Apr 28, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
Top Questions to Ask If you face a criminal charge in California, hiring the right defense attorney is essential. However, finding the right criminal defense lawyer for you isn’t an easy task. You want to find a lawyer who is successful, whose personality meshes with your own, and whom you can trust. Here are our tips for finding the right criminal defense lawyer for you. Which Lawyers in My Area Handle My Type of Case? To find lawyers in your area that handle your type of potential case, you should start your search with online search engines such as Google. You should use keywords such as your location and the type of crime you’ve been charged with. For example, search “San Diego DUI attorney” if charged with DUI in San Diego. How Do I Know If a Lawyer Has a High Success Rate? Positive ratings and good client reviews usually mean that a lawyer has a high success rate. Read Client Reviews You should take the time to thoroughly read client reviews either on the lawyer’s website or on Google. Client reviews give you insight into what a prior client liked or disliked about the lawyer’s services. However, simply because the lawyer has a bad review or two does not mean that they are not a good attorney. Carefully read the negative reviews to try and determine if the negative review has merit or not. Sometimes clients are impossible to please and they lash out with negative reviews that may not accurately portray the attorney’s true work on the case. Client reviews can be incredibly helpful because they can raise a red flag if there are a number of negative reviews. However, positive reviews generally mean that the lawyer is successful because the clients were satisfied with the lawyer’s handling of their case. Review Legal Directory Websites Reviewing legal directory websites, such as Avvo, can help you determine whether a lawyer has a high success rate. Avvo allows you to search attorneys in your area by practice area. It contains attorneys’ ratings, reviews, and experience. Additionally, legal directory websites are third-party sites, meaning that there is less potential for bias. Search Lawyers on the California State Bar Website The California State Bar website has a directory of all lawyers in California where you can search for an attorney by name. The State Bar website contains the attorney’s up-to-date contact information, date of admission to the State Bar, and disciplinary history. Any disciplinary history on the attorney’s Bar website directory is a red flag and should be carefully examined by the potential client. What Questions Should I Ask During My Initial Consultation? The initial consultation allows you to meet with the attorney in person and discuss your case before making any financial commitment. Some key questions to ask during your initial consultation include: How long have you been practicing criminal law? What types of criminal law cases do you handle? How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past? How much courtroom experience do you have? How many jury trials have you done? How often do your clients’ charges get reduced or dropped? Do you have a relationship with prosecutors? Will you handle my case from start to finish? How do you calculate your fees? What are your fees for cases like mine? Asking the right questions can help you figure out which criminal defense attorney is the best fit for you. Why Should I Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC? You should contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, because we will do whatever we can to protect your future. We have been to jury trials well over 100 times, and we don’t shy away from complex and challenging cases. Contact us today for your free consultation to find out more about our defense team.
Apr 19, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
Under California Penal Code section 261, a person who uses force, threats of force, or fraud to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with another person may be charged with rape. However, alleged victims of rape sometimes make false accusations regarding the alleged offender. Alleged victims make false rape accusations for many reasons, including: Feelings of shame for voluntarily engaging in consensual sexual intercourse; Getting revenge for something wrong you may have done to them in the past; and Falsely identifying you as the offender. However, a criminal defense lawyer can help you fight false rape accusations in California by taking a number of measures, including: Providing an alibi, Using witness testimony, Attacking DNA evidence, Establishing your relationship with the alleged victim, and Determining a motive. If you are the subject of false rape accusations in California, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Providing an Alibi If you were not present at the time and place the alleged rape took place, you may be able to successfully provide an alibi defense. A criminal defense lawyer can use documentary evidence, if it exists, to prove your alibi. If possible, an attorney can have witnesses testify on your behalf to prove that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged rape. Your cell phone tower information can even help with this at times. Using Character Witness Testimony In addition to helping establish an alibi, witnesses can testify as to your good character. Attorneys use character witnesses, such as friends or family members, to testify as to your good character to help persuade a jury that you are innocent. Additionally, a forensic psychologist can have you undergo testing that will help determine whether you have any mental health issues that most rapists suffer from. If you “pass,” the psychologist can testify at trial that you do not have the mental makeup of a rapist. This will help immensely with the jury. Establishing Your Relationship with the Alleged Victim The relationship you had with the victim can also provide a defense to false rape accusations. If you and your accuser had a romantic relationship before or at the time of the alleged rape, an attorney may be able to use evidence of the relationship to show that sex with the alleged victim was consensual. Attacking DNA Evidence Prosecutors often use DNA evidence to establish guilt in rape cases. Depending on the facts of your case, a criminal defense lawyer might be able to argue that the court should exclude DNA evidence if the police improperly obtained or mishandled it. Additionally, DNA evidence can also help show that you were not the perpetrator and that the police arrested the wrong person. And even if DNA is found on the alleged victim’s clothing or skin, your attorney can potentially argue that it is merely “transfer DNA” and does not prove that you committed a rape. Determining a Motive Additionally, a criminal defense attorney will look into the background of the accuser to determine his or her motive. For example, an attorney can find out whether the accuser has made false rape accusations in the past. A lawyer can also try to uncover evidence showing shame, revenge, or false identification. How Can a California Sex Crimes Attorney Help Me? If you have been falsely accused of rape in California, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, will work hard to prove your innocence and help you avoid the negative consequences of a rape conviction. They have achieved many positive results and earned numerous encouraging reviews from past clients. Contact the team today to get started on your defense.
Apr 11, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
You can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in California if you drive under the influence of alcohol, with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater, or you are under the influence of drugs. Additional penalties apply to people charged with DUI that have a prior DUI within the past 10 years. The punishments for a 2nd DUI include: Probation, Fines, Jail time, Completion of a DUI school, and Suspension of your driver’s license. The specific punishments you might receive depending on the facts of your case and the county where you’re charged. If charged with a second DUI in California, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Probation Probation is when the court puts you under supervision for a period of time instead of sending you to jail. For a second DUI, you can get three to five years of probation. Courts often impose conditions that you must follow while on probation. Mandatory conditions of probation include: Not driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your body; Having to consent to an alcohol content test if arrested; and Not committing any crimes while on probation. Some additional conditions that the court might impose include: Attending alcoholics anonymous or narcotics anonymous meetings; Installing an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any car you own for up to three years; Selling or transferring your vehicle; and Compensating the victim for financial losses related to the DUI if a crash or wreck occurred (restitution). To get an idea of the length and conditions that the state could impose during your potential probation period, talk to a criminal defense lawyer today. Jail Time and Fines You can receive both jail time and fines for committing a second DUI in California. The length of the jail sentence you could receive varies from at least 96 hours to a maximum of one year. The cost of the fines you could receive for a second DUI range from $390 to $1,000. However, you will also have to pay for numerous “penalty assessments” that will increase your total fine to well over $2,000 in most counties. Completion of a DUI School Another penalty you will likely face for a second DUI in California is a requirement that you complete a state-licensed DUI school. DUI school consists of alcohol education and prevention programs. The length of DUI school for a second DUI is either 18 or 30 months, depending on your blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest. DUI schools generally cost between $1,900 and $3,000 depending on their length. Suspension of Your Driver License The California Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your driver’s license for up to two years for a second DUI conviction. What Should I Do If I’m Charged with a 2nd DUI in California? If you have been charged with a second DUI in California, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer provides you the best chance at potentially reducing or eliminating criminal charges. The criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, have handled well over 100 jury trials. They will use their experience in the criminal justice system to provide a strong defense against your second DUI charge. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.