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What Are Your Miranda Rights?

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

If you’ve ever wondered, “What is the Miranda warning?” chances are you’ve heard it before without realizing it. That famous paragraph cops recite to criminals in movies or TV shows that begin with the line ‘You have the right to remain silent” is part of the Miranda Warning.

While used often in cinematic instances, this warning or reading of your rights is very real and is read to an individual by an arresting officer. So, what are Miranda Rights? Let’s take a look.

Who Is Ernesto Miranda?

So, why is it called Miranda Rights? The reading of this warning stems from a 1966 court case known as Miranda v. Arizona. The defendant, 24-year-old Ernesto Miranda, was accused of kidnapping, robbing, and raping an 18-year-old girl. Following his arrest, Miranda was subject to a two-hour interrogation, where he confessed to the crimes.

However, Miranda’s defense attorneys contended that law enforcement had not clearly informed the defendant of his right to have a lawyer present and against self-incrimination, which falls under the Sixth Amendment. Further, Miranda’s lawyers argued that because his rights had not been made clear to him and he was under the duress of detainment, the court should not deem his confession admissible.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Arizona Supreme Court decision that Miranda’s confession is admissible must be overturned, forever changing criminal proceedings in the US.

what is the miranda warning

Why is it Called Miranda Rights?

So, why is it called Miranda Rights? Since the Supreme Court ruling in 1966, it has become a constitutional requirement that police inform arrestees of their rights. Because this requirement stems from the Miranda court ruling, these rights earned the name “Miranda Rights.”

What are Your Miranda Rights?

Miranda extends the following rights to suspects in criminal investigations:

  • the right to remain silent;
  • anything said by the person in custody can and will be used against him/her in court;
  • the right to an attorney; and
  • the right to have an attorney appointed if the person cannot afford one.

The right to remain silent means the person under interrogation can decline to respond to police questions at any point. Thus, even if a person decides to answer some questions, he/she can later choose to invoke this right and refuse further to answer additional inquiries.

The warning about any statement being used against the individual in court should be taken at face value, with the knowledge that this information will be presented in the most negative way possible to increase the chances of a guilty verdict.

The right to an attorney means that once this right is asserted police must stop additional questioning until the attorney is present. Note that the person under interrogation needs to affirmatively assert this right, and not just suggest an attorney may be a good idea. Once this right is invoked, the person under questioning should refrain from talking until the attorney arrives.

While people commonly assume these rights only apply to adults, California law extends these same protections to minors who are wards of the state or juvenile offenders. If the police take one of these minors into temporary custody, they must be informed of their rights just like adults.

what are miranda rights

What Do the Cops Say When They Arrest You?

So, what is the Miranda Warning, and what do cops say when they arrest you? When you are read your rights or “Mirandized,” the arresting officer must clearly and directly inform you of the following:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

A waiver then follows this paragraph:

“Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

Following this, you may advise the officer whether you wish to have an attorney or waive your rights and speak with them without a lawyer present.

Additionally, if English is not your spoken language, police officers must translate these rights into a language you understand.

Do You Need to Respond to Police Questioning?

While you are required to identify yourself to officers, you have the constitutional right to remain silent. As a result, law enforcement officers cannot punish you for refusing to speak to the police.

why is it called miranda rights

When are Miranda Rights Not Required

Do cops have to read Miranda Rights all the time, or are there instances when Miranda Rights are not required? Firstly, why are Miranda Rights important? These warnings advise arrestees that they may have access to a lawyer in a criminal case. However, officers do not need to read your Miranda

Rights if they are arresting you without the intent to interrogate you, for instance, if you are being arrested for a DUI.

Arrest Without the Reading of Miranda Rights

If a detainee is arrested but not informed what their Miranda rights are, anything they say during questioning cannot be used as evidence in a trial. If you require a Criminal Defense Attorney and need help defending your rights, contact us for sound legal counsel.

Can You Go to Jail for Making Someone Kill Themself?

Can You Go to Jail for Making Someone Kill Themself?

Suicide remains a serious health risk for the American population. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, it’s the 12th leading cause of death in the US, with 45 979 Americans dying by suicide in 2020 and a further 1.2 million attempted suicides that same year.

While there is an underlying problem related to mental well-being, another cause for concern is where people assist in suicide. So, can you go to jail for making someone kill themself?

Is Suicide Illegal in California?

It’s not illegal for someone to kill themselves in California. The state has The End of Life Option Act which permits an individual to take their life using prescribed medications. However, recent cases in the media, particularly involving young people sending text messages, have prompted people to question: ‘if someone kills themselves because of you, can you go to jail?’

if someone kills themselves because of you can you go to jail

How Does the Law Define Causing Homicide?

Homicide is defined as the killing of one human being by another. However, many different categories fall under homicide, such as manslaughter, and first-degree or second-degree murder, depending on the circumstances of the death.

How Does the Law Define Assisted Suicide?

In the United States, the law defines assisted death as a practice by which a terminally ill person – said to be of sound mind but with a prognosis of six months or less – administers barbituates to end their life. However, this would differ from assisting in suicide or encouraging someone to kill themselves.

What Are the Types of Assisted Suicide?

  • Assisted suicide is where you intentionally help another person to kill themselves, usually by providing them with potent sedatives. Many people have opted to go to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal.
  • Euthanasia, on the other hand, is the act of helping someone end their life as a way to stop their pain. This can be administered by a medical professional via lethal injection.
  • Unlike assisted suicide and euthanasia, assisted dying would only apply to terminally ill people. This gives them some choice in the manner and timing of their death.

Is Telling Someone to Kill Themselves a Crime?

While assisted suicide might be legal in certain countries, it’s considered a felony offense in the state of California, where an individual makes a conscious decision to help another person in committing suicide.

What Is Punishment for Assisting Suicide?

If you have told someone to kill themself or assisted in suicide in any other way, then the state will first have to find proof that you are actually guilty of a crime. In addition, they would have to find evidence that indicates that a person actually attempted to commit suicide in the first place.

Further to this, the state would need to prove your actions were thought-out and that you actively encouraged or assisted in that suicide. If you are found guilty, you could face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to $10 000. In cases where the individual survives the suicide attempt, you can only be charged with attempting to assist in a suicide.

is it illegal to tell someone to kill themself

What Is the Differentiation Between Murder And Suicide?

Things could get even more difficult if you physically assisted in helping someone kill themself, as you could then face murder charges. The statute in California refers to when you are not actively involved in encouraging or assisting in a suicide – or suicide attempt. This could be as seemingly innocent as supplying them with prescription medication or explaining specific ways in which to take their own life.

However, if you have a more active role in the suicide – which is where you provide them with the means to commit suicide or have a hand in it yourself – then you could be at risk of charges related to murder.

Must I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you are accused of encouraging or helping someone kill themself, you would need to hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in this field. They will discuss the situation with you and develop some possible defense options. These could include:

The reality is that you can go to jail for making someone kill themself, as it is illegal. You will need to hire a criminal defense attorney if this is the case. Contact our lawyers today to find out more.

​​Understanding DNA Evidence in Criminal Cases

Understanding DNA Evidence in Criminal Cases

DNA evidence is a powerful tool that can be used in criminal cases to help determine the guilt or innocence of an accused individual. The problem is, that there are many factors that can influence the reliability of DNA evidence and, as a result, the outcome of a case. In this post, we’re going to discuss some of these factors, including what DNA is, how it works, and how it can be used to help determine whether or not someone is guilty.

What is DNA Evidence?

DNA evidence is the most powerful forensic tool available to law enforcement. It can be used to identify people, determine the source of biological material, and even provide information about the health of an individual.

