January 15, 2013

Comedian Katt Williams Arrested after Failing to Appear in Court

Comedian and actor Katt Williams has followed up his recent spate of arrests by not appearing in court for an incident involving a police chase. On November 25, 2012 Williams led police on a chase through Sacramento while riding a three-wheeled motorcycle on the wrong side of the road. He was arrested on December 8, 2012 for that incident but was released after posting bail.

He was arrested again on December 28, 2012 for child endangerment after police found large quantities of illegal drugs and weapons in his home. All of his four children were taken away. According to a news report in The International Business Times, Williams was arrested the night of January 8, 2013 at his Los Angeles home for failing to appear in court in connection with the Sacramento incident. He is being held on $105,000 bail.

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December 4, 2012

Nearly 300 California Teachers remain in LAUSD Teacher Jail

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is currently enforcing a zero-tolerance policy regarding misconduct. According to a news report in The Huffington Post, this policy involves the creation of "teacher jail," in which teachers are reassigned to office or administrative duty until their investigation concludes.

Officials say there are nearly 300 teachers who are currently collecting pay but are not being allowed to actually teach because of pending investigations. Many of these teachers were reportedly involved in alleged incidents as minor as tapping a student's stomach or grabbing a student's arm.

It is important to protect our children from dangerous sexual predators, but many have said that the current crackdown in LAUSD is nothing more than an unreasonable witch-hunt. It is not clear how many of the teachers who are currently not allowed to teach will face actual criminal charges.

The LAUSD's actions were in response to two serious incidents that occurred this year. The first arrest involved a Miramonte Elementary School teacher who was accused of sexual misconduct against 23 students. Those allegations resulted in the removal of the entire school staff. A more recent incident involved a teacher at Telfair Elementary School who was arrested and sentenced to jail for molesting students.

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July 30, 2012

Lawsuit Filed Against L.A. County Law Enforcers for Withholding Evidence, Misconduct Complaints

Los Angeles Law Enforcement LawsuitAccording to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, a lawsuit filed by legal scholars and civil rights attorneys alleges that Los Angeles County prosecutors and Sheriff’s officials have concealed both complaints about law enforcement misconduct and important evidence from defendants in criminal cases. The lawsuit cites several specific cases in which authorities purportedly failed to disclose information about misconduct complaints “filed by inmates against deputies who were to be witnesses in criminal cases,” and alleges that similar evidence may have been kept hidden in potentially thousands of cases.

In addition to the lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California submitted a state bar complaint against the county district attorney calling for a civil grand jury investigation. The complaint also calls for an independent counsel to review cases that have resulted in convictions since “controversial policies” have been enacted. The lawsuit claims to go to the heart of the legal duty prosecutors have to ensure defendants receive a fair trial by disclosing information that is beneficial to the defense.

The district attorney’s office and the Sheriff’s Department have denied the allegations, stating that the lawsuit mischaracterizes how they decide what evidence is turned over. The Los Angeles County District Attorney claimed in an official statement that the lawsuit is an obvious “attempt to mislead the public and the court,” adding that he is confident that the policies of the office comply with the highest constitutional and legal standards.

The Culver City criminal defense lawyers of Takakjian & Sitkoff have extensive experience defending individuals from a variety of charges in Southern California and have the legal knowledge needed to defend you in your case. We believe in protecting the lawful rights of anyone facing criminal charges and will aim to ensure you receive a fair trial. To see how we can assist you with your case, please call (866) 299-4111 for a complimentary consultation.

November 4, 2011

Understanding your Rights While Dealing with Authorities

California residents have certain rights when dealing with the authorities. Having a basic understanding of your legal rights under California law can help you protect yourself if you are arrested, accused of a crime, or simply stopped by the police. Individuals have different rights depending on whether they are in or outside of their home.

If a law enforcement officer arrives at your home, you have the right to keep your door closed. You have the right to refuse entry to your home to any officer who does not have a warrant to search the premises. If the officer has a warrant, you have the right to review it. If you choose to allow an officer into your home, anything they find may be used against you in court. If you refuse to let them in, they will have to obtain a warrant. If they return with a search warrant, it is important to remember that the warrant gives them the right to search your home, but you maintain your right to remain silent.

If a police officer stops you outside of your home, you have the right to ask the officer if you are free to go. If the officer refuses to let you go, you have the right to remain silent beyond providing your name and identification. Remember, anything you choose to say to an officer may be used against you in court. It is your right to refuse to speak with the authorities until your attorney is present.

The skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff have a long history of protecting the rights of Southern California residents. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, please call our experienced criminal defense lawyers at (866) 430-8383 before discussing your case with the authorities.

July 26, 2011

California Criminal Database Rife with Inaccuracies

The criminal record system in California is supposed to serve as an accurate report of criminal convictions. Companies that involve children, such as schools and daycare facilities for example, perform extensive background checks on their employees as they should, to keep children safe from violent offenders and sexual predators. According to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times, the California criminal records system, which almost all employers rely heavily on during the hiring process, is rife with errors and inaccuracies.

The report goes on to list a number of problems with the criminal records system. Information about a number of convictions has never been entered. Additionally, there are about 7.7 million cases where the cases' outcome is not listed. This means that if someone was wrongfully charged, but acquitted, they could still have a criminal record – even if their charges were dismissed. It is not clear how many people have been affected as a result of these inaccuracies.

There are many consequences of being charged with a serious crime in Southern California. Anyone facing criminal charges would be well advised to seek legal guidance from a skilled criminal defense attorney. The stakes of a criminal conviction or having a criminal record are extremely high.

The knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles at Takakjian & Sitkoff protect the rights of Southern California residents. We have not only helped clients get acquitted or have their charges reduced, but we have also helped get charges expunged. That means that your criminal record can be completely erased. Our criminal justice system, under certain circumstances, does afford people that valuable second chance. To obtain more information about your legal rights and options, please contact our offices at 866-430-8383 today. We are here to help.

April 8, 2011

Judge Declares Mistrial in Murder Case due to Defense Attorney's Inexperience

Experience is probably one of the most important attributes, if not the most important attribute, one should look for in a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Before you retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer – regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor of felony charge – it is important that you establish the attorney's credibility and track record in handling similar cases. Failure to do so might prove costly, as a man defending murder charges in Washington D.C. recently found out.

According to a news report in The Washington Post, a Washington D.C. Superior Court judge recently declared a mistrial in a 2008 murder case and allowed the defendant to fire his attorney. The judge was apparently angered by the defense attorney's lack of knowledge of proper trial procedure. The judge specifically pointed out the fact that the defense attorney told jurors during opening statements that he had never tried a case before. Among other acts of misconduct, the defense lawyer reportedly told an investigator in an e-mail to "trick" a government witness into testifying in court that she did not see his client at the murder scene.

The attorney's acts were obviously shocking to the judge, not to mention his own client, who placed his life in the hands of this man. In felony cases, including those that involve sex crimes, drug charges or violent crime charges, the stakes are extremely high. Defendants, if convicted, are looking at lengthy prison sentences, fines and a potentially damaged reputation.

If you have been charged with a crime and are looking to hire a defense lawyer, it is critical that you ensure that you are going to the right person. California residents can start by checking the California Bar Association web site at www.calbar.org, to verify the attorney's license to practice in the state and if there have been any disciplinary actions against him or her. The web site also has information about when the attorney started practicing.

If you have are facing criminal charges in Los Angeles, Orange or Ventura counties, please contact the experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers of Takakjian & Sitkoff. We have over 60 years of criminal prosecution, investigation, judicial and defense trial experience. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, call us at 866-430-8383 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.

March 23, 2011

Will Lindsay Lohan Face Legal Ramifications for Week of Partying?

While infamous actress Lindsay Lohan faces felony charges stemming from the disappearance of a $2,500 necklace from a Venice, CA boutique in January, she has spent the past week in New York City, and according to sources, visited seven different nightclubs in just four days. Reports differ on whether or not the actress consumed alcohol while out on the town. Lohan is due to appear in court in Los Angeles on Friday, March 25, regarding whether she will accept the plea deal offered to her in the necklace theft case or go to court, possibly facing jail time.

Even without drinking, could the actress get into any legal trouble for her antics? According to the rules of her probation, which relate to her DUI case from last year, Lohan is not permitted to go to a place where alcohol is the main item of sale.

When interviewed by People.com regarding Lindsay Lohan’s situation, Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Steve Sitkoff stated it was a gray area. He said, “A prosecutor could very well collect evidence that Lohan's been frequenting these places as grounds for a probation violation or having her bail revoked, which could lead to jail time.” Sitkoff added, “However, the definition of a place where alcohol is the chief item of sale is sometimes murky, especially if the establishment also doubles as a restaurant.”

Lindsay Lohan’s legal woes prove that all criminal charges have grave penalties and consequences. No matter if you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, having an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting on your behalf can make the difference between whether you will serve time in jail, get put on probation, or have charges reduced to community service or nothing at all. If you have been accused of a crime, contact the highly skilled lawyers
at Takakjian & Sitkoff. We can help you understand the legal options available to you as well as advise you on the best course of action for your specific case. For a free consultation, call our law offices at 866-430-8383 today.

Source: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20475470,00.html

February 21, 2011

Most Orange County Cities Outsource Forensic Analysis to County Crime Lab

With state and city budgets getting tighter, more and more cities and law enforcement agencies in the OC are relying on the Orange County crime lab to analyze evidence relating to several crimes, including high-profile murders and sexual assaults. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, Huntington Beach recently became the last of several Orange County law enforcement agencies to shut down city labs that deal with drug analysis. This move makes the county lab the only one left in the area to handle such services.

Officials say that the county lab has been able to operate without backlogs despite the recent increase in its workload. The county lab offers several forensic-related services, including DNA processing, ballistics, and drug and alcohol-testing. Needless to say, these services are extremely valuable. Running a crime lab is a costly operation due to the costly equipment that is required as well as the expertise that is necessary to make such complex analyses.

If you have been charged with a serious crime in Orange County, it is very likely that forensic evidence of some type is involved. Whether your charges involve drunk driving, drugs, burglary, sexual assault, or homicide, physical evidence is an extremely important part of a criminal case. Physical evidence in a criminal case can make the difference between incarceration and acquittal.

This is exactly why the experienced and knowledgeable Orange County criminal defense lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff do not take any type of forensic evidence lightly. Regardless of costs, our firm's practice is to independently reexamine all forensic evidence in our cases – whether they involve drunk driving or other criminal cases – in order to find mistakes.

With the increased workload many county crime labs deal with, it is natural for mistakes to happen. But these mistakes can turn out to be very costly for defendants. Their lives depend on it. If you have been charged with a crime in Orange, Los Angeles, or Ventura counties, please contact our law offices at 866-430-8383 for a free and comprehensive consultation. We have the resources and the right access to expert forensic analysts, which can have a remarkable impact on the outcome of your case.

February 18, 2011

New California Child Abuse Law Increases Penalties

California Penal Code 273 was amended in January 2011 to expand the penalties for the abuse of a child under the age of 8. Under the revised law, those found guilty of abusing a child who is 8 years of age or under, causing the child major bodily injuries or death, could now face harsher penalties.

California Penal Code Section 273 (a) was created to penalize individuals who are found guilty of causing great bodily injury resulting in the death of a child in their custody under the age of 8. Anyone convicted of this crime could face 25 years to life in prison. California Penal Code 283a (b) now extends these same penalties to individuals whose offense against a child causes a comatose condition due to brain injury or permanent paralysis.

Child abuse is a serious problem in our society. There is no question that individuals who cause serious harm to young children must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, if you have been falsely accused of child abuse or if you have been arrested because of a misunderstanding, you deserve to have those charges aggressively defended. The consequences and penalties for a conviction of child abuse are life-changing.

If you have been accused of child abuse or child endangerment, please contact the experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff to discuss your case. We have a long and successful track record of fighting for the rights of parents and caregivers who have been wrongfully accused of child abuse or child endangerment. Please contact us at 866-430-8383 to find out how we can help.

January 19, 2011

California Criminal Procedure: Conviction of Veterans

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious problem for veterans returning from war. Many residents in California are suffering from complicated mental disorders because of their time spent in stressful and life-threatening situations in war-stricken nations. The state of California has enacted Assembly Bill 674 to handle criminal cases involving veterans differently then those of a regular citizen. Under the new law, the court must hold a hearing to determine if the alleged crime occurred because of a service person's time spent in war.

California Penal Code Section 1170.9 states: “In the case of any person convicted of a criminal offense who could otherwise be sentenced to county jail or state prison and who alleges that he or she committed the offense as a result of sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems stemming from service in the United States military, the court shall, prior to sentencing, make a determination as to whether the defendant was, or currently is, a member of the United States military and whether the defendant may be suffering from health problems as a result of that service.”

Veterans determined to be suffering from mental health issues because of time spent in combat may be eligible for nonprofit treatment care instead of probation or jail time if they are convicted of a crime.

If your or a loved one has served our country in the military and now faces criminal charges in California, please do not hesitate to call the law offices of Takakjian & Sitkoff. Our skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers offer free consultations to anyone, including veterans, facing criminal allegations. Call us today at 866-430-8383 to find out how we can help.

September 30, 2010

Legal Insight into Lindsay Lohan's Jail Sentence

At this point, it’s likely that you’ve heard about Lindsay Lohan’s legal troubles, and they are far from over. The New York Daily News reports that Lohan recently served 14 days in jail and 23 days in rehab as punishment for missing court-ordered alcohol counseling classes in relation to her DUIs from 2007. The famous actress is now being held in a solitary cell at a Lynwood, CA jail until a hearing on October 22 for failing a recent drug test.

The question now remains as to the potential penalties and rehabilitation programs Lohan may face. Her attorney is arguing that she was unlawfully denied bail and has filed for appeal. Last month, Judge Elden Fox stated that Lohan would be required to spend 30 days in county jail if she failed a drug test. Cocaine and amphetamines were detected to have been in the actress’s system.

In anticipating that Judge Fox would sentence Lohan right away due to the fact that she confessed and seemed to be prepared to face the consequences, Los Angeles DUI attorney Paul Takakjian stated, “If Judge Fox said on the record that she'd get 30 days for a dirty test, it's highly unlikely she'll receive anything less. He'd lose credibility…But he won't exercise punitive control for the sake of being harsh. He's one of the best judges we have and truly wants to help the people in his courtroom.”

Drug and alcohol-related criminal cases are complex. Regardless of whether or not you are famous, the laws surrounding criminal charges can present several challenges, especially when the accused individual is unfamiliar with the legal rights that they are entitled to. To ensure that your rights are not violated and that you receive a fair trial, it is important to get in touch with a skilled California drug crime defense lawyer. For more information about how the aggressive attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff can defend your rights, call 1-866-430-8383 for a free consultation.

September 29, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Held in Solitary Cell for Court Date after Failing Drug Test - Files Appeal to Be Released

Lindsay Lohan has seen better days. A People.com article reports that the 24-year-old actress has been ordered to stay in jail until her hearing, which is scheduled for October 22. Lohan failed a court-ordered drug test relating to a 2007 DUI. While the article states that Lohan’s attorney has filed an appeal claiming that the actress was denied bail unlawfully, she is currently in a solitary cell at a Lynwood, CA jail.

It is not likely that Lohan will be released early due to overcrowding or good behavior since she is being held for a court date rather than for a sentence. However, in regards to Lohan’s appeal, experienced California criminal defense attorney Steve Sitkoff stated, “It's anyone guess if the appellate court will overturn the judge's order. Generally speaking, people are entitled to bail in a misdemeanor case, but the law in this regard is ambiguous.”

Facing criminal drug charges in California can be an intimidating experience, even if you are a celebrity. It is relatively common for an accused individual to be unsure of his or her legal rights and options after an arrest. While fully understanding the laws surrounding a criminal offense can be confusing, a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer will ensure that your case is thoroughly examined to ensure that all the proper evidence is gathered to build a strong defense on your behalf.

Drug crimes in particular pose several challenges; however, the option for alternative sentencing and rehabilitation instead of jail time may be available for an individual. If you or someone you care about has been arrested for a drug offense in California, the aggressive Los Angeles County drug crime defense lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff can help. Call 1-866-430-8383 today for a free consultation.

