Encino Tax Prep Company Owner Admits to Filing False Tax Returns

  Bijan Kohanzad, a 62-year-old from Calabasas and owner of an Encino-based tax preparation company, has pleaded guilty to aiding in the filing of a false tax return. This admission comes after accusations of underreporting a client’s income, resulting in a tax loss exceeding $400,000 to the IRS. Guilty Plea and Charges Kohanzad was charged […]
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Third DUI Offense in California: Legal Penalties and Processes

Understanding a Third DUI Offense in California In California, the severity of driving under the influence (DUI) charges escalates with each arrest. If you commit a third DUI offense within a 10-year period, you face incredibly serious consequences, such as fines, jail time, and restrictions on your driver’s license. DUIs Count as Prior Offenses in […]
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Two L.A. County Men Face Serious Charges for Massage Parlor Robberies

Two men from Los Angeles County are charged with a series of armed robberies. These incidents targeted massage parlors in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The charges against them include interference with commerce by robbery under the Hobbs Act and using a firearm during a crime of violence. Legal Charges and Penal Codes Interference with […]
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Over Six Years in Prison for Drug Dealer Arrested with 15 Pounds of Fentanyl

  Melvin Alexis Diaz Arteaga, 30, from Oakland and a citizen of Honduras, received a 78-month federal prison sentence for six drug charges. These charges were related to his activities in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, where he was involved in the sale and intent to sell fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. The sentencing, announced by […]
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Son of a former member of ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ Josh Waring Faces Assault Charges After Hospital Incident

Josh Waring, connected to “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” got arrested for reportedly punching a security guard at Chapman Global Medical Center in Orange, California. This incident happened while security was escorting him out of the hospital early Wednesday morning. Charges and Legal Basis Assault: Police suspect Waring of punching the security guard, possibly […]
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Home Improvement’s Zachery Ty Bryan Detained on Felony DUI and Contempt Charges

Zachery Ty Bryan, known for “Home Improvement,” faces legal challenges after his DUI arrest in La Quinta, California. This document breaks down the incident, charges, and potential legal outcomes, focusing on specific penal codes and dates for clarity. Incident Details: Date of Arrest: In the early hours of Saturday, February 17th Location: La Quinta, California. […]
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Honduran Fentanyl Dealer in Tenderloin Sentenced to Six Years for Ghost Gun Possession

United States District Judge James Donato sentenced 28-year-old Honduran national Esmun Moyses Moral-Raudales to 6.5 years in prison. He received this sentence for distributing dangerous drugs in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Moral-Raudales pleaded guilty to distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl. Charges and Admission Moral-Raudales pleaded guilty in October 2023 to charges under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) […]
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COVID-19 Fraud and Auto Title Theft Land Granada Hills Man 17.5-Year Sentence

  United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton sentenced Eduard Gasparyan, 38, from Granada Hills, to 210 months in federal prison for leading a scheme that fraudulently obtained over $1.5 million in COVID-19 unemployment benefits and stole dozens of car titles. Judge Staton also ordered Gasparyan to pay $2,232,767 in restitution. In February 2023, Gasparyan […]
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Federal Sentencing of San Bernardino Brothers for Armed Robbery and Homicide

A court has sentenced two brothers, Martrell Patrick Shaw, 20, and Rontrell Brainell Shaw, 22, to federal prison for their roles in the armed robbery and murder of a marijuana dealer in San Bernardino in July 2021. Along with their cousin Dillion Jones, the Shaw brothers meticulously planned and carried out the robbery, which tragically […]
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San Jose Man Accused of Masterminding Bicycle Theft for Resale in Mexico

San Jose Man Accused of Masterminding Bicycle Theft for Resale in Mexico

A federal grand jury has indicted 53-year-old Victoriano Romero from San Jose on charges involving a sophisticated scheme to steal high-end bicycles in the Bay Area and resell them in Mexico. Unveiled on January 23, 2024, the indictment outlines Romero’s alleged involvement in this international operation. The indictment accuses Romero of orchestrating nighttime burglaries to […]
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Stockton Man Faces Federal Charges for Cocaine Distribution and Illegal Firearm

Phillip Maurice Allen, a 49-year-old from Stockton, California, faces federal indictment charges for his involvement in cocaine distribution and illegal firearm possession. U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced these charges following a detailed investigation into Allen’s activities. Charges and Legal Implications Cocaine Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute: Allen is charged under 21 U.S.C. […]
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California Penal Code 29810 PC – Relinquishment of Firearms by Convicted Persons

California Penal Code 29810 PC – Relinquishment of Firearms

Penal Code 29810 PC Overview Effective January 2018, Penal Code 29810 PC requires individuals convicted of certain crimes in California to surrender their firearms. This law is a critical component of Proposition 63, aimed at strengthening gun control. Key Provisions: Court Directive: Upon conviction, the court must inform the defendant of their firearm ownership ban […]
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Imperial County Dentist Dr. Javad Aghaloo Sentenced for Medicare Fraud

In San Diego, a federal court sentenced 50-year-old Indio dentist Javad Aghaloo to 37 months in prison for committing Medicare fraud. Melissa Rosas, 42, from Calexico and Aghaloo’s former billing manager, received a sentence of three years of probation, including one year of home confinement, for her role in obstructing a Medicare audit. Fraudulent Scheme […]
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California Penal Code 211 PC – Robbery

Understanding Robbery Under California Penal Code Section 211 California Penal Code Section 211 defines robbery as forcefully or fearfully taking property from someone against their will. For an act to qualify as robbery, it must involve: Taking property directly from the person or in their immediate presence. The use of physical force or a deadly […]
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Ex-LAPD officer goes on trial for killing man in Costco in Corona

The case of Salvador Alejandro Sanchez, a former LAPD officer involved in the fatal shooting at a Corona Costco, presents a complex legal scenario. This article delves into the specifics of the incident, the charges filed, and the applicable California Penal Codes, offering a comprehensive overview for those interested in the intricacies of criminal defense […]
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Monterey Caterer Charged for Allegedly Defrauding $4M in COVID-Relief Funds

  Dory Lindsay Ford, a 57-year-old caterer from Monterey, California, faces serious charges for defrauding the government of $4 million in COVID-19 relief funds. A federal grand jury indicted Ford for bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Background and Charges Ford operated Aqua Terra Culinary, Inc., a catering company in Monterey. During the COVID-19 […]
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San Fernando Valley Drug Trafficking: Cocaine, Meth, and Fentanyl Ring Busted

Law enforcement officials arrested four individuals in Los Angeles for operating a drug trafficking ring in the San Fernando Valley, as detailed in a 15-count federal grand jury indictment. This operation involved distributing cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl. The Operation The indictment reveals a structured drug trafficking network. Giselle Buraye, 23, from Van Nuys, along with […]
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Former Los Angeles Councilman José Huizar Sentenced to 13 Years in Federal Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy and Tax Evasion

Former Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, was sentenced to 13 years in prison Friday in a high-profile corruption case. He was found guilty of accepting at least $1.5 million in cash and benefits. These were in exchange for his assistance in approving various real estate projects in downtown LA. A year ago, Huizar pleaded […]
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California Three Strike Law: Penal Code Section 667

California Three Strike Law: Penal Code Section 667

California’s Three Strikes Law significantly impacts sentencing for repeat felony offenders. It mandates doubled sentences for individuals with one prior serious or violent felony upon any new felony conviction. For those with two such prior convictions, a third felony conviction leads to a minimum 25-year to life sentence, with parole eligibility determined by the Parole […]
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Understanding the Difference Between Restraining Orders and Protective Orders in California

In California, people often use “Restraining Orders” and “Protective Orders” interchangeably, but understanding their specific applications and legal implications is crucial. Both orders, which are judicial decrees, aim to protect individuals from unwanted behaviors like stalking, harassment, threats, or physical abuse. The court directs these orders at specific individuals, named in the orders, to stop […]
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Koreatown Lawyer Faces Federal Indictment for Money Laundering, Tax Evasion, and Obstruction

Koreatown Lawyer Faces Federal Indictment for Money Laundering, Tax Evasion, and Obstruction

A federal indictment accuses 67-year-old Koreatown lawyer Paulinus Iheanacho Okoronkwo of complex financial and legal misconduct. His charges relate to a $2.1 million transaction involving Nigerian and Chinese state-owned oil companies. Detailed Charges and Legal Provisions Money Laundering Charges: Incident: Okoronkwo allegedly received a $2.1 million bribe from Addax Petroleum for influencing drilling rights negotiations […]
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Violating a Restraining Order: California Penal Code Section 273.6 PC

Violating a Restraining Order: California Penal Code Section 273.6 PC

Violating a Restraining Order Violating a restraining or protective order is a serious offense under California Penal Code 273.6. This crime occurs when an individual intentionally and knowingly disobeys a court-issued protective or restraining order. Such orders, including temporary restraining orders (TROs) in civil cases and protective orders in criminal court, are designed to safeguard […]
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 The Arrest and Charges Against Bruce Edward Bell in Los Angeles Bank Robbery

The Arrest and Charges Against Bruce Edward Bell in The Sun Valley Bank Robbery

Photo: (Photographs of Bell are being released in order to identify and speak with additional persons who may have been victimized)/ www.lapdonline.org Bruce Edward Bell’s arrest on December 21, 2023, for a high-stakes bank robbery in Sun Valley, Los Angeles, marks a critical development in a series of criminal activities. Bell, facing charges for allegedly […]
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California Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC – Domestic Battery

California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC – Domestic Battery

What is Domestic Battery? Under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), domestic battery is a misdemeanor offense that involves the use of force against an intimate partner. This charge is commonly applied in cases of spousal abuse, cohabitant altercations, or other domestic violence conflicts. Key Elements of Domestic Battery: Willful and Harmful Touching: The defendant must […]
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San Fernando Valley Police Arrest Convicted Felon for Ghost Gun and Counterfeit Watch Sales

San Fernando Valley Police Arrest Convicted Felon for Ghost Gun and Counterfeit Watch Sales

Photo: (photograph of the handgun recovered/photograph of the seized watches) / www.lapdonline.org   The Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, specifically the Illicit Pharmaceutical and Counterfeit Unit (IPCU), recently made a significant arrest in the San Fernando Valley. Albert Bantug, a 33-year-old ex-convict, was apprehended for selling counterfeit Rolex watches. His bail was set […]
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Violating a Court Order | California Penal Code 166 PC

Violating a Court Order | California Penal Code 166 PC

Definition and Elements of the Crime Under California Penal Code Section 166 PC, various behaviors are classified as contempt of court. This includes disruptive conduct during court proceedings, refusal to comply as a witness, and notably, the intentional violation of a Court Order. This statute is particularly relevant in cases involving Protective Orders, Restraining Orders, […]
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Moreno Valley Man Confesses to $24 Million Ponzi Scheme

Paul Horton Smith Sr., 59, from Moreno Valley, California, has entered a guilty plea to a federal charge of wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme. This scheme, which spanned nearly two decades, defrauded over $24 million from at least 200 investors, many of whom were elderly or retired. Case Overview Charge and Penal […]
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California Penal Code Section 240 PC – Assault

In California, the crime of assault is defined under Penal Code 240 PC as the unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on another person. This law, commonly addressing what is known as “simple assault,” is fundamental in the state’s criminal justice system. It highlights the legal boundary not only […]
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Second Aryan Brotherhood Prison Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Murder in Aid of Racketeering

Second Aryan Brotherhood Prison Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Murder in Aid of Racketeering

Photo: (Pat Brady, 53, of Lake Forest (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California) Pat Brady, a 53-year-old Aryan Brotherhood member, confessed to a murder within a Northern California prison, as part of a significant investigation into the gang’s activities. This announcement was made by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. Details of the Prison Murder […]
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California Penal Code Section 186.22 PC: Gang Enhancements

Often referred to as ‘Gang Enhancements,’ California Penal Code Section 186.22 PC deals with criminal street gangs. It’s integral to the “Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act”(STEP) in California, addressing gang-related issues. Active Participation in a Criminal Street Gang Subsection (a) of Penal Code Section 186.22 PC defines the consequences for individuals actively participating in […]
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California Man Pleads Guilty to Major IRS Fraud: Nearly $900,000 in Unlawful Tax Refunds

California Man Pleads Guilty to Major IRS Fraud: Nearly $900,000 in Unlawful Tax Refunds

Richard Jason Mountford, a resident of Monterey County, California, confessed to a substantial tax fraud, cheating the IRS out of nearly $900,000. His guilty plea, recorded in a federal court, acknowledges his role in a sophisticated tax scheme from 2016 to 2020. Court documents reveal that Mountford, alongside unnamed accomplices, submitted fraudulent income tax returns. […]
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Two Charged in Extensive $8.5 Million Airbnb and Vrbo Fraud Scheme

Photo: ( closeup shot of metal handcuffs and dollars) The federal government has charged Shray Goel and Shaunik Raheja in a complex case involving an $8.5 million scam. This scheme, primarily executed through Airbnb and Vrbo, involved misleading property listings and discriminatory practices against Black renters. Case Details Indictment Charges: Both men face allegations of […]
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Grand Theft Auto | California Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC

Photo: (close up on man trying to break into a car) In California, the legal landscape surrounding grand theft auto is uncompromising. If you find yourself accused of grand theft auto, you could potentially encounter significant legal consequences. Grand Theft Auto Laws and Penalties in California In California, vehicle theft can lead to charges under […]
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Father Arrested in California After Son Fatally Shoots 10-Year-Old with Stolen Gun

Photo: (arrangement at a crime scene)   Law enforcement in Sacramento County apprehended a 53-year-old man named Arkete Davis and his 10-year-old son following a tragic shooting incident. The boy, whose identity remains undisclosed, fatally shot another 10-year-old with a stolen gun he discovered in his father’s car. This incident took place in Foothill Farms, […]
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Los Angeles Tobacco Distributor Sentenced in $3 Million Tax Evasion Scheme

Attorney General Bonta has announced a legal victory in the case of Sadiq Mohammed, a Los Angeles tobacco distributor convicted of running a $3 million tax evasion scheme against the State of California. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) successfully secured a 32-month prison sentence for Mohammed, who had pled guilty to these charges. The […]
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Understanding Plea Bargains in California’s Criminal Justice System

Navigating the criminal justice system in California, particularly for first-time defendants, can be daunting. A key component of this system is the plea bargain, a tool used in the vast majority of criminal cases. This article provides a clear, professional insight into the role of plea bargains in California, offering valuable information for anyone involved […]
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Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

Drug-Impaired Driving in California In California, the law defines drug-impaired driving as operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance, excluding alcohol, that significantly impairs your muscles, brain, or nervous system. This definition includes a wide range of substances, from illegal drugs like methamphetamine and heroin to legal medications such as marijuana, over-the-counter […]
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Former NFL Player Derrick Ward Arrested in Los Angeles on Suspicion of Robbery

Derrick Ward, a former NFL player with the New York Giants, found himself in police custody in Los Angeles on suspicion of robbery. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office officially confirmed Ward’s arrest, which took place on Monday evening. However, authorities had not yet formally presented the case to prosecutors for their consideration of […]
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Lancaster Road Rage Shooting: Man Faces Murder Charges for 4-Year-Old Boy’s Death

In Lancaster, a road rage incident has taken a tragic turn, leading to serious legal charges against Byron Burkhart. This case, progressing through the California legal system, highlights the severe consequences of such violent actions. Byron Burkhart, accompanied by his girlfriend, reportedly instigated a road rage incident on Sierra Highway. This situation escalated when Burkhart […]
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Arrest Made in Series of Residential Burglaries in Granada Hills and Porter Ranch

Photo Credit: (Bolton’s Photograph) Via: www.lapdonline.org Case Overview and Key Details: The arrest of 21-year-old Bobby Bolton marked a significant development in addressing a series of residential burglaries in Granada Hills and Porter Ranch, California. Devonshire detectives, after a thorough investigation, successfully linked Bolton to these crimes. This breakthrough was largely due to the diligent […]
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Juvenile Process for Domestic Violence in California

Domestic violence is a significant issue that doesn’t spare any age group, including minors. In California, the rise in domestic violence cases among juveniles has led to a more focused response from the legal system. When minors are involved in such incidents, they face a legal process that can lead to either misdemeanor or felony […]
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Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Alarcón Arrested for Suspected DUI in Glendale

Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Alarcón, is currently facing legal challenges stemming from a recent DUI Arrest. Around 3 a.m. in downtown Glendale, California, law enforcement officers observed Alarcón’s vehicle displaying erratic driving behavior. Her actions included making wide turns into opposing lanes, prompting officers to intervene. This led to her arrest on suspicion of […]
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Beverly Hills Hate Crime Case: Suspect Charged After Antisemitic Assault on Elderly Jewish Couple

Detailed Incident Overview: In a case that has garnered attention for its severity, Jarris Jay Silagi, a 44-year-old resident of Los Angeles, faces multiple charges after an alleged attack on an elderly Jewish couple in Beverly Hills. This incident, marked by its violent and discriminatory nature, highlights critical aspects of criminal law, particularly in the […]
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Ex-La Habra Police Chief Sentenced for Capitol Riot Involvement

Case Summary The sentencing of Alan Hostetter, the former La Habra police chief, to over 11 years in prison is a pivotal development in the legal proceedings following the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. This analysis delves into the case specifics, the charges, and the broader legal implications of this high-profile sentencing. Alan Hostetter […]
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Arrest Warrant Issued for Fan Accused of Aggravated Trespassing at Steph Curry’s Home for Autograph

Incident Description Sheng Gao, 18, is facing a charge of aggravated trespassing for an alleged incident at the Atherton home of NBA Warriors star Steph Curry. Gao managed to access Curry’s property by manipulating the security gate keypad, granting him entry to the premises. Once inside, he proceeded up the driveway and entered the residence […]
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Murder vs. Manslaughter in California

Murder vs. Manslaughter in California

In California, understanding the difference between murder and manslaughter is crucial for anyone facing homicide charges. This analysis provides insights into the state’s legal framework, highlighting the significant implications of these distinctions. Overview of Murder in California California Penal Code Section 187 defines murder as the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought. This […]
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Understanding Ja Morant’s Self-Defense Claim in the Alleged Assault Case

Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant, recently testified in a Memphis courtroom. He stated that his altercation with teenager Joshua Holloway at his home was an act of self-defense. This testimony marks Morant’s first court appearance in the lawsuit. In July 2022, at Ja Morant’s home, an altercation occurred during a pickup basketball game involving Morant and […]
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Mikey Williams Secures Plea Deal, Evades Jail in Gun Incident

Mikey Williams, a prominent basketball recruit, recently navigated a crucial phase in his legal proceedings. By entering a plea deal in a high-profile gun case, Williams marked a significant shift in a case that has garnered extensive attention. The Plea Deal in Detail Williams faced nine felony charges, arising from a shooting incident at his […]
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Gareth Pursehouse Receives Life Sentence in the Amie Harwick Murder Case

Gareth Pursehouse Receives Life Sentence On Wednesday, December 6, Hollywood sex therapist Amie Harwick’s ex-boyfriend received a life sentence without parole. This decision was announced by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Gareth Pursehouse, 45, was convicted of murder in September. He threw Harwick over a balcony at her Hollywood Hills home on February […]
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Bijan Kohanzad, a 62-year-old from Calabasas and owner of an Encino-based tax preparation company, has pleaded guilty to aiding in the filing of a false tax return. This admission comes after accusations of underreporting a client’s income, resulting in a tax loss exceeding $400,000 to the IRS.

