Archive for the ‘Hypotheticals’ Category

The Problem With “Let’s Be Cops”

Friday, September 12th, 2014

At some point or another, we’ve all thought about what we would do if we had the authority of a police officer. The new comedy Let’s Be Cops takes that fleeting quandary and explores what would happen if someone took advantage of a police officer’s power without accepting any of the responsibility. While the film is a comedy, it sure wouldn’t be funny to get caught impersonating an officer and that’s only one of the crimes the duo commits in the film. Solana Beach defense attorney Peter M. Liss explains why you should never exclaim “Let’s Be Cops,” unless you actually intend to go through the official SDPD hiring process.

The most obvious crime the duo is guilty of is impersonating a police officer. Falsely representing yourself as a public officer and intimidating any person (which the characters do even in the trailer), is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison. Additionally, false impersonation is a felony offense, punishable by up to three years imprisonment and given the situation, the duo could face sentencing enhancements that could result in their having additional time added to their sentence. They would also be charged with the separate crime of impersonating a police vehicle, which is only an infraction. On top of all this, the two could be charged with both fraud and use of false identification -which could add five or more years to the sentence. Keep in mind that all of these charges are directly related to their impersonation of police officers, which is why any San Diego criminal lawyer will tell you this is a terrible idea.

The most serious offense the two men could face would actually be kidnapping, as they abduct a man involved with the mafia in order to get information necessary to bring down the gang. Because the two used their fraudulent police identification to kidnap the criminal, they could face aggravated kidnapping charges, which is punishable by between five years to life in prison.  With all the crimes combined, the film’s two heroes could face some pretty substantial sentences and it would take some serious legal wrangling on the part of their Del Mar criminal defense lawyer just to get them a minimal sentence -let alone successfully fight all of charges stacked against them.

Of course, being as how this is a film filled with comedy and Hollywood magic, it’s unlikely that the heroes will be arrested and charged with these crimes. The person who is kidnapped works for the mob, so he would likely never report the crime and undoubtedly, their work to help bring down a major criminal would be praised rather than chastised.

In real life though, even if you help do something noble by committing a crime, you’ll still usually be charged with a crime. If you are charged with a criminal offense of any type though, Carmel Valley defense attorney Peter M. Liss can help you fight the charges. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Drunk Driving and the 40 Year Old Virgin

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, is a cult favorite. While there are a lot of fantastic scenes in the movie, the one that really stands out in the mind of most Vista DUI defense attorneys is the one where a drunk girl gives Andy the (terrifying) ride of his life -as seen above. While watching the scene makes it obvious that Nicky is driving drunk, the real question is how many charges could she face and what defenses would be available to her? Also, could Andy be charged for blowing into her ignition interlock device? Let’s look at these questions one at a time.

First, which laws has Nicky broken during this quick drive? Her first crime is asking Andy to blow into her IID for her. Then she starts driving while under the influence and given how intoxicated she acts, it is possible that she is actually above the .15 BAC limit for increased sentencing. Since she already has an IID, this also means she has at least one prior DUI on her record. Once she starts going, she is driving recklessly at excessive speeds. She then hits what appears to be five different cars and since she doesn’t stop, these would all be hit and run accidents. Finally, the ride is brought to an end when she slams into another car, claiming it “came from nowhere.”

Obviously, there are a lot of rules broken in that scene and any Vista DUI lawyer who chose to defend her would have his hands full. Nicky could face enhanced DUI charges for a second offense with excessive BAC, reckless driving charges, up to five hit and run charges, a misdemeanor for making Andy blow into the IID for her, and her negligent driving caused a serious crash, which could turn the DUI charge into a felony if she caused any injuries or deaths. That means she could face a serious DUI felony charge with enhancement along with up to seven misdemeanor charges.