July 30, 2010

Lindsay Lohan to Serve 3 Months in Rehab Directly after Jail Release

Actress Lindsay Lohan, 24, has been ordered to report directly to a rehab facility to complete a three-month stay once she is finished serving her probation violation jail sentence. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Steve Sitkoff stated in a People.com article that the judge is most likely concerned about Lohan experiencing a relapse if she is allowed any unsupervised time in between jail and rehabilitation. Mr. Sitkoff has handled over 100 cases similar to Lohan’s; however, he is not involved in her case.

In referring to Lohan’s order to report directly to rehab after being released from jail, Mr. Sitkoff stated, “The temptations for a newly released inmate are far too great. And given Lindsay's track record, it seems the judge wants to remind her who's in charge.”

Since July 20, Lohan has been serving a 90-day sentence in a solitary cell for the violation of her probation for a 2007 drunk driving arrest. Her prospective early release from jail is reportedly attributed to good behavior and overcrowding at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, CA.

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March 30, 2010

Man Accused of Felony DUI for Costa Mesa Crash

According to a CBS2 report, a 22-year-old man was arrested for felony DUI for causing the death of a 20-year-old woman in Costa Mesa on Sunday, February 15, 2010, at 2:30 in the morning. The accused drunk driver had been driving a Toyota pickup truck, when he went through a red light and slammed into the passenger side of a Corolla sedan at Sunflower Avenue and Sakioka Drive. The passenger in the Corolla died at the scene.

Police suspect that the alleged DUI driver was fleeing the site of an earlier hit and run non-injury crash in Santa Ana when the accident occurred. He is being held in lieu of a $1,050,000 bail and is being charged with murder and vehicular manslaughter in addition to felony DUI. In regards to the earlier crash, Santa Ana police are conducting a separate hit and run investigation.

The driver of the Corolla, a 21-year-old man, was treated at a nearby hospital for minor injuries and was charged with a misdemeanor DUI. He was released from custody at the hospital.
Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is often an overwhelming experienced for an accused individual. A person charged with DUI faces serious penalties that can impose a wide range of life-changing consequences. However, a skilled DUI defense lawyer in California can help determine whether a person’s rights were violated during their arrest or interrogation.

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March 25, 2010

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Five Felony DUI Related Charges in Long Beach Court

A Long Beach man has pleaded not guilty to five felony counts, including driving under the influence of alcohol that resulted in the death of a one-year-old baby girl, and a serious injury to her two-year-old brother. According to a Daily Breeze report, the accused allegedly drove his Dodge Durango into a wagon carrying the two children. As a result, the wagon was taken a full block before being stopped by a bystander. Fortunately, the bystander was able to grab one child from beneath the car; however, the driver sped off dragging the other child. The man apparently continued driving in spite of numerous witnesses screaming for him to stop. His vehicle dragged the girl for more than a mile before he stopped the car at his girlfriends’ house.

Upon his arrest, the blood alcohol content of the alleged was nearly three times the legal limit of .08%. Allegations of great bodily injury accompany several of the charges levied against the accused. Because he had a previous felony strike on his record, the man’s bail amount has been set at $1.49 million. The man remains in custody as he awaits trial.

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March 23, 2010

Guilty Plea in Two-Victim DUI Manslaughter Case

A 32-year-old San Diego man pleaded guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony DUI causing injury for an accident that resulted in the deaths of two teenage brothers. Apparently, the man was returning home from Tijuana when his vehicle collided with a sedan which was transporting three brothers in Chula Vista. According to a San Diego News Network article, one of the brothers was declared dead at the hospital three hours following the crash. The second brother suffered brain death the next day, while the third suffered minor injuries.

The convicted man fled the scene of the fatal traffic collision but was arrested for DUI when he returned later to retrieve his wallet. He will serve 17 years in a state prison for vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI causing injury, a violation of California Vehicle Code section 23153 (a). Police said that he also has a previous robbery conviction on record in 1999.

DUI offenses are some of the most common crimes in the United States and often threaten the toughest of sentencing guidelines. Fines, probation and jail time aside, having a DUI on record can subject a person to skyrocketing insurance premiums, which can frequently be more expensive than the fines in the court’s DUI sentence.

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March 18, 2010

Officials Pay Large Settlement in Marijuana Lawsuit

Based on a recent OC Register story, the city of Seal Beach settled a lawsuit filed against the police department in which an Orange County resident alleged that the Seal Beach Police Department unlawfully confiscated 40 to 50 medical marijuana plants and coerced him into becoming a drug informant. The City Manager said that the lawsuit was settled for $32,500.

The man says that he legally grew and distributed medical marijuana under California state law. Seal Beach police officers entered his apartment and took photographs of his marijuana plants, despite his having produced documentation showing that he possessed the plants legally. The police department later turned the evidence over to federal authorities.

The man was arrested under federal drug laws and he alleged that he was forced to become a drug informant for the department, providing information about other marijuana providers and setting up drug deals. In spite of the settlement, the police department contends that the plaintiff volunteered to become an informant to avoid federal drug charges; and that he was an informant for the DEA and not for the Seal Beach Police Department.

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March 17, 2010

Craigslist Sting Operation Results in Huntington Beach Arrest

Huntington Beach police have arrested and charged a 40-year-old Anaheim man for two counts of attempted lewd acts with a child under 14. He allegedly attempted to contact a fictitious child over the Internet with the intent to commit a specific lewd act and went to meet the minor to engage in lewd conduct. According to the OC Register, the arrest was made possible by a sting operation put on by the Huntington Beach police department.

The police posted an ad on craigslist.com. They posed as a 13-year-old girl soliciting favors. The defendant responded and arranged to meet with the girl, who turned out to be a Huntington Beach police officer. In their correspondence, the defendant supposedly instructed the girl to have red underwear on when they were to meet.

The defendant had been convicted of a sex-related offense in 1989 in Arizona. After his recent sex crimes arrest, police found child pornography in his home; which will likely be used as additional evidence in his case. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if he is found guilty of the sex offenses.

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March 16, 2010

New Technology Allows LAPD to Identify Suspect in Two-Year Serial Molestation Case

Using state-of-the-art technology, Los Angeles police were able to identify and arrest a suspect in the attempted kidnapping and molestation of at least four young girls over the last two years. Based on an LA Times story, the suspect in these incidents managed to evade the LAPD since February of 2008. But because of new technology, a 41-year-old man was recently accused of the sex offense of luring a 10-year-old girl into an apartment complex and attempting to sexually assault her; an alleged incident that took place in November of last year.

The Los Angeles Police Department recently acquired a new police car equipped with a mechanism that will read and record the license place of every vehicle that passes by it. The LAPD examined footage from security cameras at the scene of the November assault, and generated a list of 1,700 vehicles matching the assailant’s car and within the vicinity of the sexual assault crime.

Using the new license-plate-reading police car, the LAPD identified a car matching the assailant’s car’s description within four miles of the incident. DMV records revealed that the owner of the car matched the physical description of the sex offense suspect, and upon further inspection, evidence was found linking him to the four attempted molestation crimes. He is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial.

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March 11, 2010

18 Pounds of Cocaine Found Near San Clemente Border

San Diego police discovered nearly 18 pounds of cocaine at a checkpoint along Interstate 5 recently, according to an OC Register article. The contraband drugs are estimated to have a street value of roughly $300,000. The checkpoint was conducted last Saturday and federally funded under a Department of Homeland Security grant called Operation Stonegarden in an effort to quell drug smugglers along the freeways. The checkpoint was located near the San Clemente Border Patrol inspection station.

When questioned by deputies, the two men in the vehicle raised suspicion when they gave differing responses about their destination. With the help of drug dogs, police discovered the cocaine in a newer model white Dodge truck. Both men were arrested for drug trafficking and possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

California is the leading state in the nation for arrests for possession of illegal drugs. According to the California Department of Corrections, about 20,000 of the state's 160,000 prisoners are confined for drug offenses. A California drug offense includes being under the influence of a controlled substance as well as possession, use, sale or furnishing of any drug or relating paraphernalia that is prohibited by the Health and Safety Code law, including cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and ecstasy.

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March 9, 2010

Series of Orange County DUI-Related Crashes Result in $75K in Damages

A 41-year-old Orange County man was arrested on February 9, 2010 for driving while intoxicated after a succession of hit and run crashes culminated in an estimated $75,000 worth of damage to a local storefront; according to a Corona Del Mar Today article. The alleged drunk driver drove his SUV onto the sidewalk and into trees, signs and a planter before crashing into the front of a psychic shop in Corona Del Mar, wedging his vehicle about a quarter of the way into the building. The man declined medical treatment and was arrested for DUI at the scene. He also faces possible charges for leaving the scene of an accident which can be charged as misdemeanor hit and run.

If a person is convicted of drunk driving, current California DUI penalties for first-time offenders incur a minimum sentence of a $390 fine, jail time and a six-month license suspension. Subsequent offenses can rack up more than a year in jail, fines of up to $1,000 and a license suspension of several years. Judges also have the discretion to require persons convicted of DUI to install an Ignition Interlock Device IID, undergo drug and alcohol treatment programs and participate in community service.

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March 4, 2010

Los Angeles Judge Rules Retail Sale of Marijuana is Illegal

In the first decision of its kind in California, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the retail sale of marijuana is not permitted under California state law. According to an LA Weekly article, the case was brought against a medical marijuana dispensary that the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office said was targeted because its product was found to have traces of pesticide. The marijuana dispensary was ordered to temporarily shut down. The ruling also stipulated that medical marijuana providers must comply with the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act which requires particular testing, labeling, warnings and product information to be provided to patients.

The California legal system’s treatment of marijuana use and cultivation derives primarily from the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (California Health & Safety Code Section 11357-11362.9), which provides protections from existing federal or state laws criminalizing marijuana use and cultivation for “seriously ill” Californians using the drug for medicinal purposes. The language of the legislation was left intentionally vague so as to allow regional authorities to make reasonable determinations about how to implement the marijuana law.

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March 2, 2010

Police Arrest Homeless Gang Member for Sexual Assault

Los Angeles police recently arrested a 20-year-old homeless man in Venice Beach on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old Menlo Park girl who went missing in January.

According to police, Venice Beach is noted for having a number of young runaway girls. Based on a Mercury News story, this runaway had left home January 6th after a dispute with her parents. She then hopped a train to Los Angeles Union Station. The alleged, an admitted gang member, met the girl and offered her drugs and alcohol. He also threatened to hurt her or kill himself if she left him and proceeded to beat and sexually assault the girl.

On January 30, the girl turned herself in to Culver City police and was sent home to the Bay Area that night. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office indicated that the accused was involved in a 2009 sexual assault case, but prosecutors had not yet charged him of the sex crime in Los Angeles. He is currently being held in lieu of a $175,500 bail.

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February 16, 2010

Man Accused of DUI, Gross Vehicular Manslaughter

A 43-year-old Orange County man has been accused of drunk driving and speeding in connection with a car accident, which killed a woman on the 10 Freeway in El Monte. According to a news report, the man has been charged with one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent causing injury. Officials say the deceased woman was a passenger in a car that was hit by the alleged drunk driver. The driver was apparently traveling at more than 120 mph.

If you have been accused of felony drunk driving and/or vehicular manslaughter in Los Angeles or Orange County, you are looking at serious consequences including jail time, loss of driver's license, hefty fines, and other severe penalties. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) states: "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." The same code section also states that in California it is illegal for any person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more to drive a vehicle.

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February 11, 2010

Couple Accused of Running Prostitution Ring in Los Angeles and Orange Counties

A husband and wife were arrested and charged with running a prostitution ring out of two upscale apartment buildings in Pasadena and Irvine, according to a Los Angeles Times news report. The couple allegedly managed about two dozen women, who officials say, charged $200 per hour. In addition to the couple, four other men between the ages of 20 and 45 were also arrested on prostitution charges. The couple is facing charges of pimping and pandering. Officials said they initially suspected that human trafficking was involved, but later discovered that the women were attracted to the Los Angeles and Orange County business because of relatively higher pay.

According to California Penal Code Section 647 (b), committing prostitution means "any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration." Pandering, defined under Section 266 i of the California Penal Code, is considered to be a crime committed by a pimp – recruiting prostitutes and soliciting customers for prostitution services. If you are convicted of prostitution or pandering, you are looking at significant jail time, probation, community service, AIDS testing, fines, and other penalties.

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February 9, 2010

DUI Charges Expected in Fatal Los Angeles Car Crash

Police are looking for a suspected drunk driver, who they say, fled the scene of a fatal car accident in Los Angeles. KTLA News reports that the accident occurred on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway at La Brea Avenue. A 2005 BMW, traveling at a high rate of speed, rear-ended a pickup truck, causing it to overturn, California Highway Patrol officials said. A 20-year-old passenger in the BMW, died at the scene. Another passenger in the car and the driver of the truck also sustained moderate injuries.

Those arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles may either be charged with a misdemeanor DUI offense or a felony, which is a much more serious charge. Usually, when a DUI arrest does not involve an accident, injuries, fatalities or major property damage, it results in a misdemeanor charge. When a DUI accident does involve deaths, injuries or major property damage, the driver will most likely be charged with a felony. When fatalities are involved, the driver could also face gross vehicular manslaughter charges.

California Penal Code section 191.5 (a) states: "Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of (DUI) Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was …, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence."

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February 4, 2010

New Law Requires Ignition Interlock Devices for DUI Offenders

A new California law, effective this year, requires anyone convicted of DUI in Los Angeles County to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle. According to news reports, Los Angeles is one of seven California counties where this pilot program goes into effect starting July 1, 2010. What this law means is that even if you have been convicted of drunk driving for the first time, you need to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

What is an ignition interlock device or IID? Basically, these are devices that require you to blow into them. If the device detects alcohol from your breath, it will not let you start the vehicle. The devices may be pre-programmed to measure the level of alcohol in your breath. For example, you could have it set or the court could order you to have it set at 0.02 (approximately one drink). Therefore, if you blow a 0.02 or more, you will not be able to start your vehicle and you would potentially be in violation of your drunk driving probation and be sent to jail.

If you are ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed, you will have to pay the fees for renting the IID alcohol detection device and for having it installed in your vehicle. The installation could cost you anywhere between $100 and $200. The monthly rental fee can range from $70 to $100. These fees do not include the additional charges for maintenance or having the device calibrated.

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February 2, 2010

Orange County Teacher Accused of Sex Crimes

A history teacher at a Cypress school has been charged with sex crimes against a 17-year-old student, according to a news report in The Orange County Register. The 42-year-old history teacher has been accused of one misdemeanor and six felonies that allegedly took place on six separate occasions. Police have apparently obtained about 11 pages of sexually explicit text messages the teacher sent to the girl in September and October. According to the report, the girl's mother discovered the text messages and handed them over to police.

And in another recent high profile case, a former California Highway Patrol Lieutenant, was found guilty Tuesday in an Orange County court of attempted lewd acts on a child. Had had sent text messages to an undercover police officer who was posing as a 13 year old female.

Sex crimes, such as child molestation, are among the most forcefully prosecuted and severely punished offenses in our criminal justice system today in Orange County. Even if you are not guilty of the sex crime allegations, when you hold a profession, such as a teacher, police officer, or someone respected in society, you run the risk of ruining your reputation and losing your livelihood. Many sex offense defendants are drastically affected by sex crime charges, even if they are not convicted. This is especially true with regard to crimes involving children or minors. If convicted of a sex crime in Orange County, you may encounter extremely serious consequences including a lengthy prison sentence and registration as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

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January 29, 2010

Three Arrested for Growing Marijuana

Three people were arrested after Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials seized more than 300 marijuana plants at a home in Lancaster. According to a CBS News report, deputies found two bedrooms and a large room in Lancaster that were all converted to a marijuana growing facility. The grow areas had sophisticated lighting and automatic irrigation. A 23-year-old man was arrested inside the home and two others were arrested in the backyard of a home nearby. All three men were arrested for marijuana possession related charges under the California Health and Safety Code.

