Feb 17, 2020
| Read Time: 4 minutes
When a traumatic event like a car accident occurs, people sometimes panic. People may even do things they later regret. Sadly, this momentary panic may cause people to flee the scene of an accident in an action known as hit and run. When someone leaves the scene of an accident, they can face criminal charges. If you’ve been in a felony hit and run in California, you need legal help immediately. Call Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC. Our criminal defense attorneys have gone to trial over 150 times, helping defendants accused of all sorts of crimes preserve their freedom. If you would like more information about California hit and run laws, keep reading. What Are Your Duties After an Accident? Under California law, a person involved in an accident can be charged with a crime if they leave the scene too early. If you are involved in an accident that injures or kills someone, you are required to: Stop your vehicle and remain at the scene, Provide identification and insurance to the other parties involved, Provide identification and insurance to police officers, and Provide reasonable help to any injured party. Even if the accident was another driver’s fault, you still have a duty to stop, report, and render aid if you can do so. If you do not complete these requirements, you could be charged with a hit and run crime. Even if you just damage someone’s property in an accident, you still have a duty to stop. In that case, you need to either inform the person or leave a written note explaining what happened. Your notice should include your contact information. What Is the Punishment for Hit and Run in California? California hit and runs can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. Hit and Run Felony Leaving the scene of an accident involving the injury or death of a person can be charged as a felony hit and run in California. If someone was injured but not killed, the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the crime as a misdemeanor. Punishment for a felony hit and run when a person was permanently injured or killed includes (California Vehicle Code Section 20001): Up to four years in prison and Up to a $10,000 fine. If someone was seriously injured or killed in an accident, you must request emergency help or you may be charged with a felony hit and run. Hit and Run Misdemeanor Punishment for a misdemeanor hit and run when a person was injured or killed includes (California Vehicle Code Section 20001): Up to a year in jail and Up to a $1,000 fine. The hit and run California driver may receive an additional five years in prison if either of these conditions applies (California Vehicle Code Section 20001): The driver was intoxicated, killed someone in an accident, and fled the scene, or The driver was driving unlawfully, with gross negligence, killed someone in an accident, and fled the scene. Punishment for a hit and run when the only property was damaged may involve lesser penalties. Court’s Penalty Considerations When ordering fines for a hit and run, the court considers the defendant’s ability to pay the fine. The hit and run law says that “in the interests of justice” the court may reduce the fine to less than the law mandates. To take advantage of the court’s potential leniency, you will benefit from having an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled hit and run California attorney can persuade the judge or jury that justice in your case requires a lower penalty than is required by the statute. Your financial and freedom interests depend on convincing the judge or jury that you deserve leniency. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you make a convincing argument. What Are the Elements of a California Hit and Run? To convict you of a hit and run involving injury or death, the prosecutor must prove these four points: You were involved in an auto accident, You were aware that you were involved in an accident, You knew that someone was injured or killed in the accident or would likely be injured or killed, and You intentionally did not complete one or all of the statutory requirements (stop, notify police, exchange information, render aid). The prosecutor must prove each of these elements of a hit and run charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If one of these elements is not proven, you may have your charge reduced or dismissed. What Are Defenses to a California Hit and Run? Your defense attorney will attempt to prove that one of the hit and run elements is missing or cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If your defense attorney proves that you did not meet one element of a hit and run charge, your charge can be reduced or dismissed. For instance, the following defenses may apply to your case: You were not aware that you were in an auto accident; You weren’t aware that your actions caused an accident; You notified a police dispatcher, but officers never showed up; You had to leave the scene of the accident to avoid immediate harm; You had to take someone to the hospital; or You were the only one injured in the accident. There are many legal strategies available for your hit and run charge. An experienced criminal attorney will use every available legal defense to get your hit and run charge reduced or dismissed. Do You Need a California Hit and Run Attorney? A California hit and run attorney can help you prepare a strong defense to your hit and run charge. Call the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, to discuss your hit and run legal options. Our attorneys have defended hundreds of clients against criminal charges, and we can assist you, too. Contact our criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your case and let you know how we can help get your case reduced or dismissed. If you...