Guilty Plea and Charges

Kohanzad was charged with tax fraud under 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2). For aiding in filing false tax returns between mid-2015 and May 2017. He admitted to inflating business expenses, reducing a client’s taxable income, and evading taxes.

Details of the Fraudulent Activity

In 2015, Kohanzad falsely claimed $150,000 in advertising expenses on a corporate tax return, reducing the client’s business income significantly. This manipulation allowed the client to underreport personal taxable income, falsely declaring $127,878 instead of the actual $278,000. Kohanzad continued this fraudulent practice into the 2016 tax year, filing corporate and individual returns with exaggerated business expenses, further reducing the client’s taxable income from over $1.3 million to under $450,000.

Kohanzad’s actions caused an IRS loss of approximately $401,436 over two tax years. He acknowledged the willful violation of federal law in his plea agreement, admitting to intentionally defrauding the IRS.

Sentencing and Investigation

United States District Judge André Birotte Jr. has set the sentencing for July 12, where Kohanzad could face up to three years in federal prison. Currently released on a $100,000 bond, Kohanzad awaits his final sentencing, which will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutory factors.

IRS Criminal Investigation leads the inquiry into Kohanzad’s fraudulent activities, emphasizing the seriousness with which the federal government views tax evasion and fraud.

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Understanding a Third DUI Offense in California

In California, the severity of driving under the influence (DUI) charges escalates with each arrest. If you commit a third DUI offense within a 10-year period, you face incredibly serious consequences, such as fines, jail time, and restrictions on your driver’s license.

DUIs Count as Prior Offenses in California

DUIs are prior offenses in California, staying on your record for 10 years. Each DUI within this period escalates penalties.

Plea bargains, like wet reckless charges, count as DUIs. Accepting these can lead to a third offense, increasing consequences.

Penalties for a Third DUI Conviction

A third DUI in California brings significant consequences:

  • Fines up to $5,000 and additional court costs.
  • License suspension for three years.
  • Requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicles at your expense.
  • Designation as a habitual traffic offender for three years, increasing penalties for any new traffic violations.
  • Mandatory jail time between 120 days and one year.

A DUI conviction remains on your record for 10 years, impacting future DUI charges. A fourth is considered a felony, with even more severe penalties.

License Revocation and Designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender

Offenders will face a three-year license suspension upon a third DUI conviction. The DMV straightforwardly enforces this revocation after the court’s decision. Furthermore, authorities label the offender as a habitual traffic offender for three years. This designation subjects them to heavier penalties for any subsequent traffic violations, highlighting the severe consequences of repeated DUI infractions.

Mandatory Education Programs

California requires DUI offenders to undergo education programs, the lengths of which depend on their offense history. The state targets second-time offenders with an 18-month program that emphasizes counseling and education. For those with three or more offenses, a more intensive 30-month program includes additional treatment and monitoring. Both programs strive to lower DUI recidivism rates.

Punishment for a Third DUI in California After a Decade

If a third DUI occurs after 10 years from the previous offense, it’s treated as a first offense due to the “lookback” period. However, courts may consider past DUIs when deciding penalties

Defense Strategies

To fight a third DUI in California, you might get the charge lowered or even dropped. Common defenses include:

  • Questioning the Traffic Stop: Arguing that there was no probable cause for the initial stop.
  • Challenging Field Sobriety Tests: Demonstrating that tests were improperly conducted.
  • Breathalyzer Accuracy: Citing defects in the breathalyzer device.
  • Medical Conditions: Highlighting conditions like acid reflux or dental issues that could skew breathalyzer results.
  • Blood Test Integrity: Pointing out potential contamination in blood sample analysis.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can often work to reduce the charge to something less serious, like “wet reckless,” using these defenses.

Alternatives to Jail Time

California law may offer alternatives to jail for third convictions, including:

  • DUI education programs extending up to 30 months.
  • Community service or work programs as court-approved.
  • House arrest or electronic monitoring based on judicial discretion.

Contact A Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney

Facing a third DUI charge? Contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi at (310) 448-1529 for expert legal representation. Our experienced criminal defense attorney will guide you through the process and fight for the best possible outcome for your case

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Two men from Los Angeles County are charged with a series of armed robberies. These incidents targeted massage parlors in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The charges against them include interference with commerce by robbery under the Hobbs Act and using a firearm during a crime of violence.

Legal Charges and Penal Codes

  • Interference with Commerce by Robbery (Hobbs Act): This federal charge, under 18 U.S.C. § 1951, targets robberies affecting interstate or foreign commerce. The defendants’ actions, targeting massage parlors, fall under this due to the commercial nature of the victims’ businesses.
  • Using and Carrying a Firearm During a Crime of Violence: Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), this charge is applied because the defendants allegedly carried a .38-caliber firearm during the commission of these violent crimes..

Details of the Incident and Arrest

On February 16, Cuellar drove Morales in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee to rob a Torrance massage parlor. Law enforcement later caught them at a gas station, throwing away robbery items. After a foot chase, officers arrested them. Morales carried $4,000, and Cuellar, $400 and wore clothes matching those from earlier robberies.

Officers found a .38-caliber firearm, reported stolen in 2018, in their Jeep. Authorities suspect Cuellar and Morales in 12 additional armed robberies in various cities between January 12 and January 29.

Legal Implications

A criminal complaint is not a conviction. They are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Convictions could lead to 20 years for the robbery and life for the firearm charge.

This case underscores the seriousness of armed robbery and firearm charges under federal law, particularly involving commercial establishments. The use of a stolen firearm elevates the gravity of the offenses, potentially impacting sentencing outcomes.

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Melvin Alexis Diaz Arteaga, 30, from Oakland and a citizen of Honduras, received a 78-month federal prison sentence for six drug charges. These charges were related to his activities in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, where he was involved in the sale and intent to sell fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. The sentencing, announced by United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey, took place under Senior United States District Judge Charles R. Breyer.

Charges and Plea

Diaz pled guilty in October 2023 to several charges:

  • Conspiracy to distribute fentanyl (21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(vi))
  • Possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(vi), (b)(1)(B)(i)–(ii))
  • Distribution of methamphetamine (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(viii), (b)(1)(C))

In his plea, Diaz admitted to possessing 6.6 kilograms of fentanyl and quantities of other drugs for sale at the time of his arrest in Berkeley, California, on November 16, 2022. He used a Berkeley apartment to store and prepare drugs for sale in the Tenderloin and other locations. Diaz also confessed to selling fentanyl and methamphetamine to an undercover San Francisco Police Department officer on four occasions between September 16, 2022, and October 5, 2022.

Evidence and Sentencing Memorandum

Law enforcement found two firearms, cash, and drug processing equipment in the Berkeley stash house, alongside the drugs. Investigations revealed Diaz’s daily travels from Oakland to the Tenderloin for drug sales, often after stopping at the Berkeley stash house for drug supplies.

The government’s sentencing memorandum highlighted Diaz’s regular engagement in drug trafficking and his possession of significant quantities of fentanyl. It emphasized the seriousness of his offenses and the impact on the community.

Forfeiture and Sentencing

As part of the plea agreement, Diaz agreed to forfeit over $50,000 in cash seized during his arrest, acknowledging these funds were related to drug trafficking. Diaz, who has been in custody since November 16, 2022, was also ordered to serve four years of supervised release following his prison term.

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Josh Waring, connected to “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” got arrested for reportedly punching a security guard at Chapman Global Medical Center in Orange, California. This incident happened while security was escorting him out of the hospital early Wednesday morning.

Charges and Legal Basis

  • Assault: Police suspect Waring of punching the security guard, possibly facing assault charges under California Penal Code § 240. This law defines assault as an attempt to commit a violent injury on someone else.
  • Battery: The physical contact suggests a battery charge under California Penal Code § 242, which identifies battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence on another person.
  • Post-Release Supervision Violation: Authorities also wanted Waring for a post-release supervision breach, under California Penal Code § 3455. This code deals with the revocation or modification of post-release supervision.

Key Details

  • Date and Location: The assault occurred around 5:45 a.m., Wednesday, at Chapman Global Medical Center, 2600 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, California.
  • Prior Legal Issues: Waring’s legal history includes a shooting conviction in Costa Mesa and multiple drug-related offenses.
  • Legal Proceedings: At the incident time, Waring was due for a post-release supervision revocation hearing at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

Legal Implications

This arrest complicates Waring’s legal situation, potentially impacting his upcoming post-release supervision hearing and future legal actions. The combined charges of assault and battery, along with the post-release supervision violation, might result in serious penalties, including jail time.

Potential Defenses for Waring

  1. Self-Defense: Claims he acted to protect himself from the guard’s immediate threat.
  2. Mistaken Identity: Argues he was wrongly accused due to confusion at the scene.
  3. Lack of Intent: Suggests the contact was accidental, not violent.
  4. Insufficient Evidence: Questions the proof’s strength, including witness and video reliability.

Josh Waring’s recent arrest underlines his ongoing legal struggles. The charges, based on specific California penal codes, highlight the severity of assault and battery offenses and the consequences of violating post-release supervision. The evidence and details of this incident will significantly influence Waring’s legal battles ahead.

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Zachery Ty Bryan, known for “Home Improvement,” faces legal challenges after his DUI arrest in La Quinta, California. This document breaks down the incident, charges, and potential legal outcomes, focusing on specific penal codes and dates for clarity.

Incident Details:

  • Date of Arrest: In the early hours of Saturday, February 17th
  • Location: La Quinta, California.
  • Initial Observation: Police suspected Bryan’s involvement in a collision.
  • Evidence of Impairment: Signs of impairment observed, leading to arrest.

Charges Filed:

  1. Felony DUI: Bryan was charged under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. This charge escalates to a felony, per California Vehicle Code 23550, due to Bryan having at least three prior DUI convictions within the past ten years.
  2. Misdemeanor Contempt of Court: This charge suggests a violation of court orders, potentially related to Bryan’s past legal issues, under California Penal Code 166(a)(4).

Prior Convictions and Legal Implications:

Bryan’s legal history includes DUI convictions in 2004, 2007, and 2017, and a guilty plea to a DUI charge in May 2020. These prior convictions significantly impact the current charges, potentially leading to harsher penalties, including prison time, fines, and license suspension.

  • Impact of Prior Convictions: Bryan’s history of DUI offenses enhances the severity of the current felony DUI charge. Under California law, repeat offenses within ten years can result in increased penalties, including up to three years in state prison and a four-year driver’s license suspension.
  • Contempt of Court: This charge indicates non-compliance with a court order, which could relate to any condition set in Bryan’s previous DUI or assault cases. Penalties may include fines and jail time, depending on the nature of the violation.

Potential Legal Defenses for Bryan

  1. Challenge Traffic Stop: Argue the stop lacked legal basis, potentially invalidating evidence.
  2. Question Sobriety Tests: Dispute the accuracy or administration of tests.
  3. Dispute Impairment Signs: Suggest non-alcohol factors caused the observed impairment.
  4. Contest Felony Basis: Challenge the use of past DUIs to elevate charges.
  5. Mitigating Circumstances: Present efforts towards rehabilitation as a factor for leniency.
  6. Plea Negotiations: Explore reducing charges in exchange for rehab or other conditions.

Bryan secured his release on bail the same day of his arrest. His court appearance is slated for April 23 at the Indio Larson Justice Center.

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United States District Judge James Donato sentenced 28-year-old Honduran national Esmun Moyses Moral-Raudales to 6.5 years in prison. He received this sentence for distributing dangerous drugs in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Moral-Raudales pleaded guilty to distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Charges and Admission

Moral-Raudales pleaded guilty in October 2023 to charges under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) for distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl. He also faced charges for possessing more than 40 grams of fentanyl with intent to distribute, acknowledging his role in the drug trade.

Criminal Activities Unveiled

Throughout January and February 2023, Moral-Raudales sold 103.8 grams of fentanyl and 95 grams of methamphetamine. His arrest in March 2023 revealed an additional 317.7 grams of fentanyl and a loaded “ghost gun,” underscoring the threat he posed to public safety.

This sentencing marks Moral-Raudales’s second federal conviction for drug trafficking, demonstrating a persistent disregard for the law and community well-being.

Authorities’ Condemnation

U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and DEA Special Agent Brian M. Clark have condemned Moral-Raudales’s actions. They highlight the danger recidivist drug dealers pose in the Tenderloin District. “Recidivist drug dealers in the Tenderloin pose a serious threat, especially when armed,” Ramsey said. Their statements reflect law enforcement’s dedication to dismantling drug trafficking networks. They emphasize the heightened risk from individuals armed during these illegal activities.

DEA’s Warning on Fentanyl

The DEA warns against the lethal risks of fentanyl, a potent opioid responsible for a surge in overdose deaths, underscoring the importance of vigilance against counterfeit pills.

Esmun Moyses Moral-Raudales’s sentencing reflects the legal system’s unwavering dedication to curbing drug trafficking and ensuring public safety. His case serves as a stark reminder of the severe consequences awaiting those who engage in such criminal activities, especially when they pose a significant risk to community health and safety.

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United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton sentenced Eduard Gasparyan, 38, from Granada Hills, to 210 months in federal prison for leading a scheme that fraudulently obtained over $1.5 million in COVID-19 unemployment benefits and stole dozens of car titles. Judge Staton also ordered Gasparyan to pay $2,232,767 in restitution.

In February 2023, Gasparyan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, covering both the unemployment benefits scam and the car title thefts.

Scheme Details

Gasparyan, alongside his then-fiancée Angela Karchyan, exploited stolen identities to file for unemployment insurance benefits through the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and manipulated documents to unlawfully claim ownership of numerous vehicles. This fraudulent activity spanned from early 2020 to September 2022.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Exploitation

The duo capitalized on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provisions, introduced by Congress to aid self-employed workers and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, by submitting false applications for unemployment insurance benefits.

Withdrawal of Fraudulent Funds

Surveillance footage captured Gasparyan withdrawing $4,500 using nine debit cards at a bank ATM within minutes on August 23, 2021. The cards were registered under various names, including Gasparyan’s and those of other identity theft victims.

Fraudulent Benefits and Vehicle Purchases

Court documents reveal that EDD disbursed approximately $544,089 in fraudulent jobless benefits to a Van Nuys address and around $307,012 to a Granada Hills address, both linked to Gasparyan. Additionally, Gasparyan and Karchyan engaged in purchasing vehicles with bad checks or bank account numbers and manipulated DMV records using forged documents.

Prosecutors highlighted the extensive harm caused by Gasparyan’s actions, emphasizing the impact on taxpayers, the individuals whose identities were stolen, and the legitimate owners of the stolen vehicles.

Co-conspirator’s Sentence

Angela Karchyan, also pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, received a 41-month prison sentence and shares the restitution obligation with Gasparyan.

Investigation and Prosecution

The United States Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, the California Employment Development Department – Criminal Investigations, and the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Brown led the prosecution.

This sentencing underscores the severe legal consequences of engaging in fraud, especially schemes exploiting pandemic relief efforts and the theft of property. The case serves as a stark reminder of the justice system’s commitment to prosecuting and penalizing such fraudulent activities.

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A court has sentenced two brothers, Martrell Patrick Shaw, 20, and Rontrell Brainell Shaw, 22, to federal prison for their roles in the armed robbery and murder of a marijuana dealer in San Bernardino in July 2021. Along with their cousin Dillion Jones, the Shaw brothers meticulously planned and carried out the robbery, which tragically ended in the dealer’s death from gunshot wounds. The Justice Department successfully prosecuted the case in Riverside, California.

Crafting a scheme to mask their robbery attempt as a mere purchase, the Shaw brothers and their cousin initiated a confrontation that fatally wounded the dealer. This robbery not only claimed the life of the dealer but also involved the theft of marijuana and the victim’s firearm, further highlighting the devastating consequences of their actions.

Charges and Convictions

Interference with Commerce by Robbery (Hobbs Act Robbery) – Martrell Shaw through his direct involvement in the armed robbery, violated the Hobbs Act, specifically under 18 U.S.C. § 1951. By orchestrating and carrying out the robbery of a marijuana dealer, he disrupted a commercial operation that, regardless of its legal status, affects interstate commerce due to the marijuana market’s extensive distribution network. His plea of guilty to this charge confirms his role in this disruption.

Discharging a Firearm During a Crime of Violence Resulting in Death – Martrell Shaw faced this charge for firing a weapon during the robbery, an action that tragically ended the victim’s life. The discharge of the firearm, which hit the victim, elevated the robbery to a violent crime with fatal consequences. This act aligns with federal laws that impose severe penalties for using a firearm in a violent crime, especially when it results in death.

Hobbs Act Robbery – The court also convicted Rontrell Shaw under the Hobbs Act for his participation in the robbery as the getaway driver. His role, although not involving direct engagement in the robbery or shooting, was crucial to the crime’s execution. Driving the escape vehicle, Rontrell Shaw enabled the completion of the robbery, implicating him in the broader scheme that interfered with interstate commerce.

Details of the Sentencing

United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal sentenced Martrell Shaw to 20 years in federal prison for his direct involvement in the robbery and fatal shooting. Rontrell Shaw received a 14-year sentence for his role as the getaway driver. Both brothers were also ordered to pay $14,342 in restitution for the victim’s funeral expenses. Dillion Jones’s sentencing is scheduled for April 1, where he will face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison, reflecting the gravity of his actions.
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A federal grand jury has indicted 53-year-old Victoriano Romero from San Jose on charges involving a sophisticated scheme to steal high-end bicycles in the Bay Area and resell them in Mexico. Unveiled on January 23, 2024, the indictment outlines Romero’s alleged involvement in this international operation.

The indictment accuses Romero of orchestrating nighttime burglaries to steal bicycles from San Francisco and Redwood City homes. He reportedly turned his San Jose automotive shop into a center for disassembling, packaging, and shipping the stolen bikes to Jalisco, Mexico. These bikes, including high-end brands like Serotta Titanium and Cervelo C3 Carbon, had values ranging from $3,000 to $9,000 each.

Digital and Physical Evidence

Reportedly, Romero took photographs of the stolen bicycles and a co-conspirator used them for online advertisements in Mexico. This unindicted co-conspirator also reassembled the bicycles for sale and maintained a ledger of the profits.

Charges and Legal Implications

Romero is charged with conspiracy (18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 2314) and two counts of transporting stolen goods (18 U.S.C. §§ 2314, 2). Conspiracy may result in five years’ imprisonment; each transportation charge, ten years.

