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Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney

When you are accused of a crime, it can seem like you have no control over your situation. The criminal justice system and the process can be confusing, and it can sometimes feel like a waiting game when you are in the middle of criminal proceedings. While you might have limited control over your situation when you are accused of a crime, there are certain rights that you do have. The United States Constitution guarantees specific rights to each and every U.S. citizen if they are ever accused of a crime. These rights were granted to citizens to ensure that each person has the same chance of a fair trial. It is important to understand your rights if you are facing any type of criminal charge in California. 

The Presumption of Innocence

When you are accused of a crime, you are presumed to be innocent. In California, the burden is on the state to prove that you are guilty of the crime for which you have been charged. This is where the widely known phrase “innocent until proven guilty” comes from. Going along with your right to presumed innocence, the prosecution must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which was put into place to try to prevent people from being incriminated on insufficient evidence.

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Santa Clara County personal injury attorney car accident

Being involved in any type of car accident is a traumatic ordeal, but when you are hit by an uninsured motorist, the situation becomes even more concerning. In addition to substantial property damage, automobile collisions can also cause severe physical damage including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), head and neck injuries, whiplash, broken bones, internal organ damage, skin burns, and more. These injuries often require expensive medical treatment including surgery and long-term physical therapy. 

When a motorist is involved in a car accident and the responsible party does not have auto insurance, the damaged individual may assume that there is no way to recover compensation for his or her losses. Fortunately, there are several avenues that may help you collect compensation for damages caused in an uninsured motorist car accident.

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Fremont criminal defense attorney domestic abuse

Abuse is something that no one should have to experience. It can leave lasting damage, physically, mentally, and emotionally. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, approximately 24 people per minute are victims of physical violence, rape, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That equates to more than 12 million men and women over a year’s time. The term “domestic abuse” sounds physical, but it actually encompasses a number of different actions or behaviors. In other words, if you have engaged in any of the following forms of abuse, you could face criminal charges related to domestic abuse.

Different Forms of Abuse

There are various forms of abuse that can lead to criminal charges, even if no physical altercations occurred. Before understanding which actions can lead to charges, one should know the different types of abuse, aside from physical abuse, to identify toxic behavior:

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Santa Clara County personal injury attorney car accident

In the current landscape of automotive safety, millions of cars, pickup trucks, and other passenger vehicles are recalled by their manufacturers each year, often under pressure from government regulators. The motive, as one might imagine, is to reduce the number of defective or hazardous vehicles on the road, thereby reducing the number of resulting accidents, and increasing the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. However, researchers at Virginia Tech may have found another method for increasing roadway safety and the prevention of dangerous traffic accidents: data mining online forums for possible vehicle defects.

Looking for Clues

Alan Abrahams, an associate professor of business information technology at Virginia Tech, along with Patrick Fan and Alan Wang, examined the data mining process as a potential source for early warnings related to defective auto parts or vehicles. The team identified “smoke words” often used in relation to automotive defects or safety concerns and scrutinized online discussion forums related to high-volume automakers.

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Fremont criminal defense attorney drug possession

If you or someone you love has been arrested on charges of possessing a controlled substance in California, it may feel as though you have very few options. After all, you have been arrested, and the police found evidence of drugs—what more really needs to be said? In such a case, it is easy for you to believe that your entire future is about to come crashing down. Of course, being arrested for illegal drug possession is a very serious matter, but there is a good chance that things are not quite as bad as they seem. With the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney, you may even be able to find a resolution that limits the damage to your reputation.

The Burden of Proof in California Drug Cases

In any criminal proceeding, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the offense for which you have been charged. When it comes to the possession of an illegal drug, prosecutors in California must prove several separate elements, including:

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Santa Clara County personal injury attorney dog bite

Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend, but in some situations, they can be aggressive and attack. Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatizing experience. It can also lead to permanent disfigurement, lost time at work, and expensive medical bills. Thankfully, victims do have the right to pursue compensation for their losses and injuries. Learn more about the dog bite injury laws in California, including why it is important to seek assistance with your personal injury claim.

Dog Bite Law Overview

Dog bite injuries in California are covered under Civil Code Section 3342. It states that a dog’s owner can be held liable for injuries sustained by victims. However, there are few important stipulations that must be taken into consideration before pursuing a claim under this particular law. These include:

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Alameda County personal injury attorney car accident

Getting into a car accident can have devastating consequences for anyone riding in the vehicles involved. According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 36,000 people are killed in car accidents in the United States each year, and some 4 million more are injured enough to seek emergency medical treatment. Whenever a person gets into a car, he or she is taking a risk. Drivers can lessen the risk of an accident by taking steps to avoid some of the behaviors that are known to cause traffic crashes. There are many things that can trigger a car accident, but some causes are much more common than others.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become a more serious problem every year. Having the world at our fingertips on a cell phone has made it more tempting than ever to take your eyes away from the road. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that 1.6 million crashes each year are caused by drivers who are distracted by their cell phones. In fact, cell phones are so dangerous that more than one in four crashes involve a driver using his or her phone. Other distractions such as passenger conversations, eating, drinking, putting on makeup, or brushing hair create additional dangers.

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Palo Alto criminal defense attorney domestic violenceCalifornia law treats domestic violence very seriously, and in fact, the state has designated a special Spousal Abuser Prosecution Program that provides funding and assistance for prosecuting attorneys in criminal spousal abuse cases. If you have been accused of any crime involving domestic violence, you may face severe consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the penalties that may result from a conviction, and provide a strong defense that can result in dismissed or reduced charges.

