01 Apr / 2013
In the 1963 landmark case of Brady v. Maryland, the US Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors cannot withhold exculpatory evidence from a defendant “where that evidence is material to either guilt or punishment.” To do so would be to violate the criminal defendant’s due process rights. In other words, the government must turn over any evidence that can help prove the defendant innocent or helps lessen the punishment.
In the 50 years that have passed, there are prosecutors all over the country that fail to comply with this due process requirement and laws that have been enacted in an effort to limit this responsibility. For example, California passed Proposition 115 in 1990 and one of the components of this Proposition instructed prosecutors to turn over potentially favorable evidence to the defense at least 30 days prior to trial. One of the side effects of this provision was that some prosecutors believed they were under no obligation to turn over this potentially favorable evidence for the defense at the preliminary hearing stage of a case, where judges decide whether there is sufficient evidence to hold a defendant to answer to trial.
Recently, however, two California appellate courts have made rulings which help to clear up this grey area and held that a prosecutor’s obligation to turn over potentially favorable evidence to the defense does not only apply to trials, but applies to preliminary hearings as well. This is of critical importance to a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as preliminary hearings help resolve groundless and overcharged cases that cannot be proven at trial.
If you have been charged with a crime in the Metropolitan Courthouse, Criminal Courts Building, Airport Court or Burbank Courthouse, it is imperative that you contact attorney Ross Erlich for a free consultation so that you may know your rights. Remember that the role of a prosecutor is to achieve justice and not simply to get as many convictions as they can. To that end, it is important to have an aggressive defense attorney who will remind the prosecutor of their duty and make sure all evidence is discovered.
05 Sep / 2012
According to the California Highway Patrol, more people were arrested for driving under the influence this Labor Day weekend than were last year. The CHP made 259 such arrests from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, up from 227 the year before. This number does not include those arrests made by the LAPD, LA County Sheriff or any other law enforcement agency.
If you or someone you know where arrested for DUI in Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills, Mid City, Metropolitan LA or near the Airport, it is important that you contact Attorney Ross Erlich within the first 10 days to stop the DMV from automatically suspending your license without a hearing. Additionally, it can be beneficial to take proactive steps in the early stages of a case to help limit the impact of criminal charges brought against you.
Remember, if you have been arrested or cited by law enforcement in Beverly Hills, the Mid City area, near the Airport, or anywhere in Metropolitan Los Angeles, you need to consult criminal attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529.
28 Aug / 2012
Well, the break was short-lived; Lindsay Lohan is back in the crime news again. What did she do this time you might ask? Well, no one is quite sure, but the LAPD are expected to present a case involving watch theft to prosecutors today for their review and consideration on filing criminal charges.
All of this stems from an incident where several watches were stolen from one of Lohan’s friend’s homes earlier this month and it remains unclear what, if any, role Lohan might have had in the theft. LAPD is seeking to speak with Lohan regarding this incident but sources say her attorney has denied that request on behalf of Lohan.
If you or someone you know has either been charged with a theft crime or has been contacted by law enforcement regarding theft, it is important not to say anything to investigators without first speaking to a criminal defense attorney. Attorney Ross Erlich will speak to law enforcement on your behalf and work to protect your rights and ensure that any investigation is conducted properly.
It is also important to keep in mind that theft crimes are crimes of moral turpitude and can negatively impact your job, citizenship status or application or professional license. It is necessary to have a knowledgeable and skillful attorney to prevent convictions for these crimes and to work to get charges dropped or to facilitate a diversion program.
Contact Attorney Ross Erlich if you have been charged with theft in the Airport Court, Beverly Hills, or Downtown Los Angeles. Attorney Ross Erlich offers free consultations to those looking for a Beverly Hills criminal attorney or Airport Court criminal attorney.
Contact criminal defense attorney Ross Erlich (323) 222-4529.
28 Aug / 2012
In California, getting arrested for the act of prostitution or for solicitation of prostitution is a violation of Penal Code section 647(b), a misdemeanor. While the typical punishment for the first offense is minimal county jail time (5-10 days), AIDS testing, counseling and some form of probation for three years, second and third offenses carry more severe, often mandatory, punishments. Prostitution, as used in Penal Code section 647(b), is defined as “any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.”
Under California Penal Code section647(b), a person is guilty prostitution if the government can prove that a person either 1) solicited an act of prostitution, 2) agreed to engage in prostitution, or 3) actually engaged in prostitution. The Penal Code goes on to state that a person “agrees to engage in prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, he or she manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in prostitution.” This is important because the person by which an offer or solicitation is made, does not have to have to specific intent to actually commit the act. This language is what allows police and other law enforcement officials to conduct undercover “stings,” whereby actual police officers disguise themselves as prostitutes or potential customers and attempt to arrest citizens for violations of 647(b).
