A man who crashed his car into an SUV in Southern California, killing the driver of that SUV, while fleeing a residential burglary, pleaded no contest to first-degree murder and burglary and was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison.

The men involved in the burglary were implicated in a residential burglary where a witness called 911 after seeing two of the three men involved kick down a door of a home while another waited in the getaway car.  When sheriff deputies spotted the getaway car, a police pursuit ensued and the car ultimately crashed into an innocent driver in an SUV.  The driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “how can this guy be charged, and convicted, of murder?  He never meant to kill anyone.”  Well, in California, we have the felony-murder rule which makes a defendant guilty of murder if he/she or a fellow co-conspirator kills a person while committing certain felonies, even if the killing was an accident.  Generally, someone is only guilty of murder if there intent to kill or someone acted with reckless disregard for human life.  The felony-murder rule allows for a murder charge even when there is no intent or reckless disregard.  The underlying felony must be one that is listed in California’s first-degree murder law (for first-degree felony-murder) or one that is “inherently dangerous” (for second-degree felony-murder).

As with all first-degree murder charges, first-degree felony-murder is punishable by 25 year to life in California state prison, life in state prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

If you, a friend or family member is facing a charge of murder, felony evading, resisting arrest, fleeing, burglary, home invasion or any other criminal charge in Los Angeles, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Opening lines of communication with the district attorney during the early stages of the case can oftentimes be beneficial for the client.  Additionally, there may be the need to conduct our own investigation and preserve any surveillance footage, recordings, witness statements or other items to be used at a later date.

These felonies are often charged in the Los Angeles Criminal Courts Building (CCB), Van Nuys Courthouse, Airport Courthouse, Pasadena Courthouse, San Fernando Courthouse, Long Beach Courthouse and other courts throughout Orange County and San Bernardino County.

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.

 

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has, formally, set a hearing to determine whether or not Sean “Diddy” Combs will face charges of assault after he was arrested following an argument with a UCLA football coach in June.  UCLA police arrested “Diddy” after, it was alleged, he swung a kettle-bell weight at a coach and made criminal threats during a dispute.  The hearing is set for mid October.

A City Attorney Hearing is an informal proceeding that is conducted as an alternative to a misdemeanor criminal charge being filed in court by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.  An arrest usually gets to a City Attorney hearing after the District Attorney’s office declines to file a felony charge and the conduct or facts of the case are not serious enough to warrant a “straight out” filing of a misdemeanor charge by the City Attorney’s office.

The hearing is an informal proceeding that is conducted by a hearing officer, not a prosecutor or police officer.  The defendant may be represented by an attorney at the hearing where, in all honesty, it is more of a slap on the wrist than something that will result in criminal charges.  The main focus of the hearing is to determine if it is necessary to prosecute the criminal case (file charges) or to withhold that filing.  The hearing officer may simply say “don’t let this happen again” or can request the defendant to take anger management classes or something along those lines.

As part of the proactive, pre-filing work done by attorney Ross Erlich, a common practice is to contact law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office right away to see if there is any way to avoid having the case filed at all.  If there is little chance to get the case rejected, attorney Ross Erlich works to “push” the case towards a City Attorney hearing and not to court.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a misdemeanor charge in Los Angeles, Orange County or anywhere in Southern California, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Cases can move quickly from arrest to court date and, in most instances, getting a case to a City Attorney hearing takes place during that time.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

In the wake of continued troubles for the Los Angeles County Jail system, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan that would move at least 1,000 mentally ill offenders out of current lockups and into a new facility focused on treating the mentally ill.  This plan begins as the criticism over how the county handles the mentally ill and substance abuse inmates who make up 20% of the total jail population.

This new approach, sought out by, among others, County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, would move mentally ill people out of jail and into treatment programs with the hope of reducing recidivism.  The hallmark of this plan would be the new 3,885 bed jail in downtown which would replace the old and troubled Men’s Central Jail.  The plan would be to move many of the mentally ill housed in the Twin Towers facility over to this new mental health facility and move those general population inmates in Men’s Central over to Twin Towers.  Twin Towers was originally set up to house the general population inmates and not specifically for the mentally ill.

