Legal Blog

Theranos Founder Indicted of Federal Wire Fraud Charges in California

Published 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 addition 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.

Call (310) 424-5816, or use the online form to set up a free case consultation.

Categories: Federal Crimes, Fraud

Dozens Charged with Criminal Offenses in Mexican Mafia Jail Sweep

Published 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 by 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 their 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.

Categories: Criminal Law

Do I Need an Attorney for a Criminal Case Appeal?

Published on June 6, 2018

Appealing a criminal case is vastly different than trying a criminal case. Do you need an attorney to handle your criminal case appeal? The short answer is, no – you do not. You have the right to act on your own behalf – or pro se – for your appeal. While it’s not prohibited, it is not necessarily recommended. Appeals are rather difficult and require a skill set that not even all attorneys possess.

A Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney from Spolin Law P.C. can help. If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offense and wish to appeal, contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free case consultation.

Trial Work vs. Appellant Work

Trying a criminal case is vastly different than appealing a court’s decision in the same case. Reasons you may want to consider a criminal appeal include:

Slower Pace
Once a criminal trial begins, it moves at a relatively fast pace. At trial, criminal defense attorneys must pay careful attention to everything happening in the courtroom and raise objections on the record. This is important because those objections could mean the difference between winning or losing a future appeal.

Unlike a criminal trial, a criminal case appeal moves quite slowly. You’ve probably heard about appeals taking years to move through the process. That’s true. While criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a speedy trial, there is no right to a quick appeal.

No Jury
The U.S. Constitution gives everyone the right to a jury trial where a defendant’s fate is in the hands of their peers, not solely in the hands of a judge. In a criminal case appeal, there is no jury. The attorneys make oral arguments either before a judge or panel of three judges depending on the jurisdiction where the appeal takes place.

Arguing before a jury is much different than making opinions before a judge. Experienced criminal trial lawyers are highly adept at reading a jury and crafting their arguments so jurors understand. Appellant lawyers, on the other hand, must be prepared to answer questions posed by the judge that could involve minute details about law and procedure.

Extensive Research & Writing
Before an appeal even gets to a judge, your attorney will have likely spent hours studying the law, reading trial transcripts, and determining if criminal procedure was followed to the letter. This is how criminal defense attorneys make their case for your appeal. While doing their research, your attorney will outline a legal brief. This is the document they send to the court, and upon which the court decides if it will or will not hear your appeal.

Intricate Legal Arguments
We’ve already how established how important a well-written and persuasive a legal brief must be. But what’s actually in the brief? Included in this important document are complex legal arguments that delve deep into the complex details of the law.

Criminal trial attorneys know the law inside and out. Appellant attorneys take that knowledge and craft an argument explaining not only the law, but how and why the trial court below applied the law incorrectly in your case. This is an extremely difficult obstacle to overcome, because appellant courts are hesitant to tell other courts they were wrong.

Contact Spolin Law P.C. for Help With Your Criminal Case Appeal

The attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. know what is at stake when you’ve been convicted of a crime. An appeal may help you get your life back on track. Appealing on your own is possible, but your chance of winning may be decreased simply because you don’t know the legal system like our highly-skilled attorneys do.

Contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free, initial case evaluation.

Categories: Appeals, Criminal Law

Southern CA Insurance Agents Accused of Policy Scheme

Published on May 23, 2018

In March 2018, four life insurance agents in California were arrested for stealing $1.9 million in advance commissions. According to authorities, they accomplished this by submitting fraudulent life insurance applications.

Insurance fraud is a serious charge that may negatively impact every facet of your life. If you are under investigation for this offense, you should reach out to a highly skilled Los Angeles fraud defense attorney at Spolin Law P.C.. Call us at (310) 424-5816, or reach out through our online form to schedule a free case consultation.

