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San Jose, CA gun chrage lawyerFor the past couple of years, gun laws have been a much-favored topic of discussion among politicians, scholars and the general public. Some people think that gun laws should be strengthened, and others think the current gun laws violate the Second Amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms. California, a historically Democratic state, has passed several new gun laws that will go into effect in 2019. 

AB 2103: Firearm Training for Concealed Carry

This gun law puts new training requirements for those who want to obtain a concealed carry license. Currently, the laws say that the training course must not exceed 16 hours and must cover firearm safety and permissible use of a firearm. Under the new law, the training must be at least 8 hours, but no more than 16 hours long. The course must also include firearm handling and shooting techniques. Applicants will also be required to demonstrate the shooting proficiency and ability to safely handle a gun.

AB 1968: Mental Health and Firearm Ownership

This law puts a lifetime ban on gun ownership for people who have been involuntarily admitted to a mental institution more than once within a one-year period because they were deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. This law goes into effect at the end of 2019 and will also allow those who do not qualify for this reason to appeal the decision every five years.

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San Jose CA criminal defense attorneyThe goal of the juvenile justice system is slightly different than that of the adult justice system. It is widely accepted in the legal world that juveniles have more of a capacity for change than older individuals, which is why the juvenile justice system is heavily focused on education, rehabilitation and prevention. California recently passed a law that will prevent juveniles of a certain age from being transferred to adult court for any charges.

New Law Keeps More Minors in Juvenile Court

The new law, Senate Bill 1391, states that all minors who are under the age of 16 must be tried in juvenile court - not adult court. This applies to all charges, even murder charges. This law was passed by California Governor Jerry Brown in September 2018 and will go into effect in 2019. The goal of this law is to help rehabilitate juveniles who are charged with crimes rather than just punish them.

Current Law Allows Juveniles to be Transferred to Adult Court

As the law stands right now, cases involving juveniles who are 14 or 15 years-old can be moved to adult court upon request of the District Attorney and approval by a judge. This new bill prohibits this practice and requires that all cases are heard in juvenile court. Proponents of the new law state that this greatly helps not only the juveniles but society, as well. It is known that teenagers’ cognitive capabilities are not fully developed, leading them to have a reduced ability to determine right and wrong or to realize the long-term consequences of their actions.

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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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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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San Jose criminal defense attorney, felony, misdemeanor,If you are arrested and convicted of an offense, it is a very serious ordeal to have to go through. From the time of the arrest until the time of sentencing, many defendants wonder how their future may be impacted. Additionally, defendants may worry about their rights and which ones they may lose if they are convicted of a felony offense. The rights one may lose or have altered after a felony conviction in California include the following:

  • The right to own a firearm;
  • Immigration status; and
  • Access to federal benefits.

California law provides a mechanism by which a person can motion the court to downgrade his or her felony conviction to a misdemeanor. This motion can be made at different parts during a criminal case; however, the most common time the motion is presented to the court is after a term of probation has been successfully completed.

Who is Eligible to Have a Felony Reduced to a Misdemeanor?

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San Jose DUI defense attorneys, DUI defense strategiesWhile each DUI case is different, there are several defense strategies utilized by experienced DUI defense lawyers. Hence, understanding the five DUI defenses commonly asserted in California is essential.

1. I was improperly stopped by the police.

In the United States, the U.S. Constitution prohibits police officers from pulling over or stopping individuals without reasonable suspicion. A police officer has reasonable suspicion, and can therefore legally pull over a driver, if he or she reasonably suspects that the driver is engaging in illegal activity. For example, if a police officer is driving along and notices the car in front of him or her swerving in and out of their lane, then it is reasonable for the police officer to suspect that the driver is intoxicated and to briefly stop the driver in order to investigate.

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