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Governor Gavin Newsom through Executive Order N-33-20 made the determination that all Californians had to stay-at-home amid the pandemic. Effective as of March 19, the state was essentially shut-down. Now, weeks later, with businesses shut down, massive job losses, and increasing unrest, some people are ignoring the order and hitting the streets.

Naomi Soria, 27, is one of these Californians who openly opposes the stay-at-home order so much so she organized a protest in downtown San Diego. Soria, along with hundreds of other protestors, congregated on Saturday afternoon in front of the Hall of Justice demonstrating during a “Freedom Rally.” Now Soria is facing a legal battle as she is being threatened with potential misdemeanor charges for organizing and ignoring the governor’s order. With the misdemeanor charges, she is possibly facing 90 days in jail as well as a pricey $1,000 fine.

According to the SDPD, Soria is the only one of the hundreds of protestors that demonstrated to have a case submitted to the city attorney’s office. A spokesperson for the SDPD explained that because she was the organizer of the rally, she was in violation of the stay-at-home order. Soria remains defiant as she continues to exercise her constitutional rights arguing that she is protected by “all the amendments.”

The Center for American Liberty (CAL), a nonprofit organization is providing legal representation to Naomi Soria. This organization is also active in its efforts to oppose the public health order. CAL filed a lawsuit against Gov. Newsom because the order prohibited in-person church services.

Soria plans to continue to hold protests despite the threat of charges. The SDPD said they are aware of the future gatherings and have indicated that if they do take place, they may recommend additional charges be brought against her.

Are There Individuals Who Oppose These Freedom Demonstrations?

There are individuals and groups that oppose Soria’s efforts. The belief is that there should have been citations given to the protestors who ignored the orders of not gathering in large groups and not staying six feet apart. 

Some religious leaders also questioned the authorities’ response to the gathering. They wanted to know why protestors were allowed to gather without penalty while churches will be penalized if they have in-person church services. The SDPD has responded by saying that although the events were not prevented from happening, there would still be legal repercussions, specifically for the organizers of the demonstrations.

Get the Help You Need From a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

Soria’s legal team is aggressively defending her right to participate in constitutionally protected activities such as the right to assemble and the right to petition the government. Soria’s actions have put her in violation of Code 8665 because she willingly neglects to obey the public health order. Continue reading

A 38-year old man was arrested and put in jail on suspicion of attempting to sexually assault a woman. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department indicated that the incident allegedly occurred during the daytime at approximately 10:30 a.m. at the Poway Community Park on Civic Center Drive. The man was identified as Ryan Joseph Rasmussen. According to reports, Rasmussen grabbed a female victim from behind and aggressively pulled her to the ground where he tried to sexually assault her. 

Sheriff’s Lt. Chad Boudreau said that a nearby witness heard the woman scream and then saw the incident take place. The witness then pulled the suspect off of the woman. The suspect fled the area on a bicycle and was gone before the police arrived at the scene.

Rasmussen was eventually arrested by detectives “without incident” on suspicion of assault with the intent to commit rape. He was booked into San Diego Central Jail on Monday night, March 30 at approximately 10:30 p.m. He is currently being held in the jail and has a tentative arraignment scheduled for April 6.

How Does the Law Respond to Sexual Assault in California?

There were over 31,000 sexual assault victims between 2011 and 2012 in California that received medical treatment in a rape crisis center. It is believed that close to 9 million people have been victimized by some type of sexual violence in the state. It is likely that there could be many more individuals who have been victimized by sexual violence in the state who are not reflected in the statistics. The reason for this is it is difficult to get accurate statistics regarding sexual violence crimes because they often go unreported. While women are the most affected by this violence, men are also victims. Approximately one-third of reported sexual assault cases in the state of California have male victims.

The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is San Diego County’s specialized force that responds to sexual assaults in the community. The team includes a nurse examiner who has specialized training to collect evidence and provide medical assistance. There is also an officer who investigates the assaults in addition to being an emergency response resource. Last, a victim advocate helps the victim with emotional support and supplies helpful information.

