Articles Tagged with felony

A felony is the most serious classification of crime with which a person can be charged under California’s Penal Code. Generally, a felony conviction carries with it a sentence of more than a year in jail or prison. Even if a person avoids a long jail sentence following a first felony conviction, any subsequent felony arrests and convictions are punished more severely under California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law. California also recognizes capital punishment, and the most serious offenses may result in a death sentence for the accused.

The following articles in this series will present an overview of the felony arrest process in California. This brief overview contains general information about the steps that your case may take following a felony arrest. To discuss the circumstances surrounding your felony arrest, contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney David Boertje to obtain legal representation.

Step One: Pre-Arrest Investigation

The legal community considers felonies the most serious type of crime. Felonies are classified as violent or non-violent and involve unlawful conduct that leads to the death or serious injury of another person or damage to property. Examples of felony crimes are murder, rape, robbery, burglary, and arson. The crimes of poisoning, murdering police, witnesses, or prosecutors, or killing someone while committing a felony are eligible for capital punishment.

Some crimes come to the attention of law enforcement during a pre-arrest stage. Law enforcement officials conduct a pre-arrest investigation and contact the suspect for questioning. At the point of initial contact, no arrest has been made and no formal charges have been filed with the criminal courts against the person. In California, felony cases are heard in the Superior Court. Lower courts transfer cases to the Superior Court if misdemeanor charges are later upgraded to a felony charge.  

Search Warrants

During the pre-arrest investigation stage, police officers or detectives may seek a search warrant. A search warrant permits the police to search a suspect’s home, business, or personal property for evidence in support of their investigation. If you consent to a search of your person or property, the police do not need a search warrant to search you because your consent means you have given the police permission to search you or your property. Absent express consent from you, the police officers must first obtain a search warrant before they can search your home, business, or property. Continue reading

A man named Jose Ricardo Garibay, 26, is accused of dousing a stranger, 39-year-old Julio Edeza, with a flammable liquid in a busy Oak Park parking lot and setting him on fire. The victim Edeza has been hospitalized and is currently in critical condition. He was taken to UCSD Medical Center with burns covering most of his body.

Garibay was arrested near his home in the 6200 block of Estrella Avenue. He surrendered without incident, and according to police accounts, was “very matter-of-fact about [his] arrest.”

Earlier this week, Garibay pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, and torture. He is being held without bail and faces life in prison if convicted.  Additionally, special circumstance allegations could be added if the victim does not survive.  Investigators have not determined a motive for the apparently random attack and law enforcement do not believe the assailant and victim knew each other. A status conference was set for April 29 and a preliminary hearing for May 3.

The Crime of “Torture” in California

While it sounds like a crime associated with a federal terrorism statute, the state of California has its own law addressing “torture,” which was passed into law in 1990 by way of a California ballot initiative. See CA Penal Code § 206.  CA Penal Code § 206 defines torture as:

  • Inflicting great bodily injury on another person,;
  • With the intent to cause extreme pain and suffering or permanent disability;
  • “For the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion or any sadistic purpose.”

It is not necessary for the perpetrator to intend to kill a victim to be able to be charged and convicted of torture. However, in California, if a murder is committed willfully using torture, it is then considered a “special circumstances murder,” which means an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole. This means that if someone dies as a result of being tortured. even if you only intended to maliciously assault him, you will be looking a life sentence.

By itself, torture is a felony punishable by a life sentence and a fine up to $10,000. If you are convicted with torture, you will not be eligible to seek a parole hearing until at least seven years into your sentence. Continue reading