Two Arrested for Looting During Woolsey Fire

As the Woolsey Fire continues to rage through some of the most expensive real estate in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, celebrities like Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Gerard Butler have been forced to flee their Malibu estates. The Pacific Coast Highway became the only route for safe evacuation, and quickly became jammed as a […]
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Jennifer Haymart Accused of Embezzlement from Elementary School PTO and Little League Club

On November 1, 2018, Jennifer Haymart, 39, appeared in a Sacramento, CA courtroom court. After a month-long investigation, she was accused of five felony charges, including suspicion of embezzlement, grand theft and forgery. Haymart was accused of embezzling more than $138,000 form two organizations: the Sacramento Deterding Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), which she took around […]
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Fullerton Mayor’s Wife Accused of Stealing Campaign Signs of Rivals

Every time “Election Day” nears, the races for political and public offices start to heat up. The bombardment of vicious ads exposing scandals, failures, and personal agendas to sway electors become intensified as single votes will determine the fate of divided communities. Often times the ads are dramatic and exaggerated, but for the City of […]
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Former Beloved Comedian, Bill Cosby, Sentenced for Sexual Assault

One of America’s most recognized entertainers, Bill Cosby, was sentenced to prison for  3 to 10 years on September 25, 2018. Cosby was accused by 37 women over several years for sexual misconduct, dating back to 1964. One specific accuser, Andrea Constand, claimed that in 2004, Cosby drugged her with pills, left her incapacitated in […]
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Los Angeles Man Arrested for Scaling LAX Fence

After the September 11 attacks, Americans spend extra time preparing for travel by standing in TSA security lines which make our airports safer for the millions of daily travelers. Thankfully, it’s a rare sight to see a security breech; and even the faintest whisper of a threat, or the slightest break of the TSA ‘rules’ […]
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2nd Degree Murder Charge for Protective Father

All little girls hope for the protection of a loving father, but sometimes the cost of that protection comes at a huge legal expense, as it has become the case for one Arizona father in August of 2018 While using the restroom, Melvin Harris III’s daughter was harassed by known criminal Leevon Armstrong as he […]
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A Stolen One Million Dollar Ride

The summer of 2018 saw the worst start to the summer fire season in 10 years. California was yet again undertaking a record-breaking fight against flames engulfing the state. Over 500 square miles burned in various counties, including the Carr Fire in Shatsta County, the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park, and several other fires […]
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21 Year Old Charged with Hate Crime, for Murder of 19 Year Old Student

On the 3rd of January 2018, University of Pennsylvania student, Blaze Bernstein, was visiting his family in Lake Forest, California for winter break when he went missing. Later that week Bernstein’s body was discovered in a shallow grave at a park in the surrounding areas. The 19 year old college student seemed to have been stabbed over […]
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Man Claims He Was Only Drinking “At Stop Signs” While Driving

On June 27, 2018, Vero Beach police received a call from a McDonald’s drive-thru customer who complained that a driver behind her was repeatedly bumping her car. At the scene, police found 69 year-old Earle Stevens behind the wheel with an open bottle of alcohol in a paper bag on the passenger seat. He was […]
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Local Artist Takes the Life of His Own Art Because of Vandalism

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock in Los Angeles knows that one of the “Black Mamba’s” greatest rivals, LeBron James, has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for a 4 year contract– which is no doubt a historical move for a team who hasn’t managed to win an NBA Finals Championship in nearly […]
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Marijuana Honey Oil Explosion in Woodland Hills Apartment Complex

On Friday, August 4, 2017, an explosion erupted in a quiet apartment complex in Woodland Hills, California, seriously injuring one person. Residents of the gated community were shocked to find out that their neighbor was using his unit as a marijuana honey oil lab. Marijuana Honey Oil, which is a derivative of marijuana, extracts THC […]
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Couple Selling Fake Tide Detergent Ordered to Pay $1 Million in Fines

A couple in Southern California has been ordered to pay $1 million in fines for selling counterfeit Tide detergent. Husband and wife Marvin Santiago Caceres and Nancy Flores were charged with 4, 910 violations of the Unfair Competition Law by selling counterfeit Proctor & Gamble laundry detergents and dish soaps that were falsely labeled as […]
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California Woman Sentenced to Jail for Falsely Triggering Amber Alert

A woman has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for triggering a false Amber Alert. Charlene Gaston, a 26 year old from Los Angeles, plead no contest to one misdemeanor count of filing a false police report. According to Gaston, she was held at gunpoint and carjacked on July 6th, 2017, and that her stepson, Eric […]
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Criminal Defense Attorney: who is and what does he do?

WHO IS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND WHAT DOES HE DO? When charged with a crime most people look for any lawyer they can get a hold of. While any lawyer might be able handle such cases, a criminal defense attorney has more chances of winning the case than another lawyer who usually does not […]
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OJ Simpson Could Be Released From Prison This Year

After serving nearly a decade behind bars, OJ Simpson could be released from prison based on the decision of his upcoming parole hearing on July 20, 2017. The 70-year-old former NFL superstar is currently serving 9-33 years in prison at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. If the parole hearing goes his way, Simpson could see freedom as […]
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Actor Shia LeBeouf Arrested for Drunk in Public Charges

Actor Shia LeBeouf spent Saturday, July 8, 2017, in jail in Savannah, Georgia. He was arrested on charges of obstruction, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. LeBeouf and his beard were taken into custody early Saturday morning and released on $7,000 bond. According to authorities, LeBeouf approached a person asking for a cigarette while a nearby police […]
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22 Suspects Accused of Drug Trafficking in The San Gabriel Valley

Authorities have charged 22 suspects who have been accused of operating the elaborate cross-border drug trafficking ring linked to the infamous Sinaloa Cartel (which was previously led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman). It was discovered that the suspects used homes in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California as stash houses to store their illicit merchandise. […]
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High- Speed Motorcycle Chase Turns Into On-Foot Pursuit

At 1:08 AM the morning of May 15, 2017, California Highway Patrol Officers chased a motorcyclist speeding in excess of 100 mph on the 210 Freeway. The chase began near Allen Avenue in Pasadena. Officer Elizabeth Kravig recounts that the pursuit continued westbound through La Canada-Flintridge, Montrose, Glendale, and Lakeview Terrace. The motorcyclist finally exited […]
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Rapper ASAP Rocky’s L.A. Mansion Robbed

Rapper A$AP Rocky (Rakim Mayers) was robbed the night of Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at approximately 11:30 PM. The robbery took place at the celebrity’s Beverly Grove home. Authorities reported that at least $1.5 million in jewelry was stolen and at least one of the robbers was armed. Though Mayers was not home at the time, […]
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Ohio Woman Arrested for Soliciting Sex in Return for Nachos

Crystal D. Hotlosz, 36, was accused of prostitution and arrested for advertising her services on Backpage.com. According to a Beaver Township Police Department  report Crystal told an undercover police officer she would provide a sex act for $60 and nachos. Beaver Township police said the suspect met the officer in a Los Gallos Mexican Restaurant parking lot […]
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Brad Pitt Under Investigation for Child Abuse

On September 22, 2016, it was reported by TMZ.com that Brad Pitt is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS“) for child abuse. TMZ revealed that Brad Pitt allegedly “got wasted” on a private plane and “went wild, screaming and getting physical with the kids.” Witnesses claimed once the […]
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The Blood Alcohol Content Equation (Guest Post)

Commonly modern technology, such as a Breathalyzer or obtaining a blood sample from the accused, are used to calculate BAC. The purpose of this article is to help the reader understand how to calculate blood alcohol content using only a BAC Table. BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content and refers to the amount of alcohol […]
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Can Lamar Odom Be Charged With Drug Possession?

On October 13, 2015, former NBA player Lamar Odom, was rushed to a medical facility after being found unresponsive at a brothel in Nevada. It was reported that Odom had taken as many as 10 sexual-performance supplement pills and cocaine. At a press conference, Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said two employees of the ranch confirmed Lamar […]
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Reality TV Star Loredana Nesci Stabbed to Death

Reality TV star Loredana Nesci was found dead in her Redondo Beach, California home on July 22, 2015. She was known as the cop turned lawyer on SundanceTV’s Loredana, Esq. It is alleged that the 47 year old star had an argument with her boyfriend Robert Reagan the night before. At 7:20am on the 22nd the police received an anonymous […]
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Bill Cosby Scandal

Bill Cosby, a captivating and hilarious TV icon, has been one of the most distinguished and well known television icons in recent history. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented Bill Cosby with the Presidential Medial of Freedom for his depiction of African Americans on national television and his renowned dedication to education. However, things […]
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Desira Crittenden Killed in an Auto Accident with an alleged Drunk Driver

CSUN student Desira Crittenden was killed in a car accident allegedly caused by a driver under the influence. The vehicle she was in was struck while going through an intersection in Northridge, California. The driver of the other vehicle was hospitalized in stable condition and arrested for suspicion of DUI. A total of five people — three females […]
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John Stamos Hospitalized after Police Stop for Suspected DUI

On June 12, 2015, the actor John Stamos was stopped by police and was later transported to the hospital for an unspecified condition according to the LA Times. There were multiple calls made to the police about a possible intoxicated driver in the area around Beverly Hill city hall. When the police pulled Mr. John Stamos over […]
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Bail Reduction is Denied for Suspect Accused of Arson

The man arrested for the arson of the unfinished Da Vinci apartments in Los Angeles was denied a reduction in bail. Judge Upinder Kalra ruled in favor of the prosecution, who argued against the reduction on June 11, 2015. The suspect, Dawud Abdulwali, is said to have traveled out of the country a number of times and […]
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16 Year Old Charged as Adult for Murder in Temecula

Ryan Jawad, has been accused of the murder of his friend Gage Seal in Temecula. The police found the victim and the accused at a motel after the shooting.  Jawad has had problems with the law in the past and will be tried as an adult. He is also a suspect in a number of burglaries in his […]
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Mila Kunis’ Stalker Arrested After Escaping From mental Institute

Stuart Lynn Dunn, who was placed in a mental health facility after being convicted of stalking actress Mila Kunis,  was recaptured four days after escaping from the facility. Dunn was found by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s department Major Crimes division, who had advised Ms. Kunis about the escape. Dunn escaped from the Pomona facility while […]
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Henry Solis found in Mexico, will be charged with Murder

According to the L.A. Times, a former Los Angeles police officer who had fled the United States was found in Mexico and  transported back to face murder charges. Henry Solis had relatives in Mexico where he had been staying. Solis was fired by the LAPD when he was named a person of interest in the shooting death of […]
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Charges Filed Against San Bernardino Man Beaten By Deputies

The L.A. Times reported that a San Bernardino man, who had been beaten  by Sheriff’s Deputies after a horse pursuit, has been charged with multiple crimes. Mr. Francis Pusock had received $650,000 from the county of San Bernardino a week after the beating, which was caught on film by a news helicopter. The dollar amount was […]
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Los Angeles Woman Detained After Making Bomb Threat

On May 20th a woman was detained on the steps of a Federal Building after telling authorities she had a bomb and triggering device. The LAPD dispatched the bomb squad and the SAWT team and a standoff ensued. A robot was dispatched to the scene and was used to deliver a phone to her but she was seen pointing […]
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Ray McDonald Arrested Twice In Three Days

Ray McDonald, who was released in December of 2014 by the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested again for violating a restraining order. The former NFL Defensive player signed a free agent contract in March with the Chicago Bears. He was arrested in May for domestic violence and child endangerment. This led to McDonald’s release by the Bears who had been hopeful […]
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California Highway Patrol Expanded DUI Checkpoints for Memorial Day

The Memorial Day weekend has seen a rise in fatal accidents in years past so the Highway Patrol was very vigilant in seat belt usage this past weekend. There was an increase in DUI checkpoints as well. The use of checkpoints for DUI is to make citizens more aware of the problems caused by driving under the […]
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Possible Road Rage Incident has Police Investigating many Felonies

On May 9, 2015, CBS Los Angeles reported of a fatal accident involving a white Mercedes sedan and an Audi SUV in Beverly Hills. The two vehicles collided at Olympic Boulevard and Swall Drive around midnight and a passenger in the Mercedes was killed. No other serious injuries were reported but the other passengers did […]
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Man Arrested for Home Invasion Robbery in Manhattan Beach

According to a May 13, 2015, CBS local news Los Angeles report local police announced that a suspect has been arrested for a crime committed in Manhattan Beach in November of 2014. A second suspect is still at large and is believed to be connected to another home invasion robbery in Los Angeles. The two men were connected to the crime […]
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Travis McAdamsKissing at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s, hoping to find love in the New Year is quickly followed by the most active day for online dating sites. Love and companionship in the New Year is a top agenda for millions of Americans. Statistics show that the first Sunday of the New Year is the most active day for new online dating profiles. The odds of finding a match are increased as much as 30%!

