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Jennifer Goldman represents all types of criminal cases in the Los Angeles area from Assault & Battery, restraining orders, and DUI offenses. Call us now at (619) 796 6841.
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WHEN IT’S YOU AGAINST THE STATE, THE ODDS ARE STACKED AGAINST YOU. YOU CAN LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD WITH REPRESENTATION BY AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WHO UNDERSTANDS THE LOCAL CRIMINAL COURT SYSTEM, AND CASES LIKE YOURS.
Assault & Battery

Assault & Battery in Southern California

Though typically charged together, the crimes of “assault” and “battery” are not the same.

What is “Assault” in Southern California?

“An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” (Cal. Penal Code § 240). 

In Southern California, assault is a realistic physical threat to injure another person. In other words, it is an intentional attempt to physically injure another, or a menacing or threatening act or statement that causes the other person to believe they are about to be attacked. This crime does not involve actual physical contact.

For example, throwing a punch at someone during an argument (but missing) is a simple assault in Southern California, as long as the intended victim was close enough to get hit by the punch. Words alone, such as “I’m going to hit you” are not assault, but threatening to hit someone with an object is considered an assault when accompanied by an action that shows intent to carry out the threat, such as winding up for a swing or throw.

It is important to note that for an act to constitute criminal assault, the conduct must be intentional. An action that is accidental is not a crime. For example, if someone swats at a fly without noticing that another person is close by, that person may not have criminal intent to commit a violent injury. An offender’s claim that he did not know that an intentional, angry and/or menacing act was against the law, however, does not negate intent.

Consequences of a Conviction for Simple Assault

Someone who commits a simple assault in Southern California generally is guilty of a misdemeanor. Certain assault crimes (called “wobblers”) can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. How they are charged is up to the prosecutor, and will depend on the specific facts of the case. When a simple assault is charged as a felony, the court may reduce the crime to a misdemeanor during the case proceedings.

For assault charges, the identity of the victim is an important factor in determining the severity of the offense and the possible punishment.

Assault against healthcare providers providing emergency treatment outside a hospital or clinic, and assault against public workers who are engaged in the performance of their duties, carry more severe penalties than simple assault, as long as the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was a healthcare provider or public worker engaged in performing his duties. These healthcare providers and public workers include:

  • doctors and nurses
  • emergency medical technicians and paramedics
  • school employees
  • fire fighters
  • lifeguards
  • animal control officers
  • highway workers
  • members of the United States military, when the assault is motivated by the fact of service in the military
  • public transportation employees, and
  • probation department employees.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 241, 241.1, 241.3, 241.5, 241.6, 241.8).

Examples of “wobbler” assaults which can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies include:

  • assault against a custodial officer such as a corrections officer at a jail or prison
  • assault against a school district police officer, and
  • assault against a juror or alternate juror by a party in the case.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 241.1, 241.4, 241.7, 1170).

Penalties for Simple Assault

A person who is convicted of simple assault faces the following possible penalties:

  • up to six months in jail
  • a fine up to $1000 (or $2000 if the assault is committed against a parking officer), and
  • up to six months of probation.
  • (Cal. Penal Code § 241).

Possible penalties for a simple assault against a healthcare provider or public worker (listed above) while performing his duties, as referenced above, include:

  • up to one year in jail
  • a fine up to $2000, and
  • up to one year of probation.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 241, 241.5, 241.6).

“Wobbler” assaults carry the following possible penalties:

  • up to one year in jail or
  • sixteen months, two years, or three years to be served in the county jail or state prison, depending on the offender’s criminal history
  • a fine up to $2000, and
  • up to three years of probation.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 241.1, 241.2, 241.4, 241.7, 241.8).

Assault with a deadly weapon is a more serious crime, and is classified as a felony. There is a different, more complex set of penalties for assault with a handgun, semi-automatic weapon, or other firearm. For more information, see Cal. Penal Code § 245, or contact a criminal defense attorney for help understanding the charges against you and how to fight them.

What is “Battery” in Southern California?

“A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” (Cal. Penal Code § 242).

In Southern California, battery is the intentional and unlawful use of force or violence against another. Physical contact is involved here. For example, punching or shoving someone during an argument would constitute battery. Hitting someone with a small object that physically injures the other person also constitutes battery.

Like assault, for an act to constitute criminal battery, the conduct must be intentional. An action that is accidental is not a crime. For example, if someone loses their balance and accidentally falls on another person, they likely did not intend to use force or violence against that person. An offender’s claim that he did not know that an intentional, angry and/or menacing act was against the law, however, does not negate intent.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 242, 243).

Consequences of a Conviction for Simple Battery

Someone who commits a simple battery in Southern California generally is guilty of a misdemeanor. Certain battery crimes (called “wobblers”) can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. How they are charged is up to the prosecutor, and will depend on the specific facts of the case. When a simple assault is charged as a felony, the court can reduce the crime to a misdemeanor during the case proceedings.

As with assault, the identity of the victim is a significant factor in determining the severity of a battery offense and the possible penalties. Battery against public workers and healthcare providers during the performance of their duties carries more severe penalties than simple battery against other victims, if the person committing the offense knew or should have known that the victim was such a public worker engaged in performing his duties.

Simple battery offenses are subject to more severe penalties when the victim is:

  • an intimate partner or certain family members (domestic violence battery)
  • an elderly person or disabled adult
  • a public transit passenger
  • anyone on public transit property or in a public transit motor vehicle
  • a school employee while performing his duties or in retaliation for actions taken by the school employee while performing his duties
  • a highway worker
  • a sports official while performing his duties at a sporting event, and
  • someone on school property, in a public park or on hospital grounds.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 243, 243.25, 243.3, 243.35, 243.6, 243.65, 243.8, 243.2).

Examples of “wobbler” battery offenses, which can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies include:

  • against a law enforcement officer while the officer is performing his duties
  • against a juror or alternate juror by a party in the case
  • battery (resulting in injury requiring medical treatment) against various public workers or healthcare providers, and
  • battery (resulting in injury requiring medical treatment) against a school employee while performing his duties, or in retaliation for action taken when he was performing his duties.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 243.1, 243.7, 243, 243.6).

Battery with a deadly weapon or with force likely to cause great bodily injury are more serious crimes, classified as felonies.

Penalties for Simple Battery

A person who is convicted of simple battery faces the following possible penalties:

  • up to six months in county jail
  • fine up to $2000, and
  • up to six months of probation.

(Cal. Penal Code § 243).

The enhanced penalty for other battery offenses (such as battery against a healthcare provider or public worker, domestic violence battery, and battery on school property) includes:

  • up to one year in county jail
  • fine up to $2000, and
  • up to one year of probation.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 243, 243.2, 243.25, 243.3, 243.35, 243.6, 243.65, 243.8).

Penalties for “wobbler” batteries charged as a felony include:

  • sixteen months to three years to be served in the county jail or state prison, depending on the offender’s criminal history and pending criminal charges
  • a fine up to $2000 (up to $5000 when the victim is a juror, or $10,000 when the victim is a public transport worker or passenger) and
  • up to three years of probation.

