Citizens of the United States, both those who are unencumbered by the criminal justice system and are free and those who are serving time behind bars after a criminal conviction, have rights. Being arrested, charged, and then convicted of a crime in California is never the intended outcome for a defendant, yet convictions happen every day. Jail time as a consequence of a conviction is also common, but serving time does not make you less of a human or a citizen of the country. You still are entitled to basic rights under the United States constitution.

If you do not know what your rights are, you will have a much harder time understanding situations in which you may not be treated equitably. Understanding your rights can help you keep the dignity you are entitled to as well as protect you from inhumane abuse. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who offers experienced and skilled legal counsel and defense to individuals who are arrested for crimes in San Diego. A conviction can have many life-long negative implications. Having the most proficient legal defense supporting you is important to improving the chances that you see the best outcome possible, including avoiding having to spend time in jail.

What Rights Do You Have While You are Serving Time in a California Jail?

An arrest is a suspicion of a crime, not a confirmation of one. When you enter the criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty, and you should be treated like this. When it is proven that you committed a crime, you will face punishment for that offense. If your penalty includes jail, while you are behind bars you are afforded the following protections:

  • You can not be treated in a cruel and depraved way.
  • You must be granted access to services and resources that are available to support a disability or illness if you have one.
  • You have the ability to connect with and use the court system if you need to, so if you have a complaint you are allowed to voice it.
  • You do not lose due process while in the prison system. For example, if it is alleged that you committed a crime while you were incarcerated you can use witnesses and other evidence to defend yourself. You will not be granted professional legal representation, but you have the right to fight back against the accusations.
  • You must be able to get the treatment you need for physical and mental issues.
  • You must not be discriminated against.
  • You have the right to practice your religion without obstruction and if you do not have a religion, you cannot be forced to partake in religious practice.

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After a conviction, when jail time is on the table, there may be options for how you serve your time. Generally, being allowed to serve your time at your home instead of behind bars is preferable. Not every crime will qualify for alternative sentencing like home detention or house arrest, but for those that do, your best chances of getting this outcome will be to work with a savvy and talented San Diego criminal defense attorney.

David M. Boertje is a California criminal defense attorney who has the experience and the skill to argue for house arrest in lieu of prison. House arrest may result in complete home confinement or it can allow for you to have the ability to travel. Potentially you may be able to leave your home to go to court and even personal appointments, school or work, and other approved locations. Typically, a judge is not going to bring up alternative sentencing options. It takes a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to request it, and then to convincingly persuade a prosecutor and judge that house arrest is the best option and that you are worthy of receiving it.

How Does House Arrest in California Work?

House arrest is not a walk in the park; it is meant to be a punishment. There are several rules that people who are able to secure this sentence must follow. These rules vary based on the person and the type of crime that they were convicted of committing. For some, house arrest in California can be very difficult — even more so than prison time. That being said, most people favor the option of home detention over having to spend time in jail. 

The basic tenets of house arrest include:

  • You have to stay inside of your home at all times. In rare instances, you may be able to spend time outside on your property.
  • You will be monitored by way of electronic monitoring devices. This could be an ankle transmitter or GPS tracker. If your crime involved alcohol you may have to wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet. Drug crimes may require drug patches that are tested weekly. All of these devices must be kept on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Authorized individuals who are in charge of ensuring you are complying with the rules of your home detention must be admitted into your home without incident to do their job.
  • If you are permitted to travel, you may only go directly to the approved location and then directly back home. Also, you may have to abide by time constraints meaning you will only be allotted a specific amount of time that you can be at a confirmed location before you must return to your home.
  • You may be financially responsible to pay for expenses associated with your home detention sentence.

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If you were arrested in the state of California for vandalism, you could face either misdemeanor or felony charges. The extent of damages and the cost that results go into determining which charge applies. Under the law, when it can be proven that a person willfully and maliciously damaged or tarnished property, that individual will be convicted of vandalism and handed down a punishment for their crime.

There are several defense strategies that can be used to defend against California vandalism charges. A competent San Diego vandalism defense attorney will explore several angles to find which is the best for their client. Some examples of valid arguments include:

  • You did not mean to destroy another person’s property and the incident was a mistake.
  • You were falsely identified as the culprit who committed the vandalism.
  • You did not actually commit the crime and the accusations against you are untrue.

