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Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles

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  • juanes@criminaldefenseattorneylosangeles.com
  • January 17, 2019 11:49:00 PM

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Our Los Angeles criminal top, experienced defense attorneys aggressively represent our clients and strive to make sure every case is handled as if it was our own, call us today for a free consultation

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    Suspect in Hollywood Hills Burglaries Arrested

    Last month, Los Angeles police announced the arrest of 32-year-old Benjamin Eitan Ackerman in connection with the burglaries of at least 13 celebrity homes starting in 2017 and resulting in the theft of millions of dollars' worth of items. Suspect in Hollywood Hills Burglaries Arrested According to police, Ackerman would pose as an interested buyer or The post Suspect in Hollywood Hills Burglaries Arrested appeared first on...

    Last month, Los Angeles police announced the arrest of 32-year-old Benjamin Eitan Ackerman in connection with the burglaries of at least 13 celebrity homes starting in 2017 and resulting in the theft of millions of dollars’ worth of items.

    Suspect in Hollywood Hills Burglaries Arrested

    According to police, Ackerman would pose as an interested buyer or a real estate broker looking to show the property during open house appointments at the Hollywood Hills homes. Among his targets were singers Usher, Jason Derulo, and Adam Lambert, and reality star Dorit Kemsley from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

    Derulo’s home was burglarized in September 2017, and according to police jewelry and $300,000 cash was taken.

    A search warrant served at Ackerman’s home and a storage unit turned up the hundreds of stolen items. “We have diamond necklaces, we have to see what type of diamonds they are, whose they are and what the actual values are,” said LAPD Det. Jared Timmons. “As you can see, we have high-end artwork, again those need to be appraised, see if they’ve been damaged by the suspect.”

    Timmons described Ackerman as “very sophisticated.”

    Ackerman’s arrest comes after four members of an alleged burglary ring were captured in October. That group was accused of targeting the homes of celebrities, including former Los Angeles Dodger Yasiel Puig, Rams receiver Robert Wood and singer Rihanna.

    Burglary

    In the state of California, any person who enters a residential or commercial building with the intention of committing a felony or theft once inside may be found guilty of burglary, even if the intended felony or theft is never completed. Burglary is a serious criminal offense, and if you find yourself facing charges of misdemeanor or felony burglary in Los Angeles, you could end up serving time in prison and paying substantial fines, among other legal consequences. Fortunately, there are a number of legal defenses that an experienced criminal defense lawyer can present on your behalf to help you fight burglary charges and avoid the considerable penalties associated with the crime. If you have been charged with – or are being investigated for – burglary in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to hire qualified legal representation. With our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles on your side, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected and develop a strong defense in your burglary case.

    Under California Penal Code § 459 PC, the term “burglary” applies to the act of entering any residential or commercial building, room within a building, locked vehicle or structure with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony. According to the law, a residential or commercial building includes any house, apartment, room, shop, warehouse, store, barn, vehicle, tent or any other building or vessel that is inhabited and designed for habitation. In the state of California, a burglary is identified as either first-degree or second-degree. Any burglary of a residence is considered burglary in the first degree, while burglary of any other type of building, including shops and businesses, is considered burglary in the second degree. Some other common criminal offenses related to burglary include Penal Code § 466 PC possession of burglary tools, Penal Code § 470 PC forgery, Penal Code § 211 PC robbery, and Penal Code § 602 PC trespassing.

    Conviction for Burglary Penal Code § 459 PC

    In the state of California, burglary is considered a “specific intent crime,” which means that, in order to convict on burglary charges in Los Angeles, the prosecution must prove that the defendant entered the building where the burglary occurred and had the intent to commit the crime of burglary or some other felony at the time he or she entered the building, which is known as specific intent. Even if you enter a residential or commercial building intending to commit a felony or theft, to be convicted of burglary in Los Angeles, one or more of the following must also be true:

    • The value of the property that you stole or intended to steal was more than $950;
    • The building you entered was not a commercial establishment; or
    • The building you entered was a commercial establishment, but you entered it outside of business hours.

    How is Burglary Different from Other Related Offenses?

    The crime of burglary in Los Angeles is different from other seemingly similar crimes, like shoplifting, robbery, and breaking and entering. While a burglary charge requires that the person enters a residential building or a commercial building outside of office hours, the crime of shoplifting (Penal Code § 459.5 PC) occurs when a person enters a commercial establishment while the establishment is open, during normal business hours, with the intent to steal property valued at $950 or less. Burglary is often charged in connection with robbery (Penal Code § 211 PC), but this is a separate offense defined as the theft of another person’s property from his or her person or in his or her immediate presence, carried out using force or fear.

    The term “breaking and entering” is a popular one commonly used in reference to forced entry into a home or business with the intent to steal, but there is no specific crime known as “breaking and entering” in California, largely because the crime of burglary no longer requires forced entry. In other words, California law does not require that an individual “break into” a residential or commercial property to be guilty of burglary. You can violate Penal Code § 459 PC by simply entering a structure through an open window or unlocked door and stealing something, without using any force.

    Penalties for a Burglary Conviction

    Under California Penal Code § 459 PC, first-degree burglary is always a felony, punishable by a sentence of two, four or six years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and felony probation. This crime also counts as a “strike” offense under California’s “Three Strikes” law, which increases the prison sentences of certain repeat offenders convicted of serious or violent felony offenses. Second-degree burglary, however, is a “wobbler” in California, which means it can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor offense, depending on the circumstances of the crime. As a felony, burglary in the second degree is punishable by a sentence of 16 months, two years or three years in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, and felony probation. As a misdemeanor, the same charge is punishable by a sentence of up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and misdemeanor probation. If you have been previously convicted of a burglary in Los Angeles and you are charged with another burglary crime, it will most likely be prosecuted as a felony offense.

    Defenses to Burglary Charges

    Fighting burglary charges is not easy. Fortunately, a knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can inform you of the most useful legal defenses in California burglary cases, and help you develop an effective strategy for defending your innocence. The most common defenses to burglary charges in Los Angeles include:

    • Consent – Consent by the owner or person in charge of the home or business is an absolute defense to the crime of burglary in Los Angeles. If the defendant is the owner of the building, or if the owner agreed to let the defendant into the building knowing that he or she intended to commit burglary, this can be used as a defense in court.
    • Intoxication – Because intoxication hinders the ability of the defendant to form the requisite intent, this can be used as a defense to Los Angeles burglary charges. However, voluntary intoxication is not a valid defense, the circumstances must be that another person drugged the defendant for this defense to apply.

    Some other possible defense strategies in a Los Angeles burglary case include proving: that you were mistakenly identified as the person who committed the crime (mistaken identity); that the police violated your rights; that you did not have the intent to commit a crime at the time you entered the building in question; and/or that the items you stole or intended to steal belonged to you or you believed you had a legitimate claim to them.

