How To Defeat DUI Charges

A DUI charge is also called DWI (driving while intoxicated) in certain states. So if an officer of the law suspects that you have been driving a vehicle while intoxicated, you can be charged with this offence. It is up to you to fight this DUI with a good defense attorney so that the case is dismissed or the sentence is reduced.

How to Beat the Charges

For a DUI, it is essential that the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving while being intoxicated. But a number of errors can occur during the process of collecting evidence.

If any of the evidence can be discredited, they will not be allowed to present it during the course of the trial. Without adequate proof, you cannot be charged. So the evidence and charges must be challenged if you want any chance of suppressing them. If they haven’t been challenged, the law officer will not have to prove the evidence so you could be found guilty.

This same theory applies to any kind of traffic violation. If there is no proof, no charges will stick. So if they cannot make anything stick, you will be able to keep your driving privileges and the case will be dropped. You can even challenge a license suspension if your license has been suspended.

Hiring a Good Attorney

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can face some serious charges. Not only could you lose your driving privileges, face a fine and even look at jail time but if you are found guilty of this crime, it will follow you for the rest of your life.

Whether during your college applications or even a job interview, you could be at a major disadvantage if you have been charged with DUI. So instead of writing it off, hire a good defense attorney as soon as you have been charged with the offence.

A good attorney is one who has experience in this field and a good record of getting cases dismissed. The sooner you hire them, the better your chances are of fighting the case because they will have time to go over all the details of the incident, collect evidence and then advise you throughout the process. Even if they can’t manage to get all the charges dismissed, you will still have a chance of getting a reduced sentence.


Things You Can Expect From Public Defender

If you were recently arrested for a crime, and now you are considering using a public defender as your legal counsel, it is important for you to know what to expect if you choose a court-ordered attorney. Continue reading to learn what a public defender is, what they do, and what to expect when being represented by one.

Court-Appointed Attorneys

A public defender is a court-appointed attorney that is paid by the government to represent defendants that are incapable of affording private legal counsel. Generally, they are given to those facing jail time for misdemeanor or felony charges. Although they are fully-qualified lawyers, public defenders often carry a stigma implying otherwise. They have the equivalent training and licenses and extensive courtroom experience that private lawyers do. But this does not mean they should be a first choice for someone facing serious criminal charges.

Accepting a Public Defense Lawyer

After an arrest, a court hearing called an arraignment will be scheduled. This is a defendant’s initial hearing in which their criminal charges will be read to them by a judge, and then they will be asked to plead ‘guilty‘ or ‘not guilty‘ to their charges. For those with private counsel, their attorney will already be present. As for all others, the arraignment hearing is when a defendant will be given the opportunity to accept a public defender.

If a defendant replies yes to a public defender, one will be appointed to them for the duration of the arraignment only, or until they can prove they are indigent. Eligibility requirements for public defense varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some courts may require defendants to provide fee estimates from multiple private law firms, along with proof of financial records, to prove they cannot pay for private representation. While other courts simply take a defendant’s word or allow them to choose regardless of how much they earn.

Private Lawyers

Public defenders have a much heavier caseload compared to private lawyers. This means they do not have very little time to spend on each individual case. For this reason, it can be risky working with one. If you are facing criminal charges and possible jail time, you want to invest in an attorney who can dedicate 100 percent of their time and attention building a defense against your charges. They are the professionals who can afford to put time into protecting your rights and preserving your freedoms.


Tips To Get Permanent Residency for Canada

Canada has become one of the most coveted immigration destinations. Let’s get to know why? One of the most important reasons is the streamlined immigration process to this country.

This streamlined process is now called Express Entry which applies to all the provinces in Canada except Quebec. It helps you to apply under the three categories of Canada experience class, Federal Skilled Worker, and Federal Skilled Trades.

Let’s get to know the specific requirements under these categories:

Federal skilled worker: Under this category of Canada immigration, you should have a work experience of 30 hours every week for a period of 1 year in your home country. If you have been working part time, then this experience should be of 15 hours in a week for the period of 2 years.

Any prospective candidate who is looking forward to immigration to Canada should note that he has to show this much experience and any of his unpaid experience won’t be included.

The work experience should also be of the levels, skill level 0, A and B as per the National occupational classification code of this country. All this experience should be held in the 10 years prior to making your Canada Immigration Application.

The next category of Canada immigration is Federal skilled trades under which a candidate is eligible if he is able to show the proficiency in French or English languages as per the Canadian language benchmark.