If you are convicted of sexual assault in California you are facing upwards of 48 months in prison with a fine that can be as high as $10,000.  Continue reading

The Full House star, Lori Loughlin was denied her defense’s motion to dismiss charges against her and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, the fashion designer, in the ongoing college admission-bribery scandal. In October, Loughlin and her spouse will go to trial for their roles in paying bribes for their children to be admitted to top colleges. Her defense argued that key evidence was withheld and notes made by William “Rick” Singer were not turned over in a timely manner. The courts determined that the actress and her husband will not have their cases dismissed because they believed that the government did not lie and mislead.

According to prosecutors, Loughlin and Giannulli paid in excess of $500,000 to obtain entrance into the University of Southern California for their two daughters. The couple counters by saying they did not think they were bribing but were instead making a legitimate donation.

According to the government, they did not tell William Rick Singer to lie. Instead, they instructed him to describe the scheme he orchestrated so that parents who participated very well knew that they were paying bribes, not donations. The belief is that agents were implicit on coaching witnesses like Singer to draw out incriminating information from others during an investigation which is a practice that is allowed. Singer, the orchestrator of the college bribery scandal has been willing to work with authorities for over a year.

What is “Operation Varsity Blues”?

In 2019, Operation Varsity Blues, as it was nicknamed, was a scandal that rocked the admission decisions of many of the most prestigious American colleges. Parents were paying William Rick Singer millions of dollars to ensure their children would be admitted into specific universities. Singer used a portion of the money to falsify entrance exam scores as well as to bribe college administrators, and the rest to line his pockets. For Singer’s part, he faces 65 years in prison and will have to pay $1.25 million in fines.

This college bribery scandal became the most massive of its kind in U.S. history to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Some of the parents involved in the scandal were well-known business people and celebrities. Those named in the scandal may spend up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for their part in the crime. Continue reading

Three people ignoring California’s stay-at-home order and violating the beach closures were arrested. According to Lt., Amber Baggs of the San Diego Country Sheriff’s Department, the three individuals were participating in a rally held at Moonlight Beach. 

When authorities encountered people walking along the beach they told them about the county public health order. While the deputies were explaining the situation, the individuals who were violating the order just sat down. The deputies provided the protestors with multiple opportunities to comply but they refused and as a result, were put under arrest.

Others in the group of protestors broke apart and headed toward Swami’s Beach Park where they eventually left the area and were not subject to legal action by the authorities. The protest was organized by Crista Anne Curtis, and she called the event “The Surf’s Up Shred the Tidal Wave of Tyranny” protest. This was the second event that Curtis organized. 

In addition to this beach protest, there was another one planned at the Pacific Beach lifeguard station by a different activist. Naomi Soria, who had previously organized a similar march in downtown San Diego, used social media to get the word out about the event. She called her planned beach protest “A Day of Liberty San Diego Freedom Rally.”

Effective March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 declared a state of emergency in California and directed all Californians to stay at home. Soria is looking at charges brought forth by the San Diego Police Department to the city attorney’s office for violating Code 8665.

What is Code 8665?

Code 8665 states that if an individual willfully disobeys any provisions or lawful orders and regulations by the state they will be guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted of the misdemeanor charges, they will be fined up to $1,000, or they may be sent to prison for up to six months. In some situations, they can face both the fine and imprisonment.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans freedom of religion, speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly, and the right to petition the government. The public health order infringes on the right to assembly, but there are many legal minds that believe the courts would side with the public health order. The government has vast, and expansive powers during a public health crisis.

While others say there is a significant difference between requiring an infected person to be quarantined versus wide-spread demands that healthy, low-risk individuals also essentially be quarantined. Mass lockdowns encroaches on American’s most fundamental rights as well as the freedom to move and travel. 

Have You Been Charged With a Misdemeanor in San Diego?

Since all of California is still under the stay-at-home order, it is becoming more and more common for residents of the state to want their freedoms back. Incidents were stepping out to enjoy the beach or to congregate in large groups is being monitored by the authorities and threats of arrest or actual detentions are on the rise. If you have been arrested for violation of Code 8665, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje immediately. Continue reading

On Friday, March 27 a lawsuit was filed in San Diego federal court on behalf of three very young siblings who sustained injuries in a head-on crash on November 12, 2018. The suit is being filed against the children’s mother, who was driving the car while intoxicated.

