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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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