Online sites like Match.com, eHarmony.com or OkCupid have developed apps for people to connect and meet potential companions at the touch of their phone screen. It’s now the trendiest and most convenient approach for people in hopes of breaking the cycle of singlehood.

Tinder has had quite the reputation since its launch back in 2012. The dating app has been one of the premier hook-up apps for adults to find some short-term thrills, but also claims to be the catalyst for more legitimate relationships than any other dating platform out there. Even though they boast over 50 million users worldwide, the app is not is not meant for anyone under the age of 18, and certainly isn’t common place for the profile of an 11-year-old girl.

21-year-old Travis McAdams of Greendale, Indiana met a girl on Tinder, then pursued her through Snapchat. The girl claimed she was 16 years old but in reality was only 11. According to the investigation, McAdams met the tween at a local cinema where he put his arm around her neck, covered her mouth and forced her behind the building then proceeded to rape the 11-year-old.

In the state of Indiana, the age of consent is 16, so he could have been able to stay out of facing any legal woes had the encounter actually been consensual. Even though he was made aware of her age, he continued to rape her on several other occasions before the victim’s mother found out about the incidents.

Since news broke of this heinous crime, more victims with similar stories have come forward.

McAdams is being charged with ” rape and child molesting” by the Dearborn County District Attorney. Had this crime occurred in California, Travis McAdams would face Statutory Rape charges under Penal Code 261.5 and would also face Lewd Acts with a Minor under Penal Code 288.

Logan Paul
Pic: Logan Paul/YouTube

YouTube has become a platform where everyday people can launch themselves into a life of fame and fortune with the simple upload of a video. It is common for people to do dumb, daring, and over-the-top stunts to shock viewers in the hopes they will share the video to create a social media frenzy. All it takes is a video to go viral, and advertisement royalty money comes rolling in, along with the thrill of being a self-made internet star.

For some ‘YouTube stars’ the high of keeping their followers entertained comes at a cost, and for a local Studio City YouTube star, fighting for ‘center stage’ is now the focus of a controversy that has exposed an illegal possession of an exotic animal.

In many parts of Asia, tigers are considered the god of wealth. In western culture, tigers have been seen in countless music videos, movies, and entertainment performances to represent a lavish lifestyle, so it’s not surprising that Logan Paul created a casual video of his dog having a not-so-friendly encounter with a young exotic cat.

The cub handler, and Logan joked and laughed as the 2 animals growled at each other. This wasn’t the first time the baby tiger had been seen and associated with other social media posts. It is believed the same cub was seen with on Instagram posing with a model last year.

Although these innocent cats are cute and somewhat cuddly in their young age, they are still wild animals that shouldn’t ever be mistaken for a domesticated cat. The cat’s then owner, Nicholas Perkins is now facing 2 counts of illegal possession, as well as one count of mistreatment of an animal.

The California Department for Fish and Game regulates the list of wild animals that are illegal to keep, domesticated pet tigers being one of them. Anyone who is isn’t professionally trained or formally educated would face animal endangerment charges even if they made an honest effort to care for the animal. Other states may keep pretty lax laws regarding the welfare of animals, which is likely how the tiger was acquired, however California is one of the strictest states in the union for the protection for both domestic and wild animals.

Nicholas Perkins, was charged with four criminal counts including two counts of illegal possession of a tiger; mistreatment of a tiger, and possession of anabolic steroids. If convicted, Perkins could face up to two years and six months in jail and $4,000 in fines.

If you or someone you know has been falsely accused, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

 

 

 

Reuben Foster
Photo: Jeff Chiu (AP)

With the NFL season in full swing, and the games full of epic wins, plays, and suspense, it hasn’t been without the disappointment of one NFL team who seems to be continually in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

The San Francisco 49ers have spent the past 2 years shrouded in controversy following the actions of then quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he took a knee during the National Anthem. Any good news about the teams wins or brilliant plays have been completely overshadowed yet again thanks to the negative spotlight of one of their linebackers.

On Saturday November 25, 2018, just hours before game time, Rueben Foster was arrested on domestic violence charges after police were called to the Grand Hyatt hotel where they found Reuben’s female companion with a scratch on her collar bone. She was allegedly slapped across the face as well as pushed in the chest. The couple have been periodically dating on and off over the past 3 years.

General Manager John Lynch made a statement implying Foster broke several ground rules set out to create a successful team and franchise that were communicated ‘exceptionally clear’ to him. The Linebacker was immediately fired before he could hit the field on Sunday morning. The decision to cut Foster from the team was absolutely justified since he has had several run-ins with the law, including a prior felony domestic battery charge, as well as weapons and drug charges.

Because this crime occurred in the state of Florida, Reuben Foster will be subject to their local jurisdictions and laws. Had the 49ers been playing a home game and the incident occurred in San Francisco, under California Penal Code 243 (e)(1) Foster would likely face domestic battery charges.

Even though Foster and his female friend weren’t officially dating at the time, the law still defines this incident as a domestic battery charge because the law includes ‘any persons with whom the defendant has or used to have a dating relationship.’

In California, domestic battery if charged as a misdemeanor has penalties that could include a fine of up to $2,000 dollars, with the potential stint of up to a year in county jail. If he had been convicted in California, Rueben Foster would also be required to complete 52 weekly classes under the Batterers’ Intervention Program.

If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of domestic violence, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Woolsey FireAs the Woolsey Fire continues to rage through some of the most expensive real estate in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, celebrities like Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Gerard Butler have been forced to flee their Malibu estates. The Pacific Coast Highway became the only route for safe evacuation, and quickly became jammed as a caravan full of cars, trucks, and SUVs packed with the most precious documents, belongings, and furry family members made the slow trek to safer places in the city.

Leaving behind their homes to the fate of the Santa Ana winds and the flames was hard enough, but in the midst of tragedy, there is always someone who is ready to take advantage of the vulnerabilities and chaos that come in the wake of a natural disaster. For some, it’s tempting to scavenge through the possible high-end treasures that could be found amongst the rubble or plunder the unscathed houses where security systems have no power.

On Friday, November 9th authorities made two arrests in separate incidents of looting, one in which resulted in a police pursuit, but have made no details as to the arrests or exact location of which community was being targeted. Since the fire is devastating some of the most affluent communities in California, 200 additional deputies have been deployed to patrol the streets, private roads, and properties in hopes to deter anyone looking to take advantage of this horrific situation.

In a televised press conference on the morning of November 17th, Ventura County Sergeant Eric Buschow warned the community and viewers, “If you come here with the intent of taking advantage of the situation, we will arrest you and you will go to jail.”

Under California Penal Code 463 these looters will face misdemeanor criminal charges which could result in probation as well us up to a year in county jail.

For the person that decided to try and evade cops, he or she will also face additional charges of Reckless Evading a Police Officer, under California Vehicle Code 2800.2 which will result in fines and up to another 364 days in fail if charged as a misdemeanor, or up to a 10,000 fine and up to 3 years in state prison if charged as a felony.

 

HaymartOn November 1, 2018, Jennifer Haymart, 39, appeared in a Sacramento, CA courtroom court. After a month-long investigation, she was accused of five felony charges, including suspicion of embezzlement, grand theft and forgery.

Haymart was accused of embezzling more than $138,000 form two organizations: the Sacramento Deterding Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), which she took around $85,000 from, and the Carmichael Little League Baseball Club, from which she took around $52,000. Haymart was the treasurer of both the PTO and the Little League Club. She forged “legitimate statements” to try and cover her tracks, the Sheriff’s Department said. Haymart is being held at the Sacramento County Jail on $125,000 bail.

Embezzlement, under the California Penal Code,  is the fraudulent appropriation of property that:

  1. belongs to someone else,
  2. has been entrusted to you.

One can be charged with embezzlement even if they did not intend to permanently keep the property in question, but only intended to “borrow” it.

Punishment for embezzlement under California law depends on the value and type of property stolen or borrowed; it can either be a form of California petty theft or California grand theft.

The crime is a petty theft if the property is:

  1. worth less than $950, or
  2. is any other embezzlement that does not meet the definition of California grand theft.

California petty theft is punishable by:

  • Misdemeanor probation;
  • Up to six months in county jail; and/or
  • A fine of up to $1,000.

The crime is a grand theft if the property is either:

  1. worth more than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), or
  2. an automobile, or
  3. a firearm.

A grand theft crime is a “wobbler” under California law, which means that it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history, and these result in different penalties:

  • Misdemeanor grand theft embezzlement is punished by:
    • Misdemeanor (summary) probation; and/or
    • Up to one year in county jail; and/or
    • A fine of up to $1,000.
  • Felony grand theft embezzlement (other than cases of embezzlement of firearms) is punished by:
    • Felony (formal) probation;
    • 16 months or two or three years in county jail; and/or
    • A fine of up to $10,000

There are potential sentence enhancements for felony embezzlement of high-value property, which are added on incrementally if the property was worth more $65,000, $200,000, $1,300,000, or $3,200,000.

In Haymart’s case, she will likely be charged with California grand theft, but the decision between whether her wobbler crime is a felony or misdemeanor grand theft will have to be decided by the prosecuting agency (District attorney) to determine the harshness of her penalties she may be facing.

Haymart is also likely to face a sentence enhancement, which incurs another year due to the property being valued at more than $65,000.

Some common legal defenses to Penal Code 503 PC embezzlement include:

  • A good faith belief that you had had a right to the property
  • A lack of criminal intent; and
  • A false accusation

If you or someone you know has been falsely charged with embezzlement, call us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department

Eric Wess UllerHalloween, a night known for devious tricks and endless treats, also sees a spike of crime. People from all walks of society take advantage of being cloaked as some of the darkest creatures and characters our imaginations can conjure.  It is one of the days of the year where keeping kids safe is the pinnacle of every parent’s priority. However, for the city of Santa Monica, the decades-long dark agenda and sexually charged ‘tricks’ of a local volunteer has the community reeling over the nightmare of an ongoing threat to the safety of their children.

50-year-old Eric Wess Uller has been exposed as the local ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ as he kept the façade of safety and security for decades. Since the 1980’s, Eric Wess Uller has served as a Police Activities League volunteer where he spent years mentoring local kids with varying activities ranging from field trips to fitness and academic advancement classes. Not only has Eric Wess Uller been volunteering in the P.A.L. program, but he was also on the city’s payroll working as a public safety systems analyst, giving him the opportunity to be around hundreds of kids over the years. Eric Uller is now accused of befriending, grooming, and then sexually assaulting several young boys ranging between 13 to 14 years of age. As of right now he is charged with 5 counts of sexual crimes against minors. He is currently being charged with 3 counts of PC 288(a), 2 counts of PC 288A(b)(1), and 1 Count of 288.5. His next court date is on November 5, 2018, in Dept. W30 of Airport court.

Most likely additional charges are to follow as the horror keeps unfolding and 6 additional victims have come forward. Meanwhile the Sheriff’s Department continues its investigation to find of more victims.

Even if Eric Wess Uller didn’t actually do anything with the minor, any attempts he made may still be considered a felony under under California law. As always one must remember that under our justice system everyone is innocent until proven guilty. In the case of Eric Wess Uller, the “innocent until proven guilty” doctrine applies.

*** UPDATE *** – Eric Uller was found dead on the morning of November 15, 2018, in his apartment in what officials are saying is a possible suicide.

 

Photo: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

FullertonEvery time “Election Day” nears, the races for political and public offices start to heat up. The bombardment of vicious ads exposing scandals, failures, and personal agendas to sway electors become intensified as single votes will determine the fate of divided communities.

Often times the ads are dramatic and exaggerated, but for the City of Fullerton, California, a serious scandal might sway local constituents during the 2018 Mayoral race. Healthy competition is a great way for the political arena from getting too monotonous, but for one candidate’s wife, a little too much competition has landed her in some serious legal trouble.

Tony Bushala paid over $1,000 for political yard signs to promote his bid for mayor. He personally put up 180 signs around Fullerton neighborhoods in hopes of swaying the local community against incumbent Mayor Doug Chaffee. However, just 3 days later, Bushala found all of his signs were gone.

Suspicious of thieves undermining his efforts, Bushala called upon some of the businesses and homes equipped with security cameras to get to the bottom of the loss. To his surprise, a prominent woman whom he had met serval times before at City Council meetings was at the center of this spiteful crime. Paulette Marshall Chaffee, the wife of his rival, was clearly seen removing signs.

