When May My Child’s California Juvenile Case Be Transferred to Adult Court?Published on September 25, 2018
Generally speaking, a minor (someone under the age of 18) is tried in a juvenile court. The California law provides for certain situations in which minors can be tried as an adult. California allows children who are least 14 years of age to face adult charges for various offenses. If a prosecutor determines the case is serious enough, they can file it in an adult court. For this to happen, the prosecutor must file a petition for a fitness hearing.
A dedicated juvenile defense lawyer will make your child’s journey through the penal system easier. For help with a California juvenile case in Los Angeles, reach out to an attorney at Spolin Law P.C. We have the experience necessary to make sure that your son or daughter is treated fairly after accusations against them surface. Schedule your free consultation using the online form, or by calling (310) 424-5816 today.
A Fitness Hearing Decides Juvenile Case Transfers
In order to transfer your juvenile’s case to an adult court, the prosecutor must file a motion to petition for a fitness hearing. At this hearing, the judge will determine whether or not your child is “fit” for the juvenile court system. To do this, they analyze the likelihood that your son or daughter can be rehabilitated. In considering this, the court examines the following five factors:
- The criminal sophistication of your son or daughter
- Whether rehabilitation is possible prior to your child turning 18
- Your son or daughter’s previous delinquent history
- The success or failure of the juvenile court to previously rehabilitate your child
- The circumstances and seriousness of the offense committed.
The prosecutor must give you at least five days’ notice of a fitness hearing. If based on these factors, the judge decided your child is unlikely to be rehabilitated, they will transfer your child’s case to an adult court. Once transferred, your son or daughter will be subject to normal court proceedings.
To learn more about fitness hearings, contact a juvenile defense lawyer at our firm right away.
Only Certain Situations Permit a Transfer to Adult Court
The criteria for moving a California juvenile case to adult court are slightly different than originally trying your child as an adult. A prosecutor may only file a petition for a fitness hearing if your child has been accused of committing a felony and is at least 16-years-old. If your child is at least 14-years-old, their case may be transferred if their offense is included in Section 707(b) of California’s Welfare & Institutions Code.
Potential Penalties a Juvenile May Face in Adult Court
In juvenile court, the worst sentence a minor can receive is incarceration in the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). If tried in adult court, however, your son or daughter can face almost any penalty an adult would. This includes life in prison without the possibility of parole. The only exception is that minors may not face the death penalty.
Appealing the Transfer of a Juvenile Case
If your son or daughter loses their fitness hearing, they may appeal the decision. The petition to appeal must be filed no more than 20 days after arraignment on the charges that prompted the fitness hearing.
Speak to an Attorney About Your Child’s California Juvenile Case Today
Talking to a lawyer knowledgeable in juvenile law is one of the best ways to help your child. From defense to appeal, Spolin Law P.C. will make sure your minor presents the best argument possible so that their case remains in juvenile court. To schedule your free consultation with a Los Angeles juvenile defense attorney, reach out online or call (310) 424-5816.
Five Questions to Ask Your Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Before You Appeal Your CasePublished on September 14, 2018
Few things are more upsetting than losing a court case. It might feel like being told you’re wrong, or that your work wasn’t worth it. However, cases are decided by numerous factors. If you disagree with the court’s decision, in most situations you will have the opportunity to appeal your case. Before deciding to appeal, it’s important you understand what you’re doing. If your appeal is granted, you’ll have to prepare your defense all over again. Below are five things to discuss with your appeals lawyer when deciding whether or not to proceed with an appeal.
To contest a court’s decision, you have to know what specifically you are objecting to. That’s where Spolin Law P.C. comes in. Our lawyers know the ins and outs of the process, and will make sure your case is properly prepared. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.
Discuss Your Appeal With An Attorney
When considering whether or not to appeal your case, it’s important to remember that there are differences between an appeal and a regular trial. There will be further work, and further money to invest. There are a few questions you should ask your attorney if you’re considering appealing a case:
Do You Have Experience With Appellate Cases?