Simply agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution does not, by itself, make a person guilty of a 647(b) violation. As 647(b) states, “no agreement to engage in an act of prostitution shall constitute a violation unless some act, in addition to the agreement, is done in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution by the person agreeing to engage in that act.” Thus, simply agreeing to a solicitation or an offer requires an act in furtherance of the agreement. This act in furtherance does not need to be a transaction of money, but can be any minimal act such as meeting at a designated location, removing clothing or exposing oneself.
The punishment for a second offense of Penal Code 647(b) is a mandatory minimum of 45 days in county jail and a third offense requires a mandatory minimum of 90 days in county jail. The same additional terms apply, such as AIDS testing, probationary period and other possible special conditions (not walking in a certain area, not riding in a car within the area arrested in) apply to second and third time offenders.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or cited for solicitation of prostitution or loitering in the Beverly Hills Courthouse, Airport Courthouse or Bauchet Courthouse, contact Attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to discuss your options. As discussed above, there are many different possible resolutions to your case that do not involve jail or even a conviction on your criminal record.
Contact Attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529.
15 Aug / 2012
Joe Simpson, the father of singer Jessica Simpson, was arrested in Sherman Oaks on August 4 for suspicion of driving under the influence following a stop at a DUI checkpoint.
Just this Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both and for operating a motor vehicle with a .08% Blood Alcohol Level or above. Misdemeanor DUI carries a maximum of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If you are arrested for a DUI and your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is at 0.08% or above, the City Attorney will charge you with the two misdemeanor charges (mentioned above) and you will be facing the possibility of having two misdemeanor convictions. A good criminal defense attorney should be able to, at the very least, get one of those charges dismissed and, depending on what your BAC was, how you were driving and other factors, get your DUI reduced to something non-alcohol related.
If you have been arrested for a DUI and need a criminal attorney in Beverly Hills, the Airport/LAX area or in the Metropolitan Courthouse, contact Attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to protect your rights in court and with the DMV. Having an effective Beverly Hills criminal attorney or Airport criminal attorney may mean the difference between jail and probation and having a license or not.
Contact Attorney Ross Erlich here.
14 Aug / 2012
California’s State Prisons look like they will not be able to meet the obligation, imposed by a panel of federal judges, to reduce the prison population by approximately 112,000 by June 2013 and could possibly face the prospect of inmate being released early.
In fact, the same federal three judge panel has given the state until this Friday to develop a system for identifying those inmates who are unlikely to reoffend and who would be good candidates for early release.
California’s Prison system has had since May 2011 to comply with a court order that said the prison overcrowding cannot exceed 137.5%. Meanwhile, the state of California intend to ask the court for a cap at 145%.
Now, you might be asking what does all this mean in practical terms? Well, the federal district court has determined that the prison overcrowding, and corresponding decline in health and well-being of inmates, has come too close to being a violation of the Constitution’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment. The court’s effort, through this order, means that many more non-violent, non-serious and lower-level prison inmates are likely to be eligible for earlier release dates. This also means that many inmates who would normally serve their sentence in state prison will now serve their sentences in the Los Angeles County Jail system and face the early release dates that inmates their are currently experiencing.
If you have been charged with a felony and are facing prison time, it is important to hire an attorney who can negotiate a probationary and other non-custody resolutions to your charges. With the County’s new “realignment” plan discussed above in effect, you or your family member needs to hire an experienced law office to ensure the best and most appropriate outcome is reached in the case.
If you have been arrested and need an attorney in the Beverly Hills courthouse, the Metropolitan courthouse or the Airport courthouse, contact attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529.
27 Jul / 2012
“Krayzie Bone,” a member of the famous Bone Thugs-n-Harmony group, was arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of DUI in the West Valley. A spokeswoman for the LAPD stated that he was pulled over and failed a sobriety test at approximately 12:40 a.m. and transported to the Van Nuys jail.
Just another example of how even celebrities are not immune from the law. The question to you, the reader, might be, “now what happens?”.
Well, if “Krayzie Bone” were to hire Attorney Ross Erlich, Mr. Erlich would first contact the DMV Driver’s Safety Offices to set up an Administrative Per Se hearing and delay the automatic suspension the DMV seeks to enforce 30 days after an arrest. It is important to note that either you or your attorney must contact the DMV within 10 days of arrest or your license will be suspended automatically, without any hearing whatsoever.
Second, Attorney Ross Erlich would contact the City Attorney to see if any charges have been filed and if not, seek to speak with the Deputy City Attorney in charge of making the filing decisions and attempt to prevent any charges from being filed in the first place.
Now, assuming that charges have been filed or that the City Attorney is not willing to reject the case, the next step would be to appear on the first court date, collect all the police reports, any witness statements, police officer observations and go over all of that with the client. This is one of the most crucial steps in any DUI case. This is when we see what the Blood Alcohol Level was, what tests were taken, the police officer’s notes on the field sobriety tests, any statements that were made, whether or not the police officers followed proper protocol in pulling the car over, observing the driver, waiting the proper amount of time before starting any tests. All of these factors DO matter and any one which is not done correctly can open the door to a dismissal or reduction of the charges.
