A 55-year-old man who fled the scene of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian crash in Studio City that killed a musical collaborator of singer Christopher Cross was sentenced Monday to three years formal probation.

The Defendant, who earlier pleaded no contest to hit-and-run driving resulting in death, was also ordered to complete 18 months of mental health counseling as part of the sentence negotiated with prosecutors.

Vehicle Code section 20001, also known as felony hit-and-run involving death or injury, is a wobller in California.  That means that the District Attorney may prosecute the crime as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the conduct and facts of the case.  A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 and no less than 90 days of county jail and no more than 1 year in county jail.  This is a 2-point violation on your driver’s license and you are also subject to payment of restitution.  A felony is punishable by the same fine, 2, 3 or 4 years in the state prison, restitution and the same point violation on your driver’s license.

If you have been contacted by local law enforcement regarding a hit-and-run, or have already been charged or booked on hit-and-run charges, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Consult with an attorney before speaking with law enforcement, before walking into court and before you consider pleading guilty because “I did it, what’s the point of fighting the case?”  There are oftentimes many ways to resolve these types of cases, including, but not limited to, civilly compromising the case with the victim in order to have your case dismissed and establishing that you did not legally flee the scene of the accident, among others.

Do yourself a favor and consult with attorney Ross Erlich, for free, to learn what options are available to you before you make your first move.  Ross Erlich handles hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles county, San Bernardino county, Ventura county, Orange county and Riverside county.

Police in Santa Ana are looking for a suspect in a violent attack on a McDonald’s manager after the suspect requested ketchup.

According to police, the suspect entered the back employee entrance of the restaurant and requested the ketchup.  When the manager told the suspect that she was not allowed in that employee area, the suspect started kicking, punching and choking the manager.  The surveillance footage of the incident shows the suspect banging the manager’s head against a soda machine with her hands around the manager’s neck.

Eventually a man appears from the back entrance and walks the suspect out of the McDonald’s.

The suspect is likely going to be facing assault and battery charges, as well as potential criminal threats and commercial burglary charges.  In additional to facing charges for violent felonies, this case has gotten a decent share of publicity locally and prosecutors know that news outlets, and the public, will be watching.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that they are likely going to want to make sure the suspect faces a stiff sentence and any effort to negotiate or get a lenient sentence will be met by fierce opposition.

Typically, assault and battery charges and even commercial burglary charges can be dealt with by either a civil compromise, a diversionary sentence, probation, or some reduction of charges.  Depending on the nature of the assault/battery, the monetary amount of items taken or the type of conduct that occurred, a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help navigate a sentence that does not result in a conviction, a dismissal, suspension of criminal proceedings or other advantageous results.

If you or someone you know has been arrested in Los Angeles for assault, battery, making criminal threats or committing a commercial burglary, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free consultation.  Remember, don’t walk into court without someone speaking for you.

A 17-year-old pedestrian was killed, and his brother seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident in North Hollywood that may have been the result of a street race.  LAPD Valley Traffic Division stated that it appeared the brothers were not in a crosswalk when they were struck.

Witnesses told the officers at the scene the suspect vehicle, which appeared to be racing another vehicle, fled the scene and got onto the freeway.

Being charged with a hit-and-run is a serious offense in Los Angeles County and something that local law enforcement agencies are taking more seriously as the number of incidents keep going up.  A conviction for a hit-and-run can result in up to 6 months in the County Jail and a $1,000 fine.  Additionally, there may be probation to the court for up to 3 years, victim restitution, court fines and 2 points on your driving record.

If you have been charged with hit-and-run in Southern California, it is important to talk to your attorney about the possibility of a civil compromise.  If the facts are appropriate, and your attorney can get the victim on board, a successful civil compromise will permanently suspend criminal proceedings against you and you can avoid a conviction, jail, probation and points on your license.

Being charged with street racing or speed contest is another, more serious, charge and can lead to greater penalties if convicted under that code.  Penalties for being convicted of “street racing” include a minimum of 24 hours in County Jail (and up to 90 days max), up to a $1,000 fine and 40 hours of mandatory community service.  In addition, the judge can order your drivers license suspended for anywhere between 90 days to 6 months.  If the race caused injury to another person other than you, the mandatory jail time goes up to 30 days and a minimum $500 fine.

