The Three Strikes Law In California

April 12th, 2015


One of the best known aspects of California law is the controversial “Three Strikes Law.” Under this rule, anyone who is charged with three qualifying felonies may automatically be sentenced to a life sentence. The law was recently revised in 2013 to help stop overcrowding in prisons, but while it is less severe than it once was, the fact remains that you may be sentenced to life imprisonment if you are convicted of three qualifying felonies. If you have any questions about the three strikes law or are worried about how it will affect you, please call Pacific Beach defense attorney Peter M. Liss.

One of the most confusing parts of the law revolves around the 2013 revisions, which changed the law to limit the third strike to a violent or serious felony. However, the third strike can be any felony if one of the first two strikes was for rape, murder, child molestation or a felony committed with a firearm. If you aren’t sure whether a crime you have been accused of qualifies as a strike, a Solana Beach criminal lawyer can help clear things up.

Aside from life imprisonment, the three strikes law also ensures that those who have one strike on their record will face double sentencing for the second strike. Additionally, in cases involving a second strike, 80% of the sentence will need to be served before the convict will be eligible for parole (and 85% of the sentence in violent crimes). It’s easy to get confused when it comes to your potential sentencing if you are facing a second strike, so if you have any questions about your charges and possible penalties, ask your Kearny Mesa criminal attorney.

Whether you are facing your first or third strike, La Jolla defense lawyer Peter M. Liss can help you. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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DUIs Involving High BAC Levels

March 16th, 2015


While it’s against the law, it’s reasonably easy to drink enough to go over .08 BAC and still feel sober enough to drive -especially if you’re still learning how alcohol affects your system. As you get more and more intoxicated though, it becomes more obvious -both to yourself and those around you- that you shouldn’t be driving. That’s why California enforces stricter penalties for those arrested with particularly high BACs. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, your Del Mar DUI lawyer can tell you how your BAC can affect your court case.

If your breathalyzer or blood test comes back with a result higher than .15, the prosecution will most likely try to add on an enhancement to your DUI charge for excessive alcohol. An additional enhancement will be added if the BAC was above .20. In cases where the person convicted has a BAC above .15, the defendant will be forced to perform public work service for a few days on top of their other DUI penalties. Additionally, if the BAC was above .20, the defendant will be required to attend a nine month alcohol treatment course instead of the three-month program most people get after a DUI. These two sentencing enhancements are mandatory, but a judge may choose to add additional penalties to the sentence as well, such as an ignition interlock device. In fact, drivers who have a BAC above .15 or .20 could be sentenced to residential treatment, longer jail sentences, mandatory AA meetings, increased fines and be required to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet. With the right Solana Beach drunk driving attorney though, you can fight these enhancements as well as the DUI itself.

Even with a high BAC, while enhancements carry mandatory penalties, the enhancements themselves are not mandatory. It’s important to recognize that even if you cannot beat the charges entirely, the right La Jolla DUI attorney can at least help you avoid a sentencing enhancement and may even be able to have the charges plead down to a wet reckless.

Whatever the circumstances of your DUI arrest, a drunk driving defense lawyer in University City can help you fight the charges. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.

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Weapon Laws In San Diego, California

March 1st, 2015


California is known for having some of the most complex and strictest weapons laws in the nation. Between weapons that are entirely illegal and those subject to dozens of restrictions and regulations, it’s easy to break the law without even knowing about it. If you have been accused of violating any weapons laws, please call a Del Mar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Some of the most confusing laws in the state involve the use of firearms. Anyone convicted of a felony will lose their right to bear arms, along with those who have committed a violent misdemeanor crime such as domestic violence, assault, battery and gang crimes. Family members or other concerned parties can also petition a judge to ban someone from owning a firearm for a temporary period if they believe that person may present a risk to themselves or others. A Pacific Beach weapons attorney may be able to help stop this process or prevent a convict of a misdemeanor from losing the right to own firearms.

Additionally, some types of firearms are entirely illegal within the state, such as machine guns and assault weapons. Other weapons that are illegal in the state include folding knives that are spring loaded, butterfly knives and pepper spray canisters larger than 2.5 ounces. Exemptions may be made if the weapons were owned by a resident before the laws banning the specific weapons were passed. Even legal weapons are banned from being brought to certain locations like schools or airports. If you aren’t sure whether or not a particular weapon is illegal in the state or not, a Clairemont Mesa defense lawyer can help clear up what is legal and what isn’t.