These defense approaches are just a handful of the different ways that your charges may be fought. David M. Boertje is a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in San Diego who will thoroughly review your case and assemble the best strategy aimed at keeping you safe from punishment. As a seasoned San Diego vandalism defense attorney, David M. Boertje will support you and safeguard your legal interests.

What Happens When You are Arrested for Vandalism in California?

Personal property that only belongs to one person can be destroyed by the sole owner, and this will not be considered vandalism under the law. The common misconception is that mischievous young people commit these fairly innocuous acts of vandalism. The truth is that many people of all ages and backgrounds vandalize.

These are just a few examples of vandalism: 

  • Keying a car.
  • Having a fight with your spouse or partner and breaking a valued vase.
  • Spray painting property that is not your own and without permission.
  • Ruining wet cement.
  • Knocking a sign over.
  • Pushing down a mailbox.
  • Throwing a rock through someone’s window.

This list is not exhaustive as there are many actions that constitute vandalism. When the vandalism causes property damage that is at least worth $400, it will be considered a felony. Anything under $400 is a misdemeanor. Sometimes a person vandalizes several types of property that are all under $400, but when added together, the total amount of destruction is more than $400. This makes it possible to be charged with a felony.

The important takeaway is that viciously defacing public or private property that you do not own or partially own with another party is likely going to result in a vandalism charge. When the property that you damage is of high value, more severe penalties will follow because you will be looking at felony charges. Continue reading

Interactions with the police can be scary and distressing. Certain situations in which law enforcement is involved can be downright deadly. Understanding your rights as well as what is legally expected of you when it comes to interacting with law enforcement in California is incredibly important. You may be able to protect yourself from harsh penalties like time spent behind bars as well as expensive fines and other related costs.

Penalties for felony convictions are much harsher than for misdemeanors, but any criminal conviction can affect a person’s life negatively far beyond just serving time. Working with a California criminal defense attorney provides a defendant with hope and the best chances of having their case dropped or at least their charges reduced. Not every legal professional is the same, however; finding the most skilled and vastly experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney is essential to obtaining a favorable outcome and helping you get back to living your life. 

How to Defend Yourself Against Battery on a Police Officer in California 

Taking the neighbor’s bike, lifting a shirt from a friend’s house because you love it, maybe even grabbing a couple of candy bars and a drink from the corner store without paying for them seems fairly innocent. There are many people who think that these actions are not that big of a deal. Taking something here and there without permission or without paying, in reality, is not the most heinous of crimes. Despite this, it still is illegal. In the state of California, if you are arrested for stealing property that is valued at $950 and less, you have committed petty theft. Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense and the maximum jail time you will serve is six months if convicted.

The penalties will increase considerably for some people who are charged with petty theft. Anyone who has been convicted of certain crimes will face a sentence enhancement for their unlawful actions. A person who has a criminal record with qualifying crimes should not take petty theft charges lightly. If you were arrested and charged with petty larceny with a prior in San Diego, you are not out of options when it comes to defending yourself, however. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can discuss your case with you and determine what defense strategy is best suited to protect your interests.

What Happens When You are Charged With Petty Theft With a Prior in California?

Individuals who are arrested for alleged crimes can be held in prison until their trial date, even though being arrested does not prove a crime was committed or that the person who was arrested is guilty of any wrongdoing. When this happens, the “innocent until proven guilty” idea does not seem to really apply. The amount of time that a person must sit in jail while they await the official filing of charges and setting of a court date can take months. Defendants who are arrested are extremely lucky to be able to see their day in court in a few weeks, but most of the time, a person awaiting a court hearing will at least spend a couple of months behind bars. The most severe felony criminal charges can keep a person awaiting court for years.

The reason why it can take so long to get a court date is that there are a lot of procedural actions that have to be taken when a person is arrested, including:

  • The prosecution will review a case and determine if charges should be filed.

The criminal justice system is set up to make the truth known, and in doing so, prosecute those who have violated the law while keeping innocent individuals safe from harm. Even though the system works for most cases, it is not perfect. Sometimes an innocent person is convicted of a crime they did not commit. Jailing an innocent person is an incredible tragedy and deplorable misfortune.