(Cal. Penal Code §§ 1170, 243).

Penalties for Battery Against a Law Enforcement Officer

If the victim of a simple battery charged, as a felony, is a law enforcement officer engaged in performing his duties (even if they happens to be working as a private security officer), and the offender knew or should have known the victim was a police officer, the possible penalties are:

  • sixteen months to three years in the county jail or state prison, depending on the offender’s criminal history and pending criminal charges
  • a fine up to $10,000, and
  • up to three years of probation.

(Cal. Penal Code § 243).

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIRELESS, RELENTLESS, COMPREHENSIVE LEGAL REPRESENTATION

The penalties for a conviction of a misdemeanor or felony extend beyond jail time, fines, probation, and restitution. The conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record, which can significantly affect your future. If you are later convicted of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence. A prior conviction can also make it difficult to find a job or to rent a home. A felony conviction results in losing the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror, own/carry firearms, and can result in the loss of a professional license.

When it’s you against the State, the odds are stacked against you. You can level the playing field with representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the local criminal court system, and cases like yours. Contact Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation, and find out how we can protect your rights.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence in Los Angeles

California Penal Code § 13700, defines domestic violence as “abuse committed against an adult or fully emancipated member of the family, a spouse, former spouse intimate partner, cohabitant, relative, domestic partner or the other parent of your child.” Some examples include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Kidnapping

The alleged act does not have to involve physical harm to another person to be considered domestic violence. In other words, acts that are abusive in nature with no physical contact may constitute domestic violence. Examples include:

  • Damaging another’s wireless device:
  • Damaging a telephone line
  • Destroying another’s personal property
  • False imprisonment
  • Making annoying or harassing phone calls
  • Making Threats
  • Mental or Emotional Abuse
  • Restraining order violations
  • Stalking
  • Verbal Abuse

Los Angeles Domestic Violence Law

Some of the most commonly charged domestic violence crimes include:

  • Corporal Injury to a Spouse or CohabitantPenal Code § 273.5 makes it a crime to inflict a “corporal injury” on your current or former spouse, cohabitant, or the parent of your child, resulting in a “traumatic condition.” A person commits this crime by injuring his/her intimate partner and causing a visible injury, even a minor injury such as a bruise or swelling.
  • Domestic Battery. Penal Code § 243(e)(1) makes it a misdemeanor crime to use force or inflict injury upon your current or former spouse or cohabitant, parent of your child, fiancé, current or former dating partner. Unlike Penal Code 273.5, you do not need to cause a visible injury to be charged with Domestic Battery.
  • Criminal Threats. Penal Code § 422 makes it a crime to make a threat of serious harm to someone or their family and in doing so, intentionally cause that person to fear for their safety. Criminal Threats may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Damaging a Telephone Line. Penal Code § 591 makes it a crime to cut or damage a phone line or phone equipment. Damaging a Telephone Line can often be charged along with other domestic violence offenses. Frequently, allegations can be made that the phone line or equipment was damaged in order to prevent the alleged victim from making a phone call. Damaging a Telephone Line may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Aggravated Trespass. Penal Code § 601 makes it a crime to make a threat to cause serious bodily injury against another person, intending to cause that person to fear for their safety, and within 30 days entering the residence or workplace of that person to carry out the threat.  Aggravated Trespass is often charged along with other domestic violence offenses and can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Revenge Porn. Penal Code § 647(j)(4) makes it a crime to intentionally distribute sexually explicit images of another person with the intent to cause him or her emotional distress. Revenge Porn is often charged along with other domestic violence offences and is a misdemeanor crime.
  • Posting Harmful Information on the Internet. Penal Code § 653.2 makes it a crime to electronically distribute harmful information about another person with the intent to cause them unwanted physical contact, injury or harassment and in doing so, caused the person to fear for their safety. Posting Harmful Information on the Internet (also known as “indirect electronic harassment”) is often an attempt to seek revenge during a domestic dispute. This crime is charged as a misdemeanor.
  • Stalking and Cyber-Stalking. Penal Code § 646.9 makes it a crime to repeatedly follow, harass and make a threat against another person with the intent to cause them to fear for their safety. Stalking often is charged along with other domestic violence charges. California Stalking laws are very comprehensive and toughest in the nation. Stalking and Cyber-Stalking can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Violating a Protective Order. Penal Code § 273.6 makes it a crime to intentionally violate the terms of a court ordered restraining order against you. Protective Orders (also known as Restraining Orders, or Domestic Violence Protective Order) are often issued as a result of abusive, violent, or harassing behavior toward your spouse, ex-spouse, or partner. There are three types of Protective Orders: Emergency Protective Orders, Temporary Restraining Orders, and Permanent Restraining orders. Violating a Protective Order can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Consequences/Penalties:

Batteries involving people in the specified domestic violence relationships, noted above, are punished more severely than ordinary battery offenses.

When a defendant and victim share one of the domestic relationships identified by the battery statute, a conviction for battery carries up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. If the defendant is instead sentenced to probation, or the judge suspends imposition of the sentence, the defendant must complete a batterers’ program.

In addition to assessing a fine, a court may require a person convicted of a domestic violence offense to pay a fee that funds domestic violence prevention programs.

(California Penal Code §§ 243, 1463.27)

A person who willfully inflicts “corporal” (bodily) injury that results in a traumatic condition upon a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former co-habitant, or co-parent of the person’s child is guilty of a felony. “Traumatic condition” is a wound or external or internal injury caused by force.

Upon conviction, a defendant may be sentenced up to four years in prison and fined $6,000. If a defendant is sentenced to probation, the court may require the defendant to donate money to a battered women’s shelter, reimburse the victim for counseling, and other costs that directly result from the offense in lieu of a fine.

A conviction for willful infliction of corporal injury can be punished by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if the defendant has a prior conviction for any of the following offenses within the previous seven years:

  • willful infliction of corporal injury
  • battery involving serious bodily injury
  • sexual battery
  • an attempt to injure or disfigure a person with a flammable substance or caustic chemical
  • assault with a stun gun, or
  • assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm or by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.

(California Penal Code § 273.5)

Other penalties may include:

  • reimbursement of the victim’s medical expenses
  • a restraining order that prevents the convicted person from having contact with the victim for up to ten years
  • mandatory counseling
  • community service
  • at least three years of informal probation
  • formal probation
  • a possible strike on your criminal record (a felony domestic violence conviction is considered a “strike” for the purposes of California’s Three Strike Law)
  • loss of gun rights
  • immigration consequences (defendants who are not U.S. citizens could also find themselves the target of deportation or other immigration consequences)
  • loss of employment opportunities (a conviction can adversely affect your employment, both in the current position as well as in obtaining employment in the future)
  • loss of professional license (a conviction of domestic abuse could bar you from obtaining a professional license, or result in suspension or loss of a professional license)  

Protective Orders

A court may issue a temporary protective order without holding a hearing, known as an ex parte order, where a law enforcement officer asserts reasonable grounds to believe that a person is in immediate danger of domestic violence, based on the person’s allegations of recent domestic violence or threats of domestic violence.

