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San Jose drug crimes defense lawyerBeing convicted of any crime can have serious ramifications, but being convicted of a federal crime carries a heavy burden. One of the most inequitable areas of federal convictions revolves around federal marijuana-related offenses, especially given the changes the state of California has made regarding marijuana.

There is good news, however, for those with federal convictions in the form of a new initiative signed by President Biden in October 2022. This initiative will provide clemency for certain offenders to have their records expunged of their crimes and receive a presidential pardon.

The Federal Marijuana Pardon

As part of the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing the disproportionate impact that enforcement of cannabis laws has had on communities of color, the president introduced a three-step plan for pardoning federal convictions:

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San Jose criminal defense lawyerJanuary 1st is not only the date many people choose to set resolutions, but it is also the date the state of California chooses as the effective date for many of the new laws that state lawmakers passed over the past several months. This year is no different. Included in the dozens of new state statutes are some key criminal laws that California citizens should be aware of. The following is a brief overview of those laws.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Under AB 2167, when an individual has been convicted of a crime, the courts are now required to consider other alternatives other than jail or prison as punishment. Lawmakers included wording in the statute that specifies their intent that the disposition of every criminal case in the state concludes with the least restrictive sentence possible. The goal is to reduce the number of people incarcerated in order to achieve better results when it comes to recidivism rates, reducing racial disparities, and better economic outcomes for those involved.

Some of the sentencing options that may be available are:

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san jose criminal defense lawyerAlthough the media is often filled with stories about incidents where law enforcement overstepped their legal authority, there are laws in place to protect citizens when those misuse of powers occurs, especially if the citizen is charged with a crime as a result. One of the most important protections we have is the Fourth Amendment. This amendment protects from “unreasonable” searches by police. Read on to find out how this critical law can make a difference in your criminal case.

Obtaining a Warrant

The Fourth Amendment grants the right to citizens “to be secure in their persons, house, papers, and effects.” It protects against unreasonable search and seizures by police, meaning that an officer must have a warrant in order to perform a search. A warrant is a legal document issued by a judge that gives police the right to search, however, police are required to show probable cause why they think the search is necessary for obtaining evidence of a crime.

The police must also be very specific as to what areas they need to search – the warrant does not give police blanket permission to search anywhere – and what evidence they are looking for.

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santa clara crimnal defense lawyerCalifornia will soon be the first state in the nation that will automatically seal the majority of criminal records for those defendants who complete their sentences and avoid any future convictions. The new law is an extension of an earlier “Clean Slate” law that California passed in 2019 with the purpose of eliminating the criminal record roadblocks that many previously incarcerated people have in obtaining housing, jobs, education, and more.

Criminal Records Relief

It is often difficult for ex-offenders to successfully re-enter society with their criminal records hanging over their heads. In California, criminal record screenings are conducted by 80 percent of landlords, 90 percent of employers, and 60 percent of colleges and universities.

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santa clara fraud defense lawyerPeople throughout California engage in a variety of business-related activities, so it is not uncommon for some individuals to occasionally face fraud accusations for certain actions they take. The commission of a fraud crime typically requires an alleged offender to obtain some kind of benefit to which they are not entitled and cause harm to an alleged victim.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) actively encourages people to report fraud, and any person who is facing fraud allegations will want to be certain they retain legal counsel as soon as possible.

Frequently Committed Fraud Offenses in Santa Clara County

The term fraud includes a wide variety of criminal offenses. Some of the most common fraud crimes in California include, but are not limited to:

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san jose criminal defense lawyerProperty crimes generally refer to criminal offenses in which an alleged offender steals, destroys, or otherwise violates another party’s property rights. A conviction for a property crime in California can result in serious criminal penalties. While many property crimes may be misdemeanor offenses, several others can result in felony criminal charges. If you are facing property crime charges in California, seek the help of a San Jose, CA property crimes defense attorney.

Types of Property Crimes in Santa Clara County

The most common kinds of property crimes in California usually include:

  • Burglary — Under California Penal Code § 459, an alleged offender who enters another party’s property with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony commits burglary. First-degree burglary involves burglary of residential structures while second-degree burglary crimes involve other types of structures. Convictions are punishable by up to six years in prison.

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyThe stereotypical image that may come to mind when you hear “domestic violence” is of a man physically attacking a female romantic partner. While this form of domestic violence is fairly common, it is far from the only situation in which domestic battery may be charged. People of any gender may be charged with domestic battery, and the victim need not be a current romantic partner. Regardless of the specific set of circumstances leading up to a domestic battery arrest, the charge remains heavily stigmatized.

The collateral consequences associated with a domestic battery conviction may even be worse than the judicial consequences. You may face struggles similar to those a felon may face in finding a good job, securing educational opportunities, or even finding housing that is acceptable to you. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to take the situation very seriously and find a skilled criminal defense lawyer. 

