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San Jose criminal defense attorneyIt is normal to feel a little bit nervous before your appearance in court because of criminal charges. It is important to properly prepare yourself for trial because judges will not take kindly to a defendant who is not acting properly or who comes unprepared. Preparing for a criminal trial is not difficult, but it does require some prior planning. Here are a few ways you can get ready for your criminal trial:

1. Prepare Your Evidence

One of the most crucial pieces of your defense is the evidence that you bring to the trial that supports your claim of innocence. Evidence can be in two forms: witness testimony and exhibits. Witnesses can be people who keep records relevant to the case, experts who are qualified to give an opinion about a certain part of the case or any other person who has relevant information about the case. Exhibits are items that support your side of the case. These things can include documents or other objects used to prove your point or disprove the other side’s point, records or photographs. Your attorney will be able to help you prepare the evidence. 

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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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charged with murder, San Jose criminal defense attorneys, manslaughter charges, purse snatching, facing criminal chargesWhen a crime is committed, innocent people can get hurt. A recent case in the Bay area involves a man who committed a purse snatching. An otherwise minor crime in which he likely would have faced minimal time in jail became far more serious when the victim fell and died as a result of the incident. Charged with murder, the man now faces a potential life sentence, though an experienced criminal defense attorney may argue that the crime itself amounts to a case of involuntary manslaughter.

East Bay Man Accused of Murder in Death of 93-Year-Old Victim

In mid-July, 2018, the NBC Bay Area News reported on the tragic death of an elderly woman, due to a fall that occurred during a purse snatching. The victim, a 93-year-old woman, was walking into a Bank of America with a friend, when she was allegedly approached by the accused — an East Bay man.

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