In California, marijuana possession and use of most drugs, even if it is for personal use, is a felony. Misdemeanor drug offenses include possession of marijuana, being under the influence of a drug, and possession of drug paraphernalia such as bongs, pipes or needles. It is also a felony to possess or buy illegal drugs with the intent of selling them. Evidence for intent to sell can include items such as weighing scales, large amounts of cash or cutting agents. In any drug case, it is important to look into whether the search and seizure was conducted properly by the police. Were the defendant's constitutional rights violated? If that was the case, the court may dismiss the drug or marijuana possession charges.

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January 28, 2010

Orange County School Bus Driver Gets 151 Years in Prison for Sex Crimes

A school bus driver in Orange County has been sentenced to 151 years to life in prison for molesting and taking sexually explicit photos of three young girls. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the 54-year-old man lured the girls, including one 7-year-old, into his car with the promise of a trip to Disneyland. He was convicted of 15 felony child molestation counts, sentencing enhancements for committing lewd acts on multiple children, substantial sexual contact with a child, and kidnapping to commit a sexual offense against a child, the report stated.

Sex crimes like child molestation, especially those against young children, are vigorously prosecuted in our criminal justice system in Orange County. If convicted, those accused of child sex abuse may face spending the rest of their lives in prison. In this case, the judge said he issued the maximum allowable sentence because, as a school bus driver, this man was a "predator" who took advantage of his position of trust to exploit and molest these young, vulnerable victims.

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January 13, 2010

Southern California Law Enforcement Agencies Actively Pursuing Drug Offenders

Drug crimes are not only a huge problem in California, but are also a major issue of concern throughout the nation. According to recent FBI reports, drugs and drug-related offenses account for about one-third of all arrests. California has led the nation when it comes to arrests for possession and sale of controlled substances and narcotics. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's statistics for 2009, 28 percent of all incarcerated inmates are there primarily for a drug offense. Last year alone, 10,310 inmates were enrolled in prison drug treatment programs.

A recent news report in The Acorn states that law enforcement officials are also aggressively pursuing drug offenders by joining forces to conduct raids – even outside of their jurisdictions. When it comes to drug crimes, it seems as if there are no boundaries. The article gives the example of a drug case in November when two Simi Valley teens were arrested on suspicion of dealing heroin in East Ventura County. Also, in September, a Simi woman was arrested for operating a cocaine delivery service, which covered Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and the San Fernando Valley.

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January 7, 2010

Los Angeles Area High School Teacher Charged with Sex Crime

A 50-year old high school teacher in Redondo Beach has been accused of engaging in lewd behavior in the presence of a student at the local high school. According to CBS news report, the teacher was arrested and booked for arranging a meeting with a minor "for purposes of engaging in lewd behavior." Redondo Beach police officials said that the incident involved a 16-year-old girl. The teacher is accused of talking about sex and engaging in "a sexual act in her presence." The teen reported the incident to school officials. The teacher, who has taught at the high school for eight years, is a married man with two children, according to the news article.

Sex crime charges can have devastating effects on a person’s life. As a teacher who is facing a serious sex crime charge, this individual is looking at prison time, hefty penalties and required registration as a sex offender. This could mean the end of his teaching career. He may not even be allowed to be around children or minors if convicted of this serious sex crime charge.

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January 5, 2010

Drunk Driver Hits and Injures Three Workers in Los Angeles

A female driver was arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles after she struck and injured three employees doing work on an underground vault for the Department of Water and Power. According to a KTLA News report, the three men were working in the 5800 block of Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, during the early morning hours, when the driver went through the work zone and hit them. The car apparently also hit a Los Angeles DWP vehicle that was parked in the work area. The woman was arrested for DUI. Two of her passengers were uninjured. However, the three workers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, the first thing you need to remember is: you DO NOT have to plead guilty. DUI charges are usually based upon subjective opinions of the arresting officer. Law enforcement officials are trained to look for signs such as the smell of alcohol in the vehicle or on the person, slurred speech or red eyes. But you may have these symptoms even if you did not drink any alcoholic beverages. You're not guilty just because you got pulled over or arrested.

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December 31, 2009

1,300 Pounds of Marijuana Seized from Los Angeles Area Home

Local law enforcement officials seized 1,300 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $1 million. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, four men were arrested in the Ontario, California, home, which officials say was being used by a Mexican drug cartel. Agents apparently discovered about 1,200 pounds of marijuana inside two vehicles that were parked at the home. Another 100 pounds of pot were found inside the home along with scales, packaging materials and other documents that indicated that the pot was being sold. Investigators say the marijuana was grown in Mexico and was to be distributed across the United States.

A California drug offense refers to the possession, use, sale or furnishing of any drug or intoxicating substance or drug paraphernalia that is prohibited by law. Most drug offenses in the State of California are now felonies. The penalties for drug crimes in San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County or Orange County can be extremely severe. The nature or severity of the charges are usually based on the quantity of drugs seized, the intent to sell or distribute, and other factors such as use or possession of weapons, evidence that the drugs are being sold, and possession of large amounts of cash used for drug transactions. Charges also depend on a drug’s classification under the drug schedule and the purpose of the possession – whether it's for personal use or sale.

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December 29, 2009

Drunk Driver Arrested after Fatal Car Crash in Los Angeles

A 29-year-old Norwalk man was arrested, following a fatal car crash, for drunk driving after his 2000 BMW M3 collided with another a Toyota Celica, killing its 42-year-old driver. According to a Fox News report, the fatal car accident occurred on the transition road from the westbound 105 Freeway to the northbound 710 Freeway. The Toyota hit a curb and rolled over. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the BMW sustained moderate injuries, but was later arrested for drunk driving.

According to California Highway Patrol's traffic accident statistics, there were 268 deaths and 5,169 injuries involving alcohol-related car accidents in Los Angeles County in 2007. In Orange County, 75 deaths and 1,501 injuries were reported as a result of DUI car accidents in 2007.
Driving under the influence or DUI is a serious violation of California law. If the car accident results in serious injury or death, the driver accused of causing the accident could be looking at vehicular manslaughter charges or even murder.

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December 23, 2009

David Hasselhoff's Ex-Wife Arrested for DUI

Pamela Bach, ex-wife of "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff, was recently arrested in Los Angeles for driving under the influence. According to a news report, Bach was pulled over on the Highway 101 at Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley. California Highway Patrol officials say Bach registered blood alcohol levels of 0.14 and 0.13 percent during a Breathalyzer test. Bach has a prior DUI arrest on her record in which she pleaded no contest to the charge in August. At the time, she was placed on three years of informal probation. Bach was also ordered to undergo an alcohol treatment program and not to drive with any "measurable amount of alcohol in her blood."

In the state of California, it is against the law to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (California Vehicle Code 23152). The same vehicle code section also states that motorists must not drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. The consequences of repeat DUI offenses can be devastating and could include loss of driving privilege, jail time and steep fines.

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December 21, 2009

Miranda Rights Warning Could Be Rewritten

The U.S. Supreme Court is getting closer to ordering police to explicitly advise criminal suspects that their lawyer can be present during any interrogation. According to an Associated Press news report, the nation's high court is looking into the Miranda rights warning which must be read to all criminal suspects by arresting officers. The justices are debating in one particular case whether police told a suspect clearly that he could have a lawyer present while being interrogated by the police.

There are several slight variations used by law enforcement when giving the “Miranda Warnings.” The warnings include: "You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you free of charge and before any questioning." The suspect is then usually asked if they understand these rights and are willing to give up these rights. In the particular case now before the United States Supreme Court, the state Supreme Court had overturned the man's conviction saying that police did not properly and adequately convey to the suspect that he was allowed to have a lawyer with him during questioning.

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December 18, 2009

Three Arrested for Operating Indoor Pot Farm in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police arrested three people for operating an elaborate marijuana growing operation in a San Fernando Valley industrial building barely 25 feet away from a police station. According to an Associated Press news report, the marijuana was discovered after officers served a search warrant at the building in Canoga Park. The indoor pot farm included lights, automatic irrigation and a ventilation system. Los Angeles Police Department Authorities say the three arrestees are facing multiple drug charges.

The severity of drug or marijuana cultivation charges in Los Angeles depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, and the quantity and type of drugs that have been seized. If convicted of cultivating marijuana, even if you are part of a marijuana “collective”, those facing drug charges could be looking at significant jail time, hefty fines and other harsh penalties. Drug crimes involving possession of large quantities of marijuana or narcotics, possession for sale or transportation, will almost always involve felony charges. In California, a felony drug crime could well become a "third strike," which could send a defendant to prison for the rest of his or her life.

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December 17, 2009

Massage Artist Charged with Sexually Assaulting Woman

A 37-year-old massage therapist is being accused of sexual assault. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, prosecutors say that the man who was working as an independent masseur, who formerly worked out of a San Juan Capistrano chiropractor’s office, assaulted a 21-year-old woman by touching her inappropriately during a massage. Police are looking for other women or customers of this masseur who may have been sexually assaulted. Police say they have investigated this particular masseur before this complaint. Two years ago, a woman in her 50s told officials that she had been inappropriately touched by the man. But at the time, there was not enough evidence to file charges, officials said. Two other women filed complaints, but those cases were outside of the statute of limitations.

Sex crimes are criminal offenses of a sexual nature and can vary to a great degree. Punishment for a sex crime depends on the type of offense and level of the charge. A misdemeanor sex crime conviction can be punished by up to one year of county jail time. Some sex crimes, such as violent sexual assault, are "three strikes" offenses with a third strike resulting in a sentence of 25 years to life. Furthermore, a conviction for some sex crimes will result in registration as a sex offender or sexual predator and public disclosure.

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December 1, 2009

Ventura County School Bus Driver Faces DUI Charges

If you are caught driving under the influence on the job, especially if you are responsible for the lives of young children, you will be facing very serious charges. A recent report in the Ventura County Star talks about a school bus driver in Ojai who was arrested for driving under the influence while on the job. The drunk driving accident occurred when the 53-year-old female driver was trying to make a U-turn on an Ojai street. The bus struck a pickup truck.

There were 31 students in the bus but luckily no one was injured. The bus driver took a breath test and was booked for driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. California law prohibits commercial drivers, including bus drivers, from driving with blood alcohol levels of 0.04 percent or greater, although the legal limit for non-commercial drivers is 0.08 percent. The news report states that the driver admitted to drinking alcohol the night before. She has been charged with misdemeanor DUI and child endangerment.

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November 26, 2009

Orange County Pastor Charged With Sex Crimes

A pastor in an Anaheim church has been accused of molesting four girls in his congregation, The Orange County Register reports. The 45-year-old pastor was arrested in September and has been charged with one felony count of lewd acts on a child under 14, five felony counts of lewd acts on a child, two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance, and a sentencing enhancement allegation for lewd acts on multiple children. He is accused of inappropriately touching four girls as young as 13 between April 2007 and September 2009. The Anaheim pastor, who has a prior conviction for sale or distribution of drugs, faces a state prison sentence of up to 11 years and four months if convicted.

Sex crimes are some of the most vigorously prosecuted and severely punished offenses in our criminal justice system today. This is particularly true when the alleged victims involve children or underage teenagers. If you are accused of a sex offense, whether you believe you are guilty or not, you need a strong and skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side. A sex crime conviction can lead to significant incarceration and mandatory registration as a sex offender in California for the remainder of your life.

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November 24, 2009

Nick Nolte's Son Arrested for DUI in Los Angeles

Brawley King Nolte, the son of actor Nick Nolte, was arrested for driving under the influence in Santa Monica, California, according to a recent news report. The 23-year-old Nolte was stopped and arrested by Santa Monica police officers after he reportedly tried to change lanes and collided with another car. He was taken into custody after allegedly failing field sobriety tests and showing signs of intoxication and was booked for DUI and possession of a controlled substance.

Both driving under the influence and possession of illegal drugs are serious crimes in California. California law prohibits drivers from operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle."

A common mistake that many DUI arrestees make when they are arrested is that they plead guilty. Many do not know that they may not be "guilty" just because they take a breath or blood test and have an elevated blood alcohol level. Also, even though a person is arrested for drug possession, it does not mean they will be found guilty either.

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November 19, 2009

New Law Will Require Ignition Locks for Convicted Drunk Drivers

California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two laws that will mandate drivers convicted of driving under the influence to install ignition lock devices that prevent vehicles from starting if alcohol is detected in the driver's breath. According to a news report, the bill written by Assemblyman Mike Feuer is a pilot project that will be tested in several California counties including Los Angeles. The bill will basically require that even first time DUI offenders must install these devices on their vehicles. Another bill, authored by Senator Bob Huff, will allow repeat DUI offenders to apply for restricted licenses if they install these ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

While opponents question the effectiveness of these devices, advocates believe that the devices could cut down on repeat DUI offenses in California by 64 percent. New Mexico was the first state to enact such as law in 2003. In that state, the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes has dropped by 22 percent between 2002 and 2007.

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November 17, 2009

Three Los Angeles Police Officers Charged with Lying in Drug Crime Case

Two Los Angeles police officers and a former officer were charged with conspiracy and perjury for lying under oath in a Los Angeles drug crime case, according to an Associated Press news report. Two of the officers testified in a drug crime trial last year that they saw the defendant throw a dark object. One of the officers testified that he picked up the object and found crack cocaine.

Based on surveillance camera video obtained from the apartment complex where the incident occurred, a judge has determined that the officers took more than 20 minutes to "find" the drugs. The judge has also dismissed charges against the defendant. Not only are federal prosecutors now conducting a civil rights investigation, but the defendant has also filed a civil complaint against the LAPD alleging that the three officers planted evidence, wrote false police reports, and committed perjury.

This is an extremely disturbing case especially because it shows that sometimes, law enforcement officials can act unethically; lying about the evidence, falsifying police reports and even being untruthful under oath. This allegedly occurred in a drug crime case where the defendant had a lot at stake. Had the surveillance video not been obtained, this individual could have faced some serious jail time and many other hardships.

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November 9, 2009

Actress Tawny Kitaen Arrested for DUI

Tawney Kitaen, actress and ex-wife of Anaheim Angels pitcher Chuck Finley, was arrested for drunk driving in Newport Beach; according to The Orange County Register. Kitaen may have been under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs or both, Newport Beach police said. She was apparently arrested for DUI near John Wayne Airport after she was involved in a traffic collision. However, there were no injuries or damages to either vehicle.

Driving under the influence is a serious violation of California law. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) states: "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." The law also states that it is illegal for any person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more to drive a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of drugs – whether they are recreational or prescription drugs – is also illegal.

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November 4, 2009

Los Angeles Man Accused of Sex Crimes

Police in Inglewood are asking for the public's help in finding a 49-year-old man who they believe sexually molested two girls, including one girl who says she has been abused by the man since she was 7 years old. According to a news report in the Daily Breeze, the girl, who is the daughter of the man's girlfriend, recently came forward with the complaint. The second victim is now an adult. The Los Angeles District Attorney's office has apparently filed two felony counts of child molestation against the man and has issued an arrest warrant with bail set at $1 million.

Sex crime charges, especially those involving young children or minors are extremely serious. If convicted of these charges, you could be looking at lengthy jail or state prison time, hefty fines and penalties, and required sex offender registration for the rest of your life. Your job and your career could be in jeopardy, and even finding a place to live can become a problem because of the stigma that sex offenders face in our society today.

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October 29, 2009

Six Arrested in California Drug Sting

Six people, who allegedly work for a Mexican drug cartel, were arrested in Imperial County after undercover agents arranged to sell them 160 pounds of cocaine, according to a CBS News report. The arrests apparently involved a Mexican drug cartel believed to transport large amounts of cocaine through border crossings in Calexico. The suspects reportedly agreed to pay $1.1 million for the drugs the undercover agents promised to sell them. Each of the six defendants faces 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges that include possession and transportation of cocaine.

All drug crimes are serious. But the type of charges you could face depends on the nature and seriousness of the crime. In drug cases, some of the factors that could come into play include the type of drugs, the quantity of drugs and the reason for possession. If you possess a small amount of drugs for recreational use, the charges you face may not be as serious as if you possess large quantities of drugs meant for sale or transportation across state or international borders. Cases involving large-scale transportation of drugs or cases involving drug cartels are handled by federal authorities and federal courts.

