Articles Tagged with California criminal defense attorney

There are many factors that go into a successful court appearance, and every little detail matters. Your attorney is going to put extensive work into gathering information and forming a strong defense strategy that can place you in the best light, place doubt in the jury’s minds about the crime you are charged with, and explain why you deserve to secure a not-guilty verdict. You should also put effort into making sure you are supporting your defense in any way possible including what you wear and how you look. This is because the way a jury perceives you can play a big part in how they evaluate your case.

When you are defending yourself against criminal charges in California, it is best to have the most effective and experienced legal counsel on our side advocating and fighting to get you the best possible outcome. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who will not only put together a strategic and sound legal defense for you and litigate it in court on your behalf, but attorney Boertje will also guide you on what to expect and do to secure the best outcome possible for your case.

Tips for Dressing for Court

There are going to be people who are not impacted by the way a defendant looks, but there are others who are. You cannot know what the makeup of the jury is going to be in your case or what the judge’s preconceptions are. It is better to err on the safe side and dress appropriately so that you can put your best foot forward. Consider the following tips:

  • If you have body jewelry that is visible, remove it.
  • If you have tattoos and body art that is visible, cover up what you can.
  • Keep your clothing more conventional and conservative, nothing too flashy.
  • Make sure your clothes fit you well and are laundered and ironed where necessary.
  • Make sure your hair is clean and in place.
  • Make sure your clothes are appropriately fitted to your body but that they are also comfortable to wear and sit in while you are in court.
  • Groom your entire body. Not only should your hair be in place but your nails clean and clipped, skin cleaned and shaven, and teeth brushed.
  • Do not keep too many loose items in your pockets so you do not make much noise as you move about.
  • Wear minimal jewelry, if any.
  • Do not wear a hat.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that more than 60,000 young people under the age of 18 are imprisoned across the country on a daily basis. For juveniles, the impact of incarceration can be devastating mentally, emotionally, and in regards to their future career prospects and positive life outcomes. Juveniles are not fully mature, and because of this they need their families and loved ones near them. The benefits young people get from an uninterrupted education are vast, but this too goes by the wayside when they are put in jail. The resulting trauma of being incarcerated can impair a young person’s capacity for healthy growth. Also, society suffers when a youth loses out on all these life essentials and as a result, grows up with deficits that make living a life of crime more likely.

If your child has made mistakes or missteps and has gotten caught up with the California criminal justice system, rapid and strategic action is necessary to preserve their rights and protect their future. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can help. Your child may be eligible for programs that allow them to avoid jail time and be put on a more constructive path.

Is Juvenile Incarnation a Problem in California?

Without a doubt, the issue of juvenile incarceration is a problem in this country. As to the root causes of why, that answer is a bit more complicated and can vary depending on who is answering. 

When looking at the statistics across the United States, California’s youth incarceration rates are high when compared to other states. California has a 226-300 per 100,000 youth incarceration rate. By comparison, North Carolina, for example, has a much lower 0-75 per 100,000 youth incarceration rate. 

As of 2013, there were 7,917 youths being held in juvenile facilities in California. North Carolina, by contrast, had only 543 in such institutions that year.

A case can be made that California has a far higher population than states like North Carolina, which could be one reason why there are more juveniles in detention. Still, the issue of confining our youngest population has substantial negative effects on this demographic. This is true with regard to both their healthy development and their ability to be productive and live happy prosperous lives as they age. And because of this, overall public safety can be affected.

It is therefore critical that if your son or daughter has an encounter with the law, you seek proficient and competent legal counsel immediately to help preserve their future.  Continue reading

In the aftermath of a car accident, an injured victim might feel shocked and overwhelmed. No one expects to be hit or to crash into another car when they go out to drive from one place to the next. But car accidents happen all the time across the United States and in the state of California. In the aftermath of a car accident, victims can suffer disabling injuries and death. In 2019, there were 3,606 fatal car crashes in the state of California alone. It is imperative that if you are in an accident in which property damage or physical bodily harm results, you must stay at the scene and try to render aid. If you leave the car accident scene without taking the right steps you could be facing criminal charges. 

Individuals involved in a car accident in California that flee the scene could face either a misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. If you are arrested for either a misdemeanor or a felony hit-and-run charge, you need proficient legal counsel to help you overcome your charges and secure the best possible outcome for your case. The San Diego hit-and-run defense attorney David M. Boertje can assist you in this situation. 

What Rendering Reasonable Assistance Means After a Vehicular Accident

If you are involved in a car accident it does not matter if it is your fault or another party’s fault for the incident happening. When the crash produces property damages or injuries and death,  you have to stay at the scene and render reasonable assistance. This does not necessarily mean that you have to physically administer treatment, although if you are trained to do so you may be able to use your knowledge and skills to help another person suffering physical bodily harm.

Regardless of if you are medically trained or not, rendering reasonable assistance is a must. This may mean that you simply call 9-1-1 to get first responders to the scene to evaluate injured parties and provide them medical aid. It is perfectly acceptable to respond to injured victims of a car accident by calling the emergency line for assistance. However, it is not perfectly acceptable to fail to provide reasonable assistance to people who are suffering harm.

