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If you have been accused of a crime many people believe they will automatically be sentenced to prison and have to do time.  That is not necessarily the case escpecially nowadays with many of the changes that have been made to sentencing laws in California.  

When a person accused of a crime takes responsibility and is willing to enter into some programs and complet things offered by the courts they may be able to get the case dismissed or serve there sentence in some fashion other than Jail. 

As a former probation officer, deputy district attorney, and a criminal defense attorney with more than 15 years of experience I can help you get through this part of your life. 

WHAT ARE ALTERNATIVE SENTENCES?

Alternative sentences can help both the offender and society as a whole.  Many people believe everyone is entitled to some form of alternative sentencing.   This is not true. 

There has to be a program that is suitable for you such as mental health court or military diversion or drug court and you must be willing to satisfy the terms.  Below I will share with hyou some of the eligibility requirements and programs that are available.  

ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING REQUIREMENTS

The Judge in your case will take many different factors into consideration in determining if you are eligible for alternative sentencing.  

Whether you are charged with a violent crime

Your previous criminal history

Whether you are currently on probation or Parole

Your prior success or failure at  probation or Parole

Generally if you do not have prior strikes IE serious or violent felonies and you have not been accused of a crime that disqualifies you then you may in many misdemeanor offenses and some Felony offenses be eligibible.

TYPES OF ALTERNATIVE SENTENCES AND DIVERSION PROGRAMS

I will go over some of the diversion and alternative sentencing programs below these are not meant to be exhaustive list. 

AB 1810

MENTAL HEALTH DIVERSION PROGRAM

1. The court must find a mental health disorder as definded in the dsm manual.

2. Mental Health played a significant factor in the offense. 

3. significant relationship between mental health charges and or significant relationship between d's homelessness and charged offense. 

4. Defendant waives time and consents to treatment. 

5. Defendant does not pose an unreasonable danger to the community

referral must be to a currently operating mental health court. 

CONSEQUENCES FOR NOT COMPLETING PROGRAM

There will always be consequences for not participating in the program such as reinstating the criminal proceedings.  If the client picks up new charges or is not working in the program.  

There must be a recent diagnosis by a mental health professional.  

Determining Unreasonable risk of danger section 1170. 18 The court can look at the persons prior history, the factors of this offense and other factors the court deems important.  

MILITARY DIVERSION PROGRAM

1. Be a current or former member of the military

2. Be sufferering from Military sexual trauma (MST) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) Substance abuse or or Mental Health problems as a result of his or her military service.  

the defendant initiates the process by completing form ri-cr052 request for military diversion, this form may vary from county to county in some countys a request is made on the record to initiate the process.  The court will schedule a hearing to determine if the person qualifies and will be a good fit for the program  

EXCLUSIONARY CRITERIA

Individuals with a prior conviction for the same or similiar conduct are better served by a post conviction referral to the program which is also availaible in some counties.  

If you or a loved one has questions please give us a call at 559-441-1418.

 

 

If you are being charged with a crime and will be having a preliminary there are many laws and regulations which deal with preliminary hearings.  Many times people are concerned with only the timing issues of a preliminary hearing.  In other words will I get my preliminary hearing within 10 court days or 60 calendar days of my arraignment, plea of not guilty or reinstatement of ciminal proceedings after competency finding.  We will adrress those issues later but lets start with what a preliminary hearing is, what evidence is allowed and the timing issues.  

 

INTRODUCTION

The primary purpose of the preliminary hearing is governed by Penal Code section 859 B.  and this section effectively provides the defendant with the right to a speedy preliminary hearing.  

PRELIMINARY HEARING BASICS

Usually a Felony case begins with a prosecutor filing a criminal compaint or a grand jury indictment,.  If a complaint is filed, a preliminary hearing is to determine if there is a sufficient or probable cause to hold the defendant to answer for trial.  If the Judge does not find sufficient or probable cause then the complaint should be dismissed.  The court may also reduce the Felony to a Misdemeanor per Penal Code section 17b.  

There is also a right to  a continious in one session preliminary hearing the preliminary hearing is in one continious hearing.  With no substantial breaks in between this can be waived by the defendant.  

The preliminary hearing is an evidentiary hearing. And the prosecution has the burden of showing of facts sufficient that would lead a reasonable person of ordinary caution to have a strong suspicion of the persons guilt. 

WHAT EVIDENCE IS ALLOWED AT A PRELIMARY HEARING

Unique to a preliminary hearing is the fact that hearsay from a qualified police offcer with five years of experience or who testifies to his training at the police academy can be allowed.  This type of hearsay would not be allowed at a trial.  This is what is commonly referred to as prop 115 evidene, referring to the propposition passed by voters in 1990. 

WHAT EVIDENCE MAY THE DEFENSE PRESENT AT THE PRELIMINARY HEARING

The defense has a right to call witnesses to establish an affrimative defense such as self defense. 

Negate an element of a crime such as an accident defense in an specific intent crime. 

