UCLA Student Crystal T. Huynh Wins 2018 Spolin Law P.C. ScholarshipPublished on November 29, 2018
Spolin Law P.C. is pleased to announce the winner of their 2018 Spolin Law P.C. Civil Rights and Criminal Law Scholarship — Crystal T. Huynh. A student at the University of California – Los Angeles, Ms. Huynh will receive $1,000 towards her tuition and educational fees from Spolin Law P.C.
Ms. Huynh was chosen based on her application, academic record, essay, and commitment to and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution. As a first-generation American, Ms. Huynh recognizes that she is lucky to live in a country where she can express herself freely, and not live in fear of a government controlling or taking away her liberties. As she writes in her essay, “I am able to fully appreciate the way I am able to live my life because of this document. I can live in a society where my civil liberties are protected and not all people can say that. The Constitution is written proof of this and I am incredibly grateful for it.”
Ms. Huynh’s winning essay is listed below:
As stated in the Preamble, the U.S. Constitution was created to provide the people of the United States of America a government that would protect its citizens in both internal and external affairs for multiple generations. Americans would be able to live in a society where they had a set government that existed to serve them rather than take advantage of them. Throughout the years the Constitution has been amended to serve and protect every type of American. As a first generation American, I am no exception. If anything, the U.S. Constitution means more to me than Americans whose families have lived in this country for multiple generations because I get to see firsthand the difference between what this country provides for me and what my family’s birth country provides. I am able to have a better understanding of the Constitution because I know that I am both lucky and grateful to have it be the foundation of my country. For me, the U.S. Constitution means that I am able to live my life freely and equally because the government protects my civil liberties.
The Articles of the Constitution were written to establish the branches of government as well as to set guidelines for the states, for amending the Constitution, and for the country itself. To me, this means that I am represented in the government through my state’s representatives. My concerns are delivered all the way to the federal government to be heard. I have a say in who leads this country through elections. My liberties are preserved no matter which state I am in. I can influence change in the Constitution to fit current societal standards. These may seem like normal benefits that every American has, but to me they mean so much more because of the fact I am a first generation American.
My parents came from a country that controlled the people instead of protecting them. They had no voice and they were forced to live a life that they thought was wrong. The stories and lessons they told me made me realize how lucky I was to be in a country that put its citizens first. I do not have to live in fear of the government controlling the people because Articles 1 through 3 the Constitution established three branches that balance each other out. I do not have to worry about one state being more politically safe than another because Article 4 of the Constitution states that all states will honor the laws of all other states. I do not have to worry about living by past beliefs because Article 5 of the Constitution details guidelines on amending the Constitution. I do not have to think about my liberties being taken away because Article 6 states that the Constitution, along with all laws and treatise of the U.S., to be the supreme law of the land. If I was living in my parent’s birth country, these Articles would not exist and I would be living in constant fear. This part of the Constitution to me means that my parents sacrificed everything to come to this country to allow me to live freely without fear.
The Constitution also includes the many Amendments that details the civil liberties that every American has. I am allowed to freely speak, vote, and even protect myself against the government if officials improperly search my property or cruelly punish me thanks to the Amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Civil War Amendments, and the 26th Amendment. These Amendments are there to protect my liberties from being taken away from the government. They allow the people to retain some power so that the government cannot fully control them like in a dictatorship. Other Amendments such as the 17th Amendment give citizens more political power so that the government does not become corrupt. Not only do I have a voice in the government through someone who represents me, I get to help choose that representative. These Amendments give people the power to move society, and I am able to have a part in all this because of the Constitution.
The Amendments of the Constitution to me mean that I have the right to stand up for myself, something that my parents could not do in their birth country. I do not have to worry about saying the wrong thing in public or not being able to vote because of who I am. I do not have to worry about the government not caring about its citizens and staying in power because there is no way to vote them out. I do not have to be living a lifeless life filled with worry and fear of the government. Thanks to my parents, I get to live in a country whose Constitution protects its citizens, and I am reminded every day of how lucky I am compared to my parents. I do not have to face the hardships they did when they were younger because of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution means I can just live my life while being a part of society, and that is truly a gift for which I am grateful for.
As a first generation American, I grew up listening to the childhood stories of my parents who lived in a different country. Comparing life in their birth country to the U.S., I did not realize how powerful a document like the U.S. Constitution could be in creating the foundation of a society where the government serves to protect its citizens rather than harm them. I am able to fully appreciate the way I am able to live my life because of this document. I can live in a society where my civil liberties are protected and not all people can say that. The Constitution is written proof of this and I am incredibly grateful for it. It means the world to me that I get to live my life freely and it is all because of the U.S. Constitution.
