Jan 14, 2020
| Read Time: 2 minutes
If you have been charged with a substance abuse-related crime, you’re probably wondering what deferred entry of judgment is and how you can get it. Deferred judgment in California, also known as deferred adjudication, is essentially a delayed court judgment. In a deferred judgment, the defendant successfully participates in a probationary period before any sentencing or a conviction. If the defendant completes probation, the court will dismiss the charges and seal the defendant’s arrest. During the probationary period of deferred judgment, you must complete a term of supervised probation. You must complete all the terms of your probation, which may include: Community service; Restitution to victims; Substance abuse treatment; Abstinence from drugs and alcohol; Mental health counseling; Cognitive-behavioral therapy; and Fines. The purpose of these terms is to help rehabilitate and punish you for your crime. They are often chosen to address issues related to your offense. How Do I Get Deferred Adjudication in California? Deferred adjudication is not available for all criminal defendants. Only defendants with non-violent felony or misdemeanor offenses can participate in the program, according to California law. Defendants facing drug crimes can possibly get a deferred entry of judgment for 18 months to three years, provided they follow their probation terms. Potentially qualifying offenses for deferred entry of judgment include but are not limited to: No prior convictions with controlled substances; No violence involved with your crime; No evidence that you committed the drug offense (sale or possession for sale) besides one of the listed crimes; No past failure of probation or parole; No deferred entry of judgment for other crimes in the past five years; and No felony convictions in the past five years. Does Deferred Entry of Judgment Show on My Background Check? During the deferred judgment, your criminal record may show the crime you plead guilty to and that the sentence is deferred. After you complete deferred judgment, you can withdraw your guilty plea. After doing so, your criminal record will show that the case was dismissed. However, the offense is only sealed for private parties such as employers and landlords; government and law-enforcement will still be able to see it on background checks and criminal records. If you need help sealing your records after deferred judgment, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Get Help from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Understanding the process of deferred entry of judgment can be a confusing process. If you are eligible for deferred entry of judgment or have questions about the process, contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, today. With hundreds of cases won for our clients, we are ready to help you fight your criminal charges.
Jan 14, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
In California, the framework for domestic violence is complicated. There are many different types of domestic violence charges. There is also the possibility of either a felony or a misdemeanor. For those convicted, the consequences can be significant. If you are facing charges, you may be wondering, “Is domestic violence a felony in California?” The answer is that it certainly can be. In certain circumstances, domestic violence can be a felony in California. Although this is an uncertain time, we can help. In this article, we’ll discuss and explain the felony domestic violence laws in this state. What is Domestic Violence? California Penal Code §13700 defines domestic violence as abuse against a specific category of people. When a defendant commits an act of violence against any of these people, it may be domestic violence. The categories of people are as follows: Spouse Former spouse Cohabitant Former cohabitant Girlfriend/boyfriend or former girlfriend/boyfriend Fiance or former fiance A person with whom the accused has a child Domestic violence charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies. Common Domestic Violence Charges in California In California, there are different types of domestic violence charges. Corporal Injury Defendants can be charged with corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant. Corporal injury is any physical injury to an intimate partner. Corporal injury is a felony (California Penal Code §273.5). Domestic Battery Another type of charge is domestic battery (California Penal Code §243(e)(1)). Domestic battery is the infliction of force or violence against a spouse or cohabitant. In this case, “force or violence” does not have to mean that there was harm or injury. It simply means any unlawful physical contact. Domestic battery is a misdemeanor. What is the Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies? Felonies are those crimes that carry potential sentences of more than one year. Felonies also carry extra consequences, like higher fines and restitution. Restitution is payment the perpetrator of the crime must make to the victim. Misdemeanors are lesser crimes that carry sentences of up to one year. In certain cases, called “wobblers,” a prosecutor decides whether to charge a defendant with a misdemeanor or felony. Although specific standards for deciding wobblers are not set out, the prosecutor can consider: The defendant’s prior criminal record; The circumstances of the crime, including whether the defendant used a weapon; and The severity of the victim’s injuries. If the prosecutor decides on a felony charge, there are instances in which the court can reduce it to a misdemeanor. However, for severe domestic violence cases (those involving physical injury), this doesn’t usually happen. What is Felony Domestic Violence in California? Felony domestic violence in California is a domestic crime committed with aggravating factors. Aggravating factors can include: Violence resulting in bodily injury Violence or threats of violence involving the use of a deadly weapon For example, a domestic violence case with no significant injury to the victim may be charged as a misdemeanor. Remember, domestic battery does not need to include any actual harm to the victim. It could be an illegal touch. In contrast, a domestic battery case in which the victim ended up in the hospital with moderate to serious injuries may be charged as a felony. Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges in California The consequences of a domestic violence charge in California are serious. Those convicted of a domestic violence charge in California may be subject to: A criminal record Jail time Payment of fines or restitution Required participation in a domestic violence intervention program Loss of gun rights Loss of child custody The victim may also win a restraining order against the accused. Are you Facing a Domestic Violence Charge? If you are facing a domestic violence charge, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, can help. We can help you make sense of the situation and figure out what to do next. Most importantly, we’ll bring our significant experience to your defense. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation at 619-304-2058.
