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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 employment lawyerAt one time, generous pension plans and retirement packages were a given with some jobs. Unfortunately, as times have changed, benefit packages have become increasingly sparse and need to be carefully negotiated as part of your employment contract. Government workers have traditionally enjoyed better benefits than some private sector workers, but a new policy initiated by the governor could cause some major setbacks. While private employer-sponsored benefits are protected by ERIS laws, the so-called ‘California Rule’ adds additional protections to government workers against having pension benefits eliminated without providing compensation. The court is currently reviewing the rule and the outcome has the potential to wreak havoc with these worker’s futures and may cost them significant amounts of money.

The California Rule and Government Pension Benefits

The California Rule is a policy in regards to pension benefits, which has its origins in the 1950s. The National Public Pension Coalition states that the idea was simple and something that made perfect sense: when a public worker is hired to a job and enters into an employment contract, the pension benefits they are offered cannot be diminished without offering some sort of compensation to take the place. It is a rule that several other states follow as well, but it has recently come under fire in the California Supreme Court.

Five years ago, Governor Jerry Brown enacted sweeping pension reforms designed to scale back some of the more generous perks public workers were alleged to be receiving. Spurred by the Great Recession, the scale back was designed to cut government spending while saving taxpayer money. Opponents of the changes, comprised largely of union leaders and public service employees, claim that the reforms allowed employers to significantly cut pre-agreed on benefits, without offering anything in return. A lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court against the governor, seeking to have the reforms overturned.

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyWhen you are accused of a crime, it can feel like you have no control over your situation. The criminal process can be confusing, and it can sometimes feel like a waiting game when you are in the middle of the criminal justice system process. Though you do have limited control over your situation when you are accused of a crime, there are certain rights that you do have. The United States Constitution guarantees specific rights to each and every U.S. citizen if they are ever accused of a crime. These rights were granted to citizens to ensure that each person has the same chance to a fair trial.

Right to Be Presumed Innocent

When you are accused of a crime, you are presumed to be innocent. In California, the burden is on the state to prove that you are guilty of the crime you are being accused of. This is where the widely-known phrase “innocent until proven guilty” comes from. Going along with your right to presumed innocence, you must also be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which was put into place to try to prevent people from being incriminated on scant evidence.

Right to Remain Silent

As many people know from popular television shows like “Cops,” the right to remain silent is one of the first rights you are informed of when you are arrested or before you are interrogated by police. Thanks to the Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, all citizens have the right against self-incrimination. This right means that you do not have to answer any questions or make any statements to police and that a jury cannot use your silence to infer guilt.

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CA injury lawyerAccidental injuries can happen due to a variety of situations. However, there are plenty of cases in which the injuries you suffered were caused intentionally. You may have been a victim of assault and battery injuries which was committed by someone you know or due to violent interactions with strangers. In either situation, the person who committed the act can be held personally liable for the medical costs, lost wages, and other damages you suffer.

Assault and Battery Injuries

Under the California Penal Code, an assault occurs when someone attempts to commit a violent act on another with the ability and intent of causing injuries. A battery is the actual use of force or violence on another person. Both actions can result in serious criminal charges.

In addition to the criminal penalties perpetrators face, such as fines, court costs, and a potential jail sentence, they could be forced through the courts to pay restitution to the victim. While this may cover some of your medical costs and expenses, it may not cover any long-term damages you suffer as a result. In addition to the emotional trauma and the potential for scarring, assault and battery injuries can have major impacts on your overall health:

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CA injury lawyerThere are numerous traffic situations where making a U-turn may seem like a good idea. Encountering unexpected traffic conditions, missing your exit ramp on a highway or a turn you needed to make on a city street, or simply realizing you are headed the wrong direction are all common scenarios which could cause you to attempt this type of traffic maneuver. While in general, U-turns are legal throughout California and throughout San Jose, there are situations where they are prohibited and could put you, your passengers, and other motorists at risk from car accidents and injuries.

Fatal U-Turn Accident

A U-turn accident recently occurred in San Jose, which left one person dead and others involved with serious injuries. The crash occurred just before noon on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at the 800 Block of South Jackson Avenue. While police have yet to name the victims, traffic crash reports indicate that a Honda Accord headed south attempted to make an illegal u-turn north. As he stopped in the road, he was struck by a Chevy Trailblazer also in the southbound lanes.

As a result of the crash, both drivers and three passengers in the Honda suffered serious injuries and were taken to nearby hospitals, where one of the passengers died a short time later. It appears both drivers may have been somewhat to blame for the crash, which was the 44th fatal car accident to occur in San Jose over the course of the year.

