Criminal Law

5 Changes in California Marijuana Law that You Need to Know

In California, out with the old and in with the new should be the new motto. The legalization of recreational marijuana use hits the ballots in the Golden State in November, 2016, potentially making California the fifth and largest state to fully legalize recreational use of pot in the U.S.

If legalized, California would be joining Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia in allowing recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 and would reduce many of the marijuana drug crimes in the state.

So what would changes in this “budding” industry mean for California legally?

According to the [i]California Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, if recreationally legalized, residents of sunny California can expect some of the following changes:

  1. Like current alcohol laws, marijuana would be legal for purchase and consumption by residents aged 21 and over.
  1. Adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to cultivate marijuana at their home, in a garden space not exceeding 100 square feet.
  1. Old criminal marijuana laws would be repealed and replaced with new, more lenient regulations*:
  • $100 fine for possession of less than an ounce for people aged 18-20
  • $500 fine for adults over the age of 21 sharing marijuana with people under 21.
  • $500 fine possessing more than one ounce outside of the home
  • $500 for smoking marijuana in public or where otherwise prohibited
  • Possible criminal implications for possessing more than 1 pound
  • Possible criminal implications for any cultivation by persons under the age of 21
  • Juvenile offenses will be punished by fines ranging from $100-$500 for first and second time offenses, with the third offense being punished by 10 days in a juvenile facility.
  • Felony “wobbler” offenses will be treated as either misdemeanors with punishments of up to 6 months in jail and/or $1000.00 fines or as felonies. These wobbler offenses include; the cultivation of marijuana on county, state or federal property, exporting marijuana out of state, trafficking, using violence in marijuana sales and distribution.
  • Smoking marijuana while driving or operating a boat or plane will be a misdemeanor and carry a punishment of up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine.
  • You can be fined $50.00 for every ounce in your possession over the legal limit.
  • For home cultivation, you can be fined $10 for every square foot exceeding the legal limit, OR a flat fee of $2000 per day can be implemented for each day you allow space exceeding 100 SF in your home grow area.
  1. The legalization of recreational marijuana use will allow for tens of thousands of people to have prior drug criminal records expunged. For some, these convictions are the only things damaging an otherwise clean criminal history.
  1. Because the use of marijuana would be legal, the court system can no longer use recreational use as a reason to remove children from a home where use is prevalent. Parents no longer face a risk of losing their children to social services for the consumption of marijuana.

With California’s new drug laws on the horizon, the grass truly can be greener on the other side, however it is important to remember that these laws have not yet gone into effect, and current marijuana laws and punishments are still applied, enforced and applicable. Even in the event of major marijuana law reform, you will still have to adhere to many rules comparable to those applied to alcohol use. Keep in mind that landlords will have the legal right to ban the use of marijuana on their property. Employers may require that you test negatively for THC, or deem a marijuana related conviction grounds for firing. You may be deemed ineligible for employment at certain place if you test positively for THC. Like cigarette smoke, individual cities may post and enforce “no smoking” signs by order of the law, and issue citations for those in violation of local ordinance.

If you have any questions about California’s marijuana reform laws, or need information or legal advice regarding current policy, feel free to give the attorneys at Shield Criminal Defense Law a call today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions at (213) 514-8732.

*This list is not exhaustive. For a full scope of California’s up to date laws and penal codes please contact an attorney.

[i] THE CONTROL, REGULATE, AND TAX CANNABIS ACT OF 2016. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2016, from http://www.reformca.com/2016

 

When Your Child Gets in Trouble with the Juvenile Law System

At some point in our youth, we all experienced a little “innocent fun” that ended up being not so innocent. Maybe it was a fight, or attending a party where there was alcohol, or even teasing someone in school. These are probably things we don’t think much of now, but times have changed. In a time where fights don’t always end with fists, and teasing a classmate goes viral online; prosecutors, educators and law enforcement no longer blame questionable behavior on “kids being kids.”