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October 27, 2009

Orange County Court - Westminster Councilman Pleads Guilty to DUI

In Orange County Superior Court, a Westminster city councilman has been convicted of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of 0.26 percent – which is more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. According to a FOX news report, the councilman was involved in a car accident after he clipped another vehicle and crashed into a power pole. Neither he nor the occupants of the car he clipped were hurt in the drunk driving traffic collision.

Prosecutors charged the councilman with misdemeanor DUI and a high alcohol reading enhancement of driving while under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level of 0.20 percent or higher. The councilman apparently reached a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to three years of probation, a 10-day work program, approximately $2,000 in fees and a nine-month alcohol awareness program.

If you are first-time DUI offender and your car accident does not involve injury to others, then you may not get jail time. Prosecutors may charge a misdemeanor DUI in these cases. However, if your DUI accident involves significant property damage and injuries to others, then you are looking at jail time and the possibility of a felony. If there are fatalities involved, then California vehicular manslaughter charges may be filed. A felony charge is a more serious charge than a misdemeanor because the chance of jail time or state prison and greater penalties is possible.

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October 22, 2009

Man Charged in Orange County Sex Crimes

A 27-year-old Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty to several counts of kidnapping and sex crime charges in incidents involving Orange County girls, according to a news report in The Orange County Register. Prosecutors say the most recent sex crime involved a 10-year-old girl whom the man tried to kidnap as she was throwing out trash behind her apartment complex in Anaheim. The man tried to lure the girl by showing her a handful of cash, officials said. The girl reported the incident to her father, who got all but one of the car's license plate numbers as the man drove away. Two other incidents were also reported, one involving the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in the man’s car.

Every sex crime case varies to a broad degree based on specific circumstances. Just because someone may have been charged with a sex crime, doesn't mean that they are automatically. As Los Angeles and Orange County sex crime attorneys, we have seen many cases where defendants are wrongly accused of committing a sex crime. This particularly happens in cases involving children. Some of the issues we have seen include mistaken identity and wrongful accusations by a spouse who is contemplating a divorce and wants sole custody of the children. The penalties for sex crimes are extremely severe and often include a lengthy prison sentence and required registration as a sex offender. When you are convicted or even charged with a sex offense, you must live with that stigma and the effects it has on relationships and employment.

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October 20, 2009

More Women Being Arrested for Driving Under the Influence - DUI

More and more women are being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol – a trend which is apparent not only in Southern California or California, but also nationwide; according to a Riverside and San Bernardino County news report in the “Press Enterprise”. Nationally the number of women arrested for DUI was up nearly 29 percent between 1998 and 2007, while the arrests of men were down 7.5 percent. Locally, fewer women than men are arrested for DUI, although the trend is upward. For example, since 1999, the number of women arrested for DUI in Riverside County increased from 30 to 39 and from 44 to 66 in San Bernardino County.

Driving under the influence or DUI – whether it involves alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription drugs -- is a serious crime in California. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." The same code section also states that it is illegal for any person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more to drive a vehicle.

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October 15, 2009

Man Arrested for Possession of Drugs for Sale in Irvine

An Orange County man has been arrested after police in Irvine found more than 200 ecstasy tablets and 2.5 gallons of GHB ( a common “club drug’) in his vehicle. According to a news report, police found the 38-year-old man parked near an Irvine intersection. A vehicle search resulted in the drugs being found. Police later performed a search of the man's home and found more GHB and illegal steroids, the news report said. According to the article, the man was arrested for possessing a controlled substance for sale. This is most likely due to the large quantities of the drugs, which is an indication of possession for sales activity.

A drug offense in California refers to the possession, use, sale or furnishing of any drug or intoxicating substance or drug paraphernalia that is prohibited by law. Most drug offenses in California are now felonies. Possession of drugs for transportation or sale is a serious felony under California law. Currently, there are also more than 100 different types of anabolic steroids that have been developed, and each requires a prescription to be used legally in the United States. Illegal possession of anabolic steroids is also a crime.

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October 13, 2009

San Clemente Teen Faces Serious Sex Crime Charges

Internet sex crimes in Southern California and throughout the rest of the country are becoming more and more common as Web sites such as Craigslist gain popularity. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, an 18-year-old Orange County man was arrested for possibly having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy who asked for an iPod Touch in exchange for sex on Craigslist. The 18-year-old San Clemente man apparently responded to the boy's ad saying he wasn't 18 yet, when he had in fact turned 18 in December. The 18-year-old is facing several charges including lewd acts with a minor, oral copulation with a person under 18 and luring a child with intent to commit a crime and possessing child pornography.

Computer records are apparently an important piece of evidence in this case. In most cases that involve child pornography or soliciting sexual acts involving children, e-mail records, text messages, and cell phone records may be used as prime evidence. In this case, the defendant is facing significant felony sex crime charges. If convicted, he faces a lengthy sentence in state prison, hefty penalties, and required registration as a sex offender, possibly, for the rest of his life. The individual is only 18, but the consequences he might face from these sex crime charges can last an entire lifetime.

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October 8, 2009

Eight Drunk Drivers Arrested at Orange County DUI Checkpoints in Laguna and Irvine

DUI checkpoints in Orange County recently nabbed several drivers who were said to have been driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Laguna and Irvine, according to the Orange County Register. Many of these DUI checkpoints in Orange County are funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety and local cities. City and county police agencies get these funds specifically to conduct DUI enforcement.

What happens if you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint? Do you have a defense? It is certainly possible that you have a very good defense in your case. Although sobriety checkpoints or DUI checkpoints are legal, the procedures used by law enforcement may not be carried out properly. There are rules set forth by courts that may not always be followed by police officials. For example, one rule is that police DUI checkpoint should provide adequate advance warning to the motorist of the roadblock ahead. In other words, the driver should have an alternate route of travel “escape route” should the driver wish to avoid the checkpoint. But what most law enforcement agencies do is they either don't have this escape route and if they do, they place a squad car at that point to discourage motorists from "escaping."

Continue reading "Eight Drunk Drivers Arrested at Orange County DUI Checkpoints in Laguna and Irvine" »

October 6, 2009

Woman Says She Was Arrested for Possession of Medical Marijuana

Drug crimes, especially those involving marijuana or concentrated cannabis, can be extremely complex and controversial because the laws involving these drugs are convoluted and difficult to understand. The San Bernardino Sun recently reported that the vice principal of a school in San Bernardino, who was arrested on charges of possessing marijuana for sale, told police that she was using the drug for medicinal purposes. Officials arrested the woman after finding 12 ounces of low-grade marijuana and 2.8 grams of a high grade variety in her SUV. The woman told officials that she started using medical marijuana two years ago for a bad knee. According to the news report, this woman did not have a doctor authorization document at the time of her arrest.

The California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 or Proposition 215 legalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use with a doctor's recommendation. Police cannot arrest or charge a person who has a doctor's prescription. Often referred to as a “Medical Marijuana Card” for marijuana use. Still, we often see law enforcement agencies continue to arrest individuals who possess even small amounts of marijuana for medical use. When it comes to medical marijuana, the law is complex and can seem unclear because although Prop 215 allows medical marijuana in California, yet the drug is still illegal under federal law.

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October 1, 2009

Orange County Hit-and-Run DUI Incident Ends in the Ocean

A 32-year-old man is facing criminal charges in Orange County for driving under the influence and hit-and-run, according to a news report in the Daily Pilot. The man apparently struck and injured a pedestrian while drunk driving and then took off and jumped into the ocean in Newport Beach to evade police and avoid getting arrested for DUI. He was, however, spotted in the ocean by a police helicopter and apprehended. Police said the 48-year-old woman who was struck suffered moderate injuries in the hit and run collision. The man is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and could face up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted of felony DUI charges.

The consequences of a DUI can be devastating, particularly if the accident involved injuries and is grouped with other criminal charges such as hit-and-run. This is why seeking legal assistance from an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer is of the utmost importance to ensure that your rights are protected. In cases where the victim dies, a defendant in a DUI accident case may even face murder or vehicular manslaughter charges.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime. A driver who is involved in an auto accident in California shall stop at the scene, exchange information (car insurance, identity, contact) and render aid to the injured party if possible. You are required to stop by law, even if the accident was not your fault.

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September 29, 2009

Four Arrested in Los Angeles Taco Truck Robberies

Police in East Los Angeles arrested four men in connection with a series of armed taco truck robberies, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports. All men were taken into custody for their alleged involvement in at least 22 felony armed robberies of taco trucks beginning in April. Police said two of the men were positively identified in a photo lineup as being responsible for the June 28th robbery and felony assault with a deadly weapon. Three others were also identified shortly afterward. According to the newspaper story, there is still one robbery suspect remaining at large.

Robbery is a serious felony crime with serious consequences in California. It is classified as a violent theft crime because most robberies involve violence or the imminent threat of violence or injury to a victim. California Penal Code section 211 defines robbery as "the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear." If use of a weapon or firearm is involved in the theft or if there is gang involvement, defendants may face "enhancements," that could lead to much stiffer penalties.

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September 24, 2009

Teen Driver Convicted of DUI Second-Degree Murder

An 18-year-old Orange County man was reportedly the first juvenile to be charged as an adult with murder in a drunk driving crash. According to this news report, he was 17 at the time of the Orange County DUI accident, which killed his teen passenger, a Tustin girl. An Orange County jury found the teen driver guilty of one count of second-degree murder for being drunk behind the wheel and one misdemeanor count of driving without a license. His driver's license had apparently been suspended the day before the fatal car accident.

The teen driver reportedly had several drinks during a party in his Santa Ana home and crashed into a pole while driving his Mercedes between 102 and 112 mph, prosecutors said. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.11 percent, which is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The teen, convicted of DUI and second-degree murder, faces 15 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced in October.

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September 22, 2009

Long Beach DUI Charges against Man Who Crashed into Building

A 27-year-old man was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after he reportedly lost control of his pickup truck and crashed into a building in Long Beach. According to this news article, the man was not seriously injured and no one else was hurt in the drunk driving crash. The man was reportedly driving toward the 710 Freeway when he lost control of his Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and hit the east wall of a recreation center. The building sustained moderate damage. The driver was booked for DUI and driving on a suspended license.

It is illegal under the California Vehicle Code to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs:

23152 (a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.

(b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

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September 18, 2009

Takakjian & Sitkoff Introduces New Drug Crime Website

As a California Criminal Defense Law Firm, Takakjian & Sitkoff is happy to share their new drug crime website as an important resource for those interested in learning more about laws surrounding drug offenses and the consequences of such crimes. The new website, www.californiadrugcrimedefenselawyer.com/, supplies a wide-range of information regarding misdemeanor drug charges, felony drug charges, drug manufacturing, drug possession, drug distribution, and many other elements of drug offenses.

In accordance with efforts to lower crime, laws pertaining to drug crimes are subject to change, in which the public should be kept up-to-date on such developments that could potentially directly affect them. The lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff are pleased to have their drug crime website available as a means of helping educate the public on new and existing critical laws surrounding drug offenses. Drug charge penalties can be quite severe and mostly depend on the amount of drugs a person is accused of possessing, in addition to the kind of drug or drugs in question. Whether or not a person facing drug charges has a previous criminal record will also influence the charges held against them.

The experienced California drug crime defense attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff have devoted many years to ensuring that those accused of a drug offense are aware of their rights and receive quality legal representation. For more information regarding drug crime general facts, legal resources, or more, visit www.californiadrugcrimedefenselawyer.com/. The California drug crime defense lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff can be reached at 866-430-8383.

September 17, 2009

Drug Courts Help Lower Relapse as a Good Alternative to Jail

There is an interesting news article about drug court in the Desert Dispatch. The article talks about a San Bernardino County court program which makes healthy living and employment mandatory for program participants who are recovering from drug addiction. This particular drug court program encourages healthy activities such as sports for recovering addicts through mandatory monthly activities. In order to be part of the program, participants must go to mandatory court hearings, pass drug tests, participate in drug treatment and work toward getting a job. In Barstow alone, there are 62 individuals participating in the drug court program.

Drug courts all over Southern California are becoming an extremely popular alternative to jail for those convicted of relatively minor drug crimes, such as possession of drugs and being under the influence of drugs. A study in 2005 in Barstow, California showed that recidivism rates were remarkably lower for those who participated in a drug court.

The study found fewer drug court graduates were rearrested. The statistics for those rearrested after completing the program were 17 percent of drug court grads and 29 percent of drug court participants. This study used information from a number of California counties including Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and other counties.

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September 15, 2009

Juveniles Face Vandalism Charges in Los Angeles

A tagging group in Los Angeles County has been blamed for more than 600 acts of vandalism and about $275,000 in damage. According to this CBS news report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies served search warrants at six locations and made seven arrests including two adults and five juveniles. They were all charged with felony vandalism. The arrests reportedly followed a two-month investigation. Four of the five juveniles who were arrested were already on probation for vandalism-related crimes, the news article stated.

When juveniles face criminal charges, it is an extremely challenging situation. In most cases, these matters go through Juvenile Court and the California Juvenile Justice System as opposed to adult court. The goal of juvenile court is to help rehabilitate children whereas in adult court, the focus is on punishment. This of course does not mean that your child will not face severe punishment in juvenile court. In some cases, children may be charged as adults. This is particularly true with felony crimes or violent crimes such as robbery, sexual assault or murder.

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September 10, 2009

Man in Santa Ana Charged with DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter

A 37-year-old Orange County man has been arrested for felony driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter in connection with death of his passenger in a July 26 traffic accident. According to this news report in The Orange County Register, the defendant was driving an SUV on a Santa Ana street when he lost control and struck a tree. The SUV rolled over and the passenger was ejected and sustained fatal injuries.

Driving under the influence – whether it's alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription drugs -- is a serious crime in California especially when it involves a serious injury or fatality. A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges.

California Penal Code section 191.5 (a) states: "Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence."

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September 8, 2009

Twelve Arrested in Orange County on Prostitution Charges

Eleven women and one man are facing sex crime charges in Orange County after the county's human trafficking task force raided a chiropractor's office in Garden Grove, which they say, was a front for a brothel. According to this news report in The Orange County Register, police arrested a 23-year-old man for running the operation and 11 women on prostitution charges. Police say the women are being treated as "victims of human trafficking." They are also investigating whether the chiropractor, who owns the office, knew about the brothel operations there.

If you have been charged with prostitution or solicitation, the consequences not only pose legal challenges, but are also socially debilitating. An Orange County arrest for prostitution or other sex offenses will inevitably involve an emotional component that often leads to your case being tried in the court of public opinion rather than being decided based on a strict interpretation of California criminal laws.

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September 3, 2009

New California Law for DUI Drivers

A new California law, which took effect last month, requires mandatory ignition interlock devices on motor vehicles owned and operated by motorists convicted of driving on a suspended license due to a previous alcohol-related conviction. According to this news report, a person who is required and fails to install an ignition interlock device is guilty of a misdemeanor. One who falls into the category of driving with a suspended license for a DUI-related conviction will be assessed a $40 administrative fee for verification of the device's installation. For more information, please visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Web site (www.dmv.ca.gov).

Driving under the influence is a serious offense in California. It can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony in California depending on the nature of the incident, the seriousness of injuries and the driver's level of intoxication. In California, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. It is also illegal in California to drive under the influence of drugs – be it recreational or prescription drugs.

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September 1, 2009

Los Angeles Medical Mariuana Dispensaries Raided, Owner Arrested

Federal and local agents raided two medical marijuana dispensaries in the Los Angeles area arresting the 50-year-old owner of the dispensaries at his home. According to an Associated Press news report, drug task force agents served a state search warrant at the medical marijuana collectives at Culver City and West Los Angeles. Officials apparently seized 100 pounds of marijuana, 200 live plants and about $100,000 in cash, the news report said.

The passage of California's Proposition 215 legalized medical marijuana possession in this state. However, marijuana possession is still illegal under federal law. This has led to problems with enforcement in California, especially in the Los Angeles area, where medical marijuana dispensaries are raided by federal drug enforcement agents. This discrepancy between federal and state law has resulted in numerous drug crime arrests and charges that are not actually warranted. Most medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives are operating legally under state law. The voters of California approved the possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes. This discrepancy between federal and state law should be resolved.

