Kosnett Law Firm

Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Cleaning your California criminal record

If you have a California criminal record and you find that it is having a negative impact on your day-to-day life, you are not alone. Having a criminal record presents inevitable hurdles for state residents, who may find that their record follows them around, potentially affecting everything from where they can live and work to whether they can vote. At the Kosnett Law Firm, we understand just how much your criminal record can haunt you, and we have helped many clients with California criminal records work to reduce the damage their criminal records cause them.

Per the Judicial Branch of California, state residents who have existing criminal records may be able to have their records sealed or dismissed, depending on several factors, and provided their situations meet certain circumstances. Essentially, sealing your records makes them invisible to the general public, meaning they typically should not appear when, say, prospective employers run a search on you.

Lineup misidentification: A serious problem

When people in California are charged with a crime, they may appear in a physical or photo eyewitness lineup. Although this form or suspect identification is still being used in many states in the nation, it has shown to provide unreliable results. Lineup procedures, as well as limitations of the human memory, have made it rather common for the wrong person to be chosen from the lineup. This may lead to wrongful convictions when this information is used as evidence in court. In some states, strict procedures have been put in place.

According to the Innocence Project, 358 people in the United States have been released from prison after DNA evidence showed they were innocent of committing a crime. Approximately 70 percent of these cases involved witnesses choosing the wrong person from a lineup. Once a person is identified, it can be extremely hard to convince a judge and jury that he or she did not commit a crime.

What are the differences between theft, robbery and burglary?

If you face theft charges in California, your specific charge may be for robbery or burglary as opposed to theft per se. As FindLaw explains, these three white collar crimes are similar to, but different from, each other, especially when it comes to what the prosecutor must prove in order to convict you.

Theft, robbery and burglary all are property crimes. To convict you of theft, which also goes by the name of larceny, the prosecutor must prove that you stole someone’s personal property with the intent both to do so and to permanently deprive your alleged victim of the property.

Are breath tests always accurate?

If you are pulled over in California on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may be asked to undergo a roadside breath test. Although law enforcement officers use this test to determine whether a person is driving drunk, studies show the results of the test are often inaccurate. In fact, they can differ by at least 15 percent from the results of a blood alcohol test. This could lead to a wrongful DUI charge.

Research from the State University of New York at Potsdam shows that the readings on a hand-held breath test device may differ from the results obtained from an actual blood alcohol test. The breath test is designed to detect the amount of alcohol contained in a breath sample and convert that amount to a blood alcohol content level. The problem lies in the fact that substances found in a person’s mouth and in the environment, can affect breath test readings. In some cases, it can inflate the results. Environmental pollution, dirt, cigarette smoke, gas fumes, as well as the relative humidity and temperature can all affect breath test readings.

The consequences of BAC test refusal in California

When individuals are arrested for DUI here in California, one of the things they may be asked by officers is to take a chemical test to gauge BAC level. This could include things like a breath test or a blood test. Can a person refuse this test?

Under California law, a person is subject to penalties if he or she refuses a lawful chemical test request an officer made as part of a DUI arrest. So, while a BAC test could be refused, such a refusal can expose a person to significant consequences.

Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

When potential clients ask us questions about representation  for drunk driving offenses one of the most common is whether they will lose their job.  Naturally, this depends on a number of factors, including how much work you have missed because you were in jail, and whether you drive for a living, to name a few.

It is also common for people in leadership positions to believe their jobs may be in jeopardy because of the public scrutiny that accompanies a drunk driving arrest. After all, the broad sense of embarrassment that comes with alcohol related arrests may be too much to overcome for those who are the faces of high profile organizations.

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