Impeach testimony of a prosecutorial witness

or bring in there own law enforcement witness who can then bring in exculpatory hearsay. 

TIME LIMITATIONS 10 COURT DAY AND 60 COURT DAY RULES

10 DAY RULE

Under Penal Code section the defendant has a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 Court days of arraignment or plea of not guilt whichever occurs later.  

IN CUSTODY RULE

There must be a preliminary hearing within 10 court day or the complaint dismissed the prosecution may refile once.  And if the defendant is in custody on other cases than it is not applicable and the complaint will not be dismissed. The prosecution can establish good cause a necessary witness is unavailable or sickness so forth. 

60 DAY RULE

A  good way to think of the 60 day rule is apart and seperate from the 10 day rule.  The 60 day rule is not limited to in custody defendants.  The 60 day rule also utulizes calendar days rather than court days and again applies to both in custody and out of custody accused.  The only exception to the 60 day rule is if the defendant personally waives the 60 day rule with a time waiver.  The 60 day rule prevents postponing the preliminary hearing  even if the magistrate finds good cause for the delay.  

If you or a a loved one needs help we can get you through this.  call 559441-1418. 

 

 

 

 

If you have been accused of Domestic Violence you should get legal representation as soon as possible.  I have been representing clients in domestic violence cases for more than 15 years.

As a former probation officer and deputy district attorney I know the ins and outs of the system I have also been a criminal defense attorney for more than 15 years and can get you through this time if you have been accused of Domestic violence.

Below I will outline the offense of Domestic Violence and some of the defenses.  These defense are not meant to be exhausitve  and if you have been accused of a crime you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible.  

the following elements are of 273.5 And can be charged as either a Felony or a Misdemeanor. 

1. Defendant willfully inflicted corporeal injury on a spouse

2. Victim was either defendants spouse or former spouse

or a person who they were cohabiltating with

fiance or somoene whom the offender has or previously had a a dating relationship with 

the mother of his or her child

corporeal injury resulted in a traumatic condition

DEFENSES

Self defense or defense of another person- that when you committed battery you were defending yourself

Wrongful accustion that the accusation was made up or wrong

That there was not traumatic condition

It was mutual combat - a very misunderstood terms and usually both parties agree to fight. 

This is again not a exhaustive list and meant to be only a partial list.  

If you have questions give us a call 559 441-1418. 

 

As a former probation officer, deputy district attorney, and somoene that has been practicing criminal defense for more than 15 years and having tried more than 50 cases, I have the know how to help you through you through this. 

The reason I do this job is to help people facing the most difficult times of there lives.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a Misdemeanor offense you should call our office immediately.  You need experienced representation to help you through this and we can help you. 

WHAT ARE MISDEMEANOR CASES

Misdemeanor cases are cases where you cannot go to state prison.  This means you could still serve local time of up to 364 days.  Also you coulb be placed on probation for a period of up to five years in addition to whatever punishment you recieve. 

VIOLATIONS OF MISDEMEANOR PROBATION

For every violation of misdemeanor probation that you get you could recieve additional jail time up to the maximum of 364 days.  Also you could have your probation time extended and restarted.  

Any jail time that you served would be local jail time.  Meaning in the local county jail rather than the state prison system.  

Things could get complicated if you are accused of several different Misdemeanor or crimes the sentences can be run consecutively rahter than concurrently. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONSECUTIVE RATHER THAN CONCURRENT TIME?

Concurrent sentence means at the same time.  how this would play out is that you are convicted of several different misdemeanors.  The judge could say that all convictions will run concurrent at the same time, which means you would not be subject to 364 on each conviction.  

CONSECUTIVE TIME?

This means that the convictions will be run after you finish the first sentence.  This means that the terms could be stacked upon each other.  This means the terms would be 364 followed by another 364.  And this could go on.  This is a legal sentence. 

POST CONVICTION RELIEF

After you have served your probation period, and sometimes even before that time you can ask the Judge to expunge your conviction from your record.  For a more full blog on that subject please see our blogs on expungement. 

There are different types of probation for different types of crimes and they vary as much as the crimes vary. For example a case in domestic violence, will have 52 week anger management classes and formal probation, and you will have severe firearm limiations. 

For DUI cases you will have to attend clases and pay more fines than usual for other misdemeanor cases.  

If you have questions do not hesitate to give us a call although many people think that misdemeanor cases are completely minor and they do not need an Attorney this is not the case.  There could be sever consequences for you and your family for even misdemeanor cases. 

You need to have an Attorney go over your rights and obligations before you speak to law enforcement.  Also, you should get help in conducting your investigation from an Attorney.  

give us a call at 559441-1418 if you have any questions we represent people not cases and we can help you through this. 

 

 

 

 

If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense than you should give us a call right away.   The effect on your rights can be very serious even for a Misdemeanor domestic violence charge.  

Below I will go through some of the effects that a domestic violence offense can have on you and your life.  Including the difference between Felony and Misdemeanor domestic violence and the effect that a conviction will have on your gun rights as either a Felony or Misdemeanor. 

