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Auburn California Criminal Defense Blog

Two former sheriff's deputies facing drug charges

It is no surprise for most people to hear that individuals break laws on a regular basis. It might be shocking, however, to hear that two former California sheriff's deputies supposedly committed crimes. The two men were accused of several drug charges related to stealing and selling marijuana seized in multiple drug busts.

According to authorities, the two former deputies worked with a former detective to steal marijuana from the force's storage unit over the course of about four months in 2014. The cannabis had been previously seized by police during various drug busts. The group allegedly intended to sell the plants and the buds they had collected to a confidential informant. The men reportedly repeated this process on 10 separate occasions, receiving thousands of dollars in return.

California senator co-sponsors bill to end bail

California jails are filled with people who are unable to pay their bail, and Senators Kamala Harris and Rand Paul are hoping to change that.

As they explain in their New York Times opinion piece, 450,000 Americans await trial in jail because they cannot afford to pay their bail. The amounts set are sometimes extremely high in relation to the crime committed: $20,000 for stealing clothes worth little more than $100 in some cases. Higher bail is set for black and Latino men compared to white defendants accused of similar crimes. All of this is meant to ensure that those accused of crimes show up for their court dates, but studies show holding people before their trials for more than 24 hours and then releasing them actually decreases the likelihood that they will return for their day in court. Perhaps this is because people who are detained can lose their jobs, homes and sometimes even custody of their children as a result of long pretrial detentions. It also costs taxpayers about $14 billion a year.

Can you still drive after a DUI arrest in California?

If you plan a nice evening out with friends in California, you likely expect that, barring any major complications or unforeseen circumstances, you'll safely arrive at your destination, enjoy a few hours of good food, drink and conversation, then travel back home, toting memories of good times and good friends. There's obviously no way to predict the future, however, and sometimes things don't always go as planned, especially if the "good drink" portion of your evening involves alcohol.

Have you thought ahead to what would happen if police pull you over on your way home and charge you with DUI? You might scoff at such an idea, especially if you know you'd only imbibe a drink or two because you're a responsible driver. You might be surprised how many people wind up in such situations, some who never even touched a drop of alcohol before getting behind the wheel!

What is the bail amount for vehicular manslaughter?

If you or a loved one have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in California, you might have several questions. While the possible sentences and plea options may be unknown, one of the first things to cross your mind will likely be the bail necessary to be released from prison. The Superior Court of California has detailed the exact amounts that will be required for all types of vehicular manslaughter.

 

Accuracy of field sobriety tests

If you are wondering about how officers determine a driver's intoxication level during a drunk driving arrest process in California, you are not alone. In fact, because enjoying a beer or glass of wine is so common at social gatherings, anyone who has even one beverage and then drives home should understand these things.

If you have been stopped by a law enforcement officer and that officer begins to suspect you may have consumed alcohol, they may ask you to participate in some tests right there where they have stopped you. As FieldSobrietyTests.org indicates, these tests are not used to determine whether or not you are legally intoxicated. In fact, they are not even able to determine that. What they are used for is to gather enough evidence to support arresting you by showing that you might possibly be intoxicated.

How much trouble can tagging get you into?

Many people don't consider vandalism like graffiti or tagging to be a "big crime"; at least not compared to things like drunk driving, drug dealing, or assault. However, you should be aware of the fact that California actually takes vandalism quite seriously, and you could be in for some trouble if you're ever accused of defacing property.

The Santa Clarita Gazette clarified that vandalism in all forms is not generally considered a minor infraction, though it can wobble between classifications. Depending on the severity of the crime, you could be facing a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor. The cost of damages will usually play the primary role in determining which side it falls on, with damages of over $400 resulting in a felony while damages under $400 may be charged as a misdemeanor.

Proposed law could remove some from sex offender registry

A bill has passed in the California Senate that would change the laws regarding sex offender registration. As the Los Angeles Times reports, although the state is typically tough on those convicted of sex crimes, the proposed law would end lifetime registration for sex offenders. Currently, California is one of only four states that require those convicted of sex crimes to register and check in each year for the rest of their lives after leaving prison. The other states are Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. The new law would allow those convicted of lower-level crimes and those deemed not a risk for recidivism to be removed from the list 10 to 20 years after they are released from prison.

Currently, California is one of only four states that require those convicted of sex crimes to register and check in each year for the rest of their lives after leaving prison. The other states are Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. The new law would allow those convicted of lower-level crimes and those deemed not a risk for recidivism to be removed from the list 10 to 20 years after they are released from prison, so long as they have not committed another serious violent or sex crime. The current law requires sex offenders to provide a significant amount of personal information, including their address, license plate number, current employer, and photo.

When does drinking affect your ability to drive?

California drivers like you know the numbers to avoid if you don't want to get a DUI. However, measuring blood alcohol content (or BAC) might not actually be the best way to determine whether or not you're okay to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The University of Texas did a study that showed the different ways alcohol affected driving ability. The comprehension, concentration and judgment of drivers were understandably far lower than usual after drinking. After a certain amount of alcohol, your vision, reaction time, coordination and hearing will also suffer. However, how quickly the drinks affect a person differs wildly from one individual to another.

What happens if I refuse to take a DUI chemical test?

While it may not seem like a big deal at the time, refusal to take a chemical test when requested to do so during a suspected DUI traffic stop can result in serious penalties. In fact, all charges related to drunk driving can result in serious penalties, no matter what your offense may be, and you would be wise to work to confront these charges effectively.

The loss of your driving privileges is one of the most significant consequences of refusal to submit to a chemical test. You need a valid California license to go to work, school, transport your children and take care of everyday needs, and protecting your right to drive could be a crucial element of your defense.

New law regulates drugged driving

With both medical and recreational marijuana recently becoming legal in California, lawmakers have put regulations into place to keep impaired drivers off of the roads. According to KHTS, Governor Brown signed measures meant to help law enforcement both understand and enforce the laws regarding DUIs and marijuana.

One of the regulations, an 'open container' law, puts the same rules into place as those used for alcohol: if it is being transported in the cabin of the car it must be in a sealed, unopened container. Otherwise, drivers need to keep their pot in the trunk. Courthouse News reports that this legislation is coming, in part, due to reports that more drivers killed in car crashes now were impaired by drugs, rather than alcohol, as in years past. Lawmakers are likely also trying to get laws on the books before the sale of legal recreational marijuana is protected, since Washington and Colorado have encountered issues with drug use while driving since legalization in 2012.