The order may prohibit the alleged abuser from harming, harassing, or otherwise having contact with the alleged victim, as well as order the alleged abuser to move out of the home. After conducting a hearing involving the alleged aggressor and victim, the court may extend the protective order for up to five years.

(California Family Code §§ 6250, 6320, 6321, 6345)

Where a person is charged with a domestic violence crime, the court must consider issuing a protective order to protect the alleged victim from further violence, harassment, or any other form of contact from the defendant. Where a court has good cause to believe that harm or intimidation of a victim or witness is reasonably likely to occur, a court may issue an order directing a law enforcement agency to provide protection. The court may also issue an order to protect the immediate family members of a victim or a witness who reside with, or live in close proximity to, the victim or witness.

At sentencing for conviction of a domestic violence crime, a court may issue an order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the victim. The court may make the order effective for up to ten years.

Officers are required to make an arrest when it appears more likely than not that a suspect has violated a domestic violence protective order. If each side has protective orders against the other, the officer must determine who is the dominant aggressor. Under Southern California domestic violence law, the dominant aggressor is the most significant aggressor (not necessarily the initial aggressor). In identifying the dominant aggressor, the officer will consider several factors, including whether either person acted in self-defense.

Violating a protective order carries serious consequences. Beginning January 1, 2017, violation of a post-conviction restraining order (issued after the defendant was convicted of specific acts of domestic violence) carries a sentence of incarceration in the county jail for up to one year, a $1,000 fine, or both. A first violation must result in a sentence of 48 hours in the county jail if the violation resulted in physical injury. A second or subsequent violation occurring within seven years and involving an act of violence, or a credible threat of violence, may result in imprisonment in the county jail or state prison, and in more significant fines depending on the nature of the violation. Under the statute, each contact constitutes a separate violation.

(California Penal Code §§ 136.2, 166, 836)

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIRELESS, RELENTLESS, COMPREHENSIVE LEGAL REPRESENTATION

The penalties for a conviction of a misdemeanor or felony extend beyond jail time, fines, probation, and restitution. The conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record, which can significantly affect your future. If you are later convicted of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence. A prior conviction can also make it difficult to find a job or to rent a home. A felony conviction results in losing the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror, own/carry firearms, and can result in the loss of a professional license.

When it’s you against the State, the odds are stacked against you. You can level the playing field with representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the local criminal court system, and cases like yours. Contact Goldman Legal or call  (310) 742-6777 today at for a free consultation, and find out how we can protect your rights.

DUI

First Offense Southern California DUI 

Understanding your rights and the charges against you is crucial to obtaining a successful outcome in your case. It is vital to know that there are two separate actions in all drunk driving cases.

  • The first is an administrative action taken by the DMV against your driving privileges. You have 10 calendar days from the date of arrest to contact the DMV and request and administrative per se (APS) hearing or your license will be automatically suspended. The APS hearing is similar to a bench trial. There is a hearing officer who represents the Department of Motor Vehicles and hears evidence on the case. The issues are limited but you are entitled to subpoena records and witnesses including the arresting officer.
  • The second action is a criminal proceeding through the Los Angeles County Superior Court system. After an arrest for driving under the influence you will be issued a citation to appear in court. This is known as your arraignment. The Los Angeles County Superior Court system consists of thirty-eight courts, the court you are required to appear in will be determined by where you were arrested.

The majority of first offense DUI cases in are misdemeanor cases. Generally, a leading drunk driving defense lawyer can appear on your behalf meaning you may not have to appear in court. It is crucial, however, that you retain an attorney prior to your court date and do not fail to appear on your case. A failure to appear can result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

Hiring the right DUI Defense Lawyer

DUI laws are intricate and ever changing. An experienced DUI Attorney will know that DUI defense requires a detailed knowledge of the law as well as a deep understanding of the science behind blood alcohol levels, breath machines and the inaccuracies of Field Sobriety Tests. Hiring an attorney who does not dedicate their practice to DUI Defense can be detrimental to your case. You cannot afford to have a general practitioner when the stakes are your driving privileges and your freedom. The Goldman Legal firm is here to help you fight the charges against you and fight for your freedom. Click here or call (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation from a licensed criminal defense attorney with DUI trial experience. Do not wait until it is too late.

Second Offense DUI

Being arrested for a Second Offense DUI in Southern California can have devastating consequences. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may face a lengthy license suspension and mandatory jail time. If you are arrested for driving under the influence within 10 years of a prior drunk driving offense, you may face:

  • up to 1 year in county jail
  • an 18-month alcohol program
  • a fine of $390 to $1000 plus penalty assessments
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to 2 years.

You cannot afford to fight the charges without the help of a leading DUI attorney. You can lose your job, driving privileges and even your freedom if you do not know how to defend your rights. It is important to remember that even if your 1st offense was reduced to a “wet reckless” or violation of Vehicle Code section 23103.5, you will still be charged with a second offense DUI.

No matter what the circumstances of your drunk driving offense, you should not feel that you have to plead guilty simply because you were arrested. DUI cases are complicated. They often require a knowledge of science and criminal law that can evade even experienced attorneys, but DUI cases can be won. You have rights and should hire an attorney who will fight hard to defend those rights. The consequences for a 2nd Offense DUI can affect your entire life. You need the experience and expertise of a seasoned trial attorney. The Goldman Legal firm is here to help you. Contact our offices today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation.

Facing a Second Offense DUI Arrest while on Probation

Unfortunately, many people are arrested within 3 years of a prior drunk driving offense. This means that you are likely still on probation. If you are on probation, you can have additional consequences since being convicted of a subsequent DUI is a violation of the terms of your probation on your prior case. It is generally best to have an attorney represent you in both the violation of probation and the current DUI case. A drunk driving lawyer will know how to defend the additional charges that you may face and can help get you the best possible outcome in both cases.

Penalties for a DUI in Southern California – Second Offense

If you are convicted for driving under the influence with a prior DUI within 10 years then you could be sentenced to jail. The Court generally requires a mandatory 96 hours of jail time. In serious cases, you can face up to 1 year of jail time. You will also be required to complete an alcohol program that will last a minimum of 18 months. This alcohol program may also be required to obtain your driving privileges. The court can assess a fine up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments and a 2-year license suspension can be imposed by the DMV. A newer requirement of a 2nd offense DUI is the ignition interlock device. This device is placed on the vehicle and requires the operator to blow into it to start the car. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. In addition to these consequences, a judge may require your vehicle to be impounded, community service or a MADD Victim Impact Panel. Given the seriousness of a 2nd Offense DUI, you need to contact Goldman Legal today. We can help you understand the charges against you and will help you fight those charges. We are not afraid to take your case to trial. You need the help of a team of criminal defense lawyers who know drunk driving laws and will fight hard to get you justice.

Third Offense DUI

Facing charges for a 3rd Offense DUI in Southern California can affect your entire life. You can face serious jail time and other consequences if you are convicted. You need to act fast to fight the charges against you and protect your driving privileges. A prosecutor may only charge you with a 3rd offense if the prior drunk driving charges are within 10 years. You could face up to 1 year in jail if you are convicted as well as up to 5 years of informal probation. Remember, just because you are arrested for driving under the influence does not mean that you must plead guilty. There are defenses to DUI charges. You need a team of aggressive DUI Defense Lawyers that will fight the charges against you and get the outcome you deserve.

