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California’s Pretrial Diversion Program for Individuals with Substance Abuse Problems in California

 Posted on November 15, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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.

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What Are My Rights if I Was Hurt at a Bar or Restaurant?

 Posted on November 05, 2021 in Personal Injury

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:

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Is "Revenge Porn" Domestic Abuse?

 Posted on October 12, 2021 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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What Are The Penalties For A Phishing Scam?

 Posted on October 06, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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. 

Now that you know how an email phishing scam operates, it is also important to know the consequences of conducting one. 

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Reproductive Coercion Now Violation Of Protective Order

 Posted on September 23, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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. 

Reproductive coercion is actually more common than you might think. In a 2018 study, researchers found that up to 14 percent of women who visited a family planning clinic in the U.S. reported reproductive coercion and that upwards of 30 percent of women will experience it in their lifetime. 

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New Law Modernizes Domestic Violence Hotline

 Posted on September 09, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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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When Does Shoplifting Become Burglary?

 Posted on August 24, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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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What Is Identity Theft In California?

 Posted on August 09, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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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What Is the Charge for Receiving Stolen Goods?

 Posted on July 27, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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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Santa Clara District Attorney Files Two Embezzlement Cases

 Posted on July 09, 2021 in Criminal Defense

CA defense lawyerLast month, the Santa Clara County District Attorney filed two separate cases in which a Bay-area woman allegedly embezzled more than $300,000 from her employer.

In one case, a San Jose woman allegedly used a company credit card to spend more than $300,000 on personal expenses over a two-year period. In the other case, a Dublin woman allegedly used a false name to gain employment at a construction company and then funneled some $480,000 to herself with company checks.

In both cases, the women allegedly used the money to pay for phone bills, rent, vacations, and more. It is a reminder that state, county, and local authorities are still investigating embezzlement and other fraud cases.

What Is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement differs from traditional theft because, at the time of the theft, you have lawful control over the property or access to the money. However, it is also for that reason embezzlement cases can be complicated. While theft could be taking money from a register, embezzlement might involve using passwords or codes to gain access to an account. Oftentimes, embezzlement requires higher levels of trust and permission to finances.

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