Potential Legal Defense for Victoriano Romero

Romero’s defense could argue the evidence collection process was flawed, questioning the validity of search warrants and adherence to Fourth Amendment protections. Demonstrating procedural violations might lead to excluding crucial evidence.

To contest Romero’s connection to the bicycle thefts, his defense might provide alternative explanations for the bicycles’ presence on his property. This approach seeks to undermine the assumption that possession implies guilt, potentially raising doubts about his involvement.

Regarding the reliance on digital evidence, Romero’s defense might challenge the integrity and handling of digital photos and online ads. They could scrutinize the collection, analysis, and attribution of digital evidence to Romero, aiming to question its reliability in establishing his identity and intent.

Legal and Investigative Developments

Romero made his first federal court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter H. Kang, who released him on bond. He is scheduled to appear next on April 10, 2024, before United States District Judge P. Casey Pitts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lagrama is prosecuting the case, which resulted from investigations by the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department.

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Phillip Maurice Allen, a 49-year-old from Stockton, California, faces federal indictment charges for his involvement in cocaine distribution and illegal firearm possession. U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced these charges following a detailed investigation into Allen’s activities.

Charges and Legal Implications

Cocaine Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute: Allen is charged under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) for distributing cocaine and possessing it with the intent to distribute. This law targets the distribution and possession for distribution of controlled substances, including cocaine. Law enforcement’s search of Allen’s auto repair business in Manteca on December 4, 2023, yielded 3 kilograms of cocaine, vacuum-sealed into 1-kilogram bricks. They also found a digital scale, Ziploc bags, a money counter, and a vacuum sealing machine, indicating a sophisticated drug distribution operation. Distributing cocaine could land Allen up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Possessing with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine raises the stakes to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, as per 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B).

Felon in Possession of a Firearm: The indictment also includes a charge for being a felon in possession of a firearm, violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). This statute forbids convicted felons from owning, possessing, or controlling firearms or ammunition. During the search, authorities discovered two handguns, a Glock 31 and a Diamondback Arms 9 mm, along with over 1,200 rounds of ammunition in Allen’s office, clearly contravening federal firearm laws given his status as a convicted felon. If convicted of this firearm charge, Allen faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Conclusion

Phillip Maurice Allen’s indictment on charges of cocaine distribution and illegal firearm possession underscores the serious legal repercussions for such offenses. The evidence collected, including significant quantities of cocaine and firearms, highlights the gravity of Allen’s alleged criminal activities. As the case progresses, Allen’s legal defense will likely address the specifics of the charges and the evidence gathered during the investigation. Allen remains innocent until proven guilty, with any potential sentence to be determined based on statutory factors and Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Penal Code 29810 PC Overview

Effective January 2018, Penal Code 29810 PC requires individuals convicted of certain crimes in California to surrender their firearms. This law is a critical component of Proposition 63, aimed at strengthening gun control.

Key Provisions:

  1. Court Directive: Upon conviction, the court must inform the defendant of their firearm ownership ban and order the surrender of any firearms.
  2. Relinquishment Form Requirement: Defendants must complete the Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form. They must list all firearms they own or control and designate someone to take possession.
  3. Custodian Responsibilities: The designated custodian must transfer the firearms within a set timeframe. Options include surrendering to law enforcement, selling to a licensed dealer, or storing with a dealer.
  4. Consequences for Non-Compliance: Defendants who fail to properly relinquish firearms face charges for unlawful firearm possession.

Crimes That Require Relinquishing Guns Under Penal Code 29810

Penal Code 29810 applies to individuals convicted of:

  • Any felony offense.
  • Certain misdemeanors, including assault, battery, making criminal threats, and brandishing a weapon.

For example, a petty theft conviction wouldn’t require firearm surrender. However, a felony embezzlement conviction would necessitate relinquishing firearms.

Understanding the Relinquishment Process Under Penal Code 29810

When a court convicts a defendant of a crime covered by Penal Code 29810, it follows a specific process:

  1. The court informs the defendant that they can no longer legally possess firearms, ammunition, or magazines.
  2. The defendant receives an order to give up any such items in their possession.
  3. The court provides a Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form to the defendant.

Using this form, the defendant:

  • Records all firearms, ammunition, or magazines they own.
  • Nominates another person to take control of these items.
  • Gives this person legal authority to handle the disposal of the firearms.

This process ensures the safe and legal transfer or disposal of firearms from individuals prohibited from possessing them.

Penalties for Failing to Relinquish Firearms Under Penal Code 29810

Defendants who don’t comply with the firearm relinquishment process under Penal Code 29810 face serious penalties:

  1. Failing to submit the required paperwork within the specified timeframe results in an infraction. This carries a maximum fine of $100.
  2. Possessing firearms past the deadline can lead to more severe consequences. Such individuals may face charges under Penal Code 29800. This statute prohibits certain people from owning guns. Violating this law is a felony, punishable by 16 months to 3 years in jail.

Legal Defenses Against Violating Firearm Relinquishment

  1. No Conviction: If there’s no criminal conviction, the requirement to surrender firearms doesn’t apply. Dropped charges or acquittal negate the relinquishment obligation.
  2. Unclear Court Instructions: A defense can be based on the court’s failure to provide clear instructions about the relinquishment process.
  3. Good Cause for Delay: Legitimate reasons like illness or hospitalization can excuse delayed compliance with the relinquishment order.
  4. Mistake of Fact: This applies if the defendant genuinely believed they had no firearms to relinquish, due to reasons like previous sale, loss, or theft of the firearms.

Handling Firearm Relinquishment Cases

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we tackle cases involving firearm relinquishment for convicted individuals. Our strategy is direct: we assess your conviction details, ensure you received clear instructions from the court, and confirm your compliance with the relinquishment process. We also explore defenses like no valid conviction, unclear instructions, legitimate reasons for delay, and mistaken firearm ownership. Recognizing the seriousness of these charges, we provide prompt and decisive legal representation. If you’re facing issues related to firearm relinquishment, contact us for expert legal support. Reach out to Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Arash Hashemi at our Westside Towers office, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064, or call (310) 448-1529 to schedule a consultation about your case.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

In San Diego, a federal court sentenced 50-year-old Indio dentist Javad Aghaloo to 37 months in prison for committing Medicare fraud. Melissa Rosas, 42, from Calexico and Aghaloo’s former billing manager, received a sentence of three years of probation, including one year of home confinement, for her role in obstructing a Medicare audit.

Fraudulent Scheme and Sentencing

Aghaloo and Rosas, along with other accomplices, conspired to commit health care fraud by billing Medicare for procedures that were either not performed, not necessary, or not covered. Aghaloo admitted his guilt on October 2, 2023, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Rosas pleaded guilty on October 13, 2023, to obstructing a federal audit.

U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath condemned the exploitation of patients for profit. U.S. District Judge Jinsook Ohta ordered Aghaloo to forfeit property worth over $1 million and pay $8,476,466.23 in restitution to Medicare.

Recruitment and False Claims

Court records showed Aghaloo’s team recruiting Medicare beneficiaries for dental services at his Imperial County offices. They falsely advertised these services as Medicare-covered, despite knowing otherwise. At Aghaloo’s offices, they conducted procedures like tooth extractions and falsely billed Medicare for non-existent services, including bone grafts.

From March 2016 to October 2018, Aghaloo’s offices filed over 7,000 false Medicare claims, amounting to over $18 million. They fraudulently received $8,476,466.23 from these claims.

Cover-Up and Obstruction

Rosas and Theresa Flores, Aghaloo’s office manager, concealed their fraudulent activities by submitting false documents to Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC, a Medicare auditor, from April 2017 to October 2018. Flores, who has pleaded guilty to obstructing an audit, is scheduled for sentencing on March 8, 2024.

Charges and Legal Implications

The charges against Aghaloo and Rosas were severe:

  • Aghaloo: Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud, violating 18 U.S.C. § 371. Maximum penalty: five years in prison, $250,000 fine.
  • Rosas: Obstructing a Federal Audit, violating 18 U.S.C. § 1516. Maximum penalty: five years in prison, $250,000 fine.

Investigating Agencies

The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.

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Understanding Robbery Under California Penal Code Section 211

California Penal Code Section 211 defines robbery as forcefully or fearfully taking property from someone against their will. For an act to qualify as robbery, it must involve:

  1. Taking property directly from the person or in their immediate presence.
  2. The use of physical force or a deadly weapon, known as armed robbery.

The value of the property taken is irrelevant in determining a robbery charge. Notably, actual possession of the property by the defendant is not necessary for a robbery charge. The critical factor is a confrontation involving force or the threat of force.

Robbery charges can escalate if the act benefits a gang, invoking California’s Gang Sentencing Enhancement Law. As a violent crime against a person, robbery falls under California’s Three Strikes laws.

Involvement in a robbery doesn’t require direct participation. Charges can arise from conspiracy, aiding, or abetting in any form, such as providing a vehicle for a bank robbery.

California categorizes robbery into first and second degrees, and the penalties depend on the degree and the robbery’s specific circumstances. Robbery always constitutes a felony and cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor as a “wobbler” offense. Additionally, most robbery convictions qualify as a “strike” under California’s three-strikes law.

Key Elements of Robbery Under California Penal Code 211

To secure a conviction for robbery as defined in PC 211, the prosecution must establish these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant took property that did not belong to them.
  2. The property was taken from another person or in their immediate vicinity.
  3. The act was against the will of the property owner.
  4. Force or fear was used to execute the property taking.
  5. The defendant had the intent to either permanently deprive the owner of the property or significantly diminish its value or the owner’s enjoyment of it.

What Is The Difference Between First and Second Degree Robbery

In California, the difference between first and second-degree robbery lies in the severity of the crime, particularly regarding the use of force or violence and specific circumstances.

First-degree robbery involves using a deadly weapon, such as firearms or knives, during the crime. It’s further elevated if committed in particular situations like inhabited dwellings, against commercial vehicle drivers, or targeting ATM users. The intent here is typically to steal with the aid of a deadly weapon or force. Conviction for first-degree robbery, a felony, leads to more severe penalties, including longer prison sentences.

Second-degree robbery, while also a felony, does not involve the use of deadly weapons or the specific aggravating factors present in first-degree robbery. The intent in second-degree robbery may be to steal, but it excludes the use of deadly weapons or specific aggravating circumstances. Penalties for second-degree robbery are generally less severe than those for first-degree robbery.

Penalties for Robbery Convictions under PC 211

A first-degree robbery conviction in California typically results in a state prison sentence ranging from three to nine years, with possible enhanced penalties for weapon use. This felony also qualifies as a “strike” under the Three Strikes law.

For second-degree robbery, the legal consequences can include a prison term of two to five years, a maximum fine of $10,000, formal felony probation, and mandatory victim restitution.

Defending Against Robbery Charges in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, effectively contesting robbery charges depends on a detailed review of each case’s unique circumstances and evidence. Our experienced criminal defense attorney employs various strategies to create reasonable doubt:

  1. Challenge the Use of Force or Fear: We may argue that the defendant did not use force or fear, or the force used did not meet the legal threshold for a robbery offense.
  2. Mistaken Identity Defense: It’s common for robbery victims to misremember details in high-stress situations. We scrutinize police procedures for potential identification errors, which can be crucial in these cases.
  3. Questioning Intent: For a robbery conviction, the prosecution must prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt. We explore scenarios where the defendant might not have intended to permanently deprive the victim of their property, possibly due to a belief in their right to the property.

Los Angeles Criminal Attorney Defending Against Robbery Charges

Facing robbery charges under Penal Code 211 requires a focused legal defense, and at the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we bring expertise specifically tailored to these challenging cases. Our approach is to dissect the unique aspects of your robbery charge, from examining the alleged use of force or fear to scrutinizing identification procedures and intent. We understand the complexities of robbery cases, including the nuances of first and second-degree charges and the implications under California’s Three Strikes law. With a commitment to aggressive and knowledgeable defense, we aim to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. If you’re confronting a robbery charge, immediate and specialized legal support is crucial. Contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Arash Hashemi at our Westside Towers office, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064, or call (310) 448-1529 to discuss your defense strategy.

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The case of Salvador Alejandro Sanchez, a former LAPD officer involved in the fatal shooting at a Corona Costco, presents a complex legal scenario. This article delves into the specifics of the incident, the charges filed, and the applicable California Penal Codes, offering a comprehensive overview for those interested in the intricacies of criminal defense law.

The Incident in Detail

On June 14, 2019, at the Costco in Corona, Salvador Sanchez, then an LAPD officer, fatally shot Kenneth French, a developmentally disabled man. The altercation reportedly began when French pushed or slapped Sanchez, leading to the shooting that also critically injured French’s parents​​​​​​.

Charges and Penal Codes

  • Voluntary Manslaughter Charge: Salvador Sanchez faces a count of voluntary manslaughter under California Penal Code Section 192(a). This law defines voluntary manslaughter as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, occurring during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.
  • Assault with a Semiautomatic Firearm Charge: Sanchez is also charged with two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, as outlined in California Penal Code Section 245(b). This specific charge is levied for committing an assault on another person using a semiautomatic firearm. In this incident, the alleged victims are the parents of Kenneth French.
  • Sentence-Enhancing Gun and Great Bodily Injury Allegations: Alongside these charges, there are sentence-enhancing allegations related to the use of a gun and causing great bodily injury. These allegations, if proven, can lead to more severe penalties under the relevant California penal statutes.

Connecting the Incident to the Charges

The charges stem from the incident’s circumstances, particularly the altercation between Sanchez and French. The voluntary manslaughter charge reflects the lack of premeditation but acknowledges the lethal outcome of the conflict. The assault charges focus on the use of a semiautomatic firearm against French’s parents.

Defense’s Perspective

Sanchez’s defense, as articulated by his attorney, has suggested that the shooting was a result of self-defense and a reaction to being attacked. They have criticized the charges as being politically motivated and not reflective of the situation’s nuances​​​​.

Legal Defenses and Implications

Potential defenses in this case might include:

  • Self-Defense: Arguing that Sanchez’s actions were a necessary response to an immediate threat.
  • Questioning the Evidence: Challenging the prosecution’s evidence, including the nature of the altercation and the circumstances leading to the shooting.

Potential Sentencing and Consequences

If convicted, Sanchez faces significant imprisonment. The exact duration will depend on the court’s interpretation of the incident’s circumstances and the applicable California sentencing guidelines.

The Salvador Sanchez case highlights the legal complexities surrounding law enforcement actions, particularly when off-duty. It raises questions about self-defense, use of force, and the legal repercussions faced by police officers. For those facing similar charges or interested in criminal law, understanding such cases is crucial. At The Law Offices Of Arash Hashemi, we specialize in navigating the intricacies of criminal defense. Contact us at (310) 870-2607 for expert legal counsel.

 

Dory Lindsay Ford, a 57-year-old caterer from Monterey, California, faces serious charges for defrauding the government of $4 million in COVID-19 relief funds. A federal grand jury indicted Ford for bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

Background and Charges

Ford operated Aqua Terra Culinary, Inc., a catering company in Monterey. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he applied for and received approximately $4 million in loans and grants. These funds came from three key sources: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).

The CARES Act, enacted in March 2020, aimed to provide financial assistance during the pandemic. It authorized up to $349 billion in forgivable loans through the PPP for small businesses. The ARPA, passed in 2021, established the RRF with $28.6 billion for grants to food and drink businesses affected by the pandemic. The EIDL program offered low-interest financing to small businesses in disaster-affected regions.

Allegations and Misuse of Funds

The indictment alleges that Ford obtained the $4 million through false representations and omissions. He is accused of using the COVID-19 relief funds to purchase real estate in Belize, invest in the stock market, and fund other business ventures. These actions were in direct violation of the intended use of the funds, which was to cover payroll costs, rent or mortgage payments, and supplies.

Specific Charges

Ford faces multiple federal charges:

  • Bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344.
  • Three counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343.
  • Two counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957.

Legal Implications

If convicted, Dory Lindsay Ford faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for bank fraud. Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering charges could lead to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. Sentencing will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Next Court Appearance

Ford is scheduled to appear in court on January 31, 2024, before United States Magistrate Judge Virginia K. DeMarchi in the Northern District of California. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Neal C. Hong.


Law enforcement officials arrested four individuals in Los Angeles for operating a drug trafficking ring in the San Fernando Valley, as detailed in a 15-count federal grand jury indictment. This operation involved distributing cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.

The Operation

The indictment reveals a structured drug trafficking network. Giselle Buraye, 23, from Van Nuys, along with Efren Meraz, Jr., 35, from Sylmar, and Oscar Alejandro Melendez, 50, from Van Nuys, were identified as the operation’s leaders. They were responsible for obtaining the fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, and cocaine. This trio, together with Sarkis Kyurkchian, 40, from North Hollywood, supplied the drugs to Robert Carlton Lavilette, 68, from Ventura, and Max Roman-Betancourt, 41, from Sunland, who then handled street-level sales. Esteban Armas, 36, from Panorama City, was allegedly responsible for storing the narcotics.

Arrests and Arraignments

Authorities arrested Giselle Buraye, Efren Meraz, Jr., Max Roman-Betancourt, and Esteban Armas, who are now scheduled for arraignment in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Oscar Alejandro Melendez and Robert Carlton Lavilette will face arraignment in the coming days, while Sarkis Kyurkchian is still at large as a fugitive.

Charges and Seizures

All seven defendants face charges of conspiring to distribute and possess controlled substances with intent to distribute, violating 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and § 846. Buraye faces additional charges related to the possession and distribution of methamphetamine and fentanyl. In the investigation, law enforcement seized 19 kilograms of methamphetamine, 58 kilograms of cocaine, and 3 kilograms of fentanyl powder. They also confiscated over $150,000 in U.S. currency. Additionally, officers found more than 14 firearms, extra narcotics, and substantial cash during searches at five San Fernando Valley locations.

Specific Incidents Linked to the Defendants

The indictment details specific incidents involving the defendants. On April 14, 2021, Buraye and Mendez allegedly sold around 1,000 fentanyl pills. In March 2022, Buraye reportedly sold over 700 fentanyl pills. In May 2022, authorities executed a search warrant at Armas’s residence, leading to the seizure of 2,504 grams of fentanyl, 57 kilograms of cocaine, 10.92 kilograms of methamphetamine, and $152,602 in drug proceeds.

An indictment alleges a defendant’s criminal activity, but each defendant remains presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. Conviction on all charges could lead to a life sentence in federal prison, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

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Former Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, was sentenced to 13 years in prison Friday in a high-profile corruption case. He was found guilty of accepting at least $1.5 million in cash and benefits. These were in exchange for his assistance in approving various real estate projects in downtown LA. A year ago, Huizar pleaded guilty to federal counts of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and tax evasion.

Racketeering Conspiracy

Huizar led the “CD-14 Enterprise,” a criminal conspiracy with a pay-to-play scheme, leading to his RICO Act conviction. The enterprise solicited and received nearly $2 million in bribes from real estate developers, including cash, casino chips, prostitution services, political contributions, flights, luxury stays, meals, concert and sporting event tickets, and more.