Penalties for a 3rd Offense DUI in Southern California

If you have 2 prior convictions of Vehicle Code section(s) 23152, 23153 or 23103.5 (wet reckless) within 10 years and are arrested on a subsequent drunk driving charge you face 120 days to 1 year in jail, a fine of $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments and you must complete an 18 to 30-month alcohol program.  The California Department of Motor Vehicles can and will impose up to a 3 year revocation of your driving privileges. You will as receive 2 points on your driving records and may have to complete a MADD Victim Impact Panel, community service or even have your vehicle subject to impoundment. The DMV will require you to maintain proof of financial responsibility for 3 years and you will likely experience an increase in your auto insurance or your carrier may drop you altogether. You may lose your right to maintain a commercial license. If you refuse a chemical test you may face an additional 10 days in jail. If you have someone under the age of 14 in your vehicle you will face an additional 30 days in jail. If you are charged with excessive speed you could face an additional 60 days in jail.

Hiring the Right DUI Lawyer

Given these consequences, you cannot afford to face these charges without the help of an experienced DUI Defense Attorney. The Goldman Legal Law firm can help. We have handled hundreds of DUI cases and are seasoned trial attorneys. Lead trial lawyer Jennifer R. Goldman began her career working at the San Diego Public Defender’s Office and previously worked with DUI Guru Darryl Genis, handling drunk driving cases for his firm. She knows what it takes to get a dismissal of the charges you are facing as well as a set aside through the DMV. She is licensed in California, D.C, and recently received the Clients’ Choice award through AVVO. Ms. Goldman is a proud member of the Criminal Defense Bar Association of San Diego and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. She is a past board member of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers as well as a founding member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association. She is a current officer at the State Bar College and member of the California DUI Lawyers Association as well as the National College of DUI Defense. She has handled nearly every kind of drunk driving case and has received notable outcomes on her cases. You need an attorney with results and experience that you can trust. You need Jennifer R. Goldman, click here for a free consultation.

DUI with Injury

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Southern California and there was an injury to another person you can (and likely will) be charged with violation of Vehicle Code section(s) 23153 (a) and/or (b).

A prosecutor must prove that you caused the injury to the other person. Proving causation can be tricky but usually is arrived at by showing that you committed an unlawful act or that the injury was a result of your negligence. DUI with injury (Vehicle Code section(s) 23153 (a) and/or (b)) is known as a “wobbler” in the State of California. This means that it is at the discretion of a prosecutor to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony. However, if it is your third conviction of DUI with injury then you will automatically face felony charges.

Understanding Vehicle Code §23153

Vehicle Code §23153 (a) states that it is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.

What this means is that you can be charged with a DUI with injury even if your blood alcohol is under .08%. A prosecutor must show that you were under the influence of alcohol. They will have the power and money of the State of California at their disposal to hire a toxicologist to say that people are impaired and therefore unable to drive at .05% BAC. It also means that the injury does not have to be to another driver, it can be to a passenger in your vehicle or a pedestrian or any other person besides yourself. A prosecutor, however, must prove that you were the proximate cause of the person’s injury.

Vehicle Code §23153 (b) states that it is unlawful for a person, while having .08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.

Known as the Per Se count, the State argues that all people are under the influence of alcohol and therefore too impaired to drive if their blood alcohol is .08% or higher. It is important to remember that you can be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol level is under .08%. The prosecutor simply cannot charge you with this second count. You can also be convicted of one count and not the other one.

Fighting the charges – DUI with Injury

The consequences of a conviction for DUI with Injury are devastating. They can affect your entire life and could result in the loss of your job, driving privileges and even your freedom. Pleading guilty without consulting an attorney will result in jail time. You need to understand the charges that you are facing and fight hard to protect your rights and your freedom. You need the knowledge and training of the lawyers at Goldman Legal. Contact our offices today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation. We will not hesitate to take your case to trial. Our advocates are here for you regardless of the circumstances of your case.

Felony DUI in Southern California

Most drunk driving charges across California are filed as misdemeanors. There are, however, certain circumstances that may result in felony charges. If you are arrested for your 4th DUI and have three prior convictions within 10 years, you will likely face felony charges. In addition, Vehicle Code section 23153 (DUI with Injury) is a “wobbler” and can be charged as a felony at the prosecutor’s discretion.

A conviction for a felony DUI can result in you being sentenced to state prison. Felony charges are serious offenses that will require you to pay thousands of dollars in court fines and restitution, if applicable. You need an attorney who understands the weight of the penalties that you are facing. You want someone who will fight for your rights. Just because you were arrested for a felony DUI does not mean that you should plead guilty. You have a right to go to trial. You have a right to review the evidence in your case and cross-examine the arresting officer. You have the right to put on a defense. You need Goldman Legal to defend your rights and protect you from the severe penalties that you may be facing after an arrest for a Felony DUI. Click here or call  (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction

A District Attorney will file felony charges against you if you are arrested for driving under the influence and you have three prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years. A conviction for a “wet reckless” (CVC 23103.5) is priorable and therefore will count as a prior conviction. Prior convictions within the ten-year period are based on arrest date or more accurately, violation date. If you are unsure about what prior convictions are considered, you need to consult a knowledgeable DUI Defense Lawyer to help you understand the charges and fight for your rights.

DUI with Injury in Southern California

Violation of Vehicle Code Section 23153 or DUI with Injury is known as a “wobbler.” This means that the prosecutor can charge the offense as a misdemeanor or a felony. A prosecutor will bring felony charges for violation of CVC 23153 after considering the circumstances of your case and your prior criminal history. Great Bodily Injury (GBI) is considered a primary factor in determining whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. GBI is determined on a case-by-case situation but will include things such as broken bones, severe lacerations or internal bleeding.

No matter what the circumstances of your drunk driving offense, you need to contact Goldman Legal immediately after arrest. We will contact the DMV on your behalf and build a defense. Contact Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation, and find out how we can protect your rights.

Military DUI

If you are in the military and have been arrested for driving under the influence you can face serious consequences. You will likely have to appear in a civilian court and could face a suspension of your driving privileges in addition to the penalties that you may face from your commanding officer. The amount of “off base” DUI arrests for service members is higher in California due to the large concentration of military bases across the state. Whether you serve in the Army, US Marine Corps or Navy the Goldman Legal firm can help. We have worked with numerous service men and women, defending their rights in civilian court and assisting with actions taken by the military. Click here or call  (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation.

Military DUI Consequences

Due to the sensitive nature of your job, you need an attorney who understands the additional consequences that you could face. The military may take immediate action after a conviction for a DUI including suspension or termination of your Security Clearance. A DUI conviction may result in you being remanded to base and unable to obtain leave. You may face a revocation of pass privileges and be required to commit to corrective training. You may not be able to transfer or get a reassignment and may be removed from potential promotions. In some cases, you may be relieved from duty and barred from re-enlisting. You will likely have to complete an alcohol program through the military, which has greater compliance requirements than a civilian program. Ultimately, an arrest for a Military DUI may result in a reduction in rank or even a dishonorable discharge.

