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September 2013 Archives

Where are the DUI programs for the Vista Court?

DUI programs for the Vista Court are located through out the state of California.  After a DUI conviction or DMV .08 or more BA administrative hearing loss, DMV requires a California Driving Under the Influence program to reinstate your California license or California driving privilege on an out of state license.  The Courts will allow any  program in any state so long as it is approved for that state's Courts.  However, while it may fulfill the Court sentencing requirement, it is not acceptable by California DMV for licensing purposes.

What are Vista DUI Probation Violations?

     Vista DUI probation violations are caused by failure to follow the terms and conditions of probation.  Every misdemeanor DUI has informal probation which means you do not have a probation officer and do not have to check in monthly.  You do have to follow the terms of probation which include not driving without valid license and insurance, submit to a chemical test if requested by law enforcement, do not drive with a measurable amount of alcohol in your system and violate no laws other than minor traffic.  In addition to these conduct rules, there are affirmative things that must be done by certain dates or they trigger Vista DUI probation violations, a warrant for your arrest and a hold on your license.

Is a Prescription Drug DUI the same as an alcohol DUI in Vista?

      A prescription drug DUI is treated the same as an alcohol DUI in Vista Courts.   The purpose of the "drunk driving" laws is to keep impaired drivers off the road as they pose a danger to other drivers and pedestrians.  Just because you have a prescription doesn't mean you are not impaired for purposes of driving if the drug effects your perception, judgement, reflexes and other mental and physical abilities required in driving a motor vehicle.  A prescription drug DUI is included in the California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) which states it is illegal to drive under the infliuence of alchol and/or a drug.

Vista Embezzlement cases often involve employee theft

     Vista embezzlement cases involve the theft of property intrusted to a person by that person.  The most common type is the theft from an employer by an employee.  It could be stealing money from the cash register, stealing merchandise, or a sophisticated bookeeping and check fraud theft.  Cases in Vista Courts involve cases that take place in North County.  California penal code section 503 et seq defines embezzlement as the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom its been intrusted.

Escondido Credit Card Fraud Cases are filed in Vista Courts

     Just like most north county criminal cases, Escondido credit card fraud cases are filed by the north county branch of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.  These cases involve fraudulent card card use.  They usually involve the use of stolen credit cards by unauthorized users, sometimes just the credit card information is used buy merchandise on line.   Escondido credit card fraud cases are investigated by the Escondido police or the law enforcement agency where the fraud occurrs. 

Why hire a local Vista Criminal Defense Attorney

     Local Vista Criminal Defense attorneys practice mostly in the Vista Courts and other San Diego County Courts.  While criminal law is the same throughout the state of California, each jurisdiction can be different in the way cases are handled.  Even within a County, cases can be treated diffrerently in the way they are negotiated.  There are four courthouses in San Diego County; north county - Vista, central downtown - San Diego, east county - El Cajon and south county - Chula Vista.

Vista Dui Cases with priors may have an alternative to Jail

     Vista DUI cases where the person has a prior DUI or "wet reckless" arrest and conviction in the last 10 years faces mandatory custody.  The amount of time an individual faces depends on the facts of their case, and any aggravting or mitigating factors.  There can be alternatives to actual jail time.  As long as the prior conviction and the new case are misdemeanors, the mandatory jail time ranges from a minimum of 96 hours to 1 year on a second offense, and 120 days to a year on a third offense.  A  fourth offense in 10 years is a felony and may not have the same options.

Vista DUI and Criminal Court proceedings

     Vista DUI and Criminal Court proceedings start with the first appearance or arraignment, then readiness conference, technical motions and ultimately trial if the case cannot be resolved.  Over 95% of all cases are resolved through this process without a trial.  

Encinitas Check Fraud Cases are filed in Vista Courts

     Encinitas check fraud cases are filed in Vista Courts as are almost all North County criminal cases.  The cases are reviewed by the North County Branch of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and filed in North County Courthouse in Vista.  There are a few types of North County criminal cases which are filed at the downtown central Courthouse at 220 West Broadway in San Diego.  Those cases generally involve a special prosecution units for welfare fraud, elder abuse, sophisticated auto theft or drug cases.