What was meant to give her husband a competitive edge has undoubtedly cast a shadow on Chaffe’s Mayoral re-election campaign. Paulette, who was running for City Counsel in Fullerton, has also suspended her campaign as a result of the video footage.

Under California penal code 487, this foolish act of political revenge could land Mrs. Chaffee in court facing grand theft charges. If charged with a misdemeanor, she could face up to 1 year in county jail. If charged with a felony, Mrs. could face up to 3 years in State Prison; not to mention the fines, fees, and probation associated with a conviction.

If you or someone you know has been accused of grand theft, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Rancho Palos VerdesOne of the luxuries of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave is the fact that our American society grants us the cultural right of having solitude while going to the bathroom. We take for granted the fact that we get to lock the door behind us to ensure our privacy. As that stall door shuts behind us, the last thing we expect to worry about is being watched while we are sitting on the ‘porcelain throne.’

But crime has no bounds and it is often the quiet crimes that rock neighborhoods otherwise deemed safe.

The affluent south bay city of Rancho Palos Verdes is the last place you would imagine a municipal employee breaking the law. This beautiful peninsula enclave is the home of private horse stables, Mediterranean style estates with sweeping Pacific Ocean views, and a wild muster of roaming peacocks- certainly a far cry from L.A.’s most infamous neighborhoods.

Building inspector Andrew James Jensen was arrested on September 25, 2018, and charged with a whopping 89 counts of Criminal Invasion of Privacy.  This was after Jensen’s quarter sized spy camera was discovered by a co-worker under a tampon dispenser in a unisex employee bathroom at Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall. Jensen also placed a camera in a nearby Starbucks to secretly record a total of 63 women and 23 men over a 3-week period between both locations over the summer.

Under California Penal Code 647(j) it is a misdemeanor to violate another person’s privacy by secretly recording someone in a private room in order to view that person’s body or undergarments.

Penalties for violating someone’s privacy can be punishable with up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of $1,000

With the plethora of misdemeanor counts in this case, Jensen will most likely face serious jail time and hefty fines since subsequent infractions have increased penalties including a minimum of 1 year in county jail and a minimum fine of $2,000. This misdemeanor crime could also be punishable by probation in lieu of jail time.

If you or someone you know has been falsely charged with criminal invasion of privacy, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Bill Cosby SentencedOne of America’s most recognized entertainers, Bill Cosby, was sentenced to prison for  3 to 10 years on September 25, 2018. Cosby was accused by 37 women over several years for sexual misconduct, dating back to 1964.

One specific accuser, Andrea Constand, claimed that in 2004, Cosby drugged her with pills, left her incapacitated in his Pennsylvania home, where he proceeded to sexually assault her. Constand went public about the incident a year after it took place but prosecutors did not press charges. A decade later, dozens of women also came forward about being drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. However Constand’s was the only case that occurred within the statute of limitations, and it was eventually taken up by a new prosecution team. In September 2018, Cosby was found guilty in Pennsylvania on the three counts of sexual assault brought against him: penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant.

If Cosby were to be charged in California rather than Pennsylvania, California’s Penal Code 243.4, AKA “sexual assault” law, would apply. This code section prohibits non-consensual touching of the intimate part of another person for purposes of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Felony penalties only apply if the alleged victim was under any of the below circumstances:

  1. unaware of the nature of the act because he/she was fraudulently convinced that the touching was for professional purposes (like, for example, medical or therapeutic purposes)
  2. unlawfully restrained
  3. institutionalized and either medically incapacitated or seriously disabled
  4. forced to masturbate or touch their intimate parts or the intimate part of another person under any of the above circumstances

Conviction for felony sexual assault includes harsher penalties than misdemeanor assault, listed below:

  • Two, three or four years in California state prison, and
  • A maximum $10,000 fine, and
  • A lifetime requirement to register as a tier three sex offender.

All other sexual assault lacking the above conditions is charged as a misdemeanor. Penalties for misdemeanor sexual assault include:

  • A maximum county jail sentence of either six months or one year, and
  • A fine of up to $2,000 (or $3,000 if the victim was your employee), and
  • A minimum ten-year requirement to register as a tier one sex offender.

Cosby was convicted for felony sexual assault, and sentenced to three to ten years in state prison, along with a $25,000 fine, and a requirement to pay the Pennsylvania commonwealth for the cost of his prosecutions. He was denied bail due to being a flight risk, and will also be registered for his lifetime as a “sexually violent predator.”

Some legal defenses to sexual assault include false allegations, consent, and insufficient evidence.

If you or someone you know has been falsely charged with sexual assault, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Montgomery County Correctional Facility

MenchacaNot every crime is common, and it seems that every day we hear of new ways our fellow man has pushed the limits of ‘law abiding citizen’ into a ‘creative’ criminal. It has been said that loneliness makes one do things out of desperation, and for one Arizona man, his desperate and dark sexual impulses have landed him into a heap of legal trouble.

In September of 2018, thirty-year-old Paul Anthony Menchaca was arrested on suspicion of felony fraud as he impersonated a ‘lifestyle of disability’ by duping professional caregivers he had Down Syndrome in order to manipulate them into changing his adult diapers as well as bathing him.

However, it wasn’t quite adding up after complaints were made by his caregivers stating that he had repeatedly made aggressive demands that his genitals needed to be cleaned more thoroughly. Additionally, the primary caregiver “Amy” had requested that Menchaca be punished if he soiled his diapers or ‘misbehaved’ in any way. Adding to suspicion, not one of the three caregivers had ever met Amy in person. She only communicated and coordinated care through text, and left cash for prompt payment of service.

After a month-long investigation into the case, it was determined that Amy was a false persona made up by Menchaca to make his devious scheme a plausible reality. Authorities traced Amy’s cell phone number back to Menchaca.

To make matters worse, Paul Menchaca was a teacher’s aid at the local junior high school in Gilbert, Arizona. Though it has been made clear that none of the children were involved or harmed, his spotless reputation as well as clean criminal history have been tainted forever.

Had this crime been committed in California, Menchaca might been charged with violating Penal Code §529 (False Impersonation). Menchaca would face up to 3 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine depending. Even though the cleaning and touching of his genitals was part of the caregiver’s job, he was in no need of any such care and was fully capable of taking care of his own hygienic needs. Therefore, he could additionally face Sexual Battery charges under Penal Code §243.4

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

TSAAfter the September 11 attacks, Americans spend extra time preparing for travel by standing in TSA security lines which make our airports safer for the millions of daily travelers. Thankfully, it’s a rare sight to see a security breech; and even the faintest whisper of a threat, or the slightest break of the TSA ‘rules’ and line formations could lead to serious fines and even jail time.

However, all the powers of the Transportation Security Administration were useless against a security breech for one Delta flight traveling out of LAX on August 27, 2018.

Twenty-three year old Luis Aguilar did what many of us wish we could do to avoid the, smelly feet, body scanners, conveyor belts, and slow moving lines that rival 405 traffic: He bypassed all security measures and climbed a fence on the border of Sepulveda and Lincoln and headed straight for a plane preparing for take-off at one of the world’s busiest airports.

It wasn’t exactly clear what this mentally ill man’s motives truly were as he approached a Delta flight. Passengers looked through their windows with a front row seat to what seemed to be a Hollywood thriller stunt. Aguilar both entertained and frightened passengers as he attempted to jump around the aircraft, hoping to touch the wings and engines.  He gave gawking onlookers quite a finale when he did pushups on the tarmac just before Airport Police Officers apprehended him.

Several flights were delayed while investigators and regulators cleared the scene of any further danger to inbound and outbound flights.

As the investigation of Aguilar’s antics are wrapping up, one thing is certain: under California Penal Code 601 this man will face felony trespassing charges. Most of us don’t see trespassing as a serious criminal offence, however, because Aguilar trespassed in a way that not only threatened business at LAX, but also put lives in danger to passengers and employees alike.

This ‘wobbler‘ crime may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and may carry the following penalties:

If charged as a Misdemeanor-

  • Up to one (1) year in county jail; and/or
  • A fine of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000)

If Penal Code 601 PC is charged as a felony, Aguilar can face

  • felony probation
  • Sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years served in county jail
  • A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

If you or someone you know has been charged with trespassing or a TSA violation, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Chad Ridgely/Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Degree MurderAll little girls hope for the protection of a loving father, but sometimes the cost of that protection comes at a huge legal expense, as it has become the case for one Arizona father in August of 2018

While using the restroom, Melvin Harris III’s daughter was harassed by known criminal Leevon Armstrong as he entered into the women’s restroom and violently shook the stall door. The store security guard was notified of the incident and was attempting to investigate the situation under standard protocol.

However, Harris had a different protocol in mind. His paternal instincts kicked in as his daughter pointed out the perpetrator while he was walking out of the store. To add fuel to his already raging fire, Armstrong was the same man who just moments before had asked Harris for spare change, in which Harris generously obliged.

According to witnesses, Harris repeatedly stomped, punched and kicked the victim. Harris has only admitted to punching Armstrong in the face, but denied throwing the first punch. Unfortunately, Harris dealt Armstrong a blow that he would result in fatal head trauma including brain swelling, a nasal fracture, and loss of oxygen.

Harris’s response of rage not only cost Leevon Armstrong his life, but cost Melvin Harris the freedom of life as he knew it. Making sure his daughter is always safe was clearly a top priority, but his passion for her life came at the ultimate price.

Because Harris didn’t deliberately choose to commit murder (there wasn’t expressed or implied malice) nor was the incident happening during the commission of a felony, and no weapon of mass destruction or explosive device was used, it automatically falls under the 2nd degree murder charge.

If this incident occurred in the state of California, and Harris was charged with Penal Code 187, he would face 15 years to life in state prison as penalty for his passion-filled parenting style. However, defenses for his case to reduce charges could include provocation, self-defense, defense of another person, or justification.

If you or someone you know has been falsely charged with murder, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

PHOTO: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Million Dollar RideThe summer of 2018 saw the worst start to the summer fire season in 10 years. California was yet again undertaking a record-breaking fight against flames engulfing the state. Over 500 square miles burned in various counties, including the Carr Fire in Shatsta County, the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park, and several other fires dotting the state including few flare ups in Los Angeles County.

The unpredictable flames ripped through communities and forests alike- but as thousands of firefighters put their lives on the line to quench the flames, the last thing they expect is to watch one of their engines drive away in the middle of a battle.

On July 14, 2018, a new level of unpredictability happened. What seemed like an exaggerated stunt scripted in a comedic Hollywood thriller- a firetruck was in fact stolen from firefighters that were battling a blaze near Sacramento, CA

29-year-old David Virgil Carcalete hopped into the young childhood dreams of many- and sped away in a big red firetruck that would make the 2018 fire season an extra memorable one. Along the way he picked up his friend, Candace Lee Scollard, to share in all the thrills of dominating the road in a one million dollar ride.

This Bonnie and Clyde style chase ended with the severely damaged truck in a ditch nearly 100 miles away on a route that spanned 4 counties from where firefighters had originally parked the emergency vehicle. However, there is nothing thrilling about the felony charges Mr. Carcalete will face including vehicle theft, felony reckless evading, and possession of stolen special equipment.

Although it seems like the female passenger Candace Lee Scollard was just ‘along for the ride’- choosing your friends oftentimes leads to choosing your legal fate. Her participation in the short lived fun has landed her the exact same charges.

If you or someone you know has been falsely charged with a vehicle theft, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

PHOTO: SAC FIRE/KXTV

On the 3rd of January 2018, University of Pennsylvania student, Blaze Bernstein, was visiting his family in Lake Forest, California for winter break when he went missing. Later that week Bernstein’s body was discovered in a shallow grave at a park in the surrounding areas. The 19 year old college student seemed to have been stabbed over 20 times.

Investigators arrested Bernstein’s high-school friend Samuel Woodward, 20, after accessing Bernstein’s Snapchat account. Woodward had allegedly picked up Bernstein on the night of the incident, and drove with him to the parking lot of a shopping center. Woodward was identified as the main suspect based on DNA evidence found in his car and at the crime scene. He was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Woodward has since been charged with murder and was facing a maximum of 26 years to life in prison. However, due to recent findings on Woodward’s phone and social media accounts, in early August of 2018, prosecutors added a hate crime enhancement to the first-degree murder charge.

Woodward mentioned in his initial statement that Bernstein had attempted to kiss him when they were in the car together. This information has been connected to data recently uncovered on Woodward’s phone, including a number of graphic and chilling texts and images, to show that Woodward intended to murder Bernstein because he was gay.  The material found was homophobic, racist, misogynistic and anti-government. Woodward has since been linked to a white supremacist group called Atomwaffen.