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San Jose CA theft charges attorneyThere are many times in which certain words can be interchanged and used in place of one another. When you are dealing with the law, it is crucial that wording is precise, so as to avoid as much confusion as possible. While you are pretty much able to use theft, robbery and burglary in the same context in normal conversation, they mean three very different things when you are speaking in the context of the law. They are separate charges that each come with their own punishments. If you have been charged with theft, robbery or burglary, it is important to know what exactly you have been charged with and the consequences for that charge.

Theft

Two terms that are interchangeable in California law are theft and larceny. California law states that larceny occurs when a person takes, steals, carries, leads or drives away the personal property of another person. There are many ins and outs of theft in California -- the punishments vary greatly depending on the type of objects that were taken and the value of those objects. Typically, grand theft can carry a prison sentence of up to a year and a monetary fine. Petty theft can carry a $1,000 fine, six months in county jail or both.

Robbery

According to California law, theft is defined as the felonious taking of personal property that is in possession of another person and in his immediate presence, accomplished by means of force or fear. Fear can mean the fear of unlawful injury to the person who is robbed, relatives or family members of that person, or anyone in that person’s company. Punishment for robbery can vary. If the person robbed a dwelling alongside two or more other people, they could be looking at three, six or nine years in the state prison. In cases other than that, a person who commits robbery will be facing three, four or six years in state prison.

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CA injury lawyerWhen running late for an appointment or when frustrated over congested traffic conditions, it is not uncommon for drivers to engage in aggressive driving behaviors. Honking your horn, refusing to yield, and tailgating are all common on roads and highways in San Jose and throughout the Bay Area. These types of behaviors are dangerous and lead to an increased risk of car accidents and injuries. They can also easily escalate to a level of road rage. In a recent case, a local man was sentenced to more than two years in prison for an incident involving law enforcement officials.

Road Rage Results in Federal Sentence for San Jose Man

A local San Jose man accused of getting involved in a road rage incident more than a year ago with a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officer was recently convicted in District Court. A man was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison on December 12, 2018, after pleading guilty in the altercation that occurred in May of 2017.

At the time, the man had been driving a Chevy Suburban on Interstate 680 and going at a high rate of speed when he became enraged at a driver of a Dodge Journey, who he deemed as going too slow in the fast lane. The man switched lanes, pulled up alongside the Dodge, and threw a chisel at the vehicle. It broke the rolled up passenger side window and landed in the lap of the driver, who just happened to be a federal DEA agent. The agent was not injured in the attack, but the other driver was charged with aggravated assault.

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CA injury lawyerFor colder climates, the beginning of December and the holiday season means an increased chance for snow and icy conditions. In the San Jose area, warmer temperatures mean that winter weather often brings a deluge of rain, as was the case recently. Heavy rains and flooding have impacted the entire South Bay area, and while not perceived to be as dangerous as snow or ice accumulations, has resulted in an increase of car accidents and injuries. At this time of year, it is important to be aware of the impact rain can have on driver safety and to take the steps needed to protect yourself.

Rain and Car Accident Risks

Heavy rains and storms have been passing through the Bay area since Thanksgiving and are taking a heavy toll on drivers. News media reported that multiple car accidents have been blamed on the weather, while heavy flooding and submerged roads have caught drivers off guard.

Numerous accidents and breakdowns have occurred over the past several weeks. On busy bridges and highways, they have the potential to cause multi-vehicle pileups, resulting in serious injuries and property damages while tying up traffic for hours at a time. Rain and wet conditions are nothing new in the San Jose area, but many drivers fail to recognize how they can increase car accident risks.

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San Jose, CA evading police charges defense lawyerWhen you see red and blue lights flashing behind you, you probably get a nervous, dreadful feeling in your stomach. In situations like these, our fight or flight response is initiated, but listening to your instinct telling you to flee the situation is one of the worst possible things you can do. If a police officer is trying to pull you over it is illegal for you to try to outrun them or flee from them, and you can get into serious trouble for doing so. If you attempt to flee or evade a police officer, you could be facing jail time, fines and even a driver’s license suspension.

California Vehicle Code Offenses

There are technically four offenses that you can be charged with if you attempt to flee or evade a police officer. California Vehicle Code VEH 2800 contains information about each separate offense.

Evading a Police Officer -- VEH 2800.1

According to the code, you are guilty of a misdemeanor when you evade or attempt to elude a police officer if all of the following conditions are true:

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CA employment lawyerIn the current political climate, immigration is a hot-button issue. As a result, it is increasingly likely now for employees to find immigration-related issues spilling over into the workforce. As a form of employment discrimination, it cuts both ways in the San Jose area. While foreign-born workers with green cards and work permits have long faced harassment and unfair treatment on the job site, in the local tech industry there are claims that visa holders have a distinct advantage.