    Home Invasion

    When it comes to California burglaries, home invasion burglaries are seen as some of the most egregious, largely because this type of burglary occurs in a private home while the occupants of the home are present, which makes the crime that much more personal and terrifying for the victims. Because of these elements, home invasion crimes typically carry steep penalties in the state of California, and may include jail time, significant fines and a felony criminal record, among other life-changing consequences. However, there are many different reasons a person may enter a home besides for the purpose of committing a theft or felony, and if you have been falsely accused of home invasion, it is imperative that you enlist the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney to help you avoid a wrongful conviction. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today to learn how you can defend yourself against home invasion charges in Los Angeles.

    Different Degrees of Home Invasion

    Also known as residential burglary, the crime of home invasion occurs when a person or group of people enters an inhabited dwelling with the intention of committing theft, assault or a felony inside the dwelling, such as murder, rape or armed robbery. There are different degrees of home invasion, classified according to the nature of the crime, and each degree carries its own penalties:

    • Home invasion in the first degree – This crime may be charged any time a person forcefully enters a dwelling armed with a dangerous weapon while another person is lawfully present in the dwelling.
    • Home invasion in the second degree – This crime may be charged any time a person forcefully enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a theftassault or felony and actually commits the theft, assault or felony.
    • Home invasion in the third degree – This crime may be charged any time a person forcefully enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a misdemeanor and actually commits the misdemeanor.

    An example of a California home invasion would be if a burglar breaks a window and enters a private home where the occupants are present, with the intention of stealing a television or other private property once inside. If, once inside, the burglar is scared off by an alarm system or a member of the family and escapes through the window, he could still be convicted of California home invasion, even though the theft never actually occurred.

    Conviction for Home Invasion Penal Code § 459 PC

    Home invasion is a serious offense and a conviction can be life-changing, but just because you have been arrested on home invasion charges, doesn’t mean you are automatically guilty of the crime. In order to convict you of California home invasion, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements of the crime:

    • That you entered an inhabited dwelling; and
    • That you entered the dwelling with the intent to commit theft or a felony.

    Penalties for a Home Invasion Conviction

    It is important to understand that you can be charged with – and convicted of – home invasion without actually committing a theft or a felony offense once you are inside the home. California Penal Code § 459 PC requires only that you enter the home with the intent to commit such a crime. Under PC § 459, the different degrees of home invasion carry different penalties. Home invasion in the first degree, the most serious degree, is a felony offense, punishable by up to 20 years in state prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines. Home invasion in the second degree is also a felony offense, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison and/or up to $3,000 in fines, and home invasion in the third degree is a felony as well, punishable by up to five years in state prison and/or up to $2,000 in fines. Some other possible penalties may apply to a home invasion conviction, including restitution and felony probation.

    The criminal sentence imposed in a Los Angeles home invasion case will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the offense, your criminal record, whether anyone was harmed during the home invasion, and the crime you allegedly intended to commit once you were inside the home. If you succeed in committing a theft or felony once you have entered the home, you could face additional criminal charges depending on the nature of the crime. In some cases, home invasion charges are accompanied by robbery charges, which could result in a “strike” under California’s “Three Strikes” law. This law significantly increases the prison sentences of individuals convicted of a felony who have been previously convicted of two or more serious or violent felonies.

    How is Home Invasion Different from Criminal Trespass?

    Home invasion is a type of burglary that occurs while the occupants of the home are present, but without the intent to commit theft or a felony requirement, entering an inhabited dwelling doesn’t on its own constitute a home invasion. What this means is that with an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, you may be able to get your home invasion charges reduced to a lesser offense, such as criminal trespass (Penal Code § 602 PC). Trespassing is a crime closely related to residential burglary and home invasion, but it does not always involve the intent to commit a felony, and it therefore carries much less severe penalties. Under PC § 602 PC, California criminal trespass occurs when you enter and remain on another person’s property without authority or permission, and this crime, usually charged as a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. If the crime is deemed to be especially violent or dangerous, or if you threaten the safety or well-being of someone on the property, you could be charged with felony criminal trespass, punishable by up to three years in state prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

    Defenses to Home Invasion Charges

    Being convicted of a crime like home invasion is extremely serious, and anytime you are facing criminal charges such as this, you have the right to hire a criminal defense attorney and defend yourself against the charges, offering an argument that explains or justifies your alleged behavior. Some possible defenses to home invasion charges in Los Angeles include the following:

    • You entered the home by mistake
    • You lacked the required intent to commit a crime inside the home
    • You have been falsely accused
    • You are the victim of mistaken identity

    Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles

    If you have been arrested for your role in a Los Angeles burglary or home invasion, you could face up to 20 years in prison, plus other potentially devastating consequences. Contact our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

    The post Suspect in Hollywood Hills Burglaries Arrested appeared first on https://criminaldefenseattorneylosangeles.com/family-law/divorce/.


    Restraining Order Against Michael Avenatti Upheld

    A Los Angeles judge has upheld a temporary restraining order against lawyer Michael Avenatti after he was accused of domestic violence by his former girlfriend, actress Mareli Miniutti. Restraining Order Against Michael Avenatti Upheld Last November, actress Mareli Miniutti, 24, accused Avenatti of domestic abuse. As a result, a restraining order against the lawyer The post Restraining Order Against Michael Avenatti Upheld appeared first on...

    A Los Angeles judge has upheld a temporary restraining order against lawyer Michael Avenatti after he was accused of domestic violence by his former girlfriend, actress Mareli Miniutti.

    Restraining Order Against Michael Avenatti Upheld

    Last November, actress Mareli Miniutti, 24, accused Avenatti of domestic abuse. As a result, a restraining order against the lawyer was put in place. That restraining order was upheld in late January.  The next hearing is set for March 13.

    Domestic Violence Allegations

    According to Miniutti, the domestic violence stemmed from an argument with Avenatti about money.

    “He dragged me on the floor of the apartment towards and out of the door into the public hallway,” she wrote in the filing. “I was wearing only my underwear and a T-shirt at the time, and suffered scratches to the bare skin on my side and leg.”

    She alleges that Avenatti also hit her face with pillows and followed her into a guest bedroom where she went to sleep alone.

    Avenatti insisted the allegations against him were fabricated, tweeting that “I have NEVER abused a woman or committed domestic violence against anyone. Any claim to the contrary is completely bogus and fabricated. I am a target. And I will be exonerated.”

    The incident led to him being arrested.

    The Los Angeles District declined to file felony domestic abuse charges against him and instead, sent the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office to determine whether to file a misdemeanor charge.

    It remains unclear if Avenatti will be charged.

    Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney

    Domestic violence is a broad legal term that encompasses a great number of offenses, including domestic battery, spousal abuse, elder abusechild abuse, criminal threats, stalking and harassment, and the consequences associated with domestic violence charges can be life-changing. Not only can a domestic violence conviction result in jail time and significant fines, it can also tear apart your family, ruin your personal and professional relationships, jeopardize your career, and lead to other life-changing problems, including adverse immigration consequences and a loss of child custody rights. Your first course of action if you are being investigated for domestic violence should be to contact a Los Angeles domestic violence attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to protect your legal rights and help you build a strong defense in your case. With the help of our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles, you can fight your domestic violence charges and move on with your life.

    Affordable Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

    Our experienced domestic violence defense team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles can help you defend yourself against domestic violence charges and increase your chances of reaching a favorable outcome in your case. We understand that no two domestic violence cases are alike and that these cases can be particularly challenging and emotionally-charged, which is why we use every resource at our disposal to limit the fear, stress and uncertainty that goes along with facing domestic violence charges. In the aftermath of a domestic violence accusation, it is the priority of law enforcement to make an arrest and it is the priority of the prosecution to get a conviction. At Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles, it is our priority to build a strong defense in your domestic violence case and ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process. With the right defense strategy, we may be able to cast doubt on your guilt and have your charges reduced to a lesser offense or convince the prosecutor not to pursue a criminal case at all.

    Domestic Violence

    Under California Penal Code § 13700, the term “domestic violence” is defined as abuse committed by a person who intentionally or recklessly uses, or threatens to use, physical force against an intimate partner. California’s domestic violence laws apply to crimes committed against a person’s current or former spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, domestic partner, intimate partner, co-parent or dating partner, but the California Family Code expands this list to include the defendant’s child or any person related to the defendant by blood or marriage within the second degree, such as siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, step-siblings, half-siblings, nieces and nephews, and aunts and uncles.

    Two of the most common domestic violence charges in Los Angeles are Penal Code § 273.5 PC corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, and the less serious offense, Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery. An example of Penal Code § 273.5 PC would be if a husband and wife get into an argument and the man strikes his wife, giving her a black eye. If the wife calls the police and her black eye is visible, the husband could be prosecuted for corporal injury on a spouse, as he physically struck his wife and caused her to suffer a traumatic condition. If, in the same situation, the husband pushes his wife but does not cause her any physical injury, he could be charged with domestic battery in violation of Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC. Other related domestic dispute charges may include Penal Code § 422 PC criminal threats, Penal Code § 273(a) PC child endangerment, Penal Code § 273(d) PC child abuse, and Penal Code § 273.6 PC violating a domestic violence restraining order.

    Conviction for Domestic Violence Penal Code § 273.5

    Although other violent crimes like assault and battery are illegal, and prosecuted as such, violent acts are taken much more seriously in Los Angeles when the alleged victim is a spouse, dating partner, family member, or someone who lives with or has a child with the defendant. Unfortunately, there are few safeguards in the California legal system to protect innocent men and women from being falsely accused of and wrongfully charged with domestic violence, and this type of crime often carries the stigma of “guilty until proven innocent.” It is still up to the prosecution though, to meet the requisite burden of proof to convict on charges of Los Angeles domestic violence. For instance, in order to get a domestic violence conviction under California Penal Code § 273.5 PC, the prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the offense, including that:

    • The defendant intentionally and unlawfully inflicted physical injury on his or her intimate partner;
    • The injury resulted in a traumatic condition; and
    • The defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of another person.

    Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction

    The state of California has taken steps to prove that it is tough on violent crime in recent years, and as such, the penalties associated with domestic violence charges have become considerably more severe. In addition to jail time and significant fines, the consequences of a domestic violence conviction can include: a restraining order, a loss of gun rights, mandatory participation in a batterer’s program, a loss of child custody rights, immigration consequences for non-citizens, and a permanent criminal record.

    Under Penal Code § 273.5 PC corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, willfully inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a spouse, cohabitant, intimate partner, co-parent or close family member is a “wobbler,” which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the circumstances of the case. As a misdemeanor, Penal Code § 273.5 PC is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or up to $6,000 in fines. As a felony, the crime is punishable by two, three or four years in state prison and/or up to $6,000 in fines.

    Under Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery, when battery is committed against a spouse, former spouse, fiancé, a person with whom the defendant is living, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, or a person with whom the person currently has, or previously had, a dating relationship, the crime is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

    Under California Penal Code § 422 PC criminal threats, it is illegal to willfully threaten to commit a crime that will result in great bodily injury or death to another person, causing that person to reasonably fears for the safety of his or her immediate family. As a misdemeanor offense, Penal Code § 422 PC is punishable by up to one year in county jail, and as a felony, the crime is punishable by up to four years in state prison.

    In some instances, the judge in your case may be willing to sentence you to probation, rather than jail time, if the crime is your first offense, or if the victim’s injuries are not significant. This is more often the case with misdemeanor offenses, as felony domestic violence charges are typically brought only in cases where the victim suffers a significant injury.

    Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

    Domestic violence is a damning offense in this day and age, one that requires the expertise of a criminal defense attorney willing to aggressively defend your rights and help you achieve a favorable resolution to your case. There are several defenses to domestic violence charges in Los Angeles, including the following:

    • The so-called domestic violence was an accident;
    • The alleged victim made a false accusation;
    • The defendant acted in self-defense or in defense of another person; or
    • The alleged victim’s injuries did not result from the defendant’s actions.

    Hiring a Qualified Domestic Violence Attorney in Los Angeles

    Domestic violence is a serious transgression that carries harsh penalties and serious social consequences that can ruin your reputation and follow you for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, in some cases, false allegations of domestic violence are made out of anger by someone trying to manipulate the system or get revenge against their partner during divorce proceedings, child custody battles and other sensitive family law cases. It is far too easy for an innocent person to be wrongfully charged with domestic violence in Los Angeles because of a misunderstanding or manipulation, and the Los Angeles courts are full of men and women facing domestic violence charges who were wrongly convicted at trial or who agreed to a plea deal for something they didn’t do. If you have been charged with or are being investigated for domestic violence, contact our knowledgeable defense lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today to discuss the details of your case.

    The post Restraining Order Against Michael Avenatti Upheld appeared first on https://criminaldefenseattorneylosangeles.com/family-law/divorce/.


    New Law Requires Breathalyzers In Cars

    A new DUI prevention law that requires convicted drunk drivers to install breathalyzer-connected devices to their vehicles went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. New Law Requires Breathalyzers In Cars According to the new law, ignition locking devices must be installed in the cars of previously convicted drunk drivers at the cost of the convicted The post New Law Requires Breathalyzers In Cars appeared first on...

    A new DUI prevention law that requires convicted drunk drivers to install breathalyzer-connected devices to their vehicles went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

    New Law Requires Breathalyzers In Cars

    According to the new law, ignition locking devices must be installed in the cars of previously convicted drunk drivers at the cost of the convicted driver. The ignition interlock device connects to a breathalyzer that the owner of the car must breathe into before starting the car and prevents a car from starting if a driver is intoxicated.

