Now You Can Fight Your Traffic Ticket BEFORE Paying Fees

What happens if you don't have the money to pay your fine to appear in court? You eventually lose your drivers license. For the past 10 years, the financially disadvantaged in California have been left without access to the judicial system because of the high fees and fines they were forced to pay before being heard in court.  The good news is that this changed in June, 2015. You can now fight your traffic ticket without paying your fines in advance. Up until this law was enacted, if you received a traffic ticket, you had to pay your ticket fees before you could set a date to contest it. The California Judicial Council in early June, 2015, voted to end this practice in traffic courts across the state. According to the Los Angeles Times, nearly 5 million Californians since 2006 have had [...]

Is There A Defense To Murder In California?

Murder carries severe penalties in most legal systems throughout the world, and the State of California is no exception. Capital murder in California can result in the death penalty. If you, a family member or friend have been charged with murder, is there a defense? Every circumstance is different, but the answer to the question is "yes." There are a number of defenses that have been successfully used against murder charges. Whether or not any of these defenses apply in your case is something that can only be determined by an experienced California criminal defense attorney after careful review of your case. You may feel better, however, knowing some of the more commonly used defenses. Including, but not limited to: Mistaken identity or “I didn’t do it” – this is simple enough to explain. This defense claims that you did not [...]

Can A Government Entity Force You To Sign An Injury Waiver?

We see waiver forms all the time: from school sports to the ski slopes to the hotel pool. And normally we sign them without giving them much thought. But what if it’s a government entity asking you to sign a liability waiver? Can they make the waiver a prerequisite to participation in public services? And if you sign it, have you waived any and all future injury claims? The General Rule Unfortunately, government entities, including states, counties, and cities can make signed waivers mandatory, even for participation in taxpayer-funded programs. While governments don’t enjoy the same level of sovereign immunity that they used to (meaning you can, in fact, sue city hall), they can still require liability waivers in some instances. Liability waivers are also generally upheld. Most waivers are designed to immunize companies and government entities from liability for [...]

Injury Bicycle Accidents Are On The Rise in Santa Barbara, Protect Yourself

Communities up and down the Central Coast are driving less, and bicycling more. While this is great for the environment and keeps us fit, it has a down side. Injury bicycling accidents. According to a City of Santa Barbara September 2014 media release, by that time, there had been a 26 percent increase in bicycle traffic collisions compared to the year-to-date figure from 2013, and a 44 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012. (Santa Barbara Independent, April 20, 2015). When a car or truck hits a bicyclist, the bicyclists almost always get hurt. The injuries range from cuts and bruises to broken bones, brain trauma and other life-threatening injuries. On too many occasions, the bicyclist dies. To avoid accidents, bicyclists could be better tuned into the street hazards of motor vehicles and pedestrians. Like the old TV commercials, [...]

Juvenile Law and Teenage Arrests

No matter what your age, flashing lights in the rear view mirror can get your adrenalin pumping. When a juvenile is stopped and arrested, it is a frightening experience, and it probably should be. Fear can be a great incentive to not do something again.  However, if a youth under the age of 18 is taken into custody and charged with a serious crime, it can be life changing not only to the child, but to the child's parents. Teens are still not mature enough to stop, think and really consider how serious their actions are and what the consequences might be. Especially if they have never been in trouble with the law and have never had legal consequences. For this reason, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced attorney, who has experience in not only defending criminal charges, [...]

DUI or Wet Reckless?

If you don’t understand the basics of wet reckless vs. DUI, you should. If you are stopped while driving and your intoxication level exceeds legal limits, you are in trouble, and you should act quickly to fight the charges. Due to the less severe penalties associated with wet reckless, one good way of legally fighting a DUI arrest is by bringing the DUI charges down to a wet reckless. Here are some of the best reasons for seeking a wet reckless: No license suspension No license restrictions Less time on probation Reduced fines Shorter jail sentence Finally and maybe most importantly, if this is a second DUI offense, there will be no additions to the existing sentence. Wet reckless is not a charge by the arresting officer it is a reduced DUI.  Talk to an experienced attorney if you have [...]

Charged With DUI or DWI? Some Things to Think About

Driving while under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious charges. If you, a friend or family member have been arrested for criminal drunk driving or driving while intoxicated, though, there are quite a few many possible defenses. It is often possible to get the prosecution to drop or reduce the charges or even get an acquittal. The prosecution must prove: The defendant was actually driving the vehicle. While driving the vehicle, the defendant's ability to drive safely was impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two. In a DUI or DWI case, anything that is evidence against one of these two points should be introduced as part of the defense. In California, for criminal charges to stick, the state prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt the act of driving while under the influence. If the state [...]

Can You Go To Jail For Petty Theft?

If you, a family member or friend are convicted of petty theft, jail time for petty theft is actually a possibility. If there is a previous criminal record, the chances of jail time go up. If the accused possess a green card or if there is any question of immigration status, petty theft is considered a crime that the court calls a crime of "moral turpitude," and it could lead to deportation. In the State of California, theft is divided into two types: Grand theft and Petty theft. Theft of property valued at more than $950 is considered grand theft. Theft of property valued less than $950 is considered petty theft. Anyone convicted of petty theft could be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to six months in county jail. While this is bad enough, there are greater consequences if [...]

California Punishes Gun Crimes Severely

Like driving a car, owning a gun is a responsibility to be taken seriously. The state of California is not very understanding with people that commit a crime using a weapon of any kind. Using a gun gets you to the head of the class. What California even considers a gun crime may surprise you. Did you know that it is a misdemeanor to simply carry a concealed weapon without a permit? This carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and may include fines. If you bring a gun onto school property, whether public or private, it is punishable by up to 7 years in prison. In fact, if you bring a gun within 1,000 feet of school grounds, it is considered an offense. Any crime committed with a firearm carries a stiffer penalty than one committed without the [...]

Been In An Injury Car Accident? What Is A Fair Settlement?

Most of the personal injury claims filed in the United States are related to vehicle accidents, including cars, motorcycles, trucks and bicycles. This is true in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Oxnard, Camarillo and every other community on California's Central Coast. For injury accidents, a significant part of the legal process is determining who is at fault and for what. How do you make sure that the insurance settlement is just? Does it include all damages? What about lost wages? Medical bills? Was there pain and suffering? To understand rights under the law, it helps to understand the context. In most cases, insurance companies are ultimately trying to pay out as little as possible. After all, its a business trying to make a profit for its shareholders.  To this end, insurance company representatives will sometimes make unreasonable settlement [...]