If you have been arrested for, or charged with, hit-and-run or street racing in Los Angeles, contact attorney Ross Erlich immediately for a free consultation.  Ross Erlich has handled these matters in all courthouses in Southern California and has gotten these charges dismissed and reduced.  It is important to know your rights and not walk into court and simply plead guilty.  As this blog demonstrates – doing so may seriously impact your freedom and ability to operate a vehicle.

A man and a woman were arrested Thursday in connection with the theft of Miley Cyrus’ Maserati and other valuables taken from her home.  The pair were arrested while at a local coffee shop in North Hollywood.

Police seized the pair’s vehicle, which, allegedly, contained valuables and other items that were suspected of being stolen property.  LAPD detectives started investigating the pair after receiving numerous tips and leads about the burglary of Miley Cyrus’ residence.

Police recovered the Maserati earlier this week when they found it abandoned on a street in Simi Valley.  Jewelry and other valuables were taken from the home, in addition to the Maserati.

The pair were booked on suspicion of residential burglary and bail set at $50,000.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, or is being investigated for, residential burglary or theft in Los Angeles, contact attorney Ross Erlich ASAP.  Prosecutors and law enforcement take residential theft crimes very seriously and the penalties for these crimes reflect that seriousness.

As opposed to commercial burglary or petty theft, residential burglary is always a felony and may otherwise be known as first degree burglary.  Penalties can include up to 6 years in state prison and is considered a strike under California’s Three Strikes law.  For a full definition of California’s Penal Code section 459, click here.

Keep in mind that the facts of the incident often play a very large role in what legal defenses may be available to you or in getting the charges reduced or dismissed.  Often times there mistaken identity issues with alleged eyewitnesses, maybe there was a lack of intent to steal, maybe the items belonged to you or maybe you even believed these items were given to you by the rightful owner.

Again, if you are facing burglary, residential burglary or any other theft charge in Los Angeles, Airport Court, CCB, Pasadena Court or East Los Angeles Court, contact our office 24/7 for a free case consultation.  Attorney Ross Erlich knows how to resolve theft cases to avoid having a moral turpitude conviction on your permanent record, possibly through a civil compromise.  Ross Erlich handles all theft, burglary and robbery charges in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, North Hollywood, East Los Angeles, and all over Southern California.

 

A 19-year-old from Irvine has been arrested on felony manslaughter and DUI charges after a car crash that killed a 16-year-old girl and injured 6 others.

The incident occurred at approximately 1:30 a.m. when 2 cars were travelling over 70 mph on a canyon road.  The driver of the front car stopped abruptly in an attempt to avoid hitting a deer.  The suspect, in the car behind the front one, also slammed on his brakes but lost control of the vehicle when it slammed into a tree.  One of the passengers in the suspect’s car was ejected and died from her injuries.

If you were operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and one of your passengers dies as a result of an accident that a prosecutor believes is your fault, you may be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.  This offense is a “wobbler” meaning that, depending on the facts of your case and prior criminal history, the prosecutor may charge it as either a felony or a misdemeanor.  It is important to note that, if charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment is up to 1 year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.  If charged as a felony, you are facing 16 months, 2 or 4 years in state prison.

There are many relevant facts that go into this type of criminal charge.  For example, it is important to determine the level of intoxication, the blood alcohol concentration, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, the other driver’s conduct, the road conditions and other factors that may have contributed directly to causing the accident.  Keep in mind that the prosecutor needs to establish that you were driving under the influence, that you negligently committed an unlawful act and that negligence caused the death of another person.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident where someone has been seriously hurt or died as a result, it is important to contact an attorney before making statements to law enforcement.  Having an attorney on your side speak to the prosecutor’s office prior to charges being filed may lead to lesser charges getting filed or the possibility of settling some issues outside of court.

If you have been arrested for a DUI or vehicular manslaughter in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Culver City, Santa Monica or North Hollywood, contact attorney Ross Erlich before you make any other calls.