Spolin Law P.C. selected a second student as an honorable mention in acknowledgment of her application and supplemental material:
- Honorable Mention — Chloe Stoddard, Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
We sincerely appreciate all of this year’s applicants and the hard work they put into their applications. If you have an interest in applying for next year’s scholarship, the deadline is October 1, 2019.
What You Should Know About the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention ActPublished on November 28, 2018
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime and the prosecutor is accusing you of being a gang member, you need to contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney right away. Contact our award-winning criminal attorneys or staff members by calling 310-424-5816 to schedule a free consultation today.
In California, it is illegal to be a member of a gang because of the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (also known as the STEP Act). Outlined in Penal Code §186.22, the STEP Act makes it a substantive crime to be an active participant in any criminal street gang. It also creates a sentencing enhancement for felonies committed for the benefit of the gang.
If you can be connected to any street gang in California, then you face harsh charges and penalties. You need to work with an experienced and aggressive Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case, contact us today at 310-424-5816.
The Crime of Being a Gang Member
To combat street terrorism in California in the 1980s, the state legislature enacted the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act. From the Act, lawmakers decided to punish someone for being a member of a gang in addition to any crime that person may have committed.
Under Penal Code (PC) §186.22(a), if you actively participate in any criminal street gang, with knowledge of its criminal, and who promotes criminal conduct by the gang members, you can a criminal conviction. Street terrorism is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. As such, you can be punished with up to one year in a county jail or 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison.
What is a Street Gang?
The Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act definition of a criminal street gang is vital when it comes to whether you can be charged with an offense under the law or face a sentence enhancement.
Under PC §186.22(f), a criminal street gang is any continuous, formal (or informal) group with three or more people whose main activity is “committing one or more of the predicate crimes,” who have a common name/symbol, and who participate in criminal activities on a regular basis.
Listed in PC §186.22(e)(1)-(33), predicate crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Homicide and manslaughter
- Drug crimes
- Gun crimes
- Money laundering
- Credit card crimes
Many of these offenses are considered common street gang offenses. If you face accusations of assaulting someone with a deadly weapon, causing great bodily harm, sexual battery or rape, illegal possession of a firearm, illegally discharging a gun, or trafficking drugs, the prosecutor may try to connect you to a gang so that they can punish you more severely.
Sentencing Enhancements for Gang-Related Crimes
Under Penal Code §186.22(b)(1), if you committed a crime in relation to a gang, and did so because you are in a gang, then the prosecutor is going to seek a sentence enhancement. At the court’s discretion, you can face an additional two, three, or four years in prison. Depending on the severity of your offense, the sentence could even increase by five to 10 years.
Alternative Sentencing for Public Offenses Committed to Benefit a Gang
In 2000, California passed Proposition 21. This proposition created an alternative sentencing scheme for certain gang-related offenses. Now, under PC §186.22(d), if you are convicted of a public offense, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, and said crime was committed for a gang, you can face a felony punishment and additional incarceration. You can then face one year in county jail, or one, two, or three years in prison. However, if a misdemeanor public offense becomes a felony crime under the law, then the prosecutor cannot also add a gang-related sentencing enhancement.
Have You Been Charged With a Crime Under the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act? Contact Us for Help
If you or a loved one have been accused of committing a gang crime or are facing a sentencing enhancement for an alleged street terrorism offense, you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to represent you. At Spolin Law P.C., we are experienced with charges under the STEP Act. Let us defend you. We will fight for you to not face gang-related charges. We will also strive to mitigate the consequences of any possible conviction.
How Long Do Prosecutors Have to File Criminal Charges?Published on November 7, 2018
How Long Do Prosecutors Have To File Charges in California?
If you or a loved one are under investigation for a crime in California, you likely want to ask a lot of questions. One of these may be how long Los Angeles prosecutors have to file criminal charges against you. The answer to that question depends on several factors. Most criminal cases have a statute of limitations, which is the period of time a prosecutor has to file charges or to seek a felony indictment against you from a grand jury. The specific statute of limitations depends on the crime you allegedly committed.
To learn more about criminal statutes of limitations and how long a prosecutor has to file charges, call a Los Angeles criminal lawyer or staff member from Spolin Law P.C. at 310-424-5816 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
California’s Criminal Statute of Limitations
California’s law regarding statutes of limitations for criminal cases can be found in California Penal Code (PC), Part 2, Title 3, Chapter 2, §§799-805: Time of Commending Criminal Actions.
In general, the law states:
- For felony crimes punishable by eight years or more in prison, charges must be commenced within six years of when the crime was committed.
- For felony crimes punishable by less than eight years in prison, prosecutors have three years from when the offense was committed to file charges.
- For misdemeanor crimes, charges must be brought within three years, two years, or one of the offense, depending on the specific details of the crime.
There are several statutes of limitations that address specific offenses and give Los Angeles prosecutors a longer period of time to file charges, so it’s important to retain the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney right away if someone alleges you committed an offense.