Appealing a case requires different work than arguing the original trial. The legal criteria you have to meet to win an appeal are also different. If a lawyer without appellate experience represents you, they may have a difficult time successfully defending you. The skillset required to win an appeal is unique, and you’ll want to make sure your attorney is up to the task.
May I See a Recent Appellate Writing Sample?
Reading an attorney’s writing is a good way to get a sense of their experience. Even if you don’t understand the legal vocabulary, the tone can often suggest whether or not the lawyer is knowledgeable. For additional reference, you can compare it to other examples of appellate writing. Alternatively, you can ask your attorney what points are important in an appellate case. You can then see if they address these points in their sample.
Have You Worked With Appellate Judges In The Past?
The differences between trial and appellate standards will not only affect the writing your attorney has to do. It will also change the factors the judge examines in making their decision. If your lawyer has worked with appellate judges in the past, they’ll better understand what factors the judges look for. Even if your attorney has not argued an appellate case before, they may have clerked for an appellate judge.
What Are Some Possible Arguments You Can Raise During Appeal?
If asking what arguments your attorney may make, you’re not trying to determine the legal merit of the arguments. Instead, you’re simply trying to make sure they’re not rehashing the same arguments from the previous trial.
How Long Do I Have to File My Appeal?
The time you have to file your appeal is variable. California law states that you must file a notice of appeal no more than:
- 60 days after a felony judgement was entered
- 30 days after a misdemeanor judgement was entered
Courts rarely extend the deadline for filing for an appeal. This makes filing in the appropriate time critical to your case. Make sure your lawyer has all the information necessary not to miss this deadline.
Do You Have Questions About How to Appeal Your Case? Call Us Today for Help
The best way to get answers to your questions about appealing a criminal case in California is to speak with an appeals attorney. In Los Angeles, contact Spolin Law P.C. to discuss your situation. An experienced lawyer from our firm will be able to provide the necessary information at every step in the appeals process. Call (310) 424-5816, or use the online form, to schedule your free consultation today.
Forgery Charges Dropped Against Innocent Doctor, Spolin Law P.C. ClientPublished on August 30, 2018
Earlier this week the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office announced that they are closing the case and declining to prosecute an innocent Spolin Law P.C. client who had been arrested and booked on forgery charges.
The client, a medical doctor, had been arrested and accused of possessing a forged DMV registration sticker, which had been affixed to her car. The charge threatened to derail her medical career; she faced the revocation of her medical license if she had been convicted.
Attorney Aaron Spolin handled the doctor’s case. He gathered evidence about the actual individual responsible for the forged DMV sticker and presented this evidence to the LA City Attorney’s Office. After a hearing on Tuesday afternoon of this week in City Hall in downtown LA, the City Attorney’s Office formally announced that they will not be prosecuting the client or pressing any charges.
As a result, the client can return to her work as a doctor providing care to those in need.
For more information or to speak with an attorney at Spolin Law P.C., contact us at (310) 424-5816.
What Is a Fictitious ID and What Are the Penalties for Possessing One?Published on August 23, 2018
There are many reasons people possess false identification materials. If you’re under the age of 18, you need an ID that says you’re of the legal age to purchase any tobacco products. Perhaps the most well-known use of a fake is buying alcohol or gaining entrance to a bar or club. Whatever your reason for using a fictitious ID is, getting caught using one will lead to legal trouble. California law prohibits possessing or displaying a fake ID with the intent of defrauding someone else. For using such identification, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. The specifics of your case will determine the level of your offense.
If you have been caught using a fake ID, call a criminal defense attorney right away. At Spolin Law P.C., we will handle every aspect of your fraud case, whether that means getting the charges dropped, or putting together an aggressive defense. If convicted of an offense related to the use of a fictitious ID, you face several potential penalties. With your rights and freedom on the line, you want to know that someone is keeping you and your case on track.