Domestic Violence Charges Are Based on the Victim’s Identity

Generally, the only difference between a simple assault charge and a more serious domestic violence charge is the victim’s relationship to you. You may be charged with domestic violence if the victim was your: 

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Santa Clara drug crimes defense lawyerIf you are eligible for PC 1000, a pretrial diversion program for those with minor drug charges, it may provide an opportunity for you to keep your criminal record clean. For those who qualify, it may prove invaluable. If you successfully complete this diversion program, your charges will be dismissed. You will not have a conviction. To succeed in this program, you must commit to certain requirements, like seeking substance abuse treatment and staying clean and sober. There are also requirements for entering these programs. They are designed for people who use and possessed drugs and may benefit from treatment, not manufacturers or distributors.

For many eligible individuals, but not all, this will be their first interaction with the criminal justice system. If you believe that you are eligible for this drug diversion program, your attorney will likely advise you to take advantage of it in most situations. 

Four Conditions for Acceptance into PC 1000 Diversion

Four conditions that must be met in order to be accepted into the program relate to: 

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Palo Alto Personal Injury AttorneyCalifornia's temperate weather and rich culture make it a perfect place to explore on bicycle. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents involving bicyclists are not uncommon.  If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be wondering who is at fault and whether you can recover compensation for your injuries. The answer to these questions depends on the specific facts of your case. In general, California law follows the "fault" system when it comes to car accidents. This means that the person who caused the accident is typically responsible for paying for any damages that result. However, liability for bicycle accidents is rarely straightforward. 

Is a Motor Vehicle Driver Legally Responsible for a Bicycle Accident?

A motorist's liability for a car-on-bicycle crash depends on the circumstances of the accident. If the driver was speeding, texting, driving while intoxicated, failed to yield, or was otherwise driving in a negligent manner, and this led to the accident, then the driver may be held liable. The at-fault driver's auto insurance company may be required to pay for the bicyclist's medical bills, property damage, and other damages. 

Bicyclists are required to follow the same laws as the drivers of motor vehicles. They must stop at red lights, ride in the same direction as motor vehicles,  use bike lanes when available, and stay to the far right side of the road. If the bicyclist was in violation of these laws at the time of the accident, then the driver of the motor vehicle may not be legally responsible for the crash. For example, if the bicyclist was riding on the wrong side of the road or ran a red light, and this led to the accident, then the driver of the motor vehicle may not be required to pay for medical bills or other damages. 

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Santa Clara County Criminal Defense AttorneyMental illnesses affect millions of people across the country.  Unfortunately, some people with mental illnesses end up facing criminal charges. 

In California, mental health assistance and diversion programs that focus on treatment and rehabilitation instead of punishment are available to people with mental health issues. These programs help people get the treatment and mental health care they need. 

Pretrial Diversion Programs for People with Mental Health Problems

A pretrial diversion program is an alternative to traditional prosecution and sentencing. In a pretrial diversion program, the defendant agrees to participate in treatment and other services for a set period of time. If the defendant completes the program successfully, the charges against them may be dismissed. The arrest record is eventually sealed and not accessible to the public. 

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san jose car accident lawyerAfter any serious California car accident, insurance companies have to get involved to determine the extent of the damage and to find out their client’s liability. While this is an important part of the post-accident process, for victims who have been injured in car accidents, dealing with insurance adjusters is just one more headache to handle. Worse, the insurance adjusters representing the party responsible for the accident are not acting for the benefit of the injured party; instead, they are trying to help their company get away with paying the minimum amount possible in a settlement offer. If you have been injured in a San Jose car accident, get help right away from a personal injury attorney who can provide legal advice as you navigate insurance companies, pursue compensation for your injuries, and more. 

Can My Lawyer Talk to an Insurance Adjuster For Me? 

While insurance adjusters may not be looking out for your best interests, they do have an important job. They are required to assess the extent of the damage to their client’s vehicle, their client’s health, your health, your vehicle’s damage, and any other damage that was done in the accident. To do this, they need to do some investigating, which includes gathering facts from their client, you, and any witnesses who saw the accident happen. 

However, this does not mean that you personally need to talk to the insurance adjuster, and it may be better if you do not. If you already have an attorney representing you when the insurance company starts contacting you, you can have your attorney talk to them instead. This offers several benefits, including: 

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san jose criminal defense lawyerMany good kids have gotten caught in the vicious cogs of the California juvenile detention system. While the ostensible purpose behind juvenile punishment is to help kids learn a lesson for making poor choices, the outcome is often more criminality and recidivism. Fortunately, there are often options available that do not result in criminal charges. An attorney can help you explore potential juvenile diversion options and work to ensure your child is not formally charged with a crime. 

What Juvenile Diversion Programs Are Available in Santa Clara County? 

