Articles Posted in Law & Information

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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,, 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 The California drug crime defense lawyers at Takakjian & Sitkoff can be reached at 866-430-8383.

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