Hate Crime Categories

If found guilty of a hate crime, Woodward could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison without parole.

In California, hate crimes fall under two general categories:

  1. Penal Code 422.6, which makes it a stand-alone crime to interfere with someone else’s civil rights, or damage or destroy their property because of that person’s characteristics including any of the following:
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  1. Penal Code 422.7 and Penal Code 422.75, state that if (1) you commit a crime such as assault or vandalism, and (2)you are motivated in part by the fact that the victim has one of the characteristics on the list above, then the criminal offense will be considered a “hate crime” and will result in an enhanced sentence.

Murder Charge Sentence Enhancements

There are two types of possible enhancements to a murder charge:

  1. PC 190.2(a)(16), which states that if you kill somebody and it is proven that your motive was that person’s race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin, it will be considered a special circumstance, and the punishment could be the death penalty, or life without parole.
  2. PC 190.3, which states that if you kill somebody and it is proven that your motive was the person’s sexual orientation, gender, or disability, you could be sentenced to life without parole.

Consequently, Woodward is now facing the possibility of being charged with PC 190.3, which would enhance his sentence from 26 years to life in prison to life without the possibility of parole.

Reacting to a Hate Crime Accusation

If you are accused of a hate crime, you may be able to avoid the charge or reduce the severity of charges through certain legal defenses that your criminal defense lawyer can argue, such as:

  • You didn’t commit a crime in the first place, and are being charged only because of false accusations or something similar.
  • You did commit a crime, but it was not motivated by bias and doesn’t qualify as a hate crime.
  • You did commit a crime that was motivated by bias, but it doesn’t meet one or more of the legal requirements to bring it within the statute under which you were charged.

If you or someone you know has been falsely charged with a hate crime, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

On June 27, 2018, Vero Beach police received a call from a McDonald’s drive-thru customer who complained that a driver behind her was repeatedly bumping her car. At the scene, police found 69 year-old Earle Stevens behind the wheel with an open bottle of alcohol in a paper bag on the passenger seat. He was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence. During the arrest, Stevens had an interesting yet ineffective defense; he claimed that he was taking swigs of bourbon only when he stopped at traffic lights and stop signs — so he wasn’t technically drinking and driving.

At Indian River County Jail, Stevens’ blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.153 and 0.147. The legal blood-alcohol limit for driving is 0.08. Although the incident took place in Florida, the 0.08 percent BAC limit is the standard measurement used across the United States, and thus would apply in California.

Under California Penal Code 23152(a) and (b), a DUI is defined and charged as two separate misdemeanors. Section (a) states that itis unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle, while section (b) adds that it is unlawful for a person who has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more to drive a vehicle. Typically, offenders enter an agreement where the prosecutor allows them to plead to only one of the counts. The second count is usually dismissed at sentencing.

If this case took place in California, Stevens would suffer either misdemeanor or felony penalties, depending on four factors:

  • The facts of his specific case
  • Whether he is facing his first or subsequent DUI conviction
  • Whether he is being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor DUI
  • His criminal history

Most first, second, and third DUI cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors. The consequences typically increase, and can be charged as a felony DUI  on the fourth or subsequent conviction within 10 years, or causing an injury.

The penalties may include the following:

Misdemeanor Penalties

  • Up to 1 year in a county jail
  • Payment of a minimum fine of $390 + Penalty Assessments
  • Informal DUI probation for 3 to 5 years
  • Completion of a 3 to 30 month DUI school
  • Suspension of driver’s license for 6 months to 3 years
  • Insurance policy ramifications
  • In certain counties of California: Installation of an ignition interlock device

Felony Penalties

  • Up to 3 years in a state prison
  • Formal probation
  • Revocation of driver’s license for 4 years
  • Registration by the DMV as a habitual traffic offender

Possible Increased Penalties

Some factors exist which may aggravate the punishment to that higher than a felony. These factors include:

  • Causing an accident
  • Having a child in the car during the incident
  • A blood-alcohol level of 0.15% or higher

Reacting to a DUI Conviction

  • Stevens’ attorney may negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain, which allows Stevens to plead guilty and receive a reduced charge.
  • Additionally, there are ways to fighta DUI conviction. This is founded on several bases including whether or not:
    • Stevens’ blood-alcohol level was below 0.08% at the time of driving
    • The DUI breath testing instrument or machine wasn’t properly maintained or calibrated
    • The breath sample provided was possibly tainted
    • Stevens attended a California DUI DMV hearing within 10 days of arrest
  • If Stevens were to be sentenced to probation and successfully completed it, he could try to get his conviction “expunged“, which would eliminate some factors of the DUI conviction but not others. Accomplishment of this requires that he and his defense attorney petition the court.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

 

 

 

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock in Los Angeles knows that one of the “Black Mamba’s” greatest rivals, LeBron James, has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for a 4 year contract– which is no doubt a historical move for a team who hasn’t managed to win an NBA Finals Championship in nearly a decade.

This new era for the Lakers has inspired fans from all over the southland to express their excitement and anticipation for the coming ‘king.’

Known for his memorial style impressions of late legends such as Anthony Bourdain, and Chester Bennington, muralist Jonas Never took his artistic skills to the side of a local Venice Beach BBQ joint to welcome the Laker’s newest teammate and enlisted his own teammate, graffiti artist Fernando Valdez, to help letter “The King of L.A.”

The creative collaboration took the artists two days to complete, but nearly immediately after it’s unveiling- the celebratory street art was a target for relentless vandalism.

It’s not 100% clear if this ‘hater’ graffiti was fueled by true loyal fans of Kobe Bryant, who are still bitterly mourning the loss of his retirement and find LeBron’s arrival that repulsive, or if vandals ready to make a quick buck were inspired by a post on Twitter offering a $300 bounty for anyone willing to deface the mural.

After the fourth time Jonas came to restore the mural back to its original glory, the artist was forced to smear his latest masterpiece in the color of surrender- a bland and boring white- as if he was sent out by one of the city’s graffiti abatement teams.

Although street art and graffiti are not always illegal, any damage over $400 could be charged as a crime. According to California Penal Code §594, Spraying on public property or private property without proper permission can get you in serious legal trouble with hefty fines and even land you in jail. Let’s also not forget that vandalism isn’t just defined as what comes out of a spray paint can, but when someone ‘maliciously’ damages, destroys, or defaces property he or she does not own.

In a city that is known for it’s street art scene and pop art style Instagram photo-ops around every neighborhood, it’s best to skip the temptation of leaving your ‘artistic’ mark with a can of spray if you don’t know the legal consequences of violating the laws of California.

If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of vandalism, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

On July 8, 2018, a 34-year-old mother was arrested by Ontario police in a Walmart parking lot. Crystal Reyna Gonzalez had allegedly left her two children, a 1-year-old and a nine-month-old, locked in the car for 30 minutes, with no air conditioning on while she went inside the store to shop. Due to a heat wave on the day of the incident, the temperatures were in the 90’s, however the conditions in the locked vehicle caused temperatures inside the car to be between 109 and 122 degrees.

Police were notified by a passerby and the children were found at the scene around 7:44pm. Both were sweating and crying, clearly distressed by what they had been put through. Gonzalez returned to her vehicle as police were working to free the children from it, and claimed that she had only been gone for a few moments. Police found this hard to believe, and Gonzalez was arrested and charged with child endangerment on grounds that her reckless behavior could have cost the children’s lives.

Child endangerment is defined by California Penal Code 273(a), which punishes someone who willfully puts a child in a dangerous position, or in a position to suffer unjustifiable physical or mental pain.Unlike California’s “child abuse” law AKA Penal Code 273(d), “child endangerment” does notrequire physical harm or injury; it simply requires the possibility of danger to the child.

Penal Code 273(a) applies to minors under the age of 18, and can be charged against anyone, not just parents. Punishment for offender varies depending on the likelihood “to produce great bodily harm or death.” With no possibility of either, the offender is charged with a misdemeanor crime. However, with the presence of said risk, it becomes a “wobbler” offense; it may either be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances, and in the prosecutor’s discretion.

Gonzalez has since been released on bail, and does not have a court date set yet. However, penalties against Gonzalez for misdemeanor child endangerment can include:

  • Imprisonment of up to a year in county jail
  • Probation of about four years
  • A fine of $1,000

If charged as a felony, Gonzalezwill have to face more severe penalties. These can involve:

  • Imprisonment of two, four or up to six years in California state prison
  • Probation of at least four years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Because the definition of child endangerment in Penal Code 273a is quite broad, and since no actual injury is required, it is frequently wrongfully charged against innocent people. Some defenses against such accusations include the right to discipline your child, and the lack of grossnegligence – which must show a conscious disregard for human life.

If you or someone you know has been falsely charged with the crime of child endangerment, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Marijuana Honey Oil

On Friday, August 4, 2017, an explosion erupted in a quiet apartment complex in Woodland Hills, California, seriously injuring one person. Residents of the gated community were shocked to find out that their neighbor was using his unit as a marijuana honey oil lab.

Marijuana Honey Oil, which is a derivative of marijuana, extracts THC from the plant (which is the active drug in marijuana). Butane burners are used to extract the THC, which makes this volatile process subject to explosions.

In California, under Prop 64, adults 21 and older are permitted to possess or cultivate concentrated cannabis for recreational use (such as honey oil), as long as it’s 4 grams or less. Anything more than that amount is a crime punished under Health and Safety Code 11358 – Cultivation of Marijuana – and is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail.

Possession with intent to sell is a separate issue. A person can legally sell concentrated cannabis in California if they have a state license. If they do not, selling concentrated cannabis is usually punished as a misdemeanor if convicted, a person can face up to 6 months in county jail and/or a $500 fine.
Possession with intent to sell without a license can be punished as a felony. In the case mentioned above, the offender also used a toxic chemical – butane – to produce the honey oil, and is therefore guilty of chemical extraction of a controlled substance under California Health and Safety Code 11358- Cultivation of Marijuana. If he is convicted, he will likely face:

  • $50,000 fine and
  • State Prison sentence of up to 7 years.

Additionally, Federal Law punishes cultivation, possession with intent to sell, and/or sale of more than 50 pounds of marijuana with:

  • Up to 5 years in Federal Prison and
  • A fine of up to $250,000

Penalties increase with larger amounts of marijuana or previous drug convictions.

If you or someone you know has been charged of illegal possession of, possession with intent to sell, or chemical extraction of marijuana, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo by residents courtesy of LAPD

TideA couple in Southern California has been ordered to pay $1 million in fines for selling counterfeit Tide detergent. Husband and wife Marvin Santiago Caceres and Nancy Flores were charged with 4, 910 violations of the Unfair Competition Law by selling counterfeit Proctor & Gamble laundry detergents and dish soaps that were falsely labeled as popular brands such as Tide, Gain, Downey and Dawn in several cities throughout Southern California. A search warrant was issued to the couples’ home where several buckets of the fake detergent was found.
The injunction that was issued on the couple prohibits the couple from possessing or selling counterfeit goods or being employed by any business in the state of California related to the sale, storage, or possession of detergent and soap.
In California, the penalties for selling counterfeit goods as a misdemeanor can carry these consequences (under typical circumstances):

  • Misdemeanor probation (AKA summary probation)
  • Up to one year in county jail and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000 for individuals and $200,000 for businesses entities.

But, if the number of goods sold exceeds 1,000 or the value of the goods being sold is over $950 (as in this case), the offense becomes a wobbler and the person can be charged with a felony. If charged as a felony, under Penal Code 350, the penalties can include;

  • Felony probation
  • 16 months to 3 years in county jail and/or
  • A fine of up to $500,000 for individuals and $1,000,000 for businesses entities

On top of that, the court will force the offenders for forfeit all of their assets used. This includes of all the counterfeit marks and goods that bear them, any materials or machines used to manufacture or assemble the counterfeit goods, and any vehicles used to transport them.
If you or anyone you know has been charged with violating PC 350, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Amber Alert

A woman has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for triggering a false Amber Alert. Charlene Gaston, a 26 year old from Los Angeles, plead no contest to one misdemeanor count of filing a false police report. According to Gaston, she was held at gunpoint and carjacked on July 6th, 2017, and that her stepson, Eric Coleman, was in the backseat at the time. Kandice Johnson, 31, was identified as the alleged suspect and was arrested the next day in San Bernardino. However, upon further investigation authorities discovered that Gaston had loaned the car to Johnson for a few days and Johnson had not yet returned the car on the agreed upon return date. Johnson had never actually carjacked Gaston and that Coleman was never in the back seat. Authorities believed she claimed her stepson was in the backseat because she thought this would speed up the process of getting her car returned by fabricating a more elaborate story. As a result, an Amber Alert was issued for Coleman whom she claimed had been kidnapped by Johnson.

