Articles Tagged with California criminal attorney

No criminal conviction looks good on your record or reflects well on you in the eyes of others. Some convictions carry a serious stigma that affects the way others perceive you. As a result, when you are done serving your sentence, you may have a difficult time doing all of the things that others with a clean record can do. Certain charges can make life after prison extremely difficult. Domestic violence charges are one example of this. 

Just the accusation of domestic abuse can impact your reputation. When you are convicted on criminal domestic abuse charges, it can be devastating to your future. If you have been arrested for domestic abuse in California, trust the experienced and resourceful legal counsel of the San Diego domestic violence defense attorney David M. Boertje. We are standing by to help. 

Prosecution Strategies Against Domestic Violence Offenders in California

The prosecution will look at every aspect of your case to mount a strategy against you that secures a conviction. The tactics they use are stealthy, so it is best to understand what you could potentially encounter. The following tactics are commonly used by aggressive prosecutors:

  • A prosecutor may advocate for a plaintiff to secure a protective order even when both the defendant and the plaintiff are on track to work things out cooperatively and safely. With a protective order in place, there can be no communication between these parties, which inhibits the amicable resolution of important issues.
  • When domestic abuse accusations are made, the “always believe the victim” mentality kicks in. As the alleged perpetrator, it is your credibility that the prosecutor will scrutinize and aim to tarnish.
  • If you even try to speak to potential witnesses or if you try to connect with the party who has brought the abuse charges against you, a prosecutor will frame this as you trying to intimidate these individuals.
  • Recordings of phone calls you make while incarcerated may be used against you. Think carefully about what you say and to whom you reach out.
  • Your entire life will be put on the line as evidence that you are capable of domestic abuse. So, even if you have made a mistake in the past that is completely unrelated to your current situation, if it can benefit the prosecution’s argument, they are going to use it as a means to harm you and persuade a judge and jury that you should be found guilty.

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After your arrest and detainment, a judge will typically set your bail. Bail is an amount of money that you post to be released from detention in jail. Once bail is set, you or your loved ones can pay it in the form of bail bonds, cash, or property. When you are bailed out of jail, you are expected to return for your scheduled court date. If you do not attend court, then you will lose the rights to the bail that was posted for you. If you attend your hearing, then you will be reimbursed.

If a judge decides that you should be released on what is called ‘your own recognizance,’ then you will not have to post any type of bail to be released from prison. If you or a loved one has been arrested and you are confused about the bail bond process, reach out to a San Diego criminal defense lawyer right away. 

Who Can be Released on Their Own Recognizance in California?

Being released on your own recognizance (O.R.) means that the judge believes that you are trustworthy enough to come back for your court date without having to put up collateral, or bail. For the majority of the state of California, O.R. release does not just automatically happen, and while many criminal defendants may be eligible, not everyone is. 

Those individuals seeking O.R. release cannot have any of the following be true:

  • The charges are so substantial that a conviction can lead to a death sentence.
  • The defendant’s release may put public safety in jeopardy.
  • There is no belief that the defendant will actually come to their court date.

Being released on O.R. is the best possible outcome after an arrest, but getting to this point is not an easy task. This is one of the many reasons why having an experienced legal defense attorney on your side after you are arrested can be so invaluable. An attorney who knows the criminal justice system in California and understands exactly what is necessary to argue for O.R. release on a defendant’s behalf is a critical tool in preserving your freedom. 

The San Diego criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje has a track record of success helping clients tangled up with the criminal justice system achieve O.R. release. If it is possible to get released on one’s own recognizance, attorney David M. Boertje can argue effectively on a defendant’s behalf to secure this ideal situation. Continue reading

Under the law, you cannot pretend to be someone that you are not. If you try to falsely represent yourself as another person, this could lead to significant criminal penalties. California forgery charges are strict, and depending on the details of the crimes, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Time behind bars and steep fines could result. And, if you did not have a criminal history in the past, a forgery conviction will change that quickly. As a result, the rest of your life could be negatively impacted by that criminal record that will follow you around wherever you go, tainting your reputation.

