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Articles Tagged with California criminal defense attorney

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Mario Chavez, 22, was arrested in connection with the robbery of a smoke shop. According to San Diego Police, Chavez went into the Cherokee Point smoke shop located and used a knife to rob the store. The SDPD got the call about the robbery after 11:30 p.m., and Officer Robert Heims responded to the crime scene.

Chavez reportedly walked into the shop and requested many items from the display. After he made his selections, he took his knife out and approached the clerk. He then demanded a lighter. While Chavez was still in the store and standing at the counter, the clerk alerted authorities. When the SDPD arrived, Chavez was still in the smoke shop and the police arrested him. The SDPD took Chavez to the San Diego Central Jail at approximately 3:40 a.m. where he was booked on suspicion of robbery.

Robbery in California

Under California Penal Code 211 PC, when you are charged with robbery you have taken property that belonged to another party against the other party’s will and by means of force or fear. Robbery is considered a felony in California and convicted individuals could be looking at as much as nine years in state prison.

You will need an effective legal defense strategy to combat your robbery charges. Some of the most common defenses against a robbery charge are:

  • You were not trying to do anything mischievous by taking the property because you believed you had the right to do so. For example, a friend says they are going to give you an item they no longer need. You agree to accept it and then you go to their home to pick it up but they are not home. You go to take the item, but their roommate is home and tries to stop you from taking it. A struggle over the property ensues, and you use force to pull the object away from the roommate. The roommate does not know that you were told you could have the object, which is why there is a struggle.
  • You are innocent of the crime because it was not you that committed the crime. You were mistakenly identified as the criminal.
  • You did not use force or fear to steal property. An example would be if you sat by another party, and when the other party set down their purse, you picked it up without them seeing and walked away. Yes you were near the other party and you stole, but you did not use force or intimidation to do so.
  • You were falsely accused of stealing property.   

Continue reading

A former San Diego sheriff’s deputy has been charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting a subject who was running away from a park ranger’s vehicle. The subject was identified as Nicholas Bils, age 36. Bils was arrested by park rangers at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park after he and park rangers got into a dispute. Once inside the park ranger’s vehicle, Bils was able to slip out of his handcuffs, exit the vehicle, and try to flee the vicinity. 

 

Aaron Russel, age 23, was the San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who spotted Bils running. Russel began to chase Bils down the street in front of a San Diego courthouse. During the chase, Russel fired four shots at Nicholas Bils, killing him.

 

Kathleen Bils, the mother of Nicholas Bils, said that the confrontation with the park rangers took place because the rangers were trying to tell her son that the park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kathleen indicated that her son was suffering from a major fear of law enforcement and was also a paranoid schizophrenic. According to Kathleen, Nicholas had a long history of mental health issues. She explained that the park rangers must have scared her son and that he reacted the way that he did because he did not understand what they were saying. According to reports, Nicholas began swinging a golf club at the rangers and then tried to run from them. The rangers eventually caught up with Nicholas, and when they did they arrested him and placed him in their vehicle. Nicholas was able to escape out of a window that was rolled down at the time of his arrest.

 

How is Lethal Force by a Police Officer Treated in California?

 

In 2019, Governor Gain Newsom signed updated legislation that was introduced by California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber that described new rules on when law enforcement can legally use lethal force in the line of duty. The law states that an officer can only use lethal force when necessary. Before this law was signed, the guidelines on lethal force said it could be used if any reasonable officer would have done the same thing given the circumstances. The legislation made California one of the most strict states in the nation when it comes to law enforcement’s ability to use lethal force.

Continue reading

An inmate at the Donovan Correctional Center in California died on Friday, July 10. Details as to how and why the inmate passed have not yet been released. An investigation into the death is currently underway. One of the responsibilities of the Office of the Inspector General is to ensure that there is fair management, oversight, and transparency with regards to practices and procedures with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Who is Incarcerated in California State Prisons?

According to data released by the Public Policy Institute of California, there have been approximately 115,000 inmates serving time in California’s prisons since 2017. Out of all of the state-owned prisons, 37% are over capacity. African Americans represent a majority of the prison population in California. The information released by the PPIC indicates that 28.5% of the population is made up of African-American males. Imprisonment of African Americans is 10 times that of their white counterparts. This is also the case when it comes to the female population. In the female prison system, 25.9% of the female inmates are African American. This means that African-American women are imprisoned at a rate five times higher than white women.

Over 81% of the inmates who are imprisoned in the California correctional system were born in the United States, while 13% were born in a foreign country. The diverse population has at least one thing in common, which is that they are aging. During the period from 2000 to 2017, the number of prisoners who were aged 50 or older skyrocketed to 19% of the population. While this time period showed an increase in the aging population, it also reported a decrease in younger inmates aged 25 and below. When looking at all of this information combined, the average age of a male in California state prisons is 40, while the average age for women is just below that at 38.

There are many prisoners who will be released after they serve about half of their four-year sentences, but a greater number of inmates will be serving time far beyond this amount of time. While the types of crimes that cause an inmate to be imprisoned are diverse, the most common offenses that brought people to be incarcerated in California state prisons in 2017 included:

  • Assault
  • Weapons offenses
  • Robbery

All of these offenses are considered serious violent crimes by the state.

Do You Need a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you have been arrested for a crime in California, you may be facing some amount of jail time. Spending time behind bars is not only difficult, but having this blemish on your record can negatively affect your life and the opportunities available to you after your release. It is important to fight your charges, and the California criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of David M. Boertje have the experience you need to help you reduce potential jail time or even eliminate it altogether. Continue reading

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