California

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.

Since Enron’s corporate fraud case made national news, white collar crimes have come into focus in the United States. Since the 2006 case went to United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the criminal justice system has been particularly strict in charging and sentencing individuals and corporations who have committed white collar crimes.

The FBI, in conjunction with, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), are cracking down on individuals they believe are committing corporate fraud, making the laws around corporate trading and other white collar crimes more complex. Having a talented criminal defense attorney to navigate these complex laws by using effective strategies to negotiate with prosecutors can often result in the reduction of charges placed against you.

What is Corporate Fraud?

These crimes are mostly defined by financial fraud through deceit, concealment or violation of trust. The following types of activities can be considered corporate fraud:

  • Making fraudulent claims on accounting reports
  • Insider trading or late trading
  • Falsifying tax deductions or tax documents to underpay taxes
  • Using corporate property for personal gain
  • Designing false trade information to improve profits or minimize losses

If you are under investigation or arrested for a white collar crime, our firm can help. Contact The Law Office of Louise J. Goodman online or call (510) 582-9090. With a free initial consultation, we can review the details of the allegations against you.

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.