    “This device measures the alcohol in the driver’s breath. It will prevent the vehicle from starting unless the driver is sober,” Assemblymember Todd Gloria said.

    The device, which costs approximately $3 a day cost, will be installed in the cars of anyone convicted of a DUI. First offenders who don’t cause any injuries can choose between six months of the ignition interlock or a restricted license for one year. Second offenders and first offenders who injure others are required to use the device for one year. For three-time offenders, the device is mandatory for two years, while four-or-more-time offenders must use the device for three years.

    These regulations apply to multiple forms of DUI infractions – those involving alcohol consumption, drug use, or the combined use of alcohol and drugs.

    Drunk Driving Charges in Los Angeles

    Drunk driving is one of the most common criminal charges in Los Angeles. It can have a significant adverse impact on the future of the defendant and his or her loved ones. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, you’ll want to immediately hire a skilled criminal defense attorney that knows how to handle these types of cases. Defending yourself can be terrifying and complicated, especially with the long-lasting penalties associated with a DUI conviction. You could go to jail, incur significant fines, have an ignition interlock device installed in your car, lose your license or have your driving privileges restricted, or be required to participate in a DUI treatment or education program. When facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, it is important that you speak to a lawyer who has experience handling Los Angeles DUI cases, so you can understand your rights under the law and determine the DUI defense strategy with the highest chance of success. Consult our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today to determine how to best proceed with your case.

    What to Do If You Are Charged with DUI

    If you are arrested and charged with DUI, there are a number of first steps you should take:

     

    • Immediately after arrest: Use your right to remain silent. This is one of the most important things to remember. After your arrest, a police officer will try to get you to admit you are under the influence. Often times they will use a variety of tactics – including telling you that if you confess they will go easy on you. Don’t fall for it. The only reason police officers act this way is to try to elicit a confession. They are doing their jobs by trying to gather as much evidence as possible. Stop talking and don’t answer any of their questions without having a lawyer present.
    • You will need to act fast after the arrest. If you are arrested and charged with drunk driving you will receive notification of your pending license suspension, and a form with instructions to request a hearing. You can either set up the hearing yourself or you can ask your lawyer to do it. Regardless of what you choose, this needs to be done immediately because you only have 10 days to act. From the date of your arrest, you have 10 days to request a hearing from the DMV, or your license will be suspended.
    • Get proper legal advice.

    Affordable DUI Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles

    Most people arrested for a DUI in California assume the evidence against them is unmistakable, but that is often not the case. Police officers sometimes conduct improper roadside investigations, interfering substances and certain medical conditions may result in abnormally high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings, and breathalyzers and blood testing may be prone to error, among other potential blunders that could affect your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows how to capitalize on these issues to win cases and may be able to get your DUI charges reduced to a lesser offense, negotiate a lighter sentence with a plea deal, or convince the prosecution to drop the charges altogether. Our legal team will work tirelessly to examine every aspect of your case and will exhaust every resource at our disposal, possibly including interviewing witnesses, reanalyzing blood samples and examining the maintenance history of the breathalyzer used in your arrest. Contact our DUI defense lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today for a free initial DUI defense consultation.

    DUI

    California DUI laws make it a crime to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, meaning your physical or mental abilities are impaired to the point of being unable to drive as well as a cautious sober person would. DUI charges affect a lot of people in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, often because drivers get behind the wheel of a car without realizing that they consumed enough alcohol to put them above the legal limit. In the state of California, the legal limit for BAC is 0.08% for drivers 21 years old or older operating a regular passenger vehicle, 0.04% for drivers operating a commercial vehicle, and 0.01% for drivers younger than 21 years old. However, under the California Vehicle Code, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you could face DUI charges if there is clear evidence you were driving dangerously or erratically but not clear evidence that you were over the BAC limit. In this case, the prosecution can argue that, even though your BAC was not that high, your driving was affected to the point of being unsafe.

    Conviction for DUI Vehicle Code § 23152 (a)

    California Vehicle Code § 23152(a) is a “subjective” offense, which means the strength of the Los Angeles prosecutor’s case relies heavily on the observations of the arresting officer, who will provide detailed information about your physical appearance, your driving pattern and your field sobriety test performance. The officer will likely testify that you were driving erratically, swerving or weaving through traffic; displayed the “objective signs of intoxication,” which include slurred speech, red and watery eyes, an unsteady gait and an odor of alcohol on your breath; and failed to perform the field sobriety tests as demonstrated. In order to get a Los Angeles DUI conviction, the prosecution will have to prove the following elements of the crime:

    • That you drove a vehicle; and
    • When you drove, you were under the influence of alcohol.

    Whatever the circumstances of your DUI arrest, you have the right to fight the DUI charges and the loss of your driver’s license. And no matter how strong the prosecution’s case against you may seem, a skilled Los Angeles DUI defense attorney can use his or her knowledge of the California criminal justice system and DUI laws to poke holes in their argument.

    Penalties for a DUI Conviction

    A DUI is a complex criminal charge, and the penalties for a DUI conviction can vary depending on several factors, including whether anyone was injured, whether you have any previous DUI offenses, and how severe the judge presiding over your case is.

    There are three immediate possible consequences:

    • $15,000 Fine – One DUI conviction can cost you up to $15,000. That amount includes fines, court fees, and any other expenses that can potentially be tacked on for a DUI offender. That $15,000 fine can completely change your life.
    • Loss of License. Even if you are not convicted, you can still lose your license if you do not schedule your hearing within 10 days of arrest.
    • Jail Time – A first time DUI can carry jail time. A first-offense DUI can mean up to 6 months in jail with a minimum 3-day sentence. A judge can waive this as part of probation. A good attorney is the best way to ensure that a judge does so.

    Additional Penalties

    For drivers 21 years old and older, a first DUI offense is a misdemeanor punishable by immediate license suspension or revocation for six to 10 months, up to six months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines, plus a mandatory DUI program and installation of an ignition interlock device. As a second or subsequent misdemeanor offense, DUI carries increased penalties, meaning longer jail time and more costly fines, in addition to other penalties. Felony DUI is punishable by 16 months, two years or three years in state prison and/or up to $1,000 in fines, plus license suspension or revocation for four years and mandatory DUI school for 18 or 30 months.

    For the purpose of calculating DUI penalties, a previous drunk driving offense counts for up to 10 years. So, if you have a prior DUI conviction from nine years ago and you are arrested for another DUI, the new arrest would count as a second offense, even though a great deal of time has passed since the previous offense. For a second or subsequent offense within 10 years of the prior offense, driver’s license suspension or revocation is elevated to at least one year. Some Los Angles DUI offenses also fall under California’s “Three Strikes” law, which imposes longer jail sentences, heavier fines and longer (or permanent) license revocation for certain repeat offenders convicted of serious or violent felonies, such as drunk driving accidents resulting in severe injuries or death.