What Qualifies as a Fictitious ID?
California law defines a fake ID as any driver’s license or identification card issued by a government agency that has been:
- Physically altered
- Forged, or made to show falsified information
- Duplicated or reproduced
- Counterfeited from someone else’s ID
Possessing or displaying an ID that falls under any of these categories, and intending to use that ID to commit forgery, is an offense punishable under California Penal Code.
Intent and Fictitious ID Charges
In addition to possessing, being in control of, or displaying a fake ID, it is also illegal in California to use such identification to commit forgery. With regard to fake ID laws, forgery refers to fraud, which is the deception of another person to cause loss or damage to property, financial assets, or legal standing. This statutory language could serve as a possible defense in your case; if you didn’t know that your ID was falsified, you wouldn’t possess the intent to defraud anyone with it.
Penalties for Possession of a Fake ID
Under the California Penal Code, possessing or displaying a fake ID is known as a “wobbler.” This means your offense could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the details of your case. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in jail, and a fine of $1,000. If you’re charged with a felony, however, you may be incarcerated for up to three years, and fined as much as $10,000. Your official charges are determined by numerous factors, such as:
- How much your fraud was worth
- What your crime would have cost others
- Your previous criminal record
Talk to An Experienced Attorney About Your Fictitious ID Charges
If you are facing charges for the possession or use of a fake ID, an experienced attorney will assist you in handling the confusion wobblers can sometimes cause. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, Spolin Law P.C. is prepared to discuss your fictitious ID or fraud case. Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony-level offense, our dedicated attorneys know what a successful defense requires. To schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case, contact a criminal defense lawyer at our firm by calling (310) 424-5816.
Attorney Aaron Spolin Ranked in Top 1% of California LawyersPublished on August 15, 2018
Spolin Law P.C. is pleased to announce that two independent third-party rating agencies have ranked Aaron Spolin among the top 1% of criminal law attorneys in California.
The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) has nominated and selected Aaron Spolin for its 2018 list of the “10 Best Attorneys” in California in the field of criminal law. As the organization’s selection letter notes, AICLA is an “impartial third-party attorney rating service and invitation-only legal organization recognizing excellence in practitioners in the field.” Each attorney must (1) be formally nominated by the Institute, clients, and/or a fellow attorney, (2) “have attained the highest degree of professional achievement in his or her field of law,” and (3) “have impeccable client satisfaction ratings.” Spolin Law P.C. was informed of the selection in a letter sent to the office this past February.
The National Trial Lawyers (NTL) also recognized Mr. Spolin for his criminal law advocacy, adding him to its criminal defense list of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.” NTL is an educational organization with the mission of “promoting excellence and fostering diversity in the legal profession.” It is also the publisher of The Trial Lawyer magazine. In March of this year the organization informed Mr. Spolin of his selection. This was shortly after he had obtained not-guilty jury verdicts on the top charges of two cases within a two-month time span.
Trader Joe’s Shooting Suspect Facing Murder Charges, Despite Not Firing the Bullet that Killed an EmployeePublished on August 7, 2018
Many people think of murder as a fairly straightforward crime. You may think that, regardless of the particulars, you can face a murder charge if your actions result in someone else’s death. Regardless of how you conceive murder as a criminal offense, you would likely be surprised to hear about a man facing murder charges despite someone else firing the shot caused a death. This is the exact situation of Trader Joe’s shooting suspect Gene Evin Atkins. While a police officer discharged the bullet that struck Trader Joe’s employee Melyda Corado, prosecutors are trying to hold Atkins responsible through a legal principle known as the “provocative act doctrine.”
If you’re facing murder charges in the Los Angeles area, you need the strong legal counsel of an experienced murder defense attorney. The law surrounding homicide crimes is extremely complicated. At Spolin Law P.C., we know how to recognize the minute details that govern these offenses, and develop a defense based off that information.
