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Providing legal counsel to San Jose and the Bay Area for over 30 years in the areas of criminal defense, personal injury, employment and disability law.
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CA accident lawyerThanksgiving provides time off during the week and a break from day to day responsibilities. There are likely to be numerous celebrations with family and friends, at which alcohol may figure prominently. Unfortunately, the chances of overindulging are high and despite efforts of law enforcement and traffic safety officials, too many people make the poor choice to get behind the wheel. As a result, drunk driving car accidents and injuries are common Thanksgiving week. The following offers tips to help keep yourself and those you love safe.

‘Blackout Wednesday’

Anytime there is a holiday, there tends to be a corresponding increase in the number of drunk drivers. According to Alcohol.org, people tend to increase their alcohol consumption rate by as much as 33 percent between the months of November through January. Thanksgiving is often seen as the unofficial kick off for the season.

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San Jose CA felony DUI defense attorneyTypically, a DUI will be classified as a misdemeanor offense when you are charged for your first, second or third DUI. However, there are circumstances that will lead to felony DUI charges usually if there is an “aggravating factor” present. It is important to understand how the specific circumstances alleged by police and prosecutors will affect your legal situation and the kind of penalties you might be facing.

DUI Causing Great Bodily Injury or Death to Another

One of the more common ways that a DUI will be classified as felony charge is by causing bodily injury or death to another person while you are driving. California Vehicle Code Section 23153 states that you do not have to have a certain BAC to be convicted of this felony charge. In order to be charged with this felony, you must have a measurable amount of alcohol in your system while driving and have committed a crime or an act of negligence that caused great bodily injury or death to another person.

Three or More DUI Convictions Within the Past 10 Years

The first three times you are charged with a DUI will more than likely be charged as misdemeanors. In California, there are what are known as “priorable offenses” a priorable offense is one that gets gradually more strict with each conviction. DUI is a priorable offense, so if you get more than three offenses within 10 years, your fourth offense will become a felony.

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Posted on in Catastrophic Injuries

CA injury lawyerAs fires continue to rage throughout California, our thoughts are with the victims and the thousands of people who have been forced to relocate as a result. As fire officials throughout the state work to get the blaze under control, there is another common fire hazard we want to warn you about. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, families in our area will spend the day gathering with loved ones, hosting elaborate feasts. The emphasis on cooking means an increase in kitchen fires, which can end up resulting in serious burn injuries. The following highlights how common this problem is and the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your guests.

Kitchen Fires a Hazard Over Thanksgiving

While people throughout our area hear frequent warnings about forest fires and the devastation they bring, there is another common threat this time of year which often goes unnoticed. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous days of the year for residential fires, impacting close to 2,000 families each year and resulting in $19 million in damages. The most common culprit in what can be a potentially life-threatening situation includes fires that begin in the kitchen.

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CA injury lawyerThere are numerous dangerous behaviors which most drivers try to avoid. Speeding, disregarding traffic signs and signals, and driving distracted or under the influence are all actions which are known to increase car accident risks. However, many people are unaware of the dangers involved with driving while excessively tired and fatigued. A national campaign aims at raising awareness of the problem and the potential risks.

National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Many of us maintain busy schedules, with work, school, family, or social obligations which keep us from getting a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, few are aware of how this can impact driving ability. As part of a yearly campaign, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) aims at shedding light on this serious problem. Held annually the first full week in November, Drowsy Driving Awareness Week coordinates efforts between law enforcement and public safety officials, to make highways and roads safer across the U.S.

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Posted on in Employment

CA workers rights lawyerMany workers dream of obtaining steady nine to five employment, with regular weekends and holidays off to take care of their families and other personal responsibilities. Unfortunately, too many are stuck in jobs with unpredictable shifts, where they are either over scheduled or not given the number of hours they need to support themselves. San Jose and San Francisco are among the few places to have employment laws in place that protect workers against these types of practices. At the Jachimowicz Law Group, we can use these laws to help defend your rights in these situations.

Fair Workweek Laws

Workers in many industries, such as food service and retail, are frequently required to jump through hoops as part of obtaining a weekly schedule. They may have to call in at the beginning of the week or even before a shift to see if they work and the type of shift they are required to cover during the day. As a result, they have little stability in being able to plan for needs such as transportation and child care, and may be denied the total amount of hours they originally were promised when they took the job.

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CA injury lawyerIn San Jose and throughout the Bay area, there are numerous opportunities to attend sporting events. Whether you are watching minor league baseball or a pro-football game, one thing you can count is that fans will be enthusiastically cheering on their favorite team. Unfortunately, the competition can get intense, particularly when alcohol is involved. In a recent case, a San Jose man suffered potentially life-threatening personal injuries after being beaten up by another fan outside a 49er’s game. When these types of situations or other incidents occur, you need professional legal guidance in determining who is ultimately responsible.

