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San Luis Obispo Criminal Law Blog

Are you sure your balance is good enough?

When a police officer initiates a traffic stop, you may not know why he or she is stopping you, but you do suspect that you could encounter a problem because you had a couple of drinks before heading home. Sure enough, when the officer approaches your vehicle, questions about your activities this evening begin.

Whether you answer any of the officer's questions could be a topic for another time. Right now, you may find it more important to understand if you should participate in field sobriety tests or not. California law does not require you to do so, and you probably shouldn't.

Penalty enhancements for aggravated DUI

If a DUI arrest marred your recent holiday festivities, you may be wondering what to expect in the future. As the legal process unfolds, you are right to have concerns. A straightforward DUI, even a first offense, carries stiff penalties in California, not the least of which is a permanent mark on your record if a court convicts you. You may be especially worried if police charged you with aggravated DUI.

Numerous circumstances can result in the addition of an aggravating factor to your charges, and the result if you are convicted is the probability of facing harsher penalties for the offense. While each state has its own list of aggravating factors that lead to enhanced sentences, some are common to many. You would be wise to seek legal counsel from an attorney who is well familiar with the laws in California, if that is where your arrest took place.

If police stop you for DUI, do you have to answer questions?

Many people become nervous when approached by California police officers. Though these individuals have a duty to keep civilians safe, they can often cause anxiety due to people feeling like they might have done something wrong. You may even wonder whether you have to talk to police officers at all.

In many cases, you do not have to speak with officers because of your right to remain silent. However, if an officer stops your vehicle and suspects that you are driving under the influence, you will still need to provide the officer with your name if requested. Beyond that, you may choose whether you answer any questions an officer poses to you.

False abuse charges can cause problems

As the holidays approach, so may the tensions with your soon-to-be ex. Holidays are stressful times, and it is common for couples, especially those who are separating, to argue more frequently. If your fights tend to be loud and passionate to begin with, your spouse may have be able to jeopardize your chances of a positive divorce.

It is true that some people are willing to take advantage of the safeguards in place that protect victims of domestic abuse. They do this by making false claims. Accusations that you were violent or abusive to your spouse can wreak havoc on your life.

Understanding roadside breath testing machines

You probably already know that your blood alcohol concentration here in California cannot legally exceed .08. You also know that police officers may ask you to submit to a breath test on the side of the road during a DUI traffic stop.

What you may not know is that there is a significant margin of error of up to 15 percent for roadside breath testing machines. That may not seem like a large number, but if you are one of the 23 percent of drivers arrested for DUI based on a false positive, it could make all the difference.

Mistakes on the part of authorities could affect DUI defense

It is common knowledge that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Of course, some mistakes you make may be more serious than others are, and if you consume alcohol before driving, this error may be one that affects your life in substantial ways.

Fortunately, if a police officer stops your vehicle and suspects that you are under the influence, you do not have to immediately picture yourself sitting behind bars due to a DUI conviction. You, like everyone else in California, have the right to prepare and present a criminal defense against any allegations that police bring against you.

Are you a California college student who drinks?

When you first moved into your dorm or apartment at a California college campus, you were likely filled with excitement, nervousness and a sense of freedom, especially if it was the first time you'd ever been away from home. Since then, you've hopefully found your niche and have developed good study habits and a sense of normalcy and routine in your daily schedule. You've also hopefully connected with a group of friends who are like-minded in their goals.

College life isn't all academics; in fact, the social scene is a main component that graduates often remember when they move on in life and think back on their college days. Drinking alcohol is often part of the social atmosphere in college. Unfortunately, alcohol-related incidents are often among the negative, not happy, memories for those whose situations get out of hand. If you drink, you'll want to be aware of some important issues, including where to seek support if a problem arises.

Church accused of covering up sex crimes

Some victims of childhood sexual abuse have been critical of churches and organizations they say helped hide it and allow the behavior to continue. One woman says that she told church leaders in both California and a nearby state about sex crimes committed by her father, a church employee. She cited their failure to report the abuse to police in a recent civil lawsuit.

The woman alleges that her father sexually abused her as a child. She says she reported this to church authorities multiple times, and although he was kicked out of the church once for one year, he was apparently never reported to police. She says he was allowed back into the church after an appearance in church court.

Criminal defense researchers look into impact of Proposition 47

The ways in which crimes are punished and the length of sentences is often considered to have an impact on reoffense rates. In 2014, California voters chose to reduce penalties for several different convictions formerly categorized as felonies. This change to the criminal defense system in California was controversial and contested, so these follow-up studies to the passage of Proposition 47 are of high interest to many in the state.

In 2014, Proposition 47 transitioned what were once felonies into misdemeanors. This lowered sentences for many of them from prison terms to minimum jail sentences. Among the criminal sentences impacted were drug possession, theft, shoplifting, identity theft, receiving stolen property, writing bad checks and check forgery. 

Man accused of selling drugs without a license faces drug charges

As many states work to fight drug addiction, police are taking action on those who illegally sell prescription drugs without a license. In California, the owner of an herbal medicine store has been charged with selling and holding prescription drugs without a license. The man is accused of these drug charges in San Francisco's Chinatown.

According to police, the investigation began when a 73-year-old man was hospitalized after ingesting Anti Rheuma capsules from an unlicensed seller in Oakland. These capsules, intended to treat inflammation and arthritis, are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. An investigation began to find the source of these medications, ending in the Chinatown business.

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San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-4028

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San Luis Obispo Criminal Law Blog | Fisher Law Office