Key instances of bribery were:

  • Huizar requested $500,000 in cash from developer David Lee to resolve an appeal against Lee’s project.
  • He accepted over $1 million in benefits from billionaire Wei Huang, in exchange for favoring Huang’s hotel project.

Tax Evasion

The tax evasion charge against Huizar stemmed from his failure to report these illicit gains to the IRS. His evasion tactics included laundering cash through his mother and brother and omitting his financial benefits on his tax returns. Additionally, to maintain his political seat amid a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2013, Huizar used $600,000 in the form of collateral from Huang, routed through a foreign shell company, to confidentially settle the lawsuit.

Sentencing Details

United States District Judge John F. Walter sentenced Huizar to 13 years in federal prison. In addition, he ordered Huizar to pay $443,905 in restitution to the City of Los Angeles and $38,792 to the IRS. Emphasizing the destructive impact of public corruption on democracy and public trust, Judge Walter highlighted the gravity of Huizar’s actions.

Huizar’s case also involved admissions of obstructing justice, including tampering with witnesses and lying to federal prosecutors and agents.

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California’s Three Strikes Law significantly impacts sentencing for repeat felony offenders. It mandates doubled sentences for individuals with one prior serious or violent felony upon any new felony conviction. For those with two such prior convictions, a third felony conviction leads to a minimum 25-year to life sentence, with parole eligibility determined by the Parole Board. This law underscores California’s firm stance against repeat serious or violent offenders.

The Three Strikes Law Statute

Understanding California’s Three Strikes Law requires familiarity with specific terms and categories.

  • Without Strike Enhancement: This category applies to individuals who do not receive strike enhancements for their sentence. They may, however, have other case or offense enhancements.
  • Doubled-Sentence Enhancement: This applies to individuals with prior strikes. They receive a doubled sentence for any new felony conviction. This is often referred to as a “second strike.”
  • Third-Strike Enhancement: This is for individuals with two prior strikes. They face a minimum of 25 years to life for a new serious or violent felony conviction.

A “strike” in the context of California’s Three Strikes Law refers to a conviction classified either as a violent felony, outlined in Penal Code 667.5 PC, or as a serious felony, detailed in Penal Code 1192.7 PC.

Sentence and Penalties for First Strike Offenders

  1. Initial Conviction Implications: The first strike, say for a serious offense like aggravated assault, does not trigger enhanced sentencing under the Three Strikes Law. The offender receives the standard penalty for that specific crime.
  2. Consequences of a Subsequent Felony: If the same individual is later convicted of a different felony, such as burglary, the Three Strikes Law activates. This results in enhanced penalties for the new felony conviction.
  3. Doubling of Sentence: After a first strike, the law dictates that any new felony conviction will have its sentence doubled. This is often referred to as the “second strike” scenario.

Sentence and Penalties for Second Strike Offenders

The second strike in California’s Three Strikes Law significantly escalates the consequences for repeat felony offenders. Here’s an overview of what a second strike entails:

  1. Activation of Enhanced Sentencing: When an individual with one prior serious or violent felony (the first strike) is convicted of any new felony, the law triggers enhanced sentencing. This is irrespective of whether the new felony is serious or violent.
  2. Doubling of the Sentence: The key feature of a second strike is the doubling of the sentence for the new felony conviction. For example, if the standard sentence for a new felony is five years, under a second strike, it becomes ten years.
  3. Cumulative Impact: The second strike underscores the cumulative nature of the Three Strikes Law. It serves as a significant deterrent, aiming to prevent repeat offenses by imposing harsher penalties.
  4. Broad Application: The second strike rule applies to any new felony conviction, not just serious or violent ones. This broad application reflects the law’s intent to reduce recidivism among individuals with prior serious or violent felony convictions.

Sentence and Penalties for Third Strike Offenders

The third strike in California’s Three Strikes Law represents the most severe level of sentencing under this statute. Here’s what it involves:

  1. Severe Sentencing for the Third Strike: When an individual with two prior serious or violent felony convictions (two strikes) is convicted of a new serious or violent felony, they face an indeterminate life sentence.
  2. Minimum Sentence of 25 Years: The law mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years to life for third strike offenders. This means the individual must serve at least 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.
  3. Impact on Parole Eligibility: The decision for parole in third strike cases is not automatic and involves a thorough review by the Parole Board, considering the offender’s behavior and rehabilitation while incarcerated.

Removing/Appealing a Strike under California’s Three Strikes Law

In California, there are legal avenues to challenge or appeal a strike on a criminal record under the Three Strikes Law. Here’s an overview of these processes:

  1. Romero Motion: A defendant can file a Romero motion, named after a landmark California Supreme Court case. This motion requests the court to dismiss a prior strike conviction for sentencing purposes. The decision to grant a Romero motion is at the judge’s discretion and typically considers factors like the nature of the previous strikes, the current offense, and the defendant’s overall criminal history and rehabilitation efforts.
  2. Appeal Process: If a defendant believes there was a legal error in their case, such as improper application of the Three Strikes Law, they can file an appeal. This process involves a higher court reviewing the original trial’s proceedings to determine if there were errors that significantly affected the outcome.
  3. Resentencing Under Proposition 36: Passed in 2012, Proposition 36 allows some third-strike offenders serving life sentences for non-serious, non-violent felonies to petition the court for a reduced sentence. Eligibility depends on the nature of the current and past offenses and requires that the offender does not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety.
  4. Habeas Corpus Petitions: In some cases, defendants may file a writ of habeas corpus, challenging the legality of their imprisonment. This can be based on new evidence, ineffective assistance of counsel, or other constitutional violations.

 

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In California, people often use “Restraining Orders” and “Protective Orders” interchangeably, but understanding their specific applications and legal implications is crucial. Both orders, which are judicial decrees, aim to protect individuals from unwanted behaviors like stalking, harassment, threats, or physical abuse. The court directs these orders at specific individuals, named in the orders, to stop them from engaging in harmful conduct.

Under California Penal Code Section § 273.6, violating the terms of a protective order is a criminal offense. Depending on the circumstances, such a violation can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Typically, a first-time violation, in the absence of other criminal charges, is treated as a misdemeanor. The consequences for a misdemeanor violation can include a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), a jail term of up to one year, or both.

While both restraining orders and protective orders aim to safeguard individuals from harm, they are distinct in their legal context and application. Restraining orders are generally used in civil contexts, whereas protective orders are more common in criminal cases. The choice between a restraining order and a protective order depends on the specific situation and the nature of the threat involved.

Criminal vs. Civil Orders

The key difference between protective orders and restraining orders lies in their issuance in either criminal or civil courts. This distinction is crucial for understanding how each order functions and the specific circumstances under which they are applied.

Criminal Protective Orders: In criminal cases, protective orders are typically requested by the district attorney on behalf of the victim. These orders are particularly prevalent in domestic violence cases. Here, the prosecuting attorney seeks a judicial decree to safeguard the victim from their abuser. The goal is to prevent further harm and ensure the victim’s safety while the criminal case is ongoing. It’s important to note that in these scenarios, the state, represented by the district attorney, takes the initiative to request the order, reflecting the seriousness of the criminal context.

Civil Restraining Orders: On the other hand, restraining orders are more common in civil matters and are requested by one of the parties involved in a civil dispute. These orders are frequently seen in family law cases, such as divorces or custody battles. For instance, a party in a divorce may seek a restraining order against their spouse to prevent harassment, ensure physical distance, or stop any other form of harmful behavior. The key aspect here is that the individual seeking protection takes the initiative to request the order, which is then considered and issued by a civil court.

Violating a Protective Order in California

In California, non-compliance with a protective order’s terms is a significant legal violation. Under Penal Code 273.6 PC, the consequences for the restrained person can be severe. To secure a conviction, the prosecution must demonstrate:

  1. A judge legally issued the protective order.
  2. The defendant was aware of the order.
  3. The order was intentionally violated.

Misdemeanor Charges: Typically, such violations are treated as misdemeanors, with penalties including:

  • Up to one year in county jail, and/or
  • A fine not exceeding $1,000.

Felony Charges: In certain cases, violations can escalate to felony charges, with more stringent penalties:

  • Up to three years in state prison, and/or
  • A fine of as much as $10,000.

Expiration of Protective and Restraining Orders in California

In California, courts issue both protective and restraining orders with specific expiration dates, and it’s crucial for all involved parties to understand these timelines.

Protective Orders: Typically issued in criminal cases, these orders often last as long as the criminal case is active. However, the duration can vary based on the case specifics and judicial discretion. Some protective orders may extend beyond the conclusion of the criminal case, especially in situations involving domestic violence or ongoing threats.

Restraining Orders: Restraining orders in civil cases vary in duration, depending on the order type and case circumstances. Temporary restraining orders (TROs) typically last a few weeks, often until a court hearing for a more permanent order. Meanwhile, permanent restraining orders can extend for several years.

 

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A federal indictment accuses 67-year-old Koreatown lawyer Paulinus Iheanacho Okoronkwo of complex financial and legal misconduct. His charges relate to a $2.1 million transaction involving Nigerian and Chinese state-owned oil companies.

Detailed Charges and Legal Provisions

  1. Money Laundering Charges:
    • Incident: Okoronkwo allegedly received a $2.1 million bribe from Addax Petroleum for influencing drilling rights negotiations in Nigeria.
    • Charges: He is charged with three counts of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, violating Title 18 United States Code Section 1957. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
  2. Tax Evasion:
    • Incident: The indictment accuses Okoronkwo of excluding the bribe payment from his 2015 federal income tax return.
    • Charge: This results in a charge of tax evasion under Title 26 United States Code Section 7201, which could lead to a maximum of five years in federal prison.
  3. Obstruction of Justice:
    • Incident: Allegedly, Okoronkwo provided false statements to investigators in 2022.
    • Charge: This has led to an obstruction of justice charge under Title 18 United States Code Section 1503, with a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Context of the Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme

In 2015, while an NNPC officer, Okoronkwo received a payment from Addax Petroleum, disguised as consulting fees. Investigators allege this was a bribe for securing drilling rights. In 2017, Okoronkwo used used $983,200 of the illegally obtained funds to buy a Valencia property, indicating money laundering involvement.

If found guilty on all counts, Okoronkwo could receive up to 10 years in federal prison for each money laundering and obstruction of justice charge, and 5 years for tax evasion.

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Violating a Restraining Order

Violating a restraining or protective order is a serious offense under California Penal Code 273.6. This crime occurs when an individual intentionally and knowingly disobeys a court-issued protective or restraining order. Such orders, including temporary restraining orders (TROs) in civil cases and protective orders in criminal court, are designed to safeguard victims from harm, harassment, threats, stalking, or physical abuse.

Restrictions Imposed by the Orders

The terms of these orders typically prohibit the restrained individual from making any form of contact with the protected person. This includes communication through phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, and direct face-to-face interactions.

Criminal Protective Orders (CPOs)

In domestic violence prosecutions, judges often issue Criminal Protective Orders (CPOs) to prevent defendants from engaging in harassment, abuse, stalking, or threatening behavior towards the alleged victims. These orders are common in criminal cases involving violence or credible threats of violence and are closely linked with domestic violence cases in California.

Types of California Restraining Orders

In California, courts issue various types of restraining or protective orders, each designed for specific situations. Violating any of these orders can lead to penalties under Penal Code 273.6.

Domestic Violence Restraining Order: This order is issued to protect individuals from abuse by an intimate partner. It aims to prevent physical, emotional, or other forms of abuse in intimate relationships.

Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order: Issued to protect elders (aged 65 and above) and dependent adults (aged 18-64 with disabilities), this order safeguards against physical, emotional, or financial abuse.

Contempt of Court Charges: Violating the terms of any of these orders can result in contempt of court charges under California Penal Code 166 PC.

Emergency Protective Order (EPO): Law enforcement officers can request an EPO during a domestic violence incident response. This order is immediate and typically lasts for 7 days, requiring the alleged abuser to avoid contact with the victim.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): After an EPO expires, or in cases of harassment, individuals can request a TRO from the court, effective for up to 3 weeks. Applicants must demonstrate they are victims of harassment, credible threats, or behavior causing substantial emotional distress.

Permanent Restraining Order (PRO): A PRO is issued following a court hearing where both parties present their arguments. The judge assesses the evidence and decides on the necessity and terms of the PRO, which can last up to 3 years and be extended if needed. Common restrictions include no contact with the victim, maintaining a certain distance, and firearm restrictions.

How Prosecution Proves a Restraining Order Violation in California

In California, to convict someone under Penal Code 273.6 for violating a restraining order, a prosecutor must establish several key elements:

  1. Lawful Issuance of a Protective Order: The court must have issued a protective order in accordance with legal procedures.
  2. Defendant’s Awareness of the Order: You must have been aware of the existence of the court order. This awareness is established if you had the opportunity to read the order, regardless of whether you actually did so.
  3. Ability to Comply with the Order: You must have been capable of complying with the terms set out in the court order.
  4. Willful Violation of the Order: The violation of the order must have been willful, meaning it was done willingly or on purpose.

Understanding ‘Willful’ Actions and Additional Charges

  • An action is considered ‘willful’ if it is carried out willingly or with intent.
  • Importantly, if you commit another crime while violating a restraining order, you can face charges under both PC 273.6 and the statute relevant to the other crime.

Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order

Misdemeanor Offense: Typically classified as a misdemeanor, a violation of Penal Code 273.6 involves:

  • A potential jail term of up to one year in county jail.
  • A mandatory 30-day jail sentence if the violation resulted in victim injury.
  • Fines reaching up to $1,000.
  • Compulsory participation in counseling and domestic violence classes.
  • Financial contributions to a battered women’s shelter and victim restitution.

Enhanced Charges for Repeat Offenses: For a second offense within seven years involving violence or threats, the charge can escalate to a “wobbler,” allowing for prosecution as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Felony-Level Violations: In cases classified as felonies, the penalties intensify:

  • State prison sentences of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years.
  • Fines up to $10,000.
  • Probation for a maximum of one year.
  • A minimum 30-day jail term for repeat offenders within one year, especially if the violation results in victim injury.

Additional Legal Implications

  • Violators lose the legal right to own or possess firearms.
  • Possession of firearms can lead to further criminal charges.
  • Court-mandated anger management or domestic violence counseling may be required.

Defending Against Charges of Violating a Restraining Order

  1. Lack of Knowledge: If you were not aware of the restraining order, this can be a defense. It must be proven that you did not have a reasonable opportunity to learn about the order’s existence or terms.
  2. Inability to Comply: Circumstances may have made it impossible for you to comply with the order. This could include situations where you were unaware of the protected person’s presence in a public place.
  3. False Accusation: Sometimes, allegations of violating a restraining order are based on false accusations. Proving that the claim was fabricated or exaggerated can be a valid defense.
  4. Accidental Violation: If the contact with the protected person was accidental and not intentional, this can serve as a defense. This might apply in cases where you unknowingly entered a place at the same time as the protected person.
  5. Order Was Not Legally Issued: Challenging the legality of the restraining order’s issuance can be a defense. This involves showing that the order was not properly issued according to legal procedures.

Defending against a charge of violating a restraining order requires a clear and effective legal strategy. At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we focus on crucial aspects of your case, including challenging the legality of the restraining order, proving a lack of awareness about the order, and contesting any intentional violation. We also consider your ability to comply with the order and address any additional related charges. If you’re facing such charges, immediate legal assistance is essential. Contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Arash Hashemi at our Westside Towers office, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064, or call (310) 448-1529 to schedule a consultation.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Photo: (Photographs of Bell are being released in order to identify and speak with additional persons who may have been victimized)/ www.lapdonline.org

Bruce Edward Bell’s arrest on December 21, 2023, for a high-stakes bank robbery in Sun Valley, Los Angeles, marks a critical development in a series of criminal activities. Bell, facing charges for allegedly entering a bank, using a firearm to threaten an employee, and fleeing with over $60,000, is now at the center of a significant legal case under California law.

The incident, occurring in the 8000 block of Vineland Avenue, spotlights Bell’s alleged actions. According to reports, he employed a firearm to coerce a bank employee, culminating in a substantial monetary theft. This act puts him in direct violation of multiple penal codes, emphasizing the severity of the charges he faces.

Legal Charges and Penal Code Analysis

  1. 209(A) PC – Kidnapping: Bell’s action of forcing an employee to move under the threat of violence constitutes kidnapping as per California Penal Code 209(A). This statute is particularly severe when associated with another felony, like robbery, potentially leading to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
  2. 211 PC – Robbery: Bell’s demand for money under threat brings into play Penal Code 211, governing robberies in California. The use of a firearm in this context could lead to enhanced sentencing due to California’s stringent gun laws.

Prior Convictions and Three Strikes Law

California’s Three Strikes Law mandates significantly harsher sentences for individuals who have been convicted of three or more serious or violent felonies. In Bell’s case, with four prior bank robbery convictions, this law could result in an escalated sentence, potentially leading to life imprisonment due to his repeat offender status.

Consequences and Sentencing Possibilities

Given the severity of the charges, especially under California’s stringent laws on kidnapping and robbery, Bell faces the possibility of life imprisonment. The involvement of a firearm and his past convictions further complicate his case, potentially leading to a harsher sentence.

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What is Domestic Battery?

Under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), domestic battery is a misdemeanor offense that involves the use of force against an intimate partner. This charge is commonly applied in cases of spousal abuse, cohabitant altercations, or other domestic violence conflicts.

Key Elements of Domestic Battery:

  • Willful and Harmful Touching: The defendant must have intentionally engaged in physical contact that was harmful or offensive.
  • Relationship with the Victim: The victim must be a current or former intimate partner of the defendant, which includes spouses, cohabitants, fiancés, co-parents, or dating partners.

Understanding ‘Cohabitant’: This term refers to two unrelated individuals living together, characterized by elements such as a sexual relationship, shared finances, joint property ownership, and the duration and continuity of their relationship.

Scope and Application of the Law:

  • Domestic battery law applies to both same-sex and heterosexual relationships.
  • The law does not necessitate that the victim sustains a physical injury. Any form of harmful or offensive contact, regardless of the presence of injury, can constitute domestic battery.

Additional Legal Considerations:

  • Slight or No Injuries: Even in cases with slight or no physical injuries, charges can be filed. The mere act of using force or violence is sufficient.
  • Aggravated Circumstances: In cases where the victim suffers serious injuries, charges may escalate to aggravated battery or intentional infliction of corporal injury.
  • Investigative Process: Post-arrest, a police detective typically conducts interviews and gathers statements to support the allegations. It is crucial to seek legal counsel before making any statements to law enforcement.

Legal Definition and Examples:

  • Domestic battery includes any willful and unlawful touching that is harmful or offensive.
  • Common examples include pushing during an argument or grabbing a wrist to restrain.
  • To convict, the prosecution must prove willful touching, that it was offensive or harmful, and the victim was an intimate partner.

Important Legal Note:

  • Physical injury is not a prerequisite for a domestic battery charge.
  • Threats or actions in an angry or disrespectful manner can lead to charges, even without physical harm.

