Pending Criminal Charges and A Criminal Record: Effect on Employment

Posted by Chris Morales on Fri, Dec 04, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

An explanation of how a current pending criminal charge affects your record and employment possibility when applying for a job and your rights as an applicant.

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Tags: California, conviction, criminal record, criminal charge, record, expunged, rights

The Limits of Expunging Your Criminal Record

Posted by Chris Morales on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 @ 06:50 AM

By Janet Portman, Attorney

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Tags: California, San Francisco, criminal defense attorney, court, criminal record, expungement, cases, attorney, sentencing, records

Raising Constitutional Issues in a DUI/Criminal Case

Posted by Chris Morales on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Evidence gathered during a DUI traffic stop can sometimes be excluded from trial, if the officers have violated the search and seizure rules that stem from the Fourth Amendment.

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Tags: California, San Francisco, charge, trial, DUI, evidence, search and seizure, traffic stop, defense, police, rights

Exceptions to Confidentiality of Juvenile Criminal Records

Posted by Chris Morales on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 09:10 AM

Juvenile criminal records are confidential in most circumstances, but the exceptions are significant.

To a much greater extent that its adult counterpart, the juvenile criminal justice system focuses on rehabilitation and guards against the stigma of being labeled a criminal. To that end, juvenile criminal records are generally confidential. But there are exceptions to confidentiality. (In re Jeffrey T., 140 Cal.App.4th 1015 (2006).)

(To learn more about juvenile court proceedings, which are usually considered civil rather than criminal, see Juvenile Court: An Overview.)

Among the people and entities who may be given access to juvenile criminal records are:

  • parents and legal guardians
  • juveniles’ attorneys
  • school officials
  • law enforcement agencies
  • federal, state, and city attorneys
  • research organizations, and
  • child protective agencies.

Depending upon the state, the above individuals and entities may or may not need court orders in order to inspect, receive, or copy juvenile case files.

Public Access

Under certain circumstances, juvenile criminal records may even be accessible to the general public. As juvenile crime has increased and become more violent, policy makers have had to balance between competing interests: the interests of the community and juveniles’ privacy.

Some courts may allow public access to juvenile delinquency records when “the public’s right to know and the strong interests of the victims outweigh any concern about stigmatizing the minor or endangering his chances of rehabilitation.” (U.S. v. L.M., 425 F.Supp.2d 948 (N.D. Iowa 2006).) However, agencies may have to redact sensitive information about minors in such situations, including their names.

Some states have laws that allow law enforcement agencies to release identifying information under certain circumstances. In California, for example, law enforcement agencies have some discretion to release the names of juveniles accused of crimes that are classified as serious or violent. (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 827.2, 827.5, 827.6.) And sealing and destruction of juvenile records aren't allowed for those 14 or older who have committed such offenses. (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781.) The intent behind the prohibition against record sealing and destruction in California is to hold youthful offenders more accountable for their behavior. (In re Jeffrey T., supra.)

Court Proceedings

Juvenile criminal records may come out in court during trials where the juvenile is a witness and at sentencing hearings.

Right to confront

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to confront their accusers. In part, the right of confrontation allows a defendant to introduce evidence of a witness’s motive to lie. If a witness testifying against a defendant is a juvenile, the defendant may be able to access the juvenile’s criminal record and at trial introduce evidence relating to it. For instance, the criminal record may show that the juvenile has a motive to lie in exchange for leniency. However, the defense typically needs to establish that the juvenile committed serious acts of delinquency that are related to the juvenile’s testimony. Moreover, prior to disclosing a juvenile’s records, courts scrutinize them to make sure to reveal only relevant information. (For information on a defendant’s right to information, see Discovery. Also see Investigating a Criminal Case.)

Sentencing hearings

Some states authorize courts to consider the juvenile offenses of adult criminal defendants during sentencing hearings relating to later crimes. States may limit the use of juvenile records in this context—for example, allowing consideration of violent juvenile offenses only. (For more on factors that increase sentences, see Aggravating Circumstances in Sentencing.)

Seek Expert Guidance

Exceptions to the confidentiality of juvenile records vary across the states and from state to federal court, and depend on the circumstances. For a more comprehensive overview of juvenile-record confidentiality, consult an attorney experienced in juvenile law. Consult such a lawyer if you have concerns about the privacy of particular records or want to know whether you can access them.

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Tags: California, criminal records, rehabilitation guards, sentencing, juvenile criminal justice system, records

Bay Area DUI Checkpoints (Cinco de Mayo - 2015)

Posted by Chris Morales on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

DUI Checkpoints (Cinco de Mayo 2015) – Bay Area

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Tags: California, Criminal Defense, Bay Area, DUI Checkpoints, San Francisco Bay Area, DUI Updates, cinco de mayo, DUI lawyer, DUI arrests

California Driving Laws for Seniors and Older Drivers

Posted by Chris Morales on Tue, Apr 07, 2015 @ 09:50 AM

Learn about driving provisions and special programs focused on keeping both California's older drivers and roadways safe.