Juvenile crimes can be charged as both misdemeanors and felonies. Like the adult judicial system, a felony conviction can have harsh, long lasting penalties, and can include being sentenced to time in the adult prison system-an outcome no child, or parent wants to consider.

Many minor offenses can land your child in the juvenile court system, the following are a few lesser crimes that can end up causing big trouble:

* Because of the progressive marijuana laws in California, the possession of marijuana is no longer a jailable offense, even for individuals under 21; unless it is their third marijuana related offense. 10 days of time in a juvenile corrections facility is typically imposed for the third offense. First and second offenses are punishable by fines ranging from $250-$500.

While the above offenses can be charged more aggressively, typically crimes listed below are more likely to be prosecuted and tried in the court system:

It’s very important to obtain representation for your child if they’re being investigated, arrested or have been charged with a crime. Unlike the adult judicial system, charges against your child can be lessened, dropped, or be converted to alternate forms of rehabilitation at any point during the charging process. An attorney with experience working in the juvenile justice system can help court appointed social workers find alternate sentencing option that will keep your child out of the system and in the family home.

If the crime is particularly severe, or if the minor is a repeat juvenile offender, social workers can recommend that the case be tried in the adult system. Minors charged in the adult system face a judge or jury. Should incarceration be sentenced, the juvenile can be ordered to serve time within the California Youth Authority until the age of 25, at which time they are moved into the adult prison system. A juvenile defense attorney will automatically request that any jail time imposed be served within the juvenile corrections facility. Nothing increases the likelihood of committing a crime in the future like ending up in the adult system as a minor.

The attorneys at Shield Criminal Defense Law believe in second chances and setting children on the right path. This is most likely achieved through rehabilitation and counseling outside of the jail setting. We will fight to keep your child out of the system, or reduce the amount of time spent away from home to a minimum.

We understand that this is a stressful time for your family. Call Shield Criminal Defense Law today to speak to a Los Angeles defense attorney about how we can help defend your child. We are available 24 hours a day at (213) 514-8732.

Domestic Violence: Guilty Before Proven Innocent?

If you’ve been accused of committing a domestic violence related offense, you may feel like the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is a myth. Often in cases of DV, the accuser is given the full benefit of the doubt and the alleged abuser becomes a social outcast within the family, community and sometimes at work, even before they see a courtroom.

Because prosecutors and law enforcement take domestic violence accusations so seriously, they will likely issue a peace (or “stay away”) order the moment the accuser files charges. This could mean that before you ever speak to a judge or investigators, you will be ordered to stay away from your abuser, any children you may have together, and out of your home until the court hears your case.

Most people are surprised to learn that they can be charged with domestic violence against people who are not their spouse or partner, and for acts that don’t involve physical abuse at all.

Domestic violence can be charged for any assault or abusive, threatening act against a spouse, partner, children, family members, people who live with you, or ex-partners. In some jurisdictions, you can be charged with domestic violence for an abusive or threatening act against an ex-partner’s new spouse or partner.

The most commonly charged act of domestic violence is Domestic Battery. Battery is charged when the defendant punches, slaps, kicks, pulls hair, or performs any act involving the infliction of willful force against any of the aforementioned individuals.

Other acts of violence charged as domestic violence include:

  • Vandalism or destruction of property used as a method to harm, intimidate or “punish” the victim
  • Holding the victim against their will, either by force or threat i.e.; not allowing them to leave the home or space under the threat of violence or actual physical force
  • Brandishing a weapon with the threat of physical harm
  • Threatening violence if the victim presses charges or testifies against you, also referred to as “Witness Intimidation”

Most of the offenses above are considered felonies, or at the very least, “wobbler offenses”, which in California means the State could prosecute as either a misdemeanor or a felony. There are also additional sentencing consequences that can be imposed if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony previously, or if the act was committed with a deadly weapon. In addition, a conviction of any domestic violence charge will require you turn in any firearms you may own to authorities and lose your ability to ever purchase a firearm in the future.