 

Mayra Alejandra Gonzalez, 30, drove on the wrong side of Camino del Norte and smashed into another vehicle head-on. The driver of the other car was injured as a result of the crash. Gonzalez had a blood alcohol content of .29% after the crash, which is more than three times the legal limit.

 

Her three children sustained significant injuries from the incident. Her 9-month-old daughter was not in the proper child safety seat during the crash, but instead was being held by one of her sisters. When the accident took place she was thrust into the vehicle’s windshield and sustained a skull fracture and brain bleed. The young child still requires a feeding tube. Gonzalez’s two other daughters, aged 2 and 8, had facial injuries.

 

The suit alleges negligence and many other allegations against Gonzalez, San Diego County, and three social workers. The suit claims that the county was negligent in preventing Mayra from continuing to drive drunk, which she had done many times before the November 12th crash. She had a documented history of drunk driving, and social workers employed at the county’s Health and Human Services Agency were aware of her reckless behavior but ignored it, which put the children in immense danger.

 

There were four incidents in which Gonzalez was inebriated when she was driving with at least one of her children as a passenger in the car. Three were crashes that law enforcement and HHSA knew about. A crash in 2015 recorded her BAC at .26% and social workers indicated that services were necessary to assist Gonzalez and protect her children. However, no services or plan was made available and she was not required to attend substance abuse classes or parenting classes.

 

In 2016, she was driving drunk while pregnant and while her 5-year-old daughter was in the car. She caused another DUI crash which resulted in her arrest. She was charged with a felony and was sentenced to  five years of probation. Even though social workers considered her a high risk to the safety of her children, they did nothing to intervene and help.

 

Gonzalez pled guilty to felony child abuse and DUI from the November 12th crash. She is currently serving her 14-year sentence in state prison. 

Continue reading

There was a call to the Chula Vista Police Department on Sunday, March 29 about a physical fight between a couple in their home. The fight was between a married couple and resulted in the death of the 35-year-old wife. A manhunt ensued for the husband, 37-year-old Francisco Uriarte, who was believed to be on the run in the San Diego area.

Police warned the public that Uriarte was considered to be armed and dangerous. Authorities believed that he was armed with a knife and a gun. According to Chula Vista police Lt. Dan Peak, it was possible that Uriarte may go to a local hospital for medical attention as he likely had severe injuries to his hands.

Reports describe the incident, which took place a bit after 1:30 a.m., as a call to the Chula Vista Police Department for a domestic violence situation. When officers arrived at the Villa Granada Apartments located on Oxford Street east of Broadway, they were met by the couple’s three children. They then found their mother in the apartment unresponsive. 

The authorities indicated that the children witnessed the fight. The children told officers that their father killed their mother. The woman died in the apartment before she was able to be transported to the hospital. The children were not harmed during the fight. Lt. Peak did not confirm the children’s ages and also would not release the name of the deceased woman until her family was notified. 

Domestic Violence in California

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 32.9% of women in California are victims of physical violence at the hands of their intimate partner. There were close to 175,000 incidents of domestic violence-related to calls to authorities in 2007 and many more incidents were not reported. In 40% of the cases reported, weapons were involved.

The two-year period between 2009 and 2011 in California saw an increase in deaths from domestic violence by 11%, even while the state reported a decrease in the homicide rate. Approximately 11.8% of all homicides in the state of California are a result of domestic violence.

Do You Need a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in California?

Domestic violence charges are serious in California and come with significant consequences. Misdemeanor convictions could land you in jail for up to one year. If you are charged with a felony for domestic violence you could be facing up to two years in prison. The San Diego domestic violence defense attorneys at the Law Offices of David M. Boertje know that the criminal justice system will often rule in favor of the accuser.  Continue reading

There were six DUI arrests made on a Saturday night last month. The San Diego Police set up a downtown checkpoint at the 1400 block of G Street and there were 1,765 vehicles that drove through the site. Out of the vehicles that passed through, 526 were screened.