Drug Offenses involving Heroin are on the rise in Vista Courts

     Drug offenses involving heroin are on the rise in Vista Courts.  It is a result of it being relatively inexpensive and available from Mexico.  It is one of the most addictive and destructive illegal drugs in the world.  It is extremely difficult to beat an addiction to the drug and relapses are common.  Addicts will do and say anything to get the drug, committing various crimes to feed their habit. Withdrawal can be painful and have severe physical symtoms like pain, diahrea, vomiting, convulsions, muscle and bone.  There are detox programs where heroin addicts are given a daily substitute opiate, methodaone and they can function.  There are other drugs which help detox like suboxone and vivatrol.

Does a Marine's Oceanside DUI effect him on base?

An Oceanside DUI or any civilian DUI can have significant consequences for a Marine on Base or at his Command.  A driving under the influence conviction can be a career ender for staff NCOs and Officers.  Even junior enlisted personnel may not be re-enlisted.  If the command is aware of the offense, you can loose your base driving privilege for one year, have promotions, schools or orders cancelled.  Additionally, junior enlisted usually face NJP (non judicial punishment) which can include loss of a stripe, forfeiture of some pay and allowances and restriction to base.

Carlsbad "Wet Reckless" counts like a DUI prior in Vista Courts

A "Wet Reckless" conviction counts like a DUI prior for future offenses throughout California, not just Vista Courts.  A reckless driving with alcohol in your sytem is commonly referred to as a "wet Reckless" and is often used as a stipulated lesser offense in negotiating driving under the influence cases.  The defendant gets a lesser charge that has only 3 years probation instead of the usual 5 years in a DUI case, the minimum fine is usually about $ 1200 versus $ 2100, and the same drinking driver program is required if the driver was .08 or more.  The District Attorney gets a priorable offense which will cause a future DUI to be considered a second for all purposes.

Do Vista DUI cases require driving?

A DUI charge requires proof of "driving" beyond a reasonable doubt.  The vast majority of cases, the officer pulls the individual over for a moving or fix-it violation and can testify to the actual driving.  The reason for the initial contact may be subject to a motion for an illegal stop if there is insufficient evidence to justify the stop and detention of the driver.  The driving itself is witnessed by the officer who saw the vehicle move under the control of the person in the driver's seat.

What is Identity Theft in Vista Courts?

     Identity theft is the use of another individual's personal information for an unlawful purpose like getting credit, goods or services etc. without the consent of that person.  Even giving someone else's name when arrested can be identity theft.  Often this charge is also filed on credit card  and check fraud cases where someone is using a stolen credit card or attempting to cash a stolen check.    

Are Vista Hit and Run Charges serious?

     Vista Hit and run charges stemming from an accident in Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido or anywhere in North County are serious. If there is property damage only, it is a misdemeanor offense which still carries possible local jail time, fines, and possible restitution. Additionally, you can lose your license and have your vehicle impounded. Many times people are involved in an accident and flee because they have been drinking and they do not want a DUI.  This is a misdemeanor if there was property damage only. A felony Hit and Run involves an accident where another person is injured. It does not matter whether you are at fault in the accident, it is illegal to flee the scene without exchanging information or rendering reasonable assistance.

Prescription Drug DUI in Carlsbad, Oceanside and Escondido

      A Prescription Drug DUI, carries the same penalties as an alcohol DUI.  If you are taking legal drugs with a prescription, it is not a defense to DUI anywhere in North County, like Oceanside, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Escondido San Marcos or Vista. The purpose of the law is to keep drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, legal or not, from driving. Many prescription drugs carry warnings not to drive or operate heavy machinery after taking. These drugs, while legal, slow reactions, impair judgment, and distort perception. Many of these drugs also greatly increase the effects of any alcohol and warn against drinking while taking medications. Pain killers like vicodin and oxycotin, anxietyand depression meds like Wellbutin, Xanax and Prozac are some of the prescription meds seen in Prescription Drug DUI cases, these are in addition to illegal drugs like marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine etc.