With all the odds stacked in the favor of the victim, and without physical proof being required to constitute an actual crime took place, it may seem the odds are greatly stacked against those accused of domestic violence. However, there are several defenses that can be used to fight DV charges:

  • Self-defense is the number 1 defense against any charge of violence. If you were defending yourself against physical harm, you may be able to prove self-defense, and have the charges against you dropped.
  • Defending someone else in your household may also be used to defend your domestic violence charges. If you were acting in the defense of your child, for instance, the court may see your behavior as necessary, and not proceed with a criminal case.
  • Oftentimes estranged partners or spouses will use domestic abuse to “get back at” their former partner out of spite and claim abuse when no act of violence ever occurred. Proving your accuser’s allegations were vindictive in nature will result in having your charges dismissed, and the peace order quashed.

Regardless of the facts of your case, you’ll need an aggressive domestic violence defense lawyer to protect your interests inside and outside of the court. Having an attorney experienced in defending domestic violence charges will allow you to fight charges brought against you out of anger, explain cases of self-defense, and work with prosecutors to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Domestic violence charges can put your life and freedom on the line. You need a Los Angeles defense attorney in your corner. Call Shield Criminal Defense Law today for a comprehensive legal analysis of your domestic violence case, we are available 24 hours a day at (213) 514-8732.

5 Advantages of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

  1. They Can Stop Charges from Being Filed

You’ve heard the advertisements, “If you’ve been arrested – you need a lawyer!”. Those ads are more than just marketing ploys for attorneys. Just because you’ve been arrested on suspicion of a crime doesn’t mean you’ve actually committed one or that prosecutors will have enough evidence to formally charge you. By hiring a criminal defense attorney immediately after being arrested, you can ensure your rights are being protected throughout the preliminary investigation process.

When you hire representation early, you have someone on your side that you can disclose all the details of your story to in confidence, who can then compare those details with the evidence and witness testimony prosecutors have against you, and determine whether they have enough evidence to charge you, and if that evidence is strong enough for a conviction. By being involved before charges are filed, it increases the likelihood of having your charges lessened, dropped, or even plea bargained before formal filing. These options are greatly reduced after formal charges have been filed through the court system.

  1. They Know the Law

Shortly after your arrest, law enforcement will attempt to interrogate you. If you haven’t already obtained representation, now is the time to request an attorney. During the interrogation process, law enforcement can use anything you say, no matter how innocent, to help further their case against you. Because they are trained in the law, they can sometimes use sneaky tactics to make you incriminate yourself; all the while staying within the confines of the law.

Having a criminal defense attorney with you during interrogations means you have someone who is equally, if not more so, trained in the law. They can ensure that you only disclose information that won’t hurt you, and ensure that interrogators only use ethical tactics during the course of their investigation. Your criminal defense attorney can also ensure that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to charge you, and that evidence and testimony used in their decision to prosecute is obtained legally and ethically.

  1. It is Their Job to Protect Your Best Interests

When you’ve been arrested, and before you have an attorney, no one in the system has a duty or concern with protecting your best interest. Law enforcement and prosecutors have a loyalty to the court system, proving guilt, and closing cases.

Hiring our criminal defense attorney is the only way to secure someone besides yourself, that knows the law, can speak to prosecutors on your behalf, and has a bound duty to make decisions in your best interest.

Because being arrested under any circumstance is stressful and upsetting, you may be inclined to tell your side of the story in an attempt to clear things up quickly and get home. By doing this you run a large risk of inadvertently hurting your case. Having a criminal defense attorney involved is like having a personal spokesperson to provide a barrier between you and the people who are looking to press charges against you. They can advise you on what to say, what information is disclosed during interrogations, or advise against speaking to prosecution or authorities altogether.

If your case does make it to the court room, your private defense attorney will educate you every step of the way. They will provide you with detailed explanations of possible options, the pros and cons and why those options are or are not recommended. Having private counsel guarantees that you will never be attempted to get “sold” on a deal to appease the court, nothing will be advised if it doesn’t benefit you or your case in some way.

