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shutterstock_12304342.jpgA conviction for a drug offense can change your life profoundly. Drug possession, sale or delivery of illicit substances, drug manufacturing, and related offenses are punishable by significant penalties, including jail time. It is important to start working on a defense strategy. Contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer with experience in drug crime cases for help.

Evidence Obtained Unlawfully

Criminal defense attorneys use many different strategies to demonstrate their client’s innocence. Sometimes, defense lawyers seek to invalidate the evidence against the defendant. In drug crime cases, evidence often includes illicit substances, drug paraphernalia, and items used to manufacture or sell drugs, such as scales and large amounts of cash.

If the police did not follow proper procedure when obtaining evidence against a defendant, the evidence might be inadmissible in court. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures of personal property. Police typically need probable cause or a search warrant to search someone’s property. Evidence acquired in violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights may be suppressed, effectively destroying the prosecution’s case against the defendant.

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san jose criminal defense lawyerAre you or a loved one facing a criminal charge of any kind? No matter how mild or severe it seems, it is important to realize just how big an impact a conviction of any type can have on every facet of your future—even for a first offense. That is why it is essential to find a knowledgeable, compassionate legal advocate who understands not just your actions, but also the deeper factors that may have contributed to your behavior. A skilled lawyer can then help the prosecutor and court appreciate that you are more than just a criminal defendant who deserves conviction and punishment, but a whole person with underlying issues and motivations, who may be in need of rehabilitation and improvement. In fact, you may be the ideal candidate for a mental health criminal diversion program.

A Different Type of Diversion Program

Many people are aware that California is a leader in creating criminal diversion programs to address not only the facts of a crime, but also the causes behind it. Often, a criminal offense has its roots in drug use, and our state has pioneered programs that offer alternatives to jail time for drug offenders. But another common cause of poor decision-making is mental or psychological disorders, and California is at the forefront of pre-trial diversion programs for these defendants as well.

Is Mental Health Pre-Trial Diversion Available to You?

If you are eligible for a mental-health diversion program, you may be able to receive treatment for your behavior’s underlying causes, rather than spending your sentence behind bars. Sections 1001.36 and 1001.82 of the California Penal Code make mental health diversion available to a variety of defendants in both misdemeanor and felony cases. You may be eligible if you are not an unreasonable danger to the community, you have been diagnosed with a psychological or mental health disorder (except for pedophilia, borderline personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder) that significantly impacted the charged offense, and an approved mental health professional testifies to your strong suitability for treatment. You must also agree to the relevant terms of the Penal Code and the requirements of the treatment program. If the judge offers you a treatment option, you would have up to two years to successfully complete the program, at which point your case would be dismissed without a conviction.

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shutterstock_1398519638.jpgWith the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions across the U.S. and here in California specifically, it remains to be seen just what course the pandemic will follow from here on out. With people taking fewer precautions in general to protect both themselves and others, many health officials feel that coronavirus strains like omicron will continue to mutate and spread for some time to come. If you or a loved one ends up getting a new case of COVID-19, and you believe you know who was responsible for transmitting it to you, should you consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against them?

Seek the Justice You Are Entitled To

Over the past two years, there have been thousands of COVID-19 personal injury cases filed throughout America, resulting in many new and conflicting legal precedents. But even though the coronavirus legal area is still anything but “settled law,” you do not need to shy away from seeking the justice you deserve.

Like many personal injury matters, the success of coronavirus cases will likely rest on questions of the defendants’ intent, as well as the precautions they have taken to protect others from infection by this highly contagious disease. As the California Civil Code says in Section 1714(a), we are all responsible for whatever injuries we cause others, both intended and unintended, through our “want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person.”

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santa clara criminal defense lawyerThere are many different types of stalking. How a person defines stalking can vary from being uncomfortably followed to having their social media pages checked frequently. California law defines stalking as behavior that makes someone feel threatened and concerned for their safety. Stalking allegations should be taken seriously. If you are accused of stalking another person, it is in your best interest to gather all of the facts of your case and find a defense attorney who can advocate on your behalf.

What is Stalking?