First if you are arrested on a domestic violence charge it will be as usually as a Penal Code section 273.5 as either a Felony or as a Misdemeanor.  Lets look at the elements and defenses and then the consequences of either a plea or a conviction.  

PENAL CODE SECTION 273.5 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FELONY ELEMENTS

1. Defendant willfully inflicted corpereal injury on a victim

2. Victim was either 

Defendant's spouse or former spouse 

Person who her or she was cohibitating with 

Fiance or Fiance or someone with whom the offender had previously had, and engagement or dating relationship with 

The mother or father of his or her child

3. Corporeal injury resulted in a traumatic condition. 

MISDEMEANOR ELEMENTS

The Misdemeanor elements are the same elements.

WOBBLER OFFENSE

This offense is a wobbler meaning it can be chaged as either a Felony or a Misdemeanor offense.

DEFENSES TO A 273.5 OFFENSE

FALSE ACCUSATION

NO TRAUMATIC CONDITION

SELF DEFENSE

DEFENSE OF OTHERS

MUTUAL COMBAT

I go through these defenses in much more detail in other blogs. 

CONSEQUENCES OF A PLEA OR CONVICTION

Before there is even a conviction you may be subject to a restraining order.  If you are subject to a restraining order you will have to turn over your weapons.  You must show proof of this and law enforcement may check for your weapons so you must definitely abide by this edict to not have weapons. 

GUN RIGHTS

After a conviction for a domestic violence offense you will not be able to have weapons.   The reason for this is the federal government prohibits somoene from buying a firearm after they have been convicted of a domestic violence offense. 

MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION AND JAIL TIME

You are subject to jail time of up to one year; however, in Fresno County at least, you will probably get one what is referred to as AOWP time. which is alternative work program time.  usually first offense can be eight days up to a total of 90 days depending on several factors including prior record, and other factors.  

52 WEEK BATTERERS TREATMENT PROGRAM

You will be ordered to attend a 52 week batterers treatment program if you do not complete the program you will have violated your probation.  

FELONY CONVICTION CONSEQUENCES

The felony consequences are the same as above; however, they are more severe.  In that you will be placed on Felony probation.  Any violations of that probation you could be sent to prison for a term of 2,3 or 4 years.  the term will be chosen by the court.  Also, most likely you will get local jail time in addition to felony probation.  Sometimes the court will alow only aowp time, if it is a first offense.  If it is a second offense there could be additional penalties.  

RESTRAINING ORDERS

The restraining order can be up to five years and if you violate the restraining order you can be held on that additional charge in addition to the violation of probation.  There are other consequences of a plea and this is not meant to be an exhaustive list.  And if you have been charged with a domestic violence charge you should seek legal counsel give us a call 559 441-1418.

 

 

 

If your son or daughter has been arrested or is otherwise facing Juvenile Court you should hire someone experienced in the Juvenile Justice system.  As a former juvenile corrections officer, Juvenile Probation Officer, and someone that has practiced for more than 15 years in Juvenile Law I have the experience to make sure your childs case is handled correctly. 

Here I will go over the three different ways a case that is minor in nature can be handled through the Juvenile system.  The case I will be talking about is something we see in the Juvenile Justice system many times a fight. In later blogs I will go through more serious cases that are handled much differently such as Homicide cases, and transfer to adult court.

Lets say your child is a first time offender or as they say in Juvenile Court a first time petition for example battery on a school ground. 

There are several ways to handle the case have the case expunged and in some cases even have the records destroyed.  

In some other blogs I went over what happens at detention hearings and what are the factors the court takes into consideration in deciding wether to detain a minor.  Those issues are discussed in that blog. 

The three main ways a case can lead to a dismissal are two before admission and one after admission.  It should be noted here that under new law even if the case is not referred for one of the programs below under statutory changes such as penal code section 786 you may still be eligible for sealing and destruction of records after one year.  

(CJC) or Collaberative Justice program.  Here both parties have to agree to participate and the parents must agree to help.  After the programs is completed then the case is dimissed. This means there is never a plea to any of the charges in the petition and the case will never be brought.  

INFORMAL PROBATION

With informal probation the minor is not placed on formal probation  instead before he enteres a plea to any parts of the petition the minor is given an oppurtunity to handle the matter informally.  What this usually means is that the minor will complete certain orders of the court and then the matter will be dismissed.  The records will also eventually be destroyed.  The cases that are elibible for this programs are usually misdmemeanor cases.  Although a Felony case can be handled through the informal route if there are unusual circumstances, or the interest of Justice would be served.  If the minor is under 14 unusual circumstances do not have to be found. 

DEJ PROGRAM

The DEJ program is usually for first time offenders. Allthough most of these cases are more serious and Felonies if the minor gets through the court orders the case will still be dismissed.  The procedure for destroying the records is different and it could be  a much longer time to have the records destroyed.  

If you have any questions do not hesitate to call 559-441-1418. 

 

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & DUI ATTORNEY SERVING ALL OF CALIFORNIA

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