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Understanding Changes to California’s Felony Murder Law

Felony murder has a different legal standard than murder. Under California law, murder is the “unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought.” Felony murder, on the other hand, is charged for deaths that occur during the commission of a felony. Previously, the California felony murder law allowed defendants to be Read More

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The Most Common Domestic Violence Charge

Domestic violence is a broad term used to describe a variety of crimes that occur between people who are in a particular kind of relationship. The most common domestic violence charge in California is brought under Penal Code 273.5. Penal Code 273.5 only applies if the victim is one of the following: The defendant’s current Read More

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 DUI Laws and Marijuana

With the passage of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, in 2016, recreational marijuana use by adults became legal in California. With its passage, however, there are concerns about how marijuana use will be affected by the state’s statutes on driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Proposition 64 had no technical Read More

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Understanding the Insanity Defense in California

Criminal defendants who plead not guilty by reason of insanity in California must meet the criteria of the M’Naghten test. Under this standard, they must be able to prove that they didn’t understand the nature and quality of the crime or they didn’t understand the difference between right and wrong at the time the crime Read More

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Using California’s Exclusionary Rule in Drug Cases

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures” and provides that search warrants can be issued only upon “probable cause.” When police violate these strictures, any incriminatory materials obtained in the search — such as illegal drugs — cannot be admitted as evidence. This is known as the exclusionary rule. Using Read More

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Dealing With the Legalities of DUI Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints are generally legal in California. There’s no doubt that they make the roads safer by weeding out inebriated drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these traffic stops have the potential to prevent nearly one out of 10 DUI-related deaths. But police still must meet certain standards and conditions in Read More

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Avoiding Jail Time for Drug Possession in California

Addiction is a disease and the California criminal justice system treats it as such. If you’ve been arrested for a nonviolent drug possession offense, there is a remedy available to avoid prison and a criminal record. Here’s what you need to know. Prop 36, aka the “Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act,” was passed by Read More

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