Your DNA profile, just like your fingerprints, is unique and cannot be replicated by anyone else. This makes DNA evidence incredibly valuable when it comes to determining the identity of an individual and proving their involvement in a crime.

forensic analysis

When was DNA Evidence in Criminal Cases First Used?

Forensic DNA analysis and DNA profiling were first used in 1986 when the UK police requested suspect verification for two rape-murder cases. Dr. Alec J. Jeffreys of the University of Leicester found out, through forensic DNA evidence, that the suspect did not commit the crime. This was a game-changer in the DNA testing field, and it led to the development of using DNA evidence in criminal cases.

What Type of Evidence is DNA?

DNA is biological evidence, which is a type of physical evidence that can be used to help prove or disprove a person’s involvement in a crime. The following types of DNA evidence include:

  • Fingerprints
  • Bloodstains
  • Blood
  • Bodily fluids
  • Saliva
  • Blood
  • Urine
  • Skin cells

Gathering DNA Evidence

In order to collect DNA evidence, law enforcement must first obtain a sample of biological material from an individual. The sample is then analyzed to determine the presence of DNA. Once the DNA sample is collected, it is sent to a lab where it is analyzed and compared to DNA samples of known individuals.

Identifying DNA Evidence

The process of identifying DNA evidence is called DNA amplification. It’s accomplished by extracting the DNA from the biological sample and then amplifying it to make it easier to detect. In just a few hours, millions of copies of a specific sequence of DNA are made from the original sample, and then they are analyzed to determine if they match any of the DNA profiles in the suspect database.

dna class or individual evidence

Is DNA Class or Individual Evidence?

Class Evidence – When a piece of evidence is collected from a group of people, such as a family or a group of suspects, it is called class evidence. It helps to narrow down the pool of possible suspects, but it doesn’t prove that any one person committed the crime.

Individual Evidence – This is a type of evidence that can exactly pinpoint the identity of a suspect. Examples of individual evidence that can directly incriminate someone includes fingerprints, blood, semen, saliva, hair, skin cells, or bodily fluids.

Is DNA class or individual evidence? DNA is individual evidence because it can identify a suspect and prove that they committed a crime.

How is DNA Evidence Collected and Packaged?

When a crime is committed, the police will collect evidence from the scene of the crime. If the crime involved bodily fluids, then the police will also collect saliva, blood, urine, and other bodily fluids from the scene. They will then package the evidence in a sealed container to avoid any contamination.

The next step is to take the evidence to a laboratory. The lab will extract the DNA from the biological sample, amplify it, and then compare it to the DNA profiles of known individuals. The DNA profile of the individual whose DNA is being tested is compared to the DNA profile of the biological sample. If the DNA profile of the biological sample matches the DNA profile of the suspect, then the suspect is identified.

What are the Different Methods of DNA Testing?

Generally speaking, there are four types of DNA test analysis: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Short Tandem Repeats (STR), Y-Chromosome, and Mitochondrial DNA.

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PRC) – PCR is a method that is used to amplify the DNA sample. This is done to increase the number of copies of DNA that are available for analysis. PCR is a highly reliable method for DNA analysis because it is accurate and reproducible.
  • Short Tandem Repeats (STR) – STR is commonly used in forensic laboratories, paternity tests, and missing persons cases. Extracted DNA is added to chemical agents and then heated, which causes the DNA to separate into two strands. The number of repeats in each strand is unique, which makes it possible to determine the identity of the person whose DNA was extracted.
  • Y-Chromosome – A Y-Chromosome DNA test is used to identify males. This is the only type of DNA test that can be used to determine the sex of a person. Y-chromosome is inherited from the father.
  • Mitochondrial DNA – Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother. It is present in all human cells and is found in the mitochondria, the energy-producing parts of the cell.

dna evidence in criminal cases

What are the Limitations of DNA Evidence?

While DNA evidence is extremely reliable, there are some limitations to consider. In some cases, DNA evidence may not be conclusive. For example, if a suspect has been in a car accident and his DNA is on the steering wheel, then the DNA evidence may not be enough to identify him as the driver. This is particularly true if the car in question is being rented out or used by more than one person.

DNA evidence can also be unreliable if the biological sample is contaminated with other people’s DNA. This is especially true if the sample is taken from an area where many people are gathered, such as a crime scene.

Can DNA be Used to Prove Someone Guilty?

The criminal justice system has come a long way since the days when fingerprints were the only form of identification. Today, DNA evidence is considered the legal standard for proving someone’s guilt. It is used in almost every case where a suspect is accused of committing a crime.

DNA test results also help innocent victims of wrongful convictions and exonerate them. Not to mention that the use of DNA has led to the conviction of thousands of criminals and helped solve hundreds of cold cases.

How is DNA Used as Evidence for Crimes?

DNA evidence is used in criminal investigations to identify suspects, link suspects to crimes, and exonerate innocent suspects. DNA profiling is one of the most important tools in the criminal justice system and is used in almost every criminal investigation.

is dna class or individual evidence

What is DNA Profiling?

DNA profiling is the process of comparing DNA evidence with known DNA profiles. This allows law enforcement to identify the suspect and determine whether or not they committed the crime. When a DNA profile is obtained, it is compared to a DNA database of individuals who have been convicted of crimes.

DNA profiling is also used to match DNA samples from crime scenes. This is especially useful in cases where the victim has been killed and the perpetrator has left behind a sample of his or her DNA. If there are a group of suspects, then DNA profiling can be used to link them to the crime.

In order to use DNA evidence, investigators must obtain a DNA sample from the suspect. This can be done through a voluntary search of the suspect’s body, such as a blood sample or hair sample. If the suspect refuses to provide a DNA sample, then investigators will obtain a court order to force the suspect to give a DNA sample.

Is DNA a Reliable Source of Evidence?

Yes, DNA evidence is very reliable. In fact, it is often referred to as the “gold standard” of forensic science. It is considered the most reliable form of evidence because it is virtually impossible to fake or alters.

DNA evidence is also highly accurate. The accuracy of DNA evidence is based on the fact that DNA is a unique identifier. The DNA molecule contains a specific sequence of nucleotides that are inherited from the parents. Each individual has their own unique set of these nucleotides, and no two people have the same set. This means that DNA evidence can be used to, without a doubt, identify individuals who have been involved in a crime.

While the accuracy of DNA evidence is unquestionably accurate, it is not infallible. There are times when DNA cannot be used to prove someone’s guilt or innocence. For example, if it is contaminated with another person’s DNA, then the sample will not be able to accurately identify the suspect. This is very common when a person is being framed up for a crime, or when the crime scene has been tampered with.

“DNA planting” is a strong defense against a criminal charge, and is often used in murder trials. If you have been accused of a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can review your case and advise you about your legal options.

What Is Carjacking in California?

What Is Carjacking in California?

Arrests and criminal charges are serious situations that need immediate attention. In fact, with the sheer multitude of crimes written into statute, not everyone can truly know whether they have done something illegal. Further, in some cases, the crime charged may be a lot more severe than the individual himself/herself even expected.

Retaining the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to having a viable chance at defending criminal charges and mitigating the damage to his/her life. One such crime that many people do not truly understand is a carjacking, and, especially the distinction between a carjacking and automobile theft.

How Does California Law Define The Crime of Carjacking?

So, what is carjacking? Pursuant to California law, carjacking is defined as the taking of an automobile in the possession of another individual, from his/her person or immediate presence, against his/her will, with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive that individual of the use of the automobile, accomplished by means of force or fear. Additionally, even though the automobile may not be in an individual’s possession, if that individual is a passenger, and the aggressor does the same things in the sentence above, the aggressor may also be charged with carjacking.

is carjacking a felony

Is Carjacking a Felony in CA?