According to California state law, stalking can be defined as any behavior where an individual intentionally engages with another person to make that person distressed or fear for their safety. In 2022, stalking can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can also be hard to decipher between online snooping and stalking. The legal requirements that characterize stalking include:

  • Surveilling another individual without justification on two or more occasions 

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 shutterstock_1420916759.jpgDespite driver and pedestrians' best efforts, accidents on the road occur. From a slight fender-bender in a parking lot to a collision on the highway, all accidents are frightening and may lead to severe damage and injuries. However, when a collision occurs between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the injuries are often catastrophic and sometimes fatal. Suppose you were seriously injured or a loved one lost their life during a pedestrian-car accident. In that case, there are steps that the victim can take to help alleviate the financial burdens of medical expenditures. 

Understanding Pedestrian Accidents — Injuries and Liability 

The injuries that may follow from a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle can be life-altering. Depending on the circumstances, including the car's speed, where the pedestrian was hit, and what type of road the accident occurred, the injuries may range from minor fractures to death. The most common types of injuries include:

shutterstock_576370024.jpg Burglary is the act of breaking into a private residence with the intention of stealing something. In California, this is a serious crime that can lead to consequences including jail time. There are two different classifications of burglary in the state of California — first-degree and second-degree. The legal ramifications that follow a burglary charge will depend on the degree of the crime. 

Differences between First and Second-Degree Burglary 

Many different criminal charges, including murder and fraud, are divided into the degree to classify the nature of the crime. This is the same for burglary charges. Burglary is classified as entering any private building with the intention of committing either grand or petit larceny (theft of personal property). Here are the differences between first-degree and second-degree burglary in California:

  • First-Degree Burglary — First-degree burglary is classified as entering an inhabited residence with the intention to steal. This includes homes and residential buildings such as apartments, houses, townhomes, motorhomes, barns and even personal stables. 

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san jose credit card fraud lawyerIn the digital age of 2022, it is important to understand the legal implications of using electronic financial tools such as debit and credit cards, online banking or online shopping. Financial crimes can range anywhere from a fake gift card to tax evasion. Due to the complex nature of financial crimes, many instances of fraud are overlooked until it is too late. According to California law, it is a fraudulent crime to use an expired credit card or debit card to make any sort of purchase. Depending on the severity of the crime and the offender's background, perpetrators using an expired credit card may face felony charges. 

Understanding Credit Card Fraud

When attempting to understand credit card fraud and the various ways this crime is achieved, it is first important to understand the definition of fraud in the state of California. Fraud is described as any activity intended to deceive, misrepresent, fool or twist any known fact with the intention of hurting another person or using their legal or financial rights for your benefit. In other words, you can be committing fraud when you intentionally lie to gain a benefit. In the case of credit card fraud, a person would intentionally be “lying” or misusing their expired credit card with the intention of gaining a benefit through making a purchase. Credit card fraud can also look like:

CA injury lawyerDogs can be loving pets, but they are also animals capable of inflicting severe injuries. Some dog attacks are even fatal. Many dog bite victims are left with physical and mental scars. They may need extensive medical care and psychological counseling to recover. If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog in California, you should know that you have rights. You may be able to hold the dog owner liable and recover monetary damages for the injuries.

California Law Says Dog Owners are Liable for Dog Attack Injuries

Some states are “one bite rule” states which means that a dog owner is not liable the first time his or her dog bites someone. However, California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog-related injuries. This means that the owner may be liable for damages even if he or she had no reason to fear that the dog would be aggressive. If you were bitten by a dog, you may be able to sue the owner and collect financial compensation.

Dog owners are liable for their dogs’ actions when:

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CA defense lawyerThe term “stalking” is sometimes used in an informal or even joking manner. For example, someone may say that another person is “stalking” their social media if that person comments on every post.

In reality, stalking is considered a serious criminal offense in California. An individual convicted of stalking could face up to five years in prison.

If your ex has accused you of stalking him or her, do not make the mistake of underestimating this allegation. You could be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you defend yourself against stalking charges.

