Articles Tagged with California criminal defense attorney

When two parents are responsible, loving, and protective of their children, whether they are together as a couple or separated, it is reasonable to say having each person in the child’s life greatly benefits the child. For most parents, the thought of having their child abducted can be sickening and immensely upsetting. Typically, when one thinks of child abduction, one imagines a malicious type of stranger grabbing a child and running away. While this does happen, the majority of child abductions are perpetrated by parents.

As high as 78% of all missing children reports happen when one parent unlawfully takes their child. In these instances, it is generally a parent who has an established custody arrangement and fails to follow it. Out of all of these situations, the leading reason why parents who violate their child custody agreement do so is that they want the agreement to change or be modified. Then, for more than 20% of the missing child reports, it is not either parent that abducts the child but rather another family member like a grandparent.

What Happens When a Parent Unlawfully Takes Their Child in California?

The good news is, in many instances when a parent unlawfully takes their child, the child usually is not in danger and will likely be returned home without much fanfare. 

If a parent acts in an egregious way by taking their child and fleeing the state, being unresponsive, and keeping the child in an unknown location for a long period of time, then they may be charged with parental kidnapping. Also, if one parent refuses to abide by child custody guidelines and denies the other parent access to their child, parental kidnapping charges may apply here too.

The criminal charges of parental kidnapping can be either a felony or a misdemeanor because this type of crime is what is considered a wobbler.

Misdemeanor parental kidnapping charges in California can come with punishments including:

  • $1,000 fine
  • One year in county jail

Felony parental kidnapping charges in California can come with punishments including:

  • Three years or less in state prison
  • $10,000 or less in fines

There are several aspects of a potential kidnapping case that a prosecutor will examine when it comes to determining the right charge to apply. The child’s safety and well-being are one of the top considerations. If there is any belief that the child was in danger at any time while they were with the parent who allegedly kidnapped them, it is highly likely that the prosecution will favor a felony charge over a misdemeanor. In this case, having a San Diego felony defense attorney is the best option for overcoming one’s charges.

Even if the crime is determined to be a misdemeanor, a conviction can result in the parent who kidnapped their child losing any unsupervised access they previously had to their child. Continue reading

Carjacking is a crime in the state of California. It is defined, essentially, as one party using force or threats to take another’s automobile. The penalties for a carjacking conviction can be quite serious. As a felony offense, carjacking can come with many years behind bars. One’s sentence could be as high as nine years. This is why it is critical that when you are arrested for carjacking, you have an experienced and tactical attorney on your side protecting your rights and interests.

David M. Boertje is a San Diego theft crime defense lawyer who has extensive experience providing effective criminal legal defense services to individuals charged with various crimes, including carjacking. The outcome of your case will be heavily impacted by the quality of your legal representation. At the Law Offices of David M. Boertje, building persuasive and compelling legal defenses and providing the highest quality legal counsel for individuals who find themselves facing criminal charges is our focus and objective.

Implications of Carjacking in California

When one party uses force or fear to take a motor vehicle that does not belong to them from another party, against the will of that other party, this is considered the criminal act of carjacking. The party attempting to forcefully steal a car from another party does not even have to be successful to face criminal charges. Even an attempt to engage in such conduct can result in an arrest.

Let’s say you open a car door with someone inside. You try to get them out of the car but they are quick enough to put their foot on the gas and evade you. Should an officer see this scenario, you will be arrested for attempted carjacking. Attempted carjacking has its own penalties with respect to the amount of jail time you could face.

Should you be successful with your carjacking attempt and you take off in another party’s car but there is a passenger in that car, you may also be looking at kidnapping charges. The penalties here are even more severe. Under California’s kidnapping laws individuals who are convicted of this crime are looking at a life sentence in state prison with the possibility of parole.

Ultimately, the extent of the punishment will come down to the details of the crime and the judge’s discretion. The best approach in these situations is to work with an attorney who knows the law, how to protect your rights, and the best way to put together a believable defense that can convince a jury to have doubt about your guilt. If your attorney can accomplish this, that is, put uncertainty into the minds of the jury hearing your case, then you may be able to avoid a conviction. Continue reading

By the third quarter of 2021, there were an estimated 284 million vehicles driving about throughout the United States with 228.2 million licensed drivers. The United States has some of the highest levels of road traffic when compared to other similar developed nations. In terms of states, California has the most licensed drivers. Because of this heavy road traffic, the US also reports more frequent vehicular accidents than its counterparts.

