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February 2015 Archives

What is criminal "child abuse"?

The criminal "child abuse" statute in California is Penal Code (PC) 273a. Generally, the felony child abuse law makes it illegal for anyone to cause, inflict or permit a child to be in a situation which results in great bodily injury or death.  That includes simply putting a child in a dangerous situation which could result in great bodily injury or death, regardless whether there is actaul injury. The penalty for felony child abuse or endangerment includes the possibility of probation, fines, parenting class, possible protective stay away order from the child and up to 6 years in prison depending on the facts of the case and individuals background. There is also a separate section PC 273d concerning felony corporal punishment of a child. 

Does "police questioning" require an attorney?

Police questioning can occurr throughout an investigation. It is almost always preferable to have an attorney present before answering any questions or making a statement if you are a suspect or were involved in the commission of a crime. You have the right to remain silent, saying you want an attorney should terminate questioning and cannot be held against you.  If you are simply a witness and will not be incriminating yourself, then you may not need an attorney, but every case is different.  Many people think they can "talk" their way out of an arrest, but unfortunately that does not occurr.  Even worse, people incriminate themselves, give information that will incriminate them or ruin their future credibility as a witness by not being completely honest.

What factors determine release on bail in Vista Jail?

There are many factors which are considered in setting bail and allowing release on bail in Vista jail and by the Courts and jails throughout California.  The bail is initially set after arrest based on the charges that a person is booked on.  That amount is published on line based on the charge.  That initial bail considers the charge only, the more serious the charge then the higher the bail.  Misdemeanors are significantly less than felonies.

How serious is a DUI with Injury?

A DUI with injury is very serious.  It is a felony which carries the potential of a state prison sentence depending on the facts of the case.  It can be a "strike" under the California 3 strikes law if there is great bodily injury.  Great bodily injury can make it a strike, add 3 years in state prison and result in a defendant serving 85% of the sentence.  If there is a death of another person as a result of the accident, then the case can be charged as a manslaugther or 2nd degree murder charge.

How do I clean up a criminal record?

There are several options a person has to clean up a criminal record depending on the conviction charge and sentence.  Different offenses have different options which include expungement per P.C. 1203.4, felony reduction to a misdemeanor per P.C. 17 (b) and P.C. 1170.18 (prop 47), certificate of rehabilitation and pardon per P.C. 4852.01. 

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