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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in California Law

San Jose drug charge defense attorney, new drug lawsCannabis is now legal within the state of California, for the most part. Although the passage of Proposition 64 made recreational use of marijuana legal in the California state law books, there are still hurdles to overcome. For instance, how will it affect your employment? Can your boss tell you that you cannot do something that is legal by law? How can you purchase cannabis without earning a drug charge? You may be surprised by the answers.

Your Boss’ Word is Law, at Work

Outside of your place of employment, it is legal to wear clothing suited to your tastes and you can sport the hair color and style of your choosing. It is also completely legal to have piercings and tattoos and speak however you wish, so long as you are not infringing upon the rights of another individual. However, in the office, you may be required to wear khaki pants, a dress shirt, and close-toed shoes. Additionally, you may be required to have your hair pulled neatly away from your face and only wear one earring in each ear. This idea is no different from the legality of marijuana in the workplace. California law still maintains that each place of business reserves the right to remain drug, tobacco, and alcohol-free, including cannabis, if they so choose.

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyFor those who may be unfamiliar, there are currently 26 states, including California, that have adopted the Three Strikes and You Are Out law. California first adopted this sentencing provision in 1994 as an effort to reduce the number of felony convictions per person by imposing significant sentencing consequences for each felony conviction up to three.

On November 6, 2012, some 18 years later, California proposed an amendment to the law which became known as Proposition 36 to California voters. The proposition was passed and amended the original legislation in two ways:

  • Requirements for sentencing of a third strike offender was now set to 25 years to life if the offender was convicted of a violent felony with two or more previous strikes; and
  • The allowance of those offenders already serving a third strike sentence to petition the court for a reduction of this sentence down to a second strike eligibility.

As violent crime is on the rise across the United States one may believe that the Three Strikes and You Are Out law is necessary but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) remains in disagreement.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_drug-crimes-defense.jpgDrug charges carry serious consequences, no matter who you are. If you are an immigrant, drug charges can have even more dire effects, potentially resulting in deportation or the revocation of papers or work permits. This is true even even if you are a permanent legal resident, depending on the severity of the charge. If you are charged with a trafficking aggravated felony or an offense involving a controlled substance, for example, you may be subject to deportation.

Risk of Deportation

In general, however, if you are not a legal permanent resident, you can potentially be deported regardless of the severity of the drug charge. Any type of drug charge—or other criminal behavior—can be considered grounds for deportation and the revocation of immigration status and papers. For example, if you are convicted of any type of an offense of a federally-scheduled drug; if you are convicted of a possession-only charge; if you are convicted of possession with intent to sell; or if you are convicted of the sale of distribution of a drug; you are eligible for deportation, regardless of your legal immigration status.

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license suspension, San Jose DUI defense lawyerAfter you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), the arresting officer may confiscate your driver’s license. The license will remain confiscated—out of your possession—throughout the entire revocation or suspension period. The period of revocation or suspension is determined by the DMV, upon conducting an administrative review. If the review concludes that your license should, in fact, be suspended for a period of time, you may contest the decision by requesting a hearing.

This is, of course, best done with the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney. The request for this hearing must be filed within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation notice. If the hearing is unsuccessful and your driving privileges are rescinded, you will have to pay a $125 reissue fee to the California state DMV in order to have your license reinstated after the period of suspension has ended.

Temporary Licenses

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Three Strikes Law, San Jose criminal defense attorneyThe California Three Strikes law was imposed in an effort to curb the rate of crimes perpetrated by repeat offenders. In practice, however, it often led to people being severely sentenced for crimes that are usually relatively minor. For example, people whose first two strikes were convictions for felony offenses, such as domestic violence or rape, were subsequently sentenced with more intense punishments for seemingly less serious third strike crimes such as theft or drug possession. The law was originally passed hoping to curb recidivism rates, but may have played a role in raising them, resulting in higher costs for both state and federal facilities without actually curbing the rate of offenses.

History and Future of Three Strikes

It was about a decade and a half ago that the first questions were raised as to the effectiveness of the law and such procedures, but it was not until late last year that a reform of the Three Strikes law was brought to the table in California. The law was first passed in 1994. In the years that followed, analysts found that a reimagining of the policy would ultimately save the state of California several hundred million dollars a year. Now, efforts are underway to bring the law may to voters for reconsideration on the November 2016 ballot.

