Stun Guns in California

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Blog, criminal defense, Featured

I recently had a client ask me whether or not it was illegal for his girlfriend to carry a stun gun for protection.  Here are some thoughts. A stun gun, popularly know as a Taser, the main manufacturer of stun guns, is a device that is used or intended to be used as either an offensive of defensive weapon, which is capable of temporarily immobilizing a person by inflicting an electrical charge. In California, most people may purchase, posses, or use a stun gun, and they do not have to obtain a permit.  However, you may not purchase, possess, or use a stun gun if you are: (i) a convicted felon, someone convicted of an assault under Federal or any State’s laws or the laws of any country, or have a prior conviction for misusing a stun gun under Cal. Pen. Code section 244.5; or (ii) addicted to any narcotic drug. California law also limits minors’ possession of stun guns.  Those under the age of 16 may not posses them.  Minors who are 16 t 18 years of age must have parental or guardian consent. Furthermore, it is illegal in California to carry or use a stun gun when you are in a secure area of an airport or in a passenger terminal in a harbor facility that hosts regular commuter operations; or in any state of local government building; or in any meeting that is required by law to be open to the public.  Violations of these rules are misdemeanors. Finally, anyone who uses a stun gun to assault another may be charged with an assault.  Violations may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending largely upon the facts of the case and the damage done to the other party. This is meant to be a basic introduction to the laws surrounding stun guns in California.  However, it is important to recognize that there are other applicable laws that could come into play, such as concealed weapon laws and carry a deadly weapon laws. If you have any questions about whether or not you are allowed to purchase, carry, or use a stun gun in California, or if you are facing charges for a stun gun violation, call me to discuss the matter...

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Felony Leaving the Scene of an Accident can be a Positive Outcome

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in criminal defense

Recently attorney Frank R. Pabst took on a major media case in which the alleged victim, Miguel Rojas, a known local gang member, was killed in an auto accident.  The broadside collission case which resulted in the death of Mr. Rojas has received major media attention, having been reported on by San Diego Channel 10 News, CBS Channel 8 San Diego, Fox 5 San Diego, the North County Times, the San Diego Union Tribune, 760KFMB San Diego Talk Radio, as well as the Escondido Police Website.  The defendant and Mr. Pabst’s client in the case is Juan Carlos Carrillo and the case was heard in North County Courthouse, Vista, CA. On July 3, 2011 at approximately 2:15 a.m., Juan Carrillo was driving his 1995 Lexus ES300 eastbound on Washington Ave approaching Fig St, and had two passengers in his casr at the time.  The alleged victim, Miguel Rojas, was driving a 1993 Dodge Caravan and was stopped in the driveway of 715 E Washington Ave.  As Carrillo approached the driveway at 715 E Washinton Ave, he is alleged to have been traveling approximately 73 mph in a 35 mph zone.  Mr. Rojas pulled out of the driveway onto Washington Ave in front of Mr. Carrillo producing a broadside collision.  During the collision, Mr. Rojas’ vehicle immediately caught fire and Rojas was unable to exit the vehcile.  Mr. Rojas was pronounced dead at the scene.  The cause of death was later determined to be blunt force trauma to the head and neck and smoke inhalation and burns. Immediately following the accideent, friends and family of the victim began making death threats to Mr. Carrillo.  In fear for his life, Mr. Carrillo fled the scene of the accident.  Mr. Carillo along with his two passengers, are alleged to have ran away from the scene and were picked up by an unidentified person.  The unidentified person drove passenger Francisco Carrillo to Palomar Medical Centrer and Juan Carrillo went home.  Mr. Carrillo later went to the Escondido Police Department and claimed that Francisco Carrillo was the driver of the vehicle.  However, evidence demonstrates that Juan Carrillo was in fact the driver and Mr. Carrillo turned himself into the authorities admitting that he was indeed the driver of the vehicle involved in the collission.  Mr. Carrillo was later arrested and booked into the Vista Detention Facility and charged with violating Cal. Vehicle Code 200001(b)(2), leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury. Due to the possibility of an additional charge of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter, Mr. Carrillo faced a possible exposure of up to four (4) years in a state prison.  However, as a result of negotiations and a Stipulation with Deputy District Attorney Brock Arstill to bind over at the Preliminary Hearing stage of the case, Mr. Pabst was able to successfully reduce client’s exposure.  Mr. Pabst was ultimately...

