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Redding California Criminal Law Blog

Changes to how police respond to domestic violence

The California court system regards domestic violence as a very serious crime. If convicted of domestic violence, the consequences can be severe, wide-ranging and have a long-lasting effect on the future. However, according to FindLaw, public perception of domestic violence has evolved over the years, which has, in turn, changed the way that police respond to a domestic violence call.

Currently, if there is sufficient evidence of abuse, many jurisdictions require that law enforcement officers responding to a domestic violence call make an arrest. However, this is a relatively recent development, dating back only to the late 1980s. Prior to the late 20th century, the assumption was that "real" police work did not include responding to domestic violence calls. Therefore, neither the police nor the courts have always taken domestic violence reports seriously.

What to know about driving on the shoulder

Sometimes when caught in traffic, a driver in the right hand lane is tempted to pull out and drive up the shoulder until reaching an intersection where the driver hopes to turn off the congested road. However, California drivers should resist this temptation. For one thing, it is a recipe for legal trouble. Casually driving on the shoulder also disregards the true purpose of using this route.

California law makes it clear that drivers are to stick to the road if they want to get past another vehicle. If a driver seeks to get around traffic, the driver must do so safely without putting other motorists or pedestrians at risk. However, if no lane is available to make a pass, the motorist should remain on the road. State law does not allow a driver to veer off the designated main travel area of the road or the paved portion just to bypass a congested travel lane.

Collateral consequences make it difficult to find work, pay fines

When a California judge or jury convicts you of a crime, you may wind up facing repercussions that come from outside the criminal justice system, in addition to fines, jail time and other potential penalties. These repercussions are commonly known as “collateral consequences,” and they have the potential to make many areas of your life monumentally more difficult. At the law offices of John M. Kucera, we recognize that collateral consequences can make it hard to hold down a job or pay fines, and we have helped many offenders seek to reduce the damage caused by their criminal records.

According to the OC Register, one out of every five California residents has a criminal record, which accounts to more than 800 million state residents. Additionally, more than 4,800 laws are currently on the books that set barriers for those with criminal records, and nearly 60 percent of them relate to employment.

What is California's three-strike DUI policy?

California does indeed have what you might call a three-strike policy when it comes to DUIs: Minimum penalties increase with subsequent judgments. You could eventually go to jail for a significant period of time under certain circumstances of repeat offense.

It is important to note that this law does not apply to your arrests. It would only start to affect you after your first conviction. Therefore, because the consequences of drunk driving increase with the number of offenses, it would probably be a high priority to avoid your first or any subsequent DUI convictions. The ramifications of an adverse court decision could follow you for many years. It usually takes 10 years for the strike count to reset.

5 of the best criminal defense strategies

Criminal charges are rarely straightforward. Every case is complex, and the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty is the law we live by. The role of a criminal defense attorney is to uphold the law. That is done by aggressively pursuing the best possible scenario for the accused. This is the system that our forefathers created to keep the scales of justice in balance.

Regardless of circumstance, everyone has a right to fair legal representation. Both sides of a case will, ideally, have an experienced attorney exploring every possible angle to give their clients an advantage. A criminal defense attorneys biggest responsibility is to come up with the strongest defense against the charges.

What is the legal blood alcohol content for rideshare drivers?

As you might imagine, the California law on driving under the influence of alcohol make separate provisions for commercial and other drivers. However, if you were to operate a vehicle on a freelance basis for a rideshare program, you would not require special licenses. This could let you own and operate your vehicle normally, independently of commercial-vehicle laws and insurance policies.

However, you could consider rideshare operators as commercial drivers — at least insofar as blood alcohol content maximums are concerned. This recent change to the statue could have the potential to result in lifelong consequences for you if you are not aware of it.

What should I know about pleading the fifth?

The U.S. Constitution spells out important rights that prevent people from incriminating themselves while being charged with a crime. One of those rights is commonly discussed in today’s news stories, and is known as “pleading the fifth.” Understanding how this right works is imperative if you should be arrested by a California police officer and face criminal charges.

As FindLaw explains, “pleading the fifth” refers to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment states that a person cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself. The U.S. Supreme Court specified in the 1966 Miranda decision that a person being arrested must be notified by police that he or she may remain silent and choose not to answer questions.

Are you eligible to attend a California traffic school?

Accruing points on your California driver’s license can, in some cases, lead to more serious issues, and if you generate enough points by committing certain traffic offenses, it can place your license, and potentially, your career, in jeopardy. In addition to paying more for auto insurance, having too many points on your license can threaten any transportation-related professional licenses you may have, which in turn can have a serious impact on your ability to earn a living. In some situations, however, you may be able to reduce the points you have on your record by attending a California traffic school.

Per the Judicial Branch of California, whether you will be able to knock points off your driving record by attending traffic school depends on whether you are eligible to attend in the first place. Typically, you may attend traffic school if you have a current, valid driver’s license, if you received your ticket because of a moving violation, and if you received your ticket in a regular, passenger vehicle, as opposed to a commercial one.

Gender stereotypes in domestic violence cases

The prevailing societal attitude toward domestic violence is that abuse occurs on a strictly male-on-female basis. However, research reported by FindLaw suggests that the incidence of women committing domestic violence against men is nearly equal to the incidence of men committing violence against a female domestic partner. At the law offices of John M. Kucera, Attorney at Law, we affirm that if you are facing a charge of domestic violence, you have the right to a legal defense, regardless of your gender.

The pressure on police to arrest someone when responding to a domestic violence call may lead to law enforcement making an arrest on the basis of a gender stereotype rather than assessing the evidence objectively. The fear of being doubly victimized due to an erroneous arrest on a domestic violence charge prevents many male victims of domestic violence from reporting the abuse that they endure to the authorities.

Consequences of a boating DUI in California

Being out on a boat usually means having a fun with friends or family. Unlike operating a car in many cases, driving a boat is usually for excitement and the beauty of the surrounding area. It may not be hard under these conditions to over indulge in alcohol as you get away from your busy life and enjoy the lakes or coastline.

Enjoying alcoholic drinks while out on the water is not against the law. However, if your blood alcohol level reaches .08 percent or higher and you are operating a boat or even jet skis, you can be arrested.

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John M. Kucera Attorney at Law

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