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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.

Limousine Driver Faces Manslaughter Charges After Fatal Crash Involving Tesla Autopilot Feature

Limousine Driver Faces Manslaughter Charges After Fatal Crash Involving Tesla Autopilot Feature

Autonomous vehicle technology has attracted its share of controversy in the media as well as in courts of law.  Various features that enable the car to use its own judgment about how best to avoid a crash have become so common that your car probably has some of them. 

If your car makes annoying beeping sounds when another car passes by when you are trying to back out of a parking space, or when it starts braking when it determines that it would be dangerous not to do so, you probably do not take this as an indication that you are free to scroll through your phone while you are behind the wheel and let your car do all the intellectual heavy lifting associated with driving. 

fatal crash involving Tesla’s Autopilot

Whether you call it driver assist technology or self-driving cars, the consensus is that autonomous vehicle technology is meant to prevent distracted driving instead of enabling it. 

The civil courts have considered many product liability lawsuits by people injured in accidents where autonomous vehicle technology played a role, but a California man is the first defendant to face criminal charges for failing to prevent Tesla’s Autopilot feature in his car from causing a fatal crash.  If you are a limousine driver or other professional driver facing criminal charges after causing a traffic collision, contact a Los Angeles bus and taxi lawyer.

Car on Autopilot Runs Red Light, Causing Fatal Accident

Kevin Riad is a professional limousine driver, but it is unclear whether he was on duty at the time of the accident at the center of the criminal case against him.  In December 2019, Riad was driving a Tesla Model S with the Autopilot automated vehicle technology, which controls acceleration and braking. 

While the technology was enabled, the vehicle ran a red light in Los Angeles County and collided with a Honda Civic on the opposite side of the intersection.  The two occupants of the Civic, Gilberto Alcazar Lopez and Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez, died at the scene.  Riad suffered minor injuries, as did a woman who was in the vehicle with him.

Kevin George Aziz Riad

The victims’ families filed civil lawsuits against Riad and Tesla, and these cases are still pending.  In October 2021, prosecutors charged Riad with vehicular manslaughter.  He is currently free on bail; the Los Angeles Times website did not indicate how much the bail amount was or whether Riad has entered a plea.  Even if a jury acquits Riad or prosecutors drop the charges against him, a civil court may still issue a ruling against him in a wrongful death lawsuit and order him to pay damages to the victims’ families.

Contact the Manshoory Law Group About Driving Crimes Defense

A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for driving so dangerously as to cause an accident resulting in serious injuries.  Your initial consultation is always free, so contact our attorneys at the Manshoory Law Group in Los Angeles, California, or call (877)977-7750 to discuss your case.

Can a Plea Deal Turn a Drug Trafficking Charge Into a Simple Possession Charge?

Can a Plea Deal Turn a Drug Trafficking Charge Into a Simple Possession Charge?

More than half of defendants in criminal cases plead guilty to their charges, and if you have never been formally accused of a crime, you might wonder why so many people plead guilty.  Cases where defendants plead guilty to crimes they did not commit happen much more often than you might imagine.  In some cases, defendants plead guilty because police, prosecutors, or even public defenders bully them into it, such as by convincing them that the jury will never believe them even if they tell the truth or that the judge will never allow the defendant’s attorney to present evidence that indicates the defendant’s innocence, or at least casts doubt about the defendant’s guilt.  In other instances, though, a defendant pleads guilty to a crime, because the crime they actually committed is even worse, and through a plea deal, the prosecution agrees to drop other charges if the defendant pleads guilty to the lesser crime.  Likewise, the sentences tend to be lighter in cases where defendants plead guilty than those where they are convicted at trial.  If you have been offered a plea deal for a drug offense, or if you want to know if it is possible to seek one, contact a Los Angeles drug crimes defense lawyer.