    Additionally, if you injure people or cause structural damage you may face additional charges. While it’s unclear exactly what charges the driver who injured three people at the Church over the weekend faces, what is clear is that he needs to immediately hire an attorney to defend his DUI charges.

    Defense to DUI Charges

    A drunk driving charge may seem like the end of the world, but you do have options after your Los Angeles DUI arrest. There are strategies you can use to get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, negotiate a plea bargain or win your case during trial, and with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney on your side, you may be able to successfully fight your drunk driving charges. Some possible defenses to DUI charges in Los Angeles include:

    • Alcohol was not the reason for your driving issues
    • The “objective signs of intoxication” that the officer observed were due to fatigue, illness, allergies, sun exposure or other factors
    • Field sobriety tests don’t accurately measure impairment
    • The arresting officer did not have probable cause to make the initial stop
    • Illegal arrest
    • A lack of evidence
    • You did not appear intoxicated during field sobriety tests
    • Administrative mistakes related to blood and breath tests
    • The police failed to follow proper procedure in your arrest
    • Your Constitutional rights were violated

    Hiring an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles

    A DUI is a serious, life-changing criminal offense that can destroy your reputation and a conviction can carry devastating consequences, including incarceration and significant fines, plus a misdemeanor or felony on your permanent record. DUI convictions stay on your driving record for 10 years and one slip-up can result in a lifetime of paying the price. Not only does a good DUI defense attorney know what to expect from the arresting officer’s testimony and the prosecution’s case, he or she knows the best way to challenge it and cast doubt on your guilt in the eyes of the court. If you have been arrested for or are being charged with a Los Angeles DUI, don’t risk your freedom and your future and don’t give up your legal rights without first speaking to a lawyer who has experience handling Los Angeles DUI cases. Contact our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today to find out how you can fight your DUI charges and move on with your life.

    Your Defense Team

    If you are facing criminal charges in California, our defense team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles can help. Whatever the circumstances of your case, we are committed to representing our clients in an aggressive and professional manner, and we will ensure that you understand the charges against you, so you can make educated decisions about your future on your own.

    The post New Law Requires Breathalyzers In Cars appeared first on https://criminaldefenseattorneylosangeles.com/family-law/divorce/.


    Embezzling from the Girl Scouts

    A certified public accountant is facing charges of embezzling from the Girl Scouts. Embezzling from the Girl Scouts Patricia Cascione, 52, of Santa Clarita, has been charged with embezzling more than $93,000 from two Girl Scouts troops, a Girl Scouts service unit and a local cancer center. She is facing two felony counts of The post Embezzling from the Girl Scouts appeared first on...

    A certified public accountant is facing charges of embezzling from the Girl Scouts.

    Embezzling from the Girl Scouts

    Patricia Cascione, 52, of Santa Clarita, has been charged with embezzling more than $93,000 from two Girl Scouts troops, a Girl Scouts service unit and a local cancer center. She is facing two felony counts of embezzlement.

    Cascione, who was arrested on September 17, was the chief financial officer of the Beverly Hills Cancer Center and the volunteer treasurer for two local chapters of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America and a Girl Scouts service unit. It was during her time working with these organizations, between March 2013 and February 2017, when the alleged crimes occurred.

    Cascione allegedly used almost $59,000 from the Girl Scouts’ accounts for her personal use, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

    She has also been accused of diverting $34,500 in donations for the cancer center to one of her Girl Scouts accounts.

    Free on Bail

    Cascione is free on $20,000 bond while awaiting her arraignment. Prosecutors are expected to ask then that Cascione’s bail be increased to $125,000.

    Cascione could face up to three years and eight months behind bars if convicted.

    Embezzlement

    There are so many reasons that people need money. In our current financial climate, it’s not uncommon for people to get desperate to pay bills or to take care of their loved ones. If you have been charged with embezzlement, you’ll want to consult a criminal defense attorney on your charges and your possible defense case.

    Los Angeles Embezzlement Attorney

    Under California law, embezzlement is the act of breaching a duty, trust or confidence by fraudulently taking something of value that belongs to another person and that has been entrusted to you, such as money, bank accounts, credit card numbers or some other property. Accusations of embezzlement can have serious consequences that can affect the rest of your life, and a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights under California law and the best ways to defend yourself against these charges. If you or a loved one has been accused of embezzlement or another white-collar financial crime in Los Angeles, you should retain the services of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Our Los Angeles embezzlement defense attorneys have extensive experienced protecting the rights of clients facing embezzlement charges and offer skilled legal representation at any stage, whether you have been formally charged with the crime or are simply the subject of a criminal investigation.

    Affordable Embezzlement Defense Attorney Los Angeles

    California embezzlement is a nonviolent crime. As such, the prosecutor’s primary objective is to seek restitution for the victim, meaning he or she may not necessarily be gunning to throw you in jail, especially if the value of the property you allegedly embezzled was not exceptionally high. However, restitution typically means paying a significant amount of money and this can be just as devastating as going to jail for some defendants. Regardless of what punishment you may face in your embezzlement case, it is in your best interest to protect your rights and freedoms by hiring an experienced and aggressive Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to represent your case. Our highly-skilled legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles can help you reach a favorable conclusion to your case, possibly getting your embezzlement charges reduced to a lesser offense or convincing the prosecution to drop the criminal charges altogether.

    What is Embezzlement?

    Embezzlement is considered a white-collar crime or theft crime and is defined in Penal Code § 503 PC as the “fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.” This crime is also known as employee theft and the vast majority of Los Angeles embezzlement cases involve an employee who has permission from an employer to access something of value. Even though this is the form embezzlement most commonly takes, Penal Code § 503 PC can apply in any situation where there is an unlawful theft of entrusted property. Some common types of embezzlement include:

    • Taking cash from a petty cash drawer
    • Holding cash from a transaction instead of putting it into the register
    • Returning stolen items for cash
    • Taking cash from unattended wallets, purses or briefcases belonging to other employees
    • Altering, falsifying or manipulating company accounts
    • Misusing customer credit card numbers

    An example of California embezzlement would be if a company employee is entrusted with the job of taking the company’s cash earnings at the end of each day and depositing them in the bank. If the employee takes a small portion of the cash each day to pay back his gambling debts, he could be charged with embezzlement, even if he has the intention of paying the company back at some point. Under California embezzlement law, the employee unlawfully kept money that was entrusted to him by the company. Another example would be if an employee at a rental car company decides to “borrow” a rental car without permission after his car breaks down, with the intention of returning it before his boss finds out. This could also be considered embezzlement, a violation of California Penal Code § 503 PC.

