Category: Legal News

Understanding The Different Types Of Theft In California

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If you have been charged with theft in California, your case will likely get classified into one of many categories. While you and your theft lawyer will go over the specifics, it is important to have a general idea of how your case will be seen in court. Then, with this highest level of legal representation, you may be able to reduce your charge as much as possible. Start with this guide to understanding the basics of California’s theft classifications.

  • Petty Theft: If you have stolen any objects, property, or money valued up to $950, you will likely be charged with petty theft. This crime is classified as a misdemeanor. In California, you can face up to a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both.
  • Grand Theft: As it’s name indicates, grand theft is more serious that petty theft.If you have stolen more than $950 worth of property, then you may be subject to this charge. This crime can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the case. You may face jail time for one to three years for this crime.
  • Robbery: A criminal is convicted of robbery when they use violence, force, or threats to steal something from a person. According to California law, those convicted of robbery can face up to nine years in jail.
  • Burglary: Often mixed up with robbery, burglary is when a person enters or breaks into a building to steal something. Someone can be charged with this crime for entering a home,
    commercial space, car, shipping container, general building, and room. Depending on the degree of the crime, the specific consequence will vary. Your lawyer for theft defense can go over the specific severity of your case with you.

When you are convicted of one of these crimes, your theft lawyer will go through your case step by step and do what they can to achieve the best possible outcome. If you believe that you have been wrongfully convicted, it is especially important to work closely and be honest with a criminal defense lawyer. About 10,000 people in the United States may be wrongfully convicted of a crime annually, so you will need a lawyer that will work hard for you.

5 Questions To Ask Your Criminal Defense Attorney

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Beginning a criminal defense case can be a stressful and unpredictable experience. With an experienced, caring lawyer, you can make your case as straightforward and successful as possible. Once you hire an assault, theft, or domestic violence attorney, be sure to ask them these clarifying questions.

  1. What information do you need from me? For your criminal defense lawyer to properly handle your case, they will need all possible information? Ask them what information you need to have recorded and what you should prepare for a deposition. You want to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks, as this could be detrimental to your case.
  2. What can I do to ensure the lowest possible sentencing? Ask your lawyer exactly what you can do in preparation for your trial or during an investigation. Everything from where you spend your time to what you post on social media could affect your case. Avoid slip-ups by requesting specific instructions and precautions.
  3. What is the expected timeline of the case? Knowing the predicted sequence of events will ease your mind and let you take the case one step at a time. Your attorney will be able to fill you in on every step of the case, explaining the significance of every court appearance and meeting.
  4. What outcome do you expect? While your attorney will be doing everything they can to get you the best possible sentence, they will likely have a sentencing prediction from the beginning. This is especially true if you have hired the highest level of legal representation. A compassionate lawyer will be able to keep you updated on what to expect, so feel free to be open about your questions.
  5. How can I ensure effective communication with you? Even if your attorney is busy with other clients, you want to open communication as much as possible. Highly respected lawyers will be able to make time to answer your emails and phone calls in a timely manner, so be sure to ask about the most effective form of communication.

There are currently 68 million people living in the United States with a criminal record. If you have committed a crime, you might not serve the highest possible sentence. By hiring the right theft, DUI, assault, or domestic violence attorney, you are taking the right step to help your case. You can eventually move forward from your crime, just as millions of people have done.

What To Expect After A Domestic Violence Charge

defending domestic violence chargesIf you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony following a domestic violence case, there are complications that will develop afterward. Defending domestic violence charges can lead to a variety of outcomes, but chances are that you will have to face consequences regardless of the outcome of your case. Know what to expect with this brief guide.

  1. Restraining Order: The court may place a no contact order on your following you case. This will mean that you cannot visit or speak to your partner or spouse. It is important that you comply with this rule, as defying it could lead to further complications and charges.
  2. Restriction On Firearms: Following your charge, you may not be able to purchase or own a firearm. The judge, along with your domestic violence attorney, will be able to explain the details of any restrictions and their duration.
  3. Child Custody Assessment: If there are children involved in the case, the court will carefully evaluate your custody situation. Since 30 to 60% of children living in homes with domestic violence suffer abuse and neglect, it is essential that the judge and attorneys consider their physical and psychological well-being.
  4. Difficulty With Employment: Depending on the severity of your domestic violence charge and your line of work, you may lose your current job and find it difficult to secure employment in the future. Be sure to speak to your lawyer about what your employment options will be for the time being.
  5. Further Expenses: In addition to any legal fees you need to pay, you may have fines required as part of your conviction. Be sure to pay these, as not doing so could jeopardize your financial future even more.