Information on the Southern CA Insurance Policy Scheme

Mohammed Kakooza (44), Margret Birabwa (35), Michael C. Monday (43), and Denis E. Osikol (36) were all involved in this newsworthy life insurance policy scheme. Kakooza created a referral program and paid life insurance applicants $25 to $50 for referring their family members and friends. Authorities explained that some applicants were told they were applying for life insurance, and that Kakooza would reach out to them with premium payment details.

In some cases, premium payments were paid for from the bank accounts of Kakooza and the other three men rather than the applicants. According to authorities, life insurance applications were submitted with forged signatures, and the applicants knew nothing about them. False information about occupation, income, network, and beneficiaries was included on these applications.

Although the majority of these policies were processed and placed without any issues, they eventually lapsed because the premiums weren’t being paid. Between May 2013 and July 2017, Monday and Osikol submitted more than 600 fraudulent applicants to more than a dozen life insurance companies.

More than $1.2 million in commissions were deposited into Birabwa’s bank account while almost $700,000 were deposited into Kakooza’s bank account and more than $12,000 were deposited into Osikol’s bank account. Although Birabwa and Kakooza collected most of the commission money from the insurance companies, Monday and Osikol did receive some money directly from Birabwa and Kakooza.

These four men were arrested after a joint investigation by the California Department of Insurance and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. In the event they are found guilty, each man will each spend between 16 and 25 years in jail.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones explained that he does not tolerate dishonest insurance agents who scam both consumers and insurance companies. He hopes that the arrest of these Southern California insurance agents will warn other agents who are committing similar crimes.

What is Insurance Fraud?

Insurance fraud can occur with life insurance policies, health insurance plans, car insurance, homeowners insurance, and more. One example of this crime is creating illegitimate applications in an attempt to make money from an insurance company.

Insurance fraud may also occur when someone intentionally destroys their home or stages a motor vehicle accident so they can be compensated by their insurer. Regardless of the details, this type of fraud may lead to harsh penalties that can take away your freedom.

Contact Spolin Law P.C. for Help Today

If you’ve been arrested for insurance fraud, you should reach out to a criminal defense attorney from Spolin Law P.C. as soon as possible. For a free, initial case evaluation, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.

Categories: Criminal Law

Backpage CEO Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Charges

Published on May 9, 2018

The chief executive officer (CEO) of Backpage.com, a classified advertising website that launched in 2004, recently pleaded guilty to state and federal money laundering and conspiracy charges. If found guilty of these offenses, he faces a lengthy prison sentence and large fines.

Are you facing charges for money laundering? If so, your future may be at stake. This makes it crucial to contact an experienced Los Angeles fraud attorney at Spolin Law P.C.. Call us at (310) 424-5816 today, or reach out through our online form to protect your rights and freedom.

What is Backpage?

When classified advertising in newspapers began to decrease in popularity and websites such as Craigslist became the go-to for classified ads, Backpage hit the internet. This website featured a variety of categories typically found in newspaper classified sections. It also contained an adult section with subcategories for sex work professions. There has been a great deal of controversy regarding this portion of the site. Many individuals believe it was used to promote underage sex trafficking and contributed to the rise of prostitution.

The Story Behind the Backpage CEO’s Money Laundering Charges

Since Backpage’s inception, the site brought in a half-billion dollars through risqué advertising for escorts and massages, as well as other services and goods. According to authorities, the site was created to traffic underage victims. The CEO of Backpage, Carl Ferrer, stated that they attempted to remove these ads from the site.

In April 2018, Ferrer pleaded guilty to state and federal charges including three counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy. The U.S. Justice Department shut down the website, and Ferrer agreed to testify in ongoing prosecutions against others at Backpage.

Ferrer could spend up to five years in prison and pay $250,000 in fines in the federal case in Arizona. Backpage could face a fine of $500,000 because of its money laundering and conspiracy plea in the Arizona case.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra explained that human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and that the shutdown of Backpage is a victory for survivors. He hopes that Ferrer’s conviction will help combat human trafficking across the world.