Brawl at Local Sporting Event

While sporting events may be ‘just a game’ to some people, others take an extremely serious interest in supporting their players and in the overall outcome. Whether there is money or simply bragging rights riding on a game, tempers can easily flare. Unfortunately, a San Jose man was recently caught up in an altercation outside Levi Stadium, which left him fighting for his life as a result.

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San Jose, CA self defense criminal attorneyIf you believe that your life or your well-being is in danger, it can be a scary experience, and you will probably do whatever is needed to protect yourself. This is called the "fight or flight" response, which is a biological human response to danger. Courts understand this response, which is one reason why self-defense laws have been put into place.

Many states have what are known as “Stand Your Ground” laws, which are self-defense laws that allow citizens to use a certain level of force to protect themselves. California is not one of those states, but it does have a version of self-defense called the Castle Doctrine. California also has Criminal Jury Instructions on the topic of self-defense that are given to jurors when deciding a case. 

California’s Castle Doctrine

The California Penal Code contains a provision called the Castle Doctrine, which is very similar to other states’ “Stand Your Ground” laws. PEN 198.5 is the section of the penal code that allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves on their own property. The law states that anyone in this circumstance who uses physical force that is likely to cause death or great bodily injury is “presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family or a member of the household.” A few criteria must also be met in order to successfully invoke the Castle Doctrine: you must also believe or have reason to believe that the person entered your home, and you must not have provoked the intruder in any way.

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CA injury lawyerOn November 4, 2018, daylight savings time officially ends. With a proposition on the ballot in the upcoming elections to extend daylight savings practices year round, this could be the last time we set the clocks back. Either way, the change in seasons means it gets darker earlier and one side effect is an increased risk of car accidents and injuries.

Proposition 7 Would Make Daylight Savings Time a Permanent Fixture

To take advantage of extra daylight over the traditional growing season, we set our clocks ahead one hour in March each year. A new proposition on the ballot in November, sponsored by a San Jose Assemblyman, aims at avoiding the habit of setting the clocks back in the fall, making it daylight savings time year round.

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San Jose CA traffic ticket attorneyMost states have some sort of points system in place to track drivers’ traffic tickets and violations. California’s points system is called the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS), and it is a system that sends computer-generated warning letters and progressive disciplinary actions to drivers who are convicted of traffic violations. If you accumulate a certain number of points in a specific amount of time, you could be facing disciplinary action such as fines or a driver’s license suspension or revocation.

Assigning Points

Violations can range from zero to three points, and the amount of points received for a violation depends on how serious the violation is.

One Point Violations

Examples of one point violations can include:

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Posted on in Personal Injury

CA Injury lawyerHalloween falls on a Wednesday night in 2018. This means children will be rushing home from school, excited to go trick treating while also having parties and events to attend throughout the weekend. This is a fun time of the year, but it is also important for parents to bear in mind some simple safety precautions. Paying close attention to your child’s costume, the route they take in your neighborhood, as well as the behaviors of drivers on the road, can help to prevent potentially serious personal injuries. The following tips can help you as a parent ensure your children stay safe.

San Jose Halloween Safety

The San Jose Police Department (SJPD) knows that while children eagerly look forward to Halloween and the bounty of candy they are likely to receive, for parents it can be one of the most worrisome nights of the year. Between ‘stranger danger’ and reports of tampered candy packaging, it is natural to feel some apprehension.

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CA employment lawyerLooking for a new job can be challenging in any circumstances. This is particularly true if you are pregnant. Going to an interview while expecting or with an obvious baby bump can be awkward, but it is important to realize your rights under state employment laws. Employers are prohibited against discrimination against pregnant women, but determining whether you were not hired on this basis can prove challenging. The following outlines your rights in these matters and tips to guide you through the process.

CA Law Prohibiting Pregnancy Discrimination

Discriminatory practices based on pregnancy are prohibited under both state and federal laws. According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), employers are prohibited from denying you a job that you are otherwise qualified for and able to perform, simply on the basis of your pregnancy.

Once you are on the job, there are varying requirements for maternity leave based on the size of the company you work for:

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CA injury lawyerCar accidents occur in a variety of situations, and they can be attributed to any number of causes. In many cases, it is the reckless driving of other motorists which are to blame, and the specific type of behavior can dictate the type of crash and the extent of the injuries you suffer. The following provides insight into the kinds of car accidents that occur, the behaviors responsible for them, and the injuries you could suffer.

