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Newport Beach Criminal Defense Blog

What is the "three-strikes" law?

Intending to increase punishment for repeat offenders, California passed a "three-strikes" law in 1994. According to the law, anyone who has been previously convicted of a serious felony will face much more severe consequences if they are convicted of a subsequent felony, even a relatively minor one, in the future.

Generally, a serious or violent felony is classified as a felony involving a violent act, crime involving a weapon or serious injury, or other severe offense. Some serious felonies include kidnapping, murder, and sex crimes such as rape. Upon a second felony offense, a defendant must go to prison and will not be eligible for probation or rehab. A second-time offender will also face double the sentence generally required for the new offense.

Drug trafficking and distribution is a serious crime

Possession of a controlled substance is a serious crime itself, but distribution of a controlled substance can be even more serious. In California, drug distribution is generally defined as the sale, transport, transfer and/or import of controlled substances. With marijuana now becoming legalized in many states, California does allow up to 28 grams of marijuana to be transported or transferred by people over age 21.

Transporting a controlled substance in California can result in a felony, and anywhere from three to five years in prison. However, certain factors can increase the sentence you receive, such as the involvement of minors. For instance, if you sell illegal substances to minors or hire minors to sell these drugs, you could get up to nine years in prison. The sale or distribution of prescription drugs can also result in drug distribution charges, if the seller did not have the appropriate license or credentials to dispense the drugs.

Former UCLA physician charged with sexual battery

A former UCLA physician faces two charges of sexual battery and one charge of sexual exploitation of a patient after allegations of sexual misconduct from two female patients that were treated by the doctor in 2017 and 2018.

The obstetrician-gynecologist retired from the university last year after 30 years, following an investigation into these claims. The university reported him to the Medical Board of California and law enforcement and removed him from clinical practice. The doctor has plead not guilty and will soon appear in court for arraignment.

Asset forfeiture rules in California

Law enforcement commonly uses asset forfeiture in many criminal cases around the state of California. It is the process by which the government seizes assets, including property, cars and artwork, from individuals accused of a crime. Many people regard it to be an unfair practice because it punishes the individual before the state has convicted him or her of a crime. The authorities can use it from everything from drug crimes to white-collar crimes

In the last few years, the police have confiscated everything from cash and jewelry to priceless artwork. This all amounts to millions of dollars taken away from citizens. It is vital to understand the state's asset forfeiture rules so you know when and if the police cross a line. 

Newport Beach defendants need a tenacious trial attorney

It can be shocking, confusing and disorienting to be accused of a violent crime. Violent crime sentences can be draconian, so it is important to keep a clear head. There may be a number of defenses available to those facing murder charges, rape charges, assault charges and other allegations of violence. It's important to employ any available defenses, as sentences for violent offenses can be steep.

Recently we told you about a sentencing enhancement California has for those convicted of possessing or using a gun while committing a felony. If this happens, the accused faces an extra year in prison on top of whatever sentence is handed down for committing the underlying felony. The enhancement can apply regardless of whether the underlying felony is a violent one or not, but judges do have discretion to disregard an applicable sentencing enhancement in the interests of justice.

Weapon use in a crime carries additional penalties

California law calls for strict punishments against those who commit violent crimes. Even with no aggravating circumstances, a Newport Beach resident who gets convicted of a felony may face years or even decades in prison as well as stiff fines. For those who get lucky enough to avoid jail, the terms of probation can be burdensome and very expensive.

Like other states, California also imposes additional punishments when a person is accused of committing a felony under circumstances that lawmakers believe make the crime more serious. One of the more common sentencing enhancements that prosecutors in this state use is an enhancement for those who use a gun, or even have a firearm on them, while they commit a felony.

Domestic assault is a serious offense

Legally, like other battery charges, so-called domestic battery, which may be referred to as domestic assault, is a misdemeanor offense in California, assuming of course there are no other aggravating circumstances.

However, this does not make domestic battery a minor offense by any stretch of the imagination. Even someone who otherwise has a clean criminal history should take a charge of domestic battery very seriously.

Considerations re serious criminal drug charges in California

Legions of people in states across the country view California as being a liberal bastion concerning virtually all things. As such, it is hardly surprising that many individuals would expect the state’s drug laws to be comparatively lenient, with criminal law authorities not being routinely ruthless in their pursuit of unlawful drug activity.

This is a mistaken assumption.

Celebrity attorney faces gamete of federal charges

Michael Avenatti, perhaps Newport Beach's most well-known attorney, is now looking at a maximum sentence of over 300 years in prison based on a 36-count federal indictment from a grand jury seated in California. The indictment alleges Mr. Avenatti committed a variety of white collar crimes. For his part, Mr. Avenatti, through his attorney, denied the charges and indicated that he looks forward to his day in court.

The indictment includes allegations that Mr. Avenatti engaged in tax fraud and also committed other financial crimes. In essence, the accusation is that Mr. Avenatti diverted millions from clients who were expecting him to hold their money in trust. Mr. Avenatti received some of the money from settlement proceeds that he allegedly did not tell his clients about but used for personal expenditures instead.

What is a Ponzi scheme?

Residents of Newport Beach, California, who follow the news have probably heard about Ponzi schemes. Many of these white collar crimes make the national news, particularly when the amount of money involved is in the millions of dollars and charges get filed in federal court.

To explain a Ponzi scheme further, it starts with the organizer of the scheme making promises to would-be investors that if they choose to invest money with the organizer, than they will get a high rate of return on their dollars. The organizer in turn is able to take a cut of the investors' money.

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers NACDL 1958 10 best 2016 client satisfaction American Institute of criminal Law attorneys American Institute of criminal law Attorneys 2016 Client satisfaction Award - 10 best law firm America's top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys 2018

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