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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.


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.


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.


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. 


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:


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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