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CA defense lawyerCalifornia is known for its progressive drug policies. It was the first state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in 1996. However, the possession, manufacture, and sale of controlled substances are still penalized harshly by California courts. Often, drug charges result from a search of the defendant’s personal property. For example, drug possession charges may result from a traffic stop during which police search the inside of the driver’s car. If you or a loved one are facing drug charges after a police search, it is very important to understand the difference between a lawful search and an unlawful search.

Police Usually Need a Search Warrant to Search Your Home

The U.S. Constitution protects us against unreasonable police intrusion. Law enforcement and other government officials cannot search a person or their possessions without a valid reason. Police usually need a search warrant to search a residential property such as a house or apartment. A judge issues a search warrant when there is probable cause that criminal activity or evidence of a crime exists in the home.

Police may conduct a search of a residential property without a search warrant in certain circumstances. For example, police may not need a search warrant if:

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CA injury lawyerCar accidents affect the lives of millions of people each year in the United States. Some car accident victims are able to walk away from the crash relatively unscathed. Others are left with severe or permanent injuries. If you or a loved one were hurt in an auto accident, you may benefit from working with a personal injury attorney.

Gathering and Preserving Evidence

Whether you reach a settlement with the insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need evidence of:

  • The at-fault party’s liability
  • The extent of your injuries
  • The financial impact the injuries had on your ability to work

Your lawyer can help you obtain the evidence needed and ensure that the evidence does not get lost or destroyed.

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CA defense lawyerThe California Health Care Foundation estimates that approximately 8 percent of California residents suffer from a substance abuse problem. Being addicted to drugs or alcohol is not something an individual chooses. Most drug addicts have seen firsthand just how destructive illicit substances can be. Many want to stop using these dangerous substances, but they cannot do so without help. Fortunately, California law has established diversion programs that focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment for drug offenders.

Alternatives to Jail for Low-Level Drug Offenses

If you or a loved one were arrested and charged with drug possession or another drug-related offense, you may be unsure of what to expect. The prospect of jail can be frightening for anyone. Furthermore, going to jail does not address the underlying drug addiction which likely led to the drug charges in the first place.

California understands that many people with substance abuse problems need professional help to stop using the substances. In some cases, individuals accused of low-level drug charges can avoid imprisonment by successfully completing a drug treatment program.

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california injury lawyerGoing out for food or drinks should be an enjoyable experience. However, an unexpected injury can turn a fun outing into a nightmare. If you or a loved one were hurt at a restaurant, bar, pub, nightclub, or another commercial establishment, you may have questions about your rights. You may wonder, “Does the restaurant have to pay for my medical bills?” or “Is a bar liable for injuries caused by inadequate maintenance?” These types of legal concerns fall under California’s premises liability laws. Each case is unique, but commercial establishments are legally responsible for patrons’ injuries in many situations.

Injuries at Bars and Restaurants

According to California law, business owners have a legal duty to maintain reasonably safe premises. This includes taking action to prevent avoidable injuries. If a restaurant owner or another party acted negligently and that negligence led to a patron’s injiry or death, the party may be liable for damages. Some examples of situations in which a bar or restaurant may be liable include:

Is "Revenge Porn" Domestic Abuse?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

san jose revenge porn defense lawyerCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill this month extending the time in which a victim of revenge porn can report the crime. The measure, Senate Bill 23, gives revenge porn victims a full year from when they discover the images (or would likely discover them) to report the crime. Before, state law only allowed victims to file charges a year from when the image was posted. 

State Senator Susan Rubio framed the measure as a domestic abuse issue. She described revenge porn as a tool sometimes used by domestic abusers to control their victims. She said the measure was needed so victims had “more time to seek justice” from those who violate their privacy. 

According to an analysis of the bill, California led the nation in revenge porn cases in 2013. The analysis cited a number of figures, saying 93 percent of victims suffered significant emotional distress, 51 percent had thoughts of suicide, and 49 percent said they had been stalked or harassed online by people who saw the private material. 

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san jose defense lawyerThe Alameda County’s district attorney’s office is warning the public that pandemic-related phishing scams are on the rise. According to the statement, the bad actors are sending out unsolicited emails regarding COVID-19. These emails direct you to open a link but when you do, it collects your personal information or installs malware on your computer. 