Since it would probably be pretty difficult to argue that Nicky is completely innocent of all charges, it would be up to her Vista DUI attorney to push for some of the charges to be dropped or to obtain lighter sentencing on her behalf. For example, it would be possible to argue that because she took two shots just before she got in the car that her BAC wasn’t as high while she was driving as it was when she was tested after the car accident. This rising alcohol defense may work to eliminate the excessive BAC enhancement on the DUI charge. Her defense lawyer could also try negotiating for a plea bargain that would result in minimal sentencing for all of these crimes in exchange for her pleading guilty. And since she obviously has received a DUI in the past and still has not been able to stop drinking, entering Nicky into a serious, long-term, alcohol-treatment program might make securing a plea bargain a little easier since it would show that she is committed to changing her ways.

As for Andy, he too committed a crime by blowing into Nicky’s ignition interlock device. This misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. The thing is, a person must knowingly break this law in order to be convicted of it. While the police might arrest him if he said that he blew on it before the car started, few prosecutors would press charges without any evidence to show that he knowingly violated the law by blowing on the IID. If charges were filed, it is very unlikely that a Vista DUI attorney could not show the court the prosecution lacks evidence to prove these accusations. So, ultimately, Andy would almost certainly be able to beat these charges.

If you find yourself facing any DUI-related charges, even if it is for unknowingly blowing on someone’s ignition interlock device, it is critical you contact a Vista DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss, a top drunk driving defense attorney in Vista

Is Lester Legally Responsible For Sam’s Death In Fargo?

Friday, June 13th, 2014


The new Fargo series has a predictably violent plot that really gets started when ridiculously meek Lester Nygaard meets dangerous assassin Lorne Malvo in the hospital. What happens next is exactly the kind of occurrence that Vista criminal lawyers deal with every day.

Note: If you haven’t already watched the Fargo TV show, don’t worry, we’ll only be discussing what happens within the first half-hour or so of the pilot, so there aren’t any spoilers here.

While seated next to each other in the emergency room, Malvo gets Lester, who has a broken nose, to start talking about what caused his injury. Lester admits that he was picked on by the man who used to be his high school bully, Sam Hess. Lester also reveals that Sam taunted him about having sexual relations with his wife back in high school.

At this point, Malvo says that if he was in the same position, he would have killed Sam. He then reiterates all the terrible things Sam did and says he is a man who does not deserve to draw breath. Lester argues at first, but then agrees and says that he could never do such a thing, frustratedly blurting out, “if you’re so sure about it, why don’t you just kill him for me?”

When Malvo confirms “you’re asking me to kill this man?” The nurse arrives as Lester says that he was joking and tries to cool the situation by saying that he and Malvo are just chatting. Malvo tries to get him to confirm the kill by either saying yes or no. When the nurse starts harassing Lester to go with her or give up his spot, he jumps up exclaiming “yeah, I’m coming” at her -never confirming or denying that he wants Malvo to act. Unsurprisingly, Malvo does kill Sam Hess, sparking off the chain of events that makes up the rest of the season.

Of course, this is a legal blog and while Fargo is a good show, there would be no point in bringing it up if it wasn’t to discuss a legal issue and in this case, the question that requires a Vista criminal attorney’s expertise is: could Lester be brought up on charges for Sam’s death?

The obvious answer for those who saw the exchange would be no, since Lester never hired Malvo, but the real-life examination of the issue is a bit more complex since no one actually overheard the conversation. In this case, when police identify that Malvo killed Sam Hess and recognize that he is a hit man, they would discover that Lester was seen talking to Malvo in the hospital and they  would realize that he does have an issue with Sam. This could be enough evidence for police to confront Lester.

Because it could be possible to construe Lester’s saying “yeah” to the nurse as his covertly saying yes to Malvo, it would be a pretty good idea for Lester to contact a lawyer before speaking to the police. A Vista criminal lawyer could tell you that sometimes just trying to help the police in an investigation can end up putting you in the defendant’s seat.

In this case (without looking at the other events of the show), it would be pretty unlikely that Lester would be charged with any actual crime and even less likely that he would be convicted. Even so, it’s easy to see why he might want to speak with an attorney before things get even more messy.

Similarly, if you find yourself in a legally challenging situation, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Vista defense attorney Peter M. Liss.

