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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.

California Resentencing Law: How Does It Work?

California Resentencing Law: How Does It Work?

A resentence is a new sentence issued by the court after the original sentence was found to be void or illegal. If you have been sentenced to prison or jail time in California, you can apply for resentencing. If your resentencing case is pending, the state’s new policies may benefit you.

Los Angeles Resentencing Lawyer 

A resentence is a new sentence issued by the court after the original sentence was found to be void or illegal. If you have been sentenced to prison or jail time in California, you can apply for resentencing. If your resentencing case is pending, the state’s new policies may benefit you.

Our resentencing specialists can file a motion on your behalf, and you could have your sentence reduced or revoked within months.

How to File a Motion for Resentencing in California

In LA County, sentencing guidelines have been relaxed over the last few years, and they can be applied retroactively. So, even if you were sentenced before the rules changed, you could see your sentence reduced or revoked:

  • If you are serving a sentence higher than you would receive according to current LA County policies, the DA’s office will request a new sentence that is consistent with the new sentencing principles.
  • If you pleaded to manslaughter or were convicted of attempted murder, you can be eligible for resentencing.
  • If your resentencing case is pending, prosecutors will seek to strike sentence enhancements.
  • If you have already served 15 years, are over 60 years old, or at high risk for COVID infection, the new resentencing guidelines will likely benefit you.
  • If you were under 25 when the crime was committed.

Up until now, there was no guarantee that the court would hear your resentencing case because it could issue a summary denial, which means denying your petition outright without explanation. This is no longer possible under current policies.

This is the perfect time to file for resentencing, and our California resentencing specialists are ready to help.

resentencing lawyer Los Angeles

What is Resentencing?

If you have been sentenced to a crime, you can file a motion for resentencing to reduce or modify your sentence. If you are incarcerated, resentencing could result in your release from custody.

If you are on probation, it can serve to relax your probation’s terms. Under LA County’s new guidelines, resentencing can be used to strike obsolete sentencing enhancements like the three-strikes rule and gang allegations.

Resentencing policies are implemented to facilitate the release of inmates who no longer pose a threat to society. “The sentences we impose in this country, in this state, and in Los Angeles County are far too long,” the LADA wrote in Special Directive 20-14.

Researchers have long noted the high cost, ineffectiveness, and harm to people and communities caused by lengthy prison sentences; sentences that are longer than those of any comparable nation.”

Who is Eligible for Resentencing?

Because the new directive is recent and comprises a wide variety of possibilities, we would advise consulting with one of our California resentencing attorneys to evaluate your case, even if you don’t find your circumstances listed below. According to the DA;

The ultimate goal shall be to review and remediate every sentence that does not comport with the new Sentencing, Enhancement, and Juvenile Policies.”

Sentence Enhancements

If you got sentenced to one or more enhancements, you can file a motion to be resentenced without the additional jail time.

Sentenced Under The Three Strikes Rule

If you were sentenced to double time or a prison enhancement under the three-strikes rule, you can get resentenced to remove the additional time. The three-strikes reform applies retroactively, and the LADA is specifically targeting these cases to rid LA county prisons of people who should have been released long ago.

While resentencing three strikes cases has been available since the 2012 reform, the DA wants to speed up review and start reducing sentences right away.

Plea Deal to Manslaughter, No “Reckless Indifference to Human Life”

Under Senate Bill 1437, if you took a plea deal to avoid the potential consequences of a murder trial, if there was “a prior finding by a court or jury” that you didn’t act with “reckless indifference to human life” or weren’t a major participant in the felony, you are entitled to have your murder conviction vacated.

The new LADA directive states that anyone who “took a plea to manslaughter or another charge in lieu of a trial. . . is eligible for relief” under Senate Bill 1437.

Attempted Murder Conviction, Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine

If you were convicted of attempted murder under the “natural and probable consequences” doctrine, you are eligible for resentencing.

This now obsolete doctrine establishes that if two or more people commit a crime and the original crime they had planned changed, some of the participants could be punished for crimes they didn’t personally commit.

Crimes Committed Before Age 25

The LADA upholds People v. Franklin, whereby a young offender sentenced to a lengthy prison term must have had the opportunity to present evidence of mitigating circumstances during the trial. If you got a harsh sentence before 25, based on alleged “reckless indifference to human life,” you can be eligible for resentencing. The DA stated that:

“a person’s age and the diminished culpability of youth,’ a person’s mental illness, or cognitive impairment, or a person’s intoxication is relevant to the determination whether a petitioner meets the standard of ‘reckless indifference to human life.’”

