When one person takes another’s life, legally, the incident is not always considered a homicide. Homicides occur when one party intentionally engages in a malevolent action against another party with the intent that it will result in the loss of life. Homicide is one of the most serious types of crimes with some of the strictest punishments. Manslaughter can be another charge that is associated with taking a person’s life. Being charged with manslaughter can also have hefty repercussions when a conviction takes place.

If you got caught up in a situation in which you took someone’s life, connecting with an attorney is critical. You have rights even when you are arrested and charged with a crime, and those rights deserve to be protected. Because of the severe penalties that can come with manslaughter charges in California, like years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines, having dedicated and experienced legal counsel representing your interests is incredibly important to the outcome of your case. 

Types of Manslaughter 

Manslaughter is defined as taking another’s life without malicious intent. If you were charged with manslaughter, it is likely you sustained a specific type of manslaughter charge. This is because manslaughter is not a one-size-fits-all charge. There are actually three different categories of manslaughter with which you may be charged. The details of how your incident took place will be the key to determining which category in which your charges fall.

The following are three different types of manslaughter charges.

Voluntary

The actions that you took against another person were direct and intentional and those actions killed the other person but you did not have malicious intent on doing so. So, if you were violent and aggressive to someone else, but you did not mean to end their life, you may be able to avoid homicide charges in favor of voluntary manslaughter. 

An example of voluntary manslaughter would be having a heated fight with your friend. The situation elevates and you get into a physical exchange, resulting in the death of your friend. At the time, you were being violent because you were “in the heat of the moment.” In this case, you were voluntarily behaving in a way that was harmful to your friend, but you lacked the malice to kill them.

Involuntary 

When a person acts in a negligent and careless way and that results in the death of another person, involuntary manslaughter charges may be appropriate. In other words, your actions were not responsible, but you had no intent that what you were doing would cause anyone else harm let alone death. 

An example of involuntary manslaughter would include making a football team practice with too few water breaks under weather conditions that are blazingly hot. Or, handling and playing with a live gun and accidentally firing it.

Vehicular

If you caused a vehicular accident and others that you crashed into died, you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Examples of the leading causes of fatal car accidents are speeding, distracted driving, or drinking and driving. Continue reading

People who witness a criminal act can respond in a variety of ways. It is possible that a person may decide to intervene and attempt to stop the crime from happening. Or, they may call local law enforcement and report it. Then there are those who may completely ignore it and take no action. A common question people have is if they see a crime happening, are they legally required to report it? In general, you will not be subject to legal repercussions if you do not report a crime, but there are some situations in which you could be. 

When are You Required to Report a Crime?

There are several instances in which you can forgo reporting a criminal act that you have knowledge of and remain free from the heavy hand of the law. That is to say, not reporting a crime is not always a crime itself and therefore, not punishable. But there are exceptions to this.

One way that your knowledge can be criminal is when you are aiding and abetting a crime. Even if you did not commit a crime, if it can be shown that you have aided and abetted a criminal action, you are now liable for potential charges. 

Under California’s parties to crime laws, when you have taken action that helped another party carry out a crime, you will be considered an aider and abettor. The actions that would deem you as such include:

For instance, maybe you helped cover up a criminal act or you provided assistance devising its plot but when the crime was committed you physically were not there. You are still implicated in the criminal act and can be charged.

Another instance in which you may suffer negative legal consequences when you have knowledge of a crime is if your job requires you to report incidents of child neglect and abuse. Professions that are under this mandatory duty include teachers, social workers, and firefighters.

Knowing about child abuse happening or simply having a reasonable belief that it is happening even if you do not have concrete evidence, means you must report it. There is also a time requirement for specific professionals to make these reports. Fines and jail time are realities that can come from failing your responsibility to preserve the welfare of children.

Last, federal laws make a failure to report felony federal offenses a crime. You would be considered to be obstructing justice and if convicted, fines and jail time can ensue. Continue reading

The vast majority of people in the United States have and use their smartphones for many things including making calls, taking pictures, and sending texts. In fact, it is estimated that 300 million Americans have a smartphone. What that means is that as high as 90% of the entire United States population has a smartphone at their disposal.

The ability to connect with each other is incredibly easy due to the widespread presence of these multifunctional handheld devices. This is typically a good thing, but in some cases, the ease at which one can circulate virtually any type of information could also be highly problematic. This is especially so if what is being sent out is sexually explicit.

Is it Unlawful to Sext?

If you have sent a text that had a video or a picture that was sexual in nature, then you have sexted. In the state of California, there are no laws on the books that prevent people from sexting. There is nothing criminal about two consenting adults sending each other sexual texts. But, in other circumstances, what is texted out from your phone could lead to some type of sexual offense charge.

