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Santa Cruz DUI defense lawyer traffic stop tipsDo you ever get so caught up in your thoughts while driving that your brain goes into an “auto-pilot” mode and self-navigates the vehicle the rest of the way to your destination? Even if you arrive safely, not remembering the trip is frightening; however, it is much scarier when police lights are what brings you back to full awareness. Adding a potential DUI to the ordeal becomes the figurative “icing on the cake.” Here are a few tips and tricks to help you navigate the tricky waters of a traffic stop:

Avoid Being Stopped

Preventing a problem is better than fixing one after it becomes a situation. While advising the avoidance of the “auto-pilot” scenario is helpful, no one is perfect, and the mind is difficult to control. With that in mind, semi-conscious driving is not as attention-grabbing as other behaviors. The top offenses leading to police stops include:

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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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marijuana legal california, santa cruz criminal lawyerBy John W. Thornton

Marijuana is now legal in California, but subject to a lot of rules. For the ordinary fan of weed, or someone who has loved ones or friends who partake, this is a large step towards keeping them being labeled a criminal for doing something that endangers a bag of Cheetos more than the user, the public, or the neighbor’s dog. 

But what about those folks who have marijuana-related convictions on their records? Well, a lot can be done for many of those folks. Were you caught growing years ago and are considered a felon? Did you sell a bag of bud and get caught? Did you get pulled over in a car with a few pounds and suffered a felony for transportation? One aspect of this new law allows such felons to change those felonies into misdemeanors. One treatise going around summarizes this aspect of the law as follows:

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Posted on in Shoplifting, Robbery & Burglary

San jose theft crimes lawyerDoes profiling exist? It would be very difficult to argue that it does not. However, there are various forms of profiling; some are discriminatory while others can be useful tools. When it comes to shoplifter profiling, even to FBI agents will agree that, when appropriately used, profiling can be used to catch and prevent theft. However, if incorrectly practiced for shoplifting prevention, the profiling can be leveraged against a business in a court of law.

Useful Profiling

Without conscious decision, many of us often profile others. The behavior is a tool that is ingrained in us, perhaps as a survival instinct. Typically, profiling is directly linked to the behavior characteristics of others. For instance, if a stranger is in a dark alley hiding behind a dumpster and they pop out and run towards you, the first thought that comes to mind is not often that the approaching stranger wants a hug. An instinctual decision is made that is based on previous behavior, perhaps what they were wearing, and any other factors you can decipher at the time. If this person mugs you, you, in turn, may be leery of other people hiding behind dumpsters in dark alleys in the future, regardless of what their real intent may be.

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Santa Cruz criminal defense attorneyMany people mistakenly use the terms burglary, robbery, and theft interchangeably. In everyday conversation, this is not an issue. Most people understand the terms to mean that someone is accused of taking something from someone else without permission. However, there are vast differences between the terms when it comes to the law. Not only do they mean different things, but they also carry varying penalties. Therefore, when reading the charges filed, it is important to understand what you are being accused of before you can defend yourself against it.

Burglary

Burglary, by definition, is breaking and entering into a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony. This crime occurs without the consent of the victim and involves opening a previously closed area to enter the property. How the premises becomes open makes no matter. If a window or a door is opened that was unlocked, it is still considered breaking. Entering is any physical portion of the intruders body crossing the exterior boundary of the premises, even if it is just a hand or a foot. California statutes define burglary as “entering any home, room, apartment, store, barn, floating home (or many other qualifying buildings) when the doors are secure, for the purpose of committing grand or petit larceny.”

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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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