Expedited Review of 20,000-30,000 Cases with Out-of-Policy Sentences

The DA will immediately start reviewing cases for resentencing in the following categories:

  • “People who have already served 15 years or more;
  • “People who are currently 60 years of age or older;
  • “People who are at enhanced risk of COVID-19 infection
  • “People who have been recommended for resentencing by the [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation];
  • “People who are criminalized survivors;
  • “People who were 17 years of age or younger at the time of the offense and were prosecuted as an adult.”

Life Sentences

If you were sentenced to life in prison, you may be eligible for resentencing under one of the categories listed above. If you are in line for a parole hearing, the DA’s new directive is very good news for you.

The LADA will support “the grant of parole for a person who has already served their mandatory minimum period of incarceration” unless the CDCR has determined that the inmate “represents a ‘high risk for recidivism.” In these cases, the DA may take a neutral position.

resentencing attorney

What Happens If My Case is Pending?

The DA has clarified it will move to strike sentence enhancements and will rarely oppose resentencing petitions in the types of cases listed below.

To learn if your case qualifies, consult with one of our resentencing lawyers.

  • “Habeas corpus cases.
  • “Cases remanded to Superior Court by the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.
  • “Cases referred to the Superior Court under Penal Code section 1170(d)(1).
  • “Cases pending resentencing under Penal Code sections 1170.126, 1170.127, 1170.18, 1170.91, and 1170.95.
  • “Cases pending under Penal Code section 1170(d)(2).
  • All cases where the defendant individual was a minor at the time of the offense.
  • Any other case that may be the subject of resentencing.”

What Is The Statute of Limitations?

In the case of post-conviction habeas corpus petitions, there is no statute of limitations in California. However, courts recommend they should be filed without delay, and in the case of death sentences, you must file within 90 days after the deadline to file the appellant’s reply brief.

If you pleaded guilty or non-contest, you have 180 days to withdraw your plea. After that, you must file a motion for resentencing.

How Much Does It Cost to File for Resentencing?

Our resentencing attorneys in Los Angeles charge a very reasonable flat fee.

Because the resolution of these cases can take several months, we offer to resentence on a flat rate basis, so the delay does not incur unnecessary costs for the client.

How Long Does It Take?

The new directive vows to speed up the process, but there are thousands of cases in the pipeline, and we anticipate the surge in resentencing cases will impact the speed of resolution. Typically, resentencing could take between one month and one year, but the majority of cases may be resolved in 3-6 months.

What Are the Benefits?

The new directive will greatly benefit defendants who received multiple sentence enhancements, such as gang allegations or three strikes. For many of them, it could mean early release.

How Does the Process Work?

After you hire one of our experienced defense attorneys, they will notify the DA and the court about their intention to get you resentenced. They will then likely have to draft a motion, get the matter onto the court calendar, and order you out for the set date.

Ideally, you would get resentenced on that very first court date. The DA is committed to not opposing sentence reductions in a variety of cases, and we anticipate that once we get to court, the process will be rather smooth.

What Is The Success Rate?

If you qualify based on the new directive, there won’t likely be much pushback from prosecutors in terms of agreeing to resentence you.

We have to wait and see how the new guidelines play out in real life, but the DA’s office seems exceptionally committed to reducing sentences and releasing inmates who have suffered a harsh punishment.

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.

Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer If You Have Not Been Charged With a Crime?

Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer If You Have Not Been Charged With a Crime?

All defendants in criminal cases have the right to representation by a lawyer.  Criminal cases are the only instance where a court will appoint a lawyer to help you exercise your rights; defendants in civil lawsuits are not guaranteed professional legal representation. 

In the case of financial misconduct, civil and criminal wrongdoings overlap substantially.  For example, victims of fraud have the right to sue their scammers for damages in the amount that the scammers stole from them, whether or not any criminal charges are filed in connection to the matter. 

money laundering laws

If there are allegations floating around about shady dealings on your part or on the part of businesses you control, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer to find out the best way to protect yourself even if no civil or criminal cases have officially begun and the accusations are still only on the level of social media rumors.  If, however, you have formally been charged with wire fraud or tax evasion, you need a Los Angeles federal criminal defense attorney.

More Trouble Ahead for Fatburger Bigwig?