It’s common for people to be arrested for weapons offenses when they have no knowledge of wrongdoing simply because these laws are so complex. That’s why anyone who has been accused of any weapons charge should immediately call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with top Solana Beach weapons attorney Peter M. Liss.

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FAQs by La Jolla Domestic Violence Lawyer Peter Liss

January 9th, 2015


Domestic violence is a serious criminal charge that the police and prosecutors approach much differently than most offenses. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is imperative you contact a Carlsbad criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. In the meantime, here are a few common questions asked by those accused of domestic abuse.

What Qualifies as Domestic Violence?

Any persons involved in a sexual or romantic relationship can be charged with domestic violence if one of the partners physically harms the other.

Are Only Married Men Accused of Domestic Violence?

No. Domestic violence can be committed by men or women and partners do not need to be married or even currently involved with one another for domestic violence charges to be filed. If you had an intimate relationship with someone, they can accuse you of domestic violence.

I Know My Partner Won’t Want the Police Involved and Will Refuse to Press Charges. That Means I’m Clear, Right?

Wrong. Police can make an arrest and prosecutors can press charges in domestic violence cases without consent of the alleged victim. Even if you know your partner will stand up for you, you still need to speak with a Domestic Violence lawyer in Solona Beach as soon as you have been accused of domestic abuse.

The Victim Doesn’t Even Have Any Marks to Prove I Did Anything. Can I Really Be Arrested and Charged With Domestic Violence?

Yes. Aside from the fact that there are numerous ways to physically harm someone without leaving a mark, you can even be charged with domestic violence if someone says you emotionally abused them and threatened physical violence. Do not try to defend yourself against these charges by saying that you never even left a mark. Speak with your University City defense attorney before you say anything to the police.

Is It Possible to Beat Domestic Violence Accusations?

Yes. Like all criminal accusations, you are innocent until proven guilty and your chances of being found guilty are significantly smaller when you work with a top Domestic Violence defense lawyer in Solana Beach.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, or believe your partner may accuse you of the crime, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.

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Fighting Drug Transportation Charges In San Diego

December 25th, 2014


If you are caught transporting a large quantity of drugs and prosecutors believe you intended to sell or distribute them, you can be charged with trafficking. It’s critical to remember that anything you say to the police can be used against you, which is why you should refuse to answer any questions after you have been arrested until your University City drug defense lawyer is present.

Transporting drugs in a car, truck, boat or any other vehicle is not a separate crime in itself (though you can always be charged with possession if you are found to be carrying an illegal substance), but if you are believed to be carrying the substance for the purpose of selling or distributing the drug, you can be charged with trafficking. Because making the distinction between a person’s personal stash and a quantity large enough to sell or distribute is often an arbitrary call on behalf of the prosecutor, your Del Mar drug attorney may be able to turn a trafficking charge into a possession charge by arguing that the drugs were solely for your own consumption.

Other factors beyond quantity that may be taken into account when determining whether or not to file trafficking charges will be whether or not you possessed packaging materials, scales and statements you made about the substances. Even if you mistakenly try to defend your possession of the drugs in a way that can be used as evidence for a trafficking charge, your La Jolla defense lawyer can still help you fight the charges -especially if he finds the police violated your constitutional rights in any manor during your arrest or the search of your property.

Sentencing for trafficking will vary based on the substance, the quantity found and your criminal record, but it is always a felony that cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor. In some cases, the charges may even be a federal crime because they involved the DEA or an international border crossing. Trafficking charges are a serious offense and should only be handled with the help of a top Solona Beach drug crimes attorney like Peter M. Liss. If you were caught transporting drugs, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Fighting Child Pornography Charges In San Diego

November 10th, 2014


Child pornography charges are incredibly serious and can ruin your reputation in the community even if you are not convicted. These accusations should never be faced without the help of a Solana Beach child pornography attorney. It is critical you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are aware of any police investigation or as soon as the victim or police contact you about this matter.

Being convicted of child pornography distribution or possession can result in a lengthy prison term and when you are released from prison, you will also be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. These charges may be filed in local or federal courts, so it can be quite beneficial to hire a Del Mar defense lawyer with experience in both federal and state courts.