According to California Penal Code 215 PC, carjacking is a federal crime. Further, the law can impose severe penalties on an individual convicted of carjacking, including a “strike,” which falls under California’s “Three Strikes” law which can be enhanced depending on how the felon went about the carjacking. For instance, using a deadly weapon or causing injury to the victim can increase the severity of the penalties imposed.

What’s the Difference Between a Carjacking and Grand Theft Auto?

For the law to consider a crime to be a carjacking, an individual must take the vehicle using force or fear. However, if an individual steals a car that is unoccupied or when the owner is not in the immediate vicinity, the law considers the crime as grand theft auto or car theft.

How Does The Prosecutor Prove Carjacking?

To prove the accused is guilty of carjacking the prosecutor must show he/she took the vehicle against the will of the possessor of the car. Thus, to successfully prosecute the crime of carjacking, the prosecutor must provide evidence of the following:

  • The defendant took an automobile that was not his/hers;
  • The automobile was taken from the immediate presence of an individual in possession of the automobile or a passenger;
  • The automobile was taken against that individual’s will;
  • The defendant used force or fear to take the automobile, or to prevent the individual from resisting; and
  • The defendant intended to deprive the individual of possession of the vehicle, either temporarily or permanently

It is important to note that there is a distinction between possession and ownership in the crime of carjacking. As such, even if an individual is the legal owner of the automobile, he/she is not allowed to use force or fear in order to regain it from someone else in possession of the automobile.

carjacking law

What is the Sentencing And Punishment For A Carjacking Conviction In California

Carjacking is charged as a felony under California Penal Code 215 and comes with up to nine years in prison. However, this sentence may increase if the carjacker used a weapon to acquire the stolen car:

  • Armed with a Firearm

Under California PC 12022.53, aggressors who brandish firearms while committing a carjacking will get ten years in prison. However, should they fire a gun during the carjacking, the sentence increases to 20 years.

  • Armed with an Assault Weapon

Irrespective of the firearm an aggressor holds during armed carjackings, the penalty equates to a minimum of ten years of prison time.

  • Actually Using a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon

Finally, if the aggressor fires their weapon during the carjacking and, as a result, inflicts significant bodily injury or kills an individual, committing a violent crime, the sentence imposed falls anywhere between 25 years to life imprisonment.

What Offenses Often Charged Alongside Carjacking

Often, carjacking cases entail more than just forcibly removing the vehicle from an individual’s possession. As a result, a host of additional charges often accompany the carjacking conviction. Below, we discuss the most common ones.

  • Robbery – Although carjacking is considered auto theft, an individual may be charged with robbery and carjacking, California law stipulates the law may only charge individuals for one of these offenses.
  • Grand Theft Auto “GTA” – Depending on an individual’s criminal history and the circumstances of the carjacking, a prosecutor may choose to file the GTA charge as a felony or a misdemeanor. Should it become a misdemeanor, the aggressor may face an additional year in county jail.
  • Joyriding /Auto Theft – Joyriding refers to unlawfully driving a motor vehicle that does not belong to you. Again this can be charged as a misdemeanor which involves a year served in county jail.
  • Auto Burglary – If an individual carjacks a locked vehicle, prosecutors can file for an additional auto burglary charge, which is punishable by three years in state prison or one year in county jail.
  • Kidnapping – If an individual commits a carjacking, detains the driver/passenger in the vehicle, and drives off with them, they have committed a kidnapping. However, a person cannot be charged with kidnapping and carjacking. As a result, the carjacking charge will be dropped, and the individual will be prosecuted for kidnapping, which carries a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
  • Battery – If an individual uses force or violence against a passenger in dealing with them, this is considered battery. Prosecutors can file battery as a misdemeanor, carrying a six-month jail sentence.

What are the Legal Defenses of Carjacking?

Although carjacking is a crime, a criminal defense lawyer can use several legal defenses on their client’s behalf, which is why you should always contact an LA attorney. These defenses include:

  • No Force/Fear: If an individual did not use fear or force to take the vehicle, they have not violated Penal Code 215 PC, the carjacking law in California.
  • Consent: A carjacking only occurs when an individual takes a vehicle against the driver or passenger’s will. As a result, if the individual taking the car has consented, no carjacking has occurred.
  • Mistaken Identity: Carjackings are stressful. As a result, the victim may incorrectly identify the aggressor, leading to a wrongful conviction and carjacking victimization.
  • No Claim of Right: If an individual carjacks your vehicle, you are not allowed to use fear or force to claim it back or in preventing a carjacking, even though you are the rightful owner of the car. This is because California considers carjacking a crime against possession.

Can I Get Probation for Carjacking?

In some cases, the court may grant the convicted individual probation for carjacking. Typically this is usually for a period of three to five years. Further, the court may deem the probation as felony probation, in which case the defendant must have a probation officer.

What are California Criminal Statutes of Limitations?

What are California Criminal Statutes of Limitations?

If you have been a victim of a crime, and you are having second doubts about filing a claim against the person who committed the crime, you should know that the law requires that you file a claim within a certain time limit. If you fail to file a claim within the limitations period, the law will consider the case to be barred.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a rule of law that governs the time in which a person can file criminal charges or civil cases against another person. This is an important rule because it protects people from having to defend themselves against lawsuits that are brought against them after years or decades have passed.

 california statute of limitations

California Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

There are two types of statutes of limitations in California – the criminal statute of limitation and the civil statute of limitation. The first type of California statute of limitations is for civil cases. This type of statute of limitations applies to civil cases that are filed in a court of law. These cases include personal injury, property damage, and other types of claims.

Criminal Statute of Limitations in California

The other type of California statute of limitations is for criminal offenses. This type of statute of limitations applies to criminal cases that are filed in a court of law. These cases include murder, manslaughter, and other types of crimes.

  • No Limitation – There is no time limit for offenses punishable by death or a life sentence, such as first-degree murder and treason.
  • Six-Year Limitation – There’s a six-year limit for offenses such as first-degree robbery, arson, and kidnapping.
  • Three-Year Limitation – Cases like theft of a firearm, grand theft, burglary, and assault with a deadly weapon have three-year statutes of limitations.
  • One-Year LimitationCode section 802(a) of the California Penal Codes state that aside from “as provided in subdivision (b), (c), (d), or (e),” if an offense isn’t punishable by death or imprisonment, the statute of limitation would be one year.

Criminal Offenses and Their Statutes of Limitations?

While the most common statutes of limitations are one, three, and six years, there are also some other criminal offenses that have different statutes of limitations.

Below is a quick overview of the statute of limitations criminal for other offenses:

  • 10 years – Charges of child pornography or failure to register as a sex offender after being convicted come with 10-year statutes of limitations.
  • 5 years – Offenses related to elder abuse or crimes against dependent adults come with 5-year statutes of limitations.
  • 4 years – Crimes including, but not limited to theft from an elder, fraud, breach of fiduciary obligation, and public official misconduct come with 4-year statutes of limitations.
  • 3 years – Crimes like theft of a firearm, burglary, and assault come with 3-year statutes of limitations.
  • 2 years – Sexual misconduct by a therapist or a physician comes with a 2-year statute of limitation.

statute of limitations criminal

What Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations in CA?

There are certain crimes that have no statute of limitations in California. This means that even though the crime was committed years or decades ago, the victim can still bring a lawsuit against the perpetrator.

Capital crimes, including murder, manslaughter, and other violent crimes have no statute of limitations in California. A capital crime is defined as a crime that carries a penalty of death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

What is an Exception to the Statute of Limitations?

Tolling refers to the reinstatement of the statute of limitations after it has expired. It is a method used to extend the period of limitations, in the event the victim is incapable of bringing a case within the time limits.

In order to toll the statute of limitations, the following conditions must be met:

  • The victim is a minor or below 18 years of age.
  • The victim was declared mentally incompetent.
  • The victim is in prison.
  • The victim is currently in military service.
  • The victim is incapacitated or in a coma.