Accusations that Tech Companies Favor Visa Holders

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., a company with revenue over $19 billion in the past fiscal year which has launched a customer collaboration center and digital re-animation studio in Silicon Valley, was recently cleared of charges that they engaged in discriminatory hiring practices. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in Oakland federal court against the company in 2015. At that time, company workers alleged in a class action lawsuit that Tata discriminated against non-Asian workers. In addition to unfair hiring practices, the plaintiffs claimed that American employees were more than 13 times more likely to be fired than their Asian counterparts.

The original complaint was filed by an IT worker, who claimed roughly 95 percent of Tata’s 14,000 US employees were of Asian descent. He also cited the fact that Tata was the second largest company in the country in terms of hiring workers under the H-1B Visa program. H-1B visas allow companies to recruit and bring into the country foreign-born workers who are highly skilled in their fields. Tata is not the first American company to face these accusations. The U.S. Department of Labor found Cisco Systems guilty of the same types of charges.

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CA injury lawyerFor pedestrians, being struck by a motor vehicle can result in serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries. In many cases, it is the reckless actions of drivers who are to blame in these collisions. For victims, getting compensation in a claim can help offset the medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages they suffer. In the event injuries prove fatal, holding the at-fault driver accountable can help give grieving family members a sense of justice.

When these types of tragic events involve hit and run accidents, this can end up proving challenging. Witnesses to the accident are often invaluable in providing information that can lead to apprehending these suspects. In the case of a recent fatal hit and run accident in San Jose, witnesses went one step further, preventing a potential hit and run driver from fleeing the scene.

Fatal Hit and Run Pedestrian Accident in San Jose

Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, a fatal pedestrian accident happened on the Capitol Expressway in San Jose. The collision occurred on Saturday, November 24, 2018, when an identified female was hit by a 2018 Ford truck traveling in the eastbound lanes. Investigators report that after striking the victim, the 39-year-old San Jose driver attempted to leave the scene.

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San Jose CA hit and run lawyerNobody plans for a car accident to happen, so when it does, it can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if you are not sure what to do when you get into an accident. The one thing you should never do if you are in an accident is leave the scene of the accident without exchanging information with the other driver. If you do, you could be charged with a hit-and-run offense, which can carry some pretty serious consequences. Hit-and-run charges are no joke and should be handled by a skilled lawyer who has experience defending against these charges.

Felony and Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run Charges

There are two different types of hit-and-run charges in California: felony and misdemeanor charges. You can be charged with a misdemeanor hit-and-run if all of the following were present:

  • You left the scene of an accident;
  • You did not leave any information to the other party or parties involved; and
  • Another person’s property was damaged in the accident.

A hit-and-run charge does not usually become a felony until another party is injured or killed in the accident and you leave the scene without leaving any identifying information. Even if there is no damage to anyone’s property or no bodily injury, you can still be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, though the offense will most likely result in a fine.

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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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CA labor lawyerSexual harassment has been a long-standing problem in the workforce. While federal and state employment laws are in place to protect victims against discriminatory actions, the #MeToo movement has helped to call attention to the ongoing problem. In Santa Clara County and throughout the country, Google is the most recent target of employee protests over the issue.

Golden Parachute for Accused Executive Spurs Backlash

On November 1, 2018, Google employees across the nation walked off their jobs in anger over how sexual misconduct claims are being handled by the company. In Mountain View alone, roughly 2,000 men and women took part in the walkout, which resulted from what they claim is an attempt to silence and downplay abuses of power.

The walkout centered around revelations that the tech giant had provided a ‘golden parachute’ for a top-level executive accused of engaging in sexual misconduct. The executive, who is credited as being the father of the Android system, was forced to resign due to the allegations, but employees were outraged when reports surfaced that he had been provided with a $90 million severance package. The executive is one of three executives that protestors claim the company is protecting against repercussions due to similar claims. They demand greater accountability and that more actions be taken to defend workers against these types of abusers.

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CA injury lawyerSan Jose encourages bicycles as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly form of transportation, which can help keep traffic congestion under control. While the city is showing its support by budgeting funds for on and off-street bike networks and pathways, there is still the need for public awareness in the community regarding the rights of bicyclists. A recent fatal mass transit accident  involving a commuter bus highlights this need while serving as a warning regarding the potential dangers all cyclists face in interactions with other road users.

Failure to Yield Results in Bicyclist Fatality

A Morgan Hill bicyclist was fatally injured in late October 2018 by a commuter bus carrying passengers on Bunker Hill Lane, near the Great American amusement park. It was reported that the cyclist was struck and killed when the bus driver made a turn but failed to yield the right of way, which by law he was legally obligated to do.

Owned by El Paseo Limousine, the bus runs a free commuter line, shuttling employees for various businesses through the Altamont Corridor. The accident occurred during the evening rush hour, just before 5:30 p.m. Officials say the driver remained at the scene and was cooperative with the officers in the investigation. Other than not following the yield requirement, he is not suspected of violating any other traffic laws or being under the influence.