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August 31, 2009

Takakjian & Sitkoff Launches New Sex Crime Defense Website

The California criminal defense law firm of Takakjian & Sitkoff is proud to make known the introduction of its new California sex crime defense website which focuses on the many legal complexities of various sexual offenses. The resourceful site, www.california-sexcrimedefense-lawyers.com/, is designed to help educate the public on the legal issues pertaining to rape, solicitation, molestation, sexual battery, lewd conduct, and much more.

As sex crime defense attorneys who have years of experience in California, Takakjian & Sitkoff hopes its new website will be used as a helpful tool for those seeking information pertaining to sexual offenses and the consequences thereof. Sex crimes are often viewed with an unforgiving eye in our society even before an actual verdict has been made. Accusations relating to sexual offenses should never be taken or made lightly, considering the strict penalties that can be imposed upon a person. If convicted for a sex crime in California, a person may potentially be punished by having to register as a sex offender, serve a lengthy jail sentence, pay large fines, and risk the demise of close relationships with family and friends in addition to experiencing difficulty obtaining employment in the future.

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August 28, 2009

Los Angeles Officer Charged with Sex Crime

A police officer at the Los Angeles International Airport has been arrested for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl at a foster home operated by his mother in Inglewood, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. The 31-year-old officer reportedly "inappropriately touched" the girl. Police officials say no further misconduct was alleged.

When anyone is charged with a sex crime, such as child molestation, sexual battery or sexual assault, it is an extremely serious allegation that can have devastating consequences on their personal life and career. That is especially true when the defendant happens to be a law enforcement officer. If convicted, he or she would definitely face termination from their employment in the law enforcement agency. It will most certainly mark the end of their career in law enforcement. That is why it is extremely important to get skilled legal representation whenever you become aware that you are being investigated for a sex crime. The sooner a skilled and experienced Los Angeles sex crime defense attorney intervenes and gets a handle on the case, the more you increase your chances of getting a positive outcome in your situation.

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August 27, 2009

Takakjian & Sitkoff Presents New California Drunk Driving Defense Website

The California DUI law firm Takakjian & Sitkoff is pleased to announce the launching of its new drunk driving defense website, which provides valuable information regarding DUI-related offenses in California and the legal matters surrounding them. Considering that DUI laws in California are some of the most strict and complicated, the site, www.californiadrunkdrivingdefense-lawyers.com/, provides resources and particulars regarding DUI penalties, underage DUI, field sobriety tests, vehicular manslaughter, and much more.

The attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff have acquired a broad range of skill and knowledge in drunk driving defense and hope to help educate and warn the public about how the consequences of a DUI conviction vary depending on the circumstances of a particular incident. In order to be arrested for driving with an alleged blood alcohol level of .08% or above, law enforcement must conduct specific tests that can sometimes be faulty due to defective equipment or improper execution. The complexities of these tests are also explained on the site to help drivers understand what they may confront if pulled over for being suspected of driving under the influence.

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August 26, 2009

Man Arrested for DUI Robbery and Hit-and-Run in Orange County

A 27-year-old Pomona man is facing drunk driving and several other criminal charges in Orange County after police say he hit two parked cars, struck another vehicle and robbed a cell phone from a passer-by in Fullerton. According to a news report, Fullerton police officers arrested the man for robbery, DUI, hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.

All these charges are extremely serious and could have disastrous legal consequences including jail time, hefty financial penalties and costly legal fees. Driving under the influence is a crime in California. It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more. It is also a serious violation of the California Vehicle Code section 20002 to leave the scene of an accident; you are required to stop even if the accident only involves property damage and exchange identification and information with the other parties involved.

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August 24, 2009

Los Angeles DUI Arrest of Actress

Joyce DeWitt, former television actress and star of "Three's Company" has been arrested and charged with drunk driving in Los Angeles, according to this UPI news report.

The 60-year-old DeWitt was arrested after she allegedly drove around a barricade set up for a July 4 fireworks display, parked her car and appearing intoxicated, approached a uniformed police officer on foot. El Segundo police officials said DeWitt failed a field sobriety test, commonly referred to as “FSTs” and she was arrested for driving under the influence.

In the state of California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol level or BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. Celebrity DUI cases get the most publicity and coverage in the media as it happened in this particular case with Joyce DeWitt. However, every day, thousands are charged with driving under the influence. The consequences and costs of a drunk driving arrest and DUI conviction are severe and could include jail time, loss of license, required alcohol or drug counseling and hefty fines that could run into thousands of dollars.

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August 21, 2009

Orange County Man Charged with Grand Theft

The Orange County District Attorney has charged the former administrator of a Boys & Girls Club chapter with felony grand theft and other theft related offenses alleging that he stole $116,000 from the organization. According to an Orange County Register news report, the man pleaded not guilty to those charges. Prosecutors accused him of using the club funds to pay his wife a salary for a job she never held or performed. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 20 years in state prison.

Theft-related offenses in California involve taking another person's property without their consent. Some of the theft offenses are charged based on the value of the items that are taken. Theft is described as a crime of "moral turpitude" which can have far reaching ramifications, including denial of both employment and professional licenses. Not only could you face jail time and hefty fines, but a theft conviction can stain your reputation, jeopardizing your career and your future.

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August 19, 2009

DUI Defendants May Challenge Breath Tests, Court Rules

The California Supreme Court has made a recent ruling that California drunk driving defendants in should be able to challenge breath test results in court. According to an Associated Press news report, the court is basically allowing defendants to question the science of breath tests, which use a standard formula called "Partition Ratio" to convert the amount of alcohol vapor in the lungs into a blood alcohol level.

The problem with this science is that breath-to-blood ratios vary greatly throughout the population and from person to person, depending on factors such as body temperature, atmospheric pressure, medical conditions and the precision of the measuring device. What this means is that the same breath test result for one person's breath could erroneously signal intoxication while for another it could mean that they simply had a glass of wine with their dinner.

The recent California Supreme Court ruling opens the door to breath test challenges, an option that has remained closed to most DUI defendants over the last two decades. The court said in its ruling that evidence of the variability of these tests can henceforth be shown to juries. This ruling confirms what any DUI defense lawyer already knows – that one-size-fits-all breath tests don't tell the real story for all suspects.

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August 17, 2009

Angeles National Forest DUI, Murder Charges: Bicyclist Killed, 2 Injured

A 20-year-old man was arrested for murder, hit-and-run and driving under the influence after an accident in the Angeles National Forest where he allegedly crashed his car into a group of bicyclists. According to this news report, a 43-year-old bicyclist was killed and two others were hospitalized with serious injuries.

A Los Angeles drunk driving offense can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. In cases where there is serious injury or death and the driver is suspected of being under the influence, he or she could be charged with manslaughter or murder in addition to felony drunk driving. Obviously, these are extremely serious charges that present serious consequences including lengthy jail or prison time, hefty fines and suspension or revocation of driver's license. A murder or manslaughter conviction could have long-lasting consequences.

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August 14, 2009

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge was charged with misdemeanor drunk driving after a "minor sideswipe" with another vehicle, according to this news report. LAPD officers apparently pulled over the judge after the minor accident. He was released on $30,000 bail. The news report states that the judge hears criminal cases in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In the state of California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher in California.

A drunk driving charge is extremely serious. A DUI in California can be treated as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the nature and seriousness of the incident. If there are injuries or fatalities involved in the alleged DUI accident, the defendant will face felony charges. If the auto accident in question is not serious and there are no injuries, it will most likely be a misdemeanor. However, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, DUI charges can have grave consequences and can include jail time, driver's license suspension, community service and probation.

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August 12, 2009

New CA DUI Law to Be Tougher on First-Time Offenders

A new state law that is in the works, if approved, could require first-time California DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock breath testing device (IID) into their vehicle's ignition. According to this news report, the bill's author, Mike Feur, a state senator from Los Angeles, claims that it will deter the 45,000 repeat drunk drivers who are arrested each year across California.

If this proposed bill becomes law, first-time drunk driving law offenders in four counties would be required to install the devices. IID’s are basically about the size of a cell phone and wired to the vehicle's ignition. The driver would not be able to start the vehicle until his or her blood alcohol level is below the legal limit. In California, as in almost all other states, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.

This proposed law is flawed and unfair because it treats first-time CA DUI offenders the same as repeat offenders. It would be required to be on the vehicle for six months. And there are questions about how effective these devices are. For example, a determined person can get someone else to blow into the device to help start the vehicle. Sometimes, false positives caused, for example, the use of mouthwashes can cause cars to stall or shut off while on the road.

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August 7, 2009

Driver License Suspension for Boating Under the Influence

A California State Senator wants boaters convicted of operating their boat under the influence to lose their driver's license as well, Havasu News reports. Senator John J. Benoit, R-Bermuda Dunes, has introduced SB 154, which would basically cause the suspension of California driver's license for individuals convicted of boating under the influence.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles used to suspend driver's licenses for those convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) in the mid 90s. But that procedure was ordered stopped by the California Court of Appeals in 2008, citing lack of statutory authority.

This bill basically calls for the DMV to suspend the driving privilege of anyone convicted with a prior California DUI or BUI conviction. It would also mandate that anyone convicted of boating under the influence attend and complete an alcohol education program. The California Department of Boating and Waterways estimates that nearly half of all deaths on California's waterways are caused by impaired vessel operators. The bill has been passed by the Senate and also got the support of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. It is awaiting action by the full Assembly.

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August 5, 2009

Sheriff's Deputy Sentenced for Molesting Girl

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy has been sentenced to one year in jail for allegedly groping a 15-year-old girl whose father was in the hospital. According to this news report, the 45-year-old courtroom bailiff from Long Beach pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of committing lewd acts with a minor.

The deputy was sentenced to three years probation and will be required to register as a sex offender. Officials say the victim was a daughter of the man's friend, who was in the hospital. The deputy was relieved from duty at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

If you are being accused of a sex crime it is critical that you talk to experienced criminal defense attorneys. A sex crime conviction could mean long-term incarceration in a county jail or state prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender for the rest of your life. A skilled Los Angeles County sex offense lawyer will confidentially yet aggressively defend you and ensure that your constitutional rights are protected.

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August 3, 2009

Ventura County Fatal DUI Crash, Woman Arrested

An 11-year-old boy died in a Ventura County car accident after his aunt, who police say may have been under the influence of prescription drugs at the time, crashed their car. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the boy sustained severe head, lung and spine injuries. His aunt was reportedly driving her SUV with the boy in the rear passenger seat when she failed to stop at a stop sign and crashed into a pickup truck at a Ventura County intersection. She was arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs.

Under California law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs – whether the drugs are recreational or prescription drugs. If an incident results in fatal injuries to a person other than the intoxicated driver, the defendant could be looking at felony DUI as well as CA vehicular manslaughter charges, which have serious consequences including jail time and hefty fines.

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July 31, 2009

Los Angeles Man Convicted of Medicare Fraud, Identity Theft

A Los Angeles man has been convicted of Medicare fraud. According to this CBS News report, prosecutors say a Los Angeles man who prescribed unnecessary motorized wheelchairs using a doctor's stolen identity has been convicted for defrauding Medicare for $7.7 million. The 59-year-old man was found guilty of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to federal officials, the man prescribed hundreds of these wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries between 2005 and 2008. Some of the victims told officials that they were "recruited" into the scam with the promise of free exams and free medical equipment.

A federal offense in California is any offense that violates the laws contained in the United States Criminal Code. These offenses are mostly "white collar crimes" dealing with different types of fraud, including health care fraud. All federal laws passed by the United States Congress come under the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the federal government. The executive branch has the responsibility of enforcing these laws and the judicial branch adjudicates the articles contained in the U.S. criminal code.

Federal courts can impose severe penalties on those convicted of a federal offense. If you have been charged with a federal crime, you need the skill and experience of a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles at Takakjian & Sitkoff Please call for a free consultation. Our criminal defense team collectively has more than 60 years of criminal defense, criminal trial, prosecution and investigation experience. We have the knowledge and dedication to provide a strong defense in your federal case. Call us today for a free case discussion.

July 29, 2009

California Death Penalty Rates Much Higher in Orange County, Study Finds

A recent investigation and subsequent analysis by the Sacramento Bee newspaper shows that individuals convicted of homicide in California are more likely to receive the death sentence in conservative counties, particularly in the southern part of the state. According to this news report; between 1998 and 2007, prosecutors got approximately one death penalty conviction for every 100 murders statewide. In Orange County, the rate was twice as high. And in Riverside County the death penalty rate was three times as high, the report stated.

Any violent crime conviction in California can have devastating consequences. But with a murder conviction, you are looking at the ultimate penalty. California is a death penalty state. So if someone is found guilty of a special circumstance first-degree murder, they are looking at the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The stakes are extremely high in any murder case or any other violent crime. If you or someone close to you has been arrested murder or manslaughter or any violent crime such as homicide, robbery, rape or sexual assault; please contact an experienced Southern California criminal defense attorney who has the skill and expertise to defend your rights and fight to get your charges dismissed. At Takakjian & Sitkoff, our attorneys are former prosecutors who have experience and a successful track record defending these serious charges. Call us today for a free consultation.

July 27, 2009

West Los Angeles Criminal Defense and DUI Defense Attorneys

West Los Angeles is a well-known district in Los Angeles within the large Westside region. With its most traversed routes as Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica Blvd, Wilshire Blvd, Sawtelle Blvd, Pico Blvd, Barrington Dr and Bundy Dr, West Los Angeles residents and visitors have quick access to the San Diego and Santa Monica Freeways. As an affluent neighborhood, West Los Angeles has the city’s lowest crime statistics; however, as part of the second largest city in the nation, West Los Angeles is prone its share of incidents that go against the law.

A lot of people who are accused of crimes, such as driving under the influence, never thought that it would happen to them and are typically shocked and confused during their arrest and investigation. It is up to a West Los Angeles DUI defense attorney to educate those facing serious penalties associated with driving under the influence when it comes to his or her rights and what can be done to build a strong defense. At Takakjian & Sitkoff, our lawyers will help prove your innocence and represent you at your DMV administrative hearing so that you can do everything possible to appeal your driver’s license suspension. It is very important that you do not procrastinate in taking action after your DUI arrest, especially since you only have ten days to make an appeal.

With over sixty years collectively in California felony and misdemeanor criminal defense, prosecution, criminal law investigation, judicial, criminal trial and criminal case settlement experience, the skilled West Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff have what it takes to assist you during one of the most challenging times of your life. Contact our office for a free consultation today:

11845 W. Olympic Blvd
Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90064
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July 24, 2009

Sheriff's Deputy Charged in Orange County DUI Accident

Police in Irvine have arrested a senior Orange County Sheriff's official for driving under the influence after he reportedly caused a car accident, based on a Los Angeles Times report. Irvine Police arrested the official after the vehicle she was driving crashed into the back of another car stopped at a red light on Jamboree Road.

She was driving an unmarked Orange County Sheriff's Department vehicle at the time of the Orange County DUI crash, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office. The officer was charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol. Officials say the woman had slurred speech, bloodshot and watery eyes and had trouble keeping her balance during a field sobriety test. She apparently had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 percent, nearly twice the legal limit. Fortunately, the driver of the other vehicle was uninjured.

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher in California. Not only does a DUI charge impose fines and sometimes jail time on a person, it can have drastic effects on an individual’s reputation, personal life and professional career. In this DUI accident, Guidice was transferred from her post as head of Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Patrol to a position at the county's Theo Lacy Jail. If convicted of the DUI charges in Orange County, she faces a maximum of six months in jail.

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July 22, 2009

Southern California Fraud and Embezzlement of Over $1 Million

A Riverside woman was arrested for the CA embezzlement of more than $1 million from a Mercedes Benz car dealership in Anaheim Hills where she worked. According to a news report in the Whittier Daily News, the Orange County District Attorney is charging Sheryl Lynne Law with grand theft by embezzlement, fraud and other counts. Prosecutors say Law wrote 144 fraudulent checks to her sister-in-law, Jessica Newark, of Whittier. Law apparently noted the checks as trade-in payments from the dealership when in fact Newark never traded in a vehicle with the dealership. Newark has also been charged with embezzlement. If convicted of the fraud, both could be sentenced to 63 years in state prison.

