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Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

If you suspect that you have an outstanding warrant in your name it is best to be proactive and look into it. You may find you have either an outstanding California bench warrant or an outstanding arrest warrant. Either way, should you find that you do have an outstanding warrant in California, the sooner you take action, the higher your chances of reducing the associated penalties you face.

If you need assistance determining your status with respect to a warrant in California, David M. Boertje can help. David M. Boertje is a California criminal defense attorney that can confirm if you actually have a warrant in your name or not. When you have a warrant in your name it is best to have a knowledgeable San Diego criminal defense attorney by your side when you go to court to address the situation.

How Can You Find Out if You Have a Warrant in California?

If you are confused about researching your criminal history to see if a warrant exists or if you want to make sure that a warrant you believe exists is really in your name, you can always work with a San Diego criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney will not only inform you about the existence of your warrant but they will also be able to tell you why you have a warrant and they can find out what your bail amount is. There are other ways that you can look to see if you have an outstanding California warrant including searching either of the following websites:

  • The local sheriff or court
  • Superior Court of California

Another route you can take is to have a background check performed on yourself. Your criminal history, including if you have a warrant will show up on that report. Both a bench and arrest warrant allow the police to put you under arrest if you are found. The difference between the two is that an arrest warrant names you in a crime while a bench warrant is issued when you have violated a court order.

It is important to understand that any police officer has access to information regarding your warrant. This means that it doesn’t matter which local court issued your warrant, an officer that you encounter anywhere in the state of California or in the country can see it. This is because your warrant will show up on the website of the U.S. Department of Justice. Continue reading

The United States offers its people the most freedom and liberty of any country in the world, yet, despite this, the prison population is larger here than in all other countries. For a country that is forward-thinking and home to laws that are not draconian by any means, it does not seem logical that there are so many people incarcerated. In 2016, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that approximately 2.2 million adults were locked away in jail. 

When a person is locked up, many times, they are not serving their time alone. Often, inmates leave behind loved ones that have to also endure the distance apart and manage the emotional toll of the situation. In some instances, the inmate was the sole means of financial support for their loved ones and while they are behind bars, their loved ones suffer that loss. There are several implications that come along with a prison sentence, and the effects are far-reaching. In many instances, a jail term affects more people than just the inmate themselves.

Why are America’s Prison Populations So Big?

America’s struggle with prison reform has gotten more attention in recent years. There are many factors that are being evaluated to determine what the best approach would be when it comes to using prison in a reasonable manner and when the prison is not the right approach to a specific case. There are many reasons why so many people are housed in the U.S. prison system, but the following three issues are the most pervasive:

  • The United States has made a concerted effort to fight the “War on Drugs” for close to 50 years since President Richard Nixon declared it in 1971. Federal dollars were funneled to drug control agencies and assistance was plentiful for other efforts the country made in trying to control the problem. Federal prisons are more than half-full of people serving time simply because they were associated with controlled substances in some capacity. Unfortunately for those individuals jailed because of their addiction, jail is not a remedy nor a cure and these individuals are being immensely underserved by the system.
  • Recidivism rates are high when a criminal record is a permanent blemish on a person’s history that follows them around for the rest of their life. A person with a criminal history has to work much harder to live a lawful life and get ahead because they are significantly limited in their opportunities. It is also a barrier for an ex-con to establish new, healthy relationships with others.
  • Those living at the lowest economic levels are at increased risk for exposure to criminal activity and to engage in criminal activity. For instance, in the United States, if your income level is under the Federal poverty level the risk for violent victimization is more than 50% higher than those that have higher income levels. When urban poverty is assessed, individuals living in these conditions are the most vulnerable to violent aggression as well as overall crime.

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A week-long trial in San Diego ended in a jury deciding in favor of a victim of police brutality, with a $1.5 million settlement paid out by the city. Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the incident in which the victim was thrown onto the ground and pepper-sprayed by police was a case of excessive force and false arrest. According to reports, San Diego police officers were aware of an assailant who was attacking the homeless population in the city. As a result, they were visiting many homeless encampments in plain clothes and not uniforms. The officers were trying to warn the homeless populations of the danger in order to keep them safe.