Money Laundering Defined

The practice of engaging in a financial transaction in order to conceal the amount, source, or identity of the money received is known as money laundering. Often, money laundering charges accompany selling stolen goods, tax evasion, drug trafficking, or other serious charges.

Since both state and federal laws prohibit money laundering, pleading guilty to a money laundering charge comes with serious consequences that can change your life forever. Therefore, if you are being investigated for a money laundering crime, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation immediately.

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Fraud Attorney at Spolin Law P.C.

If you’re facing money laundering charges, Spolin Law P.C. can help. We will thoroughly investigate your case and design a strong defense strategy that can improve your situation and aid your future. Call (310) 424-5816, or reach out online to speak to a Los Angeles fraud attorney at our firm today.

Categories: Criminal Law

Understanding Investor Fraud in the Wake of the Theranos Investigation

Published on April 25, 2018

She was seen as the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, but it turns out that Elizabeth Holmes and the $9 billion blood-testing startup she founded at the age of 19 were little more than smoke and mirrors. Theranos raised over $700 million from investors eager to cash in on the promise of technology that would revolutionize blood testing. The only hitch was that their blood testing device was unable to perform as well as they hoped. Holmes continued to attract investors with false promises, effectively committing investor fraud.

Fraud charges are serious, and they bring with them harsh penalties. If you or a loved one are facing such charges, contact a Los Angeles fraud attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free case consultation.

What Will Happen to the Theranos CEO?

Unlike Bernie Madoff or Martin Shkreli, who received criminal sentences for defrauding their investors, Holmes has so far escaped criminal prosecution. This March, she settled a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which accused her and Theranos of fraud. Neither she nor the company admitted to any wrongdoing. In exchange, Holmes has agreed to:

  • Pay a $500,000 fine.
  • Not serve as director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years
  • Return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock.
  • Give up her majority voting control of the company by swapping from Class A to Class B Common shares.

These penalties are not particularly harsh. Theranos is not a publicly-traded company, so Holmes can and will continue to serve as the CEO of the company she founded in 2003. Furthermore, Holmes will avoid costly litigation with defrauded investors, because most of them agreed to not sue her after she offered them shares in Theranos’ new preferred stock.

Holmes Targeted Gullible Investors and Board Members Who Looked Past Technical Details

Few people with a solid science background backed Theranos or served on its board of directors. Instead, Holmes wooed top a-list board members such as former secretaries of state George Schultz and Henry Kissinger with grandiose promises of revolutionizing the blood testing process. Holmes’ strength was in confidently selling the future impact of her device on multiple industry sectors, from health care to defense.

Holmes said her company was able to conduct a complete battery of tests from just one drop of blood, where traditional testing would require several vials. But when pressed for technical details, Holmes remained elusive, saying, “a chemistry is performed so that a chemical reaction occurs and generates a signal from the chemical interaction with the sample, which is translated into a result, which is then reviewed by certified laboratory personnel.”

Theranos Will Likely not Survive After Fraud Allegations

Theranos has struggled since a 2015 Wall Street Journal article revealed that its blood testing technology was not performing as well as Holmes claimed. While she and Theranos never admitted to lying about their technological prowess, investors began to panic. Her combative television appearances became increasingly bizarre as more and more evidence of the investor fraud emerged.

Walgreens, Theranos’ partner in a blood testing business, jumped ship, which leaves the company without broad access to customers. The lack of demand prompted Theranos to shut down some of its labs and to lay off almost half of its employees. Yet, Theranos is still in business, and Holmes is still its CEO. The firm is now developing a new “mini-lab” blood testing apparatus. But in all likelihood, the taint of Holmes’ monumental fraud will keep Theranos from ever attaining its prophesied status.

Will Holmes Get Charged with a Crime?

Investor fraud may result in civil lawsuits from the victims, criminal prosecution from the government, and civil action from the SEC. So far, Holmes has faced only charges from the SEC, which she promptly settled. She was able to ward off civil lawsuits with investors through a share swap. But it’s hard to believe that the suspected perpetrator of a $700 million fraud will escape criminal charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco is investigating Holmes, but has not shared any information with the press. According to former SEC Enforcement Division lawyer and legal head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SGTARP), “the fact that the alleged fraud was not just financial but also presented a potential harm to public safety is a further factor that could motivate DOJ to investigate.”