Tolling is not automatic. You can only get the benefit of tolling if you meet the conditions listed above. The court evaluates each case on its own merit, so it’s best to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged with a crime. A criminal law expert can help protect your rights and better understand your legal options.

Statute of Limitations

When Does Statute of Limitations Start?

When the victim of a crime becomes aware of the injury and the identity of the person who caused the injury, the statute of limitations starts to run. This is known as the discovery rule. The discovery rule allows the victim to bring a lawsuit even if the crime occurred years or decades ago.

This is particularly beneficial for those who have been a victim of crime during their childhood. The same concept applies to elderly people who are no longer capable of speaking for themselves.

Can I Still Sue After the Statute of Limitations Passes?

Generally speaking, when the statute of limitations has passed, you can no longer sue the person who committed the crime. Unless you are eligible for tolling, you cannot sue someone after the statute of limitations has passed.

When you are a victim of a crime, you should report it to the police as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait too long. Once the statute of limitations expires, you will no longer be able to file a lawsuit. That’s why it’s important to know what your rights are and to take action immediately.

If you have been accused of a crime that has happened years or decades ago, one of the strongest possible defenses that you can use is to claim that the statute of limitations has expired. In order to prove your innocence, you need to hire a professional law group or firm that specializes in criminal law to help you prepare a strong defense and make sure that you don’t get a conviction.

Drug Possession in California

Drug Possession in California

Drug possession in California can lead to jail sentences and other penalties. The actual consequences depend on many factors, such as the type of drug in question, your intentions with it, quantity, etc. If you’d like to learn more about the possession of a controlled substance and subsequent consequences under California laws, check out the article below!

What Is a Controlled Substance?

The term controlled substance refers to a drug whose use is regulated by the law. Some substances, such as heroin and cocaine, are illegal in all situations. Others require a prescription, such as oxycodone and morphine.

The reason why the use of these chemicals and drugs is under strict government monitoring is potential addiction and abuse. If they charge you for possession, don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys. Our team has extensive experience and expertise in dealing with drug crimes, which can help build the best defense for your case.

possession of a controlled substance

What Is Possession of a Controlled Substance?

According to state laws, there are two different possessions. The first one is simple possession, which indicates you had the drug for personal use. Your charges could also indicate possession with intent to sell, which implies you planned to sell the substance.

If a police officer finds you with a drug listed among the Schedule drugs, you’ll probably be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Simple possession could be an infraction, which means a fine is the only possible penalty. If they classify it as a misdemeanor, it could be jail time and a fine. Depending on the substance quantity, type, and prior convictions, substance possession could be a felony.

If you get those charges, make sure to contact a drug crimes lawyer. A professional attorney will identify a solid defense for your case and help get the best out of the entire situation. The severest penalties the drug possession charges California has are related to transporting and possessing a controlled substance with the intention of selling it. If you moved the drug across at least two counties, the maximum sentence is up to nine years in jail.

How Does California Classify Controlled Substances?

In the United States, there’s a Controlled Substances Act on a federal level. However, the states also have the right to create lists of Schedule drugs.

According to the California Health and Safety Code, you’ll find five categories of scheduled substances:

  • Schedule I. There’s no medical use for these drugs, and they come with a dangerous risk of abuse and addiction. The list includes heroin, LSD, PCP, ecstasy, and other opiates and hallucinogens. Although marijuana is in this group, lawmakers will likely remove it soon.
  • Schedule II. Amphetamine and methamphetamine, as well as their precursors, are in this group. You’ll also find Vicodin and morphine, which can be bought with a prescription.
  • Schedule III. The Schedule 3 drugs have some medical use but also a moderate risk of abuse and addiction. They include ketamine, testosterone, dronabinol, etc.
  • Schedule IV. Xanax is a controlled substance in this group, as well as valium and phentermine. The medical community approves using these drugs, but only with a prescription.
  • Schedule V. These has the lowest abuse and addiction risk and wide use in the medical community. Motofen, Lomotil, and even some cough medications are in this group.

california drug possession laws

What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession in California?

The penalties vary on the type and quantity of the drug, your intent with it, and other aggravating circumstances. For example, the penalty for possession of drug paraphernalia in California could be up to six months of jail time. Depending on your specific case, you might have eligibility for a diversion program.

Possession of Controlled Substances

The only way you could legally have a controlled substance on you is if you have a valid prescription and the amount within the specified range. Otherwise, you could be facing a charge under the drug crime law in California.

Depending on the details, you could be facing charges for the following:

  • Actual possession. It happens when you have the drug on you. The police often find it in someone’s pockets or even shoes.
  • Constructive possession. You were driving your car and had the drug in the compartment by the passenger’s seat. That means you exercised control over it and could access it easily. The same applies to keeping the drug in a gym locker. If it’s reasonable to assume it’s yours, you could face charges for constructive possession.
  • Joint possession. It happens if multiple persons have access to the drug. For example, that occurs at parties or when two people are driving in the car. If nobody wants to admit the drug is theirs, everyone involved gets a joint possession charge.

drug possession

Possession of Marijuana

You can legally possess up to 28.5 grams for recreational use in the State of California. The only condition is that you need to be at least 21 years old. It’s also unlawful to possess marijuana on K-12 school grounds while classes are in session.

Depending on the offense, possessing marijuana could be an infraction or misdemeanor. The fines range from $100 to $500, and other penalties include community service, drug counseling, and jail time.

Possession of Concentrated Cannabis

According to California drug possession laws, you can legally possess up to eight grams of cannabis concentrate for recreational use. But if you use medical marijuana, you aren’t subject to this limit. So you don’t have to worry about the quantity you have on you, but it’s important you have a valid prescription.

If you are a recreational user with more than eight grams of concentrated cannabis on you, that qualifies as a misdemeanor. The law states you can get a $500 fine and six months of jail time.

If you had concentrated cannabis with intent to sell it, it’s still a misdemeanor.

However, the offense could be upgraded to a felony on these grounds:

  • You had at least two prior misdemeanors for a similar crime.
  • The buyer for the cannabis you wanted to sell is less than 18 years old.
  • You have a prior conviction for a sex crime, violent, or another serious felony.

juvenile drug possession california

New Synthetic Drug Ban

Near the end of 2016, the legislature passed a new law banning possession and sale of all synthetic cannabinoids (such as the popular drug “Spice”).

Possession for personal use is:

  • An infraction for the first offense ($250 fine)
  • An infraction or misdemeanor for the second offense ($500 and/or six months in jail)
  • A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses ($1,000 and/or 6 months in jail)

Further, the court has the authority to divert some defendants to a drug treatment program in lieu of criminal charges. The sale or distribution of synthetic cannabinoids is classified as a misdemeanor subject to $1,000 fines and/or six months in jail.

New Classification for Date-Rape Drugs

California also recently added a law that raised the level of the crime for possession of drugs commonly associated with date-rape cases (e.g., ketamine, GHB, and Rohypnol) from a misdemeanor to a felony. There must be evidence of an intent to commit sexual assault to elevate the offense, and the new sentencing guidelines impose jail time for 16 months or two to three years.

Is Drug Possession a Felony in California?

Drug possession could be an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony.

The charge you’ll be facing depends on many factors, including:

  • Substance type. If you were caught with a Schedule 1 drug, it increases the odds of receiving a felony charge.
  • Drug quantity. The acceptable limits vary on the substance. But it’s not only about going above the lawful limit but how far you go. Having a large quantity of a controlled substance has more chances of ending up as a felony than owning only a small amount of the drug.
  • An intention to sell the drugs. The lawmakers could see that as a danger to the community. Depending on the amount, you could face drug trafficking charges.
  • Other circumstances. If you were resisting an arrest or committed a violent crime, it could worsen your situation.

drug possession charges california

How Long Do You Go to Jail for Drug Possession?

