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Articles Tagged with California criminal defense attorney

COVID-19 has changed all of our lives and the way we conduct daily activities. Limitations on store capacity, curfews, and fears of contracting the virus have led more people to do their shopping online. You can go down any street these days and see multiple homes with packages on their front step or porch. Because there has been a marked increase in online ordering, everything from home goods to groceries, there has been a corresponding rise in these packages being stolen.

“Porch piracy” is the term used to label the act of stealing a package off of someone’s porch or the entrance to their home. The theft of packages has gotten the attention of Senator Brian W. Jones who, in response to the issue, put forth Senate Bill 358. This bill would make the penalties for porch piracy much tougher so that individuals tempted to engage in the crime would be dissuaded from doing so.

What are the Current Porch Pirate Laws in California?

According to Senator Jones, current laws are too soft on criminals who steal from others. SB 358 would fix the lenient punishments by replacing them with harsher ones. Right now theft of one’s package from their home is considered a misdemeanor. This classification does not change even in situations in which the offender continues to commit the crime. Under the provisions of SB 358, a first offense will result in a misdemeanor. However, if an individual is arrested in three or more instances for porch piracy over a three year period of time, the charges will be elevated to a felony level.

Going from a misdemeanor to a felony means that the amount of time spent behind bars will be increased. Not only are there more packages being sent to homes, but the law in California treats porch pirates differently than they treat a person who breaks into a home and robs it. This is another reason why there are more offenders who are guilty of committing the crime on a regular basis. Individuals convicted of porch piracy do not fear the California criminal justice system because the penalties are too weak. So, there is no real deterrent for these individuals.

SB 358 has not yet been passed. Currently, the legislation is waiting to be assigned a hearing date.  Continue reading

When a person is incarcerated for a crime in California and they are a parent, there are several different things that can happen. The child may be placed with the other parent, or the child may be placed with another family member. When a relative is not an option, the child may be thrown into the foster care system. The court will look at the specific details of a child’s case and make a determination on what is the best possible action to take for the well-being of the child.

Even though the court’s goal is to place a child in a safe home that will provide for a bright future, that does not always occur. There are over 430,000 children throughout the country in foster care. In the state of California, there are more than 60,000 in the system. According to the research, children who were involved in the foster care system have much higher rates of homelessness and about one-third of the unaccompanied homeless children live in the state of California.

The Impact of Incarceration on Families in California

After an arrest, it is advisable to connect with the most experienced and strategic legal representation possible. When you work with a California criminal defense attorney who has a proven track record of success helping defendants lower their charges, have their charges dropped, and obtain the best results for their legal situation, you will be properly positioned to protect your legal rights. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who understands that people facing criminal charges must be provided the very best legal counsel because the aftermath of a conviction can substantially impact a person’s life forever. 

It is vitally important that individuals with minor children to look after stay out of prison whenever possible. Prison time can cause your child to have to go into the foster care system and depending on your case, you may lose your parental rights to your child forever. Even if your child is not put into the foster care system, they may be placed with a family member or the other parent who is not currently serving time. After you are released from jail, your ability to connect with your child can be severely limited and potentially even revoked.

In some situations, keeping a child from their biological parent, if that parent is a danger, is necessary and right. In other situations, a parent may be substantially restricted from having a relationship with their child, and the negative implications for the child can hurt them for the long-term. Working with David M. Boertje, a dedicated and tactical California criminal defense attorney will ensure that you are suitably represented. Continue reading

In an effort to minimize the prison population in California and better manage the associated costs, more inmates may be eligible for early parole. Included in this population are nonviolent sex offenders, according to a ruling by the California Supreme Court. The ballot measure, which was approved four years ago, was aimed at non-violent felons. The measure did not include language excluding sex offenders who were charged with non-violent felonies.

While former Gov. Jerry Brown has been an outspoken backer of the initiative, he said that he was not in favor of the measure including those convicted of sex crimes. The lower appeals court ruled that the way the initiative was written, it plainly includes all non-violent felonies including those convicted of sex crimes. When the ruling by the lower appeals court went to the high court, the ruling was upheld.

As a result of the ruling, 20,000 inmates may have the opportunity to gain early parole. Of those 20,000 inmates impacted by the initiative, approximately 50% are individuals serving their time for sex offenses and the other 50% had a previous sex crime conviction but were presently serving time for another crime such as burglary. These numbers were reported by Janice Bellucci the executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws. The courts indicated that the actual number of inmates who would be eligible for consideration would come to just over 4,000.

Bellucci says this ruling by the lower appeals court and which was maintained by the California Supreme Court is “a significant victory” for individuals convicted of sex crimes in California. Even though the ruling allows for sex offenders to gain consideration for parole, that does not mean a parole board will permit early release for these individuals. Ultimately, the parole board has a wide capacity for which they can determine who is paroled and who is not.

What Legal Defenses Can be Used When Charged With a Sex Crime in California?

When you have been arrested and charged for a sex crime in California, the penalties are high. The stigma of just a sex crime accusation follows a person forever and will negatively affect their life, even when there is no conviction. A conviction has even deeper implications for a person’s ability to sustain to return to a normal life after serving their time. 

It is best to have the most strategic and resourceful California criminal defense attorney representing you when you are arrested and charged with a sex crime. Possible legal defense approaches could include:

  • The alleged victim consented to the act.
  • The alleged victim falsely accused the defendant of committing the act.

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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

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

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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A 63-year-old man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after an altercation in which he was shot. The incident took place in the Jamacha-Lomita neighborhood in San Diego at approximately 4:00 p.m. Police were called to the 7900 block of Gribble Street on Friday afternoon. The police said that the victim was in an active argument with the shooter and the altercation ended with the victim being shot three times. 

The police were able to secure the victim and have him safely transported to the local hospital for treatment. The victim is expected to survive his injuries. According to the San Diego Police Department, the incident appears to be gang-related, and the detectives are conducting the investigation. The only identifying information that the police have to offer is that the suspect is a black male who had on a red t-shirt.

The Most Helpful Tips for De-Escalating an Argument

Not every argument ends in gunfire, but when tensions are high, people can be unpredictable. Depending on what the argument is about and the character or temper of the parties involved, the outcome of a verbal disagreement could be violence. To avoid this perilous situation when you are in a heated argument, consider trying the following tips:

  • Take a moment and step back to inhale deeply. This time of pause will allow you to better calm yourself and reassess the situation and your response. By internally counting to 3, you can figure out why you are having the disagreement and the best way to let the other party know you heard them, even if you do not agree with them.
  • Use facts and reason when you provide your response, Never allow your emotions to take over just because doing so may feel good at the time. An outburst will not likely do anything to help; it will likely raise the tension.
  • When you are arguing your side, it is better to make a clear explanation of your position rather than trying to compete to win over another party. You can clearly explain how you feel and why without trying to win, and this approach can lower the intensity of the confrontation.
  • Not every disagreement has to be an argument. Sometimes people fight over the most insignificant things. Pick your battles and save your energy and time for only those conflicts that really warrant the effort.
  • Keep an open mind and consider that people do not always think the same way. If, potentially, you can look at the situation from the other party’s point of view, you may not agree but you may have a better understanding of what they are saying.
  • When no resolution is in sight, it is ok to “agree to disagree,” and then move on.

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