You need to act fast to protect your rank and livelihood through the military. We at Goldman Legal can help. Our team is dedicated to drunk driving defense. We will fight hard to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. We are not afraid to take your case to trial to get the outcome you deserve. We know what is at stake for military personnel. Do not let an “off base” DUI arrest end your career. In most cases, we can appear on your behalf. We will defend your rights in court and represent you at the Administrative Per Se hearing through the California Department of Motor Vehicles. No matter what the circumstances of your case, we can help. Act now to protect your rights and your freedom.

Multiple DUI Convictions

If you are arrested and convicted of multiple DUI convictions, you will be facing jail time in Southern California. A 2nd or 3rd DUI conviction within 10 years will likely still be charged as a misdemeanor, but carries with it serious consequences that can affect your entire life. You could lose everything including your job, your license and your freedom. The first call you should make after an arrest for any DUI is to a leading drunk driving defense attorney who knows the law and will fight hard to protect your rights.

Here at Goldman Legal our lead trial lawyer and owner Jennifer R. Goldman has dedicated her career to defending the rights of those arrested for driving under the influence. She is not afraid to take your case to trial. She has proven results from negotiating reductions to the charges to getting charges dismissed altogether. She has been successful in getting APS Hearing set asides through the DMV and obtaining acquittals in court. No matter what the circumstances of your case, Ms. Goldman can help. Multiple DUI convictions can have devastating consequences. You cannot afford to represent yourself or higher an attorney that does not know the intricacies of DUI defense. Visit our website or call the Goldman Legal team at (310) 742-6777 today for a free consultation.

Consequences for a Second Offense DUI in Southern California

If you are convicted of a second drunk driving offense within 10 years (prior conviction of Vehicle Code § 23152, 23153 or 23103.5) you will face a jail term of 96 hours to 1 year, a fine of $390 to $1000 plus penalty assessments, completion of a minimum 18-month alcohol program, a 2 year license suspension and 3 to 5 years of informal probation. The offense will count as 2 points on your driving record and the court can impound your vehicle. You will be required to provide and maintain proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) for a 3-year period to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. You will be unable to obtain or keep a commercial license. If you were driving on a suspended, revoked or outside the parameters of your restricted license you could face an additional 5 days to 1 year in jail as well as a fine of $500 to $2,000. Finally, you may be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Consequences for a Third Offense DUI in Southern California

A conviction for a Third Offense DUI in Southern California (within 10 years) will result in informal probation that lasts from 3 to 5 years, 120 days to 1 year in jail, a fine of $390 to $1,000 fine plus penalty assessments, completion of an 18 month alcohol program and up to a 3 year license suspension or revocation. The court could impound your vehicle for up to 90 days at your expense. If you refuse a chemical test, you will face an additional mandatory 10 days of jail and an additional 60 days consecutive jail for excessive speed.

Southern California DUI – “Wet Reckless” Plea

If you have been arrested for a DUI you may hear the term “Wet Reckless” used to describe a reduction to the charges. A “Wet Reckless” plea may be a favorable outcome in your case but it can also have consequences. It is imperative that you speak to a qualified DUI Attorney before accepting any plea deal. There are a number of issues in every drunk driving offense. You need to understand the law, your rights and the defenses before accepting a plea even if it is a reduction to the initial drunk driving charge. Click here or call (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation from experienced DUI attorney Jennifer Goldman.

Vehicle Code Section 23103.5 – Law

In California, driving under the influence is usually charged as violation of Vehicle Code Section(s) 23152 (a) and/or (b). Violation of this Vehicle Code states that you were driving under the influence of alcohol (CVC 23152(a)) with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater (CVC 23152(b)). The prosecution must prove that you were under the influence and therefore impaired to drive to obtain a conviction of CVC 23152(a) and that you had a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher for CVC 23152(b). In some cases, the prosecution may be unable to prove that you were “under the influence” or that you had a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher at the time of driving. Your case may be eligible for a reduction of the charges known as a “wet reckless.” In most cases, the prosecutor will not simply offer a reduction of the charges. An experienced litigator may be able to negotiate the reduction.

Vehicle Code section 23103.5 or a wet reckless is reckless driving with alcohol involved. It does not denote a blood alcohol level (as with violation of Vehicle Code section 23152(b)) and does not state that you were “under the influence” of alcohol. It, therefore, may not carry the same consequences as a plea to traditional DUI charges. A “wet reckless” does not typically have set penalties such as Southern California drunk driving charges. Instead the penalties may be negotiated prior to the plea.

Entering a Plea to a “Wet Reckless” in Southern California 

There are a number of things to consider prior to entering a plea to a “wet reckless.” Only a qualified DUI Defense Attorney can advise you on what is best in your case. Every drunk driving incident is unique. Different facts dictate what is the best possible outcome. With that being said, a plea to a “wet reckless” is still a priorable offense. This means that if you pick up a subsequent DUI charge within 10 years it will be charged as a second offense. Furthermore, you could still face a license suspension through the Department of Motor Vehicles. While there is no action taken from a conviction of a “wet reckless” like there is from a conviction for driving under the influence you can still lose your driving privileges from the Administrative Per Se Hearing that is based solely off of the arrest.

Goldman Legal can help you fight the charges against you following an arrest for a Southern California DUI. Jennifer R. Goldman is an experienced criminal defense attorney who fights for her clients. She is well versed in the science of DUI defense and will not rest until you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Call Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 or click here for a free consultation. Speak to a real attorney and get real results when you need them most.

Southern California DUI Court Process

In every Southern California DUI case there are two separate actions. The first is an administrative per se hearing conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. This hearing determines whether your driving privileges will be suspended based solely off of the arrest. This is completely independent of the court process. The second is a criminal proceeding through the Los Angeles County Superior Court system.

Southern California DUI Criminal Proceeding

After an arrest for driving under the influence in Los Angeles you will be issued a citation to appear in court. In some circumstances you may be mailed a “Notice to Appear” in lieu of the initial citation. This first court appearance is known as an arraignment. At the arraignment you may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you enter a plea of “Not Guilty” then your case will be set for pre-trial. In some instances, your case may not be filed on your initial court date. There are a number of reasons that your case is not filed. It may be that the arresting agency has not submitted all of the information, the prosecutor may be behind on filing charges or they may be awaiting additional evidence. No matter what the reason for the delay, you must appear at your arraignment. Failure to appear may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. If your case is not filed, the prosecutor has one year to file charges on misdemeanors. You will receive a notice to appear in the mail once your case is filed.

In most cases, a licensed DUI Lawyer can appear on your behalf at the criminal proceeding. They can continue the arraignment, enter a plea or set the case for pre-trial. The court will usually limit the amount of appearances on a case before requiring it be resolved or set for trial.