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Watch Your Head If You’re Like Shaun of the Dead

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

6227639271_6876fde754_bThere are a lot of romantic comedies out there to enjoy during Valentine’s Day, but only one promises romance, comedy and zombies. In celebration of the greatest romantic comedy featuring undead hordes, here’s a look at one of the most perplexing legal questions in Shaun of the Dead. No, it’s not whether or not it was OK for them to kill the zombies (that was already covered in this article on our other blog). The real question is could the gang legally be excused for breaking and entering into the Winchester while waiting for the whole thing to boil over? And, just as important, can you follow in Shaun’s footsteps if you find yourself, your best friend and your romantic interest in a similar, zombie-filled situation? San Diego criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss has all the answers you need.

First, it’s important to remember that England’s legal system is drastically different than our American system and even the individual laws of San Diego are quite different from those of Boston (otherwise our founding fathers would have fought in a fairly pointless revolution). That being said, our laws were based on the English system and over the years, the two countries have adopted the ideas and practices of each other’s legal systems quite a few times, so we do have distinct similarities as well. This means that even if the names of the specific charges vary, many of the legal defenses against such charges would still apply. So while this article may discuss the law as it would apply to someone who sought the advice of a criminal attorney in San Diego, the defense Peter Liss offers would still likely apply in London.

While smashing the window, breaking into the Winchester and drinking their booze while there would normally result in charges of property damage, breaking and entering, robbery, burglary and trespassing, the law does provide exceptions to almost all charges when someone’s life is in danger. The same legal concepts that permit police to enter a home without a warrant if they believe a person is in distress also allow a civilian to enter someone’s property in cases of emergency. An emergency could be seeing an axe-weilding serial killer in your neighbor’s home, which means you would legally be excused for breaking into the home and saving them. Similarly, if you are outside during a hurricane, you could be excused for breaking into a gas station in order to seek shelter.

The other crimes would also be excused given the situation though it might require the help of San Diego defense attorney like Mr. Liss. Breaking the window is an extreme method of entry, but in a time of emergency, when time is of the essence -like when zombies are threatening your life- this type of action is excusable although you would likely be required to pay for the property damage you did. Similarly, eating and drinking from your temporary emergency shelter would be forgivable if you were willing to reimburse the property owner for the amount you ate and drink.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’d have free reign during an emergency. If Shaun and his friends vandalized the bar or tried to steal cash or valuables, the could still be charged with crimes. Given that the group was not acting maliciously and was just seeking shelter, they would be able to use the defense of necessity because they had no other alternative and committing a crime saved them from encountering a greater crime. In many cases, they would not be charged given the situation, but if they were, a lawyer, like San Diego criminal attorney Peter M. Liss, would probably be able to arrange for the charges to be dropped in exchange for the group paying for everything they used and damaged. On the other hand, the ending of the film brings up issues of zombie’s rights as tying people up (undead or not) for use as entertainment or cheap labor is both morally and legally questionable, but that issue is an entirely different matter altogether.

If you ever find yourself in an emergency, just remember, there are exceptions to common laws we all obey during non-emergency situations. Just be considerate and don’t do anything more than you need to do to survive. If you are charged with a crime despite the extenuating circumstances though, call San Diego criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024.

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Don’t Be A Bueller If You Want to Stay Out of Jail

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

the crimes of ferris bueller

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a classic movie that reminds everyone that “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And while it’s important to take a break from your hectic life every now and again, you’re a lot better off not directly following in Ferris’ footsteps –that is, unless you want to stop and enjoy life from behind bars.  As it turns out, Ferris breaks quite a few laws on his one day off. If you live in California, Vista criminal defense attorney Peter M. Liss can tell you that these are just some of the many consequences you could face if you followed the example of Mr. Bueller.

One of the most immediately obvious examples of law breaking in the film is truancy. While Ferris, as a high school senior, is likely over the age of 18 in the film and Cameron was already excused from school by his father, Sloan was a minor and willingly played her part in tricking the administrators to let her out of class.  Of course, this is a relatively minor crime compared to some of the others perpetrated throughout the film.