By finding the best possible domestic violence lawyer for your case, you will not have to interpret these consequences alone. They will help in defending domestic violence charges and handling the aftermath. Your attorney will also assist in interpreting the domestic violence laws in your state, as these are not consistent nationally.

Here at Champion Law Firm, we are prepared to handle all domestic violence cases. Contact us today to set up your consultation.

Know Your Rights and Stay Aware of These Common Law Enforcement Myths

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The law is widely misunderstood due to an increasing influence of the media. Whether it is through law enforcement television shows, or biased media portrayals, criminal law has become increasingly misunderstood in the eyes of the people due to skewed information.

Considering the fact that innocent people have served 3,944 years in U.S. prisons, it’s incredibly important to know your rights so you can protect yourself if you are ever arrested by a member of law enforcement. Here are some of the most common legal myths to be aware of when arrested.

Myth: Evidence cannot be used in your case if the police did not have a search warrant.
The fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures. It states that a member of law enforcement must first go in front of a judge and explain why they have probable cause for a search warrant. However, there are some exceptions to these warrant requirements, including plain and open view law, stop-and-frisk, automobile searches, or emergency circumstances. If this has happened to you and you feel as if your rights were violated, make sure you contact a compassionate lawyer to fight for your privacy and protection.

Myth: You have the right to a phone call.
Unfortunately, this myth has been perpetuated by the nation’s media. While many police officers allow you to make a phone call if you have been arrested, they are not constitutionally obligated to do so.

Myth: You cannot get convicted of a crime if a cop lies to you.
The Supreme Court has long upheld the government’s right to make deceptions and false claims against you if they strongly feel that you have committed a crime. While entrapment is illegal and a police officer cannot use excessive force to get you to commit a crime, they can be largely free to do and say what they feel to gather evidence.

If you ever feel as if you are in violation of your rights, it is important to contact a reputable criminal defense lawyer to protect you. Make sure to acquire the highest level of legal representation by having Kia Champion work on your case. Not all Los Angeles criminal law attorneys are the same, so choose Mr. Champion, the criminal defense lawyer that will work hard for you and your protection.

5 Dangerous Myths About Domestic Abuse that Need to Be Debunked

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Domestic violence is an issue that plagues people around the world. It injures and alienates individuals who may have a chance of getting out of their abusive relationships if the people around them know the facts.

Despite the prominence of this issue, there are still a lot of myths floating around. In order to be aware of domestic violence when it’s happening and to possibly be able to help a victim, here are some common misconceptions about domestic violence.

Only women are victims of domestic abuse
While a disproportionate amount of women are victims of domestic abuse, the truth is that domestic violence affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, or religion. Men and women alike are victims of violence, and are often represented by assault attorneys in domestic violence cases.

Domestic violence doesn’t affect children
As much as you might not like to believe it, more than 3 million children bear witness to domestic violence in their own homes every year. Children are also used as tools by abusers, suffering threats to make a victim stay with their abusive partner.

Victims can just leave
Domestic violence is cyclical. A victim may experience instances of severe abuse and want to leave, but then see guilt and remorse in their abuser and be convinced to stay. This cycle repeats itself and creates a very harmful environment for a victim.

Domestic violence is only physical
Domestic violence comes in many different forms. Verbal abuse and emotional manipulation are just as much crimes as physically harming another person. A domestic violence attorney may have a more difficult time proving emotional abuse, but that doesn’t mean emotional abuse isn’t a form of domestic violence.

A victim can just call the police
Calling the police is an important form of rescue for many victims of domestic abuse, but many hesitate. A victim may hesitate for a variety of reasons, but most often it’s because they don’t want their partner to go to jail or they fear calling may escalate the abuse later.

Domestic violence lawyers and assault attorneys frequently deal with cases like these. If you think someone you know is suffering at the hands of an abuser, keep these things in mind and consider contacting a domestic violence attorney.

If You’re Looking for a Compassionate Lawyer, Avoid Making These Mistakes

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Approximately 68 million people in the U.S. are currently living with a criminal record, which means at some point they may need an attorney. No matter the legal situation, it’s important to have a compassionate lawyer who genuinely cares about winning your case.

Despite the importance of finding a highly respected lawyer who will work hard for you, many people fall into the same rut over and over again. To ensure you don’t fall into that rut, here are a few mistakes you should avoid making in your search for a caring lawyer.

Believing the Hype

There’s no question that those law firms that can afford television ads or the radio jingles you hear all the time might be the first law firms that pop into your mind when looking for a lawyer who will work hard for you. Despite the claims of grandeur on television, the ads are in no way a method to determine how credible the firm is. Don’t believe the hype until you actually speak with a lawyer in person and research their experience.

Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better

The old adage that “bigger is better” might hold relevance in other fields, but not law. Just because a law firm is big doesn’t mean they’re going to have compassionate lawyers working with you or that they can handle your case as adeptly as an independent lawyer would. If you want personal attention given to your case, you’re better off at a smaller firm.

Not Asking Questions

There’s no such thing as an irrelevant question, especially if this is your first time searching for a lawyer. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is failing to ask any questions that come to mind. If you’re uncertain, ask about it. Communication is key to collaborating with lawyers.

Using Cost as a Determining Factor

Just as bigger doesn’t mean better, more expensive doesn’t mean more results. Cost should definitely be on your radar, but it shouldn’t be what deters you or propels you in hiring a reputable lawyer. In any case, you should be seeking the highest level of legal representation for your case.

Looking for a great lawyer can be tough, but as long as you’re aware of these critical mistakes and know how to avoid them, you should be on the path to hiring a great lawyer to represent you.

California Court’s Computer Glitch Leads To False Arrests

criminal defense lawyerA new legal software system has gone haywire in California, according to a public defense attorney who discovered the bug.

In November 2016, Brendon Woods filed a motion to eliminate the Odyssey Case Manager software until the glitch could be fixed. The software led to mistaken criminal records, unnecessary court trials, listing misdemeanors as felonies, as well as the misidentification of drug defendants, instead filing them as sex offenders.

The new Odyssey system is far different than the old system, likely explaining the number of injustices that were made by mistake. The user interface is so unfriendly that what used to take just two clicks now takes around 25, according to Debbi Pearson, a local representative of the Service Employees International Union.

The California public defenders’ office also says that the system error has caused 12,000 files to be backlogged, and that number continues to grow by 300 every day.

The system is used by 26 court systems in California, and it is impossible to tell how many false reports were actually filed. Any convicted criminal in any of these courts who have been charged within the past few months may have been the victim of an unjust system.

As this case is unusual, the University of California at Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh doesn’t know exactly what this system error means for the court or the victims. She considers what would happen if a system error that leads to wrongful arrest leads to investigation for a separate crime. She wonders what would happen, say if a second investigation led to drug evidence.

In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision that allowed prosecuting attorneys to use evidence seized during an arrest, even with an invalid warrant, since the police made the arrest in good faith.

“So how do individual criminal defendants identify and challenge the ‘fruits of computerized error,’?” Joh said, quoting Justice David H. Souter’s 1994 case opinion.

There is no answer at this point in time, only potential theories. For these cases, anyone convicted of a crime they didn’t commit needs a criminal defense lawyer that will work hard for you, no matter the circumstance. Whether you need a sex crime attorney, a theft lawyer, DUI, or domestic violence lawyer, if your charges were falsely handled to you, you don’t deserve another single second behind bars. You need a criminal defense lawyer who believes you and realizes that this is not your fault and that the system is broken.

Each year, 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes. Don’t give up if you’ve been falsely accused or convicted, Call criminal defense lawyer Kia Champion for the highest level of legal representation possible.

Don’t Lose Hope If You’ve Been Charged With DUI — You Have Options

DUI defense attorneyIf you’ve recently been charged with DUI, you may not believe that you need a DUI defense attorney. In many cases, people who have been charged believe that they don’t have a chance to make things better.

The truth is, the average person drives drunk 80 times before their first DUI. You don’t need a lawyer to plead guilty, but regardless of whether you were intoxicated, you still have options to reduce your sentence. For this, you will need a DUI defense attorney.

Get a highly respected lawyer’s opinion

There’s no harm in asking. When you’re being charged with a DUI and don’t think there’s any hope, just ask. A lawyer will tell you outright if you have a case for yourself. You may have missed something when reading through your incident report, something that only a lawyer could pick up on.

Evaluate Your Options

If the lawyer believes that you can make a case for yourself, that is good news. Evaluate plea deal options, like a lesser sentence.

In many cases, if the field sobriety test was inconclusive, if your BAC level was close to the legal limit, or if there was no striking difference in your behavior when you were pulled over, you have a higher probability of having a reduced sentence.

Reckless driving is the most often reduced sentence. Reckless driving is still a misdemeanor, but results in a far lesser sentence that will not result in harsher punishment if you happen to be charged for the same crime in the future.

In the state of California, a “wet reckless” is also a plea option. A wet reckless is similar to a reckless driving charge, but the driver admits that they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This charge is implemented as a half-way measure, where the driver admits that there was some wrongdoing. If the reckless driving resulted in any injuries or fatalities, or if this was a repeat offense, there is a lower likelihood of the plea being granted.