Possible Penalties for Domestic Abuse in California

In California, domestic violence charges involving a spouse or domestic partner often fall under one of two categories: domestic battery and corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.

  1. Domestic battery is defined as the willful or unlawful use of force or violence on a spouse or domestic partner. It is considered a criminal misdemeanor offense that may result in fines of up to $2,000 and imprisonment of up to one year. In some cases, the court may order probation in place of other penalties, in which case the offender may be ordered to complete a batterer’s treatment program, make payments to a battered women’s shelter, and cover the victim’s costs of counseling and other reasonable expenses as a result of the abuse.

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San Jose, CA criminal defense attorney

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness, which can vary in the degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Mental illness is a factor in many criminal cases, and the State of California recognizes that mental health assistance may often be a more effective response than incarceration for those facing charges. Under California law, many criminal defendants are eligible for a pretrial mental health diversion program that allows them to get the treatment they need to manage their mental illness.

Who Is Eligible for Mental Health Assistance in California?

Mental health assistance may be available to defendants facing a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges, with the exception of some offenses including murder, rape, and sexual abuse. To be considered, defendants must have a diagnosed mental disorder that significantly contributed to the crime of which they are accused, and a mental health expert must attest that the defendant is a good candidate for treatment.

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Alameda County car accident attorney

If you have ever been in an accident, you understand how the incident can feel like a blur. Car accidents are unpredictable, unexpected, and over in a matter of minutes. Despite the timeline of the incident itself, the accident’s effects can be long-lasting. One or both drivers can end up with a severely damaged vehicle, costly medical bills, and time off work to properly recover from injuries. Additionally, many drivers can suffer from low levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or have an ongoing fear of driving. In order to make up for these financially and emotionally taxing results, the reason behind the accident will be investigated to hold the at-fault, or negligent, party accountable for his or her reckless actions.

Insurance Policies

The state of California requires all of its drivers to have car insurance coverage in case incidents such as these happen. California is known as an “at-fault” state, meaning the driver who caused the accident will cover the other driver’s injury and property damage claims. So, if a motorist hits another car, his or her auto insurance will be used to help pay for the damaged car’s repairs. In order for this to happen properly, the police will determine who is at fault and the victim must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, car accidents do not always have a single guilty party.

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Palo Alto criminal defense attorney drug charges

Marijuana and cannabis remain borderline drugs as some states allow for their use in all forms while other states ban the substances altogether. California is known as one of the first states to decriminalize marijuana use, allowing Californians to legally purchase marijuana and cannabis and use it under their own discretion. Legalizing these controlled substances were also meant to eliminate the dangerous, black market sales that occur and make the products safer through regulation. Those interested in joining the cannabis business must obtain a license to legally produce and sell the products. Without such a license, California business owners and their employees can face criminal drug charges for their work.

Understanding the Substances

Many assume that cannabis, marijuana, and hemp are all the same substance, using the names interchangeably. In order to avoid confusion in legal cases, U.S. law outlines how these three substances are classified. Cannabis is a plant that makes up marijuana and hemp. Marijuana is made up of cannabis leaves while hemp is made from the plant’s seeds, stems, stalks, and roots. Marijuana is the more potent substance that derives from cannabis, with greater than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which creates the “high” effect that people get when using marijuana. Hemp, on the other hand, has less 0.3 percent THC concentration, creating a relaxed, calm feeling rather than the high of marijuana. 

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Alameda County criminal defense attorney stalking

You have likely heard the phrase “stalking” used when talking about looking at someone’s social media profile in detail. Perhaps you looked at all of their recent photos or glanced at who they follow. While this is jokingly labeled as social media stalking, these actions can quickly become a crime in California. The digital age has made it easier than ever before for stalking and harassment to occur, either physically or digitally. Stalking requires habitual patterns of following, pursuing, or harassing another person, causing the victim to fear physical harm or mental distress at their hands. Before any crimes can be convicted, this form of harassment must happen, closely together, on two or more occasions.

Behaviors Classified as Stalking

If you are facing stalking accusations, you may be wondering which actions of yours fall under this category. Some stalking behaviors are fairly evident in a domestic violence situation while others may be socially normalized with the high use of social media. The following are acts of stalking that may lead to criminal charges:

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Alameda County criminal defense attorney diversion program

Since the War on Drugs began in the early 1970s, prison inmate numbers have skyrocketed for criminal drug charges, even those considered minor. As more research surfaces regarding addiction and the effectiveness of rehabilitation, many states have begun to rethink the sentences given to those individuals facing drug charges. California has been known to be a more liberal state when it comes to laws regarding marijuana, although there are still strict regulations for those caught with illegal drugs. As a state near the border of Mexico, California has a high immigrant population and these drug regulations apply to them as well. Drug charges can affect the future of anyone found guilty, but this is even more true of people who depend on a clean criminal record to remain in the United States. Rather than sending offenders with minor drug charges to prison, California has created a program known as “pretrial diversion” to keep individuals with minor charges out of jail and immigrants wishing to stay in the United States from being deported.

What Is the Pretrial Diversion Program?

At the beginning of 2018, California created a pretrial diversion program to help offenders with minor drug charges, including non-citizens. Those accused of such charges, known as defendants, are able to plead “not guilty” before they are diverted to a drug education program meant to help them overcome addiction and understand the consequences of these illegal substances. If the course is completed, along with any other sentence requirements, in 12-18 months, then the drug charges will be dropped from their record. This is exceedingly important for immigrants since a drug conviction can lead to their detainment and deportation from the United States. Those individuals who participate in the pretrial diversion program will not see a negative impact on their criminal record or their immigration status.

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