Aug 7, 2020
| Read Time: 2 minutes
Armstrong is only one of a couple of dozen criminal defense attorneys in San Diego County to be certified by the State Bar of California in criminal law. San Diego, CA: This month, attorney Kerry L. Armstrong was certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County. Mr. Armstrong, one of the premier criminal defense attorneys in the United States, received this honor after meeting the rigorous requirements set forth by the State Bar of California. To receive a certified legal specialization, attorneys must: Pass a one-day written exam of the specialty area; Practice law for at least 5 years with 25% of that time dedicated to the specialty area; Complete continuing education; Demonstrate comprehensive experience in the specialty area; and Receive favorable evaluations by other attorneys and judges. Once an attorney submits their application to become certified by the State Bar of California, the bar must review their application and the attorney must undergo an extensive background check. This includes a review of many of the attorney’s trials, motions hearings, writs, appeals, etc. After being certified, the attorney must continue their education in the specialty area and must recertify in five years. Attorney Kerry L. Armstrong has more than 22 years of experience representing those accused of crimes in California. He received his J.D. from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and has many legal achievements. In 2012, the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association named Mr. Armstrong “Trial Attorney of the Year” after he won five full acquittals, one partial acquittal, and one partial hang out of nine jury trials. Mr. Armstrong’s accolades didn’t stop there. In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, The California Super Lawyers List selected Mr. Armstrong for inclusion, a rare honor is only given to 5% of attorneys in the United States. In one of his most recent cases, Mr. Armstrong represented a man accused of murdering his husband following a New Year’s Eve party. After negotiations with the District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Armstrong convinced the District Attorney’s Office to dismiss all charges. The client was then set free from jail. Mr. Armstrong also has exceptional results in domestic violence cases. In January 2018, Mr. Armstrong represented a client accused of choking his wife so hard that she nearly passed out. At trial, the client, his wife, and his two children gave conflicting statements about the incident. When the client took the stand, he said that he caused some scratches on his wife’s neck in self-defense. The jury found Mr. Armstrong’s client not guilty. Currently, Mr. Armstrong represents all types of criminal defense clients through his firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC. To learn more about his case results or to schedule a free consultation, visit www.sddefenseattorneys.com.
Jul 22, 2020
| Read Time: 7 minutes
Downloadable Guide on Sexual Assault Laws in California California sexual assault laws define several aggravated forms of sexual battery that elevate sexual battery to a felony offense. However, the prosecutor generally can choose whether to file a misdemeanor or a felony charge. While reading through California’s sexual assault laws, keep in mind that a criminal defense lawyer helps protect people from charges like these. Although these laws act as a framework, results entirely depend on the specifics of a person’s situation. California Penal Code Section 243.4 defines sexual battery as touching the intimate part of another person against that person’s will and for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. Sexual battery, also called sexual assault, is a criminal offense. Sexual battery is a misdemeanor offense unless an aggravating factor elevates the crime to a felony. Misdemeanor Sexual Assault: The Basic Crime of Sexual Battery In California, sexual assault is defined as touching the intimate part of another person against that person’s will and for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. This is a misdemeanor sexual battery under the California sexual assault laws. “Touching” Another Person “Touching” means that the accused made physical contact with the victim. The physical contact might be skin-to-skin contact or through clothing. Touching for a misdemeanor sexual battery does not require that the accused touch the victim’s bare skin. Touching could include physical contact over the victim’s clothing. For felony sexual battery, the accused does need to touch the victim’s bare skin. The accused might touch the victim directly or through the accused’s clothing. Additionally, for misdemeanor sexual battery, the