If you face a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment is 12 months in jail. For possession of marijuana, the offense is punishable by up to six months of jail time. Juvenile drug possession California charges could only be for an infraction. Defendants under 18 will probably face a $100 fine, community service, and drug counseling.

It’s only if you committed a felony that you can get a bigger jail punishment than 12 months. Prior convictions could make your next charge a felony. Alternatively, an intent to sell the drug leads to higher sentences. Finally, transporting a controlled substance is a felony. You could face up to five years in a state prison only for that offense.

What Is Proposition 47?

The voters passed the Proposition 47 referendum in 2014. Some call it the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, and its main idea was to re-qualify some non-violent criminal acts. From then, crimes that don’t involve violence aren’t a felony but a misdemeanor.

Since possession of a controlled drug is a non-violent crime, the new Health and Safety Code considers it a misdemeanor. That means you can’t get more than a year in county jail. However, the misdemeanor benefits don’t apply if you had prior offenses similar to your latest one. Even if you are registered as a sex offender, you could end up with felony charges instead of a misdemeanor. It helps to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner if that happens. Don’t hesitate to contact our office and schedule an appointment to discuss your case.

How to Get Drug Possession Charges Dropped?

The defense will depend on your specific case. Your lawyer will assess the Health and Safety Code 11350(a) HS, which makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance in California. After gathering the details, they could go with these defense options:

  • The drug wasn’t yours. If it’s an option to claim the drug was someone else’s, this could be your defense.
  • You didn’t have control over it. It’s a frequent defense in cases of constructive and joint possession.
  • You had a valid prescription. If it’s not possible to prove you didn’t have a prescription, you could get the charges dropped on these grounds.
  • The drug search and seizure was illegal. If the police didn’t follow relevant procedures, the case would be dropped.
  • You didn’t know the drug was there. This approach might help to lower your sentence, but it rarely gets the charges dropped.

It’s vital to identify your best options against drug felony charges. That’s why you need an experienced lawyer with drug crime expertise. Our defense attorneys will listen to you carefully and analyze all details before building a case. That will ensure you have the best defense and odds of getting a positive outcome from the process.

Feel free to get in touch and schedule an appointment with our professional defense lawyers!

What Is a Hate Crime in California?

What Is a Hate Crime in California?

The federal legislation recognizes the term hate crime as a “traditional offense with an added bias element.” That indicates anything from vandalism to arson and murder, with the difference that the victim was chosen because of its ethnicity, race, disability, religion, or other specific elements.

Each state can have a different hate crime law, so what about the statutes in California? Here is what you should know about how hate crimes are regulated in this state!

Hate Crime in California

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime has many offenses as the underlying crime. That varies from physical assault, bullying, and harassment to mail crime, property damage, offensive letters, and graffiti.

The critical component of a hate crime is that the victim belongs to a particular social group. Actually, it’s enough for the offender to believe that they are a member of that group. It could be a specific nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Some even have a bias toward a physical appearance, and that prejudice can lead to a hate crime.

You can report hate crimes to authorities. According to reports, there were 1,530 hate crimes in California in 2020. The motivation for over 1,000 offenses was racial bias. Most hate crimes were violent crimes, ranging from intimidation to aggravated assault.

Unfortunately, hate crime statistics don’t show the deterioration of bias-motivated violence after implementing this law.

Does Los Angeles Have a High Crime Rate?

According to the 2018 Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations hate crime report, there was an increase in these crimes by 2.6% in 2018.
That year, the number of reported hate crimes was 521 which was the largest amount the city has seen since 2009.

Racially-motivated hate crimes made up the majority of hate-related crimes that year at 52%. While religious crimes were on the decline in 2018, anti-Jewish crimes were rising by 14%. Hate crimes where there was anti-Jewish sentiment made up an overwhelming amount of the religion-motivated crimes at 83%.

African-Americans were the most victimized in racial-hate crimes in the county and a highly victimized group in both anti-transgender crimes and sexual orientation crimes. African Americans make up 9% of those living in Los Angeles Count, but they are targeted by racial hate crimes 49% of the time.

The Metro SPA Region had the most hate crimes reported. San Fernando Valley was next for most reported hate crimes. There were 92 hate crimes that went to the District Attorney and charges were filed in 81 of those cases. There were 77 adults and four juveniles charged for hate crimes in L.A. County. Of those that were charged 64 adults received felonies while 13 received misdemeanors.

The state defines hate crimes as those which produce evidence that offenses were committed with bias, hatred, or prejudice against other’s race, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. The most prevalent factor behind hate crimes in the county was race. Sexual orientation and religion followed closely behind as motivating factors for hate crimes in 2018.

hate crimes

What Is the Difference Between a Violent Crime and a Hate Crime?

A violent crime involves using violence, but it isn’t necessarily motivated by hate. Here is an example – a robbery that went wrong and resulted in a great bodily injury to the worker at the gas station is a violent crime. You could even consider it attempted murder, but it’s not a hate crime. The robber didn’t shoot the worker because they hated him on a racial on any other basis.

Different types of violent crimes also include forced sex acts, arson, assault and battery, kidnapping, extortion, first-degree burglary, etc. The main difference is that violent crimes can be hate crimes, but that’s not mandatory.

What Are the Different Types of a Hate Crime?

There’s an actual and perceived characteristic of hate crimes. The actual characteristic is when the offender acts toward a person that really belongs to a specific social group.

On the other hand, the perceived characteristic is when the offender only thinks the victim belongs to that group. They could commit the act thinking the victim belongs to a specific religion. But if they don’t get confirmation, it could turn out the victim wasn’t a member of that religion.

The types of hate crimes vary but could include:

  • Assault – It occurs when the victim fears imminent harm.
  • Battery – It happens when the offender actually commits or attempts a physical strike or offensive touch.
  • Disturbing the peace – For example, this could be stopping a religious meeting on bias motivation.

If you’ve been accused of a hate crime, it’s necessary to contact a professional lawyer immediately. Our experts offer everything from assault and battery to disturbing the peace attorney services. You can count on our skills and decades of experience to help you define the best defense strategy for your case.

When Is a Hate Incident Also a Hate Crime?

A hate incident is a behavior or action led by biased motivation. While hate is the reason behind the incident, the law doesn’t qualify it as a crime.

Hate incidents include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Name-calling and insulting someone
  • Posting hate material on personal property, but also in a way that doesn’t cause other property damage
  • Distributing materials with hate messages

The freedom of speech given by the US Constitution allows hate incidents as long as they don’t break someone’s civil rights. According to the California Ralph Act, every person has a civil right to be free of the threat of violence or actual violence. That includes violence to the individual and their property based on biased motivation for belonging to a specific group.

California Views Hate Crime

What Are the Penalties for Hate Crimes in California?

California law says it is a crime in and of itself if someone acts, based on prohibited bias, too:

  • intentionally injure, intimidate or threaten someone that prevents the exercise of a person’s civil rights; or
  • intentionally damage or destroy a person’s property in order to interfere with the exercise of his/her legal and constitutional rights.

Violation of this law is enough to receive criminal penalties, and the prosecutor does not have to prove any other California criminal law was violated. However, speech, without a physical act, is not enough to be convicted under this statute, unless:

  • the speech threatened violence; and
  • the accused had an evident ability to carry out the threat.

A conviction for this offense is a misdemeanor and subject to sentences of up to one year in jail, $5,000 in fines, and 400 hours of community service.

California has an enhanced penalty for hate crimes. Depending on what the offender committed, the offense could be upgraded, which leads to harsher sentences. California also has civil remedies for hate crimes, and they vary on the case.