Atkins is Accused of Initiating Chain of Events that Led to Murder in Trader Joe’s Shooting
The basis of the case against Atkins is that his actions led to Corado’s death, even though Atkins himself didn’t pull the trigger. That chain of events begins with Atkins stealing his grandmother’s car. He then kidnapped a 17-year-old female, and fled in the vehicle. Police say he fired shots out the back window at officers who were pursuing him.
Atkins’ flight eventually led him to crash the car outside Trader Joe’s. After the crash, Atkins attempted to flee into the store. As he ran, he continued to shoot at the police, who returned fire. It was during this shootout that a police-fired bullet struck and killed Corado, who was exiting the store as Atkins was entering.
Understanding the Provocative Act Doctrine
Atkins’ murder charge stems from a principle of California law known as the “provocative act doctrine.” The main concept of this doctrine states that if your actions provoke another person to commit a killing, you may be liable for murder.
In Atkins’ case, the prosecution is trying to show that he intentionally set into motion a series of actions, and the outcome of those actions was Corado’s death. The fact that he was not trying to bring about Corado’s death does not matter. Because he kidnapped someone and shot at police as he fled, he allegedly acted with conscious disregard for human life. In firing the shot that killed Corado, the police were simply responding to the circumstances, placing the responsibility for the murder on Atkins.
The California Supreme Court has clarified the scope of the provocative act doctrine, stating that its application must be based on intent. While you don’t have to commit the deadly act yourself, you must have the intent of acting in such a way that endangers others.
Contact a Murder Defense Attorney at Our Firm for Help Today
Whichever section of the law your murder charge is brought under, the most important aspect of your defense is reliable legal representation. Spolin Law P.C. should be your first call for assistance with murder charges in Los Angeles. Our attorneys are dedicated to fighting aggressively for you in court, and they will do so by utilizing a number of possible defenses, their years of experience, and their knowledge of the complicated laws that govern these cases.
Can I Get in Trouble for Making Fraudulent Returns to California Stores?Published on July 31, 2018
Almost anywhere you go in the United States, shopping is part of the culture. With so much commerce occurring on a day-to-day basis, it’s only natural that some people receive items that are not in the condition they expected. In such circumstances, returns are normal and expected. Recently, however, a situation arose highlighting the fact that returns can cause more issues than you might think. A 23-year-old man faces six felony charges for making fraudulent returns at Walmart. According to KSWT, a CNN affiliate, Thomas Frudaker conducted the questionable transactions at over 1,000 Walmarts in the last 18 months.
The laws that govern fraud are complex. A Los Angeles fraud defense attorney can keep an honest misunderstanding from turning into a criminal charge. If you’re facing a fraud investigation in the Los Angeles area, contact Spolin Law P.C. today. Our lawyers understand how fraud cases progress, and will be able to help you throughout every step of the way.
Missing Parts Raise Concern Over Returns
Frudaker attracted suspicion when he attempted to return a computer in Yuma, Arizona. Parts were apparently missing from the machine, prompting authorities to look into Frudaker’s purchasing habits. It was discovered that, over the last year and a half, he had made similar returns at over 1,000 Walmarts across the United States.
For making roughly 1.3 million dollars worth of false returns, Frudaker faces six felony charges. Among his counts are theft, fraudulent schemes, and criminal damage. His bail was set at $40,000.
Return Fraud is Theft in California
California Penal Code defines theft as taking something, intentionally and unlawfully, with the intent to deprive the true owner of its use or enjoyment. If you obtain property that isn’t yours through false pretenses, falsity, or through other means of deceit, you have committed theft by fraud. Some common examples of return fraud are:
- Returning an item you know to be stolen, by yourself or someone else, for money or store credit
- Forging a receipt to show you purchased an item that you did not
- Forging a receipt to show you purchased an item for more than you actually paid
- Returning an item to a different store for more than you originally purchased it for
- Acquiring an item at a store and returning it before purchasing it
Return fraud can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. What specific charge you face depends on the value of what you attempted to return. Penalties for return fraud range from one to three years in prison, as well as fines between one and ten thousand dollars.