The other minimum requirements for being granted this visa are that you should have a work experience of two years in a specific skilled trade in the previous 5 years you will make your Canada immigration application. Apart from this work experience, you can also have a job offer in Canada for a minimum duration of a year.

Otherwise, it’s important to have a certificate of qualification given to you by an authority in a territory or province in Canada for your previous work experience.

The last category for application under Canada immigration is Canada Experience class: Under this category, the candidates need to have experience in Canada. The candidate should have a year of prior working experience in this country. This experience should be in 3 years before you make your application for the Express Entry. The different language skills which are needed for Canada immigration are in different benchmarks of reading, speaking, listening and writing.

This category of Express Entry applies to those who plan to stay outside the Quebec province. If you are approved into the Express Entry pool, you are eligible for a period of a year. Once that time expires, the candidate has to create a new Express Entry profile.


Seizure Law on California

“Search & Seizure”

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that we have the right to be free from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement. This applies to both federal and state agencies.

The Fourth Amendment’s rule against unreasonable search and seizures means that police may not search you or your property unless one of the following is true:

They have obtained a valid search warrant from a judge, or the search falls within one of a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement recognized by federal and California courts.

Exceptions to the warrant requirement:

Exceptions to the rule that police searches and seizures require a warrant vary depending on the type of property that is being searched.

Cell phones

There are special rules about when police may search “smartphones” and other electronic devices without a warrant.

For example, the exceptions that apply to police searches of cellphones are different from those that apply to police searches of vehicles.

But, generally speaking, exceptions to the warrant requirement for searches and seizures exist for:

Searches/seizures done with someone’s voluntary consent;

Searches/seizures incident to a lawful arrest, where the police are looking either for weapons that might be used against them or for criminal evidence that might otherwise be destroyed;

Inspection searches, such as those at international borders;

Searches of vehicles when police have “probable cause” to believe the vehicle contains evidence about a crime (this is known as the “automobile exception” to the warrant requirement);

Searches of obviously incriminating items that are in “plain view” while law enforcement is conducting an otherwise lawful search;

Searches/seizures in emergency situations that are necessary to prevent physical harm or serious property damage, or to locate a fleeing suspect;

The “stop and frisk” of a criminal suspect (that is, a search of his/her outer clothing) while s/he is being temporarily detained (this is sometimes referred to as a “Terry stop”), to look for weapons that might be used against an officer; and

Searches in situations where individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

What happens if I am the victim of an unlawful search or seizure?

If you are the victim of an unlawful search or seizure by police, then you and your California criminal defense attorney can ask the court to exclude this evidence in your case. This is what is known as the “exclusionary rule.”

This is usually done through a Penal Code 1538.5 PC motion to suppress evidence, which is an important kind of California pretrial motion.

In order to help you better understand when police can legally search your car or truck in California, our California criminal defense attorneys will address the following:

1. California Search and Seizure Laws and the “Reasonable Expectation of Privacy”

2. California Search Warrants

3. Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement for Searches and Seizures

3.1. Exceptions for searches of homes/residences

3.2. Exceptions for searches of vehicles

3.3. Exceptions for searches of cell phones and computers

3.4. The “plain view” exception

4. The “Exclusionary Rule” and Illegal Searches/Seizures

4.1. “Fruit of the poisonous tree”

1. California Search and Seizure Laws and the “Reasonable Expectation of Privacy”

Search and seizure laws in California have their origins in:

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Article I, Section, of the California Constitution.

These constitutional sections provide that all citizens have the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Car Search

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures.

But, as a general matter, you are only protected against unreasonable searches and seizures of property in which you have an “expectation of privacy” that is “reasonable.”

Here are some examples of places/property in which you have a legitimate expectation of privacy that protects you from searches and seizures:

Your home,
Your cell phone, computer, and other electronic storage devices,
A tent or tarp,
A hotel room, and
Personal property that public school students bring to school.

They have a search warrant, or
One of the exceptions to the warrant requirement applies.

2. California Search Warrants

Many searches/seizures in California are constitutional because they are done with a valid search warrant.

Search warrants must be signed by a judge.

A search warrant must be authorized by a state or federal judge. Warrants grant police the right to search for and/or seize items that either
may be evidence that a California felony has been committed, or
may be evidence that a particular person has committed a felony.