Once a minor has been charged with a crime, several options besides prosecution may be available depending on the type of crime a minor is charged with. These include: 

  • Probation Informal Supervision (POIS) - POIS allows a minor to be informally supervised for six months by the Juvenile Probation Department without formally admitting the charge in court. If the minor completes the requirements of the information POIS, their case is dismissed. 

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san jose dog bite lawyerDog bites are usually traumatic experiences, but for children who have very little life experience, a serious dog bite can cause trauma that lasts a lifetime. Despite this, the vast majority of dog bites are not reported to the authorities, and the victims and their families do not seek compensation. Even when cases are reported, and insurance companies make payouts to the victims of dog bites, unless a personal injury attorney is involved, victims and their families are often not compensated for the full value of their damages. The following three dog breeds are the most likely to bite children and cause severe injury. If your child has been bitten by one of these breeds, or any other type of dog, seek legal representation right away. 

Pit Bulls

American Pit Bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire terriers, and mixed breed pit bulls are the breeds that take the number one spot for the most frequent and severe dog bites. While the vast majority of pit bulls are gentle dogs, these dogs were bred to fight and frequently bite children in the head and neck. When they do bite, they tend to latch on and not let go, resulting in severe and disfiguring injuries to the face, neck, and other body parts. 

German Shepherds 

Like most dogs, in the hands of the right trainer, a German shepherd can be an outstanding guard dog. Often used by police forces because of their power and obedience, German shepherds partly account for their predominance in child dog bites because of their popularity as pets in the United States. But when not properly socialized, German shepherds can be aggressive and fearful, and their strong bites can easily cause death and disfigurement. 

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san jose criminal defense lawyerThe terms “assault” and “battery” are heard so often together that many people believe they are words describing the same thing. The fact that criminal defendants are often charged with assault and battery at the same time may reinforce this belief. But these two crimes are not the same and it is important to understand the difference between the two if you are facing charges for one or both. This blog provides a basic overview of the two both assault and battery, but an experienced California criminal defense attorney is the best source of answers to your questions. 

What is Battery? 

A person commits battery in California when they intentionally and illegally use force or violence against another person’s body. Examples of battery include, but are not limited to: 

  • Touching someone who blatantly says to stop 

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san jose criminal defense lawyerIn a state with a history of destructive forest fires that threaten both pristine wilderness and urban areas, California takes arson very seriously. But there is a great difference between intentionally setting a building or forest ablaze and having a fire on your property that unexpectedly gets out of control. California’s penal code does distinguish between various levels of arson, and the penalties you face are determined by which specific criminal charges are brought.

Malicious Arson Versus Reckless Burning

Under California law, you are guilty of arson if you willfully and maliciously burn your property, someone else’s property, or help someone to do so, including houses, buildings, cars, land, and other smaller possessions. The two main counts related to arson are reckless burning and malicious arson. Malicious arson is a felony, while reckless burning may be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on what was burnt. The difference between malicious arson and reckless burning is intent.

If you maliciously and willfully started a fire, including to damage someone’s property, hurt or kill someone, or to commit insurance fraud, you can be charged with malicious arson. This can include setting fires on public land. Prison time depends on the details of the case:

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san jose personal injury lawyerWhether tripping on a sidewalk or slipping on a wet floor, slip and fall accidents can cause sudden and severe injuries. These injuries can lead to medical bills, missed work, and additional trauma. The elderly or those with disabilities are more commonly injured in these types of falls, but anyone can suffer an injury at any time. Often, a tripping or slipping hazard is caused by the negligence of the property’s owner or tenant. Without proper property maintenance or sufficient warnings, these parties can be held liable for the unsafe conditions.

Common Locations for Slip and Fall Accidents

While a trip and fall accident can happen anywhere, some locations are more likely to have conditions that cause these accidents. Here are areas that have more frequent slip and fall accidents:

  • Sidewalks – Both cracks and gaps in sidewalks make for an uneven surface and can cause people to trip and fall.

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shutterstock_214344745.jpgRiding a bicycle should be a fun and safe activity, whether it is for exercise, commuting to work or school, or just a leisurely trip for some fresh air. But when you are riding in traffic or crossing a busy road, there are risks of dangerous collisions and serious injuries. Bicyclists won’t win in a collision with a motor vehicle, no matter who was at fault for the accident. Here are some tips to keep you riding safely and avoid a bicycle accident.

Bicyclists’ Preparation and Practices for Safety

With over 100 bicyclists killed and over 10,000 injured in accidents every year in California, it is best to be well-prepared and know the top tips to ride safely. Remember these tips next time you are headed out for a ride.

  • Pick the right bike and gear – Make sure you have the right size bicycle, and it is in good working order. Bicyclists under 18 must wear a helmet when riding on public roads, but it is a good idea for all riders to wear one for protection in case of a crash.

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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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