While possession of child pornography is a pretty straight forward charge, many people believe distribution requires physically handing something to someone or selling the material. In fact, distribution charges can be brought up if you shared child pornography with even one other individual in person, online or by any other means of communication. No sale needs to have taken place.

When people are arrested for these types of child pornography cases the police and prosecutors will often try to convince them that there is enough evidence to prove their guilt and the best option is a plea bargain. Never discuss your case or negotiate a plea bargain with the police or prosecutors unless your Torrey Pines defense lawyer is present. Many child pornography cases can be successfully fought, but what you say to police and prosecutors can be used against you as evidence, ruining any defense you may have. Your child pornography defense attorney in University City can ensure any police searches are performed legally and that if your rights are violated, that the related evidence will be withheld from your trial.

Because child pornography crimes in San Diego so often involve cell phones, computers and other digital files, it is critical you work with a top La Jolla criminal attorney with experience in complex digital crimes. Peter M. Liss has experience with child pornography cases involving all types of technology and he can help you. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Getting Bail After You’ve Been Arrested For Domestic Violence

October 27th, 2014



Getting released from jail after you are arrested for domestic violence is a slightly different experience than posting bail for other crimes due to the emotional condition of the person arrested and his or her loved ones. If you or a loved one has been arrested for domestic violence, a Del Mar domestic violence lawyer can help you obtain bail.

Domestic violence in San Diego is a serious issue and the bail for this charge is more expensive than the bail for similar crimes that don’t involve family members. Generally speaking, the bail for felony domestic violence, which occurs when a traumatic condition affects the victim, is $50,000. An additional $50,000 bail can be added if the victim has suffered great bodily injury and an extra $10,000, $20,000 or $40,000 bail could be added if you violated a stay away order, commonly referred to as a restraining order. Usually though, domestic violence is filed as a misdemeanor, meaning the bail will be $500.

Bail can be paid through bail bondsmen who require 10% of the bail total as their payment although many will go to 8%. You do not get any money back even if charges are not filed. You can also post bail with cash for the entire amount. You do get all the money back so long as the accused appears for all court appearances.

It doesn’t matter if the partners are still together, living together or married, if two people have had an intimate relationship together, police will consider the crime domestic violence and not just battery. Either partner in a relationship can be arrested for domestic violence and in some cases, both partners will be arrested. The bottom line is that when police are called for a domestic dispute, they almost always arrest at least one person -even if the other partner says they don’t want the police to be involved or for charges to be filed. It is critical that anyone arrested for domestic violence contact a Solana Beach domestic crimes attorney as soon as possible.

When you are arrested, you will have the option to pay your bail or wait for your arraignment to see if you can be released on your own recognizance. Usually the arraignment will be held within three court days, which do not include holidays or weekends. If you are not released on your own recognizance, your Carmel Valley may be able to negotiate for your bail to be reduced.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, a Torrey Pines defense lawyer can help you obtain bail and fight the charges. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.

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Avoiding DUI Suspicion in San Diego

October 10th, 2014


No one would advise you to drive under the influence, but in a car-reliant city like San Diego, it’s all too common for people to enjoy a few drinks at a bar or party before getting in a car to drive home. In many cases, these drivers will feel entirely sober, but if they catch the attention of the police, they could be arrested and brought into custody on suspicion of a DUI. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid the eye of the police courtesy of Solana Beach DUI defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.

Try to avoid attention. Avoid driving between 10pm and 4am when most DUI arrests are made and cops expect to see drunk drivers. If you do drive, avoid stopping at 7-11’s and convenience stores where cops stop and shop. Also, make sure all your vehicle’s equipment works properly and that your car has proper registration tags. Turn on your lights immediately while driving at night.

Put away any alcohol containers. Driving with an open alcohol container is a crime and even having sealed ones can make a police officer suspicious. Additionally, having bottles or cans of booze in your car will serve as additional evidence against you if you are charged with drunk driving -making the case even more difficult for your Del Mar DUI defense lawyer. That’s why you should keep all alcohol containers in the trunk until you arrive at your destination.

Maintain the speed limit. Driving too fast or too slow is a strong indicator that you are driving under the influence -especially if it is late at night. Most importantly, keep your speed even -you’re better off driving 70 miles per hour than switching back and forth between 75 and 55.

Stop all the way at stop signs and red lights. Even if no one is around, the law says you must come at a complete stop and rolling through a stop sign or simply slowing down while turning on a red light is something you be easily pulled over for.