Criminal Penalties

The potential criminal penalty depends on the act committed. A hate crime can be used to get an enhanced penalty for the offender. For example, you commit a felony punishable with three years in prison. The court determined it was not only a felony but also a hate crime. The additional sentence for that is up to three more years in prison.

Some hate crimes are a misdemeanor, which means they are punishable by less than a year in prison. The Penal Code 422.7 PC states that committing a hate crime could upgrade a misdemeanor into a felony. You can avoid that with a reliable criminal defense lawyer in your corner, so make sure to contact our experts as soon as possible!

Civil Remedies

As for civil remedies in California, hate crime victims have the right to ask:

  • Equitable or injunctive relief
  • Restraining order
  • Actual and punitive damages
  • Penalty assessments

The maximum civil penalty can be $25K plus attorney’s fees. If you were accused of a hate crime, don’t hesitate to contact our lawyers. We have a professional team that will build the best case possible to help you get through the process with the lowest possible consequences.

hate crime law

What Are the Consequences and Defenses?

If the criminal act committed is also a hate crime, it could increase the penalty to three years in prison. It’s the court’s discretion to determine if it will be 12, 24, or 36 months. And if the offender voluntarily acted with others, the maximum enhanced penalty for a hate crime is 48 months.

Unfortunately, people often get wrongly accused of hate crimes. It’s because the victims frequently belong to sensitive social groups that are actually common victims of these crimes. Court has a hard task to determine whether there was a biased motivation for the crime. That’s why your lawyer could create a defense that would respond to accusations and reject them.

The defenses include the following:

  • The hate crime didn’t happen. You can argue that there was biased motivation, but a wrongful act toward the victim never occurred.
  • There was no biased motivation. Another approach is to admit the criminal act but deny that the offender was biased. While this could remove the hate crime charge, the offender would usually end up guilty for the underlying crime.
  • Free speech. The US Constitution allows free speech. Depending on the case, you could argue that the offender believes they spoke freely and didn’t commit a criminal act. This defense is only applicable if the hate crime was only verbal.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Hate Crime?

Hate crimes are particularly sensitive, especially if the public is involved. If you hear that someone was arrested and accused of a hate crime, the public will rush to convict the individual. It’s hard to change the public’s perception later, but you need to fight for your innocence.

The first thing you need is a competent and experienced attorney. An assault and battery lawyer specializes in those cases, but you also need an expert in hate crimes. Our team has massive experience and a wide range of skills necessary for penalty acquittal or mitigation. Working with our skilled lawyers gives you the best possible chance at a successful outcome.

If you’ve been charged with a hate crime, contact our office and schedule an appointment to discuss potential defense options!

Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have either been suspected or charged with a hate crime, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Manshoory Law Group, APC as soon as possible. Immediate action is needed to preserve evidence and witness testimony. Call our Los Angeles criminal defense firm today for an initial case analysis.

What is a Probable Cause and How Does it Affect Police Action

What is a Probable Cause and How Does it Affect Police Action

Probable cause is a legal requirement that the police need to have to conduct a search or arrest someone. The Fourth Amendment contains this term, and its purpose is to protect you from unlawful searches and arrests. Probable cause often causes confusion, but this guide should help clarify all details regarding this term!

What Is a Probable Cause?

According to the probable cause law definition, it’s a situation where any reasonable person would suspect criminal activity. The crime could be in progress now, or it might have been done in the past. It can even refer to a criminal activity that could happen in the foreseeable future. The legal requirement is that there is enough evidence or circumstances to indicate a potential crime.

Probable cause gives the police power to make an arrest or search a person or property. However, it’s the judge that gives the last word regarding the validity of probable cause. If the judge doesn’t confirm the probable cause, citizens have the right to file a lawsuit for unreasonable searches and seizures. Don’t hesitate to contact our lawyers if you’ve been in a similar situation. Probable cause was added to the Constitution to protect the citizens, so with a judge’s decision, you have good odds of winning the lawsuit.

what is probable cause

Probable Cause to Arrests

According to the Fourth Amendment, police officers always need probable cause to make an arrest. The vital thing to underline is that the concept of “probable cause” is abstract. It refers to the entire set of circumstances surrounding the event. The crucial consideration is that the circumstances should be objective and not based on “hunch” or speculation.

There’s no firm definition of probable cause for an arrest. Check out these examples:

  • There was a gas station robbery, and a police officer received a robber’s description. A few miles from that location, an officer stops a car for speeding. The driver matches a description, and there’s a pile of cash on the passenger’s seat. That can be probable cause to arrest the driver. But if the driver doesn’t fit the description and there are no additional indicators of a crime, there wouldn’t be probable cause.
  • An officer stops a car for speeding. Four persons are inside, but he gets the driver’s consent to search the vehicle. He finds drugs in the passenger compartment. No one admits ownership, and the officer can arrest all four persons based on probable cause.

In some situations, the police won’t conduct an arrest without getting a warrant first. This means a judge will check if there’s probable cause and issue an arrest warrant after confirming the request. But if a police officer arrests without the judge’s approval, the defendant can challenge that action. It helps to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer when challenging this decision. If the arrest was invalid, any evidence collected after that arrest would be inadmissible in court.

Probable Cause to Search

Police don’t need the warrant to conduct a search of your vehicle or property. It’s enough to believe there was probable cause. However, most officers decide to wait for a warrant. That way, they left the judge to decide which secures the evidence would be admissible in trial.

Probable cause to search indicates that the police will find evidence at the location they want to search. The police need to convince the judge that they will happen to receive a warrant. Police don’t need to have court-level evidence but must present reliable information.

Here’s what the police usually needs to get a search warrant from a judge:

  • Police informant with a history of providing reliable info
  • An informant ready to incriminate themselves to bring other people to justice
  • A police officer who was at the scene or has reliable information
  • An informant who provided info that the police partially confirmed as accurate
  • A victim that reported the crime
  • Witness that was there during the criminal activity

Police officers can search your vehicle or property if they get your consent. However, you have the right to refuse the search. If the officer continues the search, you can challenge their action in court. The police can also search someone’s house if an emergency affects someone’s life.

Can You Be Detained without a Probable Cause?

Yes, it’s possible for an officer to briefly detain you even if they don’t have probable cause. All they need is reasonable suspicion. The most common example of these detentions includes traffic stops. If you get detained, it helps to be polite. You should identify yourself to the police since that could shorten the detention time.

The detention duration is only described as “briefly.” It can take less than a minute and extend to over an hour. The law indicates that the detention shouldn’t last longer than necessary to establish whether the officer’s suspicions of a crime were legit.

If the police officer detains you, you can’t leave the spot. Depending on the situation assessment, the officer might put you in handcuffs or frisk you (search for weapons).

What Happens When There’s Failure to Demonstrate?

The officer won’t always get an arrest or search warrant but act on believing they had probable cause. If that happens, they will need to demonstrate probable cause in court. The judge will hold a probable cause hearing to determine if the actions were legit. The first option is to confirm, which means the police officer didn’t violate your rights when arresting you.

But if the police fail to demonstrate probable cause, the case gets rejected. So your arrest becomes unlawful, and any evidence gathered during the action isn’t admissible in court.

probable cause hearing

What’s the Difference Between Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion doesn’t require actual evidence of a crime. It comes before probable cause and gives the police the right to detain you. An officer establishes reasonable suspicion based on their experience and training, as well as circumstances pointing to criminal activity. For example, if they see a car changing lanes quickly and not being able to keep a straight line, it’s reasonable suspicion for DUI.

Officers act on reasonable suspicion to determine if there’s probable cause. That involves evidence or “objective” circumstances pointing to criminal activity. For example, a drug bag on the passenger seat is probable cause for search and seizure during a traffic stop.