Facing Fraud Charges? Call Spolin Law P.C. for Help

To convict you of investor fraud, a prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly lied to investors with the intent of convincing them to give you money. In these circumstances, the assistance of an experienced Los Angeles fraud attorney from Spolin Law P.C. is essential. If you believe you are under investigation for fraud, now is the time to get legal help.

Contact us today at (310) 424-5816 for your free and confidential consultation.

Categories: Criminal Law

Elements the Prosecution Must Prove in an Embezzlement Case

Published on April 11, 2018

Although most people have heard of embezzlement, few know exactly what this offense entails. Generally, we think of embezzlement as a sophisticated, white-collar crime that occurs in the higher ranks of government and business. But in reality, just about anyone could commit embezzlement, because at its core, the crime simply involves fraudulently using or taking someone else’s property after it’s been entrusted to you.

Are you facing charges for embezzlement? If so, call a Los Angeles embezzlement attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816, or reach out through the online form to schedule a free and confidential case consultation.

Prosecutors Must Prove Every Element of Embezzlement Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

The elements of embezzlement are laid out in Section 503 of the California Penal Code. A conviction for embezzlement should only occur if a prosecutor has proven every one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

The property owner entrusted their property to you.
The primary distinction between theft and embezzlement is that, the victim willfully gives the property to the perpetrator in embezzlement. This transfer of the property can happen directly, or through someone intervening. To prove this element, the prosecutor must present evidence that the victim actually owned the property in question, and that they willfully conveyed it to you.

The owner did so because they trusted you.
In addition to showing that the victim gave their property to you, the prosecutor must provide evidence of how this happened. Embezzlement charges only apply to situations where the owner gives you the property because they trusted you. Thus, if the victim gave you the property because of a mistake, embezzlement would not be an appropriate charge.

You fraudulently took or used that property for your own benefit.
This element requires a proof of fraud. You commit fraud when you make a misrepresentation of an important fact to the owner, who then relies on this fact to their detriment – and to your benefit. This misrepresentation may occur through a statement, or an intentional omission of a fact. Furthermore, the prosecutor needs to show that you took or used the property for your personal benefit, even if only for a short period of time.

You intended to deprive the owner of the use of their property.
As with most crimes, a prosecutor must prove that you acted with criminal intent. In the case of embezzlement, the criminal intent is the desire to take someone’s property as your own. This protects people from being convicted after acting unintentionally.

These elements can be satisfied by a vast array of circumstances. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a government employee, an officer in a nonprofit, or a repair person who frequently takes temporary possession of clients’ property, you are in a position to commit embezzlement. Even if you acted unintentionally, the prosecutor may be able to present evidence that you intended to take the property from the victim. Evidence of intent is often circumstantial. If you are heavily in debt, for example, the prosecutor may present this as proof of your intent to take money or valuables from other people.

How a California Embezzlement Defense Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with embezzlement, or even if you suspect that you are being investigated, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Do not speak with investigators or the alleged victims, even if it’s to deny that you committed any crime. Anything you say can be turned around and used to prove one of the elements of embezzlement.

When you hire a lawyer from Spolin Law P.C., they will act as an intermediary between you and the authorities. Your legal team will analyze the prosecutor’s case and determine the best defense strategy. Depending on the circumstances, there could be several defenses available to you, so do not accept a plea deal before consulting with a lawyer. To speak with a Los Angeles embezzlement attorney from our firm, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.

Categories: Criminal Law

Activists Demand Answers About Secretive LAPD Program: What Is Operation LASER?

Published on March 28, 2018

An alliance of activist groups is suing the city of Los Angeles because the city has allegedly refused to respond to a public records request. The request concerns Operation LASER, a computer program used to identify criminals and potential criminals as well as areas where crime is likely to occur. Activists groups led by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition have asked the city to give details on the factors they use to operate LASER.