LAPD Captain Shannon Paulson released this statement: “Those kinds of man-hours and that dedication of resources meant that other victims of true crimes, valid crimes, went without justice, or at least their justice was delayed.”
Interestingly, when Gaston was arrested on July 11, they discovered that she was already wanted for failing to appear in court for a restitution hearing regarding a 2015 conviction for auto theft.
In addition to the jail sentence, Gaston will be required to serve 36 months of probation, and pay a $220 fine.

In California, PC 148.5 makes filing a false police report of a misdemeanor or felony matter if reported to:

  • A police or peace officer
  • A prosecutor
  • A grand jury
  • Or a state and/or local employee assigned to accept reports from citizens

It is only a crime if the person who reported the incident knew it was false. If the person reported the crime in good faith and believed the crime to be true, yet turned out to be mistaken, they have not committed a crime.

The penalties for falsely reporting a crime, if convicted as a misdemeanor, could result in up to six months in the county jail. When determining jail time, a judge will consider the offender’s criminal history, the motive for making the report, and how severe the consequences of the report were.
More specifically, VC 10501 makes it a separate crime to file a false auto theft report, as in Gaston’s case. This is classified as a misdemeanor. However, if this is not a person’s first offense, that crime would be considered a wobbler and may be charged as a felony.

Gaston purposefully reported a false crime- however many people are wrongfully charged with PC 148.5 despite the fact that they reported a crime in good faith. If you or someone you know has been falsely  charged with the crime of filing a false police report, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo Credit: KABC

WHO IS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND WHAT DOES HE DO?

When charged with a crime most people look for any lawyer they can get a hold of. While any lawyer might be able handle such cases, a criminal defense attorney has more chances of winning the case than another lawyer who usually does not practice criminal defense.

A criminal defense attorney is a lawyer whose specialty is to defend an individual, corporate body or company that is charged with a criminal offense. A criminal defense attorney’s job is typically to defend citizens that are charged with misdemeanors and/or felonies. He/she can also discuss a plea bargain with the prosecutor as a way to resolve the case filed.

            While private criminal defense attorneys are mostly hired by individuals, companies and cooperate bodies, they can also be hired by various criminal courts to stand in and defend low-income citizens (indigent citizens.) This is different from a Public Defender, who is a government employee paid to defend those that cannot afford to hire an attorney.

            Criminal defense attorneys are usually well trained and experienced in that area. Aside attending a law school and passing the bar exam, they usually have practiced extensively under another criminal defense attorney who has been in the game for a long time, and have acquired sufficient experience and knowledge from them.

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

            A criminal defense attorney handles issues surrounding a criminal arrest, investigation, prosecution, sentencing, and issues that may arise after court proceedings (post-trial issues).

            Some examples of a situation where a criminal defense attorney is necessary are driving under the influence (DUI) or a drug defense.

            Another important role of a criminal defense attorney is to help his or her client before the prosecuting attorney files charges against them. This is done if you just got arrested or when you believe that investigations are being carried out on you. One should not wait until the government files charges against them to hire a criminal defense attorney.

            A criminal defense attorney will deal with the procedural issues of the crime(s) that are charged against you. He or she will help with representation, will deal with law enforcement agencies and/or other crime investigators, perform personal investigations and present exonerative evidence that nullifies potential charges filed by the prosecutor.

            Finally, an attorney specializing in criminal defense spends more time reviewing all the documents to determine if the criminal case can be victorious constitutionally due to misconduct by the government.  A good criminal defense attorney will dedicate enough time to your case to ensure that the case is won at the end.

 

OJ Simpson

After serving nearly a decade behind bars, OJ Simpson could be released from prison based on the decision of his upcoming parole hearing on July 20, 2017. The 70-year-old former NFL superstar is currently serving 9-33 years in prison at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. If the parole hearing goes his way, Simpson could see freedom as early as October 1st, 2017.
In 2007, Simpson was convicted of armed robbery, first degree kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon involving the holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas Hotel. However, in 2013, Nevada Board of Parole Officers approved Simpson’s parole request, citing the fact that he’s shown “positive institutional behavior”. The parole went into effect in October 2013 and since then Simpson has been serving the minimum term for four concurrent sentences for using a weapon during the 2007 robbery.

These charges are not related to the infamous “trial of the century” case involving the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1995 (on which Simpson was acquitted). Though Simpson had always maintained his innocence, the Brown and Goldman families won a wrongful death civil judgment against him in 1997.

Simpson, who is considered a “model prisoner” is predicted to have a favorable parole hearing and many are expectant of  his release in late 2017.

Concerning the 2007 incident, Simpson has stated, “My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property that was stolen from me.”

Under Nevada law, a person commits robbery (NRS 200.320) if he/she unlawfully takes property from another by force, violence or threats of injury and can receive 2-15 years in Nevada State Prison. The sentence is doubled if a deadly weapon was used [NRS 200.471], as in Simpson’s case. First degree kidnapping (NRS 200.310) occurs when someone willfully seizes, confines, or carries away another person with the intent to either:

• Hold the person for ransom
• Sexual assault, extortion or robbery
• Kill or inflict seriously bodily harm on the person

If Simpson had committed this crime in California, the penalties for first degree armed robbery (PC 211) might include 3-9 years in prison. The consequence for first degree kidnapping (PC 278) would have subjected him to up to 8 years in California State Prison. Also, in California, assault with a deadly weapon [PC 245 (a) (1)] is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the case. The usual sentence for assault with a deadly weapon in California (if charged as a misdemeanor) is 2-4 years in state prison.

According to Simpson’s attorney, the ex- football star has received such a lengthy sentence for the 2007 incident because the Nevada Justice System was using it as a means of “payback” for the Brown/ Goldman murder in 1995.

Surprisingly, one victim of the robbery, Mr. Fromong, stated, “I told the district attorney at the time of his conviction that I thought he only deserved 1-3 years in state prison. O.J.’s done his time. He’s been a model inmate.”

If you or someone you know has been convicted of the following crimes: kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and/or armed robbery, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Julie Jacobson/Getty Images

Shia LaBeouf

Actor Shia LeBeouf spent Saturday, July 8, 2017, in jail in Savannah, Georgia. He was arrested on charges of obstruction, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. LeBeouf and his beard were taken into custody early Saturday morning and released on $7,000 bond.

According to authorities, LeBeouf approached a person asking for a cigarette while a nearby police officer observed. When he was not given the cigarette, he began using profane language and acting disorderly. The officer approached LeBeouf and asked him to leave, to which LeBeouf refused and became aggressive toward the officer. LeBeouf then fled from the officer to a nearby hotel and was later arrested in the hotel lobby.

This is not LeBeouf’s first criminal conviction. The Transformers star was previously arrested in 2015, also for public intoxication, following a DUI arrest in 2008.

Public intoxication refers to a person appearing in a public setting in an intoxicated state and being boisterous, loud, profane, and/or appearing in an indecent condition, or performing an indecent act. In Georgia, this is charged as a misdemeanor, and Shia can face penalties of up to $1,000, one year in jail, or both.
Keep in mind that simply being drunk in public is not a crime. In California, to be charged with the crime of public intoxication, a person must have displayed:

  1. The inability to exercise care for themselves or others
  2. Interference with, obstruction of, or prevention of others from using “public ways” (streets, sidewalks, etc.).

In California, the penalties for Penal Code 647 (f), or public intoxication, can include:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Informal (summary) probation
  • A conviction that will go on your permanent criminal record
  • And/or a fine of up to $1,000

If a person is convicted of PC 647 (f) three or more times within a 12-month period, they will be sentenced to a minimum of 90 days in jail. This penalty can often be suspended by the court and swapped for completion a 60-day alcohol treatment program. As an alternative to criminal charges, police officers may instead take the person to an inebriation treatment facility (aka, the “drunk tank”) where the person can be held for up to 72 hours. This is also known as being held in “civil protective custody.”

A conviction of being drunk in public will go on your permanent criminal record and can greatly hurt your chances of future employment opportunities and advancements. If you or someone you know has been convicted on charges of being intoxicated in public, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Chatham County Sheriff's Office

Conrad Hilton

Hotel heir Conrad Hilton, Paris Hilton’s younger brother, plead not guilty to auto theft on Thursday, June 29th, 2017. The youngest Hilton was also charged with violating a restraining order against an ex-girlfriend when he attempted to take her father’s 2007 Bentley Continental. The 23-year-old was charged in early May with one felony count of driving or taking a vehicle without consent, two misdemeanor counts of violating a restraining order, and one count of contempt of court.
The incident occurred on May 7th, 2017, when police received a disturbance call in the 2300 block of Jupiter Drive. Officers found Hilton in the stolen Bentley before placing him in handcuffs.
This isn’t Hilton’s first encounter with law enforcement. Last June, he was sentenced to two months behind bars for testing positive for drugs, which violated the terms of his probation. The probation sentence was a result of a meltdown that had occurred last year on a British Airways flight from London to Los Angeles, where he was accused of assaulting two flight attendants and yelling that he was going to kill them, while calling passengers, “peasants”. He was restrained and handcuffed for the remainder of the flight. In a separate case, Hilton plead guilty to evading an arrest which led to a sentence of 90 days in sheriff’s custody.
In the present case, Hilton was released from jail on May 10th and taken to a psychiatric treatment center in Texas. He has since then completed treatment and has taken medication that has been “very, very effective,” according to his attorney, Robert Shapiro. Hilton is due back in court in August, alongside co-defendant William James Bell, who was charged with one felony count of driving or taking a vehicle without consent. Bell could face up to 3 years in prison, while Hilton could face up to 4.
California PC 273.6 makes it a crime to violate the terms of a restraining order. The consequences for violation of a restraining order can vary greatly. Still, in most states violation of a restraining order is charged as a misdemeanor with fines that can reach up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail. Often, penalties of a restraining order depend on whether:

  • It was your first violation
  • The victim suffered physical harm

If charged as a felony, a person can spend up to three years in California State Prison for violation of a restraining order (one year in county jail for a misdemeanor charge). Additionally, a person may be responsible for victim restitution- including any counseling or therapy that was reasonably incurred by the victim.
California PC 166 Contempt of Court is a broader law that punishes a person for a variety of conduct that falls under the category of disobeying a judge’s orders or acting inappropriately in court. Generally, a person charged with Contempt of Court will be charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable with up to 6 months in jail and a maximum of up to a $1,000 fine.
In Hilton’s situation, he will face more serious penalties because this was an “aggravated” offense, which simply means that other acts involved have elevated the penalties. The fact that Hilton violated a restraining order in addition to stealing a vehicle means that he will face a higher fine for violating PC 166, up to one year in county jail, and/or a potential state prison sentence.

If you or someone you know has been charged with violation of a restraining order, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: David Buchan/Getty Images

 

 

 

Doppelganger

In May of 1999, Richard Jones was celebrating his girlfriend’s birthday at his home in Kansas City, Missouri. Meanwhile, another man who shared the same first name, Richard Amos, had stolen a woman’s phone outside of a Walmart in a nearby city. As it turns out, not only did the two share the same first name, but they had an uncanny resemblance to one another. Unfortunately, the victim had incorrectly identified Richard Jones as the perpetrator; Richard Amos’ doppelganger. Despite Jones’ truthful testimony that he had been at his home during the time of the robbery, authorities arrested and convicted the wrong Richard.

Throughout his time in prison, inmates had often mentioned to Jones that there was another prisoner who highly resembled him (Richard Amos). The two men’s lawyers decided to consider the case further, and discovered that the Richard Jones was in fact innocent.
On June 14, 2017, Jones’ lawyer presented the case to the Judge in Johnson County. When shown photos of the two men during the hearing, the victim of the robbery, Tamara Scherer, was unable to determine who of the two was the actual offender and stated, “I am no longer certain I identified the right person at the preliminary hearing and trial.” The charges against Jones were consequently dropped. After serving a 17-year sentence, Jones was finally released from prison on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The true criminal, Richard Amos, will not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations for the crime has passed.

Robbery is defined as the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value from someone by force, threat of force, or by inciting fear within that person. Though it varies by state, under California Penal Code Section 211, being convicted of robbery of the first degree can result in a sentence of up to 9 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Imprisonment sentences can be enhanced by up to 25 years or life if the robbery involved serious bodily injury, if multiple people were involved in the crime, and/ or the person used or discharged a firearm.

Being falsely convicted of a crime such as in Jones’ case can effectively ruin a person’s life. He will never get back the time he lost while in prison. Additionally, had Jones been convicted in California, under California Penal Code §4900 he would have been eligible to receive $140 per day of wrongful imprisonment throughout the 17 years in which he served time. Unfortunately for Jones, in the state of Kansas where he was convicted, there is no statute that offers compensation for wrongful conviction.