Facing Charges for Fraudulent Returns? Call Us Today for Help
Being found guilty of return fraud hinges largely on intent. In order for a theft crime to be proven, it must be shown that you both knew and intended to return something you did not purchase. Whether you intentionally and knowingly did something depends on a wide range of factors. It’s possible that not all these factors have been considered in your case.
A skilled fraud attorney will be able to weigh all these factors while putting together your defense. If you’re facing a fraud investigation in the Los Angeles area, your first call should be to Spolin Law P.C.. Whatever your case is, our lawyers have the experience to provide you with a comprehensive defense.
Attorney Aaron Spolin Ranked in Top 1% of Attorneys NationwidePublished on July 9, 2018
Spolin Law P.C. is proud to announce that two independent third-party rating agencies have ranked Aaron Spolin among the top 1% of criminal law attorneys in the United States.
The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) has nominated and selected Aaron Spolin for its 2018 list of the “10 Best Attorneys” in California in the field of criminal law. As the organization’s selection letter notes, AIOCLA is an “impartial third-party Attorney rating service and invitation-only legal organization recognizing excellence in practitioners in the field.” Each attorney must (1) be formally nominated by the Institute, clients, and/or a fellow attorney, (2) “have attained the highest degree of professional achievement in his or her field of law,” and (3) “have impeccable client satisfaction ratings.” Spolin Law P.C. was informed of the selection in a letter sent to the office this past February.
The National Trial Lawyers
Theranos Founder Indicted of Federal Wire Fraud Charges in CaliforniaPublished on July 2, 2018
Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford in 2003 to found Theranos, a medical technology company that would at one point be worth roughly $9 billion. Since then, Holmes has suffered quite the reversal of fortune. Along with former COO and president of Theranos Ramesh Balwani, Holmes is facing a potentially lengthy prison sentence stemming from her indictment on federal wire fraud charges. As it turns out, many of the high-profile investments that propelled Theranos to such a lofty worth were acquired dishonestly. Holmes and Balwani stand accused of defrauding their investors out of significant sums of money. If found guilty, they could see significant fines in addition to potential prison time.
If you’re in Los Angeles and need help finding the fine line between a simple mistake and fraud, contact Spolin Law P.C. Our lawyers have the knowledge and dedication to put your defense together. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles fraud defense attorney today by calling (310) 424-5816.
Were the Lies Told to Investors Fraud, or Just Wrong?
Theranos attracted several notable investors in its early days as a business. These investors were attracted, according to the allegations against Holmes, by misleading remarks about how well Theranos’ medical technology worked. Supposedly, there were functionality problems with the technology that both Holmes and Balwani were aware of. In spite of this, they maintained that their machines could compete with the market standard. Holmes and Balwani are also accused of inflating Theranos’ revenue projections, and referencing a fictitious contract with the Department of Defense.
Second Form of Fraud Connected to False Advertisement
The charges against Holmes and Balwani also outline a second form of alleged fraud, more nuanced than simply lying to investors. Theranos made its blood-testing technology available for use at Walgreens. Through an advertising campaign, Theranos encouraged doctors and patients to have blood tests performed at those Walgreens locations, using Theranos technology. A portion of the money Walgreens customers paid for those blood tests went to Theranos, and by extension – Holmes and Balwani. The case against them alleges that money was acquired through fraud.
Potential Fraud Results in Large Possible Sentence
In total, Holmes, Balwani, and Theranos are accused of defrauding investors out of roughly $700 million dollars. Holmes and Balwani are each charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and nine counts of wire fraud. What punishment they will ultimately face depends on how much of that money they have left. If the money is gone, both will likely face between 15 and 20 years in prison. They could also each be fined up to $250,000, plus additional reparations for each count of conspiracy and fraud.