The district attorney’s office says the way the phishing scam works is you will receive an email that sounds official. In this case, it might be asking for proof of a COVID vaccination, requesting information from a fake health organization, or offering medical advice. 

Phishing emails are usually hastily prepared or contain minor changes from something an official organization might send out. Therefore, they suggest paying close attention to domain names and checking spelling or grammatical errors. 

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wheaton defense lawyerThis summer, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that amended the state’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act to include reproductive coercion as justification for a protective order. The measure defines reproductive coercion as using force to control the reproductive autonomy of another person.  

Reproductive Coercion

When defining reproductive coercion, the new law describes “force” as applying unreasonable pressure, deliberate interference of access to contraception or reproductive health information, or using coercive tactics to control pregnancy outcomes. 

Examples of reproductive coercion could include a boyfriend tampering with his girlfriend’s birth control pills, intentionally impregnating her without her consent, or pressuring her to have an abortion despite her protests. 

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california defense lawyerGov. Gavin Newsom signed a measure expanding California’s emergency services so that victims of domestic violence can now contact local domestic violence centers via text and chat. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 689, dubbed the Comprehensive Statewide Domestic Violence Program, without comment last month alongside a host of other bills. 

Assembly Bill 689 Background

Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, a Democrat from Laguna Beach who filed the bill in February, said “these additional tools and technologies will give survivors more ways to get help when they desperately need it.” She explained the technical services were needed because cases of domestic violence have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the bill’s summary, the pandemic has resulted in increased levels of isolation, job loss, and stress, all of which are often factors in domestic violence cases. Additionally, the pandemic has also forced police stations to close their reception areas out of fear of spreading disease, which further limits safe spaces for domestic violence victims. Therefore, victims turn to shelters and this increase in demand has caused a financial strain on those same shelters. 

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CA defense lawyerIf you go into a store in the state of California, steal something, and get arrested, you could be charged with either shoplifting or burglary. What you are charged with, though, depends on what elements of the crime the investigating officer can prove. In California, the crime could be either a misdemeanor or felony. So, when does shoplifting become a burglary? And, when does a burglary become a felony?

Shoplifting vs Burglary

According to the California Penal Code, there are two elements to the crime of shoplifting. The first is that you must enter a commercial business during normal hours of operation with the intent to steal something. In other words, you had to plan to steal something before you entered the store. The other element is that the value of the property you take cannot cost more than $950.

If you deviate from that definition, such as steal property valued at more than $950 or enter the store before it opens or after it closes, you could be charged with burglary. However, under state law, you cannot be charged with both shoplifting and burglary for the same theft.

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CA defense lawyerIn 2020, there were nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft across the country. That is a 113 percent increase from the year before. If state and federal authorities were not already prioritizing investigating identity theft crimes, they most likely are now. California was actually ranked the most dangerous place for fraud and identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission, which is tasked with leading the charge against identity theft, defines it as a type of fraud in which you use or attempt to use a person’s identifying information without permission. Like most states, California law regarding identity theft mirrors that definition. While there are many similarities between the two, state law has some specifics. So, what is identity theft in California?

Identity Theft

Identity theft laws are concerned with the misuse of personal information, so the first important question to ask is: what is considered personal information? Well, it is a wide range of things. It could be a person’s social security number, maiden name, bank account or credit card information, passwords, or simply the person’s name.

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CA defense lawyerEarlier this month, the San Jose Police Department announced they shut down a fencing operation involving the theft of high-end bicycles and construction equipment from the city’s downtown area. A “fencing operation” is a type of theft ring in which a central figure buys and sells stolen goods.

According to the SJPD’s press release, the suspect allegedly bought goods from a network of thieves for a fraction of the items’ actual value. Police executed a search warrant in May at the suspect’s house and found a cache of expensive bikes, crates of tools, stolen retail goods, and $20,000 in cash. They estimate the value of the stolen goods to be $100,000.

Given the transactional nature of the crime and the high dollar amount, what kind of crime is that exactly? At the end of it all, the suspect was arrested for receiving stolen property. In the state of California, that is considered a property crime, and it is called larceny.

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