Are Miranda Rights required Vista DUI stops?

     Miranda rights in Vista DUI stops, or anywhere in North San Diego County are not required at the initial DUI stop and investigatory detention.  Miranda rights are the rights against self incrimination, the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you, you have a right to an attorney etc..  They are required once the detention becomes an arrest.  Then you must be given your rights  before any additional questioing.  You always have these rights, but only have to be advised once once the detention becomes an arrest.  While it is recommended you remain polite and cooperative to an extent, you do not have to answer any questions that could incriminate you about your drinking and driving.  There are alot of people who think they can talk their way out of arrest and make statements which can be used against them. 

North County DUI Videos - MVARS

     DUI videos taken from video cameras in police cars are referred to as MVARS (Mobile Video/Audio Recording System).  Many police vehicles, but not all are equipped with these video cameras.  CHP vehicles are generally equipped with MVARS.  These videos are used to document initial DUI stops, field Sobriety tests­, and initial contact in North County. Sometimes these videos may not catch the probable cause for the stop but show the rest of the contact and can provide valuable evidence which can hurt or help an person arrested.  They are usually activated when the overhead lights are activated.  The recordings are turned in at the end of each shift and available for legal proceedings.

Certificate of Rehabilitation improves San Diego Felony Records

     A Certificate of Rehabilitation for San Diego County felony convictions does enhance a felons employment possibilities and potential state board occupational licensing. Penal Code section 4852 et seq are the code sections that deal with the Certificate of Rehabilitation and is available even if you went to State Prison. Most misdemeanor sex offenses or sex offenses that could be reduced to misdemeanors may also allow the termination of lifetime sexual registration per P.C. 290 with the granting of this certificate.  This can be a very important option when considering what can be done to show that you have turned your life around.   It is surprising to see how few people actually apply for this relief. 

Oceanside Petty Theft has Serious Consequences in Vista Courts

     Most petty theft cases in Oceanside and all of North County, involve the theft of merchandise from a store but may involve any theft where the value of the stolen property is $ 950 or less.  Petty theft from a store is commonly referred to as "shoplifting". If the theft does not exceed $ 50 in value, the District Attorney has discretion to file the charge as an infraction with a fine only penalty.   A 4th offense may be charged as a felony, it used to be a 2nd offense could have been charged as a felony only a couple of years ago. While the penalty for a petty theft carries potential jail time, probation, fines, search waiver classes and restitution, many times we can resolve these cases with lesser charges or penalties which also minimizes the future impact of any conviction.

Expungement for Misdemeanors and Felonies in Vista Courts

    Expungement is available for most North County felonies in Vista Courts unless you received a prison sentence, and for nearly all misdemeanors.  There are a few misdemeanors and felonies that cannot be expunged under any circumstance including some sex related felonies.  Felony records where there was a prison sentence can be improved with a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Pardon.  Many felonies where probation was granted, can be reduced to misdemeanors after probation and expunged at the same time. This reduction to a misdemeanor alone is extremely valuable, as you would no longer have a felony record and may be allowed to possess firearms depending on the charges reduced. If there is a good reason to terminate your probation early, we can also file for early termination and expungement.

Expungement of your Carlsbad criminal record can be helpful

     Expungement of your Carlsbad criminal record at the Vista Courts, can help minimize its impact on any background check or application for employment, education and licensing.  It is definitely a positive that it was expunged over just leaving it as a conviction.  It shows you care about your record.  While you may have made a mistake, you completed probation and a Court authorized the dismissal.   Expungement is explained in California Penal Code 1203.4 et seq,   It is available for most misdemeanors and felonies.  An expungement dismissal is available after probation is completed or after 1 year if there was no probation.   It has some limitations but does help minimize the impact of a conviction.  You cannot seal an adult record, it will show the charge dismissed per the section P.C. 1203.4.   There are also other benefits.