If you are arrested or being investigated for a hit-and-run charge in California, there are a couple of things to know. First, you do not have to talk about your case with the police. Kindly and respectfully asserting your right to silence is the best action to take here. Then, getting in touch with the San Diego criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje can help you defend your rights and potentially keep you out of jail. Continue reading

You can be charged with the crime of failure to appear in court if you fail to appear in court when you are summoned. If you signed a written note that you will attend a court hearing in California, if you were subpoenaed to appear before the court, or if a judge ordered you to come back to court, and you do not show up, you can face severe punishment. Depending on your situation, you could face misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. 

Not every defendant who misses a court date does so on purpose and because they were negligent or irresponsible. There are situations in which a defendant misses a hearing through no fault of their own. If you unintentionally missed your court date, you need effective and proficient legal representation arguing your position to the judge. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can do just that.

When is it OK Not to Appear in Court?

As a rule, there is never a time that it is acceptable not to appear in court. This is why if you have a court date, you work hard to make sure you get there. Though, there are times when it is impossible to make it to your court date. In this situation, you could potentially be relieved of criminal consequences.

Failure to appear in court is a crime in the state of California that is punishable by jail time and expensive fines. This is true when failing to appear is willful, meaning that a person specifically did not try to make it to a court or directly attempted to miss their scheduled date.

In situations in which a defendant tried to make it to court, did not willfully miss their court date, but experienced something that prevented them from being able to make their court date, they can avoid criminal penalties. Emergency situations are an example. Let’s say that on the way to court you were involved in a serious car accident and were injured. This would be an unexpected occurrence that would make it difficult for anyone to continue with their day as planned. Continue reading

In the state of California, when someone restrains or detains another person against their will and in an unlawful manner, this is known as false imprisonment. False imprisonment, or false arrest, as it is also known, impedes a person’s ability to move and infringes on their freedom. As such, it is a crime in California the same way that it is a crime across most of the United States. If you were arrested for false imprisonment, you may be facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge. It really comes down to the details of your case, and the prosecutor has the authority to determine which charge will be levied against you. 

After an arrest in California, you can trust the skilled legal guidance of the San Diego criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje. It is best not to take on criminal charges alone. David M. Boertje knows the criminal justice system and can fight on your behalf to secure the most favorable outcome for your case.

What Determines if False Imprisonment Will be a Misdemeanor or Felony?

The prosecutor tasked with assessing your case will look at many factors when determining the right level of charges. If force and aggression were used to detain someone or if fraud was a factor, then a felony may be the prosecutor’s decision. This is especially true for a person who already has a long criminal history. 

If a prosecutor chooses a felony charge, then the punishment will be harsher than it would be with a misdemeanor. With a misdemeanor, a year in county jail would be the maximum penalty, but with a felony, that penalty could increase to up to five years spent behind bars in state prison.

Not only will false imprisonment likely lead to some amount of jail time if a conviction takes place, but the victim of such an experience may also be able to file a civil suit against the individual who subdued them. Civil cases are different from criminal cases. In a criminal case, the bar to serve a guilty verdict is high, and jurors must believe a defendant committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases, by contrast, only require jurors to believe that a defendant likely was negligent. While criminal cases where a guilty verdict is decided will result in some type of punishment, a civil case can result in financial compensation to the plaintiff.

Being arrested in California for false imprisonment can have far-reaching negative implications including establishing or adding to criminal history, jail time, and potentially payment of a settlement to a victim for their damages. Continue reading

Today’s technology can make or break a criminal case. Specifically, the ability to identify DNA, which can more easily find people that could be linked to or associated with a crime is a big deal. DNA is one of the primary pieces of evidence forensic investigators will be looking for when they sweep a crime scene. If found, a prosecutor may build a case around it and target the person whose DNA was left behind. Even though DNA can be a robust and convincing piece of evidence against a defendant, it is not always enough to secure a guilty verdict. 

In some cases, DNA alone can be convincing and lead to a conviction. In others, a jury is tasked with believing beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed a crime in order to convict. If they are not sure and still have some lingering doubts, it could be possible for a defendant with DNA evidence against them to avoid conviction.

Residents of San Diego and the surrounding areas who are arrested should immediately get in touch with professional legal counsel. The San Diego criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje has been devoted to helping individuals mixed up in the criminal justice system fight for the best outcomes, including not guilty verdicts or reduced charges. David M. Boertje knows how to get results.

What Happens if DNA Leads to a Conviction?

When DNA is present, this piece of evidence can be compelling enough for a jury to want to convict. It is not always the situation, but defendants should know that it can be. Even if a guilty verdict is rendered, a defendant is not out of options. A defendant has the right to appeal that verdict and potentially get a better result.

There are several examples in which DNA was a primary reason for a guilty verdict. However, upon appeal, a conviction of a crime was overturned. This is the best possible result of an appeal.

Individuals arrested and charged with crimes can strategically position themselves to secure the most favorable outcomes for their cases when they have experienced legal counsel on their side. When it comes to DNA evidence, this is certainly powerful proof that may show a link to a crime. Though, in the absence of other forms of evidence, it can be hard for a jury to believe that a defendant committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt and then convict. Should this happen, and there be serious questions and a lack of supplemental evidence to support the DNA exhibit, the defendant may have a case to make that, upon appeal, can overturn their guilty verdict. Continue reading

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

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