Jan 14, 2020
| Read Time: 4 minutes
California fake ID laws make it a crime to possess or display a fake ID if the person intends to use that fake ID to commit a forgery. The penalties for possessing a fake ID in California usually involve jail time, a fine, or both. If you were caught with a fake ID, an experienced and compassionate criminal defense lawyer can help you defend your rights. What Is a Fake ID Under California Fake ID Laws? Two initial questions arise under California fake ID laws. First, is the document an identification document? Second, is the document fake? Is the Document an ID? The California fake ID laws apply only to certain types of identifying documents. These documents include state-issued driver licenses and government-issued identification cards. Government-issued identification cards can include documents like, for example: Social security cards, Military identification cards, State and federal government employee identification cards, and U.S. passports. Other documents issued by a government agency may also qualify as an identifying document. Is the ID Fake? A fake ID is a driver license or a government-issued identification card that has been: Altered, Falsified, Forged, Duplicated, Reproduced, or Counterfeited. For purposes of California fake ID laws, altering a document means to add to, erase, or change a part of the document. For example, a person alters a driver’s license by changing the person’s date of birth to make them over 21 years old. The fake ID laws would also apply when a person makes an unauthorized version or copy of a driver’s license. What Is a Crime Under California Fake ID Laws? California fake ID laws prohibit two types of conduct: making a fake ID and possessing or displaying a fake ID. The person must also have made or possessed the fake ID with the intent to use that ID in committing a forgery. What Does It Mean to Possess a Fake ID? Possession of a fake ID can include physically holding or touching the ID. However, physically holding the ID is not always possession under California fake ID laws. Instead, possession means that the person had the right to control or had actual control over the ID. For example, a person carrying a friend’s fake ID is not necessarily in possession of that ID. This is because the person does not have the right to control the ID simply because they are physically holding it. The right to control the ID remains with the friend, who is the owner of the ID. What Is Intent to Commit a Forgery? Intent to commit a forgery is a more complicated way of saying that the person made or used the ID for the purpose of tricking someone else. Examples of using a fake ID to deceive another person might include: A person under 21 using the ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes; Using an ID to apply for someone else’s military or social security benefits; or Opening a credit card or cashing a check in someone else’s name. Note that it is not enough that a person is caught with a fake ID. The person must possess the fake ID intending to deceive someone else. Though the person must intend to use the fake ID to commit a forgery, their attempt to do so need not be successful. The crime occurs when the person tries to trick another, whether or not the other person is actually tricked. What Is the Penalty If I Am Caught with a Fake ID? Possession of a fake ID is a “wobbler” offense under California fake ID laws. If you are caught with a fake ID, you may be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. The prosecutor for the state may decide whether to bring a felony or a misdemeanor charge. In making this decision, the prosecutor will consider: The facts of the specific case; The nature and severity of the particular offense; and The accused’s prior criminal history, if any. Whether the crime is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor affects the penalties imposed. What Is the Misdemeanor Fake ID Penalty? A misdemeanor conviction carries the following penalties: Summary probation; Up to one year in jail; and/or A fine up to $1,000. Summary probation is an alternative to serving all or part of a jail sentence and lasts one to three years. With summary probation, you do not need to report to a probation officer. What Is the Felony Fake ID Penalty? Felony fake ID convictions carry more severe penalties, which can include: Formal probation; Sixteen months, two years, or three years in prison; and/or A fine up to $10,000. Felony probation is an alternative to prison and lasts between three and five years. Felony probation does require that you report to a probation officer. Other penalties can include suspension of your driver’s license and court-ordered community service. What Defenses Can I Use If I Am Caught with a Fake ID? You may defend against a fake ID charge under several theories. These theories include: Lack of knowledge. You did not know that the ID was fake. Lack of intent. You did not intend to use the fake ID to commit a forgery (i.e., deceive or trick another person). Lack of possession. You did not have the fake ID in your possession. An experienced criminal defense attorney can discuss the defense strategies available in your case. Were You Caught with a Fake ID? Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC Possession of a fake ID is not a charge to take lightly. If you were caught with a fake ID, the penalty in California could mean loss of your freedom, hefty fines, or both. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable defense attorney gives you the best chance of protecting your rights. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, our seasoned criminal defense team has tried over 100 criminal cases. We are dedicated to providing our clients with compassionate, vigorous representation. Schedule a free consultation online to discuss...