The Law Office of Christopher A. Lamiero

Dublin California Criminal Law Blog

New law means lifetime firearm ban for domestic violence convicts

Lawmakers in California are looking into ways to limit re-offences in cases involving violence in the home. To this end, a bill has been passed by the California legislature limiting gun ownership for anyone convicted of domestic violence in the state. If signed into law by the Governor, the current ten-year ban on gun ownership for those convicted of such crimes will be extended to a lifetime ban.

The move would add an additional lifetime consequence for those found guilty of domestic assault in the state. The goal of the bill is to ensure firearms are not given to individuals at high risk of being violent. Additional gun regulation bills have also been presented to the governor for signing, including increased requirements for concealed-carry permits.

Changes to felony murder law may open criminal defense options

People are often aware of the criminal consequences for individuals who commit violent offenses. However, what about those present at the crime but do not commit any violence themselves? Currently, individuals present at a crime resulting in death in California can be convicted of first degree murder, even if they did not intend to kill. This controversial law, known as the felony murder law, is being reviewed by lawmakers. If the law is changed, it could open new criminal defense options for those imprisioned under the law.

The measure they are reviewing, Senate Bill 1437, would make it so that a person can only be charged for first-degree murder if they themselves committed the act. This would be a major shift from the current legal situation. The change would have a big effect on young people, as the average accomplice who is sentenced through the felony murder law is 20 years old.

The showdown has finally arrived over California’s bail reform

The state Senate began considering a bill yesterday that would eliminate the bail bond system in California. Supporters of the California Money Bail Reform Act (SB 10) say that the bail system is systematically unfair to poor defendants, and is solely based on an ability to pay rather than reasonable determination of flight risk.

The Los Angeles Times reports that changes to the rules governing pretrial release have been considered, and rejected, in the Legislature for decades. The status quo has prevailed each time, but now the subject is up for debate again. Advocates for reform have some influential people on their side – Governor Jerry Brown and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tami Cantil-Sakauye. Both call for reform as the existing rules are "unsafe and unfair."

Technology is a game changer for many domestic violence cases

New technology is making people more connected than ever. The growing use of smart home technology can allow people to control their appliances, vehicles and other parts of their homes remotely from their devices. While this technology can help many California families live with more convenience, it also raises questions about how abuses of this connection could play into domestic violence law.

There are many ways technology could be involved in a criminal accusation for harassment, stalking or domestic abuse. For example, someone could use security cameras or remote recording equipment to spy on someone. Individuals could also control objects in the home as a way to scare, control or confuse a victim.

California police now training for domestic violence program

Across the country, many police and law makers are working to better address the issue of domestic violence. Recently, California passed a law expanding the enforcement training on domestic violence. The new training aims to help officers identify whether a situation could become fatal. It will also help officers understand how to better reach out to alleged victims.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 1331, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in late July 2018. Under the new legislation, police will be trained to identify individuals who may be at risk of serious injury or death due to domestic violence and to connect them with resources. This shifts the police focus from simply arresting people on domestic violence to supporting families and preventing more serious situations.

DUI defense limited after pair attempt to switch seats

It can often be difficult to defend against a DUI, especially if police officers test blood alcohol content. Recently, a California man tried to help his DUI defense by allegedly switching seats with his passenger who the pair believed was less intoxicated. However, officers noted that both individuals were under the influence and arrested the pair.

The incident took place following a hit-and-run collision in Petaluma. Police pulled over a car around 9 p.m that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the collision. Inside the vehicle was a 28-year old California man and a 28-year-old woman from Wisconsin.

Strangulation common in domestic violence incidents

The actions that lead to assault charges can vary greatly from single hits to deadly force. In domestic violence incidents, strangulation is a type of assault that is often present but not always well understood. California individuals involved in this kind of criminal accusation on either side may be interested in some of the recent research around strangulation in domestic incidents.

According to the Training Institute for Strangulation Prevention in San Diego, California, between 30 and 70 percent of women who experience domestic violence have also experienced strangulation. Strangulation can have many health and safety consequences, both during the assault as well as afterwards. Often, people who are strangulation victims will appear normal afterwards at the scene, but this is not always the case.

DUI defense and arrest data challenges Sonoma County assumptions

When people operate a motor vehicle after having too much to drink, they can often face serious consequences. In parts of California known for a drinking culture, such as Sonoma County with its 425-plus wineries, many blame establishments that serve alcohol. It is a common conception that that the majority of drunk driving charges is related to tourists having one too many samples, but arrest data from the area tells a different story about the typical DUI defense in the area.

More than seven million people visit Sonoma County each year, over 65 percent of whom cite wine and beer as their reason for visiting. Locals may think these individuals are behind DUIs in the area, but arrest data clarifies that residents are more likely to be arrested for drunk driving. These people typically imbibe at home, a bar or a restaurant.

Yes, police can lie to you during interrogation

Many times people will read or hear about innocent people confessing to a crime and react with skepticism. Why would someone confess to a crime they didn’t commit? The answer to that is easy: the police and investigators are skilled in interrogation. There are widespread public misconceptions about what law enforcement can and cannot do. Police can and do lie to you. It is a common interrogation technique. The following examples illustrate common police tactics that are entirely constitutional: 

  • Insist they hold evidence against you that doesn’t exist.
  • Lie about witnesses to the crime.
  • Lie and tell you they are going to stop recording your conversation to talk “off record.”

Reuben Foster enters final plea in domestic violence arrest saga

It can be challenging to have a court case play out in the public eye, especially one that is high-profile. This is one of the issues San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Reuben Foster and his former girlfriend faced throughout the media frenzy following his domestic violence arrest. Recently, Foster entered a plea of no contest for a misdemeanor weapons charge, which is the final charge related to the arrest. He was sentenced to community service and probation by a California court. All other charges were dropped.

The arrest in question occurred in Feb. 2018 in Los Gatos. The arrest occurred after Foster's then girlfriend accused him of domestic violence. He faced two felony charges following the incident. The charges were later dropped after the ex-girlfriend testified that she had lied about his abuse.

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The Law Office of Christopher A. Lamiero

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