Common Types of Car Accident Collisions

According to the Insurance Information Institutes, more than six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. These result in serious injuries for nearly two million drivers and their passengers, while proving fatal for over 32,000 others. Among the most common types of crashes reported include:

  • Front-end collisions: These can occur when a driver hits a telephone pole or tree, as well as when they swerve from their own lane, causing them to collide with others on the road.
  • Side-impact collisions: Otherwise knowns as ‘T-bone’ accidents, these occur when one driver directly crashes into the side of the other. They often occur in intersections and when making turns.
  • Rear-end collisions: These tend to occur in high traffic conditions when one driver hits into the rear end of the vehicle in front of them.

Car Accident Injuries Based on the Type of Crash

Risky driving behaviors put all motorists at risk and make certain types of car accidents more likely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following outlines the most common causes. It also lists the types of collisions they are often responsible for and common injuries that can occur as a result:

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Santa Clara County conviction dismissal attorneyBeing convicted of a crime can affect everything from personal relationships to your career. If you are convicted of a crime, you will probably have to notify your employer and futur employers of the conviction. Your friends and acquaintances could change their perceptions about you. Criminal convictions can have a huge effect on your life, but it is important to know that you have options on how to deal with them. One such option is to request a dismissal of conviction against you. 

What is a Dismissal?

Many people refer to dismissals as an expungement when they are, in reality, a dismissal. A dismissal changes your plea of guilty or no contest or your guilty verdict to not guilty once you have made a formal request to the court. If the court grants your dismissal, your criminal record will no longer show that you were convicted, but that your case was dismissed. There are certain restrictions that apply when requesting a dismissal, but many crimes qualify for dismissal.

What Convictions Qualify for Dismissal?

Determining eligibility for a dismissal can be confusing because certain requirements must be met. If you were convicted for a misdemeanor crime and you received probation, you are eligible for dismissal if:

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CA injury lawyerFog is a fact of life in the Bay area. In San Jose, drivers often encounter it either on their way to work in the morning or on the way home from a night out with friends. Unfortunately, it can wreak havoc on the roads, making car accidents and injuries more likely to occur. As the past few months have been particularly bad for ‘Karl the Fog’, the following offers a refresher course for local drivers, with some simple tips to protect yourself.

The Dangers of Fog

While we often think of dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding, running stop signs, or driving under the influence, as being the main causes of car accidents and injuries, the fact is that weather plays a significant role. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), adverse weather conditions are responsible for roughly a quarter of all crashes and collisions which occur each year.

In Northern California, our biggest weather concerns tend to be fog, along with damp roads and periods of heavy rainfall. The FHWA estimates that these alone are responsible for roughly 1.5 million crashes each year. Fog can be particularly dangerous as a result of the following:

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CA injury lawyerMotorcycle riding is a popular hobby in our area, with enthusiasts regularly meeting for activities and events. While these can provide a great deal of fun and fellowship, it is important to make safety your top priority. Motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence in San Jose and the injuries bikers suffer as a result tend to be severe. Before your next ride, check out these safety tips and share them with other riders you know.

Motorcycle Accident Causes

One of the first steps in protecting yourself against motorcycle accidents and injuries is understanding how they commonly occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in nearly half of all collisions alcohol is a leading contributing factor. Be aware that even one or two drinks can significantly impact your coordination, judgment, and reflexes. Avoid drinking any amount that could put you at risk.

In addition, be alert to the warning signs that other drivers on the road may be under the influence. Alcohol-related accidents often happen at night or in the early morning hours. Watch for drivers who swerve in and out of their lanes, as well as those driving either over or under the speed limit. If you notice a driver behaving erratically, your best bet is to pull over, let them pass, and notify law enforcement officials. Other dangerous driving behaviors to be alert for include:

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San Jose CA DUI-field-sobriety-testing attorneyEven if you have never been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, many people are aware of field sobriety tests from popular television programs such as “Cops,” which shows police pulling over DUI suspects and asking them to walk in a straight line or recite the alphabet starting at a certain letter. While shows like “Cops” can entertain us with failed sobriety tests, a DUI conviction is a serious matter and field sobriety tests are used as legitimate evidence in a court of law. 

What are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests were developed to help police officers determine if a person had consumed enough alcohol that it affected their ability to drive. There are two categories of field sobriety tests: standardized and non-standardized. Most police officers will use a combination of both types to determine impairment, but usually only standardized tests hold up as evidence in court. Standardized field sobriety tests were developed in the 1970s, and their effectiveness has been studied and found to have identified impaired drivers 90 percent of the time.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test

One of the first tests that an officer might use is the HGN test, which measures the involuntary jerking of your eyeball. Nystagmus is the term used for the normal and involuntary jerking of the eyeball. When a person is not intoxicated, nystagmus typically only occurs when the eye is at a high peripheral angle. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, the angle at which nystagmus begins is much less. When the test is conducted, the officer will have the suspect follow a moving object with their eyes in order to observe when nystagmus begins. Intoxicated suspects will typically have difficulty tracking the object as well.