The new jail will take between six to eight years to build and, as opposed to the traditional cells with metal bars lined up in narrow rows, the new living areas will have more open space and be easier for guards to monitor.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said her plan for the jail focused on putting more offenders into treatment rather than behind bars.

While this plan just recently won Board of Supervisor approval and is sure to face some obstacles, it signals a shift in local law enforcement priorities to provide treatment for the mentally ill and those with substance abuse problems as opposed to housing them in cells.  It is also yet to be seen how getting to this new facility will play out in the court system and whether or not there will be hurdles to clear in order to become “eligible” to serve time in the mental health/substance abuse facility.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, charged with or is being investigation for a crime, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Attorney Ross Erlich has extensive experience representing clients with both mental health and substance abuse problems.  This representation usually involves assisting the client in inpatient or outpatient treatment facilities, mental health counseling, self-help resources and pre-filing work done to open the channels of communication between us and the prosecutor’f office before any crime is charged.

Contact our office for a free consultation today.

Former USC and NFL star Keyshawn Johnson was arrested on Monday morning and booked on misdemeanor domestic battery charges.  Johnson is currently known for his role as an NFL analyst on ESPN and currently lives in the west San Fernando Valley area.

It was reported that there was a fight between Johnson and his ex-girlfriend which, allegedly, got physical, and caused some kind of cut or other injury to her hand.  There were other reports that the argument was over marriage and that Johnson, allegedly, broke or was in the process of trying to throw her cell phone.

Johnson was booked and released on $20,000 bail and will be making his court appearance in the Van Nuys Superior Court sometime in the coming month or so.

If you have been involved in a domestic dispute or have been arrested for domestic violence or domestic battery in Los Angeles, there are some important things for you to consider before you go to court.  The prosecutor’s office in Los Angeles, be it the City Attorney or District Attorney, typically have a special unit that handles all “special victims crimes,” which usually include domestic violence.  These prosecutors usually proceed with the case even if the victim wants to recant or “drop the charges.”  Therefore, it is important to know how to handle these specially assigned cases the right way to avoid having a violent crime conviction on your record.  There are also several different penal code sections dealing with incidents surrounding a domestic dispute.

In Los Angeles, misdemeanor domestic violence or domestic battery convictions usually involve either 30 days of county jail, 30 days of Cal Trans work, 3 years of informal probation, a 52-week domestic violence class, victim restitution, fines and fees to the court, possible criminal protective order and the possibility of losing the right to own a firearm.  In addition, a domestic violence or domestic battery conviction is a “violent crime” that may make it difficult to keep or find employment.

There may also be immigration issues arising from a conviction for domestic violence or domestic battery in Los Angeles.  Most of these domestic violence crimes are classified as crimes of “moral turpitude” and will give rise to deportation proceedings if you are convicted of these charges in court.

All this being said, there are a number of other possible ways to resolve your case that might include a dismissal of the charges, a reduction in the charges, and/or getting the prosecutor to strike some of the other obligations and penalties typically associated with a domestic violence conviction.  There is the possibility of resolving the case through a civil compromise or through some kind of diversion.  All this will typically depend on the facts of your case, the extent or lack of injuries, prior criminal history and the victim.

If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence or domestic battery in Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Airport Court, Pasadena Court or Burbank Court, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free case consultation.

A former Glendale councilman who was sentenced to one year in county jail after his guilty pleas to embezzlement, perjury and filing false tax returns will now serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

Because these crimes are classified by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as nonviolent and nonsexual, the amount of time actually served is almost immediately cut in half.  This policy is part of the new realignment guidelines meant to curb inmate overcrowding in the California state prison system.

Mr. Drayman, the defendant, will have to wear an ankle bracelet and be monitored by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

If you are facing criminal charges for a nonviolent and nonsexual crime, it is important to know what other options are available to you besides serving time in county jail.  Electronic monitoring, or “house arrest,” is a common resource used by attorney Ross Erlich to avoid having clients lose their jobs or family.  Typically, electronic monitoring is an alternative to actual custody and is available either prior to a conviction as pre-trial release or after a conviction.  This means that house arrest usually occurs, in a sentencing capacity, after someone has plead guilty and sent to county jail.  Individuals are then screened for eligibility upon their arrival and factors such as prior criminal history, nature of the current charges and personal background are taken into consideration.

