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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: 

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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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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