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San Jose CA reckless driving charges lawyerSome people may think that a reckless driving charge is no big deal, but in reality, a reckless driving charge can seriously impact your life. Not only can you face criminal charges for reckless driving, but you can also face license suspension, fines and an increase in your insurance rates. Even though reckless driving is still a traffic offense, it has much more serious consequences than a simple speeding ticket or other traffic violation.

What is Reckless Driving?

California VEH 23103 is the portion of the vehicle code that deals with reckless driving. According to the vehicle code, reckless driving occurs when a person is driving a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” You can be charged with reckless driving in a variety of situations. These can including:

  • Excessive speeding;
  • Weaving;
  • DUI;
  • Street racing; and
  • Hit-and-run accidents.

Sentencing for Reckless Driving

In California, a basic reckless driving charge is a misdemeanor and can result in a minimum of five days and a maximum of 90 days in prison and a fine between $145 and $1,000. If the reckless driving incident resulted in death or bodily injury or you have a prior reckless driving charge on your record, those penalties will most likely increase. 

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CA injury lawyerThe reckless driving behaviors of motorists, such as distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence, are a leading cause of car accidents and injuries in San Jose and throughout the country. However, there are often other, contributing factors involved, which can put drivers at risk. In San Jose, crumbling roads are not only an eyesore and hard on your vehicle, but they can also increase your risks of a crash.

San Jose Named Among 10 Worst Cities for Road Conditions

While city managers seek funding for making infrastructure improvements, residents are left to drive on roads that are often potholed, covered in gravel, and in general need for repair. Unfortunately, the situation is direr than you may think. According to a November 2018 CheatSheet report, San Jose has been named among the 10 worst cities in the nation in terms of having bad roads.

The report lists San Jose as third in the country, falling behind Los Angeles and San Francisco, in terms of having the largest percentage of crumbling roads and highways in America. Traffic and road surveys indicate that roughly six out of every 10 roadways in the area are in dire need of maintenance and repair. This has the following impacts on drivers:

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San Jose personal injury attorney settlement police shootingRonald Wood, who filed an excessive force lawsuit after he was shot by a City of San Jose police officer in 2015, will receive a $500,000 settlement from the city. Wood, 53, was shot multiple times after police say he tried to grab a shotgun in a patrol vehicle. Jachimowicz Law Group contended that at the time of the shooting, Officer Daniel Morales should have already known the weapon was not loaded and was not in Wood’s control when he fired at Wood.

“This set of circumstances was unfortunate for both our client and the officer involved,” Jachimowicz Law Group Attorney Josh Jachimowicz said. “The resolution of this litigation is fair and takes into account the degree of the city’s liability as well as the impact of Mr. Woods’ future medical needs.”

Facts of the Case

Police responded to a call on September 24, 2015 in Monterey Oaks to check in on Wood, who reportedly said he was going to commit suicide. Morales located Wood sitting on a curb and spoke to him through his passenger window, and Wood eventually reached through and into a duffel bag in the vehicle’s front seat. Morales exited the vehicle and pepper sprayed and tased Wood. Moments later, Wood moved to the driver’s side and reportedly told Morales he intended to pull the shotgun from the center console.

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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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CA injury lawyerWinter in San Jose can bring a mix of temperatures and weather conditions. Rainy days and colder evening temps mean there is a chance ice can form overnight and create slushy, slippery conditions for sidewalks, walkways, and parking lots. Any type of moisture accumulation increases your risks for slip and fall accidents, which can leave you suffering serious and potentially ongoing injuries. Take the steps now to protect yourself for the coming winter months ahead.

Winter Slips and Falls Injuries

We have all been there. You may be walking to work or out running errands over the cold weather season and you suddenly slip on a wet, slick patch. These occur both indoors and out, on neighborhood sidewalks as well as in stores and office buildings. Even if you do not actually fall, the abrupt movements associated with a slip or trip can leave you with serious injuries.

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls account for more than one million hospital emergency room visits each year. Among the common injuries suffered include:

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CA injury lawyerIn the aftermath of an accident resulting in serious personal injuries, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the damages you suffered through a claim against the at-fault party's insurer. In cases involving car, bike, or pedestrian accidents or in slips, falls, and other types of premises liability cases, seeking an insurance settlement may be a viable option as opposed to having to take your case to court. However, insurance companies are a business and as such, one of their primary concerns is protecting their profits. The following tips may help in getting the most out of your claim.

Questionable Insurance Company Practices

The insurance industry earns billions of dollars in profits each year. In addition to making money through premiums paid by customers, they protect their profits by carefully monitoring the amounts they pay out in claims.

Insurance regulators frequently receive complaints against insurance companies from consumers who feel they were taken advantage of or otherwise treated unfairly. Nearly two-thirds of these complaints center around accident liability and auto insurance policies. Among the most common problems encountered include:

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