Penalties for Domestic Battery Conviction

Domestic battery under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1) PC is classified as a misdemeanor. The penalties for a conviction can include:

  • Up to one year in a Los Angeles County jail.
  • Court fines, which can be substantial.
  • Mandatory completion of community service and/or community labor.
  • Enrollment in domestic violence classes, including anger management programs.
  • Issuance of protective or stay-away orders.

In addition to these direct penalties, a domestic battery conviction may have broader implications, potentially affecting employment opportunities, particularly in fields involving the care of children or the sick. Convicted individuals also lose the right to own or acquire firearms.

For more severe cases, such as aggravated domestic battery or intentional infliction of corporal injury on a spouse (California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC), the penalties are more stringent. These can include:

  • Up to four years in state prison.
  • Probation, which may require the defendant to cover the victim’s expenses related to the offense, such as counseling costs.

A domestic battery conviction significantly impacts non-citizens’ immigration status, as federal immigration laws categorize it as a deportable crime.

Defenses Against Domestic Battery Charges

When charged with domestic battery, several defense strategies can be effective:

  1. False Accusation: Especially in cases where allegations might stem from personal disputes or misunderstandings, it is crucial to challenge the credibility of the accusation.
  2. Self-Defense: Arguing that the actions were necessary and reasonable to protect oneself or another person from immediate harm.
  3. Accidental Contact: Demonstrating that any physical contact was unintentional and not meant to cause harm or offense.
  4. Insufficient Evidence: Underlining the lack of substantial evidence to support the charges, which is crucial as the burden of proof lies with the prosecution.

Defending Against Domestic Battery Charges in Los Angeles

California law recognizes the right to self-defense in situations where there is a reasonable belief of imminent physical harm. This defense can be crucial in cases where someone is charged with domestic battery under Penal Code Section 243(e)(1). Additionally, domestic battery charges can sometimes stem from false accusations, where the alleged victim may have motivations other than the truth.

If you are facing domestic battery charges, it’s essential to have an experienced defense attorney who can navigate these complex issues. At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we understand the serious implications of these charges and are dedicated to exploring every legal avenue to protect your rights. For expert legal counsel and a robust defense strategy, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Arash Hashemi. Our office is located at Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Reach us at (310) 448-1529 or schedule a consultation today. Your rights and future are our primary concern, and we are committed to providing the support and representation you need during this challenging time.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Photo: (photograph of the handgun recovered/photograph of the seized watches) / www.lapdonline.org

 

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, specifically the Illicit Pharmaceutical and Counterfeit Unit (IPCU), recently made a significant arrest in the San Fernando Valley. Albert Bantug, a 33-year-old ex-convict, was apprehended for selling counterfeit Rolex watches. His bail was set at Zero Bail.

  • Arrest Details: On January 11, 2024, at approximately 11 a.m., law enforcement officials apprehended Albert Bantug near the 20000 block of Vanowen Street.
  • Discovery of Illegal Items: Upon arresting Bantug, detectives discovered a semi-automatic loaded handgun in his front waistband. Authorities identified this firearm as a ‘ghost gun’ because it lacks serial numbers. Additionally, they seized several counterfeit Rolex watches that he possessed.

Charges and Legal Implications

  1. Felon in Possession of a Firearm (29800(a)1 PC): Bantug faces this charge due to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. California Penal Code 29800(a)(1) strictly prohibits felons from owning, purchasing, receiving, or having in their custody or control any firearm. If convicted, he could face up to three years in county jail.
  2. Trademark Infringement (350(a) PC): The counterfeit Rolex watches led to a charge of trademark infringement under California Penal Code 350(a). This law makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess for sale any counterfeit mark registered with the California Secretary of State or the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Conviction could lead to up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000

Consumer Safety Warning

  • Health Risks of Counterfeits: The LAPD warns that counterfeit products, like the seized watches, can be hazardous to health. Reports have surfaced of counterfeit watches and jewelry containing dangerous levels of lead and other harmful metals. Counterfeit manufacturers often bypass the rigorous materials and safety testing standards adhered to by legitimate brands.

Prevention Tips

  • Safe Purchasing Practices: Consumers should buy only from authorized dealers or directly from manufacturers to avoid fake products. They need to carefully research the suppliers’ names and locations.
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Definition and Elements of the Crime

Under California Penal Code Section 166 PC, various behaviors are classified as contempt of court. This includes disruptive conduct during court proceedings, refusal to comply as a witness, and notably, the intentional violation of a Court Order. This statute is particularly relevant in cases involving Protective Orders, Restraining Orders, and Stay-Away Orders, often seen in domestic violence situations.

To establish a violation of a Court Order under Penal Code 166 PC, the prosecution must prove:

  • A lawful written court order was issued.
  • The defendant was aware of the court order.
  • The defendant had the capability to comply with the court order.
  • The defendant willfully violated the court order.

It’s important to note that this statute is applicable to any protective or stay-away order issued by a court. However, it does not extend to violations of probation conditions, which are legally considered court orders but are addressed separately in Probation Violation Hearings and are explicitly excluded from prosecution under Penal Code 166 PC.

Types of Contempt of Court Under Penal Code 166 PC

Penal Code 166 PC outlines several specific types of contempt:

  • Disruptive Behavior: Disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent behavior during court proceedings that interrupts or disrespects the court.
  • Breach of Peace: Any noise or disturbance that interrupts court proceedings.
  • Willful Disobedience of Court Orders: Intentionally disobeying the terms of a court order.
  • Resistance to Court Orders: Actively resisting or obstructing a court’s lawful order or process.
  • Refusal to Comply as a Witness: Refusing to be sworn in as a witness or to answer essential questions.
  • Misrepresentation in Court: Publishing false reports of court proceedings or presenting unauthorized information during sentencing.
  • Gang-Related Injunctions: Disobeying injunctions related to criminal street gangs.

Penalties for Violating Penal Code 166 PC

Violations of California Penal Code 166 PC generally fall under misdemeanor offenses. The penalties for these misdemeanors can be substantial, including:

  • Up to six months in jail.
  • Significant court fines.

However, the law includes provisions for enhanced penalties and specific circumstances:

  • Contacting a Victim: Enhanced penalties apply if the contempt involves contacting a victim, especially after a prior conviction.
  • Protective Order Violations: Violating protective orders, particularly in domestic violence or elder abuse cases, can lead to imprisonment and fines.
  • Firearm Possession: Owning or possessing a firearm when prohibited by a protective order results in additional penalties.

Legal Defenses

Defending against charges of violating a court order can involve several strategies:

  • Arguing it was not a willful violation, such as in accidental encounters.
  • Demonstrating a lack of awareness of the court order.
  • Proving inability to comply due to circumstances beyond control.
  • Challenging the legality of the court order itself.

Criminal Defense for Violating a Court Order Cases in Los Angeles

The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi are at your service to defend your rights if you find yourself facing the serious charge of violating a court order in Los Angeles.With over two decades of experience in handling both misdemeanor and felony cases, Attorney Arash Hashemi is well-versed in the intricacies of contempt of court charges, including violations of court orders, protective orders, and stay-away orders.

At our office, we understand the serious implications of being charged under Penal Code 166 PC. Whether you’re accused of disruptive behavior in court, willful disobedience of court orders, or any other form of contempt, we are here to provide the robust defense you need. Contact us at (310) 448-1529 or visit us at Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, to schedule a consultation.

Attorney Arash Hashemi will review your case, exploring every legal avenue to challenge the accusations against you. Whether it’s arguing against the willfulness of the violation, questioning the awareness of the court order, or challenging the legality of the order itself, we are committed to pursuing the best possible outcome for your case. Trust us to build a strong, effective defense strategy tailored to the specifics of your situation.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Paul Horton Smith Sr., 59, from Moreno Valley, California, has entered a guilty plea to a federal charge of wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme. This scheme, which spanned nearly two decades, defrauded over $24 million from at least 200 investors, many of whom were elderly or retired.

Case Overview

  • Charge and Penal Code: Smith pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, as defined under 18 U.S.C § 1343.
  • Duration and Scope: From July 2000 to May 2020, Smith operated several companies in Riverside, including Northstar Communications LLC, Planning Services Inc., and eGate LLC, to orchestrate this scheme.

Mechanics of the Scheme

  • Investment Misrepresentation: Smith falsely represented Northstar as an annuity or a similar investment, claiming involvement in real estate or the stock market.
  • Guaranteed Returns: He assured investors of a fixed rate of return, falsely branding Northstar as a “safe investment.”
  • Misuse of Funds: Contrary to his promises, Smith never invested the funds, instead depositing them into a non-interest-bearing checking account.
  • Ponzi Scheme Operation: Smith paid earlier investors with funds obtained from newer investors, a hallmark of Ponzi schemes.

Noteworthy Incident: In a striking case, Smith persuaded a victim to invest $400,000, which was life insurance proceeds. Promising a 5% return on a “safe investment,” Smith instead diverted these funds to maintain his fraudulent scheme.

Legal Implications

  • Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C § 1343): This statute criminalizes the use of interstate communications to perpetrate fraudulent schemes. Smith’s use of emails, texts, and electronic bank transfers to execute his scheme falls squarely under this law.
  • Potential Sentence: Facing a maximum of 20 years in federal prison, Smith’s sentencing highlights the severe consequences of wire fraud.
  • Impact on Victims: The scheme led to significant financial losses, with over 200 investors defrauded and 106 victims still awaiting full repayment, totaling a loss of about $13.3 million.

Investigation and Upcoming Sentencing: The federal investigation into this case demonstrates the commitment to prosecuting financial fraud. United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal will preside over Smith’s sentencing on April 1.

In California, the crime of assault is defined under Penal Code 240 PC as the unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on another person. This law, commonly addressing what is known as “simple assault,” is fundamental in the state’s criminal justice system. It highlights the legal boundary not only against acts of violence but also against any attempts to initiate such acts.

Key Highlights of Penal Code 240 PC

  • Nature of the Offense: Assault under PC 240 does not require physical contact or actual injury. The essence of the crime lies in the intent and capability to inflict harm.
  • Penalties: Classified as a misdemeanor, simple assault can lead to penalties including jail time of up to six months and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • Assault vs. Battery: It’s important to distinguish assault from battery (Penal Code 242). While assault is the attempt to use force, battery involves the actual use of force on someone.

What is Assault in the State of California?

In California, assault is legally defined under Penal Code 240 PC. The law states:

“An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”

Breaking Down the Elements of the Crime:

To secure a conviction for simple assault, the prosecution must prove several critical elements, collectively known as the “elements of the crime”:

  1. Willful Conduct: The accused must have engaged in a deliberate action that would likely result in the application of force to another person.
  2. Intent to Injure: The act must be accompanied by the intent to commit a violent injury. The term “attempt” inherently implies an intention to cause harm.
  3. Awareness of Potential Harm: The individual must have understood that their actions could potentially cause injury. This awareness is a key component of the “attempt.”
  4. Capability to Inflict Injury: The accused must have had the present ability to apply force or cause harm to another person.

Understanding ‘Application of Force’:

The term “application of force” in this context refers to any harmful or offensive touching. This can include even minor contact if executed in a disrespectful or rude manner. Notably, the law does not require the touching to cause physical injury or even be direct.

The Concept of Indirect Force:

It’s important to note that actual physical contact or the successful application of force is not a prerequisite for an assault charge. The critical factor is acting in a manner that could have resulted in force being applied to another person. For instance, in a road rage scenario, aggressive actions that could lead to physical harm may constitute assault, even if no physical contact occurred.

Penalties for Penal Code 240 Simple Assault in California

In California, simple assault as defined under Penal Code 240 PC is treated as a misdemeanor offense. The legal repercussions for those convicted of this crime can be significant.

Standard Penalties for Simple Assault:

  • Jail Time: A conviction can lead to a sentence of up to six months in a county jail.
  • Fines: Additionally, offenders may face a fine of up to $1,000 per offense.

Consequences of Multiple Assault Charges:

  • Cumulative Penalties: If an individual faces multiple assault charges, the penalties can accumulate, potentially leading to longer jail time and higher fines.

Enhanced Penalties for Assaults Against Specific Victims:

  • Protected Categories: The law imposes elevated penalties when the victim of the assault belongs to designated protected categories. These categories encompass individuals such as police officers, firefighters, traffic officers, code enforcement officers, animal control officers, and process servers, among others.
  • Conditions for Enhanced Penalties: For the enhanced penalties to apply, two conditions must be met:
    1. The victim must have been performing their official duties at the time of the assault.
    2. The assailant must have reasonably known or should have known the victim’s occupation.
  • Increased Penalties for Protected Victims: When these conditions are met, the penalties for assaulting individuals in these categories can include:
    • Up to one year in county jail.
    • A fine of up to $2,000.

Defenses to Assault in California

In California, individuals have the right to defend themselves if they reasonably believe they are in imminent danger of physical harm from another person. If someone who acted in self-defense is later charged with assault, they may have a valid self-defense claim.

Moreover, because assault is a criminal offense that often lacks physical injuries or concrete evidence, false accusations made by individuals seeking to cause trouble for the defendant can lead to unjust charges.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges related to assault under California Penal Code Section 240 PC, it is essential to seek guidance from an experienced legal professional. A skilled Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can explore various legal strategies to help prevent a conviction or mitigate the charges you face. For more information and expert legal counsel, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Arash Hashemi at the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, located at Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064. You can reach our office at (310) 448-1529 Your rights and future are our top priority, and we are here to provide you with the support and legal representation.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Photo: (Pat Brady, 53, of Lake Forest (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California)

Pat Brady, a 53-year-old Aryan Brotherhood member, confessed to a murder within a Northern California prison, as part of a significant investigation into the gang’s activities. This announcement was made by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

Details of the Prison Murder

In the July 2018 incident at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, Pat Brady, an Aryan Brotherhood gang member, admitted to the premeditated killing of a fellow inmate. This inmate had falsely represented himself as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and had accrued a substantial drug debt. Brady committed the act to maintain and strengthen his position within the gang’s hierarchy.

Investigation Highlights

The plea is a key development in a comprehensive investigation that uncovered crimes committed by the Aryan Brotherhood between 2011 and 2016. These crimes include racketeering, murder, conspiracy, and drug trafficking. The gang orchestrated and managed these activities from their prison cells, using smuggled cell phones.

Brady’s guilty plea marks a crucial milestone in understanding the inner workings of criminal organizations like the Aryan Brotherhood. It sheds light on the extensive criminal network operating within prisons and the severe ramifications of such activities.

Upcoming Sentencing

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller will sentence Brady on March 25, where he faces a mandatory life sentence. Brady and four defendants – Ronald Yandell, Billy Sylvester, Danny Troxell, and Jason Corbett – are scheduled for trial in February. The law presumes their innocence until proven guilty.

Often referred to as ‘Gang Enhancements,’ California Penal Code Section 186.22 PC deals with criminal street gangs. It’s integral to the “Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act”(STEP) in California, addressing gang-related issues.

Active Participation in a Criminal Street Gang

Subsection (a) of Penal Code Section 186.22 PC defines the consequences for individuals actively participating in a criminal street gang. To be convicted under this section, a person must:

  • Actively participate in a criminal street gang.
  • Possess knowledge of the gang’s pattern of criminal gang activity.
  • Willfully promote, further, or assist in felonious criminal conduct by gang members.

Penalties for this involvement may lead to one year in county jail. Alternatively, they can result in state prison for 16 months to three years.

Felony Committed for the Benefit of a Gang

Subsection (b) of Penal Code Section 186.22 PC addresses more severe penalties for individuals convicted of a felony committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal street gang. To trigger these enhanced penalties, the following elements must be established:

  • The specific intent to promote, further, or assist in criminal conduct by gang members.

The consequences may include additional terms of imprisonment based on the nature of the felony:

  • Two, three, or four years for non-serious or non-violent felonies.
  • An additional five years for serious felonies.
  • An additional ten years for violent felonies.

Enhancements Near Schools

Subsection (b)(2) provides an aggravating circumstance if the underlying felony occurs within 1,000 feet of a school during school hours or when minors are present. This circumstance can lead to more severe sentencing.

Sentencing Discretion

Subsection (b)(3) grants the court discretion in imposing sentencing enhancements, allowing judges to consider the unique circumstances of each case. The court is required to specify the reasons for its choice of enhancements on the record at the time of sentencing.

Indeterminate Sentences

Under Section 186.22(b)(4) of the Penal Code, the law imposes indeterminate life sentences for serious felonies committed in connection with gang activities. These sentences differ from fixed-term ones as they lack a predetermined end date. Their length varies based on factors including the inmate’s conduct in prison and decisions made by the parole board.

Probation Conditions

Subsection (c) mandates that if probation or suspended sentence occurs for Subsection (a) violations or Subsection (b) enhancements, the defendant serves a minimum 180 days in county jail.

Understanding Key Terms

To fully comprehend Penal Code Section 186.22 PC, it’s essential to familiarize oneself with key terms used within the statute:

  • “Pattern of criminal gang activity” (Subsection (e)): This phrase refers to the commission, attempted commission, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation of specified offenses by gang members, with at least one offense occurring after the effective date of this statute. These offenses require separate occurrences or involvement by two or more gang members, benefiting the gang beyond reputation.
  • “Criminal street gang” (Subsection (f)): Defined as an organized association of three or more persons, formal or informal, with primary activities involving the commission of specified criminal acts, common identifiers, and a pattern of criminal gang activity.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges with Gang Enhancement allegations, it is crucial to consult with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney. Our Attorney will explore multiple legal approaches to prevent a conviction or reduce your charges. For more information, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Arash Hashemi at The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, located at Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064. You can reach our office at (310) 448-1529

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Richard Jason Mountford, a resident of Monterey County, California, confessed to a substantial tax fraud, cheating the IRS out of nearly $900,000. His guilty plea, recorded in a federal court, acknowledges his role in a sophisticated tax scheme from 2016 to 2020.

Court documents reveal that Mountford, alongside unnamed accomplices, submitted fraudulent income tax returns. These documents falsely claimed employment and wages from a non-existent company, wrongly reported federal tax withholdings, and illicitly sought refunds.

Further Deceptions: Alimony Claims

The scheme was exacerbated by false alimony claims on most returns, inflating the refund amounts. As a result, the IRS was duped into issuing refunds totaling $873,723.53.

Personal Gains from the Fraudulent Scheme

Mountford personally benefited by depositing $757,075.53 into his accounts. His extravagant purchases included cars worth approximately $360,000. An accomplice also received significant amounts, including around $170,000 in cash and gold bars.

