A robbery suspect, nicknamed “shaggy bandit,” displayed a firearm at a clerk at a Game Stop location in Woodland Hills and made out with over $1,000 in video games and cash.  He is also suspected of robbing a post office in the West Valley.

According to police, the bandit browsed store merchandise for a while and then approached the clerk with his gun drawn.  After the cash and merchandise is handed over, the bandit escapes in a silver Kia hatchback.

What the shaggy bandit may not realize is that he has some serious problems if he is caught.  Armed robbery is a very serious crime in California and something that prosecutors take very seriously.

Technically speaking, armed robbery is the taking of personal property from someone else’s person or immediate presence, against the victim’s will, through the use of force or fear.  Armed robbery is considered first-degree robbery in California and carries a punishment of anywhere between 3-6 years in state prison, formal probation and a fine of up to $10,000.  Keep in mind there is a special allegation for use of a firearm during a robbery that adds 10 years state prison to your potential sentence.  This is also a “strike” offense under California’s “three strikes law.”

Just because you are charged with robbery doesn’t make you guilty.  You are entitled to, and should have, an effective and vigorous criminal defense attorney fighting for your rights.  The police report and victim’s statement is only one side of the story.  If you have been charged with robbery or burglary and are have questions about your case and possible defenses, contact attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529 and get a free consultation.  You have rights, learn what they are!

Attorney Ross Erlich handles all misdemeanor and felony charges throughout California and in the CCB  (Clara Shortridge Foltz court), Van Nuys Courthouse, Pasadena Courthouse, Airport Courthouse, Compton Courthouse, and San Fernando Courthouse.

 

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.

Federal prosecutors are no longer going to seek “mandatory minimum” sentences for many low-level and nonviolent drug offenders.  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce this major shift in the United States criminal drug offender policy today.

Holder cites the years of explosive growth in the federal prison population and the ballooning costs associated with this increase in incarceration.  Holder further stated that too many people go to too many prisons for too long, and, a lot of times, for “no good law enforcement reason.”

Under Holder’s new policy, prosecutors would send fewer drug offenders to federal prison for long terms and send an increasing number of these offenders to drug treatment and community service programs instead.  This change in policy also addresses a long-standing goal of civil rights groups who say that long prison sentences disproportionately hurt low-income and minorities.

The “war on drugs” that started in the 1980s brought about strict federal laws that required judges to impose long prison sentences on anyone caught with certain amounts of illegal drugs, regardless of the circumstances.  The public’s demand for these long sentences has decreased recently as stories of unfairness and skyrocketing costs have become more apparent.

In other words, drug offenses look to be much more manageable in the near future.  With the policy shifting on federal drug offenses, local offenders will also likely see more non-custody options associated with disposing of their case such as Deferred Entry of Judgement (DEJ), PC 1000, and Proposition 36.  With the help of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney, many of these options can be made available to you and, if needed, effective substance abuse programs and rehabilitation.

If you have been charged with drug possession, drug transportation, possession for sale or with the intent to sell, contact attorney Ross Erlich before you go to court and before you make any statements to law enforcement.  It is important to have a skilled attorney help you in the Airport court, CCB, Downtown Courts, Pasadena Court and all Los Angeles County courts.

A Los Angeles man is in custody on suspicion of being one of four men involved in the beating of a transgender woman last month in Hollywood.  LAPD officers served a search warrant on the man’s residence Thursday night, three days after the City of Los Angeles offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect.

The victim was employed in an upscale Hollywood restaurant as a barista and was walking down a street in Hollywood after leaving work at 2:15 a.m.  Local surveillance cameras caught footage of a group of men following the victim as she walked down the street and then started attacking and beating her.  Her injuries were reported to be severe and she had to remain in the hospital for seven days.

The alleged suspect is currently being held in custody on $1.05 million bail and facing not only felony assault and battery with severe injuries, but the possibility of this being charged as a hate crime in addition.

If you have been charged with battery, assault, assault with a deadly weapon or assault with means likely to produce great bodily injury, you need, in two words, a lawyer.  You need to remain silent and have your attorney speak on your behalf to law enforcement investigators and prosecutors.  Serious violent crimes are charges that prosecutors don’t take lightly and are convictions that can have major implications on your life and criminal record.

If you are charged with felony assault or battery, you are looking at prison time, fines, restitution and possibly a serious and violent crime on your record for a long time.  If you have been charged with assault and battery in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Los Angeles or Pasadena, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  These charges require a skilled and aggressive defense attorney to advocate for your rights and to tell your side of the story.

Rapper “2 Chainz” was arrested on Tuesday at LAX, according to reports.  In fact, he was actually taken off a plane waiting to depart the airport after a TSA search of checked baggage showed the presence of marijuana and promethazine.

Reports state that the marijuana was less than 1 ounce, a misdemeanor, while the possession of promethazine got Chainz a felony narcotics possession charge.  Promethazine is commonly mixed with codeine and juice or soda to create a very intoxicating drink known as “sizzurp” in the hip-hop community.

2 Chainz will likely be booked and then released on bond and given a date to appear at the Airport Courthouse for the felony and misdemeanor drug possession charges.  While having a felony drug possession charge against you is serious and something that should not be taken lightly, there are favorable ways to resolve these cases which may even involve a dismissal of the charges.

If you have been charged with felony drug possession in California, you are most likely eligible for Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) or what attorneys refer to as PC 1000 (California Penal Code section 1000).  There are certain requirements that must be met before someone is eligible for DEJ.  First of all, the charged violation must be for simple drug possession only and not for possession for sales or transportation and the crime must not involve any violence or threatened violence.  Secondly, you must not have had any prior drug-related convictions, had you parole revoked without successfully completing your terms and conditions, completed DEJ in another case within 5 years of your current charges and you must not have had any felony convictions in the 5 years preceding the current charge.

If all of these elements are met and you are eligible for DEJ, you can enter a plea of guilty to the charges and have your criminal proceedings suspended for, typically, 18 months.  During this 18 month time period, you must enroll and successfully complete a county-approved PC 1000 class, which is typically 20 hours of drug education to be completed within the first 6 months.  After completion of the DEJ class, the court gives you the remaining 12 months to stay out of trouble and not suffer any new arrests, after which time your plea of guilty is withdrawn, a plea of not guilty is entered, and your case is then dismissed.

If you have been charged with drug possession, possession for sales, transportation or manufacturing, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.  A lot of times law enforcement is looking to catch the “bigger fish” and can put unfair pressure on you to talk and make incriminating statements.  Do yourself a favor and tell law enforcement to talk to your lawyer and that you have nothing to say to them.

Attorney Ross Erlich handles drug-related charges in the Airport Court, CCB (Criminal Courts Building), East Los Angeles, Pasadena and all over Southern California.  If you have been arrested on drug charges in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills or LAX, contact our office today.

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.


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