For example, if you have been sending sexual texts to a minor that can come with serious legal implications. People that are sending inappropriate, sexual texts to minors can face punishment under California’s child pornography laws. There is no tolerance for this type of activity in the state. It is illegal to send any of the following:

  • Sexual matter to a minor that is meant to motivate the child to respond by engaging in sexual acts.
  • Sending anything that is considered child pornography to anyone. Any media that shows a person who is under the age of 18 doing sexual acts is child pornography.
  • Knowingly be in possession of lewd and pornographic matters that involve children.

It is possible that your sexting can be a reason for your arrest and charges of either a felony or misdemeanor crimes. If you are charged at the misdemeanor level, then you could face up to a year in jail, hefty fines as high as $1,000, and informal probation. Felonies have much harsher penalties. Felonies can result in jail time up to five years, potentially a $10,000 fine, and formal probation.

It is not just fines and jail time that a conviction carries. Also, people that are charged with certain sex crimes will be required to become registered sex offenders. Once you are deemed a registered sex offender, as long as you reside in California you will have to keep this registration current. In other words, every year you will have to register. Continue reading

If you think that you will get away with giving out services or products from your job without your employer knowing, you may have some success. But you also could face serious repercussions if you are caught. Any product or service that is worth more than $1,000 that you unlawfully provide to another party under the table could result in commercial bribery charges. This behavior is commonly called providing kickbacks. The state of California punishes individuals arrested, charged, and convicted of commercial bribery with jail time. 

To defend against bribery charges in California, you will need a knowledgeable and competent defense. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience helping individuals charged with crimes fight to overcome them and secure the most favorable outcome possible.

What Happens if You are Charged with Bribery in California?

When an employee knowingly takes a product or service to their own benefit without the consent and permission of the owner of the business they work for and offers it to another party this is considered bribery. It is not just the person who is fraudulently offering the valued product or services that can be arrested and charged. The parties that accept these products or services can also be arrested and charged.

For a commercial bribe to take place, an individual intentionally tries to insert influence with the goal of defrauding the business for which they work. Commercial bribery is considered to be a corrupt act and the value of the property that was used in the dishonest transaction will determine how severe the penalties are.

Products or services that are $1,000 or more can result in a misdemeanor-level crime. This crime comes with prison time that can be as long as one year. When the products or services are high-value, the crime can be moved up to the felony level. Felony bribes can put a person in state prison for up to three years.

Successfully combating bribery charges can be done with a targeted and strategic approach. A talented San Diego criminal defense attorney will be able to scrutinize your case and find areas that can be advantageous for your defense. Some of the arguments that could potentially be made include:

  • Your employer knew that the transactions were taking place.
  • You did not have corrupt intent when you were engaging in the transactions.
  • The amount of the product or service in question was under $250 and therefore does not incur criminal penalties.

The time spent behind bars and the establishment of a criminal record can be very damaging to one’s life after they serve their time. Being able to have your charges dropped, or at the very least reduced is the ultimate objective.  Continue reading

The United States has an ethos that favors fairness, especially when it comes to the criminal justice system. While the criminal justice system is imperfect, it is based on the idea that a person who is charged with a crime is essentially innocent until it can be proven they are guilty. Known as the “presumption of innocence,” such an attitude aims to minimize the risk that people will be given unfair trials for their alleged crimes. 

People in the United States have certain fundamental rights, such as the presumption of innocence. If you were arrested and charged for a crime in San Diego or the surrounding areas, it is essential to get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer who can safeguard your rights and work diligently to secure the best possible outcome for your case. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney that is dedicated to helping aggrieved people charged with crimes secure justice.

Interjecting Fairness Into Criminal Law

In the absence of the presumption of innocence, obtaining a fair and true outcome in a criminal case becomes much more of a challenge. The legal principle of the presumption of innocence makes it so that the state has the responsibility to prove the charges are correct and that the person is guilty of the criminal acts for which they are being tried.

In a civil case, the bar for showing that a person is liable for paying another for their damages is not as high as proving guilt is in a criminal case. To be convicted of a crime, it must be shown that a person is believed to have committed their crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is any doubt whatsoever, then thwarting a conviction is what should take place. 

Because the burden of proof is the job of the state, a defendant’s criminal defense counsel will try to combat any claims and evidence produced to instill doubt in a judge and jury. If the legal defense is strategic, detailed, and focused, this can be so. Simply being charged with a crime does not mean that there has been a conviction. The only time that a person will have a pronouncement of guilt is if the state successfully shows that culpability exists.