  1. They Can Negotiate On Your Behalf

Just like you would see a doctor when you’re sick, or take your car to a mechanic when it’s broken down; when you have a legal problem- you get a lawyer. Rarely does a defendant without representation successfully argue their own case. Going up against prosecutors trained in the law alone, while your freedom is on the line, is a recipe for disaster. You’re almost ensuring that you serve some jail time especially for violent crimes, or end up paying massive fines, which could have been used to secure a private attorney and walked away with better results.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys can do what you can’t. They can analyze the facts of your case, witness testimony, tactics used to obtain evidence; they can obtain medical records, hire chemists and investigators on your behalf, and find room for reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case against you. And, unlike a criminal defendant, they can speak directly to the prosecutor’s office and negotiate plea bargains, the lessening of charges, or have charges dropped before you ever set foot into a courtroom.

  1. They Can Help You After You Leave the Courtroom

If your case does indeed make it to see a courtroom, having a criminal defense attorney can reap benefits even after your trial has concluded.

An attorney can guide you through the appeals process, answer any questions you may have about conditions placed on you by the court, be a point of contact during the service of probation, and file for expungement if your case is eligible.

Early Intervention is Key

Giving your criminal defense attorney the ability to get involved in your case from the moment you’ve been arrested gives your defense team the best chance of having any possible charges dropped or reduced including domestic violence charges.

Being arrested is stressful, but nothing relieves that stress quite like having a compassionate, educated attorney on your side to fight the battle for you, and keep you informed throughout the process.

Even if you have already been charged with a crime, it is still imperative to obtain legal representation so your attorney can get to work reviewing your case, and finding room to negotiate your charges.

Though hiring legal representation early in the game is best, hiring an attorney at any stage from arrest to court date will greatly increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Shield Criminal Defense Law has a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys in the Los Angeles area ready to help protect YOU. Give us a call 24 hours a day for a free consultation at (213) 514-8732

Criminal Convictions: When the Long Arm of the Law Leaves Your Pockets Short

When faced with a criminal charge, many people fear the potential of being put in jail. What most defendants don’t consider is the costs that accompany a criminal conviction, or even the costs waiting for them when they’re released from incarceration.

The Court System Doesn’t Wait for a Conviction Before it Hits Your Pockets:

Even before you’re convicted of criminal charges, you can expect to be hit with all kinds of preliminary costs, for instance:

  • If you’re arrested, you can expect that some kind of bail will be set in order for you to be released until your court date. If you can’t afford bail, you’ll likely be using the services of a bail bondsman, whose fee will cost you 10% of your set bail.

Example: If the commissioner sets your bail at $10,000, you’ll have to pay a bail bondsmen $1,000 in order to go home until your next appearance in court.

  • Sometimes, a judge will ask that you abide by certain provisions in order to remain free until you come back to court. One of those provisions includes home electronic monitoring, a service that allows you to be home and attend work while being monitored by the court. This service requires a landline and payment of a monthly fee.
  • Next, you’ll need to secure a criminal defense attorney to help you understand your charges and their consequences, appear with you at all your hearings, develop a defense strategy, and negotiate with prosecutors.

Depending on the severity and number of charges pending against you, a good criminal defense lawyer could cost you anywhere from an estimated $1500 to upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

All jurisdictions offer low-cost options for representation through the Office of the Public Defender, but even that option could cost a small fee, and get you an attorney who is already over-burdened with many other cases assigned by the court.

Judges Use Fines Within the Courtroom to Send a Message:

Once inside the courtroom, a huge window for further fines, fees and expenses opens. Judges have a lot of flexibility in punishing criminal defendants with incarceration, fines, or both; and often use that flexibility to send a message to first time offenders- and punish those that repeat criminal activity.