    In a general sense, anyone who is entrusted with money or valuable property and deprives the rightful owner of the money or property by taking it for themselves can face Los Angeles embezzlement charges, including caregivers, contractors, tenants, valet drivers, accountants, bankers and jewelers. Depending on the amount of loss involved, a person accused of such crimes could be charged with petty theft under Penal Code § 484(a) PC, or grand theft, a violation of California Penal Code § 487 PC. Some other theft-related offenses sometimes associated with embezzlement include Penal Code § 459 PC burglary, Penal Code § 470 PC forgery, Penal Code § 496(a) PC receiving stolen property, and Penal Code § 368 PC elder financial abuse.

    Conviction for Embezzlement Penal Code § 503

    Embezzlement is distinct from other theft crimes, like burglary, in that the property in question was legally possessed by you but was then taken without permission. You can be charged with – and convicted of – embezzlement even if you didn’t intend to keep the money or property and were only borrowing it for a short period of time, so long as the property in question belonged to someone else and was entrusted to you. However, in order to convict on embezzlement charges in Los Angeles, the prosecution trying your case must prove the following elements of the crime:

    • The defendant has some sort of relationship with the alleged victim, typically an employee-employer relationship;
    • The defendant was entrusted with money, property, or any other item of value by the alleged victim; and
    • The defendant unlawfully took the property with the specific intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property.

    Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction

    Depending on the value of the property or the amount of money allegedly embezzled by the defendant, California embezzlement is treated like a petty theft or grand theft criminal offense. If the amount embezzled was $950 or less, the crime is considered misdemeanor petty theft embezzlement, punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. If the amount embezzled was more than $950, the offense is considered a “wobbler,” which means it can be prosecuted as misdemeanor or felony grand theft at the discretion of the prosecution. As a misdemeanor, grand theft embezzlement is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. As a felony, it is punishable by up to 16 months, two or three years in state prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

    If your grand theft embezzlement charge involves exceptionally large sums of money or property with an extraordinarily high value, you could face additional criminal penalties for your alleged crime. For example, if the amount embezzled exceeds $65,000, it is considered an aggravated offense and an additional year can be added to your maximum prison sentence. If the amount exceeds $3,200,000, another four years can be added to your maximum prison sentence.

    Defenses to Embezzlement Charges

    Being charged with embezzlement may seem like the end of the world, and it’s true that embezzlement charges are punished harshly in Los Angeles. However, it is your Constitutional right to defend yourself against embezzlement charges and assert any legal argument that may explain, justify or excuse your alleged criminal behavior. This is where an experienced criminal defense attorney comes in. A good defense lawyer is intimately familiar with the California criminal justice system and the arguments the prosecution is likely to use in your case and can challenge these arguments with a solid defense strategy. Some possible defenses to California embezzlement charges would include:

    • If you have a reasonable claim or a good faith belief that you had the right to take the money or property in question. In this case, the act would not be considered embezzlement under California Penal Code § 503 PC.
    • If you were falsely accused, you cannot be convicted on charges of embezzlement.
    • If you did not intend to take the property from the owner, or did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the property, you may not be criminally liable under Penal Code § 503 PC. For example, if that same rental car company employee took one of the rental cars without permission to get it serviced, he did not commit embezzlement because he did not intend to permanent deprive the company of the vehicle.

    Hiring a Qualified Embezzlement Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

    Most of us have only heard about embezzlement in movies or television shows where impossibly wealthy businessmen have their millions stolen from them by an employee who abuses his or her position of power or trust, but embezzlement is a crime that can affect anyone, and severely so. In Los Angeles, an embezzlement conviction can be disastrous, not only for you, but for your loved ones as well. Stealing of any kind carries a negative stigma and an embezzlement conviction can ruin your personal and professional relationships and destroy any future career opportunities you may have. California employers almost always run a background check on potential employees, and an embezzlement conviction will be a black mark on your criminal record. Not to mention the legal implications of a Los Angeles embezzlement conviction, which may include imprisonment, significant fines, restitution and probation. The outcome of your Los Angeles embezzlement charge depends a great deal on the proficiency of the lawyer defending your case. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today for a free initial consultation.

    The post Embezzling from the Girl Scouts appeared first on https://criminaldefenseattorneylosangeles.com/family-law/divorce/.


    Man Charged with Conspiracy Sentenced to Life in Prison

    A man hired to help kill the estranged wife of a respiratory therapist was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Man Charged with Conspiracy Sentenced to Life in Prison Anthony Edward Bridget, 44, was convicted in April. Jurors ruled that he was guilty of special circumstances allegations of financial gain and The post Man Charged with Conspiracy Sentenced to Life in Prison appeared first on...

    A man hired to help kill the estranged wife of a respiratory therapist was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Man Charged with Conspiracy Sentenced to Life in Prison

    Anthony Edward Bridget, 44, was convicted in April. Jurors ruled that he was guilty of special circumstances allegations of financial gain and lying in wait, as well as conspiracy and assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury.
    On September 29, 2004, at the behest of Magdi Girgis, Bridget restrained Girgis’ teenage son by binding his hands with a shoelace while another man killed his wife, Ariet Girgis. The man who killed Ariet has not been found.
    Magdi Girgis, 66, was sentenced in June 2014 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for hiring the two hitmen, including Bridget, to kill his 55-year-old estranged spouse.
    According to the case, Magdi, a respiratory therapist, and his wife had had prior domestic violence issues. In a trial that took place two months prior to Ariet’s death, she testified that her husband beat her and that she was scared of him.
    Two months later she was dead.
    The case went cold for a while until police took another pass at it. DNA found on the shoelaces used to bind Ariet’s son, in addition to DNA found on the son’s right index finger led investigators to Bridget.
    Conviction for Bridget
    Bridget was sentenced to life in prison in addition to another sentencing of 45 years to life without parole by Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley.

    Conspiracy Attorney

    Conspiracy and racketeering charges are typically filed on the federal level, but more and more often, prosecutors in California are using the conspiracy statute under Penal Code § 182 PC to convict multiple people for involvement in a crime, even if the crime was never actually carried out. Conspiracy is a broad criminal offense that can apply to any number of scenarios involving illegal acts or agreement to commit such acts, and simply deciding to commit a crime with another person can expose you to conspiracy and other criminal charges if that person commits the crime or even takes steps to commit the crime. A conspiracy conviction can carry harsh penalties adversely affecting the rest of your life, depending on the crime you are accused of conspiring to commit. If you are facing criminal charges for conspiracy in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to obtain qualified legal representation. Our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles has extensive experience defending clients against criminal offenses, like conspiracy, and will work tirelessly to help you fight these charges.

    Affordable Conspiracy Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

    Conspiracy to commit a crime may not seem like a very serious offense, but if the crime you allegedly conspired to commit was serious, you could find yourself facing jail time and significant fines, among other life-changing criminal penalties. If you hire our criminal defense attorneys to represent your case, we will investigate the alleged crime and compile as much evidence as possible to cast doubt on your guilt in the eyes of the court. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may even be able to have your charges reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed altogether. Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles is committed to defending your rights to the fullest extent and can help you get the best possible outcome in your criminal conspiracy case. Contact our law firm today for a free initial consultation.