When the Statute of Limitations May be Paused, Delayed, or Extended
The statute of limitations is like a clock. On the date the crime was committed, the clock begins to run. The prosecutor has to learn of the crime, investigate, gather evidence, and file charges before the clock runs out of time.
However, there are many circumstances in which the clock does not start right away, the clock starts but is paused in the middle, or the deadline extends.
For certain offenses in California, the clock does not begin to run until the crime is discovered or could reasonably be discovered. Law enforcement may not find out about a crime for months or years after it was committed, and in some cases, that is when the clock begins to run.
The statute of limitations on a crime may not begin until law enforcement have a suspect. This often happens with cold cases. A crime may have been committed years ago, but there were no viable leads at the time. Years later, new DNA information may be relevant to the closed case. This re-opens the file and may start the clock for the statute of limitations years after the date the crime was actually committed. In California, prosecutors have one year to file charges from the date DNA is used to establish a suspect. However, cold cases can be complicated. If you or a loved one are implicated in a cold case, call a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
When the defendant is out of the state, this allows the statute of limitations to be “tolled” for three years. In other words, it pauses. If the defendant is actively evading arrest, the statute of limitations is tolled indefinitely. Additionally, for certain felony sex crimes that are committed against minors, prosecutors have 10 years after the minor’s 18th birthday to file charges. The time to file charges is then extended until the victim’s 28th birthday.
There are many ways in which prosecutors can get a longer period of time before they file charges. If you are unsure of your rights, contact a Los Angeles criminal lawyer to review your situation.
Crimes Without a Statute of Limitations
Crimes that are punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death do not have a time limit, under PC §799(a). If you are accused of committing one of these types of crimes, then there is no limit to when Los Angeles prosecutors may bring a criminal case against you. This statute also says there is no statute of limitations for embezzlement of public money.
Under PC §799(b), there is no statute of limitations for certain sex crimes, such as child molestation, if it was committed on or after January 1, 2017, and for offenses for which the original statute of limitations had not run by January 1, 2017.
Are You Under Investigation? Call a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer for Help
Los Angeles prosecutors have varying periods of time in which they can file criminal charges for cases committed within the state. If you or a loved one are under investigation for a crime, and you feel like the issue is handing over your heads, call the criminal defense lawyers or staff members at Spolin Law P.C. for help. We will thoroughly review your situation and advise you of the relevant statute of limitations.
Will I Have to Serve Time for a California DUI Conviction?Published on October 24, 2018
Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can be a daunting situation for anyone. After being found guilty, you likely have many questions. You may wonder if and when you can get your license back. You may have concerns about how much you’ll have to pay in fines. The number one question most people have is whether they’ll face incarceration after a conviction. The law sets the maximum and minimum penalties you can receive for your offense. What your actual sentence is will depend on a number of factors.
A Los Angeles DUI lawyer will explain the possible sentences you can face for a DUI conviction. If you or a loved one has been convicted of a DUI in California, contact Spolin Law P.C. as soon as possible. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience dealing with DUI law. Contact us today at (310) 424-5816, or reach out via our online form to schedule a free and confidential case consultation.
Several Factors Can Impact Your Sentence
The sentence you receive for a DUI in California will depend on the circumstances that surround your conviction. Some of the factors may suggest that you deserve a lighter sentence. These are known as mitigating factors. Aggravating factors, however, will suggest that you deserve a harsher penalty.
In some cases, the prosecutor may offer you a plea bargain. This involves pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser punishment. The aggravating and mitigating factors of your situation will also play a large role in plea bargain negotiations.
What are Mitigating Factors?
When examining mitigating factors, the prosecution will be looking for reasons you deserve a lighter sentence. For example, if you were intoxicated by a medication that was legally prescribed to you, this could be a mitigating factor. Other factors that may reduce your penalties are:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) being only slightly above the legal limit
- Voluntary completion of a counseling or substance abuse program
- Whether you are gainfully employed
Aggravating Factors in a DUI Case
By contrast, aggravating factors tell the court that you deserve a harsher sentence. Many times, the most aggravating factor is having multiple DUI convictions on your record. A criminal record of any kind can signal to the court that you do not deserve leniency. Other circumstances can increase your punishment, including:
- Having a BAC drastically over the legal limit
- Driving recklessly
- Driving excessively over the speed limit
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license
Possible Penalties for Your First California DUI Conviction
The minimum and maximum penalties for your DUI conviction will depend largely on your prior record. For your first DUI offense, California law allows a possible sentence of between 48 hours and six months in jail. If a judge orders probation, however, you are not required to serve any jail time. In general, judges are inclined to be lenient with first-time offenders. Each case, however, is unique. Your sentence will depend on factors like the ones discussed above.