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To Hire Or Not To Hire. Private vs. Public Criminal Defense

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in criminal defense

I recently saw the following article posted on the website of a collegue, mentor, and exceptional criminal defense attorney here in San Diego and thought it might be of interest to some of my readers as well.  Please review the following article originally produced by Adam M. Ruben and feel free to comment back or tweet me @esq4me: In the aftermath of trouble some of us may be left puzzling over what to do next. Who should we call? Where should we turn for advice? Perhaps the thought of sprinting towards the Mexican border seems tempting. But what most of us don’t debate is whether we should be represented by a lawyer. We know that even if we don’t choose a San Diego criminal defense attorney, a public defender will be chosen for us. Many of us may take for granted this right to be represented by a lawyer in court. But the right to a publicly appointed attorney didn’t become concrete until 1963. In the case of Gideon v. Wainwrightthe Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment guaranteed a court appointed attorney for all indigent criminal defendants at the state’s expense. Historically, the success rate of these public defenders equaled that of private San Diego criminal lawyers. But beginning in the 1980’s this equilibrium started to disappear. Studies illustrated that hiring private San Diego criminal defense council had become significantly more effective. Why has a private San Diego criminal defense lawyer become so much more successful than a public defender? Certainly we all have the preconditioned image of the stereotypical bleary eyed, overburdened, court appointed lawyer rushing into the courtroom to provide an underprepared and hasty defense. Most would associate this overworked attorney with the assumption that crime has become significantly more widespread, and accordingly there aren’t enough public criminal lawyers to provide the services needed. However, the crime rate has actually been decreasing in San Diego County since 1989 when the number of crimes reported by the San Diego Police Department reached its all time high of 102,991. In 2011 the numbers for total crimes reported had deflated to 34,813. Yet the number of cases allocated to a single public attorney has continued to increase. The simple explanation for this lies with budget cuts. The money allocated for court appointed San Diego criminal defense attorneys comes from public funds. The money for public services has been drastically reduced, especially since the onset of the global economic recession. Consequently, spending for public criminal defense attorneys has decreased dramatically. This unhappy trend coexists alongside the tightening of the general public’s purse strings. Those convicted of a crime have become more reluctant to choose a private San Diego criminal defense attorney and are relying on public criminal defense instead. The influx of people choosing public defense compounded with the cuts in public spending means significant disadvantages for those not willing to spend money...

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House Arrest/Home Confinement as an alternative to Jail

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in criminal defense

Serving time in a county jail is a component of sentencing for many California criminal violations. Nevertheless, many clients never actually serve time in jail. There are many reasons why this is the case, and the facts and circumstances surrounding each case are different. Sentencing alternatives, such as House Arrest, are commonly used to prevent a client from having to serve time in jail, which results in interruptions in family and social life, as well as the possibility of the client losing their job. The term “House arrest,” often used interchangeably with “Home Confinement,” “Home Detention,” or “Electronic Monitoring,” is a type of alternative sentencing providing clients with alternatives to a jail or prison sentence. I have written this Blog in an attempt to answer some of the basic questions clients have posited regarding these alternatives. So what is House Arrest?  Although House Arrest can exclusively confine you to your residence, that isn’t always the case, and, in fact, rarely is.  When the judge places a client on Home Confinement or detention, he or she orders you to abide by specific terms and conditions that restrict your freedom and mobility.  This may still feel like punishment, as well it should, but it is still more desirable than traditional incarceration.  Common terms and conditions include: curfew restriction; random drug testing; and/or face to face meetings in a County Probation Office or at the client’s home.  Depending upon the severity of the client’s offense and criminal record, a judge may even allow the client to work or attend school, travel to medical appointments, attend and participate in counseling appointments, alcohol and/or drug classes, community service, tend to family obligations, attend religious gatherings, and participate in any other court-approved activities provided that the client only travel to and from court-approved appointments and that the client is in his or her home when otherwise required to be there. (Cal. Pen. Code, section 1203.016.) Of course, clients must understand that a judge will not simply offer house arrest on his or her own.  It is a privilege which must be requested by a skilled criminal defense lawyer.  The attorney has to know how to convince the prosecutor and judge that the client is deserving of such an opportunity and that the client will benefit from the use of alternative sentencing.  As with anything these days, there is a cost associated with this type of alternative.  It is important for the client to understand that as an offender, the client is generally responsible for paying any costs that are associated with regulating his or her house arrest, although you cannot be prevented from participating in this type of program based exclusively on inability to pay.  (Cal. Pen. Code section 1203.016(g).) So how does it work?  House Arrest is monitored via an electronic monitoring system.  Electronic monitoring is administered in a number of ways, depending upon...

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