Victorville Man Gets Plea Deal After Drug Bust

In December 2021, Ismael Barbosa was staying at the Extended Studio Hotel at Victorville, and police began to suspect that he was selling drugs out of his hotel room.  ON December 22, police executed a search warrant of Barbosa’s room, and they found two firearms without serial numbers, as well as fentanyl, methamphetamine, ammunition, drug packaging materials, and large amounts of cash.  Barbosa was not in his room at the time; he was out driving, and police pulled his car over at a traffic stop and arrested him.

After the arrest, prosecutors charged Barbosa with transporting and selling controlled substances and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Barbosa pleaded not guilty to those charges, but after prosecutors offered him a plea deal, he withdrew his plea of not guilty.  In January 2022, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm.  A judge sentenced him to two years of incarceration in the California Institution for Men in Chino.  Before entering the plea of no contest, Barbosa, 28, had been at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto.  The judge had set his bail amount at $150,000, but Barbosa did not post bail.  The Daily Press website did not specify when, if at any time during his sentence, Barbosa will become eligible for parole and whether the time he spent in jail before his sentencing will count toward his sentence.

Contact the Manshoory Law Group About Drug Crimes Defense

A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of possessing or distributing controlled substances.  Your initial consultation is always free, so contact us at Manshoory Law Group in Los Angeles, California or call (877)977-7750 to discuss your case.

What Is a Schedule 1 Drug? 

What Is a Schedule 1 Drug? 

The federal law considers a Schedule 1 drug the one that comes with a high potential for addiction and abuse. It’s also a substance that doesn’t have an acceptable safety level to use under medical supervision or accepted medical treatment in the United States at all. Finally, you can’t get a prescription for these drugs.

In this article, we are focusing on discussing the list of Schedule 1 drugs and related Californian law implications. Here is what you should know about using these substances and potential penalties in California!

What Are Drug Classifications?

These are federal drug classifications, which relevant experts designed after serious consideration. Here is the overview of the categories:

  • Schedule 1 substances. We’ll focus on Class 1 drugs in this guide. It’s vital to mention that marijuana has a special status in California, although it belongs in this group.
  • Schedule 2 drugs. Morphine, cocaine, and methadone are in this category. They have a high addiction risk but come with accepted medical use with certain restrictions.
  • Schedule 3 drugs. Codeine, anabolic steroids, and barbiturates are in this class. The US federal law approves medical use, but it can lead to high psychological and moderate physical dependence.
  • Schedule 4 drugs. Xanax and Valium are the most famous examples of these substances, which can lead to limited dependence.
  • Schedule 5 drugs. This class has the lowest risk of abuse or addiction, such as a cough medicine that contains some codeine.

schedule 1 drug

What Is a List of Schedule 1 Drugs?

We already answered the question, “what is a Schedule 1 drug?” These substances come with a high risk of abuse and addiction. Here is a detailed overview of the drugs in this class.

Heroin

This powder is a highly addictive drug coming from the opium poppy plant. It’s a couple of times more powerful than morphine. You can snort, smoke, or inject it for potential pain relief and a euphoric feeling. Unfortunately, the abusers often aren’t aware of the drug’s actual power, which might be the reason behind overdose cases.

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide is a full name that most users probably aren’t familiar with at all. It’s a synthetic hallucinogen, which often alters our minds in positive or negative ways. LSD affects your ability to make rational decisions, and you can experience flashbacks or anxiety after using it.

Marijuana

The answer to the question “is marijuana a Schedule 1 drug,” is yes. It’s because you have a high risk of getting addicted. However, Californian law approves cannabis products for both medical and recreational use. There are certain limitations, which are also mentioned in the federal law. For example, the federal regulations mention that cannabis products with a THC quantity of up to 0.3% are legal.

Mescaline

The other name is peyote, and this is another hallucinogen. Unlike LSD that comes from a fungus, this one is derived from a cactus plant. Visual hallucinations and euphoria are what the users experience after taking it. The side effects are vast and include psychosis, tremors, anxiety, and tachycardia.

MDMA or Ecstasy

MDMA is another synthetic drug with psychoactive properties. It’s a hallucinogen that comes with many side effects, especially with consistent use. That includes depression, losing focus, fatigue, etc. High doses of MDMA can lead to hyperthermia, which could cause organ failure.