The authorities, who were not in uniform, gathered at a trolley stop near the Fashion Valley mall and prepared to visit a homeless encampment in a nearby riverbed to warn them about the assailant. Before they left the trolly station, they heard a loud noise in the vicinity and believed that they were taking fire from projectiles. As a result, one officer drew a gun, and when the victim was spotted, the officer approached him thinking that he was the culprit.

The plaintiff was simply heading back to his home after a night out drinking with friends. When he saw the officer approaching him and ordering him to raise his hands and get on the ground, he did not heed the orders. Because the plaintiff was not compliant with the orders, one officer pulled out pepper spray and shot him in the face with it, after which another officer slammed him to the ground, smashing his face against the pavement. The plaintiff sustained broken front teeth, jaw injuries, and nerve damage from the incident.

The plaintiff’s legal team argued that he had little time to respond to the situation and make any sense of what was happening. The noise that the officers heard was a result of an iPhone charging block being thrown and falling near the officers. When the plaintiff was given the commands, not only did he not have time to comprehend what was happening, it was also being done by officers in plain clothing.

Subsequently, the plaintiff was pulled off the ground and handcuffed. While this was happening, another individual admitted to the officers that they threw the charger. The individual who actually threw the charger faced no repercussions.

Why Did This Case Take so Long to be Seen in Court?

The case was delayed by a couple of factors including the coronavirus outbreak. Many trials and cases that were to be seen in the courts were delayed as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, city lawyers were successful in having the judge presiding over this incident be removed from the case just before it came to trial. These lawyers believed the judge made many adverse rulings and may be biased. Continue reading

A man was sentenced to life in prison without parole after he shot and killed another man. The victim, age 21, was a Navy sailor who took the time to offer help to a motorist he thought was stuck on the freeway on October 27, 2018. The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder in February. The details of the shooting involved the defendant fleeing the scene of a vehicle break-in gone wrong. He tried to break into a car located in the Mount Hope area when the owner pulled out a gun. A shootout ensued and resulted in the defendant, along with his brother and two other individuals fleeing.

The assailant’s car suffered flat tires during the escape, which left it stranded on a San Diego freeway. When the victim saw the stranded car, he pulled over to help. The defendant and his group did not realize the victim was acting as a good samaritan and thought instead that he was the individual that they engaged in a shootout with from their earlier vehicle break-in attempt. The shooting happened on Interstate 15 in Logan Heights.

What was the Response of the San Diego Superior Court after the Shooting?

The San Diego Superior Court held that there was strong evidence that the defendant was the main actor in the crime. The judge also commented on the remarkable character of the victim. His mother wrote a letter for the court and it was read aloud before the sentencing decision was made public by Deputy District Attorney. The letter talked about the love the victim’s mother had for him, what an enthusiastic person he was, and how full of life he was. His mother also indicated that her son is at peace and that his killer will no longer be able to continue committing crimes against the public. 

The defendant did speak at his sentencing hearing, where he said he was sorry to the victim’s family. He tried to explain that he was not a cold-hearted person. His life in prison without parole also came with an additional 25 years in prison for his initial crime of attempting to rob the car owner in Mount Hope of the contents held within a Chevrolet Tahoe and then engaging in a shootout with the car owner. 

When the shootout took place, it was not confirmed whether the defendant or the owner of the Tahoe shot first, but there was evidence in the victim’s house of a shooting taking place; bullets discharged from the defendant’s semi-automatic pistol were found in a toy located in a child’s bedroom. His brother, who was also implicated in the shooting death of the victim, was sentenced on the same day and received 13 years in prison. Continue reading

Have you been arrested and charged with lewd conduct in San Diego? If you are convicted of lewd conduct in the public sphere in California, you are subject to penalty under California’s Penal Code 647(a). The state characterizes the following actions as lewd conduct under the law:

  • Unwanted touching of other individuals’ genitals or “private parts” in an offensive or aggressive manner or for sexual pleasure.