Feb 17, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
Have you been charged with aggravated assault in California? This charge can come as a surprise. After all, people sometimes commit an aggravated assault without even knowing it. If you’re confused about your charge, worried about penalties, and are not sure what to do, keep reading. Here, we give you an inside look at aggravated assault defenses from some of the best criminal defense attorneys in California. The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, has defended hundreds of clients against aggravated assault and other criminal charges. We know what legal defenses may get your charge reduced or dismissed, and we’re ready to defend you. Give us a call to discuss your case in a free consultation. If you would like more information on aggravated assault in California before contacting an attorney, keep reading. What Is Aggravated Assault in California? In California, an assault is “an unlawful attempt, coupled with present ability, to commit a violent injury upon another person” (California Penal Code Section 240). This means that you tried to injure someone, and your actions could have injured someone. If you make physical contact, the charge becomes battery. An assault charge upgrades to aggravated assault if any of these factors are present (California Penal Code Section 245): Using force likely to cause serious bodily injury, Assault with a deadly weapon, Assault with a firearm, or Assault with an assault weapon. Aggravated assault often involves some weapon, which increases the severity of potential penalties. What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault? Aggravated assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. However, the prosecutor is likely to try this crime as a felony. The aggravated assault penalty depends on which weapon you used for the crime. Assault with a deadly weapon or firearm, or with force likely to cause serious injury, brings these penalties: Up to four years in prison or up to a year in jail, and A fine of up to $10,000. Assault with a machine gun, assault weapon, or .50 BMG rifle brings up to 12 years in prison. If you assault the police or firefighters, you face even greater penalties: Assault with a firearm or semiautomatic firearm of a peace officer or firefighter brings up to eight years in prison, and Assault with a machine gun, assault weapon, or .50 BMG rifle of a peace officer or firefighter brings up to twelve years in prison. If the convicted offender owns the weapon used in the assault, the court will confiscate and dispose of the weapon. A felony conviction counts as a strike under California’s three-strikes law (California Penal Code Section 667). Your second serious or violent felony doubles the statutory aggravated assault penalty. Your third felony conviction brings a penalty of 25 years to life in prison. What Defenses Work Regarding Aggravated Assault Charges? The prosecution must prove that you committed each element of an aggravated assault. This means the prosecution must show that you intended to injure someone with force or a weapon. Your defense attorney attempts to show that at least one element of those charges is not true or is missing. Here are some defenses you can use against aggravated assault. No Intent to Harm You lacked the intent to cause harm. Perhaps you tripped and fell or your accuser misinterpreted your actions. No Ability to Harm You lacked the ability to cause serious harm. For instance, if you carried an unloaded gun, it would reduce your ability to cause serious harm. Self-Defense You committed the assault in order to protect yourself. You have the right to defend yourself, using reasonable force, from someone’s attack. Defense of Others You committed the assault in order to protect someone else. You can defend others, using reasonable force, from someone’s attack. False Accusations You didn’t commit the crime. You can try to show that your accuser is not telling the truth about the assault. Do You Need Assistance with Your Aggravated Assault Charge? A California aggravated assault attorney will help you present an expert defense. Call the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your aggravated assault experience and advise you of your best legal options. Our attorneys have defended hundreds of clients against criminal charges like aggravated assault. Our goal is to protect your freedom and restore your reputation by getting this serious charge reduced or dismissed. If you need compassionate, skilled criminal defense, give us a call today.
Feb 17, 2020
| Read Time: 2 minutes
Have you been charged with domestic violence and worry about potential jail time? If you have been, you are likely wondering how long do you go to jail for domestic violence? Domestic violence occurs in many California households. Sometimes domestic violence is intentional, and other times a defendant may be unjustly accused. Accusers may misinterpret someone’s actions and bring charges of domestic violence. Whether the victim has grounds for the accusation or not, you need legal help when you face domestic violence charges. California courts take domestic violence seriously, and it can be difficult to persuade a jury to reduce domestic violence charges jail time. Don’t take your freedom for granted and try to defend this charge on your own. You need a skilled criminal attorney to help you get your charge reduced or dismissed. For expert legal help, call the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC. Keep reading for information on domestic violence charges jail time and other penalties. What Is Domestic Violence? Domestic violence occurs when you harm or attempt to harm someone close to you. Relationships subject to domestic violence include: Married or dating partners, Ex-spouses or ex-partners, Co-parents, and Cohabitants or ex-cohabitants. You don’t have to physically harm someone to be charged with domestic violence. Touching someone through their clothes or threatening to harm someone can count as domestic violence. Also, actions that make a person fearful, such as punching a wall or yelling obscene words, may count. What Is the Punishment for Domestic Violence? California law allows domestic violence to be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. The category of your charge impacts possible time in jail for domestic violence. Additionally, your sentence depends on the severity and history of domestic violence. A court may upgrade domestic violence to a felony offense if these factors are involved: The victim suffered serious injuries, A child witnessed the domestic violence, The domestic violence involved use or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, or The offender has been convicted of domestic violence in the past. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor battery, these penalties apply: A fine of up to $2,000 and Up to a year in jail. If the defendant is charged with a felony battery, these penalties apply: A fine of up to $6,000 and Up to 4 years in prison. The judge also can give the offender probation. One mandate of probation requires the defendant to attend a batterer’s treatment program of at least a year in length. Also, the judge could order the offender to donate to a women’s shelter and pay for the victim’s mental counseling. Get Legal Help for Your Domestic Violence Charge If you face domestic violence charges, you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Domestic violence charges can result in jail time, expensive fines, and a criminal record. These charges can damage your reputation and make it difficult for you to find housing or employment. You need an expert domestic violence attorney who will use every available legal defense to get your charges reduced or dismissed. The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, have over two decades of experience helping criminal defendants. We know that facing criminal charges can be a life-changing experience. That’s why we listen to your story with compassion and offer you a knowledgeable legal strategy. Call for a free consultation with our criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your future. Your freedom depends on you finding experienced legal help, so you need nothing less than one of the best criminal defense attorneys in California. Let’s get started on your defense.