There are many ways a car accident can happen, but speeding, driving under the influence, and distracted driving are some of the most common causes reported. A common misconception is that illegal drunk driving incidents only happen when a driver has alcohol in their system. While driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more is illegal and a frequent occurrence, there are other situations that also constitute driving under the influence.

Can You be Arrested for Driving With Prescription Drugs in Your System?

California drunk driving laws indicate that driving with more than a certain level of alcohol in the system is unlawful, but so is driving with drugs in the system. This is true for illicit substances, over-the-counter medicines, and those that come from a valid prescription.

If the drug or medication you are taking has impairing side effects, even if you only feel the symptoms are minimal, you should avoid driving until the drug is out of your system. If law enforcement pulls you over because they believe that you are driving unsafely or erratically, consistent with someone who is under the influence, they could arrest you if they find you ingested certain medicines.

For example, for nighttime cold medicine, the warning label will often indicate drowsiness is a side effect. Drowsy driving is incredibly dangerous; there are many issues a drowsy driver has operating their automobile that drunk drivers also have. Slower reaction time, inability to stay focused, and struggling to stay awake are just a few. 

Another example is if you suffer from chronic pain, your doctor may have provided you with a prescription for narcotics to manage that pain. It is legal to take narcotics that were prescribed to you. But, if the narcotics cause you to feel dizzy, sleepy, affect your vision, or cause other side effects, you are putting both yourself and others in danger of injury or death when you get behind the wheel.

If you have a prescription or over-the-counter drug in your system and you cause a crash or are arrested, the fact that the medicines you took were legal will not be a valid defense to a driving under the influence of a drug charge. 

There are some aspects of your arrest that you may be able to use in your defense, however. A San Diego DUI defense attorney will know what aspects of your case can be challenged to give you the best chances of overcoming your charges. Continue reading

The difference between civil law and criminal law can be confusing at times. In some cases, there can exist both a civil and criminal component to an illegal act. This situation can be true when it comes to harassment. Depending on the details, harassment can be a civil and a criminal matter at the same time.

Civil cases can settle outside of court or go through litigation in court to come to a financial settlement for damages a victim suffered. Civil cases are brought by a person who has been the victim of some type of harm caused by another person’s actions. Criminal cases, by contrast, are brought by the government of a county or state whose purpose is to enforce specific punishments for one’s behavior. Depending on what the criminal charges are, the consequences can be strict.

In both civil and criminal cases, working with legal representation is advisable to improve the chances that you will secure the best possible outcome. In California, David M. Boertje is an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney that can help you if you are facing criminal charges.

How Can Harassment be a Civil and a Criminal Issue?

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on charges of harassment in California. California recognizes civil harassment as behavior that:

  • Includes unlawful violence such as assault.
  • A real and believable threat that violence may happen.
  • There is no reason for the unlawful violence or threats that are frightening and causing an individual to experience feelings of distress.

A victim of civil harassment can file a lawsuit against the party causing their troubles. If they are successful with their claim, they can obtain financial compensation. In some cases, they may also be able to have a restraining order issued. 

When a person is criminally charged with harassment, it is because the level of harassment they are inflicting on another person is elevated. It is willful and pernicious and it is happening regularly on a recurring basis. The behavior is also causing victims great fear regarding their safety.

Criminal punishments for harassment in California can include expensive fines and jail time in either a county or state facility. It is best for individuals charged with criminal harassment to connect with qualified legal counsel. These charges are very serious and can come with harsh punishments. An attorney will know how to form a strategic defense against the most severe penalties.

Jail time and fines are difficult enough to manage. Even after you have paid your fines and served your time, you may still struggle to achieve various goals in your life because you now have a criminal record. This is why it is crucial that you position yourself to obtain the most favorable outcome. Continue reading

According to Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s District Attorney, the DNA taken from sexual assault survivors is being used to help investigations into other crimes that are not even related to the sexual assault victim. One example was a woman who was found and charged with a felony property crime who was the victim of a rape in 2016. In this case, the DNA from the woman from her rape examination was used as evidence against her in her felony case. 

Supposedly, the San Francisco DA’s office has said that this was not an isolated case where the practice was used. Instead, it was the standard operating procedure. If these claims are true, this raises serious legal questions about how the government is collecting and using DNA. 