If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of committing the crime of robbery, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or visit us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Kansas Department of Corrections

San Gabriel ValleyAuthorities have charged 22 suspects who have been accused of operating the elaborate cross-border drug trafficking ring linked to the infamous Sinaloa Cartel (which was previously led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman). It was discovered that the suspects used homes in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California as stash houses to store their illicit merchandise. The homes were in areas including Azusa, Baldwin Park, and El Monte, among others. Following the two-year investigation, authorities uncovered 280 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of heroin, 300 pounds of methamphetamine, and nearly $1.3 million in cash.

The 19 – count indictment is the first high-profile case for the LA Strike Force, a multiagency team including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Homeland Security, the IRS, and the Azusa Police Department. Those who were taken into custody include the lead defendant, Jeuri Limon Elenes of Azusa, his mother, Maria Limon Elenes (accused of acting as a facilitator), Audrey Rose Urrea of Chula Vista, and Froilan Villarreal of El Monte, whose home was used to stash methamphetamine, cocaine, and seven illegal firearms. Of the 22 people charged, 4 have unknown identities and are still at large. They are suspected to be taking refuge in Mexico.

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11379, it is unlawful to sell, transport, import/export, to give away or otherwise distribute controlled substances. Keep in mind that:

  • Transporting, importing, transferring, or selling controlled substances may result in felony sentencing of 3 to 5 years. Transport from one California county to a non-contiguous county can result in an increased sentence of 3 to 9 years of imprisonment.

Under federal law, drug trafficking is prohibited under section 21 U.S.C. § 841. To convict, the federal authorities must prove the following elements of the crime:

  • That you manufactured, distributed, or dispensed a controlled substance, or
  • Possessed a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense
  • You are suspected of trafficking unusually large amounts of a controlled substance and
  • You are suspected of illegal drug distribution across state or national borders, and/or
  • You are suspected of drug dealing in what is known as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Sentencing follows in accordance with the amount of drugs you possessed at the time of the arrest. For instance, if the weight of the substance amounted to at least 50 grams of pure methamphetamine, offenders could face:

  • A minimum of 10 years to life in prison (first offense) and /or up to a $10 million dollar fine
  • A minimum of 20 years to life in prison for a second offense and/ or up to a $20 million dollar fee
  • Life imprisonment without release and/ or a maximum of $20 million dollar fine if you previously had more than two federal drug convictions
  • 20 years to life imprisonment if death or serious bodily harm resulted occurs as a result of the use/distribution of the substance

In addition to this, an undocumented person convicted of drug trafficking will face deportation, revocation of any professional state license (teacher, doctor, nurse, attorney, pharmacist, etc.), registration as a drug offender, and disqualification from receiving any state or federal public benefits. This can include educational grants or scholarships.

There are numerous ways in which the sentence can be extended, for instance:

  • Being convicted within 1,000 feet of a drug rehab center adds an additional year
  •  If you are convicted of selling, transporting or distributing drugs unlawfully across 2 or more counties, a person can be sentenced up to nine years in prison
  • If the amount of methamphetamine possessed is or exceeds 1 kilogram, can add an additional and consecutive 3-15 years in prison
  • If you solicit, hire, encourage, intimidate, or induce a minor to sell or distribute, you can face an additional 9 years in prison

If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of drug trafficking, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or visit us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/ Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Bill Cosby Sexual Assault

On Monday, June 5, 2017, actor and comedian Bill Cosby began trial for allegations of sexual assault. Andrea Constand, who pressed charges more than a year ago, is accusing Cosby of drugging and assaulting her while in his home in 2004. The trial is taking place in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Several other women have accused Cosby of the same offense, though Constand’s case is the only one to have brought criminal charges. Cosby is being charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.

According to Constand, she had confided in Cosby about her job-related anxiety, upon which he offered her three blue pills (quaaludes) that would help “take the edge off”. Within 20-30 minutes after taking the pills, Constand reported she was incoherent and unable to stop Cosby from assaulting her.

Cosby reports that any sexual encounter between the two was consensual and that Constand never said “no”. Constand told her mother a year after he alleged incident, stating that she was too afraid to report it before. Later, Constand sued Cosby, alongside 13 “Jane Does” that also accused Cosby of sexual assault. The case was later settled for an undisclosed amount.

Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden cited Cosby’s past testimony where he admitted to drugging and having sexual contact with Constand. Yet Cosby’s defense lawyer Brian McGonagle says that Constand’s account to the police is inconsistent. If Cosby is found guilty, the 72-year-old will spend 10 years in prison.

In Pennsylvania, aggravated indecent assault is defined as engaging in penetration against the victim under one or more of these circumstances:

  • The alleged victim does not consent
  • Assault is committed by force or threat of forces
  • The victim is unconscious
  • The victim is significantly impaired, by alcohol or drugs
  • The victim suffers from a mental disability which makes them incapable of consent
  •  The person is under 13 years old
  • The person is under 16 years old and the assaulter is more than four years older.

In California, this would be classified as sexual assault, or sexual battery. Sexual battery, pursuant to California Penal Code Section 242, is the unlawful application of force against another person that results in harmful or offensive contact. More specifically, sexual assault occurs when a person touches the intimate part of another person without that person’s consent or against their will.  It is a lesser included offense in “rape,” because intercourse with someone without their consent includes the act of battery. Sexual assault can occur in many different scenarios, for instance:

  • During a medical examination, where the victim has been led to believe the actions of assault are part of the procedure
  • While the victim is medically incapacitated or disabled to where they cannot give consent
  • By unlawfully restraining the victim

California law makes this offense punishable by state imprisonment for up to 4 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of sexual assault, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or visit us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/ Bundy Station. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo / WireImage 
Illegal Immigrant
Photo: John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune

Jose Luis Cota, a former Customs and Border Protection officer, was convicted of three counts of alien smuggling across the border in exchange for money and sexual favors. He admitted to bringing in at least ten people at a price of $15,000 each. According to officials, he was a part of an operation of a small group of smugglers (including husband and wife Miriam Juarez Herrera and Gilberto Aguilar Martinez) who regularly took bribes from non-citizens to illegally enter the country.

As a result, U.S. district Judge Jeffery Miller sentenced Officer Cota to 5 years in prison. Cota was also ordered to hand over 2 cars and over $63,000 in cash that were gained from the operation. Cota has worked as a Border Protection officer for over 15 years and is among the several hundred officers who have participated in the smuggling of illegal immigrants across the U.S.- Mexican border. In fact, it is reported that since 2004 over 200 U.S. officers and agents have been arrested on similar corruption charges.

The operation reportedly began in late 2015, involving Officer Cota, Juarez, and Aguilar. Juarez’s role was to smuggle immigrants into her car, while Cota would wave them through. Aguilar would handle transportation matters for the immigrants after they crossed the border. Cota would also trade sexual favors with Juarez in addition to the monetary gains he received for the operation. Apparently, Cota had also been keeping account of the payments in a ledger, including the payment amounts and the dates they were received. The former officer and U.S. army veteran had a clean record prior – this event being his first offense.

Federal Law makes it a crime to smuggle non-citizens across the United States border. Under section 1324 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, it is illegal for a person who knowingly or in reckless disregard of the fact that the person lacks prior official authorization to enter or live in the U.S., to bring or attempt to bring that person into the country. Even if you didn’t receive any financial incentive to smuggle the person, you will still be convicted with a crime if found guilty. The penalties for this offense vary. Penalties under section 1324 can include:

  • a fine under Title 18 of the U.S. Code
  • a prison sentence that can last up to ten years, or
  • a combination of the two.

The punishment is elevated based on the number of people smuggled. Also, if a person is injured as a result of the crime, the smuggler can be sentenced up to 20 years in prison, whereas if someone dies as a result of the crime, the person can receive a life sentence.

Of course, repeat offenders will receive a harsher punishment. If it is the person’s third offense (or more) the sentence is increased and will range from 5-15 years. The person may also be ordered to forfeit the vehicle used to execute the crime, as well as any gains (whether it be monetary or in the form of possessions) that were a result of accomplishing the crime.  

If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of alien smuggling, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or visit us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/ Bundy Station. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

At 1:08 AM the morning of May 15, 2017, California Highway Patrol Officers chased a motorcyclist speeding in excess of 100 mph on the 210 Freeway. The chase began near Allen Avenue in Pasadena. Officer Elizabeth Kravig recounts that the pursuit continued westbound through La Canada-Flintridge, Montrose, Glendale, and Lakeview Terrace. The motorcyclist finally exited in Sylmar off Maclay Avenue, where the suspect took to escaping on foot from Highway Patrol Officers. The chase lasted about 25 minutes as the suspect was eventually arrested at approximately 1:30 AM, after he fell down a hill.

California Vehicle Code 2800.1 states that you can be charged with the crime of evading a police officer if you willfully attempted to flee from the officer while they were in pursuit of your vehicle. To be charged with this crime, the prosecutor must prove that the suspect:

  1. Intended to evade that specific officer
  2. The officer’s vehicle was displaying at least one lighted red lamp so that the person can see it (or should have seen it)
  3. The officer’s vehicle was sounding the appropriate siren
  4. The officer’s vehicle was being driven by a peace officer wearing the appropriate uniform

This is a specific intent crime, meaning the prosecutor has to prove that you willingly fled from the specific officer in pursuit of you. That being said, if it was not clear that your intent was to flee from the officer, the prosecutor will not be able to charge you with this crime.

However, if a person is charged with California Vehicle Code 2800.1, they will be charged with a misdemeanor and can suffer the following consequences:

  • Misdemeanor summary probation (alternative to jail; sentence is spent under the supervision of court )
  • Up to a year in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000 and/or
  • Vehicle with which you used to evade the officer is impounded for up to 30 days

Additionally, a person can receive demerit points on their driving record that can go as high as 24 points. If a person gets a certain amount of points within a short enough time period, this can result in the revocation of their driver license.

If you or someone you know has been charged of the crime of evading a police officer, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or visit us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/ Bundy Station. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Video by: KTLA 5 NEWS
ASAP Rocky
Photographer: Daniel Jackson

Rapper A$AP Rocky (Rakim Mayers) was robbed the night of Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at approximately 11:30 PM. The robbery took place at the celebrity’s Beverly Grove home. Authorities reported that at least $1.5 million in jewelry was stolen and at least one of the robbers was armed. Though Mayers was not home at the time, ASAP Rocky’s sister was present in the home and was held at gunpoint after exiting the home to confront the robbers. She was forced back inside as the suspects made their escape.

The suspects attempted to carry out a safe, but ended up leaving it on the sidewalk near the home. The sister was not injured during the time of the incident.

Several other celebrities have dealt with home invasions in Los Angeles recently, including rapper Nicki Minaj, singer Alanis Morissette, LA Laker Nick Young, actress Emmy Rossum, and A$AP Rocky’s current girlfriend, model Kendall Jenner.

California Robbery Law, PC 211 is defined as taking personal property from someone while they are present or from someone else’s immediate presence, against the person’s will and with the use of force or fear. In California, this is always charged as a felony.

The penalties of robbery are quite serious and are categorized as either first, second, or third degree. A person can be convicted of robbery of the first degree if:

  • Robbery occurs against any driver or passenger on a bus, taxi, subway, etc.,
  • It takes place in an inhabited structure
  • It occurs to a person who has just used the ATM and is still in the vicinity of the ATM.
  • Suspect threatens to use a deadly weapon
  • A victim or someone else involved in the crime is seriously injured

If caught, the suspects will be convicted of armed robbery of the first degree. In California, first degree armed robbery can carry two different sentences: If the robbery was committed with more than one person and at a home or inhabited building the suspect can be sentenced to 3-9 years in state prison. More specifically, 10-20 years will be added for firing the gun during the robbery, and 25 years to life will be assigned if you cause a person great bodily harm or death with the firearm. Otherwise, the sentence will range anywhere from 3-6 years.

If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of robbery, contact us 24 hours a day at (310) 448-1529 or visit us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/ Bundy Station. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Vehicular Manslaughter DUIGeorgia Firefighter, Ron Herens, was killed on May 1, 2017, and his two companions were hurt while on vacation in Los Angeles.  Suspect Benjamin Seider was driving while under the influence of alcohol when he ran a red light at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Ocean Avenue in Venice, crashing into Herens’ vehicle. The force propelled Herens from the car and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two passengers in Herens’ vehicle suffered serious injuries.

Benjamin Seider has since been charged with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter including driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving while intoxicated and causing injury, and driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol content and causing injury.