In California, there are more than 5.5 million drivers over the age of 55—and more than 2.5 million of them are 70 or older. While the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages, the state imposes some special requirements and restrictions on older drivers.

California state rules are explained in more detail below, but a number of them focus on identifying and handling older drivers who may have become unsafe. Specifically, California:

  • requires drivers age 70 and older to renew their licenses in person and to take both a vision test and written test when doing so
  • accepts requests from family members and others for the DMV to conduct unsafe driver investigations, and
  • requires doctors who diagnose patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions that may make them unsafe drivers to report the diagnosis.

License Renewal Rules for Older Drivers

Special rules apply to drivers who are 70 and older who seek to renew their licenses.

Time limits: Drivers age 70 and older must renew in person every five years.

Vision test: Required at in-person renewal. DMV personnel will conduct a test free, or drivers can have an exam performed by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist, who must complete a Report of Vision Examination and conduct the exam within six months of the renewal request.

Written test: Required at in-person renewal.

Road test: Required only if there are indications of driver impairment, based on a report by a law enforcement officer, a physician, or a family member.

Possible License Restrictions

The DMV can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver license after administering a driving test and discussing possible restrictions with him or her.

The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.

In California, other common requirements the DMV may impose on older drivers include:

  • no freeway driving
  • an additional right side mirror on a vehicle
  • no nighttime driving
  • time of day restrictions—for example, no driving during rush hour traffic
  • supports to ensure a proper driving position
  • geographic area restrictions, and
  • wearing bioptic telescopic lens when driving.

How to Request an Unsafe Driver Investigation in California

The California DMV will accept information from the driver him or herself, courts, police, other DMVs, family members, and virtually any other source. While anonymous reports of unsafe driving will not be accepted, anyone can ask that his or her name be kept confidential, and the DMV vows to honor that confidentiality “to the fullest extent possible.”

There are two ways to request that the DMV review driving qualifications:

  • Write a letter identifying the driver who is causing the concern, giving specific reasons for making the report, and mail it to the local Driver Safety Office.
  • Complete a form, Request for Driver Reexamination, and mail it or take it to one of the DMV locations listed on the form.

Mandatory Reporting for Doctors

California is one of only a few states that require doctors who diagnose a patient with a disorder characterized by lapses of consciousness, Alzheimer‘s disease, or any other condition likely to impair driving to report that diagnosis to the local health department, which must forward it to the DMV, which in turn has the discretion to pull the patient’s license or require a driving test.

California Driver Improvement Programs

Drivers can improve their skills by taking an education and training class specifically developed for older drivers. Look for local course offerings called Mature Driver Improvement Programs.

How to Get a License Reinstated

For information on how to get back a license that has been suspended or revoked in California, contact one of the DMV Driver Safety Offices located throughout the state.

California Ombudsman Program for Senior Drivers

The California DMV has a Senior Ombudsman Program aimed to keep older adults driving as long as they can do so safely.

The ombudsmen, located in several offices throughout the state, can help ensure that senior drivers are treated fairly and respectfully, and consistently with laws and regulations. They can assist in individual cases, and also conduct outreach seminars to groups aimed at promoting driver safety for seniors.

DMV Senior Ombudsmen are available at the following locations:

  • Sacramento, Northern California—916-657-6464
  • San Francisco, Oakland—510-563-8998
  • Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego—714-705-1588
  • Los Angeles, Oxnard—310-412-6103

How to Get Parking Placards or License Plates for a Disabled Driver

Disabled person parking placards and license plates can be issued to drivers who have impaired mobility if a licensed physician, surgeon, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse midwife certifies the condition.

The placards and plates are also available for those who have:

  • severe heart or circulatory disease
  • severe lung disease
  • a diagnosed disease or disorder that significantly limits the use of lower extremities
  • specific visual problems, including low-vision or partial-sightedness, or
  • the loss, or loss of the use, of one or both lower extremities or both hands.

To obtain a disabled placard or plate:

  • Complete and sign an Application for Disabled Person Placard or Plates.
  • Have a licensed physician, surgeon, chiropractor, optometrist, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or certified midwife sign the Doctor’s Certification portion of the application—unless the driver has lost a lower extremity or both hands and appears in person at a local DMV office or has been previously assigned license plates for a disabled person.
  • Include a fee of $6 for a parking placard for a temporary condition; permanent plates and placards are free.
  • Mail the original application to the address on the form.

Learn More About California Driving Rules for Seniors

The DMV website has a wealth of information for California drivers, including links to the controlling laws and driver license handbooks in several different languages. Of special interest is the Senior Guide for Safe Driving, which includes advice on recognizing and assessing vision and cognitive impairment and conditions that may affect driving and the DMV web page dedicated to Senior Drivers.