Arraignment and Pre-Trial Phase

The arraignment and pre-trial phases of the criminal proceedings allow you to obtain evidence and review the case prior to taking the case to trial. An experienced drunk driving defense lawyer will use this time to review the police report, conduct the APS hearing through the DMV which will allow you to subpoena additional evidence and even cross-examine the arresting officer or other witnesses under oath. During these phases, negotiations also begin with the prosecutor assigned to the case. You may be given an initial offer for a plea deal. You should never plead guilty on a case prior to consulting a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney. You may be pleading guilty when your case could get reduced or even dismissed.

DUI and Field Sobriety Tests

Contrary to popular belief, if you are pulled over and the officer suspects that you are driving under the influence you do not have to perform field sobriety tests. You are required to submit to a chemical breath or blood test that is performed after arrest, but field sobriety tests (FSTs) are done prior to arrest and are not required by law. FSTs are designed to make you fail. They are often difficult to complete even by a sober individual. How you perform on a field sobriety test can be greatly affected by things such as your weight, age, time of day, area where it is conducted and the instructions given by the officer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that there are only three standardized Field Sobriety Tests. All other tests are not scientific and are not good indicators of a person’s sobriety or intoxication.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – the involuntary jerking of the eyes as they gaze toward the side. While this occurs naturally, HGN may occur sooner when a person is intoxicated. An officer holds a stimulus in front of the subject and then moves the stimulus from smoothly across their field of vision looking for three “clues” to determine intoxication:
    • Lack of smooth pursuit
    • Distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation
    • Onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees
  • Walk and Turn (WAT) – requires a subject to walk nine heel-to-toe steps down a real or imaginary line, turn and walk nine heel-to-toe steps back. The Walk-and-turn test has two distinct stages: instructional stage and walking stage. The officer looks for the following clues:
    • Inability to keep balance during instructions
    • Starting prior to instructions being finished
    • Stopping while walking
    • Not stepping heel-to-toe
    • Stepping off the line
    • Using arms to balance
    • Improper turn
    • Incorrect number of steps
  • One Leg Stand (OLS) – requires a subject to balance on one leg for 30 seconds. This test is also broken into two stages: the instructional stage and the balance and counting stage. The officer looks for the following clues to determine intoxication:
  • Swaying while balancing
  • Using arms for balance
  • Hopping
  • Putting foot down

Each of these standardized field sobriety tests require specific instructions and circumstances to be accurate. Many times officers will not perform the tests according to NHTSA requirements and therefore render the tests inaccurate. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles and performed field sobriety tests, contact Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation, and find out how we can protect your rights.

Southern California Commercial License and Endorsement

If you have your commercial license and are arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles, you will face harsh penalties that can affect your livelihood. California Vehicle Code section 23152(d) states that it is unlawful for a person who has 0.04% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle. If you are not driving a commercial vehicle but are arrested for driving under the influence you can lose your commercial license for one year. For a 2nd DUI arrest you can face a lifetime ban on your commercial license.

Most people that have a commercial license use the license in coordination with their profession and losing their license means the loss of their job. Therefore, more is at stake for those with commercial licenses or endorsements if they are facing DUI charges.

Being arrested for drunk driving can be a terrifying experience, even for seasoned drivers. It can have grave consequences that you should not face alone. The team at Goldman Legal are professional litigators that will fight hard for your freedom and to protect your license. Lead trial attorney Jennifer R. Goldman is an experienced defense lawyer. She knows DUI law and will not rest until you get the outcome you deserve. Her professional memberships include the Criminal Defense Bar Association of San Diego, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, DUI Defense Lawyers Association, State Bar College, California DUI Lawyers Association, National College of DUI Defense and the California Young Lawyers Association. She is a noted speaker and has graduated from the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College. She has the experience and expertise you need to protect your rights.  Click here or call (310) 742-6777 today for a free consultation.

Southern California DUI and Commercial License Suspension

Under California Vehicle Code section 15300 you will not be able to operate a commercial motor vehicle if you are convicted of driving under the influence, DUI with injury, leaving the scene of an accident involving a motor vehicle operated by the driver, using a motor vehicle to commit a felony, driving a commercial vehicle with a revoked, suspended or canceled commercial license, causing a fatality, or refusing to submit to a chemical test.

Under California Vehicle Code section 15302 you will face a lifetime ban of your commercial license if you are convicted of a second offense of any of the above listed violations.

Given the potential penalties, you need to act fast if you were arrested for a DUI and have a commercial license or endorsement. Everything that you have worked for could be lost in an instant. Do not make the mistake of pleading guilty simply because you were arrested. There are a number of defenses that arise in drunk driving cases. Call Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 to speak to a knowledgeable attorney.

Southern California DUI and Out-of-State Drivers

If you or a loved one is visiting from out-of-state and were arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, call Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation. Our drunk driving defense attorneys are well versed in handling cases for non-residents. We will fight hard to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. In most cases, our lawyers can appear on your behalf.

Perhaps the biggest mistake that a person can make if they are an out-of-state driver and arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles is to fail to appear in court. It is understandable that you may be unable to return for a future court date, but a failure to appear will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. If you have an outstanding warrant it could affect your ability to obtain a license or even travel.

The Goldman Legal law firm knows how important it is to get the charges minimized if you are not a California resident. In many cases we can have court requirements transferred to your home state or dismissed altogether. California has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the country, but the team at our firm can help. Click here for a free consultation.

Out-of-State Driver and the DMV

All drivers arrested in California for driving under the influence are subject to having their California driving privileges suspended 30 days from the date of arrest. If you have a license from another state and that state participates in the Interstate Drivers’ License Compact, your home state may suspend your driving privileges as well. It is important that you still contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of your arrest to request an administrative per se hearing on the suspension of your driving privileges. This hearing allows you to review evidence, subpoena documents and even cross-examine witnesses such as the arresting officer. Failure to contact the California DMV within 10 calendar days of your arrest will result in the suspension of your driving privileges in California. The suspension begins 30 days from the date of arrest.

Contact the firm at Goldman Legal today if you were arrested for a Los Angeles DUI and hold an out-of-state driver’s license. Our attorneys will walk you through the DMV hearing process as well as the criminal court process. You need to act fast to preserve your rights. Call Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation.

Southern California DUI Penalties

Penalties for a First Offense DUI

  • 3 to 5 years informal probation
  • 48 hours to 6 months in jail
  • $390 to $1000 fine plus penalty assessments
  • 3-month alcohol program (9-month alcohol program if blood alcohol concentration was .20% or higher or for a chemical test refusal)
  • Suspension of your driving privileges

You will also face a potential driver’s license suspension based solely off of the arrest. This is determined by the Department of Motor Vehicles. You have 10 days to contact the DMV following an arrest for a DUI or your license will be automatically suspended.

Penalties for a Second Offense DUI

  • 3 to 5 years informal probation
  • 96 hours to 1 year in jail
  • 18-month to 30-month alcohol program
  • $390 to $1000 fine plus penalty assessments
  • Suspension of your driving privileges

If you are on probation for your 1st offense, you will face additional penalties. If you are driving on a suspended license and arrested for driving under the influence you could face mandatory jail time. Your vehicle could be subject to impoundment and you could be required to install an ignition interlock device.

