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At the end of August, the California governor signed a bill to reform the bail system. The law eliminates the widely used cash-bail system and replaces it with a risk-based bail system.

The purpose of a cash-bail system was to ensure defendants show up in court. Bail would be set depending on the extremity of the alleged crime, with certain crimes having severe bails meant to deter release. Money will no longer be a factor in deciding who is released and who will be held imprisoned until trial. Each county in California will be required to use their own system of risk assessment. Factors considered will be probability of a defendant’s attendance at trial as well as probability of another offense before trial.

How Could the End of Cash Bail Affect My California Case?

According to the Superior Court of California County of Alameda’s 2017 bond schedule, the bail amount recommended for a first-time offense DUI is $5,000. A second offense has a recommended bail of $15,000.  A study by the Federal Reserve found that nearly 50-percent of the population can’t pay for a $400 emergency if need be. Trying to pay a bail of $5,000 could devastate a person and their family financially. If the bail couldn’t be paid, that defendant would sit in jail until their case was seen in front of a judge. Looking at the new law in this way, it brings an equality to the bail system by deciding release focused on risk rather than a person’s financial means.

In addition, the new law could create equality in access to counsel. This means being able to meet with an attorney privately in person during pre-trial, rather than relying on in-prison phone conversations to be kept confidential.

However, there are questions as to whether this new system will be biased too. Depending on each court’s system, opponents of the law are concerned about potential racial discrimination, too much focus on crime category and giving too much power to judges. There is a chance, depending on the systems yet to be developed, that statistical systems could look at factors like neighborhood crime rates, which could indirectly enact racial discrimination when assessing for risk. Also, under the new system, if a judge found a defendant high-risk, it could be harder to appeal.  

The new law is not scheduled to take effect until October 2019. If you have questions about a criminal offense in Alameda County not limited to DUI charges, domestic violence charges, white collar crimes or federal crimes, contact the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman. Our firm has defended the accused for over 30 years. We help our clients build a strong defense and reach favorable resolutions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Labor Day Weekend is considered one of the most dangerous periods of the year to be on the road. In past years, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has announced a Labor Day Maximum Enforcement Period, which meant all available CHP officers were on duty and on high alert for impaired drivers. This maximum enforcement period also meant a zero-tolerance policy for anyone driving impaired. It is expected that the CHP will treat this year in the same way.

The easiest way to prevent a DUI is to not drink and drive. Before your holiday festivities begin, plan transportation in advance and leave your keys at home. If you’re with a group of people, designate a sober driver. Having a plan will keep you from worrying about how to get home after you’ve been drinking, and ultimately could keep you from getting a DUI.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re intoxicated and without a ride home, you have options. California-based rideshare services, Lyft and Uber, can be easier alternatives to public transportation. Their mobile app services use GPS to find your nearest driver, and your fare and pick-up time is quoted before you accept the ride. If paying for transportation isn’t feasible, another option is to call a sober friend or family member to pick you up.

If it’s too late, and you or someone you know has been arrested with a DUI in Alameda County, it is important to talk to a DUI attorney about your case. I can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. I have decades worth of experience in criminal law. Call me today at (510) 582-9090 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact me online with questions.

Many people are aware that getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol is illegal. But you may have taken on the responsibility of being a designated driver and are taking a friend home as a passenger in your vehicle. If your passenger is drinking an alcoholic beverage while you are driving, you may be fined under the Open Container Law.

California’s Open Container Law prohibits the consumption of alcohol in public areas. Public areas are defined by state laws and mandates. This may possibly include the following areas:

  • A public sidewalk
  • In your parked car
  • Front steps or common entryway of an apartment complex
  • In a residential neighborhood
  • In a parking lot

This law is in place in most states and is reproduced from the federal standards outlined in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which was passed by Congress in 1998. This law was created to reduce drunk and disorderly behavior in public spaces and to prevent motor vehicle accidents due to drunk driving.

A driver will be in violation of California’s Open Container Law if the drink is within reaching distance, such as in your cup holder. If you are pulled over while a passenger in your car is drinking, a law enforcement officer can give both you and your passenger a citation for an open container.

Questions About A DUI Case?

If you have questions about your options and legal rights after a DUI arrest, you should contact an attorney. Hayward DUI lawyer Louis J. Goodman has decades of experience practicing criminal defense law. Call (510) 582-9090 or fill out our online form today.

I received one of these “We’ve got your password – Send us money with Bitcoin” emails today. I was quite sure it was a scam and did some research. Bottom line: Don’t panic, don’t respond. Here’s an excellent article about it.

Question: What is Law Enforcement doing about this?

Note: I was happy to see the arrest, conviction, and sentence of substantial Federal Prison time for the IRS scammers. (Bogus phone call threatening arrest by IRS unless money immediately sent.)

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/people-being-victimized-terrifying-email-211243561.html

When one thinks of domestic violence, commonly, that violence occurs between either spouses, significant others or family members. But when an assault or battery occurs between two roommates, does this count as domestic violence?

The short answer – no, not typically. And here’s why.