If you are convicted of embezzlement, theft, or fraud in California it could have a significant impact on your personal life, your job, career and future. A theft or fraud conviction could not only mean a lengthy jail or prison sentence and hefty fines, but it also tarnishes your reputation. When trust is lost, it is extremely hard to regain – as an employee or as a business. It could do long-term damage and jeopardize your chances of getting a good job.

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July 20, 2009

Ventura County Drug Crime Arrest for Marijuana Cultivation

Police in Ventura County have arrested a Granada Hills man for the California drug offense of cultivating marijuana after finding more than 1,000 plants on his property in Frazier Park. According to this news report in the Ventura County Star, Ventura County Sheriff's Department officials went to the man's property after being told of power outages in the area because of a malfunctioning electrical transformer and noticing a strong smell of marijuana.

Detectives conducted a search of the property and found a marijuana cultivation operation that included the use of hydroponics, officials said. The marijuana plants were found inside the house, garage and an outside building. The rooms were reportedly equipped with grow lights as well. No one was living in the property, but the home's owner was arrested.

California drug offenses refer to the cultivation, possession, sale, use, or furnishing of any drug or controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, which is prohibited by law. Most drug offenses in the state of California are now felonies. The penalties for drug crimes in Ventura County can be very severe. The type or severity of charges usually depends on the quantity, intent to sell or distribute, and other factors such as weapons possession or use, evidence of sales activity, having large amounts of cash, and so on. The seriousness and punishment for drug crimes usually depends on the quantity of drugs confiscated.

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July 17, 2009

“Mooning Amtrak” 2009 - City of Laguna Niguel Hints Arrests May Be Made

Recent news reports indicate that participants may be arrested for participating in the annual “Mooning Amtrak” event that has been held for over thirty years in Laguna Niguel, California. This unsponsored event has drawn thousands of people as they stand next to the rail lines “mooning” passing trains. It is unknown just how many people will show up this time on Camino Capistrano Road on Saturday, July 18th and “moon” passing trains. A smaller crowd is likely because some have said that this year city officials will allegedly “crack down” on the “flashing” conduct and arrests are possible.

Technically a violation of law, exposing one’s buttocks, genitals or private parts is defined as indecent exposure by the California Penal Code. A first offense conviction for indecent exposure in Orange County could involve jail time and repeat offenders can receive up to a year in the county jail or be charged with a felony. Although the law is aimed primarily at those who flash or expose themselves on city streets, a subsection of the law also punishes those who arrange events for others to expose themselves in public. These events supposedly incite lewd or lascivious acts.

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July 17, 2009

Armed Robbery in Redondo Beach by Teen and Adult Accomplices

Three people, including two men and a teenage boy, were arrested in Redondo Beach for armed robbery on the pier. According to a news report in the Daily Breeze, the victim was on the pier when the 16-year-old boy approached, raised his shirt to reveal a silver-colored handgun in his waistband and told the victim, "This is a stickup." The teen suspect then took the victim's skateboard and baseball cap before leaving the scene, the report stated. Two others – who were allegedly lookouts for the 16-year-old – also fled the scene of the theft crime in Los Angeles.

However, the trio was pulled over by Hermosa Beach police near Pacific Coast Highway and Aviation Boulevard. The two men who were arrested were both 18 years old. The vehicle the three were in, a 1999 Toyota Tacoma, was also reported stolen. Officers found the gun, which turned out to be a BB gun along with the skateboard and the victim’scap in the vehicle.

Robbery is considered a violent crime because it involves intimidation, force or fear and in most cases a weapon such as a knife or a firearm. Robbery charges are extremely serious because they may involve physical threat and intimidation. Where victims are injured, defendants could face even more serious charges. When a Los Angeles juvenile crime is of a violent nature, it may have serious repercussions on the minor’s future. A minor has the same constitutional rights as an adult, such as having Miranda rights read to them.

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July 15, 2009

LA Drug Counselor Charged With Selling Drugs to Undercover Police Officers

The founder of a Los Angeles-based anti-drug group is now facing CA drug charges of selling methamphetamine and Ecstasy to an undercover Redondo Beach police detective, according to a recent news report. The co-founder and CEO of the Wall Foundation was reportedly arrested at a Starbucks on Sepulveda Boulevard in El Segundo. Undercover officials made a deal with him to sell them the drugs, police said. The man was arrested when he handed the envelope to the undercover officer in exchange for $480. Officers later discovered that he actually tried to cheat them by giving them rock salt instead of meth and was trying to pass off antihistamine pills as Ecstasy.

Being convicted of drug crimes in Los Angeles, especially sale or transportation of drugs, can be rather severe. However, an accusation of drug possession can be based on an illegal search and seizure by law enforcement officials. If proper police procedures are not followed or if someone’s constitutional rights were violated either during search and seizure or during undercover operations, their drug sales case could be dismissed. Please don't assume that you will be found guilty if you have been arrested on suspicion of drug crimes.

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July 13, 2009

Ventura County DUI and Possession of Explosive Device

California Highway Patrol officials have arrested a man for driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of an explosive device on a public highway in Ventura County. According to a news report in the Camarillo Acorn, CHP officials arrested James Thomas Jacquez, 41, whom they stopped as he was traveling north on the 101 Freeway in Camarillo near Del Norte Boulevard. Jacquez was initially arrested for DUI in Ventura County, but officials later checked his vehicle and found an object under the driver's seat, which they say, is an explosive device. The Ventura County Bomb Squad determined that the device was a homemade bomb and took it away for safe disposal.

Ventura County drunk driving charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the nature of the circumstances and whether anyone other than the drunk driver was injured or killed as a result of the DUI accident. If there was no accident and the driver was stopped because of erratic driving or other suspicions, the driver could face a misdemeanor DUI. However, in this case, the driver was also charged with possession of an explosive device, which is a serious allegation.

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July 10, 2009

Man Arrested for DUI after Rollover Accident

A 20-year-old man was arrested in Riverside for driving under the influence after he allegedly caused a rollover accident, which killed an 18-year-old girl, who was a passenger in his car, The Press-Enterprise reports in an article. The teen died at the scene of the accident because officials say she wasn't wearing a seatbelt. She was ejected from the 1995 Mazda MPV. Police later arrested the man for DUI in California. Hewas apparently driving south on Riverwalk when he hit a curb, causing the car to slide on its side until it hit a tree in the center median and overturned. The vehicle landed on its roof.

When there is a death involved in a DUI-related auto accident, the suspected drunk driver or defendant may also be charged with vehicular manslaughter in addition to felony DUI. These are extremely serious charges with life-altering consequences. If convicted of vehicular manslaughter, you could be looking at lengthy prison time and hefty penalties.

California Penal Code section 191.5 (a) states: “Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.”

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July 8, 2009

Los Angeles County Juvenile Burglary

Police in Whittier arrested a teenager for theft who was reportedly carrying a small refrigerator, which officials say, he stole from a preschool. According to a news report, a witness told police that the boy was carrying the appliance from Hadley Preschool to a nearby residence. Police took the boy in to custody outside his home and returned the refrigerator. Police say other property has also been missing from the school and that they are in the process of obtaining a search warrant for the boy’s residence.

Juvenile crimes in Los Angeles are just as serious and significant as adult criminal charges. The only difference is that juvenile offenses are adjudicated in juvenile courts, which are closed to the media and the public. Juvenile proceedings are closed and the identities of the juveniles are protected. However, that does not mean juveniles are treated with kid gloves or let off easy. The penalties can be severe. Punishment for juvenile crimes could involve lengthy incarceration and can also have a significant impact on your child's future. An adult criminal conviction could go on his or her permanent record.

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July 6, 2009

Ventura Felony DUI Accident

A 49-year-old Ventura man was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after he drifted to opposing lanes of traffic, sideswiped a tow truck, and seriously injured the truck driver. According to a news report in the Ventura County Star, Jeffrey Barnes was driving on Ventura Boulevard near Sherwin Avenue in Ventura when his vehicle went across traffic lanes and hit the truck from Double R Towing. The tow truck driver was transported to a local hospital for treatment of severe back injuries. Barnes also suffered injuries but was later arrested and booked into county jail for felony DUI, California Vehicle Code section 23153 (a).

Drunk driving charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the nature of the incident and the severity of injuries to the other parties. A felony drunk driving conviction can result in lengthy jail or prison time, stiff penalties, loss of driving privileges, probation, alcohol and drug counseling or community service. The costs associated with a DUI in Ventura County are also staggering – fines, attorneys fees, insurance rate hikes and so on.

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July 3, 2009

Los Angeles County DUI Arrest

A woman suspected of driving under the influence slammed into the side of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's patrol car in Compton, according to this CBS News report. The female motorist was arrested for DUI in Los Angeles and the female sheriff's deputy was taken to the hospital for examination and treatment of injuries. The alleged DUI car accident occurred near the 91 Freeway when the woman driving south on Alameda Street crossed onto the wrong side of the road and struck the driver's door on the patrol car. Two other vehicles were also involved, but no one else was injured or arrested, the news report stated.

Under California law, it is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) states: "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." Another section of the Vehicle Code also states that "it is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle."

The consequences of a Southern California DUI arrest are quite significant. The severity of the charges would depend on a defendant's level of intoxication, the extent of injuries involved (to those other than the drunk driver), and the defendant's prior criminal record or DUI record. And a more serious charge of driving under the influence and causing bodily injury can result in significant jail time and a one year driver license suspension.

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July 1, 2009

Female Family Members of Orange County Man Allege Long-Term Sex Abuse

A 71-year-old Cypress man has been arrested for molesting four of his female family members over the last 15 years, the Orange County Register reports in a story. Two of the women are now adults and two others are still minors. The four alleged victims told police that the sexual abuse in Orange County began when they were 12, 3, 6 and 6 respectively. The investigation began last month when the four women went to the Cypress Police Department.

All four women accused the man of inappropriate touching, photographing and molesting. He threatened to "kill them" if they told anyone about the alleged incidents, the news report states. Police arrested him in his Cypress home on May 19 and also found nine revolvers, a semi-automatic handgun, a rifle and shotgun. They also seized three computers to search for other evidence such as photos, officials said.

Punishment for a sex crime offender varies by type and level of charge. A misdemeanor sex crime conviction can be punished by up to one year of county jail time. A conviction for a sex crime can also include lifetime sex offender registration, mandatory counseling, AIDS testing, community service, high fines and probation among other penalties. A felony sex crime conviction can result in a prison sentence. The length of incarceration could depend on the nature of the crime.

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June 29, 2009

Actress Lori Petty Arrested for DUI in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police arrested "Point Break" actress Lori Petty for drunk driving after she struck and injured a skateboarder, according to a Fox News report. The 45-year-old actress was arrested in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. Police say the skateboarder, who was not identified, was treated for injuries at the scene.

It is illegal for drivers 21 years of age or older to drive a motor vehicle or operate any recreational vessel, aquaplane or boat, under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Consequences of a Los Angeles DUI arrest include jail time, formal/informal probation, alcohol or drug rehab, loss or suspension of your driver's license, significant fines, vehicle impoundment and significant auto insurance rate hikes or even insurance policy cancelation. Whether a DUI involves a celebrity or an average person, the consequences are devastating.

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June 15, 2009

Ventura County Felony DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter

A 23-year-old man has been sentenced to six years in prison for striking and killing a Thousand Oaks jogger in August 2008. According to this news report in the Camarillo Acorn, Nicholas LaGrotta pleaded guilty in November to gross vehicular manslaughter in California after the Subaru Forester he was driving struck and killed 46-year-old Karey Marsh as she was jogging on Lindero Canyon Road. Marsh was pronounced dead at the scene. LaGrotta reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent and prosecutors had sought the 10-year maximum penalty. The judge also ordered LaGrotta to pay $126,000 in restitution to Marsh's fiancé and $3,798 in damages to the city of Thousand Oaks.

The penalties for a felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges can be extremely severe. If convicted of these serious charges, you could be looking at several years in prison, hefty fines and restitution, and lengthy suspension or revocation of your driver's license. These consequences could have long-term effects on your personal life and career.

If you or someone you love has been charged with felony drunk driving or vehicular manslaughter in Orange, Los Angeles or Ventura counties, please call Takakjian & Sitkoff for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation. Our experienced California DUI defense attorneys will conduct a thorough, independent investigation into your case and gather the evidence that is needed to make every effort to get your charges dismissed or reduced. A DUI case can be extremely complicated. The stakes are too high. Please do not take any chances. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers in California have the experience and the knowledge of the law and local courts that is necessary to get the best possible result in your case. Call us today at 866-299-4111 to schedule your free consultation.

June 12, 2009

Orange County DUI Charges Result in Woman Sentenced to Jail, Probation

An Orange County woman, who had been accused of hit-and-run in connection with a January DUI auto accident in Orange County in Trabuco Canyon pleaded guilty to driving under the influence with injury. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, Kristen Wilcox has been sentenced to 20 days in jail, three years probation, $390 in fines and three months on the first offender alcohol program. The accident occurred January 26, 2009 when the 23-year-old Wilcox crashed into a light pole on Live Oak Canyon Road.

The incident left almost 400 people without power for several hours and left Wilcox's 17-year-old passenger with minor injuries. Wilcox left the crashed vehicle and injured passenger, but was arrested two hours later in the area by California Highway Patrol officials. Officers determined that Wilcox had been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. Two charges against Wilcox were dismissed – hit-and-run with injury or death and driving under the influence with blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more causing injury or death.

If you are a first-time DUI offender and your accident did not involve major injuries or death, there is a good chance that the court will consider alternative sentencing in your DUI case. Examples of alternative sentencing in DUI cases include alcohol or drug rehabilitation programs, drug court, alcohol counseling, community service and so on. A skilled Orange County DUI defense attorney will help keep you out of jail and get you the help and support you need. If you have been charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, Orange or Ventura counties, please call Takakjian & Sitkoff at 866-299-4111 to find out more information about your legal rights and options.

June 10, 2009

Covina DUI and Hit-and-Run

A La Puente woman was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in California and hit-and-run after she allegedly collided with a Covina police cruiser. According to a news report in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 29-year-old Sandra Faviola Guerra was arrested a mile away from where the crash occurred. Guerra and her female passenger did not suffer significant injuries.

California Highway Patrol officials say the Covina police car was going south on Barranca Avenue approaching Cypress Street with a green light when Guerra was making a right turn on a red light from Cypress to Barranca. The police vehicle was disabled as a result of the crash and the officer could not pursue Guerra. But other officers did and apprehended her a few blocks away. CHP officials are also looking into whether the officer was speeding. The length of skid marks is an indicator of the speed of a vehicle involved in a collision. This is the type of evidence analysis our law firm has extensive experience in evaluating.

In California, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. Leaving the scene of an accident is a violation of Section 20001 of the California Vehicle Code which states: "The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to any person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident."

The consequences of California DUI penalties and a hit-and-run conviction could involve jail time, hefty fines, probation and loss/revocation of your driving privilege. If you have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and/or hit-and-run, it is critical that you contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer right away. If you need help or information about your DUI case, please call Takakjian & Sitkoff at 866-299-4111 for a free consultation.

June 8, 2009

Orange County Youth Pastor Sentenced for Sex with Minor

A former youth church pastor has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for having sex with a 17-year-old girl he met through his youth ministry, according to this news report. Daniel John Pedroza, 28, pleaded guilty to three California felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, two counts of oral copulation of a minor and one count of sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor. Prosecutors asked the judge to give Pedroza a one-year-sentence. But the judge gave him 90 days and placed him on five years of probation.

Pedroza apparently met the girl at the Capistrano Beach church. Their relationship is said to have taken place between July 1 and December 1 at his home and hers when her parents were not home, prosecutors said. The girl told about their sexual relationship to Orange County Social Services staff. Pedroza was then fired by the church and charged.