Where are most Oceanside DUI arrests?

     Most Oceanside DUI arrests occur downtown Oceanside, the I-5 freeway, Highway 76, Highway 78 and El Camino Real.  California Highway Patrol makes most of the I-5, Hwy 76 and Hwy 78 arrests and Oceanside Police Department make most of the arrests downtown and on El Camino Real.

Vista Court DUI cases are from all over North County

     The Vista Court DUI cases come from arrests all over incorporated and unincorpaorated areas of North San Diego County.  The main population areas include Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Fallbrook, Valley Center, Carlsbad, Enciinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Leucadia, Cardiff and even Ocotillo Wells off road areas.  South of Escondido, Rancho Bernardo and Poway,  arrests go downtown San Diego, as do Del Mar and south arrests.  Camp Pendleton Cases on the base, go to downtown Federal Court for Civilians.

What Record Clean Up can be done for an Oceanside Case?

     Record clean up of your Oceanside case includes several options depending on your record.   You can expunge most misdemeanors and felonies in Vista Courts unless you received a prison sentence.  There are a few misdemeanors and felonies that cannot be expunged under any circumstance including some sex related felonies.  Felony records where there was a prison sentence can be improved with a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Pardon.   A Certificate of Rehab must be filed downtown San Diego and also acts as a pardon application, but pardons are rarely granted.  Many felonies where probation was  granted, can be reduced to misdemeanors after probation and expunged at the same time.  This reduction to a misdemeanor alone is extremely valuable, as you would no longer have a felony  record  and may be allowed to possess firearms depending on the charges reduced.   If there is a good reason to terminate your probation early, we can also file for early termination and expungement.

An Expungement in Vista Courts helps clean up your record

     The Expungement section, California Penal Code section 1203.4 et seq., is a valuable tool in record clean up.  Here in Vista and North County, an expungement allows you to withdraw your guilty plea, enter a not guilty and get your case dismissed after completion of probation or after 1 year if probation was not granted.   There are some charges that cannot be expunged, like child molest.  It does improve your record but has some limitations. It is really like a good behavior dismissal.  It does not seal your record and the conviction may still show on background checks, but it will also indicate that the charge was dismissed per P.C. 1203.4. It does not allow you to possess a firearm if it was prohibited as a result of the your conviction.  The offense can also still be used as a prior for enhancing future similar offenses. There are also other benefits.

On a DUI in Vista Courts, can an Attorney appear for me?

     An attorney can make all of your appearances on a misdemeanor DUI in Vista Courts and throughout California for you.  A misdemeanor is a first, second or third offense within 10 years.  The bail or bond will continue on the case as long as an appearance is made by the defendant or an attorney.  Family members or friends cannot appear for you, only an attorney or yourself can appear.  Failure to appear results in a forfeiture of bail or bond and a warrant for your arrest.  Additionally, it can cause a driver's license suspension and possibly additional charges for failure to appear.

Are DUI Field Sobriety Tests important in a Vista DUI case?

     Field sobriety tests in a Vista DUI arrest and Court case are important.  However, DUI field sobriety tests are only one factor.  Most DUI arrests in Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido and North County, result in 2 charges being filed.  VC 23152(a) Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug and VC 23152 (b) Driving with .08 or more blood alcohol level. 

DUI Chemical Test Refusals may result in license suspension

     DUI Chemical Test refusals after a DUI arrest may result in the loss of license for 1 year on a first offense with no chance for a restricted license by DMV regardless of whether criminal charges are filed.  In getting a drivers license, you impliedly consent to submitting to a chemical test to determine intoxication.  If you refuse, it triggers a DMV admninistrative procedure whcih could result in a 1 year suspension on a first offense and much longer on offenses with priors.  You are served a pink sheet 30 day temporary license and suspension notice stating you have 10 days from the arrest to set a DMV Hearing to challenge to refusal suspension.