GHB

This is an abbreviation for Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate, which you might also know as the date rape drug. It is a CNS depressant many put in alcoholic drinks. Users experience a sex drive boost and euphoria. However, that also comes with side effects like hallucinations, nausea, sweating, and even coma. GHB has been in the Schedule 1 Drug class since 2000.

Psilocybin

If you heard about magic mushrooms, that’s what psilocybin is. This compound comes from mushrooms, and it is a hallucinogen. It can result in a bad trip, which can lead to horrifying experiences after consuming the drug. Although some clinical studies were performed, this is still a Class 1 drug.

Synthetic Marijuana and Analogs

It’s been on the US market since the 2000s. The idea is to duplicate the effect of marijuana, or THC, which causes the psychoactive effect. Synthetic cannabinoids can be harmful and cause tachycardia, hypertension, hallucinations, and anxiety. Some users even reported severe bleeding after taking these compounds.

Methaqualone

This is another synthetic that acts as a CNS depressant. It was popular in the US before the DEA outlawed it in 1980. Also known as quaaludes, this drug induces drowsiness and acts as a sedative-hypnotic. This drug comes with a wide range of side effects, which is common for Schedule 1 substances.

Khat

These are plant leaves that you can chew. They deliver euphoric and psycho-stimulant effects, which can help to deal with fatigue or as a mood booster. However, there are adverse side effects, such as constipation, CNS, metabolic, and respiratory problems.

Bath Salts

These are not the products you use in the bathroom. Instead, these are synthetic cathinones that can lead to dangerous intoxication. Users resort to them as a cheap replacement for cocaine, but they can lead to severe panic attacks, insomnia, and violent behavior. Bath salts are particularly dangerous in high doses.

Schedule 1 Drug Charge

Why Is Marijuana a Schedule 1 Drug?

If you are wondering “what class drug is a weed in,” the answer is the first. It indicates that marijuana has a high risk of addiction and abuse. However, California law has a special treatment for marijuana.

According to the local regulations, it’s legal to possess up to 28.5 grams of cannabis. That converts to about an ounce of this plant material. The limit for concentrated cannabis is eight grams.

There are some other strict regulations implemented by the Californian law:

  • If you are younger than 21, you can’t possess any amount of marijuana because they risk an infraction.
  • Those who get caught for possession near or in a school will be charged with a misdemeanor.
  • If you possess more than 28.5 grams and you are over 18 years old, that’s an infraction. If you are younger than 18, it’s an infraction.
  • You can’t possess any marijuana in an open package or container or a vehicle. That is an infraction.

What Is the Penalty for a Schedule 1 Drug in California?

Schedule 1 drug penalties are harsher than for lower categories of controlled substances. That’s because these have the highest risk of addiction and abuse. Here is an overview of different situations and potential legal consequences.

Possession

Most drug possessions in California end up as misdemeanors. Specific circumstances, such as large drug amounts, can lead to complications and charges of a felony. But how does the law determine you possess those drugs?

The first case is when you have drugs on you. That’s when you exercise direct physical control over the substance, and it’s classified as actual possession. The alternative could be constructive possession, which indicates the drugs were in a place where you can exercise control over them. Let’s say that you were driving a car, and the drugs were in the trunk. It’s somewhere you had access to, which indicates constructive possession.

The possession might not be limited to a single person. If you share it with others, that could indicate joint possession. This is method police often use when discovering who owned the drugs in the first place. If no individual takes the blame, everyone involved gets charges for joint possession.

Selling or Intending to Sell

If you possess a schedule 1 drug with the intent to sell it, the Californian Penal Code considers that a felony. The same applies to other controlled substances. The fines can go up to $20,000, and you could spend up to five years in jail. Your defense could be that the discovery was made during illegal premise searching, or the drugs weren’t yours. A reliable drug crimes attorney can help to come out with an effective defense strategy that can ensure the consequences are as mild as possible.