If you are charged with a wet reckless, the DMV still has the right to suspend your license. Future DUI charges will also be treated as repeat offenses, despite the reduced sentence.

A drunk driving defense attorney knows the law back and forth. They know how to grant you the highest level of legal representation. Kia Champion is a compassionate lawyer who wants to make sure that you are granted the justice you deserve.

The Life of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

People often ask me what it takes to be a successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. The answer is not simple. It requires more than just knowledge of the law. It requires more than having the ability to cross-examine witnesses on the stand. It requires more than having the ability to negotiate. It requires more than being charismatic. It requires more than being able to set forth strong arguments. It requires more than hard work. It requires more than empathy for your client. It requires more than perseverance.

The truth is to be a successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles; it requires all of these things.

To be a successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, you must be able to juggle all of the things I mentioned. It is no easy task. Many lawyers don’t have the personalities to be able to balance the substantive legal work with the humanistic side of the profession.

On any given day, my day goes something like this: I go to court and encounter a district attorney out for blood. Within a split second of meeting him or her, I have to make a snap decision on the best way to disarm her. It’s a tightrope walk. I’m not sure it can be taught. You either have the ability to do it or you don’t. I then have to go back to my office and pour over the discovery to find holes in the prosecution’s case. Once I’ve found what I’m looking for, I reach out to the prosecutor and push my agenda, all the while making them feel that we’re on the same team. I prepare for trial; practicing the questions I’m going to ask and statements I’m going to make. I take calls from clients, all of whom are deeply concerned about losing their freedom. It’s not enough to act like I care. To be a successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, you have to actually care. Empathy is not an act. It requires you to feel what the other person is feeling. It’s the only way I know how to effectively do my job.

A sharp legal mind is also a prerequisite for being a successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. To put on a successful defense, knowledge of the law is a must, as is the ability to illuminate evidence so that the DA, judge, and jury can clearly see what you want them to see. It requires a comprehensive knowledge of the facts of the case, as well as the elements of the crime.

Finally, how you present yourself is key to being a successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. The saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is accurate. People remember how well you are put together. It’s human nature. I pride myself on always making a positive impression when I meet people by making sure they way I dress, walk, talk, and interact with others are impeccable.

I hope I have shone some light on what it takes to be an effective and successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. Thank you for your time.

Plea Deals to Consider When Facing Serious Assault Charges

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In an assault case, the prosecution and defense may compromise to reduce the defendant’s charges. This is known widely as a “plea deal.”

In the case of a plea deal, the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to one or more of the charges brought against them under specific circumstances set forth by their assault attorney and prosecution. The following are examples that an attorney might propose in order to lessen the defendant’s time served.

Sentencing with Jail Time
Sometimes time in jail cannot be avoided. These cases are often the result of:

  • a defendant’s prior criminal record
  • the state requiring mandatory jail time for the specific type of assault charge
  • the defendant having faced more serious charges

Sentencing with No Jail Time
If the defendant’s criminal history is minimal or nonexistent, it is possible for a assault attorney to agree to a full sentence without a jail sentence. The defendant would serve the extent of his or her sentence on probation, under rigid circumstances, and must comply with the probation terms accordingly.

After the completion of probationary time without issue, the charges may be dismissed. The court does not reach a conviction unless the defendant, whose sentence had been deferred, commits another crime while on probation, or violates the terms.

It is also possible for the defendant to be convicted of the crime, but serve the sentence on probation without jail time. The charges will not be dismissed. This is known as a suspended sentence.

Diversion Program
Some states offer diversion programs, which are rehabilitative requirements that the defendant must complete to avoid conviction. He or she does not plead guilty or no contest to the charges, or appear in trial, and simply completes the designated program. These programs often include anger management, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, or therapy sessions. There are additional terms that are often outlined, and the defendant must meet with a probation officer regularly to prove that h or she is meeting the requirements of their sentence.

In many cases, failure to comply with the terms of the diversion program requires an automatic guilty plea.

Pleading to a Lesser Charge
The defendant may plead to a lesser charge in order to avoid a more severe sentence. This is often used when the assault in question is a more minor altercation, like a bar brawl or fight in the street. The defendant may plead guilty to disorderly conduct. In order to plea to a lesser charge, the victim of the assault must not be particularly vulnerable, seriously injured, or a family member.

Regardless of the circumstance of an assault, every defendant deserves the highest level of legal representation with a highly respected lawyer. An assault attorney is necessary in order to face charges with confidence, but over 10,000 people are convicted of serious crimes each year because their attorneys did not work hard enough to achieve justice. Kia Champion, of Champion Law Firm, is a criminal defense lawyer who will work hard for you, and represent you fairly.