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Van Nuys California Criminal Law Blog

2 people face federal charges for allegedly transporting meth

Two people from San Diego have been released on their own recognizance after being arrested in the Midwest for possession of methamphetamine. Post-arrest interviews documented in federal court filings with the woman, 58, and the man, 47, indicate that they knew they were transporting methamphetamine from California. The man allegedly said he knew that the drugs were in the vehicle because he and the woman used some during their cross-country drive. According to court records, the woman said she was delivering the drugs to someone in St. Paul.

When law enforcement stopped their vehicle on Interstate 35 in Freeborn County, officers reported finding 10 pounds of what appeared to be methamphetamine. The drug had been divided into 10 packages wrapped in cellophane. Officers confiscated an additional 2 grams of a similar substance from the man when booking him into jail.

California man charged with attempted school bus hijacking

A California man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to kidnap a school bus. The 47-year-old man got onto a bus full of schoolchildren when it was stopped to allow a few of the elementary school students on board to use the bathroom. He has since been charged with attempted carjacking and kidnapping. The incident occurred in the evening when the bus was coming back from a field trip.

A teacher who was on the bus got off with two students who needed to use the bathroom. It was during this time, that the man came onto the bus. He demanded to go to a local mission after shouting, "Jesus is coming!". He allegedly grabbed the bus driver and tried to forcibly remove her from the driver's seat. She quickly took the keys out of the ignition before hiding them. Police said the man may have mental health issues, which is sometimes a criminal defense in cases of this nature.

Arrested for holiday shoplifting? Here are 3 defense strategies

If law enforcement arrests you for shoplifting during the holiday season, you are not alone. According to FBI statistics, the rate of shoplifting arrests spikes during November and December. 

Whatever the reason you are facing charges for shoplifting between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is important to develop a solid legal defense. Here are a few common shoplifting defense strategies.

Dealing with false accusations of domestic violence

Being accused of domestic violence is not something anyone in California should take lightly, even when the accusations are false. Matters can be even worse since most people, including other family members, friends, co-workers, and even employers, tend to instinctively side with the person making the accusations. If not dealt with proactively, untrue accusations made by a spouse, partner, friend, or family member could lead to protective orders, fines, a loss of parental rights, jail time, or loss of employment.

False domestic violence accusations, which may be broadly classified as battery and domestic violence or willful infliction of bodily injury, can also impact an individual's reputation and ability to function in their personal and professional life. Initially, a wrongfully accused individual can share concerns with friends and family members to avoid being isolated if actions escalate. Gathering evidence is also recommended. This may include accusatory emails, texts, or phone calls where the accuser threatens to make misleading accusations unless certain demands are met.

'Ray Donovan' actor facing felony DUI charge

A California judge has ordered "Ray Donovan" star Marion Hall to take part in an addiction program and have an ignition interlock device installed in his Chrysler 300 sedan. The order was handed down on Oct. 26 during a bail hearing in Los Angeles. The 44-year-old actor will also be required to attend at least two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week until his drunk driving case is resolved. He faces child endangerment and felony DUI charges stemming from an Oct. 3 accident in Burbank.

Hall's legal problems began when officers from the Burbank Police Department responded to the scene of a motor vehicle collision on North Buena Vista Street at approximately 7:30 p.m. Eyewitnesses are said to have told responding officers that they saw a Chrysler sedan swerving in and out of traffic being driven by a man with a young boy sitting on his lap. One of the witnesses claimed that the child had his hands on the steering wheel at the time. Police say that Hall was taken into custody without incident after striking a parked car.

NTSB calls for action to curb drug-imapired driving

Drug impairment has become an increasingly serious road safety issue in recent years, and the National Transportation Safety Board has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take steps to address the problem. In an Oct. 16 statement, the agency called for standards to be written for a standardized roadside test that could be used by police officers across the country to identify drug-impaired drivers. A deepening opioid crisis and recreational marijuana laws like the one passed in California are thought to be largely responsible for the surge in drug-related road deaths.

The NTSB was prompted to issue its statement after investigating a car accident that claimed 13 lives in Texas in 2017. Video footage shows a pickup truck swerving across the roadway before striking a church bus head-on. Toxicology tests revealed that the pickup truck's driver was under the influence of cannabis at the time of the crash.

Understanding misdemeanor offenses in California

When people in California face criminal charges, they could be accused of either felonies or misdemeanors. Some of the most common types of criminal cases, including first-time DUI charges, prostitution offenses or even panhandling or squatting, are classified as misdemeanors. These charges can still have serious effects, including a sentence of up to a year in prison as well as fines and a criminal record.

Charges related to consensual sex work or prostitution are generally considered misdemeanors. Both people arrested for buying sex and people arrested for engaging in prostitution can be accused of a misdemeanor in California. These charges are generally related to adult activities; children under 18 working in prostitution can be classified as dependent children and receive help and services rather than criminal prosecution. While the person who solicited a minor may be charged with an offense, a commercially exploited child can receive protection from the state. In order to charge someone with a prostitution offense, some form of sexual activity beyond simply accepting an offer must take place.

Man living at Cher's home busted for drug dealing

On Sept. 27, California authorities arrested a man on drug charges at Cher's home in Malibu. However, the pop icon and actress is currently on tour in Australia.

According to local media reports, deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant at the property following a two-week drug investigation. The investigation was reportedly related to the sale of fentanyl in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

How California law deals with auto theft crimes

Auto theft charges in California can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. How a crime is classified depends on the facts in a given case. However, most auto theft cases involve felony charges that carry jail time and a fine of up to $10,000 for those who are convicted. To commit auto theft in the state, a person must take a car that doesn't belong to him or her and is worth more than $950.

Furthermore, it is necessary to show that the car was moved with the intent to deprive the owner of an ability to enjoy it. This is true regardless of how the car was taken and moved. If the vehicle is eventually returned to the owner, an individual may be charged with a misdemeanor count of joyriding instead of auto theft.

3 interesting facts about crime in California

Crime in California is an interesting topic that is important to understand. There are crimes against people and property of varying degrees of severity. No matter what type of crime someone commits, he or she runs the risk of facing legal repercussions.

To understand criminal acts in our state on a deeper level, it is important to understand some statistics and trends. For example, did you know that California is the 15th state with the highest rate of violent crime? Here are a few more intriguing facts you should know about criminal activity in the Golden State: 

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