Penalties for a Third Offense DUI

  • 3 to 5 years informal probation
  • 120 days to 1 year in jail
  • 18-month to 30-month alcohol program
  • $390 to $1000 fine plus penalty assessments
  • Revocation of your driving privileges

A third conviction of driving under the influence within 10 years will severely increase the penalties that you face. Your fines and jail time will increase significantly.

Southern California DUI Probation Violation

If you are convicted of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, you will most likely be placed on informal probation. Informal probation lasts for 3 to 5 years from the date of conviction. A condition of that probation is that you cannot violate any law. Therefore, if you pick up a new drunk driving charge or any other offense you will have violated probation and will face additional penalties on the new case as well as for violating your probation on the prior case.

Driving with a measurable amount of alcohol while on probation If you are on probation for driving under the influence of alcohol you will be placed on a zero tolerance requirement meaning that you must not operate a motor vehicle with a measurable amount of alcohol in your system – CVC 23600.  This means that you can face penalties for driving with any alcohol in your system – not solely being over .08%.

Fulfilling conditions of your DUI probation you may face a probation violation for not complying with the terms of your probation such as paying your fine, showing proof of enrollment or completion in your alcohol program or failing to comply with any other court order such as community service. Failure to comply with the terms of your probation can and will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

Hiring the Right Attorney for your Los Angeles DUI Probation Violation

Whether you forgot to attend a post-conviction court date or failed to attend your alcohol program, you need the help of a skilled DUI Defense Lawyer who can appear on your behalf and resolve the issue with your case. If you have a new violation, the attorneys at Goldman Legal can handle both your probation violation and the new charges that you are facing. Do not let one poor decision ruin your entire life. Many probation violations can be resolved in one court date with the help of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Without the help of a qualified attorney you could face serious consequences including jail time. Let our team of professionals represent you in court and handle all aspects of your case. Alleviate the worry and stress by hiring the best.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIRELESS, RELENTLESS, COMPREHENSIVE LEGAL REPRESENTATION

It is highly recommended that you hire a leading DUI Lawyer prior to stepping foot in a criminal courtroom. The first call you should make after arrest is Goldman Legal. Our team of drunk driving defense attorneys knows the laws and defenses to DUI charges. You need to act fast to protect your rights. Do not make the mistake of entering a plea simply because you were arrested. Contact Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation, and find out how we can protect your rights.

Drug-Related Offenses

Drug Possession Crimes in Los Angeles

All drug possession crimes in California are classified as infractions, misdemeanors, “wobblers,” or felonies.

  • Infractions do not include jail time
  • misdemeanors can result in up to a year in jail
  • felonies carry state prison sentences of a year or more (although first offenders may be eligible for probation).

A “wobbler” is an offense that may be charged or sentenced as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and the decisions of the prosecutor and/or judge.

How Los Angeles Classifies Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS)

CDS are divided by the State of California into five “schedules.”

  • Schedule I drugs (such as opiates or marijuana).
  • Schedule II drugs (such as raw opium and morphine).
  • Schedule III drugs (such as pentobarbital and anabolic steroids).
  • Schedule IV drugs (such as diazepam and zolpidem).
  • Schedule V drugs (such as low doses of codeine).

If you’ve been arrested for possession for personal use of CDS, consult the statute specifying your offense, then look at the California Code that list precisely which drugs, and in what amounts, fit into each group. Those statutes are California Health and Safety Code Sections 11053 through 11057. Alternatively, you can discuss your charge with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can answer your questions and protect your rights.

Possession of CDS

Possession of any amount of the following CDS is punishable by up to one year of incarceration in the county jail:

  • Schedule I opiates, opium derivatives, cocaine base, mescaline, peyote, or synthetic cannabis (including their isomers, esters, ethers, salts, and salts of isomers, esters, and ethers)
  • Schedule II narcotics or opiates
  • Schedule III hallucinogens, and
  • Schedule III, IV or V narcotics without a valid prescription.

Under Proposition 47, these penalties are available only to offenders who are not registered sex offenders, or who do not have convictions for specified serious or violent crimes (i.e., murder; certain sex crimes; and gun crimes). Defendants who do not qualify for misdemeanor treatment may be charged with “wobblers” or felonies, depending on the drug and the amount at issue.

Possession of Marijuana

The unlawful possession of marijuana is punished based on the amount of the CDS involved. The recreational use of marijuana without a physician’s recommendation has been legal since January 1, 2018 for those 21 years or older. Under California Health and Safety Code 113621 a person 21 years or older may legally posses no more than 28.5 grams of cannabis, 8 grams of cannabis concentrate (highly potent THC concentrated mass that looks like honey or butter), and 6 living cannabis plants.

  • Possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana is an infraction and is punishable by a fine of not more than $100.
  • A person over the age of 18 who possesses less than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, on the grounds of an elementary, middle, or high school during school hours is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to incarceration of up to ten days, a fine of $500, or both.
  • A person under the age of 18 who possesses less than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, on the grounds of an elementary, middle, or high school during school faces a fine of up to $250 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of up to $500, community service, and the court may order you to participate in a 4-hour drug education program.
  • Consumption of marijuana, concentrate, edibles, hash, hash oil (BHO), and/or CO2 oil in public areas is prohibited, classified as an infraction and punishable by fine.
  • Consumption of marijuana, concentrate, edibles, hash, hash oil (BHO), and/or CO2 oil in areas where tobacco use has also been prohibited is classified as an infraction and punishable by fine.
  • Consumption of marijuana, concentrate, edibles, hash, hash oil (BHO), and/or CO2 oil on private property such as; a home, restaurant, or lounge where tobaccos use has been prohibited. If you are renting and the landlord/ management has declared the private property  “smoke-free” you may face eviction.

(California Health and Safety Code 113621, 113624, 11357)

Unauthorized cultivation, sale, or distribution of marijuana in California are charged as felonies, and carry more serious penalties, including longer incarceration periods, significantly higher criminal fines, and civil fines to cover expenses by the State in seizing, destroying, or handling illegal marijuana.

(Ca. Health & Safety Code §§ 11358, 11359, 11372, 11470.1)

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIRELESS, RELENTLESS, COMPREHENSIVE LEGAL REPRESENTATION

The penalties for a conviction of a misdemeanor or felony extend beyond jail time, fines, probation, and restitution. The conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record, which can significantly affect your future. If you are later convicted of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence. A prior conviction can also make it difficult to find a job or to rent a home. A felony conviction results in losing the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror, own/carry firearms, and can result in the loss of a professional license.

When it’s you against the State, the odds are stacked against you. You can level the playing field with representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the local criminal court system, and cases like yours. Click here to contact Goldman Legal or call  (310) 742-6777 today for a free consultation, and find out how we can protect your rights.

Expungements

Expungements or Petitions for Relief

The ramifications of criminal charges can negatively impact your life, long after the case itself is resolved, regardless of the outcome. For example, a charge on your criminal record can become an obstacle when you are seeking employment, applying to become a coach for a youth sports team, or even attempting to adopt a child.