What Are the Legal Repercussions?

The probable cause should be enough to get different types of warrants. That includes those for searching and seizing property. If a police officer is present during criminal activity, they have the right to make an arrest.

Even if you believe the arrest is unlawful, don’t resist it. You can challenge the probable cause in court later. There’s a legal way to challenge the action if the judge didn’t approve it. However, it helps your case if you collaborated during the process. If the judge determines there was no probable cause, the police officer can be held accountable for illegal detention, false arrest, and even evidence planting. It’s vital to have an experienced defense attorney on your side during the process!

Get Help from a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested and/or searched by police for suspicion of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense to protect your rights. An attorney will know how to assess the circumstances of your interaction with the police to determine if the police acted in violation of the law. Attorneys at the Manshoory Law Group, APC represent clients throughout Los Angeles and will work to ensure you receive justice. Lawyers are available 24/7. Contact us for a free consultation.

What is the Bar Exam? How to Become a Member of Bar Association

What is the Bar Exam? How to Become a Member of Bar Association

Have you ever wondered what does bar stands for law industry professionals? The term bar refers to the entire legal profession. It could be a lawyers’ institution on a national level or in a particular state, such as the California Bar Association.

The experts agree that the term originates from England. That’s where it was coined in the 16th century. Today, the bar is a word that commonly describes the line that separates the courtroom. The spectators remain in a separate area while those who “passed the bar,” such as lawyers, can be in the other part.

In this guide, we’ll talk more about the bar associations but also exams required to practice law in California and the US. Keep reading to discover the specifics of different exams and associations!

What Is the State Bar of California?

The State Bar of California is a vital component of the legal system. The Legislature established this authority in 1927, and it serves as a body that regulates and licenses lawyers.

What is the Bar Association’s mission? The primary focus is on protecting the public and serving the people of California. They do that by overseeing the legal profession. At this point, more than 250,000 lawyers have acquired their licenses from the State Bar.

whats a bar exam

Who Governs the State Bar?

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the State Bar. They usually have six meetings annually, although the number varies on different factors. These meetings occur in Los Angeles or San Francisco, which is where the State Bar has its offices. Urgent conferences might also occur over the internet.

There are 13 members in the Board, and those include:

  • Two attorneys, one appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly and the other by the Senate Committee.
  • Five attorneys instated by the California Supreme Court.
  • Six members of the public who don’t have to be attorneys.

The Board designs any guiding principles and policies to meet the body’s primary goals.

What Does It Do?

The official website of the State Bar of California mentions their main objectives:

  • Regulate the practice of law and the legal profession in California.
  • Licensing new attorneys and administering the California Bar Exam.
  • Suggesting and enforcing the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers.
  • Monitoring to ensure all individuals who practice law follow the rules and laws.
  • Administering sanctions and disciplinary actions against those who violate laws or rules.
  • Improving overall access to justice for citizens.
  • Promoting inclusion and diversity in the legal system.

If you contact attorney offices for a legal matter, make sure your case gets handled by a licensed lawyer. That will ensure you can file a complaint with the California Bar Association if you don’t feel the representation was adequate.

How Does It Work?

The State Bar regulates the legal profession. They license lawyers and oversee the practice of law in California. This association is in charge of handling complaints that clients have about attorney misconduct. The info on their website suggests that they have about 16,000 complaints every year. Based on the investigation, the bar can suggest suspension or disbarment. The State Bar Court makes that decision, but the Supreme Court needs to confirm it.

This authority also serves to improve access to justice, and the quality of service lawyers provide to citizens. You can use the State Bar to find free legal help, lawyer referral service, etc. Each lawyer has a public profile on the bar’s website. It helps potential clients to see their previous misconducts and other relevant details.

The bar distributes grants to legal aid organizations. You can apply for a grant if you are a legal service organization providing services on the territory of California. The estimation is that around $78 million is available annually for this purpose.

what does bar stand for

What Is the Bar Association?

The bar association is a professional lawyer organization on a specific territory. It can be a national entity, such as the American Bar Association. That’s the biggest voluntary lawyer association in the world. It serves as the legal profession’s national voice. You also have state bar associations, which are official lawyer associations in those jurisdictions.

What Is the Role of the Bar Association?

We know “what does bar stand for,” but what’s the role of the bar association? It should regulate the entire legal profession on its territory. The bar designs and implements Rules of Professional Conduct for existing attorneys and also issues licenses for those who want to become lawyers.

The role of the bar association is to ensure all who practice law follow the rules and guidelines of this organization and profession overall. They deal with complaints and ensure that anyone who violates the law gets disciplined.

Does California Have a Mandatory Bar Association?

Yes, California has a mandatory bar association. The word mandatory means that it runs an integrated bar, which works together with the system of courts. That means you need to be an active member of this association to practice law in the State of California.

What Is the Bar Exam?

So, what’s a bar exam? That’s an examination that’s a vital part of what you need to become a lawyer. It’s a series of tests that anyone who wants to be an attorney must pass before getting their license. The bar exam is necessary for all areas, so it doesn’t matter whether you want to become a criminal defense lawyer or specialize in another field.

There are two approaches that states across the US take for validating lawyer licenses. More than 20 states (the number keeps increasing) accept the Uniform Bar Exam. This is a standardized bar examination whose aim is to check the skills and knowledge of those who want to be licensed attorneys.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners designs the tests for this examination. The major advantage is that the test is valid in over 20 jurisdictions. Some states might require additional tests and checks, but they will admit your UBE score.

UBE and MBE: Components of the Bar Exam

The first question to ask is, “what is the bar association in charge in my jurisdiction?” In California, The State Bar has a specific exam you need to pass to practice law on its territory. A portion of this testing is the Multistate Bar Examination.

That exam is part of the UBE, which is a Uniform Bar Examination acknowledged in over 20 states. However, other components included in requirements vary depending on the process you choose.

UBE (Uniform Bar Exam)

Have you ever wondered why it is called the bar exam? The bar refers to the zone in front of the magistrate, and you need to pass the exam to access it. In other words, you need to pass the bar to practice law.

If you choose the UBE form, you’ll have the following three components:

  • Multistate Bar Examination
  • Multistate Essay Examination
  • Multistate Performance Test

You can take UBE twice per year, and the entire exam lasts two days.

MBE (Multistate Bar Exam)

This is the crucial component of the UBE format since it takes 50% of the entire score. You’ll also find the State Bar of California uses this test as a part of their exam.

The Multistate Bar Examination consists of 200 questions. You have multiple choices and a total of six hours to work on the test. Its main purpose is for the relevant industry experts to see if you are ready to practice law. The questions might be from constitutional law or any other relevant area. The applicant proves that they can implement legal reasoning and principles bypassing the Multistate Bar Exam.

MEE (Multistate Essay Exam)

This is not a classic test but rather a set of essay questions. You’ll get six questions and 30 minutes to answer each. The examiners look for the candidate’s capability to discuss factual scenarios and real-life legal situations. The Multistate Essay Exam also shows you can set aside important information that’s not relevant for a legal issue. Finally, the answer in writing will ensure you can analyze and present your reasoning in a clear way. The UBE system considers MEE to carry 30% of the total worth.

MPT (Multistate Performance Test)

The last UBE component takes 20% of the entire UBE scoring. You’ll have two different exams, and they last 90 minutes each. The test will put you in realistic scenarios that you should be able to handle as a beginner. It serves for beginners to see if you can apply fundamental lawyer skills. The Multistate Performance Test is worth a fifth of your total UBE scoring.

what is the bar association

What are the Requirements to Practice Law in California

The important thing to emphasize is that California isn’t among the states that recognize the Uniform Bar Exam. If you want to practice law in this state, you’ll need to acquire the State Bar’s license.