Another right that defendants have is that they do not have to produce information that could hurt their case. Defendants do not have to self-incriminate. 

Defendants also can answer questions or talk if they choose, but if they decide not to then that is well within their rights, too. Should a defendant refrain from speaking and remain silent, this is lawful. Additionally, staying silent is not an action that is supposed to mean that a person must be guilty. Many defendants are advised to stay silent and end up walking away from the court with a verdict of their innocence. Continue reading

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, developing a thorough legal defense can improve the chances of obtaining the best possible outcome in their case. While any defendant can choose to represent themselves without counsel, this route is seldom advised. Effectively resolving a criminal case for the benefit of the client is the goal and job of a criminal defense attorney. 

Finding a suitable pathway to the most favorable results is the preeminent objective of your attorney. Your attorney will defend your interests and rights, while lending counsel to advise you of your most advantageous options. Ultimately, though, you have the final say in what you choose to do.

How Attorneys Try to Secure the Best Outcomes for Their Clients

The way your attorney will attempt to competently resolve your case can vary. Some of the avenues your attorney may pursue include:

  • Your attorney may try to have your case dismissed. When the evidence clearly shows you are not guilty of the crimes you are charged with, your attorney can request that your case be dismissed. With sufficient grounds, the request may be successful.
  • Sometimes certain defendants are eligible for specific diversion opportunities. This could be counseling programs or other therapeutic and rehabilitative work that, if fully completed, may lead to the charges being dismissed.
  • Law enforcement has to follow specific guidelines and rules when they make an arrest. If there were violations of these procedures, your attorney will alert the court. A judge may review the information and determine that the case should be dismissed on the grounds of a violation of rights.
  • A plea bargain may provide the best path for minimal repercussions for an alleged crime. Plea bargains can allow a defendant to get their case either dismissed or their charges reduced.
  • If the case goes to trial, your attorney will compile as much evidence as possible to build a compelling case for your defense. In addition to strategic defense, your attorney will forcefully examine any witnesses brought against you. Your legal counsel will also make the case that the jury should at the very least have doubt about the charges and at best, believe that you are not guilty. When successful, the jury may decide that you are not guilty of your charges and then you will be free of criminal punishment.

When you work with a proficient criminal defense attorney, your lawyer’s objective will always be to have your charges reduced or dropped. Your attorney will fight to protect you and will look into many different strategies to help you overcome your charges. Continue reading

Domestic violence charges can result from a wide array of actions. In California, the most common domestic violence charges are filed when one party physically harms another with whom they were intimate at some point. This type of corporal or physical punishment between intimate parties can have criminal implications if reported to law enforcement. Domestic violence charges in California can be at the felony or misdemeanor level.

Being arrested for domestic violence, even if you are not charged, can greatly damage your reputation and negatively impact your life for the long term. Such accusations can tear families apart and even have professional ramifications. Guarding yourself against domestic violence charges is incredibly important. If you were arrested for a domestic violence incident in the greater San Diego area, the San Diego domestic violence attorney at the Law Offices of David M. Boertje offers effective and strategic legal defense services that may help you secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Basics of Domestic Abuse in California 

Domestic violence is not just restricted to adult men; people of all genders and ages have the potential to harm a loved one. Also, abuse happens in every environment including those that are rural, in the city, or in the suburbs. Additionally, no one race is immune from domestic violence nor is any income level. 

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that as many as 20 people every minute will be a victim of domestic abuse in the United States. This means that over 10 million people annually will be the victims of abuse.

There are several contributing factors common in many domestic abuse situations: 

  • People who have witnessed abuse as a child can come to believe that is how to interact with others. 
  • Being a victim of abuse at some point in a person’s life can lead them to be abusive, too.
  • As a matter of routine, a couple may go through the progressions and stages of violence, cycling from calm to intense rage.
  • Individuals experiencing certain mental health issues may act out violently. Schizophrenia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few examples.
  • Drug and alcohol use can cause a person to act differently when they have a substance in their system than they would if they were sober.
  • A person who was raised without examples and guidance on proper values may translate into an adult that is also unable to judge what is acceptable and what is not.

Every domestic abuse situation is unique, and the contributing factors will vary from couple to couple. 

If you are struggling with managing your anger, understanding why can make all the difference. There are programs and supportive resources that can help you cope with your internal strife. Looking at root causes and putting efforts toward getting better and changing behavior can not only keep you and your partner together in a healthy relationship, but it can also improve your overall quality of life. It can also keep you out of trouble with the law. Continue reading

Wisconsin has been the center of media attention and unrest with the recent verdict of the Kyle Rittenhouse case followed by the Christmas parade that was terrorized by a motorist. According to reports, Darrel Brooks was charged with an attack on parade-goers who were attending a Christmas parade in Waukesha, WI. As a result of his arrest, he was held on bail at $5 million. On Tuesday, November 23, Brooks came to his first court appearance. 

