Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

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.

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 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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Lindsay Lohan has seen better days. A 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.

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 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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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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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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