In order to be valid, a search warrant must be based on “probable cause” and must describe specifically both
the area to be searched, and
the property or thing that is being searched.

Reasons that a search warrant itself might be invalid or defective include:

A police officer deliberately misled the judge about the facts justifying the warrant (a form of police misconduct that is all too common);

The warrant was not specific enough about the area to be searched or the type of evidence to be searched for; and/or

The judge who issued the warrant was biased.

3. Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement for Searches and Seizures

Some searches or seizures of places/property in which you have a legitimate expectation of privacy are valid even if they were done without a warrant-as long as they fall into one of a long list of widely-recognized “exceptions” to the warrant requirement.

The U.S. Supreme Court has carved out a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement for searches and seizures.

3.1. Exceptions for searches of homes/residences

Police may enter and search your house, apartment, trailer, etc., without a warrant, when one of the following circumstances applies:

You (or someone else with authority over the premises) have given your consent to a search of your home;

There is imminent danger to life or a threat of serious damage to property; or
The search takes place in connection with a lawful arrest-and is done either for the purpose of protecting the safety of the arresting officers, or for the purpose of safeguarding evidence about the arrest offense that someone might otherwise be able to destroy.

3.2. Exceptions for searches of car

Police may search your car without a warrant under certain circumstances.

Police searches of cars without a warrant may take place when any of the following is true:

You (or someone else with authority to do so) have given your consent to a search of your vehicle;

The police have “probable cause” to believe the car contains contraband or evidence of a crime;

The police are lawfully arresting an occupant of the car-and either the arrestee is within reaching distance of the interior of the car, or it is reasonable to believe the car contains evidence about the crime for which s/he is being arrested;

The police are temporarily detaining an occupant of the car via a Terry stop, and reasonably believe that s/he may be dangerous and have access to weapons stored in the car; or

The car has been lawfully impounded by law enforcement (as may happen if you commit Vehicle Code 14601 driving on a suspended license), and they are conducting an “inventory search.”

Once the police catch up with them, they search the car-and find marijuana hidden under a seat.

The marijuana can be used as evidence against Matilda and Nicole, even though the police had no warrant to search the car. Their suspicious behavior-leading the police on a high-speed chase when they approached-created probable cause for a search of their car.

3.3. Exceptions for searches of cell phones and computers

Warrantless searches of computers/electronic devices are allowed in only a few specific circumstances.

Police may search your cell phone-or conduct a search of your computer or hard drive, tablet computer, or other electronic device-without a warrant, under the following circumstances:

When you or someone else with authority over the phone/computer/electronic device consents to the search/seizure;

In an emergency situation, where police can show an immediate need to search a device in order to pursue a fleeing suspect, or assist someone who is seriously injured or threatened with imminent injury; or

When you are carrying the device across an international border (including at airports).

And, finally, if police in California searched your cell phone without a warrant before June 25, 2014, while you were under lawful arrest, prosecutors probably can use that evidence against you.

This is because-prior to that date-the law in California was such that warrantless cell phone searches under these circumstances

Warrentless cellphone searches incident to arrest were legal in California prior to June 2014.

3.4. The “plain view” exception

The “plain view” exception is another important exception to the warrant rule for California searches and seizures.

Basically, the plain view exception says that when police are searching property legally (with a warrant, or under a warrant exception), they may also search any items that are in “plain view” while they are conducting their search, and obviously incriminating.

4. The “Exclusionary Rule” and Illegal Searches/Seizures

If you are the victim of an illegal search or seizure, then you have the right to have any evidence that the police obtained through that search or seizure “suppressed.” This means that the evidence may not be used against you in your criminal jury trial.

You and your California criminal defense attorney can move to suppress evidence obtained from an illegal police search.

This is what is known as the “exclusionary rule” in California law.

Your criminal defense attorney can challenge any evidence from an invalid search/seizure by filing a Penal Code 1538.5 motion to suppress evidence, prior to the start of your trial.

If the motion is granted-and that evidence is key to the prosecution’s case against you-then you may be able to get the charges against you reduced, or even dismissed altogether.

4.1. “Fruit of the poisonous tree”

The “exclusionary rule” applies not just to evidence that was discovered during an illegal search-but also to evidence that police found as an indirect result of an illegal search.58

This is what is known as the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine.

The “poisonous tree” is the unlawful search or seizure, and the “fruit” is any evidence that the police manage to uncover as an indirect result of the unlawful search or seizure.