  • Court fees and fines have no set limitations and could run anywhere from lower amounts, like $25.00 – to numbers in the thousands.
  • Whether you are ordered a period of incarceration or not, any criminal conviction will likely carry some kind of parole or probation, which is paid for by the defendant on a monthly basis through the duration of the probation period.
  • In cases of theft, burglary or where property damage has occurred, Judges often order that restitution be paid to the victim. This could equal the amount taken, the cost to repair damages, and may also include extra costs to compensate the victim for pain, suffering or inconvenience.
  • In addition, you may be ordered to attend substance abuse classes, anger management classes, or parenting classes; which are all court ordered requirements that could carry enrollment or monthly class fees.

DUI’s Cost You More than Your License

Being convicted of a DUI is perhaps the costliest of any criminal conviction. With so many ride share and taxi options available, like Lyft and Uber; prosecutors and Judges show little mercy on defendants who choose to drink and drive. Aside from possible jail time, a DUI conviction, especially for repeat offenders can hit your pockets hard.

  • DUI defendants are almost always subject to heavy court fines and fees
  • Not only do defendants face penalties in the criminal court system, but they also face harsh penalties with the MVA
  • Anyone found to be under the influence of alcohol while driving is taken to jail, and their car is towed, leaving the driver to pay impound fees that accumulate daily when they are released
  • Many repeat DUI offenders lose their driving privileges, which can translate to job loss and difficulty finding and getting to new employment
  • In place of taking away driving privileges, you may be allowed to drive under supervision of the court with an Interlock device. The interlock device system installation and monthly monitoring services are paid for entirely by the defendant, which can add up quickly depending on how long the court feels monitoring services are needed.

Expungement

In some cases, if you’ve met all the requirements after your conviction, you may be eligible to expunge your record. In California, the cost for expungement for each charge will run you $395.00, plus a $150.00 filing fee.

As imperative as your freedom is, a criminal conviction can cost you more than jail time. It can, and likely will, carry heavy fines and financial requirements that you just may not have. The inability to pay court ordered fees can result in a judge sentencing you to incarceration, or adding additional fees on top of your already heavy financial penalties. To protect your rights, and your pockets, you should have a criminal defense attorney experienced in negotiation and aggressive criminal defense on your side.

Give Shield Criminal Defense Law a call today at (213) 514-8732 for a comprehensive assessment of your charges and a realistic projection of how we can defend you, your loved ones, and your wallet.

Defending Your Home: Self-Defense or Punishable Offense?

It’s any homeowner’s worst nightmare, the thought of someone breaking into your home while your loved ones sleep. Its dark, you’re woken up from a dead sleep and terrified. You grab your gun and make your way towards the foreign noises coming from your living room…you see a dark figure who turns towards you when you enter the room. What do you do?

  • Shoot first out of fear that this intrusive stranger is willing to harm you or your family.
  • Wait to see if their intentions are harmful to your person or family or if they are just there to abscond with your property.

With an over-whelming 1 out of 3 Americans being firearm owners, it’s safe to assume that most people wouldn’t wait for the trespasser to make their intentions clear.

Fortunately for homeowners, California is one of 28 states that has adopted the “Castle Doctrine”, also known as the “California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights”, a statute very similar to the “Stand Your Ground” law made popular by the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman case in July, 2013.

In regards to using lethal force against an intruder in your house, California Penal Code 198.5 states:

“When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein;”

So what does this mean?

You are allowed by law to use lethal force against someone trespassing inside your home as long as:

  • You believe there is an imminent danger to your life, or the life of a family member also inside the home at the time of the break-in.
  • You only used the amount of force necessary to defend yourself and family against the threat of harm.
  • You believed that immediate action was necessary to protect yourself and your family.

The Castle Doctrine does not however, cover incidents of violence against intruders outside of your home. This includes in your driveway, on your porch, or within the confines of your yard.

It also does not protect you if you commit an act of violence against someone to merely prevent someone from taking your property, or while they are fleeing. A bullet wound in the back is a hard thing to explain to law enforcement and prosecutors, even if the intruder was inside of your home.