How Has the San Francisco Police Responded to the Allegations?

San Francisco’s Police Chief, Bill Scott, appears to be engaging in a proactive response to the allegations. According to SFPD Chief Scott, there will be an investigation. If the investigation shows that the DNA of victims is a tool that is being used to find answers to other crimes, then the practice will stop.

DNA is an incredibly powerful tool to locate potential lawbreakers and convict them of their charges in California and across the rest of the United States. Because of this, police departments far and wide collect DNA and catalog it as a resource when they are looking for criminals.

California DNA collection laws allow police department crime labs to be able to establish their own databases which are not linked to those that the federal and state government have. These labs can analyze their samples without any oversight and regulation.

One of the primary concerns of this practice is the potential negative effects it will have on victims. Meaning, that if a person is victimized by a crime, they may be less inclined to come forward and report what happened to them out of fear that their DNA could be used against them in the future.

Whether this practice is standard or not is still being adjudicated. But many police departments around the country have come forward to deny that these practices are widely used in criminal investigations. In other words, a victim’s DNA is never used as a means to investigate other crimes. 

If you were charged with a crime in San Diego, it is imperative that you have legal counsel on your side that is experienced and skilled to secure the best outcome possible for your case. One way your San Diego criminal defense attorney may be able to dismantle the prosecution’s argument against you is to show that evidence used was illegally obtained and therefore needs to be thrown out. When this happens, a case can be dismissed regardless of its strength. Continue reading

It can be incredibly stressful and scary to be put under arrest for a crime. But, when you did not commit the crime that you have been arrested for, you may feel even more uneasy, frightened, and worried about how things will pan out. And while the eyes of the criminal justice system in the United States are said to be blind, not every person who is arrested gets a fair and true outcome for their situation.

When an innocent person has to endure the harsh penalties associated with committing a crime, it is an outrageous injustice. This type of situation also becomes another blaring example of a system that does not always get it right all of the time. So, even if you were questioned with relation to a crime you did not commit or you were arrested for a crime you are not guilty of perpetrating, relying on the justice system alone to clear your name is not ideal. 

If you live in San Diego, even in these situations, partnering with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in San Diego is recommended to protect and safeguard your rights and interests. This is because you have rights as outlined in the United States constitution.

Why Do Innocent People Need Legal Representation?

It is a misconception that an innocent person has nothing to worry about when they are being charged with a crime they did not commit. Still, so many people believe that if they did nothing wrong, this invalidates their need to have criminal legal counsel. This belief could not be further from the truth, and the reality is that when you are arrested, guilty or not, you are taking a huge risk without having an attorney by your side.

While the system should be considering all people innocent until they are proven guilty, in real life, this does not happen all of the time. In fact, when a person becomes a defendant, or someone being tried for a crime, they typically are not treated as an innocent party while their case progresses.

For this reason and more, arming yourself with competent legal counsel is in your best interests. Your attorney will advocate for you, fight to protect your constitutional rights, identify errors and issues with the prosecution’s case against you, and find inconsistencies that can all show you are innocent. Or at least, that you should not be convicted because the evidence against you does not rise to the level of the legal standard that exists, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

While you may feel like you are in a position in which you have to prove your innocence, the criminal justice system is not intended to work that way. It is supposed to be the job of the prosecutor to prove that you are NOT innocent. However, during criminal proceedings, it can be incredibly overwhelming. As a result, you may feel like you are the one who is tasked with taking on the legal burden of establishing your innocence. Continue reading

Being questioned by the police is not a situation anyone would want to be in or one that anyone would envy seeing someone else enduring. Part of the job of a police officer is to gather evidence when they have probable cause and reasonable suspicion that a crime took place. Even if a crime did occur, if the police do not have grounds to take evidence or to question a person, what they uncover may not be admissible in court. As a result, the person who is arrested may have their case dismissed.

The police have many responsibilities and privileges that come with their position. But they also have protocols that must be followed to do their job. When they violate those guidelines, they can be held accountable to the person who was on the receiving end of their misconduct. This individual may be able to avoid criminal punishment as a result of errors in judgment by the authorities. Having an attorney who thoroughly understands the law and knows where to look to identify violations by the authorities can protect your rights and keep you out of jail.