What is also important to consider is Attorney Ross Erlich’s personal relationships with the City Attorney’s and District Attorney’s who may be prosecuting your case. Because Attorney Ross Erlich has handled a large volume of DUIs, he has developed personal relationships with the prosecutors that, a lot of the time, can make a big impact on a client’s case.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Beverly Hills, the Metro (Metropolitan) Court, in Mid City Los Angeles, Downtown Los Angeles or on the Westside, contact Attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529.
26 Jul / 2012
John Steven Burgess, the sex offender who was convicted in the death of a San Diego State University nursing student, entered a not guilty plea Wednesday to charges that include violating parole and being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition.
Burgess pleaded guilty in 2009 to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Jou and was sentenced to five years in state prison. Due to good time credits, Burgess was release last December after serving approximately half of his five year sentence.
When a person is released early from prison, they are released on parole. Parole is, essentially, an extension of prison that allows a convicted felon to live and work in the community under supervision from the Department of Corrections. This supervision typically depends on what a parolee’s conviction was for, but can include regular reporting to a parole officer, drug testing, drug offender registration, sex offender registration, and being subject to search and seizures at any time, even without probable cause.
When a parolee violates any term or condition of their parole, they are taken into custody on a no-bail hold until they see a judge. A parolee is entitled to a formal hearing and is also entitled to have legal representation, which is highly recommended. Each violation of parolee can expose someone to up to 1 year in prison.
If someone you know has been charged with violating parole in the Los Angeles, Mid City, Beverly Hills or Metro areas, contact Attorney Ross Erlich at (818) 783-5700 and visit www.4criminaldefense.com.
25 Jul / 2012
You know the feeling: you’re driving a little too fast, maybe late for an appointment or work and all of the sudden you see those dreaded red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror. The Los Angeles Police officer or California Highway Patrolman approaches your car and, while you both may know why you are stopped, proceeds to ask if you know why he or she stopped you.
Speeding tickets are, well, sometimes just a part of life. They can be a costly violation; average fines for speeding violation after assessments total close to $500 plus $64 for a traffic school fee and then the cost of traffic school itself. If you were driving 100mph or above, there is also the possibility of higher fines, 2 points on your license and a DMV negligent operator license suspension hearing.
The same holds true for other traffic violations – they add up quickly. Failures to appear, civil assessments and other multiple citations can make what first appeared to be a simple fix-it ticket turn into a several hundred dollar headache.
In the Metropolitan Los Angeles area, most traffic tickets are handled out of the Metropolitan Courthouse. Other high volume traffic courts are the Santa Monica Courthouse, Van Nuys Courthouse and Beverly Hills Courthouse. Attorney Ross Erlich has handled numerous speeding and other traffic violations in these courthouses with a high success rate. Attorney Ross Erlich knows that speeding tickets and other point violations can negatively impact your auto insurance rates and that there are other ways at resolving these traffic matters that do not carry a point violation.
If you or someone you know has been cited for speeding, driving without a license, driving on a suspended license, failure to have insurance, registration or any other traffic violation, contact Attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529.
23 Jul / 2012
Teen courts have operated in Los Angeles County for over the last 20 years. In these specialized courts, trained teenagers question, determine guilt and ultimately sentence fellow teenagers charged with crimes.
Faced with the reality that many youths charged with relatively minor offenses can often avoid the criminal justice system and becoming repeat offenders if worked with at an early age, Judge David Wesley helped develop the program to what it is today. Thus, the teen courts typically deal with teenage first-time offenders charged with such crimes as petty theft, vandalism, bullying, etc, and are referred by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office or through the LA County Probation Department. It is estimated that less than 5% of those offenders tried in teen court repeat their crimes.
A new offshoot of the Teen Court program is now starting to address incidents of bullying and hate crimes in an attempt to curb this behavior before it becomes normal.
The teens that serve on the court are allowed to ask questions of the accused and are trained about what questions to ask, the elements of the crimes and other topics to assist them to come to an educated decision.
Having served on a teen court many years ago, Attorney Ross Erlich realizes the value and importance that this program can have on both the person charged with a crime and the community as a whole. Not only does the person charged with a crime get to realize the consequences of their actions and how it can affect families and friends, the community benefits from the personalized treatment and reduction of repeat offenders.
If you or someone you know has been charged with vandalism, petty-theft, battery or any other crime in the Metropolitan Los Angeles area, Beverly Hills or near the Airport Court, contact Attorney Ross Erlich for a free one-on-one consultation at (818) 783-5700 or visit www.4criminaldefense.com.