How do they determine if you have the intent to sell the drug? The usual indicator is you have large quantities of it. However, measurement tools, keeping the drug in small baggies, or having large cash sums can also be among indicators. The more factors implicate you intended to sell the drugs, the more complicated your case is.

Manufacturing

The Californian law considers manufacturing drugs that are among controlled substances a felony. You could be facing anywhere from three to seven years for this crime, while the potential fine goes up to $50,000. There’s no need to handle or use drugs to face these charges.

Here is what could increase a potential penalty for manufacturing drugs:

  • A large number of drugs were manufactured.
  • There’s a person under 16 years old in the facility where the drugs were made.
  • The manufacturing process was occurring within 200 feet of a residential property or structure where people spend time.

It gets worse because manufacturing drugs also come with other charges. Those could include selling drugs, but also gang activity, weapon charges, etc. You might be facing a variety of parole requirements, such as drug testing and check-ins with the parole office. If you have an expert criminal defense lawyer in your corner, they might be able to help get the best possible outcome.

What Does the Controlled Substances Act Do?

The idea of the Controlled Substances Act is to group all substances that the federal law regulates in different categories. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has five different schedules for all substances. The placement of a particular product depends on safety, medical use, and potential for abuse.

Not all substances are a part of this schedule. It’s also possible to remove a compound from control and transfer it between categories. That requires the authorities to follow the DEA procedures for these matters.

Seven Tulare County Residents Face Charges for Welfare Fraud

Seven Tulare County Residents Face Charges for Welfare Fraud

If you have ever lived paycheck to paycheck, as more than half of Americans do, then you know how much estimating, calculating, and budgeting goes on in your everyday life.  Far from being a freebie, government benefits often make life more complicated instead of simpler. 

How many people have struggled to make ends meet; getting a pay raise is bittersweet when your new job doesn’t provide health insurance benefits, but it does make your income too high to qualify for Medicaid.  The emergency benefits provided during the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly saved lives, prevented COVID infections, and kept numerous working parents and their children out of poverty, but they have also caused plenty of confusion.  Do you have to pay back the child tax credit payments that the IRS deposits in your bank account at unpredictable intervals? 

Welfare Fraud

Perhaps the worst thing about public assistance benefits is the number of people who jump at the opportunity to vilify anyone who receives them.  Police, bureaucrats, and busybody neighbors are ready to cry welfare fraud if you make a typo on a benefits application.  If you are facing criminal charges for welfare fraud, contact a Los Angeles welfare fraud defense lawyer.

A $43,000 Mistake?

When filling out tax paperwork or applications for public assistance, there is always a possibility of making errors in calculation or other details on the forms.  If it was an honest mistake, you have an opportunity to correct it.  Intentionally falsifying paperwork in order to receive public benefits to which you are not entitled is welfare fraud, and it is a crime, just as intentionally presenting false information on your income tax returns is the crime of tax fraud.  If the value of the government benefits you received as a direct result of the false statements is less than $950, then welfare fraud is a misdemeanor, but if it is more than $950, it is a felony.

TCDA Bureau of Investigations

An investigation led to the arrest of seven Tulare County residents on suspicion of welfare fraud.  The defendants are as follows:

  • Clarista Aldaco, 26, of Lindsay
  • Gabriela Almanza, 31, of Porterville
  • Erica Enos, 31, of Visalia
  • Lenora Macagbra, 51, of Visalia
  • Violet Pack, 34, of Visalia
  • Rosie Renteria, 26, of Porterville
  • Johnny Vallejo, 26, of Lindsay

The seven defendants allegedly received a total of $43,466 in benefits beyond what they were entitled to receive.  It is unclear how much each defendant received individually, whether these cases are unconnected or whether the defendants are being accused of conspiring with each other to commit welfare fraud.  Like all defendants in criminal cases, these defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Contact the Manshoory Law Group About Welfare Fraud Defense

A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of welfare fraud or making false statements on benefits applications.  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.

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