Different Type of Questioning Categories Explained

Seeing those lights flashing and hearing the sirens coming for you can be a distressing situation to be in for anyone. When the police pull you over or knock on your door, it is natural to feel scared, nervous, and unsure even if you have nothing to hide because you have not committed any crime. On the other hand, if you did do something unlawful, the level of your concern can be much more overwhelming.

It is important that if you are arrested or brought into the police station for questioning in San Diego that you have an attorney to protect your interests and safeguard your rights. It can be intimidating when the police are questioning you, no matter what your involvement is with a potential criminal situation. What you say can be used against you, which is why having the protection of a San Diego criminal defense lawyer is so incredibly important.

How Do the Police Get People to Give Them Information?

People who witness a criminal act can respond in a variety of ways. It is possible that a person may decide to intervene and attempt to stop the crime from happening. Or, they may call local law enforcement and report it. Then there are those who may completely ignore it and take no action. A common question people have is if they see a crime happening, are they legally required to report it? In general, you will not be subject to legal repercussions if you do not report a crime, but there are some situations in which you could be. 

When are You Required to Report a Crime?

There are several instances in which you can forgo reporting a criminal act that you have knowledge of and remain free from the heavy hand of the law. That is to say, not reporting a crime is not always a crime itself and therefore, not punishable. But there are exceptions to this.

One way that your knowledge can be criminal is when you are aiding and abetting a crime. Even if you did not commit a crime, if it can be shown that you have aided and abetted a criminal action, you are now liable for potential charges. 

Under California’s parties to crime laws, when you have taken action that helped another party carry out a crime, you will be considered an aider and abettor. The actions that would deem you as such include:

For instance, maybe you helped cover up a criminal act or you provided assistance devising its plot but when the crime was committed you physically were not there. You are still implicated in the criminal act and can be charged.

Another instance in which you may suffer negative legal consequences when you have knowledge of a crime is if your job requires you to report incidents of child neglect and abuse. Professions that are under this mandatory duty include teachers, social workers, and firefighters.

Knowing about child abuse happening or simply having a reasonable belief that it is happening even if you do not have concrete evidence, means you must report it. There is also a time requirement for specific professionals to make these reports. Fines and jail time are realities that can come from failing your responsibility to preserve the welfare of children.

Last, federal laws make a failure to report felony federal offenses a crime. You would be considered to be obstructing justice and if convicted, fines and jail time can ensue. Continue reading

The vast majority of people in the United States have and use their smartphones for many things including making calls, taking pictures, and sending texts. In fact, it is estimated that 300 million Americans have a smartphone. What that means is that as high as 90% of the entire United States population has a smartphone at their disposal.

The ability to connect with each other is incredibly easy due to the widespread presence of these multifunctional handheld devices. This is typically a good thing, but in some cases, the ease at which one can circulate virtually any type of information could also be highly problematic. This is especially so if what is being sent out is sexually explicit.

Is it Unlawful to Sext?

If you have sent a text that had a video or a picture that was sexual in nature, then you have sexted. In the state of California, there are no laws on the books that prevent people from sexting. There is nothing criminal about two consenting adults sending each other sexual texts. But, in other circumstances, what is texted out from your phone could lead to some type of sexual offense charge.

For example, if you have been sending sexual texts to a minor that can come with serious legal implications. People that are sending inappropriate, sexual texts to minors can face punishment under California’s child pornography laws. There is no tolerance for this type of activity in the state. It is illegal to send any of the following:

  • Sexual matter to a minor that is meant to motivate the child to respond by engaging in sexual acts.
  • Sending anything that is considered child pornography to anyone. Any media that shows a person who is under the age of 18 doing sexual acts is child pornography.
  • Knowingly be in possession of lewd and pornographic matters that involve children.

It is possible that your sexting can be a reason for your arrest and charges of either a felony or misdemeanor crimes. If you are charged at the misdemeanor level, then you could face up to a year in jail, hefty fines as high as $1,000, and informal probation. Felonies have much harsher penalties. Felonies can result in jail time up to five years, potentially a $10,000 fine, and formal probation.

It is not just fines and jail time that a conviction carries. Also, people that are charged with certain sex crimes will be required to become registered sex offenders. Once you are deemed a registered sex offender, as long as you reside in California you will have to keep this registration current. In other words, every year you will have to register. Continue reading

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