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In order to convict a person of criminal threat, a prosecutor must prove the following elements:
The prosecutor does NOT have to prove that you were capable of actually carrying out the threat or that you had the intention to actually carry out the threat. In fact, conditional or completely empty threats can qualify as criminal conduct as long as the prosecutor sufficiently shows you caused real and reasonable fear in the victim of the threat.
Criminal threats may arise in a number of situations and sometimes prosecutors file charges when the threat did not actually constitute a crime. For example, you can defend criminal threat charges based on the following factors:
Electronic devices include cell phones, computers, fax machines, video recorders, among others. New cases have been arising in which people are charged with making criminal threats for comments they posted on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. You may make an online comment in jest or as a completely empty threat. However, if a victim reports to police that the comment caused them actual fear for their safety, you may find yourself facing criminal threat charges and potential jail time.
186.22(a): This law makes it illegal to promote or assist in any criminal activity for the benefit of a gang. However, this law criminalizes any type of participation in a street gang when you have the knowledge that members of the gang have been involved with criminal activity. If you are charged with mere association, the prosecutor will have to prove that you actually knew of the gang’s past crimes.
186.22(b): This is a sentencing enhancement used for gang-related crimes. If you are charged with a felony and the prosecutors believe it was committed for the benefit of a gang, they can use this statute to add mandatory jail time to the sentence for the underlying felony. This could add two to fifteen years in prison to any sentence you would otherwise receive if convicted.
186.26: This section makes it a crime to recruit or solicit others to participate in criminal gang activity, and to use threats of physical violence in order to coerce crimes that benefit a gang. This charge may result in 16 months to three years in prison, with an additional three years added if the victim of the coercion was a minor.
If a person is convicted of any of the above offenses, he or she will have to abide by strict registration requirements with law enforcement for up to five years following the offense or end of prison sentence. A conviction for gang-related activity can mean loss of your freedom and can have a significantly negative impact on your life.]]>
What are examples of embezzlement?
Embezzlement may happen in many situations and may involve a small or large amount of money or property. Some examples of embezzlement include:
How is embezzlement charged and punished?
Embezzlement may be investigated and charged on the state or federal level, under either the California Penal Code 503 PC or the United States Code.
The possible sentence for embezzlement depends largely on the circumstances of your individual case, specifically how much money or property was allegedly taken and the identity and nature of the alleged victim. For instance, under California law, if the amount in question stolen is less than $950, a defendant may face a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail. If the value is greater than $950, it will be considered grand theft and a court may sentence a fine up to $10,000 and/or up to three years in prison. In addition, the penalties may be enhanced if the alleged victim was a dependent person or a senior citizen.
Federal penalties for embezzling under $1,000 can include a maximum of one year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine. For amounts greater than $1,000, a defendant may face up to ten years in a federal prison and a fine of $250,000 or the amount stolen, whichever is greater. As you can see, embezzlement is a serious offense with possibly sever consequences.
Every state has different laws regarding guns. California gun laws first address which state residents may or may not own a gun. The first step to owning a gun is to apply for the proper license. Officials maintain that carrying a gun is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, in order for the license to be granted, the applicant must demonstrate the following:
California is the only state to require a showing of good moral character. This can be accomplished by showing that you have not been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude in the past ten years, that you have no alcohol or drug abuse history, and that you have not received a dishonorable discharge from any branch of the military. Just a few examples of good cause for owning a firearm include threats to your family, you work in a field in which you may encounter violent persons or persons suffering from addiction, or in which you carry large sums of money.
Just because you are allowed to purchase a firearm does not mean you can take it anywhere you want. Some examples of locations in which guns are generally prohibited include:
Furthermore, California law prohibits anyone from carrying a gun openly in public. Additionally, you cannot carry a concealed weapon without the proper conceal and carry permit. You are welcome to exercise your constitutional right to carry a firearm in your own home, in a business that your own, or on other private property.]]>
In order to fully understand what constitutes capital murder, we must first look at the definition of first-degree murder in California. First-degree murder includes killing in a willful, deliberate, and premeditated manner or committing a specified felony that results in a logically related death (felony-murder rule). First-degree murder is punishable by 25 years to life in state prison. Additionally, California Penal Code 190.2 PC sets out numerous different situations in which first-degree murder may escalate into a capital murder charge. These situations include:
Many defendants facing capital murder decide to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty and instead receive a sentence of life in prison, sometimes even with the possibility of parole. However, defendants who are innocent usually proceed to trial, literally putting their lives into the hands of a jury. It is absolutely imperative that you have an experienced criminal lawyer defending you in a capital murder case to avoid wrongful conviction.]]>
One of the most crucial stages of a DUI case is the processing of blood alcohol tests. Because alcohol is metabolized rather quickly, often the only concrete evidence of intoxication that prosecutors have is the blood alcohol test results. Blood alcohol levels can be tested via a breathalyzer test, usually at the scene of the stop prior to an arrest, or by taking a blood sample, usually at the station during the booking process. A breathalyzer requires the suspected drunk driver to blow into a device, and the device estimates the blood alcohol content by measuring the alcohol on a person’s breath. These test results are not always accurate or reliable and devices can often malfunction.