California Penal Code 191.5 (b) states that the crime of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated occurs when:

  • A person is driving while intoxicated and engages in some additional negligent behavior while driving, and
  • As a result, another person is killed. If charged as a felony, a person who is convicted can face up to 4 years in prison, along with suspension of their driver’s license. The additional negligent behavior does not need to be inherently dangerous, just dangerous under the circumstances, or ordinary negligence. Ordinary negligence means that you did not use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to someone else.
  • In California Vehicle Code (“VC”) 23153 is defined as driving while intoxicated and injuring another person. In order to be convicted of violating VC 23153, the prosecutor must prove that:
  • You were driving under the influence,
  • You violated another law or drove negligently, and
  • Your unlawful act or negligence caused injury to another person.

This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Because Seider is charged with a felony he could face up to 4 years in prison, with an added sentence of up to 6 years if any victims suffered serious bodily injuries (and an additional 1 year sentence for each person that suffers any injury). He could also be charged up to $5,000 in fines, 18 or 30 months of a court approved DUI class, Habitual Traffic Offender status for three years, and a 5 year revocation of his license. Seider may also end up with “strike” on his record if anybody other than himself suffered serious bodily injury.

In California, VC 23152 (b) makes it illegal for a person to drive with a blood alcohol content over 0.08% by weight. In order to convict someone of this crime, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • The suspect’s BAC was at 0.08% or higher and
  • He/She drove a vehicle at the time they were intoxicated

Seider is facing some serious charges and if he is convicted of all charges, he could face more than 12 years in State prison. If you have been charged with a DUI and/or Vehicular Manslaughter you can contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online for a consultation. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

ProstitutionCrystal D. Hotlosz, 36, was accused of prostitution and arrested for advertising her services on Backpage.com. According to a Beaver Township Police Department  report Crystal told an undercover police officer she would provide a sex act for $60 and nachos.

Beaver Township police said the suspect met the officer in a Los Gallos Mexican Restaurant parking lot in the area on November 14, 2016. After telling the officer what she was willing to do, she asked for the money and nachos.

It was also reported that Crystal was apparently very adamant about getting the nachos, asking the officer at least four times for them. She was arrested on suspicion of solicitation and taken to the Mahoning County Jail for booking. A man who had driven Crystal to the parking lot of Los Gallos Mexican Restaurant was also taken into custody.

If you have been charged with solicitation and/or prostitution you can contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online for a consultation. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo Credit: Beaver Township Police

Brad PittOn September 22, 2016, it was reported by TMZ.com that Brad Pitt is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS“) for child abuse. TMZ revealed that Brad Pitt allegedly “got wasted” on a private plane and “went wild, screaming and getting physical with the kids.” Witnesses claimed once the plane landed at an unknown airport around 8 p.m.,  Brad Pitt “continued his rant on the tarmac.” Sourced indicate that an anonymous person reported the incident DCFS.

TMZ went on to say that a source close to Brad Pitt stated, “He takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children,” adding, “It’s unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light.”

The LAPD or the FBI are not involved in the investigation at this time. However, if DCFS concludes criminal charges need to be filed law enforcement may become involved. Pitt may face charges of child abuse and it could have an affect on the outcome of the “Brangelina” divorce case. Specially when it comes to the child custody and visitation.

If you have been charged with crime and would like to know what is going to happen next download a Free copy of our book. You may also contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online for a consultation. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Hypnotizing Women Sexual Pleasure

On September 12, 2016, Ohio lawyer Michael W. Fine pleaded guilty to hypnotizing six women with the intent of getting sexual gratification from them. He has agreed to permanent disbarment last year from the Ohio State Bar. Per the plea deal Fine will be sentenced to 12 years in State Prison.

One of Fine’s legal clients became suspicious of lost time she had experienced and because “she was wet in her vaginal area, that her bra was disheveled” after she left Fine’s office or had conversations with him. The woman approached the Sheffield police department, who initially suggested she find another attorney. Instead the woman recorded her dealings with Fine, including when he placed her in a hypnotic trance.

Per an emergency suspension motion filed by the Lorain County Bar Association, Fine told the client that she would have the “most massive, most incredible, most powerful whole body orgasm in your entire life,” that she was “being made love to by the world’s greatest lover” and not to cancel her next meeting with him.

The female client went back to the police with the recording. She agreed to wear audio and video recording device for her next meeting with Fine. After he hypnotized her again, police raided Fine’s office, that led to Fine’s arrest.

A second woman, who was Fine’s client in a dissolution proceeding, reported a similar experience with him. A family law judge also believes that she may have been one of Fine’s victims.

If you have been charged with crime and would like to know what is going to happen next download a Free copy of our book. You may also contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online for a consultation. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo Credit: Steven ManHeim/Chronicle

Commonly modern technology, such as a Breathalyzer or obtaining a blood sample from the accused, are used to calculate BAC. The purpose of this article is to help the reader understand how to calculate blood alcohol content using only a BAC Table. BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content and refers to the amount of alcohol within one’s bloodstream. BAC is measured by the amount of grams of alcohol, in 100 grams of blood. Anything over 8 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood, is considered legally intoxicated.

Without taking a blood or a breath sample, it’s very difficult to calculate Blood Alcohol Content. Hence, only a best estimates guesses can take place. That’s why police officers who suspect one be under the influence, will use a breathalyzer you to get a valid sample. Without a valid sample, it’s left up to guessing. Calculating BAC is also difficult because there is many variables involved. Some of the most common variables include gender, health issues, medications and weight. The larger a person is the larger their bloodstream is.

As most people know, males can “outdrink” their female counterparts. This is because males are generally larger, but they have more dehydrogenase – the enzyme required to break down alcohol. Another reason is because of blood volume, the larger the blood volume the more diluted alcohol is. So if you are going shot for shot with someone of the opposite sex, in most cases it is a bad idea. Not only are drinking games a bad idea as they result in higher BAC values, but they might lead to a DUI charge.

A DUI is not only dangerous for all of those involved, but also very expensive. The cost of a DUI Lawyer alone is a few thousand dollars, that doesn’t include court fines or fees. Do the math and get yourself aboard the BAC awareness training. If you don’t you are looking at not just risking legal issues, but behavioral and health issues too. Most people think just by having a few drinks they are safe to drive, the math would tell you differently. Don’t leave your BAC up to chance, educate yourself about alcohol and sober up before getting behind the wheel.

This guest post was written by Curtis Boyd, for the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi

Lamar OdomOn October 13, 2015, former NBA player Lamar Odom, was rushed to a medical facility after being found unresponsive at a brothel in Nevada. It was reported that Odom had taken as many as 10 sexual-performance supplement pills and cocaine.

At a press conference, Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said two employees of the ranch confirmed Lamar Odom’s cocaine usage on Saturday, October 11, but were unsure if it had continued throughout the weekend.

Police said the sexual-performance supplements ingested by Lamar Odom were legal and were obtained from the ranch. Dennis Hof, the owner of the Love Ranch, claimed that the brothel did not offer supplements to its visitors.

Sheriff Wehrly said it was “distinctly possible” that Lamar Odom could face charges of drug possession pending the results of the investigation. She stated that the actions of Love Ranch employees would also be looked into.

The law regarding possession of drugs in Nevada is as follows:

“A person shall not knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a prescription …” (NRS 453.336)

Since cocaine is illegal and can not be prescribed by a doctor, possession of it is a crime. Clearly Lamar Odom had cocaine at one point. This can be proven by the fact that it was found in his system. However, is that enough evidence for Odom to be charged with a crime? Only time will tell.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with drug possession or any other crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo Credit: Splash News

Loredana NesciReality TV star Loredana Nesci was found dead in her Redondo Beach, California home on July 22, 2015. She was known as the cop turned lawyer on SundanceTV’s Loredana, Esq. It is alleged that the 47 year old star had an argument with her boyfriend Robert Reagan the night before. At 7:20am on the 22nd the police received an anonymous call stating that something bad happened and that the police need to come to the house immediately. The caller was later identified as Robert Reagan.

Although the autopsy results were not available, forensics evidence pointed to the fact that Loredana Nesci died from stab wounds. Loredana Nesci and Robert Reagan’s son was not at the home when the incident happened.

Nesci was born in Connecticut and joined the LAPD in 1996. Nesci rose to fame with the March 2014,  debut of the show Loredana, Esq. The show aired for six episodes, and it followed the ventures of the former LAPD officer as she tried to navigate the criminal justice system and find the answers to numerous burning questions that people had. Aside from being a legal crusader, she also cultivated a law practice that focused on defending regular people, especially those people that made bad choices and which still were able to find a better path in life.

According to some of the neighbors, the couple did argue often. No one knows what happened on that particular night, but one thing is certain, the beloved reality star passed away in a brutal manner, and many things point towards her boyfriend as being the responsible party.

A few days after the incident, Robert Reagan was charged with murder. It is alleged that he stabbed Nesci multiple times until the reality star passed away.

Based on a press release from the Los Angeles Countey District Attorney’s office, Robert Reagan faces one count of murder with a knife-use allegation. He is being held on more than $1 million bail and he is facing a punishment of 26 years to life in state prison if convicted of murdering Lordana Nesci. His attorney has stated that Mr. Reagen acted in self-defense.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with murder or any other crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

(Photo: The Legal Diva/Sundance)

Bill CosbyBill Cosby, a captivating and hilarious TV icon, has been one of the most distinguished and well known television icons in recent history. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented Bill Cosby with the Presidential Medial of Freedom for his depiction of African Americans on national television and his renowned dedication to education.

However, things have changed rapidly for Bill Cosby. In light of sexual assault and rape allegations, his career has been quickly damaged most likely beyond repair. By July 11, 2015, a petition to revoke his Presidential Medal of Freedom had already garnered the support of more than 5,500 people. So, what are the ins and outs of this case? And how are they damaging his career?

Cosby’s first recorded allegation was made by Andrea Constand, who saw Cosby as a mentor from when she was on Temple’s women’s basketball team and he was on the track and field team. In 2004, Constand went to visit Cosby to discuss her career, when he presented her with “herbal” pills that according to him, would ease anxiety. He then proceeded to touch her inappropriately, groping her breasts and groin regions.

Andrea Constand was just the first of many more to come forward. A total of thirty six women, ranging from young aspiring actresses, cafe waitresses to old friends, have publicly accused Bill Cosby of inappropriate sexual behavior and assault. Many recall being handed a glass of wine or a drink or pills that would supposedly help with any problems ranging from menstrual cramps to anxiety. After going blurry, they recall waking up completely naked or wearing cloth that was not their own with Cosby lying next to them or standing over them in a robe. Sometimes, Bill Cosby had disappred, and there was money lying on the table. The immense likeness of the stories is astounding and disturbing.

On July 6, 2015, some of Bill Cosby’s deposition documents from the 2005 lawsuit brought by Constand were released. In his testimony Cosby confirms that after giving Constand quaaludes, he engaged in sexual relations with her. However, Cosby dodges the question whether drugs were given to Constand with or without her knowledge. Additionally, Billy Cosby admitted to offering or providing money to accusers in order to be used for their “education”.

The sheer numbers of women stepping forward with detailed accounts of sexual assault by the renowned TV star is astounding. Most of the alleged events took place long ago and the statute of limitations has passed. However, every allegation contributes to the fast and steady demise of Cosby’s legacy. Recent headlines have motivated many institutions with artwork or memorabilia honoring the famous star to consider removing or actually removing them. Recently Disney removed Cosby’s Statue from their Disney World park and there is strong support from civil rights activists to remove his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Desira CrittendenCSUN student Desira Crittenden was killed in a car accident allegedly caused by a driver under the influence. The vehicle she was in was struck while going through an intersection in Northridge, California. The driver of the other vehicle was hospitalized in stable condition and arrested for suspicion of DUI.

A total of five people — three females and two males — were initially said to be injured, some critically, according to a desk officer with LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division. Desiree Crittenden was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

Friends of Desira Crittenden left a memorial of flowers and candles at the crash site, while others left heartfelt messages on her Facebook page. Those who knew her described Crittenden as a kind-hearted, intelligent and beautiful woman who had a bright future ahead of her. 

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with a DUI or any other crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

John StamosOn June 12, 2015, the actor John Stamos was stopped by police and was later transported to the hospital for an unspecified condition according to the LA Times. There were multiple calls made to the police about a possible intoxicated driver in the area around Beverly Hill city hall. When the police pulled Mr. John Stamos over it was believed that he was having a medical problem so he was transported to Cedars Sinai by members of the fire department. While there the police determined that John Stamos was intoxicated. The 51 year old actor was on social media the next day thanking all for their efforts.