Even if Ferris was legally old enough to escape truancy charges, the fact that he hacked into the school’s computer system to change his attendance record is still a matter of computer fraud and altering public records. These two charges would most likely both be felonies since computer crimes are taken so seriously in California. It is also possible that Ferris could face additional fraud or identity theft charges for impersonating Abe Froman, “The Sausage King of Chicago,” at the posh restaurant Chez Quis.

Perhaps the biggest crime in the film though is the theft of Cameron’s father’s 1961 Ferrari GT. While most people believe that the kids’ use of the car would constitute grand theft auto, the fact that Ferris and Cameron always intended to bring the car back means that they would actually be guilty of the lesser crime of the unlawful taking or driving of a vehicle. Even so, the crime would still be a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison. With the help of a skilled Vista criminal defense lawyer, the District Attorney or judge might agree to charge the crime as a misdemeanor since it was taken solely for the purpose of a joyride.

When it comes to Cameron’s destruction of the Ferrari, the penalty would ultimately depend on whether or not Cameron’s dad chose to punish him privately or press charges against his own son. If he did decide to press charges, Cameron could face up to three years in prison and $50,000 in fines for destroying the car.

Of course, it wouldn’t just be Ferris and Cameron at fault for their particular parts of the crimes committed, Sloan and the two boys could also be charged as accessories to one another’s crimes. All in all, this one day out could result in some serious criminal penalties, including lengthy jail or prison sentences, and all of the kids should immediately contact some skilled Vista criminal defense attorneys.

Since all of these crimes are presumably first offenses, then the judge would likely grant Bueller and his comrades probation and give them alternatives to jail or up to a year in jail.  Although most of these crimes would be charged as felonies, Ferris likely wouldn’t be sent to prison because of his youth and lack of record.

The bottom line? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a great movie, but while it’s good to take time to appreciate life, living out the story itself is a really bad idea. If you do, however, end up doing something illegal while just trying to live life to the fullest, Vista criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Could the Seinfeld Cast Really Be Busted for Doing Nothing?

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

In one of the most famous season finales in television history, George, Elaine, Jerry and Kramer are all charged under a “Good Samaritan Law” for watching someone get car jacked and failing to offer any assistance. But almost fifteen years later, countless fans still find themselves wondering if such laws even exist and if so, could the gang actually be convicted for doing nothing? It’s time to find out.

First of all, it’s important to note that while there are plenty of Good Samaritan laws on the books, these do not actually involve interfering with criminal activity, but instead with helping people who are injured. In fact, most of these are written not to force persons to help, but protect those who do provide assistance from civil litigation. The criminal statute that the Seinfeld gang violated was actually what is known as a “Duty to Rescue” law.

At the time of the finale, the US only had a handful of Duty to Rescue laws, and the small town of Latham, Massachusetts did not have one at all. According to San Diego criminal attorney Peter Liss, even if you put the cast in modern day California, they could still only be found guilty if they failed to report the murder or rape of someone under 14. The state does have strict reporting regulations for those who observe child or elder abuse, but only if those persons happen to be what the state considers “mandatory reporters” of these crimes because they work in places such as nursing homes, doctors offices, therapy centers or schools.

States that do have Duty to Rescue laws on the books allow for someone to be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to report a violent crime, but even then, the laws do not require someone to put themselves in danger in order to do so. Being as how the carjacker had a gun, the group would not be legally required to intervene to stop the crime. In fact, even the arresting officer in the show says the law requires people to help or assist anyone in danger, “as long as it’s reasonable to do so.” Even the strictest prosecuting attorney in the nation would agree that it is not reasonable expect a stranger to interfere with someone holding a firearm.

On the other hand Jerry still could be accused of failing to help the victim by not calling the police with his cell phone. That being said, San Diego criminal lawyer Mr. Liss points out that an attorney could defend the group from such accusations by explaining that they did not want to attract the carjacker’s attention by calling the police while an armed man is near them -not to mention, their inactivity in a crime that happened that fast would not have helped stop the crime. Either way, police would have to chase down the carjacker. Duty to Rescue laws do not specify that you need to call the police while see someone committing a violent crime, only that you need to report the crime.

