Fourth Amendment

Holiday season means DUI checkpoints increase across the State of California. DUI checkpoints are legal and police may use them in an effort to protect public safety, if they follow certain guidelines in setting up and operating the checkpoint. Vehicle Checkpoints and the Ingersoll Test   The primary purpose of a sobriety checkpoint is to…

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Authority of Trial Court to “Strike” a Strike Prior under the Romero Decision

Strikes are included in Penal Code section 1192.7(c) (“Serious Felonies”) and Penal Code section 667.5(c) (“Violent Felonies”). [See Cal. Penal Code § 1170.12(c)(2)]. As mentioned on this website, under California’s Three Strikes Law, an offender can face up to 25 Years to Life in the State Prison if he or she is convicted of more…

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Half-Time Credits – Why the in-custody term for most crimes is actually half of what is ordered by the Court.

If you are sentenced to State Prison, County Jail, or County Jail as a condition of probation, you are ordinarily entitled to “half-time” credits, unless you committed a violent felony (a type of “strike” offense) requiring you to serve the offense at “85 percent” time [Cal. Penal Code §§ 667.5(c), 2933.1], or have been found…

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New Interlock Requirements to Take Effect January 2019 in DUI Cases – The Good News and Bad News

As of September 28, 2016, Governor Brown approved a new regime governing restricted licenses in DUI cases. Currently, for a first time DUI, there is a mandatory “hard” suspension period of 30 days, after which the driver can apply for a restricted license if they: (1) Show proof of SR-22 insurance; (2) Pay an administrative…

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Proposition 57 and Charging Minors as Adults – A Paradigm Shift

         Changes Created by Prop. 57 in Charging Minors as Adults    Proposition 57 was the second major change to juvenile transfer hearings within a year that evidences a new rehabilitative focus in which the transfer criteria are viewed in light of the minor’s maturity, intellectual capacity, physical, mental, and emotional health at the time…

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