There are many options in resolving a theft or fraud case in Los Angeles.  Just because you were arrested for, and charged with, a felony, does not mean that you are going to wind up with a felony conviction on your record.  Victim restitution can be a large factor in attorney Ross Erlich’s ability to get the charges reduced or even dismissed through a civil compromise with the court.  Additionally, convictions for theft, fraud or embezzlement are crimes of “moral turpitude.”  These convictions can have severe consequences in terms of keeping or securing employment and protecting any license from the state.

If you have been arrested for, or charged with, fraud, embezzlement or theft in Los Angeles, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Downtown, Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, contact attorney Ross Erlich today to discuss all of your options.  Attorney Ross Erlich handles all theft and fraud cases in the Airport Court, CCB Court, Pasadena Court, Glendale court and all other fraud and theft charges throughout Los Angeles County.

Zac Efron and his bodyguard were allegedly involved in an assault and battery with transients in Downtown Los Angeles that resulted in Efron being punched in the mouth.

The incident took place at approximately 2 a.m. when, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s battery report, police found two homeless men involved in the fight near a freeway entrance.

According to another celebrity news website, LAPD officers said they saw Efron and his bodyguard involved in a “full-blown melee with at least three other people” when they arrived.  Efron told police that his car ran out of gas and he and his bodyguard got into the confrontation when a bottle was thrown from his vehicle.  The website also reported that the homeless men attacked the bodyguard with a knife and Efron threw a bottle of vodka out of the car to fend off the attack.

No arrests have been made.

If you have been arrested or cited for assault and/or battery in Los Angeles, it is important to contact attorney Ross Erlich for a free case consultation.  Being able to start work on the case before your scheduled court date can have tremendous benefits for possible outcomes.  Compensating the victim for any damages and out-of-pocket expenses before you walk into court for the first time shows the judge and prosecutor proactiveness and a good attitude towards resolving the matter.  This may open the door for a civil compromise to take place and prevent any type of criminal conviction on your record.

Assault and battery charges can mean jail time, fines and fees, anger management classes, restitution to the victim(s) and a violent crime conviction on your record.  If you have been involved in an assault and/or battery in Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, contact attorney Ross Erlich 24/7.

Attorney Ross Erlich handles all assault and battery charges in the Airport Court, Criminal Courts Building (CCB), East Los Angeles Court, Burbank Court and Pasadena Court.

A man who shot at, and injured, police officer’s in a hostage standoff last week has been formally charged with multiple counts of attempted murder of a police officer, kidnapping and child abuse.

In total, the man is being charged with 26 felony counts and include the attempted murder of police officers, assault on a police officer with a semiautomatic firearm, kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm by a felon and making criminal threats.  If convicted at trial, this man faces up to life in prison.

Allegedly, Mr. Warsaw, the suspect in this case, took his girlfriend and her child hostage for nearly eight hours.  Mr. Warsaw was allegedly seen dragging a screaming woman by her hair outside of a residence.  When police officers arrived to the location, shots were fired from inside a room at the house.  An Inglewood Police officer was shot once in the chest but was saved by the bulletproof vest.

Ultimately Warsaw was taken into custody and booked into jail on these charges.

Shooting a gun at a police officer might be one of the worst things to do if you are being confronted by law enforcement.  Not only are you risking being shot at, you are looking at potential attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon charges, and these are some of the serious charges around.

The best thing to do if contacted by law enforcement is to cooperate fully, exercise your right to remain silent, and request to speak to your attorney before being questioned. Too many times do I see statements made to law enforcement with the hopes that people can “talk their way out of the situation.”  I’ve yet to see someone successfully do so.

If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm or making criminal threats, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible and definitely before you make any statements to the authorities.  Remember that the first call you make to Attorney Ross Erlich will likely be the smartest call you will ever make.


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