The checkpoint was successful in stopping approximately 10 drivers. The SDPD set up the checkpoint between 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night until 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. The screens stopped six drivers who were suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. There were two drivers who received citations for operating a vehicle without a license. In addition, two drivers were reported to have been issued citations for unspecified reasons.

DUI Checkpoints in San Diego

There have been eight DUI checkpoints around the city since the beginning of 2020. There were over 60 in the area in 2019.

DUI checkpoints are sometimes called sobriety checkpoints. Police will block traffic and signal various drivers to pull over when they arrive at the checkpoint. When the officer approaches the vehicle, he or she will ask to see your license and registration. Then the officer will proceed to ask various questions about what activities you were engaging in during the night. Those drivers who are not intoxicated or are not presumed to be by an officer pass through the checkpoint and continue on their way.

Drivers who exhibit slurred speech, abnormal movements, or other unusual behavior will cause the officer to believe intoxication is likely. Drivers who are suspected of drunk driving will be asked to perform a field sobriety test. What you will be expected to do in a sobriety test include:

  • Standing on one leg with your arms to the side
  • Walking a straight line putting one foot ahead of the other
  • Following a moving object with the eyes while keeping the head still

You cannot refuse a DUI checkpoint and avoid arrest in California, so do not try. These stations are not considered actions by police that violate individual constitutional rights. In addition to field sobriety tests, there are other tests that may be administered. Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) is one that may be used. This is a portable breath test. 

After you are arrested for a DUI, you will take either a blood or a breath test. If you do not comply with taking the test after the arrest has been made, you are going to make your situation worse. Additional charges will be added to your DUI.

Do You Need a DUI Defense Attorney in California?

Charges of drunk driving result in immediate suspension of your license. When a drunk driving accident results in bodily harm or death, it is critically important that you obtain aggressive representation because your charge will be considered a felony that will automatically come with prison time. Continue reading

An 18-year-old male driving a 2001 blue Mercedes-Benz C320 was carjacked in the Colinas Del Sol community according to reports from the San Diego Police Department. The incident took place during the early morning hours of Sunday, March 15.

The SDPD said that the driver parked their car in the 4200 block of Winona Avenue when the incident happened. An unidentified suspect approached the car and opened the driver’s door. Then he pulled the man out of his car, said SDPD Officer Robert Heims. The suspect then proceeded to walk the victim away from his car. After he removed the victim from the automobile, the suspect got into the car and drove off, southbound on 4200 Winona Avenue.

The incident was reported to have taken place at 3:20 a.m. The victim called the police and identified the suspect as a Hispanic male in either his 20s or 30s who was wearing all dark clothing. The SDPD continues to investigate and is asking anyone who may have information about the crime to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Carjacking Statistics

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), over a nine-year period from 1993-2002, there were approximately 38,000 victims of carjacking during every one of these years. There were approximately 15 murders each year that also involved a car theft, although the murders may have not been directly related to carjacking.

The most carjacking incidents took place during the first five years of the nine-year span. Men were victimized more often than women, blacks more than whites, and Hispanics more than non-Hispanics. Carjacking affected those with lower incomes. Households that made less than $50,000 per year had higher rates of carjacking than those which made more than $50,000.

Many carjackings are conducted under violent terms. Approximately 74% of carjacking incidents involved the use of a weapon. Firearms were the most used, at 45%, while knives were used in 11% of incidents. However, victims were likely to resist the offender. In two-thirds of the carjacking incidents reported the victims fought back. Some chased the offender while others attacked the offender. There were some victims who tried to capture the offender.

Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney in California?

If you are arrested and charged with a carjacking in California, Penal Code 215PC indicates that it is a crime to take a car from another by using force or fear. Carjacking is a felony in the state and comes with stiff penalties of serving up to nine years in state prison. If you had a gun, injured the victim, kidnapped someone, or carjacked to benefit a gang, you may be looking at even more prison time. Continue reading

On Thursday, February 27, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department reported that an arrest was made in the hit-and-run case that occurred on Tuesday of that week. A driver hit a 12-year-old boy on a Vista-area street and then fled the scene. The driver was found and arrested in Oceanside at approximately 5:25 p.m. on Wednesday, the day after the pedestrian accident.

