The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a top commander’s unmarked police vehicle being involved in a collision and found abandoned in Carson.  The commander, who oversees a team of officers that investigate officer-involved shootings, has been assigned to home pending the outcome of this investigation.

The unmarked car was found Friday morning after Carson Sheriff’s station received two calls about the car being abandoned.  The car has collision damage and was missing a wheel.

Now, anyone with common sense would probably think there is only one reason why an incident like this would occur – drinking and driving.  Of course there may be other explanations – he was distracted, was doing something during the accident that he should not have been doing, etc.  But, in my experience, when a car that was involved in a collision is abandoned, typically the driver was under the influence.

If a vehicle is left at, or near, the scene of a collision and no one is there upon law enforcement’s arrival, their ability to prove that a DUI was committed is difficult.  They will have a hard time being able to establish the time of driving, whether the registered owner was the person operating the vehicle, they might not be able to obtain any blood alcohol sample, can’t show that the person didn’t ingest any substances after driving, etc.   What they are more likely to be able to do is to pursue an investigation for hit-and-run and leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information.

In order to be convicted of a hit-and-run in California, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you left the scene of an accident, without first identifying yourself, and another’s property was damaged in the accident.  A hit-and-run, while not the most serious crime on the books, can lead to a number of unpleasant consequences for a person convicted of one.  Not only is it a conviction on your record, you will be faced with fines, probation, 2 points on your license from the DMV and are likely to be responsible for any restitution to the victim.

If you or a loved one has been charged, or is being contacted by law enforcement, for a hit-and-run, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  There are many options available to you/our side on these cases and many of them begin with how we handle things in the initial stages.  Attorney Ross Erlich handles hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

New LAPD Chief Michael Moore is considering a plan that would allow thousands of homeless peoples to get rid of their old bench warrants as part of a larger effort to reform a system that, in all honesty, is broken.

Getting rid of all of these old bench warrants on homeless persons would help end a vicious cycle that starts with homeless persons not able to, let’s say, pay a fine.  Then a bench warrant is issued when they don’t show up to court to pay the fine.  Then, ultimately, they come into contact with law enforcement and are arrested on their outstanding warrant for failure to pay a fine.  That means they go into custody (jail). get brought into the court, still can’t pay the fine, and are usually released right then and there since the underlying crime or violation is not serious at all.

This cycle explained above costs thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars.  It will also ease the pressure on the court system, jails, and police stations which are overwhelmed with the hundreds of daily arrests for old warrants.

Many of the original crimes homeless persons are cited for are “quality of life” crimes – sleeping on sidewalk, public urination, low-level drug possession.  These are usually simple fines, but can add up after court costs are imposed and become more of a problem once they go into warrant status.

Criminal bench warrants can be an issue for you if you haven’t shown up for court or have failed to return to court to show progress or completion of a court-ordered program.  Typically, people are placed on probation following a conviction and, usually, must complete some type of obligation(s) to the court.  This can range from something as minimal as pay a fine up to regular court appearances to show progress in a domestic violence program, alcohol program, and current restitution payments.  If you fail to show up to one of those appearances, you are looking at, potentially, increased punishment for the probation violation, which can be greater than what you originally were obligated to do.

Furthermore, there is always the chance the judge wants to set bail if you have failed to show up for court or it has been a long time since your warrant was issued.  A good criminal defense attorney can discuss with you ways in which to potentially avoid any bail and strategies to minimize any probation violation before even walking into court.

If you or someone you know has a bench warrant in Los Angeles county, Orange county, San Bernardino county or Ventura county, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as you can.  Judges are happier when the least amount of time has elapsed since the warrant has been issued.

Attorney Ross Erlich handles all criminal bench warrants, including those for battery, dui, drug possession, petty theft, hit-and-run, assault, suspended license and domestic violence.

Lindsay Lohan may be in some hot water with the law.  Again.  Lohan must provide proof to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge today that she has enrolled in rehab.  The problems has been that, according to social network websites and other news media, Lohan has yet to get enrolled in any program.  Additionally, a source in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office said they had not yet received any news of her enrollment.

As you may recall, Lohan entered into a plea agreement whereby she would serve 90 days in a live-in drug rehabilitation facility without the ability to come and go as she pleases.  This plea deal was in exchange for a no contest plea to misdemeanor reckless driving and providing false information to a police officer, stemming from her car accident on PCH.  Additionally, Lohan must spend 18 months in psychotherapy and serve 30 days of community service.

Why such a harsh punishment you might ask?  Well, Lohan was on probation at the time of this arrest and because of this, she faced increased penalties for violating the terms and conditions of her probation.  One of the terms and conditions of all grants of probation is to “not violate any law or order of the court.”  By pleading no contest to the new charges of reckless driving and providing false information to a police officer, Lohan violated her probation in the older case by violating a law while on probation.

I see many stories where people get into car accidents and decide to either leave the scene, committing a hit-and-run, or decide to give the responding police officer some inaccurate account of what happened.  Many times this is done to cover something up, not be blamed for the accident or in an attempt to not get arrested.  What you should be aware of is that lying or providing misleading information to a police officer can be a more serious charge then the underlying reckless driving or hit-and-run.

If you have been involved in a DUI, hit-and-run or reckless driving in Los Angeles and are set to go to the Van Nuys court, Airport court, Metropolitan court or Burbank court, contact attorney Ross Erlich before you decide to make any statements to law enforcement.  It will probably be your best decision.

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.

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.

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