Additionally, the criminal attorney in San Diego points out that, if anything, the gang helped the defendant by video taping the encounter and recording extremely useful evidence of the event that could convict the carjacker. That means that even if they belittled the victim at the time, they would still be helping him and therefore, deserve to be commended.

When you watch the scene though, it’s easy to see that the one person who should truly be punished, aside from the carjacker, would be the police officer who was in the area when the carjacking happened, but still thought his time would be better spent arresting innocent bystanders who obtained evidence of the crime.

Of course, no one wants to be found guilty for merely doing nothing, so if you ever find yourself being accused of failing to do something, like the gang in Seinfeld, please call top San Diego criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss to discuss how to fight the charges against you.

The Downside to Wolverine Claws

Monday, December 31st, 2012

laws about wolverine claws

Wolverine’s claws are admittedly cool-looking, but they also offer some serious draw backs. Aside from the pain associated with the claws pushing through his skin every time they come out, they present a number of legal issues as well. For example, Logan could be accused of carrying a concealed weapon and if he ever uses his claws to intimidate someone, he could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Luckily, he could defend himself from these charges -as long as he hired a skilled criminal lawyer like Vista defense attorney Peter M. Liss.

By consulting with a defense lawyer in San Diego before traveling, he could discuss the different concealed weapons laws in the areas where he travels. For example, while he might not need to do anything in some areas, in other places though, he may need to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. If he did forget to do his research -or needed to go somewhere immediately, a Vista criminal defense attorney could help him fight any weapons charges he might be accused of on the grounds that he did not willingly violate the local laws because his claws are not actually knives or blades, but adamantium-covered bones.

On these same grounds, good Vista criminal defense lawyers could help defend Logan from any assault with a deadly weapon charge that he may face if he attacked someone with his claws. While most of Wolverine’s work as an X-men would fall under the realm of self-defense or defense of another person, Logan’s temperamental attitude means this would not work for all situations as he has been known to fight with little provocation. In these cases, he could still be charged with assault or battery, but his Vista criminal defense lawyers would be able to ensure he did not face most assault with a deadly weapon charges because deadly weapons must be extrinsic to a person’s body, whereas Logan’s are actually a bodily mutation, not an actual weapon. Of course, this assumes the law is not changed to cover mutants and their powers in a post X Men world.

On the other hand, assault with a deadly weapon can be charged without an actual weapon in the case that the attacker used enough force to likely produce great bodily injury. With Wolverine’s claws, it’s pretty obvious that using them at all could cause great bodily injury and Logan should undoubtedly know that. That means that he would almost certainly face charges of assault with a deadly weapon by means of force if he was not careful about the use of his claws.

If you happen to be cursed with any similar biological mutations and have been accused of criminal charges as a result, please call Vista defense lawyer Peter M. Liss at (858) 486-3024.

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Could Santa Be Charged For Breaking Into Your Home?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

is Santa a criminal Vista defense attorney

Over the years, many people have questioned whether or not Santa Claus has the right to enter homes and leave gifts behind wherever he goes. While the law may vary from country to country and state to state, North County San Diego criminal attorney Peter M. Liss believes that Santa has certainly not violated any laws in California.

The most common crime Santa is accused of is breaking and entering, but this particular matter is not actually a crime in California. Instead, San Diego criminal lawyers know that persons can instead be charged with related charges such as burglary and trespassing. Fortunately for Santa, he cannot be charged with either of these crimes in the Golden State.

Under California state law, in order for someone to be convicted of burglary, they must have entered someone’s property with the intent to commit a felony or a theft. Since Santa is only entering other person’s homes in order to leave gifts and is not there to commit a felony or steal, a San Diego criminal defense attorney would be able to successfully fight any burglary charges.

Even the fact that he has been known to eat cookies and milk inside the homes could not be considered petty theft, as everyone knows these are traditional gifts offered to St. Nick in exchange for his kind deliveries of seasonal cheer. There is an implied, non-verbal contract that Santa may enjoy these food offerings while he delivers gifts to a home and a good San Diego North county defense lawyer should be able to have such charges dismissed before Miss Claus finishes knitting another elf sweater.

