Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney’

What Are “wobblers” in California Criminal Law?

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Like any other profession, the world of criminal law has its own lingo.    Go into any criminal lawyers office, any courtroom and you’ll hear the word “wobbler” thrown around quite a bit.   So what is it?

In California, there a wide variety of offenses that can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors.  These offenses are wobblers.  What sort of felonies are wobblers?  Well, too many to list here, but here are a few of the most common:

    • Domestic violence or spousal battery with injury (Penal Code 273.5)
    • Grand Theft (Penal Code 487)
    • Possession of certain controlled substances (Health and Safety Code 11377)
    • Possession of concentrated cannabis (aka hash) (Health and Safety Code 11357(a))
    • Driving Under the Influence with Injury (Vehicle Code Section 23153)
    • Sexual penetration with a foreign object where victim is a minor (Penal Code 288(h)
    • Criminal Threats (Penal Code Section 422)
    • Resisting arrest by force (Penal Code 69)

So how does the prosecutor decide whether to file a charge as a felony or a misdemeanor? It depends on the severity of the alleged conduct and the defendant’s criminal history.  For example, if  a guy with no criminal record or arrests is accused of hitting is girlfriend and it leaves a small bruise or other minor injury, that may very well be charged as a misdemeanor.  If someone with a series of arrests or prior convictions is accused of the same thing, even if the priors are unrelated to the current charge, a felony may be filed.   Along those lines, if the injury is more serious, it may be filed as a felony even if the injury is not severe.  It also largely depends on the policies of the individual prosecutor’s office.  Even within the same county, each prosecutor’s office in each courthouse has a different policy.

 The other thing to know about wobblers is that even if the case if filed as a felony, it gives your attorney some room to try and reduce the charge to a misdemeanor – either at a preliminary hearing or through negotiating with the DA.    Even if someone is convicted of a felony, if the charge is a wobbler, they may be eligible for the case to be reduced to a misdemeanor through the expungement process.
If you want to know more about wobblers, or to discuss your criminal case in general, call me for a free confidential consultation at 310-210-0744.
Share

TOP 5 QUESTIONS ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CALIFORNIA

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Here’s 5 things you need to know about domestic violence in California

QUESTION #1: CAN THE “VICTIM” DROP THE CHARGES?  

ANSWER:  NO.  Bad night? Got a little drunk and things got out of control? You wanted to teach your spouse/significant other a “lesson” so you called the cops and said you got slapped around, even though it didn’t really happen?  Or maybe things got a little heated and you shoved each other during a loud argument and one of you or a neighbor called the police?  But now, after your loved one has been arrested, you want to take back the accusations and make this go away?   TOO BAD.  You see, you are no longer in control. The police refer every domestic violence arrest to the local prosecutor.  If the prosecutor thinks they have a case, they’ll file a case.

QUESTION #2:  IF I’M ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SHOULD I TELL THE “VICTIM” NOT TO SHOW UP TO COURT?

ANSWER:  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  This is a terrible idea.  First, if there’s a criminal protective order or “no contact” order in place, you shouldn’t even be talking to the alleged victim.  So the very act of talking to him/her could result in new charges being filed against you.  Second, even if you ARE allowed to talk to the alleged victim, it is a crime to dissuade a witness from testifying.  Third, if the alleged victim has been subpoenaed to go to court, YOU should not be the one to give him/her advice as to how to handle it.

QUESTION #3:   I’M THE SO-CALLED VICTIM, THE PROSECUTOR WANTS ME TO TESTIFY, I DON’T WANT TO.  WHAT DO I DO?

ANSWER:  CALL A LAWYER.  I know you’re reading a blog post written by a lawyer, so this is the answer you’d expect, but I’m serious.  Contact a criminal defense attorney who deals with domestic violence (yes, that links are to me). There’s lots of issues here: What is the nature of your testimony going to be?  Have you been served a subpoena or are you just being hassled by a prosecutor or the police? Are you worried about incriminating yourself?  If you have a subpoena in your hand, you need to call an attorney and show him/her the subpoena and get some advice before deciding whether or not to show up at court. If the subpoena was lawfully issued, you need to show up to court.  Only a qualified lawyer can tell you if it was lawfully issued.

QUESTION #4: BUT I TOLD THE COPS NOT TO ARREST MY HUSBAND/WIFE/BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND?

ANSWER:  THAT’S THEIR JOB.  If the cops get called to a domestic disturbance and there’s ANY evidence that someone laid a hand on someone else, someone is getting arrested. That is just the policy of most police departments in California.  This is why when the police showed up, they separated the two of you and asked you questions out of earshot from each other.  Even if there were no bruises or visible injuries to either of you, if one person even admits to barely touching the other person, even if self-defense, someone is going to jail.  That’s just the way it is in our post OJ Simpson world. Sorry.

QUESTION #5  THIS SUCKS!  DON’T PROSECUTORS UNDERSTAND THAT COUPLES FIGHT SOMETIMES? 

ANSWER:  YES AND NO.  Look, no politician is going to ever get re-elected by passing a law that softens up the domestic violence laws.  And to be fair, there are many serious and legitimate cases of domestic violence out there.  But just as often, there are other agendas going on:  Revenge, trying to get leverage in a divorce or child custody case, substance abuse, mental illness, jealousy.  But that’s the job of a lawyer and possibly a private investigator to figure out.  DO NOT TRY TO INVESTIGATE OR DEFEND YOUR OWN CASE. Whether you are accused of domestic violence or if police and prosecution say you’re a “victim”, you need to talk to a lawyer before making any real decision about how to proceed.

 

 

 

 

Share