FAT Brands is a Beverly Hills-based company that franchises several popular restaurant chains, including Fatburger, Round Table Pizza, and Johnny Rockets.  Its CEO Andrew Wiederhorn is no stranger to Hollywood glitz, being related by marriage to several reality TV personalities and Internet-famous folks.  He is also no stranger to fuzzy financial records and run-ins with the law.  In the mid-2000s, he served a 16-month prison sentence in Oregon after pleading guilty to filing a false tax return.  After his release from prison, he moved to California for a new start.

While he has not been charged with any crimes in California, the FBI is conducting an investigation into alleged securities and wire fraud, money laundering, and attempted tax evasion on Wiederhorn’s part.  The FBI is investigating allegations that Wiederhorn and his family members took out millions of dollars in loans from his companies in order to reduce the companies’ tax obligations.  Several credit card charges in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, for luxury items and legal fees for Wiederhorn and members of his family also raised red flags. 

Andy Wiederhorn

In December, the FBI raided the home of Wiederhorn’s son Thayer and daughter-in-law Brooke, whose mother Kim Richards appeared on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills television show.  The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether there is enough evidence to charge Wiederhorn with a federal crime such as wire fraud or tax evasion.  Even if Wiederhorn gets criminal charges, he will have the presumption of innocence until he enters a guilty plea or is convicted at a jury trial.

Contact the Manshoory Law Group About Federal Financial Crimes Defense

A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing charges for tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering, or another financial crime.  Your initial consultation is always free, so contact us at the Manshoory Law Group in Los Angeles, California, or call (877)977-7750 to discuss your case.

Six California Defendants Plead Guilty After Purchasing Luxury Items With Fraudulently Obtained Credit Cards

Six California Defendants Plead Guilty After Purchasing Luxury Items With Fraudulently Obtained Credit Cards

Many cases of identity theft involve defendants stealing victims’ personal identifying information and obtaining credit cards in the victims’ names.  If anything, credit card companies are overly eager to flag individual purchases as fraudulent, but they are less skilled at telling whether or not they should issue a credit card to the person on the other end of the phone line or web portal. 

No sooner do you swipe your card at Chateau Marmont, when Master Card sends you a text message that might as well say, “Are you sure that was you?  You seem more like an In-N-Out Burger kind of guy.”  Even though credit card fraud is one of the easier crimes to pull off, it does not mean that the legal consequences for it are not serious.  If you are being accused of making unauthorized purchases by using someone else’s personal identifying information, contact a Los Angeles identity theft lawyer.

identity theft lawyer

Court Orders “Million Dollar” Jones to Pay More Than Half That Amount in Restitution

Beginning in November 2016, Trace Jevon Jones, who goes by the nickname “Million Dollar” began to obtain people’s credit card information, although news sources and the Department of Justice website do not indicate how he did this.  Jones and five co-conspirators would contact American Express and impersonate the cardholders, claiming to need replacement cards.  When American Express issued them replacement cards, they bought luxury items such as handbags, jewelry, and shoes from Los Angeles area stores such as Barneys, Gucci, and Goyard.

identifying information

By 2019, the FBI had uncovered the scheme, and when officers arrested Jones in downtown Los Angeles, he was experiencing homelessness.  Jones pleaded guilty in September 2020 to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. 

As of February 2022, five of the six defendants have received sentences:

  • Jones, 33, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison.  He must also pay $521,128 in restitution to American Express, which reimbursed its customers for the defendants’ fraudulent purchases.
  • Terry Ellis, Jr., 40, of Chino, was sentenced to two years in federal prison.
  • Davion Raymone Ellis, 32, of Eastvale, was sentenced to three years in federal prison.
  • Cherelle Daire Beal, 31, of Eastvale, was released from jail after receiving credit for time served and is now serving a three-year sentence of supervised release.
  • Miranda Clare Hensley, 31, of Las Vegas, received the same sentence as Beal.
  • Jonathan Randall Ross, 33, of Canoga Park, has yet to receive a sentence.

News outlets did not include any details about the role of each co-conspirator in the case or about any plea deals or other circumstances that could have led to the variety in their sentences.

Contact the Manshoory Law Group About Financial Crimes Defense

A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for identity theft, credit card fraud, or another financial crime.  Your initial consultation is always free, so contact us at the Manshoory Law Group in Los Angeles, California, or call (877)977-7750 to discuss your case.