Many people don’t realize that even in cases in which the charges are ultimately dismissed, a record of the initial arrest and the original charge and/or charges remains, and as such, will appear on a criminal background check. Fortunately, California provides a legal solution for eligible applicants through a process called an expungement, a service Goldman Legal provided to various clients.

Depending on the circumstances of your previous case(s), you may be able to expunge  documentation of the arrests, criminal complaints issued against you, and even convictions for certain offenses, allowing you the move on with your life with a truly clean slate.

This can be accomplished by completing the necessary procedures associated with the expugement process, which entails filing of an expungement petition with the Superior Court and a series of subsequent steps.  Goldman Legal has assisted many of clients in successfully expunging their criminal records.

If you meet the necessary criteria, a petition for expungement may be submitted to the Superior Court for approval. If the Superior Judge subsequently signs the order approving your expungement, any documentation related to the offense or offenses listed in your expungement petition is essentially eliminated.

After the court enters the expungement order, you are legally permitted to respond to any questions regarding these previous arrests, charges, or convictions with the answer “No.” In addition, if potential employers, agencies, or others seek to verify your statement by a running a criminal background check in the future, you will have a clean record to prove it. It is important to note that there are two exceptions to this rule, applicable only to those pursuing employment in law enforcement or the judicial branch of government.

By enlisting an experienced criminal defense firm like Goldman Legal to facilitate this complex legal process, you can ensure that your expungement petition is submitted, substantiated, and resolved with the best chances for a successful outcome.

Information from the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County

(Petition for Dismissal – Penal Code §§ 1203.4 & 1203.4a)

The petition for dismissal (expungement) process is available to all defendants who are convicted of a crime that meets the criteria listed in Penal Code §§ 1203.4 and 1203.4a. Ineligible violations are listed in Penal Code §1203.4(b).

  • Penal Code §§ 1203.4. 

(a) (1) In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. The probationer shall be informed, in his or her probation papers, of this right and privilege and his or her right, if any, to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. The probationer may make the application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing. However, in any subsequent prosecution of the defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if probation had not been granted or the accusation or information dismissed. The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.

  • Ineligible violations listed in Penal Code §1203.4(b)

(b) Subdivision (a) of this section does not apply to any misdemeanor that is within the provisions of Section 42002.1 of the Vehicle Code, to any violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, subdivision (j) of Section 289, Section 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, or 311.11, or any felony conviction pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 261.5, or to any infraction.

The Petition for Dismissal form must be completed in its entirety and filed in the court in which the matter was adjudicated.  It is the petitioner’s or the petitioner’s attorney of record’s responsibility to serve the prosecuting agency with any petitions filed.

The petitioner may be ordered to reimburse the court for the cost of processing each petition, whether the petition for dismissal is granted or denied. The fee for a misdemeanor is $60.00; the fee for a felony is $120.00.

If the court grants a petition for dismissal, the defendant may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation pursuant to Penal Code § 4852 et seq. 

Call Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation.

Military Diversion

What are the criteria for the Military Diversion Program (Penal Code, section 1001.80)?

Eligibility for those who are charged with a misdemeanor offense need to meet these criteria:

(1) The defendant was, or currently is, a member of the United States military.

(2) The defendant may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of his or her military service. The court may request using, existing resources and assessments to aid in the determination that this paragraph applies to a defendant.

(3) The defendant has not previously been accepted into the program for another criminal case.

How the Military Diversion Program Works in California

Under the military diversion program, a veteran who has been charged with a misdemeanor crime can participate in an approved program that addresses the mental health problems that the veteran may be experiencing. Upon completion of the program, which will take no longer than two years, the misdemeanor charge is dismissed and the arrest will be considered to “never have occurred.”

For those who have served and sacrificed for our country, this program is a chance to become rehabilitated and overcome the suffering from many mental health issues, which may have contributed to being charged with a misdemeanor. 

For more information on military diversion program, click here or call (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation with an experienced military diversion attorney at Goldman Legal.

Restraining Orders

Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)

You may be accused of these types of behaviors in the form of a restraining order, which can also be called a protective order.

    • Contacting, calling, or sending any messages (including e-mail, texting and social media platforms)
    • Attacking, striking, or battering
    • Stalking
    • Threatening
    • Sexually assaulting
    • Harassing
    • Destroying personal property

A restraining order (also called a “protective order”) is a court order that can protect someone from being physically or sexually abused, threatened, stalked, or harassed. The person getting the restraining order is called the “protected person.” The person the restraining order is against is the “restrained person.” Sometimes, restraining orders include other “protected persons” like family or household members of the protected person.

In other words, an order that tells one person to stop harassing or harming another, is issued after the person being harassed appears before a judge or submits appropriate paperwork. After the TRO is issued, the court holds a second hearing where the person being restrained can argue to the judge and the court can decide whether to make the TRO permanent by issuing an injunction. In domestic violence situations, the police tend to be more willing to intervene if there’s a TRO in place and the abused partner can show the other partner is violating it.  At Goldman Legal, experienced restraining order attorney Jennifer Goldman can help you obtain the best possible outcome. She has handled various restraining order cases throughout Southern California with personalized strategy and careful attention to detail on every case. Contact Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 for a free consultation.

California Penal Code 273.6- Violating a Restraining order or Protective Order

273.6.

(a) Any intentional and knowing violation of a protective order, as defined in Section 6218 of the Family Code, or of an order issued pursuant to Section 527.6, 527.8, or 527.85 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Charges

Restraining orders are not a criminal charge, but if you violate an order, you will be facing a misdemeanor charge. This can send you to jail for up to a year along with having to pay up to $1,000.00 as mentioned above.  Additionally, if you injured the protected person during the violation, the fine will be $2,000.00. You could face up to one year in jail, and will be required to serve a minimum of 30 days behind bars.

If you violate a restraining order twice or more within a year, the courts have the choice of now charging you with a felony. If, for instance, you violated the restraining order twice, and someone was injured, then the penalty would be six months to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,000.00 in cases in which the violation was charged as a misdemeanor. If the case is prosecuted as a felony, the jail time can increase to two to three years.

In order to be charged for violating a restraining order, three factors would have to be demonstrated:

  • The order itself has to be valid.  There are certain circumstances where a restraining order is not possible to abide by. For example, you might be ordered to come no closer than 100 yards from your neighbor, but you have to use a shared pathway to get to your house. This order should not have been granted as you can’t obey it. Or perhaps the court that issued the order did not have proper jurisdiction.
  • You knew there was a restraining order against you.  By law, you have to be given notice that an order is issued against you. You can’t be charged with violating it if you don’t know about it. It would have to be proven that it was improperly addressed, or it was handed in person by mistake to someone else, for example. Or you may not have been in court when the judge granted it.
  • Your violation was intentional.  For example, if you have been ordered to have no contact with your partner, but you run into him or her at the grocery store. A good defense could possibly take action to show that the violation was unintentional.

When a petition for a restraining order is granted against you, it can last for up to three years. This will show up with police departments and agencies throughout California and can adversely affect your employment prospects. For example, a potential employer could run a background check on you and discover the restraining order. Don’t wait, call Goldman Legal today at (310) 742-6777 and get a free consultation from an experienced restraining order attorney.

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