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April 2014 Archives

With a Vista DUI, do I need to go to Court myself?

For a misdemeanor DUI case in Vista or anywhere in California, you or an attorney need to be present in Court for your Court appearance.  If you hire an attorney, he can make all the appearances for you on a misdemeanor case.  If the Case goes to trial, then your appearance is generally required. Sometimes, even on misdemeanor DUI cases, especially if there is high BA (blood alcohol) level or priors, a Judge may require you to appear at some point.  No one else, other than an attorney can appear for you.  Failure to appear results in bail forfeiture, a warrant, possibly an additional charge for failure to appear and possibly a hold on your license.

What is a "Wet Reckless" in Vista Courts?

A "wet reckless" in Vista Courts and throughout California is a lesser charge often used in plea bargaining in DUI cases that are weak or have problems.  It is described generally in California Vehicle Code (VC) 23103(a) per VC 23103.5 driving recklessly with alcohol in your system.  This is not admitting to driving under the influence or over the legal limit.  Regardless whether you were actually driving recklessly, it is used as a lesser charge.  The penalties are much less, however, it still stays on your DMV record for 10 years and counts as a prior for purposes of greater penalties for any future DUI convictiions.  It has no effect on any DMV alcohol suspension, DMV actions are separate.

Does an Oceanside DUI carry jail time?

An Oceanside DUI may carry jail time depending on the facts of the case and prior record.  Whether the DUI is in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, Escondido, Encinitas, San Marcos or anywhere in California, there are mandatory minimum sentences and maximum sentences.  Different Courts and prosecuting agencies may have differing policies affecting sentencing.  In North San Diego County Vista Courts, generally in a low blood alcohol non accident first offense DUI case there may be no actual custody and in some cases lesser charges or penalties may be negotiated on a case by case basis.    

What is resisting arrest in Oceanside, California?

Police Officers, in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, Escondido, San Marcos, Encinitas and throughout California, use resisting arrest, California Penal Code (P.C.) 148, to arrest people who are delaying, interferring or resisting a peace officer in the performance of his duties.  There are legitimate arrests and prosections for this violation, however, too often it is used an an excuse to take into custody someone who is bothering the officer in some way even though there may be a more appropriate way to handle the situation.

Should I contact a Criminal Defense Attorney right after arrest?

A Criminal Defense Attorney should be contacted quickly after an arrest for many reasons.  An attorney can protect the client, help get his release, get the facts while they are fresh and begin any investigation that may be required.  Often, photographs need to be taken, witnesses need to be interviewed while memories are fresh, early investigation and fresh evidence review is important.  An attorney can also help work on getting a client released on bail, bond or on their own recognizance. 

Can an Expungement of a crime be used to deny employment?

An expungement of a criminal case in Vista Courts and throughout California, prevents an employer from using it in nearly every situation.  Effective this year, 1/1/2014, California Labor Code 432.7 states "no employer shall ask an applicant for employment to disclose" information concerning a case dismissed, diverted, sealed or expunged.  An employer cannot try to find information about those cases and cannot use those cases as a factor for hiring, promotion or termination.  An employer can ask about cases an applicant has pending.  There are some exceptions for use of expunged offenses for government agencies employing peace officers.

Can Shoplifting from a Carlsbad store be a felony?

Shoplifting in Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos, Escondido, Encinitas or anywhere in California can be a felony.  It depends on several things, prior record, dollar value stolen, and whether there are any additional crimes committed at the time.  Any prior felony theft charge can make a petty theft a felony.  Also, if there are three prior petty thefts then the fourth can be a felony.  If the value of the property shoplifted is $950 or more it is a felony grand theft shoplifting.  If a person entered the store with the intent to steal, pass bad checks, or fraudently use a credit card, then there will be felony charges in addition to the petty theft.

Are there alternatives in Vista Criminal cases to actual custody?

There are alternatives in Vista Criminal cases to actual custody if custody is part of the sentence, probation was granted and there is no state prison commit.  Those alternatives vary depending on the type of case, facts of the case, defendants unique situation and qualification for the various custody programs.  These alternatives must be approved by the Judge doing the sentencing before they can be given any consideration.  Often the type of custody, if required, is discussed and negotiated as part of the plea bargain.

How much do DUI Programs in North San Diego County cost?

The DUI programs in North San Diego County vary in cost depending on which program you are required to attend and whether you are paying for it up front or in payments.  The only program location authorized for the DMV and Court mandated DUI program is Occupational Health Services (OHS) in San Marcos, California.  In San Diego County, there is one authorized provider in each area of the county, El Cajon, San Diego, and Chula Vista.  There are also authorized providers in every county.

What percent of Criminal cases are settled with plea bargains?

The vast majority of criminal cases are settled through negotiated plea bargains, well over 90%.  Plea bargaining is an important tool for all parties, Judges, Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys.  There are not near enough resources to try all the cases, so it has become an essential part of the criminal justice system out of necessity.  There are cases which get dismissed becuse of insufficient evidence, or further investigation indicating a valid defense, but the rest of the cases may be able to be resolved in such a way that the Defendant is willing to resolve the matter with an acceptable plea bargain rather than take the risk of going to trial and getting a significant sentence if convicted. 

Are there defenses to misdemeanor "Hit and Run"?

There are defenses to "hit and run".  They include not hitting and not running.  You have a duty to exchange information in any property damage accident where someone else's property was damaged regardless who is at fault.  If there was no damge, other than to your vehicle, then there is no obligation to exchange information.  The problem arises if there is damage to property but you do not how to give the information to the owner like when you run off the road and destroy signs, or landscaping.  You can report it to law enforcement, leave a note and contact the agency or property owner.  This scenario is often seen when traffic signs or road barriers are damaged.

What factors are considered in DUI plea bargaining?

There are many factors considered in plea bargaining and negotiating DUI cases in North San Diego County cases which stem from arrests in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido and Encinitas California.  The facts of the cases themselves are very important.  They include the dangerousness of the driving, attitude with the officer, prior record, field sobriety tests and blood alcohol level (B.A.).  Blood alcohol level is probably one of the most important, but two people arrested for a DUI with the same B.A. may not necessarily get the same resolution.  It is a consideration of all the factors along with the circumstances and background of the individual arrested which may achieve the best result. Other legal onsiderations include any potential problems with the case like witnesses, testing or search and detention issues.

When is first DUI Court date scheduled in Vista Courts?

The first DUI Court date for a Vista Court case is the arraignment and is usually scheduled about 30 days after the arrest for a misdemeanor and about 7 days after arrest for a felony.  However, if you remain in custody you will have that first date within 3 court days.  The DUI Court date is on the bail or bond release paperwork if arrested or on a citation if not arrested.  Most people are arrested and post the $2500 bail for a misdemeanor.  Bail is significantly more for a felony.

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