Here are the steps to follow to become an attorney in California:

  1. Register as an attorney applicant or a law student. Unless you qualify for an exemption, you’ll need to provide a Social Security number.
  2. Meet the legal education requirements. The most common method is spending three or four years at a law school or accredited by the ABA or the State Bar of California. You can also apply after they study for four years under a state attorney or judge or spend at least 864 hours preparing at a registered distance-learning facility.
  3. The testing process. You’ll need a passing score at the California Bar Examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). First-year law students might need to pass another exam, too.
  4. Moral character determination. It involves a background check, which can last up to six months.

How Hard is the Bar Exam?

The California Bar Exam is necessary for anyone who dreams about the legal profession in this state. This exam is quite hard, which is why you need serious preparation. The biggest problem is that the State Bar only holds this aspiring lawyers exam twice per year. That doesn’t give you many attempts to try and pass the test.

According to statistics, about 16,000 individuals apply for the bar exam each year. In 2021, there was a 39.6% passage rate in February and a 52.6% passage rate in July. It’s notable that, on most occasions, more than 50% of first-timers pass the test. The rate is often under 30% for repeaters.

What is the Format?

All applicants will go through multiple tests over the course of two days. The tests include:

  • 90-minute Performance Test
  • Five 60-minute essay questions
  • The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

Now you know what’s a bar exam, as well as all the details about it. If you are in California and want to practice law, you need to acquire a license from the State Bar. Passing the State Bar exam is among the crucial requirements to get your license!

What Is Court-Ordered Rehab, and How Does It Work? 

What Is Court-Ordered Rehab, and How Does It Work? 

Addiction and substance abuse are huge problems worldwide. Unfortunately, abusing substances can often lead to social misconduct and unacceptable behaviors, including committing a crime. We can see a large number of DUIs and crimes committed under the influence.

That’s when addiction doesn’t only harm the individual, but other people, too. It’s also where court-ordered rehab comes into play.

Here are all details about this treatment that could inspire a positive change!

What Is a Court-Ordered Rehab?

This treatment serves as an alternative to incarceration. The judge can issue court-ordered rehab when they believe this approach is more beneficial than jail time. The idea behind these treatment programs is to help the individual deal with addiction and prevent future problems.

The statistics indicate that persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs often commit crimes. DUIs, domestic violence, and property crimes are the most common categories.

Substance abuse can lead to criminal incidents, but it’s also a public health matter. It’s why the experts suggest involuntary rehab can be a successful alternative sentence for these offenders.

court-ordered rehab

What Are the Different Types of This Rehab?

The law recognizes two different paths to receiving court-mandated rehab. The first one features criminal cases, which is when the offender faces potential jail time. It’s up to the judge to decide and recommend rehab instead of incarceration.

California is among the states that implemented involuntary commitment laws. That opens another path to rehab in this territory. It gives a family member an option to file a petition to see if their loved one meets the criteria required to get this treatment.

Orders for Rehab in Criminal Cases

Substances like alcohol or drugs play with our minds. Many offenders would never commit a crime if they were sober. But if they are under the influence, that increases the chances of illegal action. For example, if someone is a drug addict, they might have an extreme craving. It could lead them to steal money or attack someone to get money for drugs.

After the person gets caught, the judge will assess the case. Many judges are open to issuing a court-ordered drug treatment instead of incarceration. If it’s the first crime that person committed or they get a trustworthy criminal defense lawyer, it increases the odds of getting this alternative sentence.

Emergency Orders for Drug Rehab

Who’s the first one to recognize that an individual has a problem? It’s family members, close friends, or a loved one. The option to push for an emergency order for involuntary rehab gives an option to the family to act before an addict commits a crime.

It’s possible to get an emergency order for rehab in California. Here is how the process works:

  1. You submit a petition to the relevant court. Make sure that you actually believe the person really requires a court-ordered treatment.
  2. The person will be assessed. Any evidence and testimonies will be presented to the judge. They look for proof that the person’s mental health is poor, they lack self-control, or they pose a danger to themselves or others.
  3. The court decided to hold the individual for involuntary assessment. The addiction treatment the judge orders can last up to 60 days.

Who Is Eligible for Rehab in California?

If we are talking about criminal cases, first-time offenders have a high chance of getting rehab instead of jail time. Therefore, the judge will analyze all relevant factors before recommending drug rehab California treatments.

These include:

  • Type and severity of the crime. Non-violent crimes often motivate judges to consider recommending a rehab program.
  • Violation frequency. First-time offenders have higher chances of qualifying for court-mandated rehab. If it’s a repetitive crime, you could be facing incarceration or prosecution.
  • Substance abuse led to the crime. If abusing drugs or alcohol led to the criminal act, it could serve as a ground for alternative sentencing.
  • Qualification for probation. If a probation sentence is possible, it could include drug rehab.

The court needs to be convinced that the offender could benefit from rehab. That’s why it can help to have a skilled drug lawyer with years of experience by your side.

court-ordered treatment

How Long Is Court-Ordered Rehab?

The judge will decide the length of court-ordered treatment. However, the rehab cannot be longer than 60 days. Some offenders find that enough time to start thinking rationally. They could even decide to continue the rehabilitation to achieve complete sobriety.

Doctors and professional counselors might recommend earlier rehab releases. However, the court also has the right to prolong their initial order. They usually do that if they get negative testimony from relevant experts for that case.

Can You Refuse Court-Ordered Treatment?

It’s theoretically possible that your specific treatment breaches your constitutional rights. For example, that happens if the court orders you to attend a drug addiction program based on religion. If you believe that’s your situation, don’t hesitate to contact attorney experts in that area.

But if that’s not the case, you can only refuse involuntary rehab to switch it for other legal penalties. The only possible alternative might involve prosecution or jail time. That makes these treatments the best legal option and not only a potentially wise choice for your long-term health.

Who Pays for Court-Ordered Rehab?

The person who received the order is the one that needs to pay for the treatment. Some insurance plans might cover a portion of expenses or the whole program. You also keep the right to pick the facility where the rehab will occur. Some national institutes might offer subsidized, or reduced payments that ensure the offender can cover the costs.

It’s vital noting that a team of professionals will monitor you during the treatment. That includes healthcare providers and legal professionals. The idea is to ensure you comply with the order but also to provide a useful therapeutic experience.

Is Involuntary Rehab Effective?

study published in 2006 revealed that involuntary rehab is every bit as effective as voluntary treatments. That’s encouraging, as well as the fact that these programs have a higher attendance percentage overall.

The motivation for rehab might be lower, especially in the beginning. However, the long-term success results are encouraging. Involuntary treatments have similar abstinence and employment rates to voluntary programs.

How to Choose a Court-Ordered Treatment Program

Your selection of available facilities will depend on the court order. The system aims to identify the best treatment for every individual.

That could include:

  • Accelerated pretrial rehab program. These are for non-violent crimes and first-time attendees of these treatments. The offender can get charges dropped if they finish the rehab successfully.
  • Educational programs. It’s the most common program found in court orders. It’s because it’s affordable, but also because it’s a frequent choice for DUIs and similar alcohol-caused crimes. You might qualify for sealing court files after completing this program.
  • Group counseling. You’ll often find this rehab works on the famous 12-step model to fight addiction.
  • Residential counseling. This is a demanding program for alcohol and drug offenders. You might find this program in large prison systems.
  • Detox and inpatient rehab programs. If the court issues, you’ll need to stay in a detox center under medical supervision. Another option is an inpatient facility that replaces a harsh sentence or incarceration. You might get community service hours as part of your punishment.

Apart from this, you can consider the location and cost of the facility. You can even look for other features offered by a particular treatment facility to ensure they meet your needs.