So how do homeowner’s prove that they were fearful enough to use lethal force?

Under the California Bill of Homeowner’s Rights, actual danger doesn’t have to exist, just the reasonable fear of danger or threat to a person or family member’s life.

Under California law, it is a fair assumption that anyone breaking into your home with force has malicious intentions, and the fear of having an intruder in your home is enough to justify protecting yourself and family with a firearm or weapon.

What to do if you shoot someone in your home?

Hopefully you will never be faced with this scenario. But if you are, try and follow the below suggestions to protect yourself, both physically and legally:

  • If you aren’t sure whether the intruder is alive or not, leave your home and call 911 from a safe place.
  • Be mindful that 911 calls are always recorded. Be as detail-free as possible while still providing pertinent details. Let the operator know that there has been a break in as well as a shooting and to send help.
  • It is highly likely that law enforcement will want to question you very shortly after the incident. Even if you feel you’ve done no wrong you should contact our criminal defense attorney to be present with you during the course of investigation.

While you do have the right to defend yourself, your family and your home, shooting an intruder in your home can make you vulnerable to both criminal charges and civil suits. Shield Criminal Defense Law employs attorneys well-versed in the rights of homeowner’s, who can be there with you during the interrogation process. If you have questions on your rights as a homeowner, or if you need a Los Angeles defense attorney to help navigate you through the emotionally trying process that follows harming an intruder during the course of a break-in, give us a call at (213) 514-8732.

5 Effective DUI Defenses in California

Charged with a DUI?

Being charged and convicted of a DUI can be a life-changing and costly event. The ramifications of a DUI conviction can range from huge fines to jail time. Those convicted experience a domino effect of consequences such as:

  • Criminal record
  • Points on their license,
  • Job loss due to imposed jail time,
  • Higher insurance premiums or;
  • Losing driving privileges all together

But, being pulled over after you’ve had an alcoholic beverage doesn’t have to result in a conviction on your record. An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney can analyze the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest and charges and determine which one of many DUI defenses can be applied to your case.

Below is a list of defenses your lawyer can use to fight prosecutors on your DUI charges:

  • Breathalyzer Test Malfunction

Breathalyzer tests are notorious for malfunctioning due to both human and mechanical error. These machines need to be recalibrated often and failure to do so can result in a false reading.

Did you know?

Once pulled over, the officer is required to observe a DUI suspect for 15-20 minutes before administering a breathalyzer test. This is so the officer can watch for burping, vomiting, or any other behaviors that could cause previously consumed alcohol to resurface in the driver’s mouth prior to the breathalyzer, which would significantly impact the results.

  • Alternative Justifications for Displaying Symptoms of Intoxication or Drunk Driving

Often times the tell-tale signs of a drunk driver can also be indications of another problem or issue. For instance, having blood shot eyes can also be a sign of fatigue, ocular problems such a pink-eye, or allergies.

Officers will also pull over drivers on the suspicion of a DUI for behaviors such as:

  • Swerving
  • Driving too fast or too slow
  • Driving in sporadic increments of slow then fast

These are also the behaviors of drivers who may be:

  • Looking for something in the car
  • Eating
  • Talking on the phone or to people in the car

These behaviors alone are not justification for being accused of or charged with a DUI offense.

  • You weren’t Driving

As obvious as it sounds, the police have to prove that you were actually operating the vehicle to charge you with a DUI. In instances where an officer may find you next to or inside the vehicle, they would have to prove to prosecutors that you had been driving the car while you were intoxicated.

For example: if you were to find yourself inebriated and decided to sleep in your car, you did not actually operate your car and cannot be charged with a DUI, despite the car being registered to you and you being found inside of your vehicle.

  • You weren’t read your Miranda Rights

Anyone who has ever watched an episode of “Cops” or “Law and Order” is familiar with the Miranda Rights, and the number of TV suspects that escape prosecution because an officer failed to read them their rights.

But what many people don’t know is that in cases of a DUI, the police aren’t always required to Mirandize a suspect.