David M. Boertje is a San Diego felony defense attorney who can help you when you have been arrested for a criminal act like forgery. While there are clear examples of forgery, such as taking another person’s check and trying to cash it as if the check were yours, there are also other examples of forgery that may not at first seem like a crime at all.

What is Forgery in California?

California describes forgery as the falsification of documents. Some examples include:

  • Falsely trying to cash another person’s check.
  • Rewriting or making adjustments to another person’s will without their consent.
  • Signature tampering.
  • Taking another person’s plane ticket and posing as that person to get on a flight.
  • Trying to claim lottery winnings that are not your own.
  • Signing a contract with another person’s name.
  • Filing for a license in another person’s name.
  • Trying to withdraw more money from your account than you have by cashing a check.
  • Making fake money and trying to use it to procure goods and services.

California forgery and counterfeiting laws are serious and when you misrepresent yourself and it harms another party, you could be held criminally liable. Your charges may rise to the level of a misdemeanor charge, but they could also be charged as high as a felony offense. The difference between the two has to do with how much money was involved in a forgery event. Should forgery result in costs over $950, then a felony would be applied. If the forgery was less than $950, a misdemeanor would result.

Misdemeanor forgery charges come with penalties including fines and a year in county jail. While a felony charge could mean up to 16 months in state prison or up to three years in county jail. Restitution payments and pricey fines as costly as $10,000 may also be part of a sentence. 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

You teach your child to avoid danger and to protect themselves when appropriate. You also teach them not to start fights or try to hurt other people. It can be quite confusing for kids. Across the country, fights and other violent acts are taking place in schools. The causes of these incidents can vary, but it is nonetheless a serious problem for all of us. 

In some situations, a person may engage in violence as a result of trying to defend themselves against physical harm by another party. If self-defense can be shown, the legal criminal implications will be much less than if the aggressive actions were intentional and unprovoked.

If your child was involved in a physical altercation in which law enforcement had to intercede, it is best to connect with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you believe that your child was the victim of an attack and acted in self-defense, it will take a proficient and knowledgeable legal professional to help make the case. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can help your family should your child find themselves facing criminal charges.

Can Minors Plead Self-Defense?

When it comes to physical violence, there is assault and then there is the battery. California’s assault and battery definitions are not the same. The two are quite different. Assault happens when a person has the ability to inflict harm and attempts to inflict harm on another person. For example, if a person tries to push another party but no harm was inflicted, it can still be considered assault.

By contrast, battery takes place when someone attempts to harm another party and succeeds. So if the damage inflicted on another party did cause injuries and harm, then the crime would no longer be assault but rather elevated to battery.

When an adult is facing an assault and/or battery charge, they will be processed in the criminal justice system. The result is likely going to be some severity of punishment in the form of prison time and potentially a costly fine. Not to mention, the blemish on the person’s record will reflect poorly on them when they try to get a job, apply for a loan, or take part in other life opportunities.

For juveniles, though, the case is likely to be adjudicated in the juvenile court system. The main difference between the criminal justice system and the juvenile court system is that the former relies on punitive actions while the latter emphasizes rehabilitation.

As long as a young person under the age of 18 did not commit an egregious act that warrants the adult criminal justice system, they can get a second chance in the juvenile system. Though, if your child is convicted of assault or battery, their school may take action such as expulsion due to zero-tolerance rules. This is why having a skilled criminal defense lawyer advocating for your child is so critically important. Continue reading

Going to court can be scary and distressing. Knowing that there will be a district attorney set to ensure you are convicted of your charges does not make things any better. 

When it comes to criminal cases, the defendant, or the person who is accused of the crimes, is not given the opportunity to choose who the prosecutor is. Also, the defendant will not be able to ask for a different prosecutor than the one who is assigned to their case. The only thing that a defendant can do is preclude some prosecutors from being considered. 

