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Under the California Penal Code 290 PC, when an individual is convicted of a certain sex crime they are required to register as a sex offender. The California sex offender database is run by the California Department of Justice, and the information is uploaded to their “Megan’s Law” website for the public. What is Megan’s Law? After seven-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and killed by a known child molester in her neighborhood, Megan’s Law was enacted in 1996. This California law allows the government to notify the public about sex offenders whom it believes pose a public safety risk and every state now has some form of Megan’s Law. With that said, there are a couple of ways to keep your information from being posted on Megan’s Law website, which we will discuss below. It is important to note that the California sex registry has three tiers. Tier three requires lifetime registration. Tier two requires a twenty (20) year minimum, and tier one requires ten...
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What Makes an Effective Federal Criminal Defense Attorney? There are a number of traits that make a successful federal criminal defense lawyer. Some of the more obvious skills include intelligence, interpersonal skills, experience, and excellent written and oral communication. These skills are generally what people look for when they are seeking the help of a criminal defense lawyer for their case. Yet, there are other attributes that are often overlooked when individuals are researching lawyers that they should be aware of. The following will go over these traits and will hopefully help you find a criminal defense lawyer that will lead to a successful case. Assertiveness A trait that the best criminal defense attorneys share is they are assertive in voicing their opinions and are skilled in getting their main points across clearly and concisely. Further, it is important to not confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. Although a good criminal defense lawyer should be aggressive when it comes to protecting your freedom, they should not be...
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Before a defendant can face prosecution in a criminal case, they must be in their “right” mind in order to understand the charges being brought against them. Known as “competence”, when a defendant’s mental state restricts them from comprehending the charges in their case, the court will deem them as incompetent to stand trial. When this happens, the law dictates that the defendant can’t be convicted because everyone is entitled to a fair trial under the law, and if the defendant does not have the mental capacity to understand why they are being prosecuted, the trial is unfair by its nature. In general, the chance that the court will determine someone incompetent to stand trial is rare. Further, in order to determine if someone is truly incompetent, the court can order the defendant to undergo psychological testing by a professional. What Happens if You Are Found Incompetent? Along with the right for an individual to defend themselves, and their right to legal representation, every criminal...
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Federal Investigations: Why? Federal investigations are the first step in the federal criminal justice process. Generally, they are launched by the filing of a credible crime report, data that has been gathered by a federal intelligence agency, information from defendants in pending criminal cases who are seeking leniency, or from a parallel civil investigation being conducted by a regulatory agency. In any federal investigation, the federal law enforcement agents are trying to determine whether a federal crime has been committed, who are the responsible parties, and the evidence pertaining to the crime. Federal Investigations: Who? In a federal investigation, a majority of the work (interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, etc.) is performed by federal law enforcement agents, such as FBI special agents. Yet, in some cases with a larger scale crime, it is not uncommon for multiple federal agencies to perform a joint investigation. Throughout the entire investigation, federal agents will need to work closely with a federal prosecutor in order to secure legal documents, such...
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In California, making a criminal threat falls under Penal Code 422(a) PC. This statute prohibits any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, and it is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out. Formerly known as “terrorist threats”, criminal threats withstand the First Amendment and are considered as unprotected speech. Criminal threats can be made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device – e.g. text message, email, and/or social media networks. Generally, a criminal threat is measured on its face, yet, the law also permits using the surrounding circumstances to change seemingly harmless words into a threat. To be found guilty of a criminal threat under PC 422(a), a prosecutor must establish the following elements: The defendant willfully threatened to unlawfully kill or unlawfully cause great bodily injury to another The defendant made the threat orally, in writing,...
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If you are a crime show fanatic or have been following the recent news reports regarding the college admissions scandal with celebrities Huffman and Laughlin, you have probably heard of the word “indictment”. Simply put, an indictment is a formal accusation against someone who is suspected of committing a serious crime, filed after the conclusion of a grand jury investigation. With that said, if you’ve been indicted or have reason to believe that you’re a suspect or a “person of interest” in connection with a crime, it is important you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This will ensure you fully understand your legal risk, as well as be prepared if prosecutors add any additional charges. The Fifth Amendment and Grand Juries According to The Fifth Amendment, the federal government must seek an indictment from a grand jury to prosecute someone for a felony or “infamous crime”. Typically, an indictment happens before an arrest and after a grand jury and it may be sealed...
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The Statute of Limitations or “SOL” is a statute that assigns a certain time after which rights cannot be enforced by legal action or offenses cannot be punished. Therefore, if files are charged after the Statute of Limitation period expires, a person can’t be lawfully arrested or charged for that offense. However, in certain instances, this statute can be dependent on the severity of the crime. Statute of Limitations Under California Criminal Law In California, a SOL refers to the maximum time period for which a prosecutor can file criminal charges. By law, if you are accused of a crime, you cannot be charged if the SOL for that crime has expired. Furthermore, a rule called The Discovery Rule is used to determine when the statutory period for bringing criminal charges begins. This rule states that the SOL period begins to run when an offense in discovered. For instance, if a person commits a misdemeanor on May 5th, 2019, authorities will have until May 5th,...
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Regardless of the situation, it can always be nerve racking when interacting with law enforcement officials, especially when they come knocking at your door. In this specific instance, it is incredibly important to know your rights and have the answers to these questions: Are you legally required to open the door? If they only want to talk with you, are you required to say something? If you ignore them, are they allowed to forcibly enter your home or apartment? In short, you are under no obligation to speak to the police or open the door. Here’s why: The Police Almost Always Need a Warrant to Enter and Search Your Home The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched,...
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