This case could be more than an embarrassment for the former star of the popular show Full House. He will certainty need the help of an experienced attorney to help him in his defense. A DUI can carry with it a number of punishments besides losing one’s license. If one has prior convictions for a DUI it could possibly lead to a jail sentence. Increased insurance charges can be added to the fines and other expenses that this charge will bring.

In the state of California a DUI is a serious charge because many people have been hurt in the past and quite a few fatal accidents are the result of driving under the influence. If you have been arrested in California for a DUI you will need an experienced defense attorney to make the best argument for your side of the story. A person should not go it alone even if they feel they can’t fight the charge.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with a DUI or any other crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Actor John Stamos attends the 2015 FOX programming presentation at Wollman Rink in Central Park on May 11, 2015 in New York City. (Jemal Countess / Getty Images)

ArsonThe man arrested for the arson of the unfinished Da Vinci apartments in Los Angeles was denied a reduction in bail. Judge Upinder Kalra ruled in favor of the prosecution, who argued against the reduction on June 11, 2015. The suspect, Dawud Abdulwali, is said to have traveled out of the country a number of times and the prosecutors argued this meant he was a flight risk. His attorney volunteered to turn in his passport but ultimately his request to have the bail decreased was denied.

Mr. Abdulwali’s attorney believes the arson case is based on circumstantial evidence alone. The police have some surveillance tapes showing a man getting out of a taxi on two different occasions slipping into the building and then returning to the cab. There are flames flickering in the second tape they reviewed. However, Abdulwali has no connection to the Da Vinci apartments at all.

The suspect did have a taxi registered in his name at the time of the arson. The city, however, has no record of him having a taxi driver license. The price for the arson could go as high as $ 10 million and fortunately no one was injured. The man charged had no financial stake in the building which may or may not help his defense attorney. However, the prosecutors seem confident about their camera footage evidence.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with arson or any other crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

TemeculaRyan Jawad, has been accused of the murder of his friend Gage Seal in Temecula. The police found the victim and the accused at a motel after the shooting.  Jawad has had problems with the law in the past and will be tried as an adult. He is also a suspect in a number of burglaries in his neighborhood but the investigation is still pending. Jawed was previously arrested for possession of a stolen revolver. However, there is currently no weapons charge connected to the current charge.

If convicted Jawad could spend the rest of his life in prison. The checkered past he brings to trial may be inadmissible because he was a minor when those incidents happened. Jawad’s father said his son and Seal were very good friends and would often stay at each other’s homes. The motive for the shooting has not been determined yet.

His California defense attorney will do more than that to best serve his client’s interest. This is a heartbreaking case for both families involved, one young man is dead and the other is facing a life changing prison sentence. All possible strategies will be employed by his defense council to prevent a long incarceration.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with murder or any other  crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Picture: KCAL

Mila KunisStuart Lynn Dunn, who was placed in a mental health facility after being convicted of stalking actress Mila Kunis,  was recaptured four days after escaping from the facility. Dunn was found by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s department Major Crimes division, who had advised Ms. Kunis about the escape. Dunn escaped from the Pomona facility while supposedly taking a shower. When he took too long a caretaker investigated and noticed that Dunn had gone through a small bathroom window.

Dunn was originally  arrested in 2013, after being in the parking lot of a gym Mila Kunis attended three days in a row. He later broke into a condo that Mila Kunis owned and as a result pled guilty to one count of unauthorized entry. He was ordered to stay away from Mila Kunis for three years.  Dunn was found in an area known to be frequented by the homeless. When officers from Santa Monica stopped him the men from the sheriff’s department saw him with the police and walked up and asked him who he was. Dunn gave a fake name but his true identity was discovered anyway.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with stalking or any other serious crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Henry SolisAccording to the L.A. Times, a former Los Angeles police officer who had fled the United States was found in Mexico and  transported back to face murder charges. Henry Solis had relatives in Mexico where he had been staying. Solis was fired by the LAPD when he was named a person of interest in the shooting death of Salome Rodriguez, Jr. Solis was off duty at the time of the crime and did not show up for work the next day. His car was found abandoned near the scene. The police in Pomona had been circulating a flier with a photo and information about the car while canvassing for any witnesses.

Henry Solis was arrested by Mexican authorities in Juarez and deported to Texas. California officials have extradited him and he will be charged with the murder of Salome Rodriguez, Jr. The confrontation with the victim happened in a bar where the two men fought. Solis chased after the man and allegedly shot him multiple times. Solis will also be facing other charges for leaving the scene and trying to avoid capture. His father Victor Solis was charged in Federal court in Texas for his role in helping Henry escape to Juarez. The father had told authorities he dropped Henry Solis off at a bus stop but video shows him entering Mexico with his son.

The case will be a high profile one due to the accused having been a police officer. Solis will be in need of an experienced Defense Attorney to handle his case. If the allegations are found to be true his defense counsel and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs will have to arrange for special custody arraignments due to the fact that Solis is an ex-police officer.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with murder or any other serious crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office

San BernardinoThe L.A. Times reported that a San Bernardino man, who had been beaten  by Sheriff’s Deputies after a horse pursuit, has been charged with multiple crimes. Mr. Francis Pusock had received $650,000 from the county of San Bernardino a week after the beating, which was caught on film by a news helicopter. The dollar amount was a result of a settlement and to prevent any further action against the county connected as a result of the beating. The District Attorney alleges Pusock was on a horse which was stolen. He has been released on $100,000 bail.

Pusock was pursued by deputies after fleeing the scene in an attempt to serve a search warrant. He allegedly stole three different vehicles, the horse beside escaping from the police. He is being charged with resisting arrest, evading a police officer, receiving stolen property, reckless driving, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. The arresting officers are on administrative leave while their behavior during the arrest is looked into by the D.A.’s office and the F.B.I., who have are now involved to see f there were any civil rights violation investigation.

An attorney for the defense will have a lot of charges to handle and an experienced California defense attorney will be necessary for this man’s court appearance. The list of crimes, though not violent, is still difficult to answer for – especially the vehicle thefts and reckless driving which could have put people in danger. An experience attorney can sift through the evidence and determine how much is relevant and able to be proven. This would give the accused the best possible chance of reducing any sentence he may have to perform if convicted.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with a serious crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: In this frame from video provided by KNBC-TV, deputies appear to beat and kick Francis Pusok. (KNBC-TV / Associated Press)

Bomb ThreatOn May 20th a woman was detained on the steps of a Federal Building after telling authorities she had a bomb and triggering device. The LAPD dispatched the bomb squad and the SAWT team and a standoff ensued. A robot was dispatched to the scene and was used to deliver a phone to her but she was seen pointing and yelling at the police and pushed the phone away. The building contains a number of offices for a few federal agencies including Immigration, Homeland Security, and the IRS. The building and surrounding area were evacuated. The standoff started around 11:00 AM and ended about 2:00 PM.

The police eventually had to use force in the form of a beanbag shotgun. The woman was found to have no bomb or any other explosive device and was taken away in an ambulance. There were no details about what if anything she had been agitated about. It seems she will be facing numerous State and Federal charges and the threat to a building housing an office for Homeland Security could possibly be highlighted by authorities. There has been an increase in false claims by people made to police to get a SAWT team sent to a crime supposed crime scene. However, this does not appear to be an example of what has become known as “Swatting”. Early evidence seems to point to a mental issue of some type. Still this woman will be facing serious criminal charges and she will need an attorney to assist her.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with a serious crime, such as making a bomb threat, and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Picture: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Ray McDonaldRay McDonald, who was released in December of 2014 by the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested again for violating a restraining order. The former NFL Defensive player signed a free agent contract in March with the Chicago Bears. He was arrested in May for domestic violence and child endangerment. This led to McDonald’s release by the Bears who had been hopeful he could avoid the problems he experienced with the law while a member of the 49ers.

The lineman is currently being investigated for a possible sexual assault charge which took place this past December. He has said he will sue his accuser for defamation. The Bears had made McDonald aware that this kind of problem would not be acceptable and cut ties with him because he couldn’t handle the standard they had asked him to comply with. The Team had already taken criticism for the signing McDonald, but had made comments about giving people second chances to prove themselves.

With the many allegations and charges this man will be in need of a California Defense Attorney that will be able to make the best case for his actions. It seems like a very difficult battle and Mr. McDonald will need experienced legal help to handle these complex issues. It appears that there are problems that would make some type of counseling by court order part of any plea negotiation. An experienced attorney can make this a priority as well as being sure that all the facts are in before this man’s past problems lead to an unfair rush to judgement.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with Domestic Violence or any other crime  and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

DUI CheckpointThe Memorial Day weekend has seen a rise in fatal accidents in years past so the Highway Patrol was very vigilant in seat belt usage this past weekend. There was an increase in DUI checkpoints as well. The use of checkpoints for DUI is to make citizens more aware of the problems caused by driving under the influence. These checkpoints do have a certain protocol that must be followed to make sure safety of the state’s motorists is maintained.

Since there usually should be a probable cause for a police officer pulling one over, this protocol must be strictly followed in order to be permissible by California and federal law. The supervising officers must be making all procedural decisions; the checkpoint must be reasonably located and observe safety precautions. Roadblocks for this purpose should be advertised in advance and stopping time for motorists should be kept a minimum of time and the time spent going through the checkpoint should show good judgement by the officers.

The seat belt awareness  could  lead to some people being stopped who are returning from a party and could lead to a possible DUI arrest. Not wearing a seatbelt would satisfy the probable cause a police officer needs to stop a driver. With checkpoints and watching for seat belt usage last Memorial Day weekend we may see a higher number of people than usual facing DUI charges.

If you have been stopped recently at a DUI checkpoint and arrested you will be best served by consulting with a California defense attorney. They know all the procedures that should have been followed during the stop that caused this charge in the first place. Other police activity after your arrest may have not properly followed and this can be used by your attorney in your defense to have the charge reduced or removed from your record.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with a DUI or any other crime as a result of a DUI Checkpoint stop and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Road RageOn May 9, 2015, CBS Los Angeles reported of a fatal accident involving a white Mercedes sedan and an Audi SUV in Beverly Hills. The two vehicles collided at Olympic Boulevard and Swall Drive around midnight and a passenger in the Mercedes was killed. No other serious injuries were reported but the other passengers did go to the hospital. The police are investigating why the Mercedes was traveling at such a high rate of speed in a residential neighborhood.

A witness was said to have told police that the Mercedes had been involved in a confrontation with a taxi cab earlier and had left the scene franticly. This is why there have been some mentions of the accident being related to road rage. Drugs and/or alcohol may have been a possible cause according to the police but no further comments were available and toxicology results take some time. The woman who died in the crash was a passenger and it is reported she was not wearing her seat belt.

When the case gets concluded there can be a lot of problems for the driver of the Mercedes. The high rate of speed, the possibility of road rage, and the potential charge of a DUI will be a lot to answer for. The death of the passenger may lead to a charge of involuntary manslaughter or some other serious offense. The person or persons responsible will need to consult with a California Defense attorney that has experience defending people facing multiple charges. This is the only way for the driver to get ahead of the state and offers the best chance at a minimum punishment if they are charged.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with road rage or any other crime and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Twitter user KTLA (‏@KTLA)

robberyAccording to a May 13, 2015, CBS local news Los Angeles report local police announced that a suspect has been arrested for a crime committed in Manhattan Beach in November of 2014. A second suspect is still at large and is believed to be connected to another home invasion robbery in Los Angeles.

The two men were connected to the crime committed in November by DNA evidence. It is alleged that the suspect was one of four men who entered the Manhattan Beach home and waited for the occupants to return. Once the occupants came back they were tied up and made to open a safe which had money and guns in it. The suspects have been charged with numerous crimes including burglary, robbery and false imprisonment.

The second suspect who remains at large might be better off turning himself in due to the seriousness of the charges. With his accomplice already in custody chances of continuing to elude the police are slim. These types of crimes are never taken lightly by the authorities especially when weapons are part of the stolen property, making it a serious public safety issue.

Anyone that is involved in a serious crime like this or a misdemeanor should consult with a California defense attorney to see exactly what options are available. For instance the man in custody may be offered a plea deal for information on other crimes committed. Whether innocent or guilty a defendant only has his/her word and the help of a Defense attorney when charged with a crime. The man on the run, suspected of a second break in, may be innocent of that charge and it will be hard to prove this without an experienced attorney as an ally.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we provide clients with passionate and experienced representation. If you have been charged with robbery and would like to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us by phone at (310) 894-8548 or contact us online. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in West Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

Photo: Manhattan Beach PD