Blog

Under California law, you could be served with a restraining order for a multitude of reasons. A domestic violence restraining order is used when there has been alleged abuse from a spouse, former spouse or someone the plaintiff is dating or used to date. It can also be used when there has been alleged abuse against a close family member, cohabitant, co-parent or child.

Abuse does not necessarily mean physical abuse. Though abuse does include acts or attempted acts of physical or sexual harm, verbal harassment and intimidation are also considered forms of abuse.

If you have a restraining order against you, it could affect many of your rights:

Your right to contact. Generally, a restraining order protects the plaintiff from any contact with the defendant. This means you may not contact the plaintiff through text, phone call, e-mail, by mail or in person. In addition, you may not come near or contact anyone who lives with the plaintiff.

Your right to see your children. In addition to restricting contact with the plaintiff, a restraining order could affect your ability to see your children. The court could grant child custody rights to the plaintiff. However, depending on the court order, you could be granted child visitation rights.

Your right to live on your property. A restraining order could order you to leave your apartment or house if you are currently living with the plaintiff. It does not matter if the property is in your name.

Your right to go where you please. In addition to staying away from the plaintiff’s home and workplace, you may also be required to stay away from your child’s school and homes of the plaintiff’s family members. Also, if you come across the plaintiff in public, you should leave the area or you could be arrested.

Your right to possess or own a firearm. When a restraining order has been filed against you, you must turn in all of your firearms to local authorities or have them stored with a licensed firearm dealer. You must file proof of completion within 48 hours of receiving the court order.

How an Alameda County Restraining Order Attorney Could Help You

If you have been served a restraining order, you should contact an experienced, restraining order attorney before your court hearing. In California, a restraining order can last up to five years. If you fail to come to your court hearing, you forfeit your right to stand up for yourself.

At the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman, we could help you file a legal response to the restraining order against you, defend your rights in court and fight for a fair outcome. If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under California law, we could answer your questions. Contact our office at (510) 582-9090 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.

Like most criminal defense practices, we send out legal advertising that offers a free consultation to individuals who have been arrested. Below is a letter that I received from an unidentified correspondent:

If I were to call anyone, it would be a different law office to bring a lawsuit against you. You have invaded my privacy. Egregiously. I am sure that it is a matter of “public record” that you were able to obtain my name address and supposed offense. I cant do anything about that. But that you used you information to troll me with specious legal representation is, on your part…what’s the word… disgusting. You have invaded my privacy and, worse, shared what would appear to have been confidential information with my entire neighborhood — via the postal carrier.

You are scum– ambulance chasing pond scum. Find a better way to make a living.

Every domestic dispute case is unique. Therefore, the consequences of a domestic violence offense depend upon a variety of factors. Many offenses could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, which would result in different penalties. Determination is based on the circumstances of the situation, whether any injuries occurred, the seriousness of incurred injuries and the defendant’s prior offenses.

When law enforcement is called for a domestic dispute, under California law, they must arrest someone if they find probable cause that an altercation has occurred. There are multiple forms of domestic violence offenses a defendant could be charged with, including domestic battery, stalking or harassment. Depending on the charge, a conviction could result in these penalties:

  • Fines
  • Time in jail
  • Completion of a domestic abuse treatment program
  • Community service
  • Payments to a domestic violence program
  • Restitution payments to the alleged victim

A domestic violence charge could also negatively affect your everyday way of life in other ways. Other implications include:

Your right to own a weapon. Current law requires a convicted defendant to surrender their weapons for up to 10 years. However, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law that will keep certain defendants from ever possessing a firearm. Going into effect on January 1, 2019, certain domestic violence misdemeanors could result in losing your right to own or possess a weapon forever.

Loss of child custody rights. California considers domestic violence charges when granting child custody. In most cases, a defendant convicted of domestic violence will lose sole or joint custody rights and receive visitation rights only. However, because the court takes into account the best interest of the child, if custody to the other party is a worse option, the court may allow the defendant to keep custody rights.

Sex offender registration. Some stalking charges could result in the defendant being required to register as a sex offender. Being registered as a sex offender would cause serious limitations on your life including limitations on where you work and live.

Employment. A domestic violence charge could seriously affect your employment. If you work in a public service industry such as teaching or nursing, you could lose your job. Military professionals could lose their right to possess a weapon too. California state law affects military personnel and law enforcement officers. If applying for jobs, your conviction could come up during an employment background check and make it more difficult for you to get a job.

Need an Alameda County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney?

The Law Office of Louis J. Goodman understands the serious consequences a domestic violence allegation can have on your life. If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Alameda County, I recommend that you remain silent and contact a domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. California’s domestic violence laws are complicated. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights under the law as well as how the law could affect your case.

Having an experienced attorney on your side could help you negotiate a more favorable outcome. For example, if your domestic violence offense is being charged as a felony, a defense attorney could help reduce your charge to a misdemeanor. Call (510) 582-9090 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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.