Sex crimes in Orange County are among those that have the most serious consequences and almost all will involve jail time. Punishment for a sex crime offender depends on the type of crime alleged. A misdemeanor sex crime conviction could result in up to one year of county jail time. A rape, sexual assault or child sex abuse allegation can result in lengthy prison time.

Whatever the nature of the sex crime charges you are facing, you need the skill and expertise of an experienced Los Angeles sex crime defense attorney right from the start. A skilled California criminal defense attorney will make sure that the case is thoroughly investigated and your side of the story is heard. If you are facing sex crime charges, please call Takakjian & Sitkoff at 866-299-4111 for a free consultation and discussion of your case.

June 5, 2009

Driving Under the Influence in Costa Mesa, Teen Arrested

A teenager and a 38-year-old woman were injured after the 18-year-old driver crashed a Porsche near a freeway onramp in Costa Mesa. Police arrested Dominick Anthony McCoy, 18, on suspicion of DUI in California, according to a news report in The Orange County Register. The injured woman was identified as Dorothy Dunlap. Police say the teen was driving at a high rate of speed south on Bear Street near Paularino Avenue when he crashed the car. The Porsche struck an electrical box, went through a freeway sign and came to rest about 20 feet later on the onramp from Bear to the northbound 73 Freeway.

In California, it is illegal for drivers under 21 years of age to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.01 percent or more. The penalties of underage DUI can be severe and could include fines, loss/suspension of driver's license, jail time and participation in an alcohol education or community service program. If the California DUI accident involves injuries or fatalities to passengers (occupants of the vehicle other than the defendant), the penalties could be even more severe.

If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence in Orange, Los Angeles or Ventura counties, please contact Takakjian & Sitkoff for a free consultation. In any DUI case, the stakes are high and the consequences can be devastating. Not seeking the advice of experienced Los Angeles drunk driving defense lawyers can be a costly mistake. Please call us today at 866-299-4111 to find out more information about how we can help you fight your DUI and build a strong defense in your case.

June 3, 2009

Ventura County Drunk Driving Arrest of Man Who Hit Five Parked Cars

Police in Ventura County arrested 26-year-old Jose Gonzalez on suspicion of DUI in California after he allegedly struck five parked vehicles. According to a news report in the Fillmore Gazette, Gonzalez was driving his 2007 black Ford F250 pickup truck south on B Street from Ventura Street at a high rate of speed when his vehicle drifted to the right side of the street and crashed into five, unoccupied parked vehicles. The pickup truck then came to rest in the middle of the street.

Ventura County Sheriff's deputies, who responded to the call, determined that Gonzalez's blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit of 0.08 percent and booked him at county jail for DUI. No one was injured in this collision, the news report stated.

California's "implied consent" laws provide that if you are arrested for drunk driving, you have consented to chemical testing. If you refuse to submit to such testing, then your driving privilege can be suspended. The chemical test will normally consist of your choice of breath or blood analysis. A urine sample can also be taken.

The most commonly used method to determine someone’s blood alcohol level is breath analysis. The problem with breath machines is that California police agencies use different makes and models and they are all prone to a wide variety of problems. Mostly, they are neither reliable nor accurate. An experienced Ventura County DUI defense attorney will have the necessary expertise to determine how accurate the breath test was and to show a jury the machine's defects and inaccuracies. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence in Orange, Los Angeles or Ventura counties, please contact Takakjian & Sitkoff at 866-299-4111 for a free consultation.

June 1, 2009

Orange County Man Arrested on Suspicion of Fraud

A 67-year-old Orange County resident has been arrested on suspicion of embezzlement and identity theft, according to a news report in the Orange County Register. Joseph Anthony Veltre Jr., 67, was arrested by both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach police detectives who say Veltre defrauded investors for seven years in a Ponzi scheme that involved fraudulent "second" trust deeds.

According to the article, after investors put in their money, Veltre would record fraudulent loans against their property and pay them returns with the proceeds. Police also say they suspect Veltre of other financial crimes. Apparently, he did business under several names including Allied Corporate Investments and Sea View Financial Centers with addresses in Tustin and Orange.

Fraud offenses in California such as this are considered "federal offenses." The consequences, if convicted, can be extremely serious. Each count could carry lengthy prison terms and hefty financial penalties. Besides, your reputation as a business person in your community could take a serious hit even with the accusation of fraud. You don't even have to be convicted of fraud to be ostracized from your business circles and community.

Please do not let this happen to you. Do not let the allegation of fraud ruin your life, your business prospects, your career and future. If you or a loved one has been accused of fraud, money laundering or other federal crimes in Orange, Los Angeles or Ventura counties, please contact the experienced California criminal defense lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff by calling 866-299-4111 for a free consultation.

May 29, 2009

Chino Hills Man Arrested on Suspicion of Trying to Lure 13-year-old Girl

Michael Jackson, 24, of Chino Hills was arrested after he allegedly attempted to have sex with a 13-year-old girl, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports. Jackson was reportedly arrested after police say he attempted to kiss and entice a 13-year-old girl into having sex, San Bernardino County Sheriff's officials said. Jackson was apparently at the door of the girl's house selling magazines. The girl told officials that when she opened the door, Jackson made sexual advances and tried to get her to come out of the house.

Sex crimes in California are criminal offenses that are of a sexual nature. They vary in type and by severity of prosecution and punishment. Many of the commonly known crimes that fall into this category are rape, sexual battery, lewd contact, child molestation, prostitution, lewd acts and indecent exposure.

Consequences for a sex crime conviction can be quite severe. Apart from jail time and other hefty penalties, you will also be required to register as a sex offender, which means your name, address and photo could get on a public database. If you have been charged or accused of a sex crime in Southern California, please call Takakjian & Sitkoff to find out how we can help you. We have extensive experience in handling sex offense cases. We will provide early preparation, including legal research and defense identification. Our Los Angeles sex crime defense attorneys will investigate and identify all facts helpful to your defense. Please call us today at 866-299-4111 for a free consultation.

May 27, 2009

Long Beach Juvenile Accused of Murder

A Los Angeles court will decide whether a 15-year-old alleged gang member should stand trial as an adult for murder, according to a news report in the Long Beach Press Telegram. The defendant, who has not been identified because he is a juvenile, is one of two people charged in the April 4 robbery and murder of 27-year-old Garrett Norris of Long Beach. Norris was killed after he tried to stop the two alleged gang members from running off with his belongings including an iPod. Norris was reportedly shot in the chest.

The 15-year-old boy was arrested within a few days of the homicide in California. Police also arrested a second suspect, 24-year-old Tyree Tradell Joyner of Long Beach. Joyner is facing the same special circumstance murder charge as the 15-year-old. The teen is scheduled to have a fitness hearing – which is normally used to determine whether a minor should be tried as an adult.

The Southern California juvenile crime attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff know and understand that immediate intervention by an attorney can often prevent a criminal matter from proceeding to juvenile court or minimize the potential serious consequences that can come from juvenile detention. Each of our partners is a former Deputy District Attorney previously assigned to the Juvenile Justice System. Attorney Steve Sitkoff is a former Superior Court Commissioner who handled juvenile dependency cases.

We will put our experience and knowledge to good use and help you get the best possible result in your case. Handling California juvenile crime cases not only requires experience and knowledge, but also understanding and sensitivity. We understand that this must be a tough time for your family emotionally. If your child has been accused of a crime in Los Angeles, Orange or Ventura counties, please call Takakjian & Sitkoff at 866-299-4111 for a free consultation.

May 25, 2009

Zach Randolph DUI Charge Dismissed

A driving under the influence charge against Los Angeles Clippers forward, Zach Randolph, has been dismissed and reduced to one charge of reckless driving, the Associated Press reports in a story. Randolph was arrested and booked on suspicion of DUI on April 6 and was even suspended for two games because of the incident. The arrest occurred when Randolph was pulled over by two California Highway Patrol officers who reportedly saw his white Rolls-Royce weaving on the 405 Freeway. Officials said the CHP officers could smell alcohol inside the car and conducted a field sobriety test. Randolph was then arrested and charged with the DUI. Randolph has pleaded not guilty on the reckless driving count.

Driving under the influence in Los Angeles
and reckless driving are both serious charges. In California, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. It is also illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more. Arresting law enforcement officers use various tools to determine whether a motorist is driving under the influence. Breath tests and field sobriety tests are the most common tools authorities use to gauge a driver's level of intoxication.

However, as DUI defense attorneys, we have seen that neither breathalyzer tests nor field sobriety tests are a good way to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated. Both methods have a wide margin of error, which is probably why the DUI charge against Randolph was dismissed. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, you need a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles drunk driving defense attorney who can thoroughly investigate and prove your case. If you or a loved one has been charged with drunk driving in Orange, Los Angeles or Ventura counties, please call Takakjian & Sitkoff at 866-299-4111 for a free consultation today.

May 22, 2009

Orange and LA County Robberies: Four Men Arrested

Huntington Beach police have arrested four men in their 20s, who have been accused of committing theft crimes in Orange County by robbing two residents at their home. A fourth man, a 50-year-old, has also been charged in connection with three armed home invasion robberies in Los Angeles County, The Orange County Register reports in an article. Those arrested were – Richard Martinez, 27, Jesse Paul Rubio, 28, Brian Dean Nightingale, 29, and Anthony Michael Vega, 50. Martinez and Rubio are accused of committing a similar home invasion robbery in Newport Beach in December.

Officials also believe these men may be behind several other robberies and residential burglaries in Los Angeles in addition to Orange and San Bernardino counties. Authorities say they have recovered stolen property and large cache of firearms, some of which were reported stolen in the burglaries. The four men face 34 felony charges.

Burglary and theft are property crimes in California. However, robbery falls under the category of "violent crime" because it usually involves threat and intimidation, usually with a weapon. Robbery is a far more serious crime than burglary with severe consequences. If convicted, a defendant can be looking at a lengthy prison sentence, sometimes a life sentence depending on the number of counts alleged.

If you have been accused of robbery, you need a skilled and experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney who will independently and thoroughly investigate the case and determine the facts. The evidence in such cases is very significant. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff will carefully examine the evidence and build a strong defense that will get a violent crime defendant acquitted or their charges reduced. Please call us today at 866-299-4111for a free consultation and case evaluation.

May 20, 2009

Los Angeles Vehicular Manslaughter Caused by Drunk Driver, Officials Say

A passenger in his 20s was reportedly killed on impact after a vehicle driven by a suspected drunk driver crashed into a street sign in Baldwin Village, CBS News reports in an article. The fatal DUI car accident in Los Angeles occurred at the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard and Rodeo Road, police officials said. The driver, a woman, was arrested and taken to the hospital in critical condition. Officials expect the driver will be charged with drunk driving after she is released from the hospital.

In the state of California, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Driving under the influence can be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the DUI incident involves major injury or death to a person other than the alleged drunk driver, then it will almost always be charged as a felony, which is a more serious offense. In addition to a felony DUI charge, the defendant may also be facing a Los Angeles DUI vehicular manslaughter charge.

California Penal Code section 191.5 (a) states: "Gross vehicular manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle… and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence."

Whether you are facing a felony DUI charge or a vehicular manslaughter charge in California, you need the knowledge and skill of an experienced California DUI defense lawyer. You could be facing serious consequences if convicted including prison time and hefty fines. Please call Takakjian & Sitkoff at 866-299-4111 for a free consultation regarding your DUI case today.

May 1, 2009

Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Facing Sex Crime Charges

Police in Wildomar arrested an Orange County sheriff's deputy on suspicion of committing California sex crimes against a child younger than 14 years of age, the North County Times reports in a story. Wilbert Dale Garcia, 49, was arrested during a traffic stop in Murrieta. Garcia was placed on administrative leave following his arrest.

Sex crime charges are extremely serious because of the consequences. If convicted of committing lewd or sexual acts on children, you could be sentenced to serve time in prison, your reputation will be tarnished, your career could be in jeopardy and you will very likely be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. That is why, if you have been charged with committing a sexual crime against a child, you need a reputed and skilled Southern California criminal defense attorney, who has experience aggressively defending sex crime charges.

California Penal Code Section 288 (a) defines lewd act with a child under 14 as such: "Any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes provided for in Part 1, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six or eight years."

Whether the defendant is a cop, as in this case, or a civilian, these penalties do not change. Please contact an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who will sort out the facts in your case and help establish your innocence. If you or a loved one has been accused of committing sex crimes or child sex abuse or lewd acts on a child under 14, please contact an experienced sex crime defense lawyer in Orange County at Takakjian & Sitkoff. Call 888-579-4844 for a free consultation and case evaluation.

April 29, 2009

Fontana Man Arrested on Suspicion of Drunk Driving

Police in Pasadena arrested a 48-year-old on suspicion of drunk driving after he allegedly ran a red light and struck two vehicles, the Pasadena Star News reports in an account. Andre Rushing, 48, of Fontana was driving on Sierra Madre Boulevard when he struck a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer traveling on Sierra Madre Villa Avenue, which caused the vehicle to roll over. Rushing's vehicle then struck a 2002 Honda Accord. Six passengers in the Blazer and two in the Honda were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life threatening, Rushing was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in Los Angeles. Officials are not aware of his blood alcohol content pending blood test results.

A conviction or DUI arrest in California could have serious consequences. You could lose your driving privilege, your job and career could be in jeopardy, and if your DUI involved a serious injury or fatal auto accident, you could be facing vehicular manslaughter or even murder charges. If convicted, you could be looking at a lengthy prison sentence.

The most common yet serious consequence of a DUI arrest is the possibility of having your driver's license revoked or suspended. Following a drunk driving arrest, an Administrative Per Se (APS hearing) is needed to save your driving privilege. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must be contacted within 10 days of the DUI arrest to request an administrative hearing to stop your automatic driver's license suspension.

The DMV could also impose restrictions on your license or completely revoke it. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, please contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Los Angeles at Takakjian & Sitkoff. We can contact the DMV for you, defend your DUI charge and stop the driver's license suspension/revocation process. Call us today for your free consultation.

April 27, 2009

Singer Chris Brown Pleads Not Guilty in Domestic Violence Case

Singer Chris Brown has pleaded not guilty to two charges of felony assault in a domestic violence case against him, according to this CNN report. The 19-year-old Brown is facing charges of assaulting singer Rihanna, his former girlfriend. If convicted of these charges, the sentence could range from probation to four years and eight months in prison. The alleged attack occurred in February that began when 21-year-old Rihanna, who had been dating Brown, found a text message from another woman on his cell phone. Brown issued a public apology for the incident in February.

In this case, Chris Brown has also been charged with making criminal threats. What is a criminal threat? California Penal Code section 422 states that you can be charged with a crime if you threaten to kill or inflict great bodily injury, even if you don't intend to carry out the act. The threat can be verbal, in writing through e-mail or texting via cell phone. The only requirement for this charge is that a person is reasonably fearful for his or her personal safety. A criminal threat charge is a "wobbler," which means that it could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

You don't have to be married in order to face a California domestic violence charge. You could be living with your girlfriend or even go out on a first date and an incident stemming from such relationships could be viewed as "domestic violence." If you are facing an assault or domestic violence charge, please get in touch with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, who has the experience and the resources to build your defense and obtain the best possible result in your case. Call Takakjian & Sitkoff for a free and confidential consultation.

April 24, 2009

Rialto DUI Fatal Collision Results in Murder Charges

Police arrested a man on suspicion of drunk driving in Rialto after he allegedly struck a vehicle, killing one woman and injuring three others during a police pursuit. According to this news report in the San Bernardino Sun, police arrested 19-year-old Johnny Morales on CA vehicular manslaughter charges because, officials say, he was driving under the influence of alcohol. Police officers attempted to stop Morales at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Rancho Avenue after they reportedly saw him make a traffic violation. He did not stop and police pursued him.

The chase ended when Morales rear-ended a 1991 Honda Accord that was making a left turn onto Foothill from Riverside Avenue. Margarita Rodriguez-Dominguez, a 40-year old Rialto resident who was one of the Accord's passengers, died. The driver and two other passengers were injured.