Domestic Violence Laws in California

California’s domestic violence statutes are defined most by penal codes 273.5 and 243(e)(1), which only cover physical attacks against certain people, including:

  • Spouses, whether current or former
  • Fiancés or former fiancés
  • Co-parents of children
  • Current or past romantic partners
  • Cohabitants or former cohabitants

It may seem like roommates are covered under this law – roommates are cohabitants, after all. However, courts have consistently held that the California domestic violence codes only apply to cohabitants that have been involved in some type of romantic or sexual relationship.

To quote one California appellate court:

The term cohabitant “requires something more than a platonic, rooming-house arrangement.” It “has been interpreted ‘broadly’ to refer to those ‘ “living together in a substantial relationship — one manifested, minimally, by permanence and sexual or amorous intimacy.”  – People v. Holifield, 205 Cal.App.3d 993 (1998)

So, if you are accused of battery by a roommate, then you should make it clear to your attorney that you were never involved in any intimate relationship with your roommate. This won’t protect you from battery claims, but it can eliminate any doubt as to whether domestic violence has occurred.

What Do I Do If I Have Been Accused of Battery by a Roommate in California?

Battery accusations can lead to serious penalties, including jail time and expensive fines. You need to speak to a criminal defense attorney to preserve your rights if you have been accused of battery, whether domestic or otherwise. Call us for a free consultation at (510) 582-9090.

If you are accused of domestic violence in California, then you may find yourself the subject of a restraining order (also known as a protective order).

Protective orders are designed to protect a person from abuse, harassment, stalking and threats by the person named in the order. These orders often include provisions prohibiting contact with the protected individual, including things like phone calls, text messages and even interactions on sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Penalties for violating a restraining order can be harsh, depending on whether it’s a first or subsequent violation and whether the victim suffers physical injury. Penalties include court fines, restitution for the victim’s counseling and medical services, and even the relinquishment of your firearms and an inability to legally obtain new ones.

Defenses Against a Restraining Order Violation

There are several potential defenses that your attorney could use in court to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Some of these include:

  • The protective order was never legally issued by a judge
  • You were unaware that a restraining order had been filed against you
  • The violation of the restraining order’s terms was unintentional or unavoidable
  • You are being falsely accused of violating the restraining order

Even if none of the above are true in your case, it is still worthwhile to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney. If you are facing domestic violence charges or have been accused of violating a restraining order in Alameda County, our law firm can help. Call us for a free consultation at (510) 582-9090.

Being pulled over by the police can be a scary experience. Recent news stories do not help how the public perceives traffic stops. For instance, there was that one recent story in New Jersey where police pulled over a young man and performed a cavity search for marijuana. Most traffic stops are not this eventful. However, there are certain mistakes you should avoid during a traffic stop. Some mistakes during a traffic stop could result in severe consequences.

  1. Stepping out of the vehicle. Some traffic stop mistakes could put your life in danger. Stepping out of your vehicle is one of those mistakes. Police may believe you are trying to harm them if you exit your vehicle. You should stay in your vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
  2. Being argumentative or talkative. As difficult as it might be, try to remain calm and polite. If you are argumentative or disrespectful, then it could escalate the traffic stop into an even more uncomfortable situation. You should never try to explain yourself or engage in a conversation about why you are being pulled over. Let the officer do the talking.
  3. Performing the standardized field sobriety test. If officers suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may ask you to submit to the standardized field sobriety test (SFST). The SFST is a combination of three tests that you could still fail even if you are sober. These tests are also recorded by police dashboard cameras. If you fail, it will be on tape and possibly used against you by the prosecution.
  4. Submitting to a search. Police can search your vehicle if they have probable cause or a warrant. There are also other limited circumstances where they can conduct a search. Submitting to search could prove to be a very big mistake.
  5. Running away or resisting arrest. Running from the police at a traffic stop could prove to be a life-ending or life-ruining mistake. You could be looking at felony charges. The same could be true if you resist arrest.

What If I’m Arrested?

If you are arrested during a traffic stop, then it is important to remain silent and ask for an attorney. The prosecution may use whatever you say to the police against you if you are facing criminal charges.

Louis J. Goodman is a Bay Area criminal defense attorney with decades of experience. If you were arrested and charged with a crime, then Louis J. Goodman could explain your rights and possible defense options. You may call our law office for a free consultation. Call (510) 582-9090 or use our online case review form.

Last month’s blog discussed how marijuana legalization could change DUI stops in California. Field sobriety tests are a method law enforcement may use to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. More can be said about the standardized field sobriety test (SFST) and its weaknesses.

Three consecutive tests, which are sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), make up the SFST. These three tests are as follows:

  1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus. For this test, a police officer requires you to follow an object with your eyes. An officer is looking for two things: an inability to follow the object and eyeball jerking (nystagmus).
  2. Walk and turn. With this test, officers require to you to take nine paces (heel-to-toe) in a straight line in one direction, and then in the other. A police officer is looking for trouble with balance or an inability to walk in a straight line.
  3. One-leg stand. This test is what it sounds like. You must raise one foot six-inches off the ground for thirty seconds. An officer is looking for trouble balancing.