    Conspiracy

    Conspiracy is a crime involving two or more people who agree to commit a crime and take some type of action towards complete the crime. Originally adopted by the federal government and individual states to allow prosecutors to pursue charges against organized crime and other large-scale criminal enterprises, conspiracy statutes are now used by criminal prosecutors to convict gang members and individuals involved in theft, drug crimes and other offenses. Under Penal Code § 182 PC, you can be charged with misdemeanor or felony criminal conspiracy if:

    • You agree with one or more other people to commit an illegal act;
    • You intend that the crime will actually be committed;
    • At least one of the members of the group commits an overt act in furtherance of the crime; and
    • The overt act takes place after you have agreed to commit the crime.

    For a conspiracy to occur, one member of the group must take steps to further the agreed-upon crime, and this is what elevates an otherwise legal act to criminal conspiracy, regardless of whether the so-called overt act is a crime in and of itself. Under Penal Code § 182 PC, an “overt act” is an act that is done to help the group accomplish the agreed-upon crime. For example, if a group of people conspire to commit insurance fraud by agreeing to burn down a commercial building, purchasing the gasoline, which itself is a legal activity, would be considered an “overt act” in furtherance of the crime that could result in conspiracy charges.

    Another example of conspiracy would be if a man agrees to help a group of friends commit burglary and rents a hotel room nearby the crime that the group can use as a home base. Even though the man does not commit the burglary himself, he could be prosecuted for criminal conspiracy, since he entered into the agreement and, by renting the hotel room, committed an overt act in furtherance of the crime. Even making a phone call or buying a tool could be considered an overt act in connection with criminal conspiracy, if that act would help the group complete the crime. The overt act requirement ensures that people aren’t wrongfully charged with conspiracy simply because they agreed to or planned a crime, without ever having any intention of following through with committing the crime.

    Conviction for Conspiracy Penal Code § 182

    Under Penal Code § 182 PC, criminal conspiracy is a separate offense from the agreed-upon crime itself, and an individual being investigated for conspiracy can be charged with conspiracy to commit an illegal act, committing the illegal act itself, or both. It is important to note that you can be charged with and convicted of criminal conspiracy even if the crime is never actually committed, so long as you or one of your co-conspirators committed an overt act in furtherance of the crime. In fact, it is not even necessary that you are present and active at every phase of the illegal activity, or even that you knew all of the details of the crime. If you agreed to participate in or further the plan in any way, you can be charged with criminal conspiracy. However, in order to get a conspiracy conviction in Los Angeles, it is up to the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of each element of the crime as described above. If he or she is unable to do so, you cannot be convicted of criminal conspiracy. Some crimes related to, but distinct from, conspiracy include Penal Code § 31 PC aiding and abetting, Penal Code § 32 PC accessory after the fact, and Penal Code § 186.22 PC gang-related activity.

    Penalties for a Conspiracy Conviction

    Under Penal Code § 182 PC, conspiracy is a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense, a decision that is at the discretion of the prosecutor. In most cases, the penalty for a conspiracy conviction in Los Angeles is the same as it would be for the crime you allegedly conspired to commit, which means the more serious the underlying offense, the more severe the criminal penalties will be for a conviction on conspiracy charges. In most cases, if you conspired to commit a crime that is considered a misdemeanor offense, you could face misdemeanor charges related to the offense. If, however, your conduct was particularly serious or harmful, you could be charged with felony conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor crime. If, on the other hand, you conspired to commit a felony, you could face the penalties associated with the felony offense. If you are charged with conspiracy to commit several crimes, the penalties you face will be based on the most serious of the crimes you conspired to commit.

    Defenses to Conspiracy Charges

    Defending yourself against criminal conspiracy charges in Los Angeles can be tricky, especially because it doesn’t matter if the crime you allegedly conspired to commit was actually carried out or not. If you and another person agree to commit a crime and the other person commits the crime or takes some sort of action towards the completion of the crime, you may find yourself charged with conspiracy. Fortunately, there are a number of possible defenses for criminal conspiracy cases, and with an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, you can determine which defense strategy will cast even the tiniest bit of doubt on your guilt. Some possible defenses a criminal defense attorney could use to combat your conspiracy charges include the following:

    • No valid agreement to commit a crime existed
    • No overt act was taken in furtherance of the crime
    • There was no true intent for the crime to be committed
    • You effectively and clearly withdrew from the conspiracy
    • You were falsely accused
    • A lack of physical evidence
    • There was no violation of the law
    • You are married to your co-conspirator
    • Your Constitutional rights have been violated

    Hiring an Experienced Conspiracy Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

    Criminal conspiracy cases can be confusing and complex, especially if there are several defendants facing conspiracy charges at once or if you are charged with conspiracy to commit several crimes, and it can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome at trial if you hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to represent your case. An attorney with experience defending clients against criminal conspiracy charges will have the skills and tools necessary to help you build a strong defense in your case and can be a valuable resource in court, making sure you understand the criminal charges you face and your rights under California law. If you have been charged with conspiracy under California Penal Code § 182 PC, contact Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today to discuss some possible strategies for your defense. Our lawyers are committed to defending clients wrongfully accused of conspiracy and other criminal offenses and will aggressively advocate on your behalf.

    The post Man Charged with Conspiracy Sentenced to Life in Prison appeared first on https://criminaldefenseattorneylosangeles.com/family-law/divorce/.


    Facebook Hackers Hit Millions

    According to Facebook, hackers accessed a wide variety of information — ranging from emails and phone numbers to records of sites visited and places checked into — from twenty-nine million Facebook users accounts as part of a security breach that happened two weeks ago. Facebook Hackers Hit Millions Facebook released a statement saying that the hackers The post Facebook Hackers Hit Millions appeared first on...

    According to Facebook, hackers accessed a wide variety of information — ranging from emails and phone numbers to records of sites visited and places checked into — from twenty-nine million Facebook users accounts as part of a security breach that happened two weeks ago.

    Facebook Hackers Hit Millions

    Facebook released a statement saying that the hackers had accessed names, email addresses, or phone numbers from these accounts. Of that twenty-nine, for 14 million of the accounts, hackers were able to obtain even more data, such as hometown, birthdate, the last 10 places they checked into or the 15 most recent searches.

    The FBI has been called in to investigate, but Facebook has asked the FBI to not discuss who might be behind the attack. Facebook also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of smaller-scale attacks that used the same vulnerability.

    Allegedly, the hackers gained the ability to “seize control” of user accounts by stealing digital keys Facebook uses to keep users logged in. They were able to obtain these digital keys by exploiting three distinct bugs in Facebook’s code. Facebook has since fixed the bugs.