Drunk driving in California may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. In this case, where it involved fatal and serious injuries, the defendant was charged with a serious felony – murder. The situation was worsened because Morales allegedly tried to flee from the police when they attempted to stop him.

If you have been charged with drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter or murder in California, please call a knowledgeable and experienced California DUI defense attorney at Takakjian & Sitkoff to find out how we can help you defend your DUI charge. Our goal is to keep you out of jail, get your charges dismissed or reduced and get you the help you need. Please call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

April 22, 2009

CA Sex Offender Arrested for Finding Home Too Close to School and Park

A sex offender who recently moved to Joshua Tree was arrested after he ignored police officials' warnings that he should not move next to an elementary school. Rowland Chorn, 29, was arrested on suspicion of failing to comply with California sex offender registration guidelines, according to this news report. Chorn apparently came into the San Bernardino County Sheriff's station to register his new address, but deputies objected because his home was too close to the Joshua Tree Elementary School and Sunburst Park. Jessica's Law bans sex offenders from living within 2,640 feet of a school and within 2,000 feet from a park.

The tag "sex offender" doesn't come of after your conviction, incarceration or even after you serve time. You may think you have turned a corner or may have even served time for a sex crime you did not commit. But society is unforgiving and your sex offender label stays forever. It is becoming increasingly difficult for those who have been convicted of sex crimes in California to find housing. Many live on the streets as transients. This is probably the most devastating consequence of being convicted of a sex crime.

If you have been charged with a sex crime, it is critical that you immediately consult with an aggressive and skilled Southern California sex crime defense attorney. It would be even better if you contact an attorney while you are still being investigated. A skilled criminal defense lawyer may be able to nip the case in the bud even before charges are filed or before the story gets to the media and your reputation is dragged in the mud. At Takakjian & Sitkoff. our attorneys are former prosecutors who know exactly how to find loopholes and discrepancies in the prosecution's case. Call us today at 888-579-4844 to discuss your case. We will help build a strong defense and get your charges dismissed.

April 17, 2009

Santa Monica College Sexual Assault

Chase Guy Reynolds, a 40-year-old Malibu man, has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault of a Santa Monica college student on campus, the Los Angeles Daily News reports in an article. Reynolds has been charged with two counts of sexual battery by restraint, one count of attempted sexual penetration by a foreign object and one count of second-degree robbery. Prosecutors say Reynolds approached the female student in the college's library, sexually assaulted her and then stole her house key. If convicted, Reynolds faces up to 13 years in prison for his Los Angeles sex crime.

California Penal Code section 243.4 (a) defines the act of sexual battery as when a person "touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against the will of the person touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse." Given the allegedly violent nature of this particular Santa Monica incident, the defendant is facing more severe charges.

In any sex crime case, there is a strong possibility of a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. This is exactly what raises the stakes in a sex crime case. If you have been charged with any sex crime such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, lewd conduct or sexual abuse, you would be well-advised to immediately contact an experienced Southern California criminal defense lawyer who will not only fight to protect your legal rights, but also make sure that your side of the story is heard and understood.

The skilled California sex crime lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff will strive to craft a winning defense that will yield the best possible result in your case. Call us today at 888-579-4844 for a free and confidential consultation.

April 14, 2009

Redmond O’Neal’s Drug Smuggling Charges

Redmond O'Neal, son of actors Ryan O'Neal and Farah Fawcett, has been charged with a felony count of bringing drugs to a Los Angeles area jail, KTLA News reports in a story. O'Neal was reportedly taken into custody after police say they found him to be in possession of heroin at a security checkpoint in the parking lot of the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. The 24-year-old O'Neal was apparently at the jail to visit a friend who was incarcerated. When stopped by officials, O'Neal admitted to possessing drugs and is now facing California drug crime charges.

In January, O'Neal pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine. At the time, he was already serving three years probation after pleading guilty to possession of heroin and methamphetamine and driving under the influence.

Both heroin and methamphetamine are illegal or controlled substances. Possessing these substances in any amount is a crime. The penalties of a conviction for sales or drug possession in California are severe. The consequences can be dire if you violate your terms of probation stemming from prior drug crime convictions. However, very often, we find that an accusation of drug possession is based on illegal search and seizure by the police. If your arresting officer did not follow proper police procedures or if your Constitutional rights were violated, the evidence against you could be thrown out and your case can be dismissed.

Please do not plead guilty in a drug crime case without first talking to an experienced California criminal defense law firm. Call an aggressive and skilled California drug crimes attorney at Takakjian & Sitkoff today for a free consultation. We've successfully handled misdemeanor and felony drug crime cases. Call us today.

April 10, 2009

Chula Vista Drunk Driver Kills Pedestrian

A pedestrian who was struck and killed on the evening of February 3, 2009, by a suspected drunk driver has been identified by law enforcement officials as 75-year-old Ronald Sieler. The report from KFMB 760 AM states that Seiler was crossing the street at the intersection of Main Street and Third Avenue in Chula Vista when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Peter DiCesare, 45, address unknown. After the accident Seiler was transported to the University of California San Diego Medical Center where he was pronounced dead from his DUI causing injuries in California.

According to law enforcement officials investigating the accident, Seiler was struck in the 3100 block of Main Street. DiCesare was taken into custody and is facing charges of California drug possession and driving under the influence. DeCesare’s bail has been set at $150,000.

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April 8, 2009

Former Raiders Quarterback Arrested for Probation Violation

Former Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich is back in jail after authorities say the 39-year-old was arrested after missing a drug rehabilitation progress review in a Newport Beach court. According to this news report, Marinovich's alleged probation stems from his guilty plea on California drug charges two years ago. Marinovich pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, syringe and resisting arrest. The judge at the time placed Marinovich on five years of probation and ordered him to spend one year at a drug rehabilitation center. Marinovich reportedly has nine prior cases in Orange County courts.

A Drug Court in California is a special court that is given the responsibility of select felony and misdemeanor cases involving non-violent drug-using offenders. The program consists of frequent random drug testing, probation, drug treatment counseling and use of sanctions and incentives. The Drug Court Judge is actively involved in supervising offenders who participate in this program. After an individual successfully completes the criminal drug court program, the drug charge against him or her is dismissed. However, when individuals in this program relapse, go back to using drugs, fail to attend or return to their old ways, the court imposes sanctions. In some cases, the defendants may not get a second chance and the judge may impose a jail sentence.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a drug crime or a probation violation in Southern California, please contact California's skilled criminal defense attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff to discuss your case. We will analyze your case, your history and your current situation to help you decide the best possible course of action. Our goal is to keep you out of jail and get you the help you need. Please call us at 888-579-4844 to find out more about your options.

April 7, 2009

Pomona DUI Crackdown Joins Police Department Regional Effort

According to this recent Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article, Pomona city leaders have authorized their police department to join other law enforcement agencies in the area in a three-year regional effort to crack down on drunken drivers. Pomona’s city council voted 6-1 in favor of joining a wide range of state, county, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the area in the “Avoid the 100 DUI Campaign” that began over this past holiday season.

This campaign targets people driving under the influence in California and includes checkpoints, saturation patrols, media campaigns, and other operations designed to catch motorists with a history of driving under the influence. Since the campaign began, law enforcement officials throughout Southern California have stepped up efforts to remove drivers operating their vehicles while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Their checkpoints, which are set up at strategic locations with little or no advance warning, have resulted in dozens of DUI arrests and scores of other charges from weapons violations to possession of controlled substances and other violations.

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April 1, 2009

Wrongful 14 Year Imprisonment on Child Rape Charges

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Santa Monica man, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 14 years on child rape charges, can sue the city of Long Beach and a police officer who he says fabricated the evidence in that case. According to this news report in the Long Beach Press Telegram, Leonard McSherry was exonerated thanks to DNA evidence of the 1988 kidnapping and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl taken from a Navy housing complex in Long Beach. The DNA was matched to another man, George Valdespino, who was serving time in a different kidnapping and molestation case. The appellate court reversed the trial court's judgment dismissing the case.

We read about these kinds of stories all the time. Wrongful convictions occur more often than we hear or know about. This especially happens in sex crime cases where victims or witnesses identify the wrong person. In the absence of an aggressive and experienced sex crime defense attorney in California, it becomes impossible for a defendant to prove his or her innocence. People such as Leonard McSherry show us the importance of "innocent until proven guilty." However, too often the media and the public are eager to convict a defendant even before they have been proven guilty.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious felony such a rape, assault or murder in California, please understand that you have legal rights. Call 888-579-4844 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced California criminal defense attorneys at Takakjian & Sitkoff. We have the tools and skills it takes to get you an acquittal or even get your charges reduced. Contact us to schedule a free and comprehensive consultation.

March 31, 2009

Westlake 11-Month-Old Baby Killed By DUI Driver Identified

Law enforcement officials recently released the name of an 11-month-old girl killed by a suspected drunken driver in a hit-and-run incident in the Westlake area, according to this article in the Los Angeles Wave. Witnesses reported that 11-month-old Yudith Ausencio, her 5-year-old sister, and their mother were struck while walking across the street near the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Bonnie Brae Street just after 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2009.

Witnesses said that the mother and two small children were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver who fled from the scene. Hours later, working on a license plate number and other information provided by witnesses, Police took 30-year-old Henry Yovanni Moreno, of Southgate into custody. Moreno faces a variety of charges, including felony hit-and-run, felony DUI, drunken vehicular manslaughter in California.

Moreno, originally from Honduras, is being held without bail in jail and local law enforcement officials are waiting to hear from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding Moreno’s immigration status. The mother of the slain baby is being treated for serious injuries, and her 5-year-old daughter was critically injured in the accident.

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March 27, 2009

Fullerton Drunk Driver Kills Woman After Running Red Light

According to this article in the Orange County Register, a Fullerton woman died early Sunday, February 1, 2009, from injuries she suffered when a suspected DUI driver ran a red light and struck her car in La Habra. Officials with the La Habra Police Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the traffic accident around 1:30 a.m. and pronounced April Junhee Whang, 26, of Fullerton dead at the scene.

The crash is still under investigation but authorities say that Whang was southbound on Beach Boulevard in a 2004 Acura Integra and turned left onto eastbound Imperial Highway when it was struck by a 2003 Mazda 6. According to eyewitness accounts, the Mazda, driven by Brittany Deanne Schuetz, 20, of Irvine, failed to stop for a red light and struck Whang’s car at a high rate of speed. Schuetz was taken to UCI Medical Center for treatment and is being held by authorities on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter in California.

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March 24, 2009

Los Angeles DUI Charges Against Helicopter Pilot

In an atypical case of driving under the influence in California, a helicopter pilot for a popular rock and roll musician has been detained by Los Angeles police officers on suspicion of operating his aircraft while intoxicated. This Mercury News report about an unusual Los Angeles DUI incident claims that the suspect is a helicopter pilot for Tommy Lee, drummer for the popular rock band Motley Crue.

The pilot, who has not yet been named by police, was spotted by Los Angeles police operating his aircraft in an erratic manner. Police spokeswoman Karen Smith said that the pilot violated safety procedures by flying too close to a police helicopter near Van Nuys and ignoring directions from the Van Nuys flight tower. Police say that the pilot was released without being arrested after submitting to a field sobriety test. Lee, who was a passenger in the helicopter, was questioned briefly and released. The Federal Aviation Administration has begun an investigation of the incident and is waiting for toxicology test results.

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March 20, 2009

LA Drug Crime Raids Upset Medical Marijuana Supporters

According to this report in the Los Angeles Times, federal agents have raided several Westside medical marijuana dispensaries recently, which has outraged supporters who claim that the raids violate California state law. Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana for people with serious illnesses and reduced criminal penalties for marijuana possession, was passed by California voters in 1996. However, under federal law, marijuana possession, cultivation, and delivery are still illegal activities and enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

On Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at least three groups of DEA agents served search warrants on medical marijuana dispensaries around noon, according to DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen. "I can't get into details as to the probable cause behind the warrants except for the fact that they're dealing with marijuana, which is illegal under federal law," she said.

Charlie Beck, Chief of Detectives at the Los Angeles Police Department said, “DEA has a legal right to do what they're doing. Is it controversial? Yes."

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March 17, 2009

Santa Ana DUI Case Of Former Hyundai Executive

A fugitive who fled the country after allegedly driving under the influence in California and killing a motorcyclist in 2005 has been extradited to Orange County and will face felony charges, according to this recent Los Angeles Times article. According to law enforcement officials, former Hyundai executive, Youn Bum Lee, 41, of South Korea, had been drinking with colleagues at a Korean barbecue restaurant in Garden Grove in October 2005 and consumed more alcohol at a nearby karaoke bar.

Later that night, officials claim that Lee got into a company-owned Hyundai SUV and crashed the vehicle into a concrete barrier on Freeway 55 in Santa Ana. After the crash, Lee left the SUV at the site of the crash with its lights off. Sometime later, Ryan Dallas Cook was riding his motorcycle when he failed to see the crashed SUV, slammed into it, and was killed after being struck by other motorists. Around 24 hours after the accident, Lee boarded a plane to South Korea. Weeks later, Cook’s parents filed a lawsuit against Hyundai Motor America claiming that company officials helped Lee leave the country before he could be questioned by the police.

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March 13, 2009

Gary Collins Arrested for DUI

Gary Collins, TV host and 70-year-old actor, was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol on the evening of February 1, 2009, on suspicion of driving under the influence according to this Post Chronicle article. Law enforcement officials with the California Highway Patrol claim that Collins faces charges after being pulled over in Santa Barbara when officers spotted him driving a motor home in an erratic manner.

According to officers on the scene, Collins refused a field sobriety test although a blood-alcohol test was submitted later in the evening.

The current California DUI charges are in addition to other DUI charges filed against Collins 13 months ago. Officials claim that Collins served a four-day jail sentence in Los Angeles, and was placed on two years of probation after he pleaded no contest to a previous DUI charge stemming from a December 2007 accident.

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March 10, 2009

Los Angeles DUI Collision

According to this recent article in the Santa Maria Times, law enforcement officials have filed vehicular manslaughter and California DUI charges against Jesus Martinez, 20, of Los Angeles. The charges stem from an automobile accident early in February in which a passenger in Martinez’ car suffered severe injuries that caused his death. According to law enforcement officials, Martinez was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol when the car he was driving collided with a tractor trailer sometime during the evening of February 5, 2009.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced the charges against Martinez, which include vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury (a special allegation that great bodily injury was caused), and a misdemeanor charge of driving without a valid license.

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March 6, 2009

Los Angeles U-Haul Chase Suspect Faces Multiple Charges

A woman who faces multiple charges, including driving under the influence of narcotics, was named by law enforcement authorities recently, according to this article in the Los Angeles Times. Law enforcement officials named Alisha Nichole Mankin as the person responsible for a televised chase which caused three different traffic accidents and involved pursuit from numerous law enforcement agencies. According to authorities, Mankin, of the Antelope Valley of Littlerock, and a friend left a storage facility in a rented U-Haul truck around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 4, 2009.

Sometime later, Mankin and her passenger were spotted by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputy engaging in suspicious activity after they stopped their rented truck by a car on the side of the road. The deputy approached the two and discovered the passenger had narcotics in his possession, so they were arrested for California drug possession. But according to California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Winter, Mankin attempted to flee the scene rather than be arrested. Winter said, “The guy is in possession of narcotics, and he’s arrested. As the deputy is putting him into his cruiser, she decides to take off running. She gets into the U-Haul because the keys are in it and takes off."

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March 3, 2009

Los Angeles DUI Suspect Dies in Crash, Injures 6

According to this CBS Channel 2 DUI report, a man suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol caused a crash early on the morning of February 2, 2009, which killed the alleged drunken driver and resulted in six people suffering injuries. Law enforcement officials claim that Rojelio Sanchez, 25, was heading westbound on Manchester Avenue around 1:30 in the morning with three passengers in a 1997 Ford Explorer.

Police officers responding to the scene say that Sanchez’ Explorer ran a red light at Manchester Avenue and Main Street in South Los Angeles and collided with a 1994 Ford Thunderbird carrying four people. Firefighters responding to the scene of the crash say that two passengers were trapped in the wreckage of the Thunderbird for 15 minutes before being freed.

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