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San Diego County Criminal Defense Legal Blog

Three men arrested in alleged attempted theft

Three California men were arrested for their alleged involvement in an attempted burglary. Police booked the men into an area jail, where they are facing a number of different criminal charges. Those charges include possession of burglary tools and other theft-related charges.

In late Nov. 2019, police received a report concerning what someone thought was an ongoing theft. Officers responded to the area and apparently did not notice anything amiss until they were in the process of leaving. A car was parked nearby with three men in the trunk with the trunk door only partially closed. They also located a vehicle that was being held up by a car jack, with exhaust pipe cutters left attached to the vehicle's catalytic converter.

Don't drive drunk this holiday season: Avoid a DUI

Holidays help lots of people get together and see each other when they otherwise may not have time. Unfortunately, the holidays also mean that there will be a lot of drinking, in most situations. Even a nice dinner out might be paired with a few alcoholic beverages of choice during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. The odds of getting into an accident increase when there are more vehicles on the roads, but those odds also increase when alcohol is present and more people drive drunk.

While it can be fun to get together with your family and enjoy the holidays, remember that drunk driving is still dangerous driving. In fact, it may be even more dangerous than usual because of the greater number of people on the roads.

Reasons for a DUI arrest and possible criminal consequences

Living a perfect life is simply not possible, and virtually everyone in California has made a decision at some point in their lives that they now regret. However, some errors in judgment are treated much more seriously than others. For example, a person who is speeding a few miles per hour over the speed limit might receive a traffic ticket, while a person accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol could be charged with a DUI. This is a very serious offense, so it is important for anyone facing this type of charge to better understand the charge.

There is a legal limit of intoxication that California drivers cannot pass. Drivers over the age of 21 are considered to be drunk driving when they have a blood alcohol concentration -- BAC -- of or higher than the .08% legal limit. If a driver registers a BAC of .16% or above, it is very likely that authorities will pursue an aggravated DUI charge. Since there is zero tolerance for underage drivers, anyone under the age of 21 with a .02% BAC can be charged.

Treat your misdemeanor charge as the serious matter that it is

Being charged with a criminal offense is always a serious matter. However, based on what you might have seen in TV shows or movies, you might understand that your misdemeanor charges still need careful and thorough attention. While it is true that felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, you can still face undesirable criminal and person consequences if convicted of a misdemeanor charge.

California state law imposes a range of penalties for misdemeanor offenses. Depending on the charge, you could be ordered to shell out a fine as high as $1,000. Fines for multiple misdemeanors can quickly add up, too. You could also be sentenced to jail time in a county jail. Even a relatively short sentence can completely change your path in life, causing you to lose your job and miss out on future work opportunities.

Understanding California's theft laws

Simple mistakes, misunderstandings or minor errors in judgment can sometimes result in serious consequences. For example, it is not uncommon for a misunderstanding between two parties to result in an allegation of theft. Understanding California's theft laws is an important part of building a strong defense against these types of allegations. Even those who briefly exercised poor judgment should be sure to explore this topic when preparing defense plans.

Theft -- which is sometimes referred to as larceny -- is considered a property crime. Proving that a theft occurred takes a lot more than just demonstrating that a defendant had possession of a property at a certain time. According to California law, a theft cannot occur unless a person intended to take another person's property. This means that a prosecutor has to prove that a defendant had intent, which can be difficult to demonstrate.

Are you familiar with the criminal process for a DUI?

Being charged with drunk driving may feel like the end point of a situation, but it is actually the beginning of a much longer process. Following a DUI arrest, a defendant may be faced with any number of situations in which he or she may have to make important decisions. It is very helpful for defendants to understand the nature of the process before making any of those decisions.

In California, a police officer will send a copy of a notice of revocation or suspension to the Department of Motor Vehicles -- the DMV -- after making a DUI arrest. The driver's confiscated license will also be sent. At that point, the DMV will conduct an administrative review to decide whether the revocation or suspension should be upheld. If it is upheld the driver will receive a notice. He or she then has 10 days to request an administrative review that could possibly return the suspended or revoked driving privileges.

Don’t make these mistakes at a California DUI checkpoint

With police throughout San Diego County cracking down on driving under the influence, it's critical to understand the steps you can take to avoid trouble. Furthermore, if you come face-to-face with a DUI checkpoint, knowing what you should and shouldn't do improves the likelihood of avoiding an arrest.

Here are five of the most common mistakes drivers make at a DUI checkpoint:

  • Suspicious driving: This can include everything from stopping and starting to switching lanes. If it's anything that gives an officer reason to take notice, it's something you want to avoid.
  • Open alcohol container: This is a surefire sign that you've been drinking and driving. Even if you're not under the influence, it is illegal to drive with an open container of alcohol in your vehicle.
  • Talking back: Even if you don't like the way the officer is treating you, remain respectful throughout your interaction. If you talk back, it gives them more of a reason to dig deeper. It could also lead to an arrest for another crime, such as obstruction of justice.
  • Complaining about your legal rights: Don't tell the officer that it's illegal for them to stop your vehicle. Don't explain your legal rights. This goes along with talking back. Don't say anything that will raise suspicious or draw the ire of the officer.
  • Remain calm if you're put under arrest: It's frustrating, embarrassing and scary, but if you're put under arrest for driving under the influence you should remain calm. Fighting back can result in additional criminal charges, such as resisting arrest. You're best off using this time to make note of exactly what's happening, as the knowledge you collect can help you prevent a conviction.

Bill would improve data collection in criminal justice system

California's criminal justice system has serious flaws that impact defendants all across the state. However, the state legislature recently passed a criminal justice bill aimed at improving criminal justice records and creating methods for courts to easily share important data. Even though it was passed by the state legislature, it will not become law until the governor signs it.

In its current state, the state's criminal justice system has a significant number of data gaps in its criminal history records. According to the recently passed bill AB 1331, these gaps mean that the records are inaccurate and not reliable. This is backed up by an estimate from the Department of Justice, which says that 60% of arrest records do not have necessary disposition information, like judges' rulings or sentencing. The data gaps in criminal history records can and do lead to the criminalization of otherwise innocent people.

Is domestic violence just physical abuse?

Allegations of violence in the home, between intimate partners or even against family members are very serious. Domestic violence charges can alter the course of a person's future. While mounting a strong defense is essential for minimizing the criminal and personal impacts, California defendants may struggle to do so if they do not fully understand their charges.

The Justice Office on Violence against women defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship. That behavior is usually wielded by only one person as a method to maintain or gain control over the other person. Domestic violence can occur between spouses, children, cohabitants, family members and partners who are dating, intimate or in a sexual relationship.

Be prepared to face your theft charges

If you were recently arrested for allegedly taking another person's property, you probably have a lot of questions about your current situation. Theft charges are quite serious in California, so your position at work, school or even in your local community could be at risk. You could also end up spending time behind bars if convicted. Here are a few things you should know about theft charges.

Theft charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, which carry different criminal consequences If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you could spend up to a year in a county jail. Felony charges are usually for allegations of theft that involve more than $950, and sentences could land you in prison for as long as three years. Spending time behind bars is on top of fines you will also probably have to pay if convicted.

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