The importance of having effective and experienced legal representation is crucial to defending your rights and freedoms when you are charged with a crime. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who has a proven track record of successfully helping defendants see their best possible outcome in court. Whether it be negotiating the most beneficial plea deal, having charges reduced, or having charges completely dropped, David M. Boertje has handled thousands of criminal cases and knows how to best serve individuals facing criminal charges. The Law Offices of David M. Boertje is committed to helping you fight your charges and overcome them so you can move on with the rest of your life.

How Often are Innocent People Convicted of Crimes?

It is possible to be released after an arrest in California without having to spend time waiting in jail until your official court date. Under the law, if you are booked by the authorities for a crime, you would have to sit in jail until your court date. Given that it could take months from the time you were arrested to get your day in court, you might be looking at a long time behind bars before you are even given the opportunity to argue your innocence. Bail is a way that defendants can avoid having to spend this time in jail waiting for their trial and instead, be released with the promise that they will return when their court date arrives.

If you have the funds to pay for your bail, you will be “granted bail.” This means that the court will take your money and you will be allowed to leave. A defendant’s ability to get a bail set in California largely relies on a judge’s discretion. A judge can decide if a defendant deserves bail and how high the amount should be. While a judge will refer to the California bail schedule to start their calculations, they will then assess a defendant’s situation to raise or lower the amount.  Some details that the judge will examine are:

  • The type of crime committed
  • The seriousness of the crime
  • The defendant’s ability to post bail
  • The defendant’s criminal background

How Can You Get Your Bail Reduced in California

Even though a judge will likely assess your ability to pay bail, that does not necessarily mean that the amount they assign to you will be low or affordable based on your means. Regardless, it may simply be an impossibility to pay almost any bail amount if your current financial situation is not in good shape. When you are given bail and it is inconceivable that you will be able to pay, you can apply for a reduction. 

When a request for a reduction in bail is made, the courts are required by law to look at specific factors to determine if a new bail amount is warranted. These include:

  • How serious the crime was and if the defendant is believed to pose a threat to the public.
  • The criminal history of the defendant.
  • If it is believed that the defendant will show up for their court date.
  • The amount of harm that was inflicted on the victim.
  • If there was a firearm or deadly weapon used in the crime.
  • The presence of a controlled substance in relation to the crime.

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Currently, California is one of only 11 states in the United States that treats spousal rape differently than other types of rape. This may not be the case for long, though, because there are two bills that are being considered by legislators in California that will make the way spousal rape is punished akin to other acts of rape. What this means is that instead of allowing individuals charged with spousal rape to be subject to much softer penalties and more lenient outcomes, the state will hold those perpetrators to the same legal repercussions as any others.

Sexual crimes across the board are taken seriously in California, and the negative stigma that goes along with these charges means that defending against them can be complicated. The courts are not particularly understanding or considerate to an individual facing sexual assault charges. Because of this and due to the far-reaching implications of a guilty verdict, it is critically important that if you have been charged with a sex crime in California you have the best, most knowledgeable legal representation supporting you. 

David M. Boertje is a San Diego sex crime defense attorney who will always fight for a not guilty verdict. As an experienced trial lawyer, even in cases in which a defendant will not have their charges dropped, David M. Boertje will defend you by finding the best possible outcome such as negotiating a favorable plea deal, arguing to have your charges reduced, or finding alternative sentencing options to keep you out of jail.

The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment protects people who are not competent from being unfairly prosecuted during a criminal trial. In some situations, it is beneficial for a defendant to be declared incompetent to stand trial because they lack the ability to understand their charges or they are mentally unfit to be involved in their own case. Often, incompetence gets confused with an insanity declaration. In fact, the two are different.

If you have been arrested for a crime, David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can help you fight your charges and secure the best possible outcome. David M. Boertje’s goal is always to have your charges dropped and your case dismissed. When that is not possible, finding ways to get your charges reduced and keeping you out of jail is the next approach. Potentially, your case may benefit from asking a judge to declare you incompetent to stand trial or you may be able to go to trial and use the insanity defense.

What is the Difference Between an Insanity Plea and Being Declared Incompetent to Stand Trial?

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