victim is the person touched. Misdemeanor sexual assault does not apply when the victim is forced to touch someone. An aggravated form of sexual battery discussed below could apply to these situations. Touching the “Intimate Part” of Another Person The “intimate part” of another includes any person’s anus, groin, sexual organ, or buttocks. The intimate part of a female also includes breasts. Against the Person’s Will Sexual battery occurs when the accused touches another person against their will. This means that the accused touched the victim without consent. A victim generally does not give consent if the accused represented themselves untruthfully. A victim also does not legally consent if the accused unfairly pressured the victim or misled the victim to think the touching was not sexual. In addition, an unconscious or heavily intoxicated person cannot give legal consent. Touching Another for a Specific Sexual Purpose Touching is for a specific sexual purpose when the accused intended to cause sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. Sexual arousal and gratification relate to a person’s sexual pleasure. Sexual abuse means causing another to suffer pain, injury, or humiliation. Intimidation is also a form of abuse. Aggravated Forms of Sexual Battery California sexual assault laws define several aggravated forms of sexual battery. These aggravating factors could elevate the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. California sexual assault laws define the following aggravating factors: The Accused “Unlawfully Restrained” the Victim Sexual assault is aggravated when the victim is “unlawfully restrained.” Restraining another means to control that person’s liberty (i.e., freedom of movement). If meant to deprive a person of their freedom, the perpetrator’s words, actions, or authority can also be considered “unlawful restraint.” Keep in mind that the restraint is unlawful if the restriction is against the person’s will. However, restraint is legal if a lawful authority (like the police) does it for a lawful purpose (like an arrest). The Victim was “Institutionalized for Medical Treatment” Sexually touching a person that is institutionalized for medical treatment can be illegal under California’s sexual assault laws. Institutionalized means that the person is in a medical treatment facility, hospital, or nursing home. This aggravating factor applies to seriously disabled or medically incapacitated victims. A person with a severe physical or sensory disability is “seriously disabled.” “Medically incapacitated” means that the victim is incapacitated by prescribed medications. These medications could include sedatives or anesthesia. The Accused Falsely Represented that the Touching Served a “Professional Purpose” Sexual assault can become a felony offense when the accused misled the victim to think that the touching served a professional purpose. A professional purpose includes medical and therapeutic treatments. For example, a doctor who tells a patient that touching the patient’s intimate parts is for medical treatment when it is really for a sexual purpose, falsely represents that the touching serves a professional purpose. The Accused Caused the Victim to “Masturbate or Touch” Another Person Another aggravated form of sexual assault occurs when the accused causes the victim “to touch or masturbate an intimate part” of the accused or another person. This form of aggravated sexual assault applies only if: The accused unlawfully restrained the victim, or The victim was institutionalized and seriously disabled or medically incapacitated. The accused can cause touching or masturbation through outright force or in more subtle ways. If this force or other manipulation is present, the assault could be charged as a felony. Charges Related to Sexual Assault Aiding and Abetting: Accomplice Liability Accomplices of sexual assault can be charged just as severely as the perpetrator. A person is an accomplice if the person knows the perpetrator is committing sexual assault and they aid, encourage, or facilitate the perpetrator in committing the crime. Rape: California Penal Code §261 This California sexual assault law, Penal Code Section 261.5, is the state’s statutory rape law. Rape is non-consensual intercourse with another person accomplished through threats, force, or fraud. Sexual assault does not require actual penetration or sexual intercourse as is required by the rape statute. Battery: California Penal Code §242 PC Criminal battery is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Battery applies to more types of conduct than sexual assault. For example, contact with another person may be a battery regardless of whether the touching was sexual or not. Also, under battery law, the contact does not...