If you have questions about Operation LASER or are facing criminal charges in the Los Angeles area, contact a criminal defense attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free case consultation.

How LASER Works

LASER, which is an acronym for Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration, tells police officers where they can locate both ex-criminals and persons whom they believe will be likely to commit crimes. LASER uses tools such as cell phone trackers and license plate scanners to search for these people, and combines this information with other data and CIA-created technology to pinpoint precise locations.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has praised the program for its “predictive policing” abilities, saying it helps reduce the amount of violent crimes committed in the city. Officers claim that Operation LASER has been a tremendous help in diminishing crime in the most dangerous neighborhoods and areas where gang violence is prevalent.

The Problems with LASER

While Operation LASER sounds like a great tool in theory, activist groups aren’t convinced. The fact that the LAPD is reluctant to provide public records on LASER, including the data collected and used to pinpoint criminals, has raised some concerns. They claim the program targets people using secretive tactics, and officers don’t actually inform these people that they are being observed as potential criminals. Peter Bibring, a lawyer for the ACLU, pointed out that once police intensify their observance of you, your chances of being wrongly accused of a crime often increase exponentially.

Groups are concerned about the police choosing to trail ex-criminals as well, saying it’s an unjustified move that keeps people under constant suspicion despite the fact that they have already paid their debt to society.

Another issue surrounding LASER is the data that’s used. What factors does the LAPD consider while pinpointing potential criminals? Groups fear the police are coming by this data in a dishonest manner, using information that is not regulated or made transparent to the public. While officers are encouraged to conduct reviews of their lists every six months, eliminating suspects who haven’t committed crimes in that time, there’s no actual requirement that they do so.

Contact a California Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with a crime, it’s important that you remember your rights must still be observed. One way you can ensure you are treated fairly is by hiring a criminal defense lawyer. At Spolin Law P.C., we focus on building the best defense for your case, and we scrutinize treatment from the police and the courts to safeguard your rights as a citizen. To speak to one of our lawyers, contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a consultation.

Categories: Civil Rights, Criminal Law

Most Common Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Charged with a Crime

Published on March 7, 2018

Being charged with a criminal offense can put you in a difficult situation. Once you are charged, your mind likely goes in a million different directions at once, and you look for anyone who can help you make sense of what is happening. Unfortunately, others may take advantage of your worry and use it against you. It’s important to review some common mistakes to avoid if you’re charged with a crime. By doing so, you can be prepared and protect yourself.

If you’re facing charges in the Los Angeles area, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free, initial case consultation.

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Charged with a Crime

There are a number of steps you should take after being charged with a crime, and there are a number of mistakes you could potentially make if you find yourself facing criminal charges. These slip-ups include:

  1. Waiting to hire a lawyer.
    People who have been charged with a crime may wait to hire a lawyer until after they have been formally charged with a crime. In reality, you should find an attorney as soon as possible. You can take the time to interview a couple of criminal defense attorneys and find the right one for your case, but be sure to have representation as soon as you can. Having a lawyer on your side ensures your rights are protected throughout your entire case.
  2. Voluntarily making a statement to the police.
    When police officers are investigating a crime and they believe you committed it, they will do what they can to get you to confess. Often this means they’ll act very friendly. They will tell you that they are on your side, and they need your help to catch the “bad guy.” They may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer present because this is just an informal meeting.

    It’s important to remember that no matter how kind and understanding they seem, the police are trying to catch you. They want to earn your trust so you’ll talk to them. They’ll carefully go over your verbal and written statements to find any evidence to charge you. Remember that you have a right to remain silent, and you should absolutely exercise that right. Do not say a single thing until your lawyer is present.