Legal Proceedings and Charges

Attorney General Phillip A. Talbert announced this key legal progression in the case against Mountford. The charges, led by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Tax Division, included:

  1. Conspiracy to File False Claims (18 U.S.C. § 286): This charge arises directly from Mountford’s participation in submitting fraudulent tax returns. Under this statute, it is a federal offense to conspire to defraud the United States government by filing false claims for refunds. The conspiracy charge implies that Mountford and his co-conspirators agreed to commit this crime together, with each playing a role in the execution of the fraudulent scheme. The law under 18 U.S.C. § 286 makes it illegal to engage in any agreement to submit false claims, emphasizing the seriousness of Mountford’s actions.
  2. Making False Statements on Tax Returns: This charge is concerned with Mountford’s deceitful tactics to inflate refund amounts through false alimony claims. By reporting false information on tax returns, particularly about alimony payments, Mountford significantly increased the refund amounts he and his co-conspirators claimed. This act of making false statements on tax returns is a violation of the U.S. tax laws. Such acts not only mislead the IRS but also unjustly enrich the fraudsters at the expense of the government and, ultimately, the taxpayers.

RS Criminal Investigation actively and thoroughly probed the case. Trial Attorneys John C. Gerardi and Charles A. O’Reilly of the Tax Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Dhruv M. Sharma, led the prosecution.

Upcoming Sentencing and Potential Restitution

U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley will sentence Mountford on April 11, 2024. Mountford faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The court might also order him to pay restitution of $873,723, the amount he fraudulently obtained from the government.

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Photo: ( closeup shot of metal handcuffs and dollars)

The federal government has charged Shray Goel and Shaunik Raheja in a complex case involving an $8.5 million scam. This scheme, primarily executed through Airbnb and Vrbo, involved misleading property listings and discriminatory practices against Black renters.

Case Details

  • Indictment Charges: Both men face allegations of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 13 counts of wire fraud. Additionally, prosecutors have charged Goel with two counts of aggravated identity theft.
  • Victim Count: The fraud impacted thousands of individuals, linked to over 10,000 reservations and nearly 100 properties in 10 states.

The Fraud Mechanics

  • Goel and Raheja are accused of operating a short-term rental business, Abbot Pacific LLC, used to conduct their fraudulent activities.
  • They allegedly engaged in a double-booking strategy, creating multiple listings for the same property on Airbnb and Vrbo.
  • Utilizing fabricated excuses like plumbing issues, they canceled or moved guests to less desirable accommodations.
  • A bidding war mechanism was employed to maximize profit from these properties.
  • The indictment also highlights racial discrimination, with the defendants accused of selectively canceling reservations based on racial biases.

Charges and Penal Codes

  • Wire Fraud: The charge of Wire Fraud, under 18 U.S.C § 1343, is a federal offense that targets the use of interstate communications for carrying out fraudulent schemes. In the current case, this relates to the supposed use of online platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo to deceive renters.
  • Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud: Under the charge of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, as outlined in 18 U.S.C § 1349, the indictment alleges a joint effort by Goel and Raheja to perpetrate wire fraud. This suggests that both individuals coordinated their actions to defraud renters, as per the provisions of this statute.
  • Aggravated Identity Theft: The accusation against Goel for Aggravated Identity Theft under 18 U.S.C § 1028A alleges that he unlawfully used another person’s identity to commit felony wire fraud. This statute applies when identity theft aids or occurs in conjunction with a felony offense.

Potential Legal Consequences

  • Convictions could lead to up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud and conspiracy charge. Aggravated identity theft carries an additional two-year mandatory sentence.
  • Financial repercussions, including fines and restitution, are also likely.

The FBI and FDIC-OIG are leading the investigation into this case, with support from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Airbnb and Vrbo are actively cooperating with the government in this investigation, a cooperation that the government acknowledges and values. It’s essential to note that an indictment represents only an accusation. Under the law, all defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Photo: (close up on man trying to break into a car)

In California, the legal landscape surrounding grand theft auto is uncompromising. If you find yourself accused of grand theft auto, you could potentially encounter significant legal consequences.

Grand Theft Auto Laws and Penalties in California

In California, vehicle theft can lead to charges under one of two primary statutes:

  1. Grand Theft Auto: Under Penal Code 487(d)(1), Grand Theft Auto charges are applied when there is an intention to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle.
  2. “Joyriding”: Alternatively, under Penal Code 10851 VC, the offense of “Joyriding” or Unlawful Taking or Driving of a Vehicle is typically charged when the vehicle is taken temporarily, without the intent of permanent possession.
The critical factor distinguishing these offenses is the perpetrator’s intent regarding the duration of possession. Short-term intentions, such as taking a vehicle for a brief drive, generally fall under joyriding. Conversely, intentions to permanently or long-term possess the vehicle escalate the charge to grand theft auto.

Understanding Grand Theft Auto in California

Grand theft auto, a specific category of grand theft, is charged when the stolen property is an automobile. This charge implies an intent to permanently or significantly deprive the vehicle’s owner of their property. Scenarios can range from using the stolen vehicle as a getaway car in another crime, to stealing a car for parts or resale, or even intending permanent theft but later abandoning the vehicle.

Key Elements for Grand Theft Auto Conviction

For a grand theft auto conviction under California law, the prosecution must establish that the defendant:

  1. Stole a Vehicle Belonging to Someone Else: The vehicle must be proven to be the property of another individual.
  2. Intended Permanent or Long-Term Deprivation: There must be an intention to deprive the owner of the vehicle either permanently or for a significant duration.
  3. Lacked Owner’s Permission: The vehicle’s owner did not authorize the defendant to take the vehicle.
  4. Moved and Retained the Vehicle: The defendant must have moved the vehicle and kept it for some time, regardless of the distance moved or the duration of retention.

Grand theft auto is not limited to larceny. It can also include:

  • Embezzlement: Stealing a car entrusted to you by its owner.
  • Trickery: Deceiving someone to gain possession of their car.
  • False Pretenses: Acquiring a car through lies or deceit.

Penalties for Grand Theft Auto under Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC

Grand theft auto is a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the crime’s specifics and the defendant’s criminal history.

Felony grand theft auto carries the following penalties:

  • Jail Time: From 16 months to 3 years.
  • Fine: Up to $10,000.

Enhanced penalties apply for high-value vehicles:

  • Additional Jail Time: 1 extra year for vehicles worth over $65,000; 2 extra years for vehicles worth over $200,000.

Understanding Joyriding Charges

Joyriding, as defined under California’s Vehicle Code Section 10851, refers to the illegal act of taking or driving a vehicle without permission. This offense is considered less severe than grand theft auto. Often treated as a wobbler offense, joyriding is usually charged as a misdemeanor for first-time offenders.

If someone takes a vehicle with the intention of using it temporarily, they may be charged with joyriding rather than grand theft auto. It’s important to note that there is no specific duration for which the vehicle must be taken or driven to warrant a joyriding charge; even a very brief period can qualify.

Penalties for misdemeanor joyriding include:

  • A maximum of 1 year in jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $5,000.

For felony joyriding charges, the penalties can be more severe:

  • Jail time of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years, and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000.

California Vehicle-Theft Related Offenses

In California, besides grand theft auto or joyriding, you may face charges for several other vehicle-theft related offenses:

  1. Carjacking: Penal Code 215 defines carjacking as the felonious taking of a motor vehicle from another person by force or fear. It is a felony punishable by 3, 5, or 9 years in state prison.
  2. Petty Theft: If the vehicle stolen is valued at $950 or less, it falls under petty theft, as per Penal Code 490. This is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or both.
  3. Burglary: As per Penal Code 461, burglary involves entering a structure with the intent to commit theft or any felony. Burglary of a vehicle could be charged if you break into a garage to steal a car. Burglary in the first degree is punishable by 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison.
  4. Auto Burglary: This involves breaking into a vehicle with the intent to commit theft or any felony. It’s treated under the general burglary statutes but specifically targets vehicles.

Explore Your Grand Theft Auto Defense Options

Charged with grand theft auto in Los Angeles? The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi are here to protect your rights. With more than 20 years of experience in both felony and misdemeanor cases, Attorney Arash Hashemi is equipped to handle your case’s complexities. Call us at (310) 448-1529 or visit our office at Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, for a consultation. We are dedicated to building a strong defense for you.

Attorney Arash Hashemi will examine various legal strategies to help avoid a conviction or lessen your charges.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Photo: (arrangement at a crime scene)

 

Law enforcement in Sacramento County apprehended a 53-year-old man named Arkete Davis and his 10-year-old son following a tragic shooting incident. The boy, whose identity remains undisclosed, fatally shot another 10-year-old with a stolen gun he discovered in his father’s car. This incident took place in Foothill Farms, a community near Sacramento.

Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies responded to the shooting report and found the victim unresponsive and bleeding in a parking lot. The victim later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. Witnesses directed the deputies to a nearby apartment where they located Davis and two children, including the shooter.

The investigation unveiled that the boy had taken the gun from Davis’s car while retrieving cigarettes. He reportedly boasted about his father’s possession of the gun before shooting the other child. Detectives found the firearm, reported stolen in 2017, in a nearby trash can, indicating that Davis may have attempted to discard it. Davis is now facing several felony firearm charges, along with child endangerment and accessory to a crime after the fact.

The Charges Against Arkete Davis

Arkete Davis faces multiple serious charges in connection with the incident.

First, authorities have charged him with violating Penal Code Section 29800(a)(1), a law that forbids specific individuals, especially those with specific prior convictions, from owning or possessing firearms. Davis, who is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm, committed a violation of this code due to his ownership of the stolen gun used in the shooting.

Furthermore, Davis is facing accusations of child endangerment under Penal Code Section 273a(a). This charge is applicable to individuals who place a child in a situation where the child’s health or safety is at risk. In this case, Davis’ failure to securely store the firearm, which allowed his son to access and use it, directly led to the endangerment and subsequent death of another child.

Furthermore, Davis is facing charges for being an accessory to a crime after the fact, as per Penal Code Section 32. This charge applies to individuals who help someone evade arrest or punishment after committing a crime. Davis’ attempt to get rid of the firearm after the shooting incident falls under this category, adding to the seriousness of his legal situation.

Legal Implications

The charges against Arkete Davis have significant legal implications. The accusation of child endangerment carries the potential for imprisonment of up to six years in a state prison. Additionally, Davis is facing charges for firearm possession by a prohibited person, which can result in imprisonment for up to three years in county jail or up to three years in state prison. Furthermore, Davis faces charges for being an accessory to a crime after the fact, which could lead to a sentence of up to three years in a state prison. Davis is being held on a $500,000 bail. Meanwhile, authorities have detained the boy at the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility on suspicion of murder.

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Attorney General Bonta has announced a legal victory in the case of Sadiq Mohammed, a Los Angeles tobacco distributor convicted of running a $3 million tax evasion scheme against the State of California. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) successfully secured a 32-month prison sentence for Mohammed, who had pled guilty to these charges.

The Charges: Tax Evasion Scheme

Sadiq Mohammed faced multiple charges related to his elaborate tax evasion scheme:

Mohammed was charged with tax fraud under Penal Code Section 186.11. This charge stemmed from his underreporting of sales from his tobacco distribution business, L.A. Trading and Distribution, Inc., located in the Los Angeles area. Between 2017 and 2018, Mohammed knowingly filed tax returns that misrepresented the actual sales figures, concealing his taxable income.

Mohammed also faced charges under Penal Code Section 72 for making false statements on his tax returns. By falsely claiming that the tobacco products he imported from Florida and Illinois were interstate sales, he attempted to unlawfully evade California’s excise taxes, which are mandatory for out-of-state products. This charge reflects the deceptive nature of his financial activities.

The tax evasion charge, under Penal Code Section 19705, was a direct consequence of Mohammed’s actions. He intentionally evaded paying the appropriate excise taxes to the State of California, undermining the state’s revenue and financial resources.

The charges against Mohammed are serious and reflect a deliberate attempt to defraud the state through a sophisticated tax evasion scheme. By underreporting sales, making false statements, and unlawfully evading taxes, Mohammed not only committed financial crimes but also jeopardized essential state services funded by tax revenue.

Investigation and Prosecution

The DOJ’s Tax Recovery in the Underground Economy Task Force (TRUE) conducted the investigation into Mohammed’s activities. TRUE’s primary purpose is to combat underground economic crimes in California, specifically targeting tax evasion and wage theft. TRUE agencies collaborate across multiple agencies, working collectively to uncover and prosecute individuals engaged in these illicit activities.

Sentencing and Restitution

Sadiq Mohammed pleaded guilty to tobacco excise tax evasion on September 23, 2023. After authorities arrested him in 2022, he received a sentencing of 32 months in state prison on December 20, 2023. Additionally, the court ordered Mohammed to pay more than $3.04 million in restitution, reflecting the amount he unlawfully evaded in taxes.

California DOJ’s prosecution of Sadiq Mohammed shows commitment to holding financial crime perpetrators accountable, deterring further tax evasion.

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On December 24, at El Camino College in Torrance, California, an assailant attacked a woman in her 60s with a sledgehammer while she collected recyclables. This assault occurring after 7 p.m. in the 16000 block of Crenshaw Boulevard, led to the woman’s death.

Emergency responders transported the victim to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on Christmas Day. Authorities have charged 40-year-old Jeffery Davis with murder in relation to this attack.

Law enforcement officers arrested Davis near the college campus shortly after the assault. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, currently investigating the case, has yet to reveal a motive for the attack and confirms no other suspects are involved.

Davis remains in custody without bail, awaiting his arraignment on January 17 in a Torrance courtroom. Investigations into the case are ongoing.

Understanding the Charge: Murder under California Law

Under California Penal Code 187, Jeffery Davis faces a murder charge for the alleged killing at El Camino College. This charge suggests a deliberate and unlawful killing, potentially with premeditation, given the nature of the weapon used. In California, a conviction for murder, especially with premeditation, can lead to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

The Prosecution’s Strategy

The prosecution will likely focus on establishing premeditation and intent. Key evidence could include:

  • Surveillance footage from El Camino College.
  • Forensic evidence linking Davis to the scene.
  • Witness testimonies and Davis’s actions before and after the incident.

Defense Tactics

Davis’s defense team may challenge the premeditation claim, suggesting a lack of planning or a spontaneous act. They might also introduce evidence regarding Davis’s mental state or propose alternate narratives to counter the intent to kill.

Potential Legal Defenses

  • Challenging Premeditation: Arguing the absence of intent to commit murder.
  • Contesting Evidence: Questioning the reliability or legality of the prosecution’s evidence.
  • Mental State Defense: Suggesting impaired mental capacity at the incident’s time.

If convicted of murder under Penal Code 187, Davis faces severe penalties, including life imprisonment without parole.

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Navigating the criminal justice system in California, particularly for first-time defendants, can be daunting. A key component of this system is the plea bargain, a tool used in the vast majority of criminal cases. This article provides a clear, professional insight into the role of plea bargains in California, offering valuable information for anyone involved in the criminal justice process.

The Role of Plea Bargains in California

A plea bargain is a negotiation between a defendant and a prosecutor where the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest to a charge. This agreement often results in reduced charges, a lesser sentence, or some charges being dropped. In California, plea bargains play a critical role in managing the high volume of cases in the courts.

The Process of Arrest and Arraignment

In California, an arrest requires reasonable belief of a crime’s occurrence. During the arrest, officers must inform suspects of their Miranda rights. The arraignment is the first court appearance where charges are read, bail is set, and the defendant enters a plea.

Why Plea Bargains Are Predominant

Plea bargaining is prevalent in California, with over ninety percent of criminal convictions resulting from plea negotiations. This approach helps expedite the legal process, as trials can be lengthy and resource-intensive. Plea bargains offer a degree of control over the case outcome, unlike the unpredictability of jury trials.

Types of Plea Bargains

  1. Charge Bargaining: Pleading guilty to a less severe charge.
  2. Count Bargaining: Pleading guilty to some charges while others are dropped.
  3. Sentence Bargaining: Agreeing to a guilty plea in return for a lighter sentence.
  4. Fact Bargaining: Pleading guilty in exchange for omitting certain case details.

Understanding Felony and Misdemeanor Plea Bargains in California

In California, the legal system differentiates plea bargains based on whether the case involves a felony or a misdemeanor. This distinction is crucial as it influences the negotiation dynamics and potential outcomes.

Felony Plea Bargains:

Felonies are more serious crimes, often carrying severe penalties including substantial prison time. In felony cases, plea bargains might involve negotiating down to a lesser felony or even a misdemeanor, depending on the case specifics. The stakes are higher, and the negotiation often focuses on reducing potential prison time and the long-term impact on the defendant’s record.

Misdemeanor Plea Bargains:

Misdemeanors are less severe offenses compared to felonies. Plea bargains in misdemeanor cases typically aim to reduce fines, avoid jail time, or obtain alternative sentences like community service. In some instances, a misdemeanor plea bargain might result in a reduction to an infraction, which carries less severe consequences.

The key difference lies in the severity of the charges and the corresponding legal strategies. In felony cases, the focus is often on minimizing severe penalties and long-term repercussions, while misdemeanor plea bargains tend to concentrate on avoiding jail time and reducing immediate penalties.

Understanding these differences is essential for defendants to make informed decisions about their plea options. Whether facing a felony or misdemeanor charge, it’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can navigate the complexities of the California legal system and negotiate the best possible outcome

The ‘No Contest’ Plea Advantage

A no contest plea means not admitting guilt but not disputing the charges. It’s crucial in civil cases as it doesn’t count as an admission of guilt, unlike a guilty plea.

Can You Seal or Expunge a Conviction in California?

In California, depending on the conviction and the defendant’s record, there may be opportunities to seal or expunge the conviction in the future.

Is Plea Bargaining Banned in California?

California attempted to restrict plea bargaining in 1982 with Proposition 8, particularly for serious felonies and violent crimes. However, plea bargaining still occurs under certain conditions and during specific stages of the criminal process.

The decision to accept a plea bargain rests with the defendant, often based on their attorney’s advice. While plea agreements streamline the legal process, they require judicial approval to be final. Understanding the intricacies of plea bargains in California is crucial for anyone involved in the criminal justice system.

Explore Your Plea Bargain Options with Attorney Arash Hashemi

Facing criminal charges in Los Angeles? Attorney Arash Hashemi provides aggressive legal representation to protect your rights. With more than 20 years of experience, he brings a depth of knowledge to felony and misdemeanor cases. Contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi at (310) 448-1529 or schedule a consultation. We are located at the Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, we’re ready to stand firm for your defense.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Drug-Impaired Driving in California

In California, the law defines drug-impaired driving as operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance, excluding alcohol, that significantly impairs your muscles, brain, or nervous system. This definition includes a wide range of substances, from illegal drugs like methamphetamine and heroin to legal medications such as marijuana, over-the-counter cold medicines, antihistamines, and even prescription drugs that don’t necessarily cause intoxication. California Vehicle Code 23152(f) explicitly prohibits driving under the influence of drugs, and Vehicle Code 23152(g) extends this prohibition to driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol. Notably, California doesn’t set a legal limit for drug concentration in the bloodstream, meaning any detectable amount can lead to DUI charges.

The Arrest and Investigation Process for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

A DUI with drugs investigation often starts with a traffic stop if an officer suspects impairment. The officer will observe for physical symptoms of drug use and may call for a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to conduct a more detailed assessment. It’s crucial to know that you have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment during this process. Before an arrest, there is no obligation to submit to a chemical test, and refusing does not carry penalties However, under California’s “implied consent” law, refusing a chemical test after a lawful arrest can result in enhanced penalties.