Potential Jail Time Increases With a Second DUI Conviction
If you’re convicted of a second DUI, California law does prescribe jail time. The sentence for a second DUI conviction in California is up to one year in jail. However, there are several ways that you might avoid serving any term of incarceration. Depending on your circumstances, the judge may allow you to serve your sentence on house arrest. Alternatively, you could go through a work program rather than going to jail.
Penalties for a Third DUI
You will likely have to serve some jail time upon your third California DUI conviction. The penalty for a third DUI in the state is between 120 days and one year in jail.
Facing a DUI Conviction in California? Contact Us Today for Help
Your DUI sentence can be affected by any number of details. If you’re facing a conviction, you should enlist the help of a skilled DUI lawyer to explain how the law applies to you specifically. An attorney or staff member from Spolin Law P.C. can help determine what factors will affect your sentencing, how severe your sentence is likely to be, and if/how there is any chance of getting your sentence reduced.
How Los Angeles Prosecutors Decide to File Charges in a Criminal CasePublished on October 10, 2018
If you are accused of committing a crime, it is up to a prosecutor to decide whether to file misdemeanor charges or to ask a grand jury to indict you for a felony. Prosecutors work for the government. They may represent a county, city, state, or the federal government. To convict you for a crime, the prosecutor must prove you committed each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The greater the likelihood of winning a criminal case against you, the more likely it is that a prosecutor will pursue charges. The weaker the evidence, the less likely a prosecutor is to pursue a criminal case. They do not have the time or resources to fight cases they are unlikely to win. They also do not want to tarnish their track record of success.
Given that many factors go into whether or not a prosecutor files charges, you should speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you know you are under suspicion or are under investigation.
How Los Angeles Prosecutors Decide to File Charges in a Criminal Case
When determining whether or not to pursue criminal charges, prosecutors will analyze:
A significant factor in deciding whether to file charges is the amount of evidence against you and the strength of that evidence. The more evidence there is against you, the better the situation is for the prosecutor. However, the type of evidence and its weight also matters. A great deal of circumstantial evidence, which relies on jurors making various assumptions, is not as strong as direct evidence of you committing the crime. Using their knowledge of California criminal law and their experience, the prosecutor will determine whether they have enough evidence to convince a jury you committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Credibility of Witnesses and Victims
A part of analyzing the evidence is reviewing the testimony of the alleged victim(s) and witness(es). How credible are these individuals? Prosecutors have to determine how likely jurors are to believe each victim or witness. The less trustworthy or sympathetic a victim or witness appears, the less likely the juror is to believe their testimony. When a prosecutor believes a witness or victim may not be credible, then their testimony may be considered weak evidence.
The Circumstances Surrounding the Accusations or Arrest
At some point, the criminal matter has to come to the prosecutor’s attention. This may stem from an arrest or due to a law enforcement investigation. Then, the prosecutor closely reviews the current information, including the alleged criminal conduct, the environment where it occurred, and any other relevant factors that make the situation worse or better. For example, there is a difference between a first-time offender accused of possessing a small amount of cocaine versus someone with a criminal history being accused of possessing a large quantity of cocaine that is packaged for distribution.
The Possibility of a Plea Bargain
After reviewing the evidence and circumstances surrounding a case, the prosecutor will have an educated opinion on whether they can win the criminal case or not. However, winning at trial is not always the end goal. Prosecutors do not want every case to go to trial. Neither they nor the courts have time for this.
In many cases, prosecutors are hoping that a defendant will accept a plea bargain. You agree to plead guilty in exchange for a pre-determined penalty, which is often lighter than the maximum penalty you could be sentenced to by the judge. A prosecutor may bring a case that will be tough to prove at trial if they believe it is likely they can pressure you into accepting a plea.
Current Political Pressures
In Los Angeles County, a nonpartisan district attorney is elected as chief prosecutor every four years. They are responsible for running the District Attorney’s Office. Assistant district attorneys also staff this office. Because chief prosecutors are elected, and because they influence how the office handles cases, prosecutors are susceptible to political pressures and agendas. The current political climate can influence whether charges are brought against you or not.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer About Potential Charges
If you have been arrested or know you are under investigation for a crime, you should call an experienced criminal defense lawyer or staff member to discuss the possibility of a criminal case. An attorney from Spolin Law P.C. can protect your rights during an investigation and reduce the risk of facing charges. Also, if a prosecutor chooses to pursue charges, then you have an attorney ready to defend you in court.
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 or staff member 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 or Staff Member 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 or staff member, 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 or staff member 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 or staff member 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 or staff member 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 organizations have ranked Aaron Spolin among the top 1% of criminal law attorneys in California.
It should be noted that these organizations are for-profit organizations that require compensation for the selected attorneys to publicize the organizations’ findings, although the selections had been done without compensation.
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.