    Thomas Rid, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University, said the evidence, particularly the size of the breach, might point to a criminal motive rather than a sophisticated state operation, which usually targets fewer people.

    “This doesn’t sound very targeted at all,” he said. “Usually when you’re looking at a sophisticated government operation, then a couple of thousand people hacked is a lot, but they usually know who they’re going after.”

     

    Identity Theft Attorney

    With innovations in technology making everyone’s personal and financial information more readily available on the Internet, identity theft has become increasingly more prevalent in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. As a result, California law enforcement officials and federal government agencies have begun to aggressively investigate identity theft crimes and California prosecutors are making it a priority to pursue convictions against individuals accused of identity theft. In fact, many police departments and prosecutor’s offices have created special task forces to investigate and prosecute individuals charged with identity theft to reduce the impact on victims and the community, and some identity theft cases may even fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which imposes devastating penalties on such criminal offenses. This renewed fight against identity theft at the state and federal level means your rights and personal freedoms may be at risk if you have been charged with identity theft in Los Angeles. Contact our reputable lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today to discuss the best defense strategy for your criminal case.

    Affordable Identity Theft Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

    Identity theft is a complex financial crime that can be charged as a federal offense carrying a prison sentence of up to 30 years, and by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can significantly increase your chances of getting the best possible outcome in your identity theft case. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today for a free, no-obligation identity theft defense consultation. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys understand the complex nature of state and federal identity theft crimes, have extensive knowledgeable of the criminal justice system, and know how to best defend you against these charges. Our attorneys will review your criminal case, ensure that you understand the charges against you, determine the best legal strategies for your defense, and answer any questions you may have about the legal process. With the help of our knowledgeable lawyers, you may even be able to resolve your criminal case without going to jail.

    Identity Theft

    As the name suggests, identity theft is a type of theft crime. However, rather than stealing someone’s physical personal property – a violation of California Penal Code § 484 PC petty theft – Penal Code § 530.5 PC is the act of willfully obtaining another person’s personal identifying information and using that information for any unlawful or fraudulent purpose. Identity theft occurs when a person intentionally obtains and uses someone else’s personal identifying information, such as their name, Social Security number, birth certificate, telephone number, PIN number or password, credit card number, bank account information or driver’s license number, without permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Each case of California identity theft is unique, but some of the most common types of identity theft include:

    • Financial identity theft – Using someone else’s identity to obtain goods, services, and/or credit
    • Criminal identity theft – Using someone else’s identity when arrested for committing a crime
    • Medical identity theft – Using someone else’s identity to obtain medical care and/or prescriptions
    • Identity cloning – Using someone else’s personal identifying information to assume their identity in everyday life
    • Child identity theft – Using a child’s identity for one or more of these purposes
    • Business identity theft – Posing as an owner or employee of a business to obtain cash, credit or loans

    Identity theft can be carried out by the physical act of stealing someone’s wallet or mail, or by using the Internet to steal information via hacking, phishing, spamming or counterfeiting. For defendants facing charges of Los Angeles identity theft, each item in their possession that contains the personal information of the alleged victim is considered a separate offense. Some other criminal offenses related to identity theft include Penal Code § 470 PC forgery, Penal Code § 503 PC embezzlement, Penal Code § 502 PC unauthorized computer access, Penal Code § 182 PC conspiracyPenal Code § 368 PC elder abuse, and Penal Code § 530.5(e) PC mail theft.

    Conviction for Identity Theft Penal Code § 530.5

    With state and federal laws prohibiting identity theft, and severe penalties associated with the crime, being arrested for identity theft may seem like the end of the world. However, the prosecution in an identity theft case bears the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that, in order to get an identity theft conviction, the California prosecutor assigned to your case must provide evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements of the crime:

    • You obtained someone else’s personal identifying information;
    • You did not have permission or consent to obtain or use the personal identifying information; and
    • You used the personal identifying information for an unlawful purpose or with fraudulent intent.

    Penalties for an Identity Theft Conviction

    The state of California takes identity theft very seriously, and individuals arrested for identity theft in Los Angeles stand to face severe criminal penalties if convicted of the crime. Under California Penal Code § 530.5 PC, identity theft is a “wobbler” offense, which means the crime can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on a number of factors, including the extent of the illegal behavior, the total value of the property you have allegedly unlawfully received, whether your alleged actions caused anyone to suffer significant harm, and whether you have any prior convictions for identity theft or related offenses. If, for example, you are accused of stealing someone’s credit card number to make a single purchase online, you would likely face less severe penalties than if you were accused of applying for a mortgage or another type of loan using that person’s name and information, or using their Social Security number to collect welfare or other insurance benefits.

    Identity theft can be charged in either a state or federal prosecution, and federal identity theft laws are far more severe than California state laws. As a misdemeanor crime, identity theft is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines, and as a felony, California identity theft is punishable by 16 months, two or three years in state prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines. However, if you face federal identity theft charges, you could face increased penalties and up to 30 years in federal prison. There are additional penalties that may go along with an identity theft conviction, including community service and parole or probation, and you could also lose your job and be forced to pay back the alleged victim for any losses he or she incurred. Furthermore, each individual act of identity theft is charged as a separate offense under Penal Code § 530.5 PC, which can significantly increase the maximum prison sentence and fines associated with a Los Angeles identity theft conviction.

    Defenses to Identity Theft Charges

    Just because you have been arrested for identity theft in Los Angeles does not mean you are guilty of the crime. It is also important to understand what the various components of an identity theft crime mean, as each element of the crime must be proven by the prosecution in order for a conviction to be made. For example, simply obtaining and possessing another person’s personal identifying information may not rise to the level of California identity theft, unless you used the information in either an unlawful manner or with fraudulent intent. It is your Constitutional right to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent your identity theft case and defend your legal rights, and the following are some possible defenses an attorney can use to explain or justify your alleged actions:

    • You did not have the required criminal intent
    • You have been falsely accused
    • You are the victim of mistaken identity
    • You had permission to obtain and use the identifying information
    • You did not use the information for an illegal or fraudulent purpose

    Hiring an Experienced Identity Theft Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

    Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in California and across the United States, and the consequences of an identity theft conviction can be devastating and long-lasting. Even after you have served your time in jail and paid your debt to society, you will still have a criminal record, which can affect every aspect of your life, including your ability to obtain employment and participate in certain government assistance programs. If you are under investigation for or have been charged with identity theft in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to secure qualified legal representation. Our legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles has extensive experience protecting the rights of clients facing California identity theft charges and will work tirelessly to help you build a strong defense in your case and minimize the penalties of your identity theft arrest. We are committed to preventing innocent individuals from being unlawfully imprisoned for identity theft crimes and will hold the prosecution to its requisite burden of proof.

     

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