Stay off your cell phone. Texting or talking while driving can impair your driving ability. If the officer doesn’t see you texting, he or she might suspect you were driving under the influence. On the other hand, if the officer realizes you were on your phone, you can also get a ticket for that as well.

Stay in your lane. Any La Jolla DUI defense attorney will tell you that one of the most common things to make police suspicious of you is to swerve and sway through the road -especially if you wander between lanes.

If you get pulled over, this article can cover what you should do and this one can help ensure you don’t make any of the most common DUI mistakes. Of course, the most important thing you can do if you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving is to call a University City DUI defense lawyer like Peter M. Liss. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.

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Can You Get A Marijuana DUI Even If You Aren’t High?

September 30th, 2014

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It is all too common for those arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana to claim they weren’t actually high while they were driving. While some people are just making the claim with the hopes they will get out of trouble, many people are telling the truth about their condition. So can you be convicted for a drug-related DUI if you weren’t even high while you were behind the wheel? The answer depends on which Carmel Valley DUI defense attorney you choose to work with.

The problem with marijuana DUIs is that marijuana stays in your body long after your high wears off. In some cases it can show up in a drug test weeks after it was used. If police smell marijuana in your car or have other reasons to believe you may be driving while high, they can arrest you on suspicion of DUI. You will then be required to take a blood test to establish if you were driving under the influence. Of course, any good DUI lawyer in Del Mar can tell you that these tests are hardly an accurate evaluation of whether or not you were intoxicated while you were driving, though this knowledge alone isn’t enough to fight the charges.

This is why it is so important to work with a Solana Beach DUI attorney who has experience defending clients in this exact situation. In these cases, it doesn’t matter if you have a medical marijuana prescription. The only thing that matters is whether you were or were not high while you were behind the wheel. Fortunately, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove that you were under the influence of marijuana while you were driving even as your lawyer fights the evidence they present. It is important for your defense lawyer distinguish between the general amount of marijuana in your blood and whether psycho active ingredients were still present in order to show whether or not you were even still under the influence of the drug.

On top of this, studies have never conclusively shown how much marijuana use affects someone’s ability to drive, so even if the prosecution can conclusively prove that you were under the influence while in control of a moving vehicle, they must also be able to show that it negatively affected your driving. This is pretty hard to prove, especially with a great Carlsbad driving under the influence attorney on your side.

There is no legal limit when it comes to marijuana usage while driving. The prosecution must prove that you both used marijuana, that it intoxicated you while behind the wheel and that it impaired your ability to drive. With a case this sensitive and complex, it is critical anyone faced with this crime call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation with top-rated Encinitas DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss.

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Supreme Court Declares Cell Phone Searches Require A Warrant

August 29th, 2014


There was a time when cell phones simply stored phone numbers and records of when calls took place, but with so many smart phones in use today, a cell phone can now provide banking records, photos, email conversations, texts, internet search histories and more. Back in 2011, the California legislature tried to enact a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant before they could search a cell phone, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the law. Now, finally, a U.S. Supreme Court decision has made it clear that in order for cell phone searches to be used as evidence, police must first obtain a warrant. If your phone was searched without a warrant, a Carmel Valley criminal attorney can ensure any resulting evidence cannot be used against you.

In fact, it was a San Diego defense lawyer who helped his client, David Riley, appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court after Riley was convicted of attempted murder and other gang-related charges that were largely based on evidence discovered in a warrantless search of his cell phone. In a unanimous decision, the judges ruled that warrantless searches of these devices violate the constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

While some police departments already required officers to obtain a warrant before searching someone’s cell phone, the fact that there was no official guideline to do so meant that some departments didn’t require such roadblocks. Notably, that included the San Diego PD. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision did not specify what should happen when it comes to those already convicted in cases that involved warrantless cell phone searches. If you or a loved one were convicted in a criminal case that was largely based on evidence uncovered from your cell phone and the police did not obtain a warrant, please contact a Del Mar criminal attorney to discuss whether or not it would be beneficial to appeal your case based on this recent decision.

If you are currently facing criminal charges and you believe evidence being used against you was pulled from your cell phone without a warrant, please schedule an appointment with Solana Beach criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss to discuss how this Supreme Court decision can affect your case. Call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

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