If there is a real and clear conflict of interest, then there is a chance for a new prosecutor. A conflict of interest happens when one party has something to gain from the fall of another. For example, if the defendant is alleged to have harmed a particular victim who is related to the prosecutor, it could be argued that the prosecutor has a bias and therefore should be ruled out as an option.

America’s veterans can run into problems with drugs and alcohol or struggle with mental afflictions which can cause them to make errors and misjudgments. When these individuals make bad choices that have criminal implications in the state of California, they will be put through the criminal justice system and have to deal with the consequences. One glimmer of hope for veterans who are struggling with life issues that have caused them to engage in criminal activity is the California Veterans Court. If a veteran obtains approval to be seen in the Veteran’s Court in California, they will have access to rehabilitative programs that will help them turn their lives around and get a second chance. 

Why is the California Veteran’s Court so Helpful?

Veterans who have been exposed to or experienced a distressing event or action can develop serious mental health conditions. The trauma they sustained can have a major impact on their life and may lead to legal issues. Simple relationships with loved ones, emotional issues, and an inability to blend into society can leave a veteran hopeless and even homeless. They may engage in alcohol abuse or drug use, which compounds their harrowing situation.

When a veteran is arrested for a crime, depending on what the crime was, a Veterans Administration liaison will examine their case. If the individual never had a criminal history and their crime was not one that put others at risk of being harmed, they may be able to go through the Veterans’ Court system to address their mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Each person is looked at individually and their unique circumstances inspected in order to get a recommendation for the court system alternative. Not every veteran will be eligible or approved, but for those who are, the tremendous opportunity for rehabilitation and help is available.

There are several advantages that veterans have when they qualify to be switched out of the civilian criminal justice system in California and into the veteran’s system. Not only are the sources of their trauma diagnosed and addressed, but there is also an increased ability for full rehabilitation. All of these services are offered to the vet at no charge and the success rate of reintegrating into society to live a fulfilling life after completing the program has been shown to be high. 

Not only does the Veterans’ Court in California provide a way to avoid serving time in jail, but once a program has been completed, the veteran has the ability to have their record expunged of their arrest and charges. This alone can make a huge difference in the vet’s life because they will have many more opportunities made available to them than if they had a criminal record. Continue reading

District Attorneys in Sacramento, Fresno, Kern, and San Diego counties have voiced their displeasure with Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s actions on criminal justice reform. Directives that DA Gascon has put forth include getting rid of cash bail and banning sentencing enhancements and re-sentencing for individuals who are facing extended time in prison. Lisa Smittcamp, the Fresno District Attorney, wrote a scathing letter to DA Gascon on January 19 regarding her disagreement with the Los Angeles Attorney General’s measures. There has yet to be a comment from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office about the letter.

Enhancements happen quite often for gang members. When a gang member commits a crime, prosecutors use their association with a gang to increase the time that is added to their sentence. Smittcamp said that eliminating enhancements can lead to more gang violence that will not just affect the city of Los Angeles but also spread across the state. Smittcamp along with the DAs in Sacramento and San Diego have indicated that they will not allow LA County to have any influence over crimes that include their counties.

How District Attorneys Across California are Tackling Criminal Justice Reform

Despite the pushback against the actions that DA Gascon has taken, there are many supporters of his efforts. Backers say that the changes that DA Gascon has made are important and necessary to reverse the trend of substantial incarceration of the population. Additionally, advocates of the changes also indicate that the bail system is unfair and low-income individuals are the hardest hit.

