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Santa Cruz criminal defense lawyerPolice officers may not take or search property without just cause, nor can they force anyone to testify against themselves. These laws, along with many others, protect the public from becoming victims of an increasingly powerful justice system, and they place a burden on the shoulders of the police department to complete the investigative steps that are necessary for learning the truth of a particular incident. Unfortunately, myriad excuses exist as to why many law enforcement officials continually fail to meet their requirements and protect citizens’ rights. Instead of putting in the time and effort to obtain their information ethically, many cops use deceptive practices during a criminal investigation.

At a Traffic Stop

One of the most common questions a police officer asks after pulling a driver over is, “Do you know why I stopped you?” This question is not an attempt at polite conversation or a way to "break the ice." The officer hopes the driver will voluntarily confess to a crime, and not necessarily the alleged offense which caused them to pull the driver over in the first place. Additionally, officers frequently stop drivers under the pretense of warning them of a “blown tail light” or other alternate non-moving violation. During this type of “good samaritan” stop, if any evidence presents itself, such as the odor of alcohol which may be indicative of a DUI, an officer will happily use it to their advantage.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Santa Cruz DUI defense attorneyA “wet reckless” is the only crime in the Penal Code for which one cannot be arrested. Over an inch and a half thick, the Vehicle Code (not the Penal Code, which metes out punishments for yet other crimes) proscribes everything from no front license plate to vehicular homicide. Yet a “wet reckless” exists only as a tool to plea bargain DUI cases - it is not a crime one can commit unless one agrees to the prosecutor and judge using it to amend a complaint alleging a DUI case.

Specifically, allowing the complaint to be amended from a VC 23152 to a VC 23103 per 23103.5. Vehicle Code section 23103 makes reckless driving unlawful; adding the 23103.5 means it was reckless “with alcohol involved.” The big difference between a 23103 (mere reckless, or “dry reckless”) and a 23103 per 23103.5 (wet reckless) is that a wet reckless can be used against you as a prior should you be arrested and convicted of a DUI in the future. 

For many people, a wet reckless is viewed as a huge win. For others, it is viewed as no big deal (or even capitulating to a loss). Realistically, whether it is good in a certain case depends on the facts of that case and the individual accused. It does not directly lead to a license suspension, which for some saves a job. Still others don’t need a license, or don’t care about their right to drive (think folks who live in San Francisco, folks who have a driver, folks who are leaving the country, etc.). In most cases, it is only the first step in trying to save driving privileges, as the DMV has a separate process where they will try to suspend one’s driving privilege - but if one’s ability to drive is paramount, it could be an important first step. There are also reduced fines, classes, and “jail” time (put in quotes as very few, if any, folks go to actual jail for a first offense DUI conviction these days).

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cell phone evidence, Santa Cruz criminal defense lawyerAn overwhelming majority of adults own cellular devices. They are now ingrained in every facet of daily life. Our cell phones essentially do it all, from social networking, using a calculator, alarm clock, or calendar, to making phone calls and emails and getting directions on a GPS, or communicating via text message. Because we rely so heavily on them, it is only reasonable that, in certain situations, evidence that you need is contained in that device. Can we use that information in as defense in a criminal case? The short answer is yes we can.

How Does It Work?

The first step is to save the information. Screenshots of social media posts, copies of text messages, as well as any email communication is all a part of the evidence that you could potentially use. The first step is to email them all to yourself--not just what the other person said, but also what you said. The entire conversation or incident is required to show what occurred. Email them to yourself and perhaps a friend, family member, or lawyer that you trust to have several copies of your evidence.

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Can A Mathematician Predict Future Santa Cruz Crime?

CBS television used to air a drama called Numb3rs. The television series involved a fictional character that was college professor and mathematician named Charlie Eppes. He assisted the FBI in investigating crime. Now the Santa Cruz Police has announced an idea strikingly reminiscent of the TV series. The agency says it will team up with a college professor of mathematics who says he can mathematically predict future crimes.

Santa Clara University assistant professor Dr. George Mohler says that offenders tend to return to places where they have been successful in the past. Taking algorithms developed for predicting aftershocks after an earthquake the mathematician says he can forecast future crimes. He says he used data from several years of California burglary cases to test his theory.

Police say they hope the algorithms in Dr. Mohler's theory will help to predict what KSBW-TV calls "after-crimes" are likely to occur in the future. Dr. Mohler's theory reportedly is derived from data created in sociological and criminological research.

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Refusal of an alcohol test comes with a string of penalties attached. In fact, this is one of the reasons why attorneys typically do not advise refusing an alcohol test. The law in California specifically requires all motorists to submit to an alcohol test, if they are asked to submit to a chemical test by an officer.

If you refuse to take the chemical test, then you may have a number of penalties that apply to you. One of those penalties is related to the suspension of your driving license. There are a number of different types of penalties involving suspension of the license. For example, if you were above the age of 21 at the time of the arrest, then your refusal could possibly result in a suspension of the license for a year if it was a first offense. If it was a second offense within 10 years after the first offense, then you could lose your license for two years. A third or subsequent offense will result in a revocation of the license for a period of 3 years.

If you were below the age of 21 at the time of the refusal, then you will lose your license for a period of one year for the first offense, and two years for a second offense. A third offense within a period of 10 years will mean that you lose your license for three years.

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