If you are arrested and eventually convicted of engaging in lewd conduct in the state of California, do not wait to connect with a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can effectively fight the charges against you. David M. Boertje is a San Diego sexual offense attorney who will provide you with the best most proactive and aggressive criminal defense services possible. Sexual crimes do not just come with steep fines and jail time; the stigma that surrounds them can follow you around for your entire life and destroy personal relationships with loved ones as well as preclude you from being able to obtain gainful employment and many more negative life outcomes.

How Can You Fight California Sexual Offense Charges?

It can be an uphill battle fighting California sexual offense charges and clearing your name from the shame and dishonor that could shroud your reputation. You will need to work with a California criminal defense attorney who knows the law, is resourceful, and will provide you with the strongest criminal defense strategy possible. Without a strong defense, lewd conduct, which is a misdemeanor, can come with the following penalties:

  • A sentence of as much as six months in county jail
  • Fines as high as $1,000
  • Both jail time and fines

You may be to avoid jail time and instead only serve probation with the right attorney fighting on your behalf and preserving your legal rights. If you are able to secure probation, you must follow the requirements of the court. Some or a combination of the following actions may be required to avoid jail time while you are under court supervision:

  • Therapy and counseling
  • Community service
  • Adhering to a restraining order and keeping appropriate distance and terminating communication with a victim 
  • Paying restitution

Lewd conduct in California does not require the defendant to become a registered sex offender, which is good news, but if you are convicted, it will be listed in your criminal record. The prosecution arguing the case against you must show evidence that you did willfully engage in lewd conduct for your own personal gratification or to annoy another party in the public or in a location that anyone in the public could see, and that you knew of the people present when you did the act, and that all parties were offended. Continue reading

Having a criminal history can impact you both personally and professionally, no matter where you are located in the country. There are varying levels of punishments and long-term implications based on the type of crime you committed and its severity. For instance, there are convictions that can keep you from obtaining a professional license or make you lose a professional license you legitimately earned. Other crimes may limit your ability to vote or buy and own a firearm. Those with a criminal past often have a difficult time just obtaining gainful employment even after they serve their time.

There is no doubt about it, Californians with any amount of criminal history face more obstacles to achieving their life goals than those without a criminal history. Luckily, there are options that can help an ex-convict gain some relief from their criminal past. Working with an experienced and resourceful San Diego criminal defense attorney is a convenient way to learn more about what your options are regarding how to better manage your criminal record. If you are able to make adjustments to your record, you could greatly impact the trajectory of your life.

What Options are Available to Reduce the Impact of a California Criminal Record

Your convictions will be a stain on your record that will be visible by many organizations and businesses that require background checks. Due to their presence on your record, it is likely that you will face many limitations impacting your ability to get ahead in life and to live your life in peace. It is only natural to be concerned about the challenges you have to endure after you leave prison. When you just want to move on with your life, it is also reasonable to want to know if there is anything you can do to mitigate these implications.

California criminal laws say that records with information on arrests or detentions, dispositions, as well as personal identification will stay on your record until you reach the age of 100. That is a very long time. Criminal convictions never go away. Potentially, if your conviction happened when you were a minor, you may have options to hide that conviction.

Even if you were arrested but not convicted, this incident will stay on your record and be visible. The good news is that under California criminal laws, any arrest charges where there was no conviction or where the charges were thrown out cannot be held against you. While organizations or businesses may be able to see these charges on your records, they cannot deprive you of services or employment because of them.

How Can I Have My California Criminal Record Cleaned?

When you want to explore options that may be available to help you clean your record, the best thing to do is to discuss the unique details of your situation with David M. Boertje, a California criminal defense lawyer. Depending on the type of convictions you have and the details that surround them, it may be possible to have these charges removed or expunged from your record.  Continue reading

If you have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor in the state of California and you wanted to have your charges expunged but found out you were ineligible for that to happen, you may be wondering if a Certificate of Rehabilitation will be a suitable alternative. While not exactly the same thing as an expungement, there are many similarities. If you are successful at obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation, then you essentially are receiving a court order that, after you completed your prison sentence, shows you are rehabilitated.