Simple trespassing in California requires the person to enter a residence without consent.  A criminal lawyer in San Diego would be able to argue Santa has implied consent because Santa only goes to houses where he is wanted, and any milk and cookies left out in the home could be used as further evidence of Santa’s implied invitation into the home.  Additionally, a person not wanting Santa to visit could also take the preemptive measure of closing their chimney or being naughty.

More serious trespassing charges in California require that the person entering the property have some intent to violate the owner’s property rights. If the visitor refuses to leave when asked, damages the property, occupies the property without permission, or otherwise interferes with the owner’s rights, they are committing an act of trespassing. On the other hand, Santa merely enters the property, leaves gifts and then goes on to the next home. As he has not violated anyone’s property rights, a criminal defense lawyer in San Diego should be able to have Santa acquitted on such charges.

Two other crimes Santa Claus is commonly accused of are animal cruelty and slavery or sweat shop labor. But so far as anyone can tell, his reindeer are well-trained domesticated animals who are cared for very well and only expected to work one day a year. While flying across the world overnight may be stressful for many animals, the reindeer seem well-trained and prepared for the ordeal, and are not, in fact, abused in the process. The fact that each of the nine reindeer has lived and worked for so long further proves that they are, in fact, particularly healthy animals.

As for the elves, it is important to note that even if they were sweat shop laborers or slaves, the North Pole is not part of any country, so they would not be covered by any employee labor laws. That being said, those who have seen Santa’s workshop have said that the elves seem particularly happy and content in their duties, indicating that they may even be volunteers receiving free housing, food and cash stipends in exchange for their generous services. Until an elf complains or is seen being abused, there is no reason to believe they are being mistreated, even if it is only an ethical issue and not a legal matter.

Santa, if you are accused of violating any law in California, North County San Diego lawyer Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Is It Legal to Kill A Zombie in California?

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

the legality of killing zobies

The Walking Dead shambled back on the air last week with record ratings, making it the most watched episode of any drama show in basic cable history. But with all the focus on the morality involved with life after a zombie outbreak, few people have breached the subject of the legality of killing the undead. Fortunately, San Diego criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss is here to clear the air about this important zombie issue.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the initial zombie outbreak -when there are still judges and police officers around to uphold the law. After all, by the time the outbreak has become a zombie apocalypse, basic issues of law and order most likely won’t be around any more. Additionally, we also will be focusing on zombies like those seen in Dawn of the Dead and The Walking Dead, not those seen in Lucio Fulci movies because if you can’t possibly kill the undead then there is no point in discussing the legality of killing them.

The first legal issue is whether or not zombies are considered to be human. This is a complex matter that many zombie-film affectionados still hotly contest. In the early days of a zombie outbreak, a criminal attorney in San Diego might be able to argue that a zombie is not a human and, therefore, killing one cannot be considered murder.

Even if the zombie is a human though, California law defines death as occurring when a person is brain dead. While zombies must have some basic brain functions in order to operate their bodies -hence the reason a blow to the head will kill them, they may already be brain dead. In fact, in The Walking Dead, the CDC did an MRI on the brain of a person during the zombie transition that showed that only a minute amount of the brain stem reanimates after the individual dies. If your San Diego criminal attorney can successfully prove that the zombie you injured was already brain dead, then you can’t be convicted of murdering it.

These two arguments are important, as if zombies are considered living human beings, you would only legally be able to kill them in self defense. Self defense is allowed if a person is in imminent danger and you use only reasonable force to repel the attack. If you picked them off from the comfort of a mall rooftop, as survivors did in Dawn of the Dead, merely out of boredom, you could be accused of murdering someone. Fortunately, since they are not alive, a San Diego criminal attorney would be able to successfully fight any murder charges you faced for killing the undead.

Murder is not the only legal issue you could face for killing a zombie though. In California, it is illegal to desecrate a corpse. Again, a San Diego defense lawyer would most likely be able to fight the charges if you were acting in self defense, but if you killed the zombies when you were not in danger, you could be subject to charges.

