OUR PRACTICE AREAS

 

 
 
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DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI)

One of the most commonly charged crimes in the state of California, a DUI conviction can have dire consequences for both your criminal record, your professional license, and your potential career.  There are ALWAYS numerous ways to fight this charge, even if you registered a high Blood Alcohol Content ("BAC").  Hiring an experienced attorney can be the difference between jail and dismissal of the case.

Oftentimes, a DUI defendant is so relieved that the initial plea bargain offer does not include a jail sentence, that she will plead too quickly, and gives up valuable opportunities to either fight the charge, or negotiate a more favorable sentence.  Relief can quickly turn to regret when a defendant realizes that he is now facing a lengthy community labor sentence, a large fine, or extensive DUI classes and court-mandated AA meetings.  Experienced DUI attorneys know when to push the case further, and when the appropriate time is (if at all) to accept a fair and equitable plea bargain.

 
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marijuana and drug charges

 

Thanks to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, otherwise known as Proposition 64, and other recent legislation, penalties for marijuana-related crimes are more lenient than they've ever been.  However, it's still common for a prosecutor to charge a defendant arrested on a marijuana-related charge with a misdemeanor or even a felony, and seek a serious felony conviction.  Even in situations where the facts of the case seem to point to guilt, we have been able to avoid a conviction for drug charges, and are often able to keep the client's record completely clean.

Charges for other banned substances tend to carry harsher penalties.  We have been able to get our clients the help they need, and avoid a conviction entirely.  

 
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THEFT CRIMES

Theft crimes include less serious charges such as Petty Theft (theft of property worth $950 or less without the use of force or threat of force), which is a low level misdemeanor, all the way up to violent crimes such as Robbery (theft with the use of force or threat of force) and Burglary (entering a residence or business for the purpose of committing a felony inside), which are serious felonies.  Robbery and Residential Burglary are often charged as strikes. 

Theft is considered a crime of moral turpitude, and has serious consequences to immigration applications and employment prospects. Also, it has become a growing trend to charge what should be a relatively minor shoplifting offense as a felony burglary, since the crime of grand theft is theoretically contemplated prior to entering the business.  This is a typical example of overcharging, and is often used to frighten a defendant, and encourage a one-sided plea bargain.

We have been successful in obtaining either outright dismissals for petty theft charges, or dismissal after brief diversion.  For more serious charges, it is crucial to handle the pre-trial phase correctly, and cut down the charges in the complaint prior to proceeding to trial or plea-bargain.  

 

 
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expungements and motions to terminate probation

If you've been convicted of a crime, California law provides you with second chances in many situations.  Under Penal Code 1203.4, upon a showing of rehabilitation and completion of probation, the Court may allow you to withdraw your plea of guilty or no contest, and enter a dismissal of your criminal conviction.  This is known as an Expungement.

If you are still on probation, we can ask the Court to terminate your probation early, under Penal Code 1203.3.  If this is granted, we will move for dismissal of your case, under Penal Code 1203.4, AT THE SAME TIME.  We have successfully dismissed convictions even when the Defendant has not complied with the terms of his probation.

After your conviction is expunged you may, in most cases, legally and truthfully answer "NO" on an employment application, to the question of whether you've ever been convicted of a crime.

 
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RESTRAINING ORDERS

Also known as Protective Orders, there are 2 main types of Restraining Orders:  Civil Harassment and Domestic Violence.

It is more difficult to get a Civil Harassment Restraining Order than a Domestic Violence one, since the court takes fewer chances with domestic violence situations.  The burden of proof that a Petitioner has to meet for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order is Clear and Convincing Evidence, while for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, it's only a Preponderance of the Evidence (meaning more likely than not).  While there is no clear mathematical method to measure the showing required by the Petitioner, both of these standards are significantly lower than the proof needed for a criminal conviction - which is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

It's common for someone seeking or defending a restraining order to try to fight it out without spending the money for an attorney.  This is rarely if ever a good idea.  The consequences of having a permanent restraining order issued against you can affect your career, your child custody situation, as well as any pending or future civil or criminal proceedings against you.  A permanent restraining order goes in the CLETS ("California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System") Network, and is searchable by employers and law enforcement.  These orders can last 3 years and often more.  In addition, it is common for the Court to award attorneys fees to the prevailing party.

We have represented both petitioners and respondents in restraining order hearings, and are often able to resolve the issue without the need for a hearing.  This saves all parties time, money, and aggravation.

 
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POST-CONVICTION RELIEF

Even if you've been convicted, there are still steps you can take to clean up your criminal record, which will be reflected in both state and federal databases.  Some of the main ones are:

  • Penal Code 1203.4 allows you to petition to dismiss many convictions, or reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor under most circumstances;
  • Penal Code 851.90 and 851.91 allow you to petition to seal and destroy any records of your arrest or detention.  Click here to see if you are eligible for this relief.

People are wrongfully arrested everyday, and now it's more possible than ever, thanks to new legislation, to get justice.  We can help you clean up your criminal record efficiently, quickly, and affordably.