If you want to learn more about a California Certificate of Rehabilitation and what your options are, the Law Offices of David M. Boertje can examine your case, answer your questions, and provide you with effective legal counsel. When you meet with David M. Boertje, your consultation is always free and confidential.

Would a Certificate of Rehabilitation Help You Move Forward With Your Life in California?

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is beneficial because it does many invaluable things for your life including:

  • Allows you to regain your civil rights (with the exception of the Second Amendment rights).
  • Show that the criminal justice system agrees that you have been restored and rehabilitated to safely re-enter society.
  • You can obtain public licensure.
  • Employers cannot deny your job opportunities on the basis of your past criminal history.
  • For some sex offenders, the COR allows you to avoid having to register as a sex offender.
  • You become automatically eligible to apply for a Governor’s Pardon.

Those individuals who under the state’s realignment program had jail or prison sentences can apply if the following is true:

  • After you have served your time and were released, you did not commit another crime resulting in your incarceration.
  • After you have served your time and were released you remained living in the state of California for a minimum of five years. If you were on parole after your release, you resided in the state for at least three years.
  • You can prove that you are in fact, rehabilitated.
  • The proper amount of time has passed for the crimes you were convicted.
  • You are not serving probation time for committing another felony crime since your release.
  • Your felony probation or misdemeanor sex offense under Penal Code 290 was expunged.

There is no doubt about it, a California Certificate of Rehabilitation can do many things to help you improve your life outside of prison. It is not an easy process, it can be quite complex, and there are many considerations. Your best bet when it comes to navigating the process of obtaining a California Certificate of Rehabilitation is to work with a San Diego criminal defense attorney who is current on all the changing California criminal laws. The best legal services come from an experienced attorney that knows how to help protect the rights of those who have been charged with crimes in the greater San Diego area. Continue reading

When Americans go to the polls, they have to believe that their vote counts and that all votes will be counted honestly and appropriately for fair and free elections to take place. However, when the established rules are not followed and the system is abused, anyone involved in such actions can be charged with voter fraud. In California, voter fraud is a crime, just as it is in every state across the nation. There are four categories in which acts of California voter fraud can fall within the scope of the law. These are the four violation categories:

  • Voter registration
  • Petition initiative 
  • Election day and voting
  • Nomination and election campaign

California Voter Fraud Violations Explained

Below details a breakdown of California voter fraud violations.

  • Voter Registration Fraud – When ineligible voters are registered to vote, that will fall under voter registration fraud. Examples of ineligible parties would be animals, deceased persons, fictitious people, or anyone under the law who does not have the right to vote. If you are charged with California voter registration fraud, how you are charged will be based on the details of your crimes. As a wobbler crime, a prosecutor can decide to charge you with either a felony or misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges come with as much as a year to be served in county jail while felonies can come with up to three years of jail time. Fines may also be assessed.
  • Election-day Fraud – When there is an exchange of money for votes, aggression or threats for votes, voting multiple times in the same election, voting when you are not lawfully allowed to vote, falsely taking on another person’s identity to vote these acts are considered election-day fraud. These actions will result in California felony charges and the punishment can be jail time up to three years and fines as high as $10,000.

Being arrested and charged with voter fraud violations in California is serious and there are many consequences for such actions. Other illegal acts related to the voting system include:

  • Trying to intimidate or influence a vote within 100 feet from the polling location
  • Having a gun at a polling place
  • Meddling with a voting machine
  • Fraudulently voting with mail-in ballots

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On Thursday, September 8, a 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with charges of stalking. The man allegedly was stalking a San Carlos woman who is attending UC San Diego. According to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Jonathan Derasacosta was arrested for stalking the UC San Diego female student. The Sheriff’s offices also said that this was not the first time that Derasacosta was arrested for stalking the same woman. In 2019, Derasacosta was arrested two times on suspicion of stalking this UC San Diego student.