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CA employment attorneyGoogle is one of the largest employers in our area and they have a reputation for providing highly competitive salaries and benefit packages, along with numerous perks to employees. However, not all those working at the Mountain View headquarters are treated the same. Google has been embroiled in controversy recently over their practice of hiring independent contractors to fill positions, which allow them to save money both on benefits, as well as on Social Security and Medicaid benefits. This has become an increasingly hot topic in employment law, not only in our area but throughout the United States. Wrongfully classifying employees is against the law and it is important for workers to be aware of their legal rights in these situations.

Why Some Employers Favor Independent Contractors

In a late July 2018 Forbes news report on Google employment practices, the company is alleged to have a ‘shadow workforce’ of thousands of workers who are denied the perks and benefits regular full-time employees are otherwise entitled to, such as sick time and health care coverage. Google’s Alphabet Inc. admits to having close to 90,000 employees and for the first time in their 20 year history, independent contractors hired through outside agencies outnumber regular employees. Google defends the practice by claiming that temporary workers are required to fill in during busy times or to cover for maternity and medical leaves, but some question whether it is simply about saving money.

The other side of the controversy stems around the companies that provide Google with its temporary workforce. Former workers claim that temp staffing agencies are primarily concerned with claiming a percentage of their workers’ paychecks while failing to provide the proper support and offering benefit plans that are unreasonably expensive. While both companies deny any allegations of wrongdoing, some workers have banded together in initiating legal proceedings.

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CA injury lawyerAccidents happen when you least expect them. As a result, you can be left with serious personal injuries. Even an otherwise minor incident can leave you with ongoing medical expenses while preventing you from working or participating in activities with family and friends.

In many cases, these types of injuries occur as the result of reckless and negligent actions on the part of others. While you cannot always avoid these situations, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The following outlines some of the most common causes of personal injuries and some simple safety tips to follow:

Car Accidents

According to statistics from the San Jose Police Department (SJPD), roughly 50 people each year are killed in car accidents while hundreds of others suffer serious injuries. Dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding, aggressive or distracted driving, and driving under the influence are often to blame. Avoid engaging in these types of behaviors yourself and if you notice another motorist tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, or otherwise behaving in an erratic manner, pull over and notify law enforcement.

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San Jose sex crimes defense lawyerSexual consent has been a hot topic in recent years, with much conversation taking place in mainstream media and on social media platforms. The #MeToo campaign is a social media movement that brought light to sexual harassment and sexual assault and helped change the way those topics were talked about.

Many allegations of sexual misconduct hinge on consent. Sexual consent can be a tricky subject because of the unfamiliarity and ambiguousness of what constitutes sexual consent. As discussed below, California has some of the most progressive sexual consent laws in the country. If you have been accused of sexual assault or another sex crime, it is important to understand California’s sexual consent laws.

What is Sexual Consent?

In California, consent is defined as the positive cooperation toward a sexual act. The cooperation can be either through act or attitude, but the person must act freely or voluntarily and must have knowledge of the act that is happening. The law also states that a current or previous dating or marital relationship does not constitute consent. A person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot consent to sexual intercourse, even if the intoxication was voluntary. Both partners must be conscious and aware of the sexual acts that occur for the acts to be consented to.

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CA injury lawyerPublic transit trains are a convenient and cost-effective way to get across San Jose. Whether for work, school, or simply for visiting friends and family, they eliminate the need for driving and getting stuck in traffic. For the most part, accidents are not common. However, when they do occur, they can result in serious personal injuries. While passengers on board need to take the appropriate safety precautions, it is equally important for pedestrians to be aware of the dangers as well.

VTA and ACE Train Accidents in San Jose

On September 14, 2018, a tragic accident involving the VTA train in San Jose left a local woman with serious injuries. The accident occurred around 9:30 p.m., near First Street and Jackson Avenue. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office was still investigating the details, but it appears the woman was struck while either walking by or across the train tracks. The victim, who was taken to a local hospital, is expected to recover. Considering the massive weight of VTA trains and the speeds at which they travel, she is fortunate to not have suffered more severe and life-threatening injuries.

A woman struck just several weeks earlier by an ACE train traveling through San Jose was not so lucky. The incident occurred on August 31, when an Altamont Corridor Express train passing through the Alviso neighborhood hit a jogger running either on or near the tracks. Again, authorities are struggling to piece together what may have occurred, but say that witness accounts and evidence from the scene indicate that the woman killed did not intentionally put herself in harm's way. The incident appears to be a tragic accident, which authorities continue to investigate.

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