Was There Intent to Commit Fraud?
In a case such as this, the prosecution bears the burden of proof. That means they must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the actions of Holmes and Balwani showed an unquestionable intent to commit fraud. This question can be decided by examining the related evidence, such as communications between the accused parties, as well as their personal notes.
Facing Wire Fraud Charges? An Attorney Can Help
As the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos shows, fraud cases are complicated. Selling your product and making predictions about your company, inhabits a gray area where the truth is concerned. While you may not be sure how to navigate the legal system, our lawyers will put every piece of your defense into place. If you have questions about fraud crimes, fraud consequences, or any fraud law applicable to your situation, contact Spolin Law P.C. today.
Dozens Charged with Criminal Offenses in Mexican Mafia Jail SweepPublished on June 27, 2018
Dozens of members of the notorious Mexican Mafia were recently arrested in a crackdown due to increased criminal activity occurring in Los Angeles County jails. Federal agents worked with local police in a coordinated operation that was the result of two cases. These cases resulted in 32 suspects being taken into federal custody, in addition to the several dozen people named who were already incarcerated. The cases named 83 people. Some of these people avoided justice, and remain fugitives.
Those named in the case will face a variety of charges and possible sentences. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Los Angeles area, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Spolin Law P.C.. For a free, confidential case evaluation, call us at (310) 424-5816 today.
Charges the Mexican Mafia Members May Face
The operation targeting Mexican Mafia members was part of a large federal investigation into the gang’s activities. Many of those named in the report were charged as part of a racketeering conspiracy. Through an elaborate communication network, gang leaders distributed orders to lower-ranking agents. This network allowed the leaders to control gang territory, collect taxes on contraband, and even arrange for those who disobeyed the gang’s wishes to be assaulted.
Drug trafficking made up a large portion of the gang’s activities. The gang used their extensive contacts to facilitate drug sales all over the Los Angeles area. In some instances, they even introduced drugs into prisons to be sold. Members would purposefully get arrested for minor crimes to smuggle drugs in.
Location of Mexican Mafia Leaders
The Mexican Mafia is a recognized presence on the streets of Los Angeles. They have used their vast network of influencers and informants to establish themselves as a powerful force in the prison system. In addition to smuggling drugs, prosecutors say that high-ranking gang members were able to orchestrate all sorts of illicit activity while behind bars. Murders, attempted murders, assaults, and kidnappings were all executed on orders that came from prisoners.
Not only did the Mexican Mafia conduct a vast array of illegal business from inside prison, they also took a cut of any other business being conducted. Any organization that wanted to sell contraband was forced to give a portion of its stock to the Mexican Mafia. There was even a period of time when the gang collected a share of commissary sales.
Levels of Mexican Mafia Operatives
According to prosecutors, the gang members working throughout the prisons operated at various levels of the organization’s hierarchy. These started with the highest-ranking officials who made the most important decisions. Their second in command handled the day-to-day gang business. There were also several high-ranking women, or “secretaries,” making sure communications were delivered both in and out of prisons.
I’m Facing a Criminal Charge in Los Angeles, What Can I Do?
The Mexican Mafia raids are an indication of law enforcement cracking down on criminal activity. All those indicted, even those who were already in prison, will face criminal charges. Some 500 law enforcement officers were involved in the operation. This is a clear show of force. It indicates that law enforcement is placing a big target on gang-related activity, and casting their net wide.
Being linked to a crime of any nature can be terrifying. You may fear for your reputation, your job, or even your personal safety. If you’re facing a criminal charge in the Los Angeles area, contact Spolin Law P.C. to talk to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. The criminal justice system can be a scary place, and you shouldn’t have to face that fear alone. Call us today at (310) 424-5816, or reach out online for a free case consultation.