Even though there are several California DAs opposed to the reforms that DA Gascon has taken, that does not mean that they have not also made improvements to address the issues. Smittcamp in Fresno created a Mental Health Court, Drug Court, Veteran’s Court, and Restorative Justice program, along with other systems that are aimed at preventing youth from getting involved in gangs. She said that DAs and prosecutors are putting great emphasis on keeping individuals of color, those who are living in poverty, those who have mental conditions, and others who have drug problems the ability to access support programs. Helping these individuals overcome their personal battles could prevent them from getting tangled up with the California criminal justice system. Continue reading

A man was strangled at a park in Emerald Hills by another man who was allegedly yelling “I’m going to kill you” to the victim. On July 11, a man who was described as approximately 40 years of age with a thin mustache and goatee, who was about 6’ in height and around 170 pounds. He had a look that could indicate he had jaundice or other condition that caused the whites of his eyes to be yellow in color. The suspect attacked a 23-year-old man at Emerald Hills Park on Bethune Court. The San Diego County Crime Stoppers used the information to release a composite sketch for the community of the suspect. If found, the suspect will be charged with attempted homicide.

The incident took place in the middle of the day at 1:50 p.m. According to the victim, the suspect tried to grab for the victim’s cell phone which was on a table in the park. When the victim witnessed this the two men got into a physical altercation. The suspect revealed a box cutter and began threatening the victim that he was going to kill him. The suspect used the box cutter to stab the victim in his arm, and then he proceeded to strangle the young man. After the San Diego Police arrived on the scene they were able to get the victim medical care. The victim received 18 staples to the laceration on his arm.

The last report of the suspect placed him walking into a canyon near Kelton Road and state Route 94. The SDPD is hopeful that the sketch will result in more leads from the public. The suspect was said to be wearing a bright orange, flat brim hat that had a white “C” on the front, a very large navy sweatshirt with a hood, dark-colored sweatpants, and a gray backpack that had zebra stripes at the time of the attack. The investigation is active and ongoing. 

Can Composite Sketches Lead to Arrests?

When a suspect connected to a crime is at large, the police take many actions to locate and find the individual. One of the ways that they look for information is to reach out to the community and see what details and facts they can gather to help them find the suspect. They will also release composite sketches if they have a victim or witnesses that can provide a description. The sketch can help get the public more involved in helping and potentially lead to an identification. 

There are many factors that go into how accurate the drawing will be including the recollection of a witness and the skill of the artist. While there may not be firm statistics on how effective composite sketches are at finding suspects, it is known that there are cases where a sketch was pivotal in finding a suspect and making an arrest. Continue reading

For the last seven years, the police in the city of San Diego made use of facial recognition technology through a network of 1,300 mobile cameras. The information compiled was successful in developing a database of 65,500 face scans. As of December 31, 2019, though, the California legislature put a stop to the use of the technology. A three-year ban was enacted against the use of mobile facial recognition technology by law enforcement. The ban came at the frustration of the police, but privacy advocates saw it as a win. 

Unfortunately, determining the effectiveness of the technology is not simple or easy. San Diego law enforcement agencies did not keep track of the results associated with the facial recognition initiative. According to the city’s police spokesperson, it is not known that there were arrests or prosecutions as a result of using the technology.

What is the Tactical Identification System (TACIDS)?

In 2012 the TACIDS was put into place without a public hearing or public notice. The software behind the system worked by focusing on unique identifiers via patterns and textures on the face to compare with a database of over 1.8 million mugshots. In less than two seconds the software can compare the traits to find matches with the images collected by the San Diego County Sheriff’s office.

FaceFirst supplied the software to law enforcement agencies. There were 30 agencies as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement who used TACIDS. Out of all the agencies that had access to the software, law enforcement in San Diego made the most use of it. The large police department used it frequently. The newly developed Neighborhood Policing Division which began in 2018 was easily behind the department’s high rate of use. This division was a response to the rising homeless population in the city. The technology was given to officers so that they could identify homeless individuals who often do not carry identification.

How Did the Ban on TACIDS Come About?

Privacy advocates had major concerns with the facial recognition technology, and increased pressure on lawmakers motivated them to put the ban in place. The American Civil Liberties Union tested the software and found that it had flaws. They found a 20% failure rate for matching individuals and the majority of those that were mistaken were with individuals of color. Community leaders argued that the technology violated people’s civil liberties. Lawmakers listening to these concerns agreed that there are problems with the way surveillance capabilities are utilized. Continue reading

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