According to reports, the female student built a relationship with Derasacosta before she traveled to Southern California for school. When the COVID-19 crisis took place government officials decided that some people in jail should be released to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Derasacosta was one of these individuals who was released in early 2020.

The report of Derasacosta’s actions includes that he went to the victim’s home in San Carlos. While she was taking online classes, she saw Derasacosta use a substance that was red in color, and may have potentially been blood, use it to write her name on a wall. The female victim did not know that Derasacosta moved to San Diego when she started college at UC San Diego.  

The actions Derasacosta took resulted in an arrest for suspicion of stalking, committing a felony while on bail, and disobeying a court order. The authorities are asking the public for any information that they can supply. 

What is Stalking in California?

California’s penal code 646.9 PC says that the crime of stalking includes following, harassing, and threatening other people so much so that the person you are attacking is concerned for their safety. Stalking in California is considered a wobbler charge, which means that it can be either charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Time served for a conviction of a California stalking charge can mean you will spend as much as five years in jail or prison.

Some examples of legitimate stalking include:

  • Making excessive calls to another party when they have not asked to be called or have asked you to stop. Also, making threatening statements while on the phone.
  • Sending unwanted gifts regularly that have threatening notes.
  • Disputes with neighbors where you are making threatening statements on a daily or weekly basis about the dispute and your dissatisfaction with their actions or inactions.

To combat charges or stalking some strategies include:

  • Downplaying the threat and showing that it was not believable.
  • Saying that the plaintiff was making up stories and that the crimes you are being accused of have never happened.
  • No intent to cause terror or fear in the plaintiff ever existed.
  • You were engaging in behavior that was protected under the constitution.

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While driving on her scooter, a 36-year old woman was hit by a car on October 3 in Mission Bay Park. The driver reportedly fled the scene after hitting the woman. The incident took place at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, when the woman was riding her scooter south on Ingraham Street. As she approached the Sunset Cliffs offramp, the San Diego Police Department says that a car attempted to pass her on the left. In doing so, the car hit her which caused her to lose control of her scooter.

According to Officer Robert Heims, the woman was ultimately ejected from her scooter after the collision. Authorities arrived on the scene and an ambulance was able to transport the woman to a local hospital. She was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and her injuries included a pelvic fracture, one broken tooth, and abrasions all over her body. Investigators were unable to secure any witness to the incident but did say that the driver was in a maroon sedan. Police are asking the public to call the San Diego Crime Stoppers with any information.

What is the Frequency of Hit-and-Run Incidents?

In 2016, the state of California had the most fatal hit-and-run incidents than any other state in the nation. That year, there were 337 hit-and-run accidents. Other states with high reports of hit-and-run crashes in 2016 included Texas at 233 and Florida at 206. Across the nation, there were just a bit over 2,000 deaths from hit-and-run incidents in 2016.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 5,977 pedestrians who lost their lives in traffic crashes in 2017. What this means is that in 2017, one pedestrian died in a traffic accident every 88 minutes. In addition to these deaths, 137,000 pedestrians received emergency treatment for their injuries related to traffic crashes in 2017. 

Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to serious injuries and death when they are involved in traffic accidents and are hit by vehicles. The CDC indicates that a pedestrian who is hit is 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries than a car occupant would be when they are in a crash. When a driver crashes into a piece of property or another person, and they do not stop, provide their identification, and offer assistance when there are injuries as a result of the collision, then this is a hit-and-run accident.

California hit-and-run accidents can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the details of how the accident took place. Misdemeanor charges can either come with up to six months serving time in county jail and up to $1,000 of fines or up to one year in jail and at least $1,000 in fines or up to as high as $10,000 in fines. Felony charges are much more severe with up to four years served in state prison and a fine that is at minimum $1,000, but can also be upward of $10,000. All of these crimes have the potential to also require community service and/or probation after jail or prison sentences have been completed. Continue reading

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