 

If you have lived in Los Angeles for any amount of time, let alone visited for more than a day, you know that LA has its fair share of cars and traffic.  What you also probably know is that with that amount of traffic, Los Angeles’ hit-and-run incidents far exceed the national average.  In fact, in 2009, 48% of crashes in Los Angeles were hit-and-runs, compared to a national rate of 11%.

ABC’s ’20/20′ ran a piece which focused on Los Angeles Police Department Detective Felix Padilla, who has been working in LAPD’s traffic division for over 10 years.  Padilla told ABC that his division alone sees an average of 8,000 hit-and-run incidents a year and that in 2013, there have already been 16 fatal hit-and-runs incidents.

The problem for law enforcement in a hit-and-run investigation is that an arrest and prosecution hinge on eyewitness testimony and many do not want to cooperate with the police.  Padilla talked about how the LAPD can impound the car during an investigation, but that doesn’t mean much if they don’t have the driver identified.

Another problem for the LAPD is Los Angeles’ large number of undocumented immigrant residents, many of whom drive a car even though they cannot legally obtain a license.  If they get into an accident, many fear criminal prosecution and deportation and decide to flea the scene.

If you have been involved in a hit-and-run in Los Angeles, it is important that you contact an attorney before answering any questions by law enforcement or before you make any statements.  Many times people are scared of what has happened and will try to “talk their way out” of getting arrested or charged with hit-and-run, which never happens and often leads to incriminating statements used in the incident report that prosecutors see.  What you should do is allow your attorney to communicate with law enforcement on your behalf to not only avoid those pitfalls, but see if there is a way to avoid any charges being filed.

If misdemeanor hit-and-run charges do end up getting filed, it is important that you talk to your attorney about the possibility of a civil compromise or getting your hit-and-run charge reduced to a non-point traffic infraction.  Many times your attorney can work with the victim outside of the courtroom to achieve these desired results and a reduction or dismissal of your criminal charges.

If you have been arrested or charged with a hit-and-run in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Downtown, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills or Burbank, contact attorney Ross Erlich 24/7 for a free consultation.

LAPD arrested 7 people after hitting 9 locations as part of an identity theft ring that operated out of houses and apartments in Los Angeles and Glendale.

Glendale Police pulled over one of the suspects on a traffic violation and learned that the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s, the Secret Service and the Attorney General’s Office were looking into these people.  Law enforcement seized devices used to scam credit card information from gas pumps, computers used to download this information, credit card machines, blank plastic credit cards and even a 100 gallon tank hidden in a truck used to steal gas.

Police say these suspects have guns and likely have gang ties, but made no specific confirmation on that.

Identity theft in Los Angeles is a serious crime and something that the District Attorney’s Office prosecute’s aggressively.  Identity theft is typically charged as a felony in Los Angeles and, as seen from this article, can draw the attention of the Federal government.  It is also a crime of moral turpitude which, if convicted of, may have a severe negative impact on your criminal record and finding a job.

Identity theft is something that, depending on someone’s prior criminal history, can be resolved by an experienced attorney without any jail time whatsoever.  Civil compromises, probation and restitution of any out of pocket losses by the victim’s are priorities of the prosecutors and judges and something that can often be reached through a plea bargain.

If you have been arrested for theft, identity theft, grand theft, burglary or petty theft, contact Ross Erlich now for a free consultation and to discuss what your options are.  Ross Erlich has experience in getting no jail time for people charged with theft of thousands of dollars and charged with multiple felonies.

Nathan Campbell, accused of ramming pedestrians on the Venice boardwalk over the weekend and killing one, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to one count of murder, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run.

Campbell was in custody in front of Airport Court felony arraignment judge Keith Schwartz who set bail at $1.48 million.  Campbell is currently being represented by a Los Angeles County Public Defender who told press he does not believe his client intended to kill anyone.

For those unfamiliar with this incident, Campbell was arrested after police say he intentionally drove his car around barriers on the Venice boardwalk and aimed his car at pedestrians.  One woman was killed as a result of the impact.