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three strikes, San Jose criminal defense attorneyIn the mid-1990s, California was among 24 states to enact what would become known as a "Three Strikes” sentencing law. The laws were passed in an effort to curb recidivism rates and rates of repeat offenders. For the most part, these laws provided that a defendant who had been convicted of a serious felony would be sentenced to state prison for twice the term otherwise allowed for the offense if the sentencing was the result of a second conviction. When a person committed a crime with at least two other felony incidents on his or her record, the law dictated that the person would serve a state prison term of 25 years to life.

This law was not reviewed until 2012, when voters approved a slight change to the terms: The third felony, or the third strike, now has to be a violent or serious felony in order for the person to be sentenced to 25 years to life. The amended law also allowed prisoners who were currently serving time under the old provisions to petition the court for a reduction of sentence.

There are several arguments against Three Strikes policies—the most common of which is the argument that harsh sentencing laws are not a deterrent for crime. Instead, these types of laws result in overcrowded prisons and poor prison conditions, and their implementation does not reflect a reduction in the overall crime rate, whether serious or not. One alleged reason for this is that the majority of violent crimes are not premeditated; they are crimes committed in the heat of passion, anger, or when under the influence of alcohol. In these instances, when a person is about to commit a violent crime, he or she is not considering the punishment, regardless of how severe it may be.

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Posted on in Sex Crimes

sex crimes, prostitution, San Jose criminal defense attorneyProstitution is often referred to as the world’s oldest profession, and there are several arguments that state-sanctioned prostitution should be legalized across the country. Currently, Nevada is the only state that allows legal prostitution, meaning that it is a punishable offense in California. This is delineated in the state penal code, which states that any person who succeeds or intends in engaging in sexual conduct for money (or any other measurable transaction or consideration) can be charged with prostitution.

The only caveat to this is if the person does so as part of any stage performance, play, or other entertainment that is open to the public. This is where the line can be muddied, as there is no shortage of reports of exotic dancers or masseuse artists who claim that they have experienced entrapment by an officer who solicits a greater sexual act from them, and subsequently charges them with prostitution.

Profitable Crimes

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Governor Jerry Brown, prison reform, San Jose criminal justice lawyerOver the last several weeks, President Obama has commuted the sentence of nearly 90 inmates, mostly nonviolent drug offenders. His actions have sparked a number of conversations about America’s prison problem and caused many state officials to question whether or not we are doing it “right.” California’s governor, Jerry Brown, recently joined the conversations in a call for reform to the fixed-sentencing laws he implemented three decades ago, indicating that more change is now needed.

The Sad State of the American Justice System

The United States is home to only five percent of the world’s population, yet it houses 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. An alarming percentage of those inmates are nonviolent offenders who, for all intents and purposes, have no real reason for being separated from society in the long-term. But it is their continued imprisonment that strains our system, making it more and more difficult to ensure that dangerous criminals—those found guilty of violent, heinous, or serious crimes—behind bars.

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domestic violence, violence against family, San Jose criminal defense attorneyOctober was domestic violence awareness month. With that in mind, it is important to understand what domestic violence actually represents, along with some ways a victims of such actions can seek help. Domestic violence, most often perpetuated by a spouse or domestic partner, can have several definitions—one does not have to be physically assaulted for the abuse to be considered domestic violence. An abusive relationship can take several forms. There are many signs that a particular relationship may be abusive, some which may include (but are not limited to):

  • When a partner embarrasses the other with constant put-downs, either in public or private;
  • When a partner controls where the other can go or who he or she can see;
  • When one partner refuses to let the other make any of the joint decisions;
  • When one partner tells the other that he or she is a bad parent;
  • When one partner denies the other access to or time with the children;
  • When one partner controls all the financial decisions and money in the relationship; or
  • When one partner destroys the other’s property.

Domestic violence is surprisingly common—an average of 24 people every minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. This results in more than 12 million Americans being victims of domestic violence annually. These numbers represent nearly 30 percent of all American women and 10 percent of all American men. The numbers of severe physical violence are even more shocking: Roughly 25 percent of all women aged 18 and older have been the victim of such violence in their lifetimes, along with roughly 14 percent of all men.

Punishment for domestic violence in California is regulated by the California Family Code. A perpetrator is defined as anyone with whom the victim has an “affinity,” (related by marriage); with whom the victim lives (or has formerly lived with); or someone the victim is dating. If a person feels that he or she is being abused, he or she can then file for a protective order. If the situation is immediately dangerous, he or she may choose to instead file for an emergency protective order.

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