In the case of a DUI, the police are only required to read you your rights:

  • After you’ve been arrested
  • During interrogation (after arrest)

If law enforcement fails to Mirandize you under either of the above-circumstances, an experienced California DUI attorney can argue that that you were not properly read your rights, and help you beat your case, regardless of any other circumstances.

  • Absence of Probable Cause

As is the case in any traffic stop, an officer must have probable cause or, a reason to pull you over.

The officer must be able to swear under oath that they pulled you over due to some sort of bad driving behavior.

To present a case of probable cause the officer must be able to prove the following:

  • He had a reasonable suspicion to pull you over based on your driving patterns, i.e., speed, unsafe lane changing, or swerving.
  • After being pulled over, the officer must be able to verbally express why they suspect you of driving under the influence, i.e., the smell of alcohol on your person or inside the vehicle, slurred speech, erratic behavior.
  • That he had reason to administer a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, and, upon failing, gives the officer probable cause for a DUI arrest.

If any of the above procedures were not followed, your DUI attorney can have the officer’s evidence rendered inadmissible.

Whether you’re a first timer or a repeat offender, being arrested and charged with a DUI offense can have significant, detrimental effects on your life. Shield Criminal Defense Law is here to help. Give us a call today at (213) 514-8732 to be connected to an experienced, aggressive DUI defense attorney.

Serious Burglary Legal Penalties

A Thief in the Night, or Morning…or Afternoon?

Many people have heard the phrase “like a thief in the night”. It likely triggers images of cat burglars in all black, creeping into unsuspecting homes and stealing jewelry and electronics while the world sleeps. However, you can be charged with burglary for far less devious acts than creeping into windows in the dead of night. It’s a common misconception that you have to actually take something, or break into something to be charged with burglary. In some jurisdictions, walking into a store with the intention to shoplift can be considered burglary. Actually, burglary occurs ANYTIME you enter a home, business or vehicle with unlawful intent.

Prosecutors take burglary very seriously.

Because of the tendency for burglaries to escalate into more serious offenses, like armed robbery, assault, or worse, prosecutors take a no nonsense, aggressive approach when prosecuting these crimes. Breaking into a home or business for property could easily lead to a violent confrontation with the owner, even if that wasn’t the initial intent. Because of how easily these situations can turn violent, prosecutors will charge you with burglary, often seeking extensive jail time, even if nothing is taken and no one is injured.

This is one of the few crimes where just your intentions can land you behind bars, and, in the state of California, it can also earn you a “strike” on your record.

California is one of many states in the US that enforce laws against habitual offenders. Since burglary is classified as a “strike” offense, just one immoral intention has the possibility to end your freedom for life.

But wait! There’s (usually) more.

Being charged with burglary or theft often comes with the added burden of a slew of related charges. If you used tools to break glass or jimmy a lock while committing the burglary you could also be charged with the possession of burglary tools and breaking and entering. If you carried a firearm or a knife on you during the break-in, you could be charged with aggravated burglary. Any of these often results in a separate charge with separate penalties for each. Even worse, if someone was in the home or business that you broke into while you were breaking into it, you could be looking at a “sentence enhancement” that could add years to your sentence. Breaking into a home with the residents in could be considered a home invasion, a violent crime under California law, and one that carries devastating penalties even without the presence of any aggravating factors or a previous criminal record.

To fight your Burglary or Burglary related charges: Call Shield Criminal Defense Law today

Prosecutors and law enforcement don’t have your best interest at heart. Their job is to collect evidence against you and use it during trial. If you’ve been arrested or charged with Burglary, it is your right to have an attorney experienced in handling criminal charges present during any questioning or interrogation by law enforcement. A lawyer’s job is to act in your best interest, to guide you through the legal process, speak on your behalf, and make the prosecution prove their case-beyond any and all reasonable doubt.

To discuss your burglary charges with an attorney that want to protect you, call Shield Criminal Defense Law today at (213) 514-8732.