  3. Submitting to tests without express permission or a court order.
    The police may ask you to submit to a blood, breath, or DNA test when they first bring detain you. You do not need to agree, unless your lawyer says it’s okay or you are presented with a court order. If the police are asking you to take a test while you are being questioned but they don’t have a warrant, they cannot force you to agree.
  4. Withholding information from your lawyer.
    Your lawyer is on your side. When you don’t tell them the whole story, you are making their job more difficult. If they don’t have all the facts, they are unable to give you the best representation. Even if you’re embarrassed or ashamed, you have to tell them everything. They are not there to judge you, they are there to help you.
  5. Resisting arrest.
    Just because you’re not legally obligated to talk to the police, you aren’t allowed to act however you want. Resisting arrest, yelling, or getting physical with a police officer will only end badly. You could be hit with even more charges, or worse, they can use physical force to bring you in. This could lead to serious injuries.

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a crime, you’re likely confused and concerned. Luckily, you can get answers and have some of your concerns addressed when you hire a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. At Spolin Law P.C., we take the time to answer your questions, explain the process, and give you some ideas of the outcomes you may face. We will also inform you about mistakes to avoid if you’re charged with a crime so that you can protect yourself in the future. Our extensive experience with the criminal justice system gives us the ability to fight for your rights and build the best defense.

Call us today at (310) 424-5816, or use the online form to schedule a free case consultation.

Categories: Criminal Law

Homicides Decrease in Los Angeles, but Violent Crime Rises Again

Published on February 23, 2018

According to crime statistics compiled by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), property crimes and violent crimes increased during 2017. Yet the number of homicides and instances of gun violence decreased during that period, a development that the LAPD attributes to its computer statistics and community-focused policing strategy.

Known as COMPSTAT, the LAPD’s policing model is supposed to “put police officers back in the business of actually proactively fighting crime rather than just reacting to it,” according to the department’s website. Another cornerstone of this strategy is to hold police managers “directly accountable for combating the crime in their assigned area,” while giving them the autonomy to develop their own, local tactics.

If you’re facing charges for a violent crime, contact a Los Angeles violent crimes attorney from Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free case consultation today.

Has a New LAPD Strategy Helped Curb the Murder Rate?

Last year’s six percent decline in the murder rate was welcome news, since the rate was on the rise during 2015 and 2016. But since 2010, murder rates across Los Angeles – and in most other parts of California – have remained generally stable according to research by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.

Murder rates in LA began steadily decreasing after the 1990s, when the yearly murder rate could reach past 1,000. The decrease continued until around 2010, when the murder rate stabilized between 200 and 300 yearly victims. The number of murders has remained stable despite many reforms to the California criminal justice system and law enforcement strategies over the last seven years.

Against this backdrop, there were significant local variations in crime rates. Communities of color tended to fare worse – especially when it comes to murders. For example, blacks make up only eight percent of Los Angeles citizens, but accounted for 36 percent of its murder victims in 2017.

According to Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice research fellow Mike Males, these facts show that law and order reforms may not cause significant changes to crime rates. Instead, long term trends, as well as local or short term variations, might result from socio-economic factors and the local activities of gangs.

Property Crimes and Violent Crimes Are Still on the Rise Despite New Strategy

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck stated that COMPSTAT, with its “data-driven community-focused strategies, expanding community trust, and relentless follow-up,” was partly responsible for the decrease in shootings and homicides. The LAPD now relies on data to predict where crimes might occur, and focus their resources in those areas.

But if this new policing strategy is succeeding, why have property crimes increased for three years in a row? In 2017, the LAPD recorded 95,495 property crimes – 6,007 more than in 2015. As for violent crime, it’s been increasing for four years now. There were 28,481 incidents of violent crime in 2017, versus 24,596 in 2015. Robberies and aggravated assaults led the increase – although this could be due to efforts by the LAPD to more accurately report these crimes.

Charged with a Crime? Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Aaron Spolin is a former prosecutor who knows how the criminal justice system works. If you are facing criminal charges, his experience and advocacy can help you get the best outcome possible under your circumstances. Contact Spolin Law P.C. today at (310) 424-5816 for a free consultation about how we might defend your case.

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