Trial Proceedings and Prosecution Requirements

In a trial for DUI with drugs, the arresting officer’s testimony about your driving behavior and physical signs of intoxication plays a critical role. If a breathalyzer test shows negative results for alcohol, this can further suggest drug impairment. The DRE’s testimony, based on their training and evaluation, is often pivotal in establishing the type of drug causing impairment. Additionally, blood test results showing the presence of drugs in your system are used, though these alone don’t prove impairment. The prosecution must demonstrate that you were driving under the influence and that the drug significantly impaired your driving ability.

Penalties and Consequences for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

Penalties for DUI with drugs in California vary based on the specifics of the case, such as prior offenses. They can range from jail time, fines, and license suspension for first-time offenders to more severe consequences for repeated offenses or cases involving injury or death. Beyond legal penalties, a DUI with drugs conviction can lead to long-term impacts like a criminal record, affecting employment and housing opportunities, increased insurance premiums, and the potential loss of a commercial driver’s license.

Defending Against DUI with Drugs Charges

In California, defending against DUI with drugs charges often involves challenging the legality of the traffic stop and arrest procedures. Any procedural errors can significantly impact the case. Additionally, questioning the accuracy of blood sample handling and analysis is crucial, as errors here can affect the reliability of evidence. Recognizing individual differences in how drugs affect people is also key, as the presence of drugs doesn’t always mean impairment. A focused defense in these cases requires a sharp understanding of both legal and scientific details.

Seek Expert Legal Representation for DUI with Drugs Charges in California

If you’re facing DUI with drugs charges in Los Angeles, Attorney Arash Hashemi provides aggressive legal representation to defend your rights. With over 20 years of experience in handling complex DUI cases, Attorney Hashemi offers strong and focused defense strategies, customized to meet the specific needs of your case. For dedicated legal support in these challenging cases, contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi at (310) 870-2727 or schedule a consultation today. Located at the Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, our team is prepared to provide the strong advocacy you need to navigate the intricacies of DUI with drugs charges in California.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Derrick Ward, a former NFL player with the New York Giants, found himself in police custody in Los Angeles on suspicion of robbery. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office officially confirmed Ward’s arrest, which took place on Monday evening.

However, authorities had not yet formally presented the case to prosecutors for their consideration of potential criminal charges. Notably, the Los Angeles Police Department has revealed that Ward’s arrest stems from his alleged involvement in a series of robberies at various businesses within the Los Angeles area.

It has been reported that Derrick Ward utilized “force and fear” to extract money from the businesses. His bail has been set at $250,000.

California’s Robbery Law: Understanding Ward’s Charges

California law, specifically Penal Code Section 211, defines robbery as forcefully taking property against someone’s will. This law applies strictly, regardless of weapon use. In Ward’s situation, not using a firearm during the alleged robberies could influence his case, especially during sentencing if convicted.

Multiple Incidents and Legal Implications

Ward faces charges suggesting involvement in several robberies. Penal Code Section 213 differentiates between first and second-degree robbery, impacting the severity of potential penalties. First-degree robbery typically involves inhabited buildings or targeted victims, such as public transport passengers, and carries heavier penalties than second-degree robbery.

Navigating the Legal System

This shift from NFL fame to facing legal charges is a significant change for Ward. The absence of a firearm in the alleged crimes might be a factor in his defense strategy, but it doesn’t reduce the seriousness of felony robbery charges in California. Ward’s case underscores the critical need for understanding legal consequences and securing an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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In Lancaster, a road rage incident has taken a tragic turn, leading to serious legal charges against Byron Burkhart. This case, progressing through the California legal system, highlights the severe consequences of such violent actions.

Byron Burkhart, accompanied by his girlfriend, reportedly instigated a road rage incident on Sierra Highway. This situation escalated when Burkhart allegedly fired eight shots into another vehicle. In this tragic event, a four-year-old boy, seated in the backseat, lost his life.

Direct Charges Linked to Burkhart’s Actions:

Murder: Authorities have charged Burkhart with murder under Penal Code § 187 PC after the young boy’s death. This charge in California signifies an intentional and unlawful killing. Burkhart’s deliberate act of firing into an occupied vehicle fulfills the criteria for first-degree murder, marked by premeditation and malice

Attempted Murder: Burkhart faces two counts of attempted murder under Penal Code § 664/187. These charges arise from his alleged shooting at the other car occupants. His clear intent to kill, even though the victims were not struck, matches the definition of attempted murder as per California law

Shooting at an Occupied Vehicle: Burkhart faces charges under Penal Code § 26100 PC for allegedly discharging a firearm into the victims’ car. This action directly violates the statute that prohibits maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle.

Possession of a Firearm by a Felon: Under § 29800(a)(1) PC, Burkhart is charged with possessing a firearm as a felon. The charges imply the involvement of multiple firearms or several instances of possession. His felon status directly leads to this charge, stemming from his alleged possession during the incident..

Legal Outlook and Implications

Burkhart’s alleged actions have placed him at the center of a significant legal storm. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could face life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The attempted murder charges could add considerable time to his sentence, potentially leading to additional decades in prison. The charge of shooting at an occupied vehicle further intensifies the gravity of his situation, while the firearms possession charges add layers of legal complexity due to his status as a felon. If convicted as charged, Burkhart will face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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Photo Credit: (Bolton’s Photograph) Via: www.lapdonline.org

Case Overview and Key Details:

The arrest of 21-year-old Bobby Bolton marked a significant development in addressing a series of residential burglaries in Granada Hills and Porter Ranch, California. Devonshire detectives, after a thorough investigation, successfully linked Bolton to these crimes. This breakthrough was largely due to the diligent efforts of law enforcement, who employed a variety of investigative techniques, including the pivotal use of surveillance footage.

Throughout the year, the Granada Hills and Porter Ranch neighborhoods experienced a troubling pattern of residential burglaries. The detectives’ persistence and strategic use of technology led them to identify Bolton as the primary suspect in these incidents. His arrest not only signifies a major step in curbing the burglary spree but also highlights the effectiveness of modern investigative methods in solving complex criminal cases.

Charges and Legal Framework: Residential Burglary

Bobby Bolton faced arrest for residential burglary, a serious offense, leading to a notably high bail amount of $1,000,000. This bail reflects the severity of the allegations against him.

Legal Basis:

Statutory Definition: According to California Penal Code Section 459, residential burglary involves the unauthorized entry into a residence with the specific intent to commit theft or any felony. This law covers a broad range of potential entry points, including houses, apartments, and other dwellings.

Severity of the Charge: The charge of residential burglary is particularly grave due to its direct infringement on the security and privacy of one’s home, which is legally and socially recognized as a fundamental sanctuary.

Potential Penalties: Given the nature of the offense, residential burglary can carry significant legal consequences, including imprisonment. The exact penalties depend on various factors, including the circumstances of the burglary and the defendant’s criminal history.

Significance of Surveillance Evidence:

The incorporation of surveillance footage in Bobby Bolton’s case was a decisive factor for several reasons:

  1. Suspect Identification: The footage was instrumental in identifying Bolton as the suspect, providing a visual link between him and the crime scenes.
  2. Evidence Reinforcement: This visual evidence substantiated the allegations against Bolton, offering a tangible basis for the charges.
  3. Event Reconstruction: The videos aided in piecing together the sequence of events, clarifying the circumstances of the burglaries.
  4. Legal Impact: In the courtroom, surveillance footage serves as compelling evidence, often influencing the jury’s perception due to its direct and unambiguous nature.
  5. Deterrent Effect: The effective use of surveillance in this case underscores its value in both deterring and resolving criminal activities.

Ongoing Investigation

Bolton’s photograph has been released to the public as detectives believe he may be involved in additional burglaries. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are encouraging anyone with information to come forward.

Conclusion:

Bobby Bolton’s arrest underscores the effectiveness of modern investigative techniques and the importance of community vigilance in solving residential burglaries. This case serves as a reminder for residents to remain alert and report suspicious activities to the authorities. For those facing similar legal challenges, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial. For expert legal representation, contact us at (310) 730-2811 or schedule a consultation.

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Domestic violence is a significant issue that doesn’t spare any age group, including minors. In California, the rise in domestic violence cases among juveniles has led to a more focused response from the legal system. When minors are involved in such incidents, they face a legal process that can lead to either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the severity of the case.

Understanding the Juvenile Process for Domestic Violence

Initial Proceedings: Detention and Hearings

The journey through the juvenile justice system begins when a minor is accused of domestic violence. Following an arrest, the first step is a detention hearing. Here, a judge decides whether the minor should be held in custody during the legal proceedings. Unlike adult cases, bail is typically not an option in juvenile cases, emphasizing the importance of having a skilled juvenile defense attorney.

Fitness Hearing: Determining the Court’s Jurisdiction

A pivotal moment in the process is the fitness hearing. The court evaluates whether the minor’s case should be heard in juvenile court, considering factors like age, rehabilitation potential, and the nature of the alleged crime. This decision significantly impacts the trajectory of the case and the potential outcomes.

Jurisdiction Hearing: The Juvenile Trial

In a juvenile court’s jurisdiction hearing, similar to an adult trial, the judge makes the final decision, not a jury. The prosecution needs to present and prove their case. It’s vital to have a competent defense attorney who can rigorously contest the prosecution’s evidence and provide a solid defense.

Charges, Protective Measures, and Rehabilitation in California’s Juvenile Domestic Violence Cases

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges

In California, the severity of a domestic violence charge against a minor depends on the injury’s extent and the minor’s criminal history. Courts issue misdemeanor charges for less severe cases with minor injuries and no significant past offenses. For serious offenses involving major harm or repeated violent behavior, felony charges apply. This distinction is crucial in the juvenile justice process, directly affecting the defense strategy and the minor’s potential legal outcomes.

Protective Orders and Probation

In both juvenile and adult domestic violence cases in California, courts commonly issue protective orders to safeguard the victim. The specific conditions of these orders vary, reflecting the unique circumstances of each case. They can range from complete no-contact orders, which prohibit any form of communication or interaction with the victim, to more lenient Level 1 orders that allow peaceful contact. Probation is another frequent component of the juvenile’s sentence, providing a structured framework for monitoring and supporting the minor’s rehabilitation and reintegration.

Unique Opportunities for Juveniles

California’s juvenile justice system is distinct in offering rehabilitative opportunities not available to adult offenders. Notably, under Welfare & Institution Code Section 725, minors can have their misdemeanor charges dismissed upon meeting certain conditions set by the court, such as completing educational programs or community service. This approach underscores the system’s emphasis on rehabilitation, aiming to redirect young offenders towards positive growth. Additionally, Section 790 allows for the dismissal and sealing of a juvenile’s record after a year of compliance with court orders, helping to mitigate the long-term impact of early mistakes and fostering a chance for a new beginning.

Penalties for Juvenile Domestic Violence Offense

In cases where a judge finds a juvenile guilty of domestic violence, the penalties vary widely. These range from extended supervised probation to, in more severe instances, commitment to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Typically, a convicted juvenile must complete a 52-week domestic violence program, attending weekly sessions and providing proof of completion to the court.

Courts also issue protective orders in both juvenile and adult domestic violence cases to ensure the victim’s safety. The type of order depends on the case specifics, including the severity of injuries and the defense attorney’s negotiations. Options range from a full stay-away order, barring any contact with the victim, to a Level 1 protective order, which permits peaceful contact under certain conditions. Despite the range of penalties, the juvenile justice system primarily aims to rehabilitate and guide minors towards a constructive future.

Navigating the juvenile process for domestic violence in California is complex and fraught with challenges. An experienced defense attorney can significantly influence the course of the proceedings, from arguing for the minor’s release at the detention hearing to negotiating favorable resolutions or advocating for rehabilitation-focused penalties. For families and minors facing such charges, understanding this process and securing expert legal representation is crucial.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Alarcón, is currently facing legal challenges stemming from a recent DUI Arrest. Around 3 a.m. in downtown Glendale, California, law enforcement officers observed Alarcón’s vehicle displaying erratic driving behavior. Her actions included making wide turns into opposing lanes, prompting officers to intervene. This led to her arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).

Charges Against Alarcón: DUI Penal Codes

California Vehicle Code Section 23152 classifies driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as a misdemeanor. Andrea Alarcón’s arrest for erratic driving aligns with this statute. Her actions directly led to the DUI charge, emphasizing the law’s role in promoting road safety.

Alarcón’s Arrest: Linking Behavior to DUI Charges

The basis for Andrea Alarcón’s DUI arrest lies in her documented erratic driving. This behavior, notably characterized by wide, unsafe turns and inconsistent driving patterns, flagged concerns for driving under the influence (DUI). In California, the law is clear: a DUI arrest necessitates undeniable proof of impaired driving. Such proof can include, as in Alarcón’s case, observable reckless or irregular driving behaviors.

The police officers’ accounts are crucial in supporting the DUI charge against Alarcón. Their observations of her driving match DUI criteria under California law. This evidence directly links to the charge, clearly establishing the basis for the DUI allegations.

Alarcón’s Defense: Contesting DUI Allegations

In confronting the DUI charges, Andrea Alarcón might employ several legal tactics. Key strategies could involve disputing the reliability of the DUI test, scrutinizing the legitimacy of the traffic stop, and challenging the observations made by the police officers. These defenses are grounded in ensuring that all procedures and tests were conducted in compliance with California law and that her rights were not violated during the arrest process.

DUI Penalties: What Alarcón Faces

If Alarcón is convicted of the misdemeanor DUI charge, she may encounter penalties, including fines, license suspension, probation, and mandatory participation in alcohol education programs. It’s essential to note that the specific penalties may vary based on the circumstances and any prior convictions.

Addressing DUI Charges

In similar DUI cases, obtaining an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to effectively navigate the legal process if you’re facing a DUI charge.

At The Law Offices Of Arash Hashemi we specialize in DUI defense. With over 20 years of experience, Attorney Arash Hashemi provides expert guidance and representation in DUI cases. For assistance with your case, call our office at (310) 448-1529 or schedule a consultation. We’re here to help.

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Detailed Incident Overview:

In a case that has garnered attention for its severity, Jarris Jay Silagi, a 44-year-old resident of Los Angeles, faces multiple charges after an alleged attack on an elderly Jewish couple in Beverly Hills. This incident, marked by its violent and discriminatory nature, highlights critical aspects of criminal law, particularly in the context of hate crimes and elder abuse under California statutes.

The charges against Silagi include elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, and attempted robbery. Additionally, the case involves special allegations of a hate crime and inflicting great bodily injury. This attack, which involved physical aggression and antisemitic slurs, took place in the vicinity of a Beverly Hills synagogue, adding a layer of complexity to the legal proceedings due to the hate crime implications.

Comprehensive Charges and Legal Consequences:

  1. Elder Abuse: Under California Penal Code 368(b)(1), this charge relates to the victim’s age and harm suffered. It can lead to up to four years in prison and fines, highlighting protection for the elderly
  2. Assault with a Deadly Weapon: The belt in the assault is considered a deadly weapon under Penal Code 245(a)(1). This charge could mean up to four years in state prison, emphasizing the seriousness of using objects to harm.
  3. Assault with Force Likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury: Silagi faces two counts under Penal Code 245(a)(4), each potentially leading to four years in prison. This underscores the risk of causing serious physical harm.
  4. Attempted Robbery: The attempt to steal jewelry from the victim’s wife falls under Penal Code 211. It can lead to imprisonment for up to five years, stressing the severity of robbery attempts.

Special Allegations and Enhanced Penalties:

  1. Hate Crime: Silagi’s antisemitic remarks lead to a charge under California Penal Code 422.55 and 422.7(a). This could significantly heighten penalties, reflecting the law’s stance against bias crimes.
  2. Inflicting Great Bodily Injury: The severity of the injuries results in a charge under California Penal Code 12022.7(a). This could add a consecutive term of three to six years in prison, underscoring the seriousness of causing harm.

The Beverly Hills case against Silagi shows the legal system’s strict handling of elder abuse and hate crimes. Each charge has serious potential outcomes, like significant jail time and fines. This case is a key example of the system’s response to violent crimes, especially against vulnerable groups driven by hate.

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Case Summary

The sentencing of Alan Hostetter, the former La Habra police chief, to over 11 years in prison is a pivotal development in the legal proceedings following the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. This analysis delves into the case specifics, the charges, and the broader legal implications of this high-profile sentencing.

Alan Hostetter was convicted for his role in the January 6th riot aimed at obstructing Congress from certifying the 2020 election results. As a member of the “DC Brigade,” Hostetter faced federal court conviction on four felony counts, including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and unauthorized entry into a restricted area with a deadly weapon.

Charges and Legal Context

Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding: In Alan Hostetter’s case, he faced two serious federal charges. The first was conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, under 18 U.S.C. § 371, signifying his involvement in a coordinated effort to disrupt a legitimate governmental function. This conviction underscores the gravity of scheming against the orderly conduct of government operations.

Entering a Restricted Area with a Weapon: The second charge was entering a restricted area with a weapon, as per 18 U.S.C. § 1752. Hostetter’s charge escalated because he carried a hatchet while illegally entering the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The presence of the weapon considerably increased the seriousness of his offense.

Sentencing Overview

Hostetter, 58, now residing in Poolville, Texas, received a sentence exceeding 11 years from a Washington, D.C., judge. This sentence encompasses a $2,000 restitution and a $30,000 fine, highlighting the severe legal consequences of such national security breaches.

Evidence and Prosecution Strategy

The prosecution leveraged Hostetter’s speeches and social media activities to establish his intent and active participation in the riot. This multimedia evidence was critical in demonstrating his incitement and involvement in the events of January 6th.

Conclusion

This high-profile case underscores the gravity of the charges and the determination to uphold the law, regardless of one’s prior roles. If you require expert legal representation for similar charges, contact the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi today at (310) 448-1529. With over 20 years of experience, our attorney is ready to provide expert guidance and representation.

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Incident Description

Sheng Gao, 18, is facing a charge of aggravated trespassing for an alleged incident at the Atherton home of NBA Warriors star Steph Curry. Gao managed to access Curry’s property by manipulating the security gate keypad, granting him entry to the premises. Once inside, he proceeded up the driveway and entered the residence through an unlocked front door. His reported motive for this trespass was to obtain an autograph from Curry, highlighting the high-profile nature of the case.

Furthermore, it is essential to note that in addition to the aggravated trespassing charge, Gao now faces an arrest warrant due to his failure to appear in court, adding another layer of legal complexity to the situation. This warrant implies potential consequences and further legal proceedings that Gao will have to address.

