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January 2014 Archives

Felon in Possession of a Firearm or Amunition in Vista Courts

A felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition is a serious crime in Vista and throughout California.  A felon is anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony that was not reduced to a misemeanor, even if it was expunged as a felony. Possession does not mean ownership but simply control or right to control the firearm personally or through another, even if the firearm does not work.   

Misdemeanor DUI Charges in Vista must be filed within 1 Year

Misdemeanor DUI charges must be filed by the prosecutor within 1 year of the arrest in Vista Courts as well as all Courts in California.  This is the statute of limitations which prevents misdemeanors from being filed after 1 year. After you are arrested, you are given a Court date when released from Jail.  This date is usually within 30 days, but if the case is not filed by your Court date, it can still be filed and you notified within the year deadline.   These cases are handled in Vista if they if they occurred in North San Diego County, and are a misdemeanor "Driving under the Influence" if no one else was injured, there is no felony DUI prior within 10 years and this latest case is not a fourth offense within 10 years.  

A Probation Violation can result in re-sentencing

A probation violation can be serious and result in a re-sentencing and increased penalties.  In most misdemeanors and felonies defendants are given probation, usually 3 years but it can be 5 years for offenses like drunk driving or other charges, usually felonies.  Probation is informal on misdemeanors and usually formal on felonies.  Informal probation means you are not supervised but your case is still active and you are subject to being re-sentenced up to the remaining maximum time and fine on the case during the period of probation if you violate.  Formal probation you are more closely monitored and have to check in with probation usually every month, or as directed.  A robation violation is triggered by failing to comply wih the terms and conditions of probation.
 
    With informal probation, as long as you complete any requirements and the Court is not aware of any violations, the probation simply expires after the 3 years or whatever period was imposed.  The most common terms include violate no laws other than minor traffic, usually there are fines to be paid or programs completed, there may be 4th waivers (search and seizure) during probation.  These affirmative obligations have deadlines for payment or proof of completion etc., if the requirements are not met per the deadline then a warrant is issued and there is a probation violation.  Additionally, if you are arrested or charged with a new misdemeanor or felony, a computer search finds your probation case and it is swept into Court with the new case resulting in allegations of a violation of probation in addition to the new case.
 
     Courts will recall the warrant when you surrender in the Courtroom by adding your case on or are picked up on a warrant.  The Judge could re-sentence you with additional custody or fines and extend probation, or could reinstate probation giving you another chance to complete whatever you failed to do.  Every violation is different based on the specific violation and the explanation for the violation.  You do have a right to a hearing, just in front of a Judge, to have the violation proved and to defend against the allegations. 
 
An experienced criminal defense attorney can get your misdemeanor or DUI warrant recalled without you going to Court, explain the problem, get re-referrals to programs if necessary and try to avoid any additional consequences.  Felony probation violations require you to appear with the attorney, many times if you walk in...you walk out rather than being arrested.  Contact Christoph Law Offices for a free consultation, rated highest in legal ability and ethical standards and over 30 years across from the Vista Courts, we can help you.

When is a DUI Blood test required?

An Officer may require you take a DUI blood test instead of a breath test.  You have to take a blood test if the officer reasonably suspects drugs in your system, you request a blood test, the official breathlyzer is not working properly or available, also if you refuse any test and the officer gets a warrant for a forced blood draw or there are exigent circumstances where a forced draw is done without a warrant. The officer can always ask you to take a blood test in addition to a breath test, and if the breath test you took when pulled over was a P.A.S. field breath test, then you still have to take an official breath or blood test as required to avoid a seperate license suspension for a "Refusal"

Under 21 Low Blood Alcohol DUI

DUI cases for people under 21 years of age and with a low blood alcohol (B.A.) require more information to realistically evaluate the case. Generally, lesser charges are for cases where there are facts which justify a reduction because there are legal or factual issues and or significant mitigating factors. For instance, the blood alcohol level at .09 is relatively low, but it depends on when the test was taken, statements to the officer, witnesses or admissions to the driving, prior record, field sobriety tests, attitude with the officer, and dangerousness of the driving. The fact someone was under 21 is an aggravating factor as well as an accident.

Hit and Run with a DUI in Vista

A DUI with a "hit and run" charge in Vista is serious.  There are a number of issues to be addressed that depend on the evidence against you for each charge. The DUI requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time you were driving you were under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug , or .08 blood alcohol level or more. Drinking after driving can be a defense because it becomes impossible to show what your blood alcohol level was at the time of driving. However, if you were stopped while driving and over a .08 or under the influence, it does not matter whether you drank after the hit and run. Any DUI within 10 years of a prior, offense date to offense date, is a second offense for purposes of sentencing and carries significantly greater penalties than a first offense.  

Is a DUI Arrest While Sleeping in my Car Valid?

You can be arrested for DUI while sleeping in your car on the shoulder of the road.  A law enforcement officer usually will do a "welfare" check on people pulled over on the shoulder to see if they need help or are having any problems.  If you pull over because you feel intoxicated and unsafe to drive, it is the safe thing to do but you still may be arrested.  An officer, if he smells alcohol when he contacts you will run you through the DUI field sobriety tests and field breath test.  Based on his observations, your responses, and field sobriety tests, he may arrest you for DUI if he feels you were under the influence when you were driving and pulled over. 

Shoplifting offenses can have serious consequences

Shoplifting, also known as petty theft from a retail outlet, is a crime of moral turpitude and can have serious and long lasting effects on someone's future.  A theft crime can potentially cause the loss of occupational licenses like nursing, contractors, teaching, real estate sales etc.  While the first offense may be a misdemeanor, if convicted it usually requires a booking and release from jail, probation, fines, potential additional custody or public work and even a theft class.

Vista Domestic Violence Cases increase during the holidays

Domestic violence cases in Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad and throughout North County tend to increase during the holiday season.  There are many possible factors relating to this increase.  Alcohol use is often present in these situations and consumption of spirits always increases significantly during the holiday season.  There is also the added stress of faimily gatherings.  Many times a husband or wife simply calls the police to talk to their significant other, not realizing the nearly every time police are called to a "DV" (domestic violence) scene, someone is going to jail.

Does an Expungement really help clean up my record?

An expungement does help and can definitely make a difference in your future.  The expungement per California Penal Code 1203.4 and 1203.4(a) allows you to withdraw your guilty plea or set aside your conviction, enter a not guilty and have the case dismissed for most purposes.  The new laws taking effect in 2014 add even more strength to its value.  Those laws make it illegal for employers, other than certain governmental exceptions, to ask about, deny employment or inquire as to a prior record if it has been expunged.  You are relieved from most of the disabilities of the conviction.