You can find the nearest DMV office through an online search of Public Offices By Location.

Where to Find a Lawyer for Help

You can use Nolo’s Lawyer Directory to find local lawyers experienced in representing older people who need help with auto accidents or traffic tickets.

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Tags: California, Older Drivers, Laws, Seniors, DMV

California DUI Law

Posted by Chris Morales on Mon, Apr 06, 2015 @ 09:10 AM

 

DUI laws and penalties in California.

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Tags: California, DUI, driving under the influence, Jail Time, offense, breathalyzer

Second Offense DUI in California

Posted by Chris Morales on Fri, Apr 03, 2015 @ 07:20 AM
by  Attorney
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Tags: California, felony, DUI, Jail Time, misdemeanor, penalties, suspended license, Second Offense

Exceptions to Confidentiality of Juvenile Criminal Records

Posted by Chris Morales on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Juvenile criminal records are confidential in most circumstances, but the exceptions are significant.

To a much greater extent that its adult counterpart, the juvenile criminal justice system focuses on rehabilitation and guards against the stigma of being labeled a criminal. To that end, juvenile criminal records are generally confidential. But there are exceptions to confidentiality. (In re Jeffrey T., 140 Cal.App.4th 1015 (2006).)

(To learn more about juvenile court proceedings, which are usually considered civil rather than criminal, see Juvenile Court: An Overview.)

Among the people and entities who may be given access to juvenile criminal records are:

  • parents and legal guardians
  • juveniles’ attorneys
  • school officials
  • law enforcement agencies
  • federal, state, and city attorneys
  • research organizations, and
  • child protective agencies.

Depending upon the state, the above individuals and entities may or may not need court orders in order to inspect, receive, or copy juvenile case files.

Public Access

Under certain circumstances, juvenile criminal records may even be accessible to the general public. As juvenile crime has increased and become more violent, policy makers have had to balance between competing interests: the interests of the community and juveniles’ privacy.

Some courts may allow public access to juvenile delinquency records when “the public’s right to know and the strong interests of the victims outweigh any concern about stigmatizing the minor or endangering his chances of rehabilitation.” (U.S. v. L.M., 425 F.Supp.2d 948 (N.D. Iowa 2006).) However, agencies may have to redact sensitive information about minors in such situations, including their names.

Some states have laws that allow law enforcement agencies to release identifying information under certain circumstances. In California, for example, law enforcement agencies have some discretion to release the names of juveniles accused of crimes that are classified as serious or violent. (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 827.2, 827.5, 827.6.) And sealing and destruction of juvenile records aren't allowed for those 14 or older who have committed such offenses. (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781.) The intent behind the prohibition against record sealing and destruction in California is to hold youthful offenders more accountable for their behavior. (In re Jeffrey T., supra.)

Court Proceedings

Juvenile criminal records may come out in court during trials where the juvenile is a witness and at sentencing hearings.

Right to confront

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to confront their accusers. In part, the right of confrontation allows a defendant to introduce evidence of a witness’s motive to lie. If a witness testifying against a defendant is a juvenile, the defendant may be able to access the juvenile’s criminal record and at trial introduce evidence relating to it. For instance, the criminal record may show that the juvenile has a motive to lie in exchange for leniency. However, the defense typically needs to establish that the juvenile committed serious acts of delinquency that are related to the juvenile’s testimony. Moreover, prior to disclosing a juvenile’s records, courts scrutinize them to make sure to reveal only relevant information. (For information on a defendant’s right to information, see Discovery. Also see Investigating a Criminal Case.)

Sentencing hearings

Some states authorize courts to consider the juvenile offenses of adult criminal defendants during sentencing hearings relating to later crimes. States may limit the use of juvenile records in this context—for example, allowing consideration of violent juvenile offenses only. (For more on factors that increase sentences, see Aggravating Circumstances in Sentencing.)

Seek Expert Guidance

Exceptions to the confidentiality of juvenile records vary across the states and from state to federal court, and depend on the circumstances. For a more comprehensive overview of juvenile-record confidentiality, consult an attorney experienced in juvenile law. Consult such a lawyer if you have concerns about the privacy of particular records or want to know whether you can access them.

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Tags: California, Juvenile criminal records, court proceedings, sentencing hearings, exceptions, public access to records

Out-of-State Tickets

Posted by Chris Morales on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 @ 09:55 AM

Out-of-state drivers accused of traffic violations are taken to jail, or before a judge and aren’t released until either bail is posted or a fine is paid. The reason for this is because the state has no way short of extradition to guarantee the appearance or the payment of the fine of out-of-state residents. This practice is becoming less frequent, but still occurs in some states. So, when doing extensive driving out of state, you may want to carry additional cash.

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Tags: California, fine, driving privileges, record, out of state tickets, traffic violations