Aggravated Trespassing Charge

This incident led to a misdemeanor charge under California Penal Code Section 602.5(b), which defines unauthorized entry into an occupied residence as aggravated trespassing. The charge is severe for several reasons:

  • Occupied Residence: The law stresses greater severity for trespassing in an occupied dwelling. This highlights the potential risk to residents’ safety.
  • Privacy and Safety Violation: The charge acknowledges the importance of home sanctity. California law protects the right to privacy and security in one’s residence. Treating this as a misdemeanor underlines the seriousness of such intrusions.
  • Legal Consequences: Aggravated trespassing can result in fines, imprisonment, or both. Penalties vary depending on the trespass details, including the entry method and the trespasser’s actions.
  • Intent and Circumstances: Gao’s alleged autograph-seeking motive will be considered in court. While not aggravating the charge, it provides context for legal strategies.

Connection Between Incident and Charges

Gao’s method of entry and his motive for seeking an autograph play a pivotal role in the aggravated trespassing charge. His deliberate actions demonstrate intentional trespass. Although his motive for an autograph appears less harmful, it still constitutes an unlawful act. Consequently, these elements will significantly impact the court proceedings. They will guide the prosecution to concentrate on the illegal entry, while the defense may highlight the non-violent nature of his intent.

Legal Implications of Arraignment Absence

Gao’s missed arraignment resulted in an arrest warrant. In California, skipping a court date disrupts the legal process and can lead to harsher consequences, including extra charges. This reflects negatively on the defendant’s commitment to legal obligations.

Potential Legal Consequences

If found guilty of aggravated trespassing, Gao may face fines up to $1,000 and a maximum one-year jail sentence. A conviction would result in a permanent criminal record, affecting future opportunities. Any damages caused may require compensation, and probation with specific conditions could be imposed. Non-U.S. citizens may face immigration consequences.

Gao’s failure to appear led to an arrest warrant. An experienced defense attorney could help negotiate surrender, seek reasonable bail, and guide through court procedures. The attorney will address both the trespassing charge and the failure to appear, working to minimize penalties and protect Gao’s rights.

 

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In California, understanding the difference between murder and manslaughter is crucial for anyone facing homicide charges. This analysis provides insights into the state’s legal framework, highlighting the significant implications of these distinctions.

Overview of Murder in California

California Penal Code Section 187 defines murder as the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought. This crucial element of malice falls into two distinct categories: express and implied.

Express Malice:

Express malice is present when there is a clear and deliberate intention to kill. This intention must be unequivocal and can be inferred from the accused’s actions, statements, or circumstances surrounding the act. For example, planning a killing, lying in wait, or purchasing a weapon for the purpose of committing the crime can all point to express malice. In court, prosecutors often rely on evidence such as communications, witness testimony, or actions leading up to the killing to establish this intent.

Implied Malice:

Implied malice, on the other hand, does not require a specific intent to kill. It occurs when an individual engages in an act with a high probability of resulting in death and does so with a conscious disregard for human life. This form of malice is often inferred from the nature of the act itself, rather than from a preconceived plan to kill. For instance, firing a gun into a crowded room or driving at high speeds through a pedestrian area might demonstrate implied malice. The key factor is the defendant’s awareness of the grave risk their actions pose and their decision to proceed regardless.

California law classifies murder charges into first and second degrees. First-degree murder involves willful, deliberate, and premeditated killings, or those committed during certain felonies like burglary or kidnapping. Second-degree murder includes intentional killings without premeditation or planning.

Comprehensive Understanding of Manslaughter

California Penal Code Section 192 defines manslaughter as the unlawful killing of a person without malice aforethought. This lack of malice sets manslaughter apart from murder, dividing it into two main categories: voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary Manslaughter:

Voluntary manslaughter occurs in situations of a sudden altercation or in the heat of passion. This type of manslaughter involves an intentional act of killing without the premeditated intent to kill, which distinguishes it from murder.

Key elements of voluntary manslaughter include:

  • A Provoking Situation: The circumstances leading to the killing must be such that they would provoke a reasonable person into a state of intense emotional disturbance.
  • Acting in the Heat of Passion: The defendant must have acted under the direct influence of this intense emotion, without having had a reasonable amount of time to cool off.
  • Causal Connection: There must be a direct causal link between the provocation, the emotional state, and the act of killing.

Legal defenses in cases of voluntary manslaughter often revolve around proving the intensity of the provocation and the lack of time to cool off, thereby reducing the culpability from murder to manslaughter.

Involuntary Manslaughter:

Involuntary manslaughter involves an unintentional killing resulting from reckless or criminally negligent behavior. This form of manslaughter typically arises from engaging in unlawful acts that are not inherently felonious, or from performing lawful acts in an unlawful manner.

Key aspects of involuntary manslaughter include:
  • Negligent Conduct: The defendant’s actions must demonstrate a reckless disregard for human life or a failure to exercise reasonable care.
  • Unintentional Killing: The death must be an unintended consequence of the defendant’s negligent or reckless behavior.

Involuntary manslaughter cases often hinge on the degree of negligence or recklessness involved. Defense strategies may focus on disputing the level of recklessness or arguing that the defendant’s actions were not the direct cause of death.

Penalties for Murder in California

The penalties for murder in California are among the most severe in the criminal justice system, reflecting the seriousness of the crime.

  1. First-Degree Murder: Conviction for first-degree murder typically results in life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In certain cases, especially those involving aggravating factors like multiple victims, hate crimes, or killings of law enforcement officers, the sentence can escalate to the death penalty.
  2. Second-Degree Murder: Those convicted of second-degree murder face 15 years to life in prison. This sentence may increase under certain conditions. For instance, using a firearm can add 10 to 20 years. If the victim was a peace officer, it could result in life imprisonment without parole.

Penalties for Manslaughter in California

Manslaughter sentences in California are comparatively less severe than murder but still carry significant legal consequences.

  1. Voluntary Manslaughter: A conviction can lead to up to 11 years in state prison. Factors like the use of a weapon can influence the length of the sentence. Additionally, a voluntary manslaughter conviction can also lead to a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes law, impacting sentencing for any future felonies.
  2. Involuntary Manslaughter: This typically results in a prison term of 2 to 4 years. However, if the act was committed in the driving context (vehicular manslaughter), the penalties can vary based on whether alcohol or gross negligence was involved, potentially leading to longer sentences.

Legal Implications Beyond Sentencing

Beyond prison sentences, convictions for murder or manslaughter have profound legal and social implications. They can lead to loss of certain civil rights, like voting and firearm ownership, and significantly impact future employment opportunities.

In summary, the legal landscape of murder and manslaughter in California is complex, with penalties varying widely based on the degree of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it. Understanding these nuances is crucial for anyone navigating the criminal justice system in California.

Navigating the Legal System

When facing such charges, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi have defended clients’ rights in Los Angeles for over 20 years. Attorney Arash Hashemi applies his comprehensive expertise in California law to secure optimal results for every individual case.

If you require legal representation for murder or manslaughter charges in Los Angeles, immediately contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi for a consultation. Our team is ready to help you understand your rights and build a strong defense for your case. You can reach our office at (310) 448-1529 or by filling out our contact form.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant, recently testified in a Memphis courtroom. He stated that his altercation with teenager Joshua Holloway at his home was an act of self-defense. This testimony marks Morant’s first court appearance in the lawsuit. In July 2022, at Ja Morant’s home, an altercation occurred during a pickup basketball game involving Morant and teenager Joshua Holloway. The altercation began when Holloway, reportedly frustrated by consecutive losses threw a one-handed pass at Morant during a check ball situation striking Morant in the left side of his face..

The incident escalated when Morant’s friend, Davonte Pack, also struck Holloway, leading to Pack’s arrest for misdemeanor assault. After the disclosure of Holloway’s injuries through medical records, the focus has shifted to Morant’s role in the altercation and his legal defense. This stance is critical as it shapes the legal narrative around the incident and its consequences for both Morant and Pack. The case continues to be a subject of public and legal scrutiny, particularly regarding how self-defense laws apply in such situations.

Assessing the Perception of Threat

The key issue is whether Morant saw Holloway’s basketball throw as an immediate, legitimate threat. The basketball game’s context is vital, involving inherent physical contact and competition. This setting may alter how one perceives actions; aggressive moves elsewhere might seem normal in the game. Thus, the court needs to assess if Morant’s reaction matched the usual behavior expected in such a game.

In the realm of sports, behaviors that might be aggressive in other settings can be part of the game. It’s essential to examine whether the standards of reasonable behavior in a sports setting, like a basketball game, differ from those in everyday life, and whether Morant’s physical response was in line with these sports-specific norms.

Key Elements of Self-Defense

Immediacy of Threat: Essential to self-defense is the presence of an immediate threat. In evaluating Morant’s case, the focus is on whether he had a reasonable belief that Holloway’s actions were an imminent threat to his safety.

Reasonableness of Response: A critical aspect is determining the appropriateness of Morant’s reaction. This assessment includes reviewing the intensity of the altercation and how Morant perceived Holloway’s behavior at that moment.

Tennessee Self-Defense Law

Under Tennessee law, as outlined in Tennessee Code § 39-11-611 the right to self-defense is clearly defined. This statute provides that an individual may use force, including deadly force, under certain conditions for self-protection. The key aspects of this law relevant to the Ja Morant case are:

  1. Reasonable Belief of Imminent Harm: The law allows the use of force when an individual reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent imminent harm. In Morant’s case, the court will closely examine whether his belief that Holloway posed an immediate threat was reasonable under the circumstances.
  2. No Duty to Retreat: The statute specifies that if a person is lawfully in a place, they are not required to retreat before using force in self-defense. This aspect is particularly relevant as the incident occurred at Morant’s residence, a place where he had a right to be.
  3. Assessment of Unlawful Activity: The law also considers whether the person claiming self-defense was engaged in any unlawful activity at the time of the incident. The court will evaluate Morant’s conduct during the basketball game to determine if his actions were lawful up until the point of the altercation.

California’s Comparative Legal Framework

California’s approach to self-defense, particularly under California Penal Code Section 198.5, offers a comparative perspective to the Ja Morant case. This law emphasizes the “reasonable person” standard in determining the legitimacy of a self-defense claim. Key aspects of this statute relevant to Morant’s situation are:

  1. Reasonable Fear of Imminent Peril: The law presumes that a person who uses force within their residence did so out of a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury. In the context of Morant’s case, this would involve assessing whether his response to Holloway’s actions would be considered reasonable by an average person in similar circumstances.
  2. Use of Force in Residence: The statute specifically addresses the use of force within one’s residence, aligning with the fact that Morant’s incident occurred at his home. This aspect of the law supports the right to defend oneself in one’s own home without the duty to retreat.
  3. Scope of Reasonable Response: California law would require an analysis of whether Morant’s punch was a reasonable response to the perceived threat. This involves considering the severity of Holloway’s actions and whether Morant’s response was proportionate to the threat he believed he faced.

Potential Legal Outcomes

Should Morant’s actions align with Tennessee’s self-defense law, the court may dismiss the lawsuit against him. However, if deemed disproportionate, he may face legal repercussions, including possible civil liability for assault.

Broader Implications and Legal Guidance

The case involving Ja Morant raises pivotal questions about self-defense, particularly in sports settings. It prompts a reevaluation of how threats and appropriate responses are perceived in competitive sports environments. This incident not only highlights the complexities of self-defense laws but also underscores the importance of skilled legal interpretation and advocacy, especially in cases involving athletes.

Morant’s self-defense claim is a nuanced legal matter that could set a significant precedent in sports law. The outcome of this case will have implications for Morant’s legal standing and could influence broader discussions and legal interpretations in similar scenarios.

If you find yourself in a situation involving self-defense, contact our office at (310) 448-1529. Obtaining expert legal representation is essential, At The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we offer more than 20 years of experience in criminal defense, with a focus on self-defense cases. Attorney Arash Hashemi specializes in these complex scenarios and has a proven track record of successful case results.

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Mikey Williams, a prominent basketball recruit, recently navigated a crucial phase in his legal proceedings. By entering a plea deal in a high-profile gun case, Williams marked a significant shift in a case that has garnered extensive attention.

The Plea Deal in Detail

Williams faced nine felony charges, arising from a shooting incident at his home on March 17, 2020. These charges included six counts of assault with a weapon, one count of firing into an occupied vehicle, and two counts of making threats. In a strategic move, Williams pleaded guilty to one felony count of making a criminal threat and to using a firearm during the threat, leading to the dismissal of the other eight charges.

Legal Implications of the Plea Deal

As part of the plea agreement, Williams is required to complete:

  1. A gun safety course.
  2. Attend anger management sessions.
  3. Perform 80 hours of community service.

San Diego County Superior Court has scheduled his sentencing for August 12. If Williams complies with the deal’s terms and avoids further criminal offenses, his felony charge will reduce to a misdemeanor. Although a judge could impose up to a year in jail, Williams’ attorney anticipates no jail time.

Legal Analysis

Felony to Misdemeanor: The plea deal’s potential to reduce Williams’ charge from a felony to a misdemeanor is significant. Misdemeanors typically result in lighter sentences and fewer long-term impacts than felonies, offering Williams a chance for a less burdensome future.

Community Service and Rehabilitation: The deal includes community service and rehabilitation courses, highlighting a rehabilitative approach. This is often favored for first-time offenders, aiming to encourage positive change rather than solely punitive measures.

Avoiding Jail Time: A notable condition of the plea deal is the avoidance of jail time, provided Williams adheres to the agreement’s terms. This contrasts starkly with the initial risk of a lengthy prison sentence, representing a substantial shift in potential outcomes for Williams.

Trial Process

Evidence Presented in Preliminary Hearing: At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution presented key evidence, including eyewitness accounts of Williams with a gun. These testimonies crucially did not confirm Williams firing the weapon, despite his presence at the scene.

Photographic Evidence and Its Implications: Photographs showing bullet holes in an Uber driver’s Tesla were introduced, evidencing gunfire but not directly linking Williams to shooting. These images confirmed violence but did not conclusively implicate Williams.

Challenges in the Trial Process: The trial faced a significant hurdle: the absence of direct evidence proving Williams fired the gun. While evidence suggested his involvement, definitively proving he was the shooter remained a substantial challenge for the prosecution.

Impact on Plea Deal Negotiations: The gap in evidence crucially influenced plea negotiations. The final agreement recognized Williams’ involvement in the threatening situation but fell short of confirming his responsibility for the gunfire, highlighting the intricacies of legal procedures.

Evidence suggested Williams’ involvement in a threat, but lacking proof of him shooting influenced the court proceedings and plea deal.

Navigating Legal Challenges in High-Profile Cases

The plea deal in Mikey Williams’ case underscores the complexities of legal strategy in high-profile cases. Expert legal representation is essential, especially when facing the possibility of significant jail time. At the Law Offices Of Arash Hashemi, we specialize in complex self-defense cases, backed by over 20 years of experience. We focus on crafting strong defense strategies for each unique case. For expert legal support, contact us at (310) 730-2811 or schedule a consultation.

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Gareth Pursehouse Receives Life Sentence

On Wednesday, December 6, Hollywood sex therapist Amie Harwick’s ex-boyfriend received a life sentence without parole. This decision was announced by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Gareth Pursehouse, 45, was convicted of murder in September. He threw Harwick over a balcony at her Hollywood Hills home on February 15, 2020. Pursehouse was also found guilty of first-degree residential burglary.

Legal Basis for Sentencing

Pursehouse faced two serious charges: first-degree murder (Penal Code 187) and first-degree residential burglary (Penal Code 459).

First-Degree Murder (Penal Code 187)

The prosecution’s case against Gareth Pursehouse for first-degree murder was comprehensive and detailed. They argued that Pursehouse meticulously planned and executed the murder of Amie Harwick. Key evidence included:

  1. Digital Evidence: Harwick’s texts and emails were pivotal. They revealed her growing fear of Pursehouse, painting a picture of intimidation. These communications suggested a history of threats, crucial in establishing Pursehouse’s motive and premeditation.
  2. Forensic Evidence: The autopsy results were critical. They showed blunt force injuries and manual strangulation, indicating a violent encounter. This evidence was essential in demonstrating the nature of the attack and countering the defense’s narrative.
  3. Witness Accounts and Prosecutor’s Argument: The prosecution highlighted Pursehouse’s actions on the night of the murder. They argued that he broke into Harwick’s home, waited for hours, and then attacked her. Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila emphasized that Pursehouse had decided to end Harwick’s life, indicating a premeditated and deliberate action. This narrative was supported by the evidence of Pursehouse’s behavior leading up to the incident, including Harwick’s restraining order against him in 2012.

The context of their relationship history and Harwick’s expressed fears further strengthened the prosecution’s narrative, painting a picture of a premeditated and calculated crime.

First-Degree Residential Burglary (Penal Code 459)

The prosecution effectively substantiated the first-degree residential burglary charge against Gareth Pursehouse. They presented evidence that demonstrated Pursehouse’s unlawful entry into Amie Harwick’s home with the intent to commit a felony. Key aspects of this evidence included:

  1. Illegal Entry: The prosecution presented concrete evidence, such as security footage or witness statements, to establish Pursehouse’s unauthorized access to Harwick’s residence. This evidence was crucial in demonstrating that Pursehouse entered the property without permission, a fundamental element of the burglary charge.
  2. Intent to Harm: The prosecution linked Pursehouse’s actions inside Harwick’s home to a premeditated plan to confront and harm her. This was evidenced by the nature of the attack and the circumstances under which it occurred. The prosecution argued that Pursehouse’s actions were not merely a spontaneous or impulsive reaction but were part of a calculated plan to inflict harm on Harwick.

The evidence for the burglary charge was critical in painting a comprehensive picture of Pursehouse’s actions on the night of the murder. It supported the narrative that Pursehouse had broken into Harwick’s home with a specific and felonious intent, further solidifying the case against him.

Dynamics of Sentencing

The life sentence imposed on Gareth Pursehouse underscores the gravity of his crimes. Central to this sentencing was the special circumstance of murder while lying in wait, a critical factor that elevated the severity of the case. This specific allegation indicated that Pursehouse not only premeditated the murder of Amie Harwick but also executed it with a heightened level of calculation and deliberation. By lying in wait, Pursehouse demonstrated a level of planning and intent that goes beyond the act of murder itself. This aspect of the crime significantly influenced the court’s decision to impose the maximum penalty. The life sentence without the possibility of parole reflects the judicial system’s stance on such calculated and heinous acts, emphasizing the seriousness with which California law treats premeditated murder, especially under such aggravated circumstances.

Jury’s Decision

The jury decisively favored the prosecution’s narrative. They found strong evidence of premeditation and malice. The defense argued for impulsive actions by Pursehouse. However, this seemed weak against evidence of a planned crime. The prosecution’s detailed presentation included digital and forensic evidence. It also featured witness testimonies. These elements painted a picture of a calculated crime. The defense’s narrative of emotional impulsiveness struggled against these facts. The jury’s verdict reflected a thorough evaluation of all evidence. It upheld justice and accountability principles.

The sentencing of Gareth Pursehouse underscores the severe consequences of serious crimes under California law. It demonstrates the legal system’s unwavering commitment to justice. This case highlights the critical role of evidence in resolving complex criminal cases. It also aligns with the public’s demand for accountability in serious criminal matters.

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