There are also non-standardized field sobriety tests. You may have heard of these before. Non-standardized tests include reciting the alphabet or touching your finger to your nose.

Can I Fail a Field Sobriety Test While Sober?

You could fail a field sobriety test if you are sober. Certain medical conditions, such as a panic disorder or a bad back, could make it impossible to complete a field sobriety test. Your clothing, the weather and certain medications could also hurt your performance.

Also keep in mind, police cruiser dashboard cameras will record your attempt to pass field sobriety tests. This evidence may be used against you by the prosecution. These are all risks you should keep in mind before agreeing to take a field sobriety test. If you are arrested, then your decision to take the test could make it more difficult to defend yourself from a DUI charge. You can refuse to submit to the field sobriety tests described in this blog.

You should speak to a criminal defense lawyer if you were arrested for a DUI, regardless of whether you took a field sobriety test. If you or a family member were arrested for a DUI, then Hayward criminal defense lawyer Louis J. Goodman could discuss your situation at no cost during a consultation. You can reach Louis J. Goodman by calling (510) 582-9090 or by using our online contact form.

As you already know, recreational marijuana was recently legalized in California. Law enforcement agencies have expressed concern that legalization will lead to more instances of impaired driving. However, there is no state law that defines what qualifies as “impaired” for a marijuana DUI.

In California and other states, you must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more to be charged with a DUI (over 21 years old). No such threshold exists for marijuana. In addition, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana (THC) can stay in your system for weeks or days. A person could be pulled over while sober but could test positive for marijuana they had smoked days or even weeks ago. Furthermore, no such threshold for marijuana impairment has been determined.

California law enforcement officers are developing new ways to catch people who are under suspicion of driving while high on marijuana. Possible changes, some of which have been implemented, include but are not limited to:

  1. Increased use of drug recognition experts. These are law enforcement officials who undergo specialized training to recognize drug intoxication. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently announced they are hiring additional drug recognition experts. In addition, CHP has launched an independent study to learn more about how marijuana impairs drivers.
  2. Saliva swab tests. Some California police departments have field-tested advanced saliva swab tests. Officers in San Diego have used the Dräger DrugTest 5000 to detect the presence of up to seven drugs. Like many tests for marijuana, saliva swab tests cannot determine impairment.
  3. Marijuana breathalyzer. We recently published a blog on the “marijuana breathalyzer”. These devices would function in a similar way to alcohol breathalyzers. However, the devices have only been field tested and are not currently in use.
  4. Continued use of field sobriety tests. Officers may use the classic three-part, NHTSA-sponsored field sobriety tests. These are the tests where you must walk a certain number of paces heel-to-toe in a straight line, follow an object with your eyes or stand on one leg and count. You are not required by law to take these tests.
  5. Continued use of blood and urine tests. While not necessarily a change, officers will likely continue to use blood and urine samples in conjunction with other types of tests. However, the officers must have demonstrated probable cause for an arrest to carry out these tests.

Arrested for a Marijuana DUI? Call Our Hayward Marijuana DUI Lawyer

Hayward DUI lawyer Louis J. Goodman has decades of experience practicing criminal defense law. Before establishing his practice, Louis. J Goodman served as a former Deputy District Attorney. If you have questions about your legal rights after a DUI arrest, then you have come to the right place. We charge nothing for an office or phone consultation.

While murder and manslaughter are different charges, some people may not understand what exactly makes them different from one another. In addition, murder charges are usually defined as first or second-degree depending on the severity of the crime. Manslaughter, on the other hand, can be voluntary or involuntary. The main difference between these two charges will be dependent on the state of mind of the person when they committed the violent action.

Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person that does not involve the intent to seriously harm or kill. Further, it usually involves less moral blame than murder. There are two types of manslaughter you could potentially be charged with will be either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter, also called a heat of passion crime, happens when a person is strongly provoked and kills someone in the heat of passion because they were provoked. Heat of passion exists only if the provoked party does not have time to cool off. Due to this emotional context, moral blameworthiness is reduced for people who kill in the heat of passion. Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, is the unintentional killing of another person due to criminally negligent or reckless behavior. This can be confused with second-degree murder, since extremely reckless behavior that leads to the death of another can be charged as second-degree murder.

First and Second-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is the unlawful killing of another person with the intent to seriously harm or kill. First-degree murder is also planned and committed in a cruel way under special circumstances. Other                                              offenses that can also be included in this charge:

  • Kidnapping
  • Hijacking
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Torture

Second-degree murder occurs when criminal negligence leads to the unlawful death of another person. It is also defined as a premeditated murder committed without special circumstances. Second-degree murder is slightly less grave than first-degree murder. Second-degree murder can also be similar to involuntary manslaughter and the extremity of the criminal negligence or reckless behavior may decide which charge will be given.

If you’re facing criminal charges for murder, contact an attorney as soon as you can. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman have years of experienced handling murder and manslaughter cases. Call us to schedule a free consultation today.