What Was the Aftermath of the Massacre in Waukesha?

It has been reported that as a result of allegedly driving his car into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, WI, Darrel Brooks killed at least six people and injured 62 individuals. The state of Wisconsin does not have a statute for the death penalty, but each person who succumbed to their injuries will count toward a homicide charge. In Wisconsin, homicide can be life in prison with no potential for parole.

Brooks was stated to have a long criminal record before the incident in Waukesha took place. Even with police barricades set up, Brooks is said to have driven his car through the crowd that came to see the Christmas parade and participate in it. Two officers attempted, unsuccessfully, to stop the vehicle from mowing down the crowd. The vehicle that Brooks used was a red Ford Escape SUV.

When seen in his first court appearance, it was noted that Brooks appeared regretful and sad about his actions. Authorities have mentioned that the incident did not appear to be a terroristic threat.

Because his bail is so high, it is not expected that he will be able to pay it, and because of this, he is going to stay behind bars. Should a conviction happen, the most likely result is life in prison. 

There is no doubt that Darrel Brooks has a tall hill to climb to overcome his charges. While his case is egregious in nature, he still deserves his day in court. Having a smart and skilled legal defense may secure the best possible outcome. Often, the quality and experience of a person’s legal counsel are what makes the difference between the harshest penalties and those that are more sustainable.

If you have been charged with homicide in California, you may face many years behind bars if not life, and extremely high fines. Also, it is possible that victims’ families may bring civil suits against you and that can come with a hefty price tag if they win their case. The aftermath of a murder charge in California is very serious and can be life-altering. Having the right legal defense representing your best interests can be pivotal to how your case turns out. Continue reading

If you were issued a restraining order in California, you are required to follow the guidelines set forth in that decree. Violations of these legal pronouncements are a crime, and because of this, jail time and fines could be the end result.

It is best to get in touch with a San Diego criminal defense attorney as soon as you can once charges are made that you violated your restraining order terms. The best way to counter your charges is to get a talented and knowledgeable legal professional on the case and in a position to best protect your interests. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense lawyer who has helped countless individuals facing criminal legal challenges overcome their situation and secure the best possible outcome. David M. Boertje can assist you with your specific legal predicament.

What Punishments Can Result From a California Restraining Order Violation?

Prostitution is illegal in the state of California. Despite this, it is possible that if a person is arrested for prostitution, they may not be prosecuted. It is not just the person selling prostitution services who can be arrested and charged with crimes, the buyer of such services can also be arrested. “Johns” may also face harsh criminal penalties if convicted of soliciting sex services.

If you have been arrested for a sex crime, either selling or soliciting sex services, you will need a skilled criminal defense attorney protecting your interests. Since law enforcement engages in sting operations to identify sex workers, but mainly their customers, being caught engaging in these illegal acts can have devastating results. Working with a San Diego sex crime defense attorney improves your chances of overcoming your charges and getting the most favorable results.

How Do Prosecution Stings Happen in San Diego?

Police officers in San Diego who are tasked with finding prostitution activities go undercover in many different ways including:

  • Posing as a prostitute on websites, chat rooms, social media, and other online forums.
  • Renting venues that are commonly associated with sex solicitors. Massage parlors are common.

Prostitution stings in San Diego have the main goal of identifying the people who are looking for sex services and willing to pay for them. If you are arrested for solicitation of sex services in San Diego and convicted, you can spend months in jail and pay heavy fines. With multiple solicitation arrests, you may be subject to an extended jail sentence.

It is necessary that the authorities show that a defendant had the intent to engage in a sexual act with another party and that there would be a transaction of some form of compensation for the sex. One defense available to a defendant is that they have been the victim of entrapment. Entrapment by police is different from simply being caught in a sting. If entrapment exists, it can make for a strong defense against solicitation charges.

Entrapment happens when a person is forced into committing a crime they had no prior desire to  commit. For example, if it can be shown that a defendant was tricked, intimidated, pressured, or was on the receiving end of other forceful acts to get them to pay for sex services, this would be considered entrapment. 

Law enforcement largely goes after solicitors more so than prostitutes themselves. This is because it is believed that if the demand for sex services is eliminated, the supply will disappear. Also, there is some belief that it is improper to punish someone for offering sex-related services. Amnesty International, for instance, believes that all sex services, both buying, and selling should be decriminalized.

Still, in some cases, prostitutes themselves are arrested and people who are shown to be their pimps can also be arrested. Continue reading

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