Jul 22, 2020
| Read Time: 4 minutes
California continues to crack down on prostitution, with high-profile arrests making the newspaper regularly. If you’ve been picked up, we understand you might be feeling embarrassed and concerned about your future. In some situations, a person wasn’t even soliciting prostitution when they got caught up in a police sting. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we offer compassionate legal representation to those arrested for prostitution or solicitation. We can help figure out how to beat a solicitation charge in California which is why it is important to contact our firm. We credit our strong grasp of the law for our excellent results, and we have managed to get many charges dismissed or dropped and assisted in figuring out how to fight solicitation charges. Contact us today. One of our San Diego criminal defense attorneys will be pleased to meet with you. California’s Prostitution and Solicitation Laws In 2019, in California, prostitution is not legal. The following information explains why prostitution is not legal in California. You can find California’s law at California Penal Code 647 (b). This law criminalizes the offer or acceptance of money or other valuable consideration for sexual or lewd conduct. One important facet of this law is that the sex act (or lewd conduct) does not have to actually take place for Penal Code 647 b to apply. California’s soliciting and prostitution law criminalize three things: Engaging in prostitution Soliciting prostitution Agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution CALIFORNIA PROSTITUTION LAWS FOR: Penalties for Soliciting and Prostitution in California Solicitation and prostitution are misdemeanors, not felonies. The exact punishment a defendant faces depends on several factors, such as where the violation occurred and whether this is the defendant’s first offense: First offense: up to 6 months and jail and up to a $1,000 fine Second offense: mandatory 45 days in jail Third offense: mandatory 90 days in jail A defendant can face additional penalties if arrested while using a car and within 1,000 feet of a residence. In addition to the penalties above, defendants can have their driver’s license suspended for 30 days. Those convicted of prostitution or solicitation can be required to register as sex offenders, though many are not. Speak about this possibility with your attorney. CALIFORNIA PROSTITUTION LAWS FOR: Engaging in Prostitution A person can be arrested for engaging in prostitution for intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse or a lewd act in exchange for compensation, including money. In short, this means the defendant willingly engaged in the sexual act or did it on purpose. It does not mean that he or she knew that the law was being broken at that moment. Remember that the lewd act embraces more than sexual intercourse. It can also include touching genitals, buttocks, or female breasts with the intent to become sexually aroused or gratified. So accepting money to let someone rub your breasts actually counts as engaging in prostitution under Penal Code 647(b). CALIFORNIA PROSTITUTION LAWS FOR: Soliciting Prostitution A person can be arrested and convicted of solicitation if he asks another person to engage in an act of prostitution and intended to engage in the act. Intent matters here. The defendant must have actually intended to go through with the offer, even if he or she did not, in fact, follow through. The prosecutor can prove intent by showing that the defendant offered money or other consideration or took some other step that manifested intent. Solicitation can also occur even where the person being propositioned is not a prostitute or is a police officer undercover. The person propositioned does not have to have any intent to follow through, even if they accept the offer. CALIFORNIA PROSTITUTION LAWS FOR: Agreeing to Engage in Prostitution Simply agreeing to have sex for money also is illegal, even if no one goes through with the transaction. In other words, a transaction does not have to be completed for the police to nab someone for agreeing to engage in prostitution. A defendant is guilty if: They agreed to engage in prostitution with someone else They intended to actually engage in the act They further the commission of the prostitution by taking some other act beyond the agreement The last element is often in dispute. Simply saying “yes” is not enough. Some other act is required. For example: Withdrawing money from an ATM machine Telling the other person to undress Taking your clothes off Driving to a location to meet the person for sex or other lewd behavior CALIFORNIA PROSTITUTION LAWS FOR: Defenses to Solicitation and Prostitution Charges With decades of experience, our firm understands the many defenses we can raise to a prostitution or solicitation charge. For example, if you are under 18, you cannot be found guilty of prostitution. Instead, a California law defines anyone under 18 as a “commercially sexually exploited child.” In other cases, you might raise the following defenses: Insufficient evidence Entrapment Lack of Intent Let’s take a closer look at these. CALIFORNIA PROSTITUTION LAWS FOR: Insufficient Evidence The state must prove each case beyond a reasonable doubt. Often, however, there is doubt about whether you broke the law because the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence about what people said and did. For example, a defendant might be accused of propositioning a police officer, but there was no recorded statement even though the officer should have been wired. In this situation, we can’t be sure that the defendant propositioned sex for money or other compensation. CALIFORNIA PROSTITUTION LAWS FOR: Entrapment This is a hard defense to prove. To raise entrapment, a defendant needs to show that the police officer’s conduct would have induced a normal, law-abiding citizen to commit a crime. In other words, a defendant must show more than that the police created the opportunity to commit a crime. Some examples of entrapment include: Repeatedly soliciting someone, even after they say “no.” Badgering a person or intimidating them into agreeing to sex Offering an extraordinarily large sum of money Promising...