A more accurate way to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration is to take and analyze a blood sample. These samples are usually analyzed by forensic laboratories. There is usually a gap in time between the taking of a blood sample and its lab analysis, and a lot of things can go wrong during that time that can affect the results. Some things that may go wrong include:
The results of a blood alcohol test can make or break a prosecutor’s case. If there were errors in the processing of a blood sample, prosecutors usually have no other concrete evidence with which to pursue DUI charges. For this reason, experienced DUI defense attorneys will thoroughly investigate every step of the forensic lab testing process and will conduct their own analysis of the blood sample to ensure the accuracy of results. If there is any flaw in the test process or results, a DUI attorney will certainly use that flaw to defend the DUI charges.]]>
According to California Penal Code Sections 799-805, the statute of limitations for a particular criminal offense varies depending on the severity of the crime. For instance:
These are only a few of the many penal code provisions setting out statutes of limitations for criminal offenses. As you can see, the offenses can be very specific and may vary depending on the exact circumstances of a particular offense, such as type of victim or available sentence.
To only make things more complicated, California law sets out numerous exceptions. For example, charges for sex crimes such as rape may be filed one year from the time DNA tests identify a suspect, regardless of whether the statute of limitations has run or not. Also, the statute of limitations is paused for up to three years if the suspected defendant is out of the state. There are also special exceptions for filing charges for sex crimes in which the victim was a minor, since those crimes are often not reported until the victim has matured.
In short, California laws regarding statutes of limitations are very nuanced and specific for each case. However, an experienced California criminal defense attorney will know how to interpret these complex laws and apply them to your individual case.
When your license is suspended but not physically taken from you, you must surrender your license to the DMV in person or via mail. While your license is suspended, you cannot drive. If you are caught driving on a suspended license, the length of your suspension will likely be increased and/or you may face up to five years in prison. The specific penalties for driving on a suspended license vary based on the reason your license was suspended and the original length of suspension.
If you believe your license has been suspended for one of the above reasons, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Because a suspended license can make your life difficult, a criminal attorney can help you apply for a restricted license to allow you to drive to school, work, or other necessary appointments. First-time offenders who complete a DUI program are often eligible for such restricted licenses. A DUI attorney can also help you appeal your suspension and/or the underlying charge, and can assist you with restoration of your license when the time comes. Restoring your license can be a complicated process with various requirements and/or fines depending on your original reason for suspension, and an experienced attorney can help guide you through the process.
California takes driver’s license suspension very seriously. Do not risk further penalties by risking driving while your license is suspended. Instead, contact a criminal defense lawyer to help you try to get your license back and mitigate the consequences for you.]]>
According to California Penal Code 243(e)(1), the penalty automatically increases if a battery of any kind takes place against:
Battery against any of these parties is considered domestic violence, and a conviction can possibly send you to jail for one year, even if you caused no physical harm. In addition, probation conditions may include an order to make payments to a battered women’s shelter up to $5,000, or to pay for the alleged victim’s counseling or other treatment considered to be a result of the battery. California explains the increased severity of possible sentences for domestic abuse in the actual law, Penal Code 243(e)(4), stating domestic violence crimes “merit special consideration when imposing a sentence so as to display society’s condemnation for these crimes of violence upon victims with whom a close relationship has been formed.”
The above battery provision is not the only California law considered to be domestic violence. Other laws include:
Conviction of any of these crimes may result in fines, probation, or jail time. The actual sentence will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, however many courts impose at least a jail sentence of 30 days, even for first time offenders. Judges may also require you to attend a domestic batterers’ class, which can last for up to a year. Furthermore, if any of the crimes are charged as felonies, a conviction can count as a “strike” on your record for the purposes of California’s Three Strikes Law.
Luckily, there are many defenses possible for domestic violence crimes including self-defense or false allegations. Therefore, if you are facing any type of domestic violence charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in California as soon as possible.
The California Health & Safety Code states it is a felony to possess narcotics such as cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, ketamine, and prescription drugs that are not lawfully prescribed to the possessor. If the defendant is accused of having a relatively small amount of a drug, he will likely be charged with possession for personal use. Though possession for personal use is the least serious drug charge in California, penalties can still include up to three years in state prison if convicted. Many defendants convicted of possession may qualify for the Penal Code 1000 Drug Diversion program. This program allows judgment to be deferred while a defendant completes an extensive drug rehabilitation program. Though rehab may sound better than prison, such programs may take from eighteen months to three years to complete to the satisfaction of the court. The program could inhibit your ability to work a regular schedule or travel freely.
If law enforcement and/or prosecutors believe you were dealing drugs, they may charge you with possession with intent to sell. In deciding whether a defendant had intent to sell, prosecutors will look at the amount of drugs, packaging in numerous separate baggies or bindles, and concurrent possession of scales, and weapons and/or large sums of cash. However, often times a defendant possessed drugs for personal use yet other circumstances make it appear as if he had the intent to sell. Possession with intent to sell is a more serious charge, and defendants convicted of this charge will not qualify for the Penal Code 1000 Drug Diversion program. Instead, penalties can range up to four years in state prison.
Finally, in California, you can also be charged with merely being under the influence of an illegal narcotic. A defendant does not have to possess the drug for this charge. Though it is a misdemeanor, under the influence charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 90 days in county jail. However, most offenders convicted of this charge qualify for Drug Diversion.
Our drug defense attorneys specialize in cases across southern California, including those in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County and San Fernando Valley. Call us at (310) 990-3639 for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 to evaluate your case and let you know how to begin the process of getting your life back on track.]]>