It has since been discovered that Campbell has had arrests in Colorado and Florida for shoplifting and reckless drivings under the influence of alcohol.  Further details reveal that Campbell may have been living out of his car and has ties with the homeless community in Malibu.

Campbell is facing some serious charges at the Airport Courthouse and, if convicted, could be facing life in prison.

If you have been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon or hit and run in the Airport Courthouse, it is important for you to consult with an attorney before making any statements to the police or other law enforcement personnel.  Communicating (through your attorney) with law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office early may help you either avoid having any charges filed against you or get a reduction in what would have been originally charged.  Sometimes hit-and-run’s can be resolved through a civil compromise which permanently suspend criminal proceedings against the accused.

Serious charges requires a serious criminal defense attorney.  If you have been charged with a crime in the Airport Court, CCB, Criminal Courts Building, Pasadena Court or any other court in Los Angeles County, contact attorney Ross Erlich 24/7 for a free case consultation.

A 70-year-old man is in custody after police say he failed to stop his car after hitting a woman and her toddler with his SUV in the North San Fernando Valley last week.

Witnesses at the scene told police officers that the toy car the toddler was in was pushed by the man’s car for approximately one block before bystanders flagged down and stopped the driver.

The man was driving his car without a license and was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run, a violation of California Vehicle Code section 20001.

Witnesses at the scene also told officers that it appeared the man was unaware that he was pushing the toy car with the toddler inside of it and that he only drove approximately one block.

California Vehicle Code section 20001, more commonly known as felony hit and run, is a “wobbler” in the state of California.  This means the prosecutor can charge this crime as either a felony or a misdemeanor, usually depending on the facts of the case and the suspect’s prior criminal record.

If the hit and run is charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant is looking at a maximum of 1 year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.  If the accident resulted in death or some other serious injury, jail time is usually always sought.

If the hit and run is charged as a felony, the defendant is looking at a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 and between 16 months to 3 years in state prison.  If there was death or serious injury, typically the state prison commitment goes up to between 2 to 4 years.

If you have been in an accident in California, you are required by state law to stop your car, identify yourself and provide your license, insurance, registration or any other relevant documents to the other driver.

If you have been arrested for, or charged with, a hit and run in the Los Angeles area, it is important to contact an attorney before making ANY statements to law enforcement.  After years of experience handling hit and run cases, I have only seen these statement come back to hurt people’s cases.  Contacting an attorney early on in the process can help facilitate a civil compromise or other possible resolution to your case which can avoid a conviction on your record and points on your license.

If you have been involved in a hit and run in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Burbank or any other part of Los Angeles County, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free consultation.

A veteran Los Angeles County Probation Department officer, assigned specifically to aid the rehab of juvenile offenders, was arrested on May 25 on suspicion of shoplifting and contributing to the delinquency of her own children.  She has also been placed on unpaid leave from the Probation Department.

Ruth Marzan, who has over 20 years working for the Probation Department, was arrested at a Kmart when security personnel allegedly witnessed her shoplift items and coach her two teenage children to shoplift as well.  Marzan allegedly stole two MP3 players, clothes and underwear.

The Los Angeles County Probation Department has been plagued with personnel problems for many years, despite the Department’s efforts to reduced this number.

Getting caught for shoplifting in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Santa Monica can be a serious crime.  The severity of the charges usually depend on the total value of the items taken, whether the items were recovered, whether the items were damaged at all and whether or not this was a first offense or if there are issues of probation.  Generally, if the value of item(s) taken was over $950, a felony grand theft charge would follow.  If the value of the items are lower then that, most of the time the charges are either petty theft or misdemeanor commercial burglary.

As mentioned in other blogs and on the website, there are many valuable resources available to resolve theft cases before they become a conviction on your record.  Depending on the facts of your case, a civil compromise or some other form of deferred sentence can keep a conviction off your record so long as you are able to make the victim whole and pay for any loss and out of pocket expenses.

If you have been arrested or cited for shoplifting or theft in Hollywood, North Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Santa Monica, or any other city in Los Angeles County, contact an attorney before your court date to find out of something can be done before charges are even filed against you!  It might be the smartest call you make.


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