The suspect was found at the 3500 block of Windrift Way in Oceanside by deputies who were responding to a tip provided to them through the San Diego County Crime Stoppers hotline. When deputies arrived on the scene they found a 2016 white Toyota sedan that had visible front-end damage. Witnesses to the hit-and-run described similar damages to what deputies saw on the Toyota. After contacting the owner of the vehicle, deputies eventually arrested the person.

The driver was taken to the Vista Detention Facility and booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run. The identity of the suspect has not been released by authorities.

The alleged hit-and-run accident inflicted serious injuries on the boy. The accident happened at the 1000 block of Mar Vista Drive on the border of Vista around 4:45 p.m. on February 25. After the deputies were called to the scene, an air ambulance took the boy to Rady Children’s Hospital for treatment. The boy suffered leg injuries and abrasions on his face as a result of the crash.

Authorities indicated that the boy was responsive and conscious when they arrived at the scene. Further information on the status of the boy’s health and injuries has not been released.

Are Pedestrian Accidents Common?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 2018 had the most pedestrian deaths on record at 6,283 since 1990. In 2017, there was one pedestrian killed in the United States every 88 minutes. The elderly and young children are at the most risk of pedestrian accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were nearly 129,000 pedestrians that sustained injuries after crashes which required treatment in emergency departments in 2015 alone. 

What Should You do if Charged With a Hit-And-Run in San Diego?

There is no denying how terrifying and traumatic traffic accidents are. If you had the unfortunate experience of hitting a pedestrian while driving and in a panic, you fled the scene, you are in violation of the law in California. California law requires anyone involved in an accident in which property damages and or physical injuries occur to stay at the scene. Failure to do so can result in either a misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. Continue reading

In response to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials serving subpoenas, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will comply with federal court orders to provide migrant-arrest data. The state of California’s sanctuary state legislation has been fighting to shield this information from going into the hands of ICE. The announcement was made by the Sheriff’s office on Thursday, February 20.

In specific, ICE wanted information on four recent cases in which Mexican nationals who are not authorized to be in the country were arrested. Since California became a sanctuary state ICE has not acted with such force. This is the first time the agency has taken such a proactive and bold move in the state. 

California authorities were not cooperating with federal immigration policy or federal authorities due to the passage of Senate Bill 54 in 2017. SB 54 prevented local law enforcement agencies in California from complying with and enforcing immigration law. According to the sheriff’s department, the change in approach came about because the authorities in the state were “obligated to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas.”

Prior to the subpoenas, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was simply asking for information from the sheriff’s department. San Diego County authorities were not compelled to provide USDHS with that information. The subpoenas changed everything as a federal authority is now forcing authorities in San Diego County to provide the records requested. If the sheriff’s department fails to provide the requested documents they can be punished by contempt of federal court.

The subpoenas are only asking for the information on the suspects. They are not requesting that the individuals in question be transferred to the federal government. ICE maintains that most of the law enforcement officials across the country provide them with information on those arrested who are not in the country legally without any issue. California’s sanctuary policies have made it very difficult for ICE to do their job.

Who are the Four Cases?

The four cases about which ICE seeks to obtain information from San Diego authorities include:

  • A 40-year-old male arrested by the San Diego Police Department for sexual abuse on children under the age of 14. This man also has two DUI convictions and has been deported back to Mexico 11 times. He remains in the US in the county jail.
  • A 42-year-old male arrested for robbery. He also was convicted of methamphetamine possession in 2013. After being granted voluntary departure, the man refused to leave the country. Due to sanctuary laws in the state, he was not held in custody but was instead released into the general population.
  • A 31-year-old male arrested for battery of his spouse and false imprisonment. He also had a prior conviction for possessing false government identification. Deported three times, he was released in the state.
  • A 28-year-old male arrested for assault with great bodily injury, child cruelty, and battery of his spouse. Additionally, he was previously arrested for spousal battery and has been repeatedly deported. He remains in custody.

Similar to the way that ICE is acting in California, similar subpoenas were issued in Connecticut, Denver, and New York. Failure to comply will result in immigration officers seeking a U.S. District Court Order requiring compliance. Continue reading

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