Do You Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

In any situation where you may be facing possible criminal charges, you should contact a lawyer before you have any discussion with police.  Police often tell people that if they will just “tell us what happened” or “tell us your side of the story”, they will not be arrested or charged. While that may be true on a rare occasion, it is almost always false and no matter what you have to say, the police have already determined that they are going to cite or arrest you. With this in mind, you should always assume that no good can come from speaking to police without an attorney.  If you are arrested before you can speak with an attorney, you should refuse to answer any questions until you have spoken to an attorney.  Your lawyer will then assess what you should or should not say to the police. Your lawyer can…


Why Hire a Private Attorney?

What are the benefits of hiring a private attorney over a public defender? Sometimes the choice between a public defender and a private criminal defense attorney is simply a matter of how much money is in your wallet. If you have money to hire a private attorney, you won’t qualify for assistance from a public defender. If don’t have money but are considering obtaining funds from family or friends to hire a private attorney, here are few benefits to think about: Unlike a public defender who is often overloaded with cases, a private attorney can keep his caseload at a manageable level so that you receive the full attention that your case requires and deserves. If your criminal case spills over into other areas of life, such as estate planning or child custody, your private attorney may have the experience and time necessary to assist you with those additional issues….


Burglary

San Diego Burglary Attorney A person can be charged and convicted of burglary PC 459 even if he didn’t steal anything. Here in California, burglary occurs when a person enters a house, room, apartment, building, vehicle, vessel, or aircraft with the intent to steal OR if the person intends to commit any felony once inside. Felonies can include assault, murder, rape, and arson. Additionally, a person doesn’t have to “break” into the house or structure to be charged with burglary PC459but merely has to “enter.” This can mean walking through an unlocked door rather than shattering a window. If the structure that is burglarized is a place where someone lives, regardless of whether that person is home at the time of the burglary, then the crime is first-degree burglary, which is a felony punishable by up to 6 years in prison. A burglary PC459 that occurs where no one lives…


San Diego Breath Test Contamination

Shaking the Foundation of a DUI Prosecution- Part 2 The amount of DUI arrests in San Diego exceeded 10,000 in 2013.  Because these arrests are routine for law enforcement, they have employed a system to ensure that the arrest leads to a DUI conviction.  However, over time, this routine has proven to be ridden with flaws.  The procedures of your arrest, breathalyzer test, blood test, field sobriety tests and all other elements that occur on the night of your arrest must not violate your constitutional rights.  These violations, however, are not uncommon.  Technological Hiccups Our society relies heavily on the advancement of technology to provide us with more accurate results in testing our blood alcohol content (BAC) upon arrest for a DUI.  However, it is important to note that the increased reliance on technology for DUIs ignores the fact that if the machines are used improperly, your DUI arrest may…


Cracks in Your San Diego DUI Arrest

SERIES: Shaking the Foundation of a DUI Prosecution- Part 1 The amount of DUI arrests in San Diego exceeded 10,000 in 2013.  Because these arrests are routine for San Diego law enforcement, they have employed a system to ensure that the arrest leads to a San Diego DUI conviction.  However, over time, this routine has proven to be ridden with flaws.  The procedures of your San Diego DUI arrest, breathalyzer test, blood test, field sobriety tests and all other elements that occur on the night of your arrest must not violate your constitutional rights.  However, often times these violations occur. Our society relies heavily on the advancement of technology to provide us with more accurate results in testing our BAC’s (blood alcohol content), upon arrest for a San Diego DUI.  However, it is important to note that the increased reliance on technology for DUIs ignores the fact that if the…


Court hearings for a San Diego criminal case

If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges in San Diego, it may seem like you are going to court hearings a lot and not much is getting done.  However, with a good criminal defense lawyer, that could not be further from the truth.  In California, the criminal court process is a series of court hearings, all with a specific purpose for your case and your San Diego criminal defense attorney. Below, each type of hearing is explained: Arraignment: The arraignment is the first court hearing that you will encounter. If you are in custody, the arraignment must be within 48 hours of your arrest not including weekends or holidays.  If it is not within 48 hours, it is cause for an unlawful detention. At an arraignment you will be advised of your constitutional rights by your San Diego criminal defense attorney, you will have the opportunity to plead guilty…


Proposition 36: Promoting Rehabilitation or Recidivism?

By: Daniel Tjosvold, Law Clerk at the Law Offices of Stephen G. Cline** The Proposition 36 amendment to the “three strikes law” is assuring more hope for criminal defendants in the state of California— that they need not worry about committing small offenses and potentially face a lifetime in prison. Prior to its enactment in 2012, criminals with a history of two prior serious and violent felony convictions had to cope with the fact that just one future non-serious crime could land them back in prison for the rest of their lives. Proposition 36 assures that the “third-strike” must qualify as another serious, violent felony in order to subject these defendants to a lifetime prison sentence. Proposition 36 does not apply to criminals whose prior history involves convictions of rape, murder, or child molestation. In addition, third-strike offenders are still subject to life sentences for non-serious or non-violent sex or…


Execution: Testing the Untested on Humans

By: Julie Manakas, Law Clerk at the Law Offices of Stephen G. Cline** What constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment? The question can sometimes be ambiguous and for some the answer depends on the crime that was committed. When Dennis McGuire was put to death by execution on January 16, the manner and result of the lethal injection was nothing short of cruel. The state of Ohio used a never before tested combination of lethal drugs that ultimately put Dennis to death. It took twenty-five minutes from when the lethal drugs were injected into his veins for his heart to stop beating. During those minuets, Dennis was making snorting and choking sounds while loudly gasping for air with his fist clenched tightly. One might say that Dennis got what he deserved. Dennis was convicted of raping and killing a pregnant woman in 1989. But if our society is and rightfully…


Prosecutorial Misconduct

Let’s Put Justice Back into the Justice System By: Sígrid Vendrell-Polanco, Law Clerk at the Law Offices of Stephen G. Cline** It used to be exceedingly rare for prosecutors to be reprimanded for prosecutorial  misconduct in the criminal justice system. Used to be. Could things be taking a turn for good? In November of 2013, District Judge Ken Anderson, of Williamson County, Texas, was sentenced to jail time, forced to retire as judge, and give up his license to practice law because of a Brady violation he committed in 1987. That’s right, you read that correctly: sentenced to jail time. That’s close to unheard of in criminal prosecution! Usually prosecutors with a Brady violation get a slap on the wrist for this type of prosecutorial misconduct. And to think that this happened in the most conservative state in the U.S.? Sounds impossible. So what’s the story, you ask? Well, back…


Plea Bargaining in San Diego Criminal Cases

This article about plea bargaining is aimed for the innocent, the guilty, and the overcharged. Plea bargaining in the San Diego Superior Court is something everyone needs to understand and consider. Even the innocent need to think about it because going to a jury trial is a roll of the dice – even with the best attorneys and even with great facts. You just never know what a jury of twelve people is going to do with your case! If you looked at the numbers, an overwhelming number of the San Diego criminal cases in the system end up in plea bargains. The reason is that most people are guilty of something or they risk losing a lot by going to trial. The problem is knowing if you should plea bargain and knowing when you should plea bargain. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that, in many…