Additionally, if you used firearms to murder the walking dead, you could be arrested and charged with firing a weapon within city limits, carrying a concealed weapon and illegal possession of a firearm if you did not obtain the weapon through proper legal channels. These are all complicated legal issues that require the expertise of a skilled San Diego defense attorney -even if they occur during the onset of a zombie outbreak.

Lastly, assisting a friend or loved one in suicide because they have been infected with the zombie virus would still be a legal gray area, just as it is when it involves cancer. If you want to help a someone who has been infected end their life, but don’t want to face legal troubles, you should leave them with a weapon they can use to end their own life and not be directly involved with the matter.

If you believe the living dead have risen and you aren’t sure what you can or should do from a legal perspective, please call Peter M. Liss. If you are charged with any crime in San Diego, zombie-related or not, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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What Penalties Could Chang Face In Community?

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The new season of Fall TV shows is finally coming up and while everyone has their favorite programs, the show that fans seem most excited to see is Community -especially since showrunner Dan Harmon will no longer be working on the program, which means it could become an entirely new show all together.

One of the many questions left unanswered at the end of season three is “what will happen to Chang after he kidnapped the dean and nearly burned down the school?” In the last episode, he was seen hiding in the school’s ventilation system, but at some point, he will, presumably, be found, caught and brought to justice.

While only people actually involved in the show will know Chang’s fate in the series, we can speculate what kind of trouble he would be in if this bizarre turn of events happened in reality.

Although Greendale is supposedly located in Colorado (which you’d never guess based on their always sunny, very SoCal weather), the laws for crimes like arson and false imprisonment are pretty similar from state to state, so the evaluation of a San Diego criminal lawyer will still be fairly accurate even in the imaginary town of Greendale, CO.

Because the “Greendale Seven” was able to stop Chang before he managed to burn down the records room (and the whole school in the process), he could only be charged with attempted arson. However, even attempted arson can carry result in a sentence of between sixteen months and three years in prison.

While the most common defense to arson involves claiming the act was an accident, the prosecution would have more than ample evidence to prove that Chang fully intended to light the record room on fire, given that it was filled with fireworks that were set to explode when he approached the end of his epic keytar solo. While he might not have intended to burn down the whole building (due to his odd belief that fire cannot pass through doors), proof that Chang tried to burn down the records room would still be enough to get him convicted for attempted arson.

Of course, that wasn’t his only major crime. Chang, or el Tigre, also captured and imprisoned the Dean after Pelton tried to reel in his seemingly unlimited power he gained after the Starburns memorial riot. While most people would consider this kidnapping, California’s kidnapping statutes require the victim to be transported a substantial distance before the charge may be applied. While the actual distance a victim must be taken before they have become officially kidnapped is debatable, the fact that Pelton never left the school grounds means that he was technically falsely imprisoned and not kidnapped.

In most cases, false imprisonment charges are only misdemeanors, but because the abduction involved force (even if the force was that of a few pre-teen boys), the case would instead become a felony. If Chang was convicted of this crime, he could face up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines. When it comes to false imprisonment though, the jury may decide the crime is only a misdemeanor and skilled a San Diego criminal attorney could be critical in convincing them of this. As a misdemeanor, false imprisonment is punishable by up to one year in county jail.

There are other crimes Chang could be charged with as well, most notably, fraud. And while a great lawyer like Vista criminal defense attorney Peter M. Liss could help him fight the charges if he chose to plead innocent, chances are that he would be found guilty on at least a few counts.

Because he tried to hide the evidence of his crimes, Chang would have a hard time pleading insanity, which requires the defendant be incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. Still, instead of pleading innocent or trying the insanity defense, Chang’s best defense would most likely be a plea bargain based on his mental health problems related to his delusional thinking.

If you ever find yourself, by some odd twist of circumstances, facing similar charges to those Chang is up against, immediately call a criminal lawyer. San Diego residents may find their best defense option to be Vista criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss. If you have any questions or need some help “Changing” your situation, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Creative Commons Image by Gage Skidmore