Archive for the ‘San Diego Juvenile Crimes Lawyer’ Category

What to Do If Your Child Is Arrested

Monday, July 28th, 2014

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You probably know that you should immediately contact a lawyer if you have been arrested, but many parents don’t realize that the same advice applies to their children. If your son or daughter is arrested, you should immediately seek a San Diego juvenile lawyer with a proven defense record.

While juvenile courts operate differently than their adult counterparts, a juvenile’s rights are largely the same -including their right to remain silent. When your child is arrested, he or she should insist on remaining silent and speaking to a lawyer -you should speak with a San Diego juvenile defense attorney to discuss the best way to get your child released from custody and what to do next. Juvenile criminal charges do not allow bail for incarcerated minors.  If your child was arrested and being held at Juvenile  Hall, it is important to have a lawyer prepared to argue for release from detention at the first court hearing.

Once you have dealt with the immediate issues involved with getting your child released and obtaining legal representation, there are a number of other things you can do to help your child’s case. When you speak to your son or daughter, tell him or her not to speak to the police until their lawyer is present. Tracking down report cards, reference letters and documentation related to positive achievements by your child can help strengthen your child’s case by showing that he or she is a good student and responsible citizen. Always present these to your San Diego juvenile lawyer for evaluation before giving them to the judge.  Also, make sure to let your child’s attorney know if he or she has a learning disability or mental illness that may affect his or her behavior.

Remember, juvenile courts in San Diego are different than those used for adults who are charged with crimes. It is critical to work with a top San Diego juvenile attorney with experience in this specialized legal system. Peter M. Liss has over 30 years of experience defending juvenile and adult offenders and he can help your child as well. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Minors In Possession of Alcohol Charges In CA

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

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In California, being under the legal drinking age doesn’t just prohibit you from consuming alcohol, it also prevents you from being in possession of it in any public place. If you are a minor who has been charged with this crime, or the parent of one, you can fight the charges, but it is critical you speak with a top San Diego juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible.

There are many defenses your San Diego juvenile lawyer can use to help you fight these charges. For example, the minor wasn’t actually in possession of the alcohol, the minor wasn’t in a public place when the police arrested him or her, the police discovered the alcohol during an illegal search and seizure, or the minor was delivering the alcohol for a parent or boss. Many of these defenses cannot be relied on if the minor tells the police information to the contrary, which is why teens, like adults, should never speak with the police without having an attorney present.

If a minor is convicted of being in possession of alcohol, he or she may be sentenced to pay fines, perform community service and to lose his or her driving privileges for a year. With the help of an experienced criminal lawyer,  it is common to have minor in possession charges dropped to a non-alcohol related infraction.  The great advantage to this is the minor doesn’t lose his driver’s license or have a criminal record.

The misdemeanor will also appear on the juvenile’s record, which could affect his or her ability to get into a good college or obtain employment after school. When the minor turns 18, a San Diego juvenile attorney can help him or her to expunge his or her criminal record, but this is not something that happens automatically and it is always better to fight against the charges in the first place than to wait until a minor can have his or her record expunged.

If you are a minor who has been charged with possession of alcohol or the parent of a teen facing these charges, San Diego juvenile crimes 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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Juvenile Record Sealing: Expungement Laws in CA

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

3802550867_fe5ca5fd94_b Practically everyone does something they later regret in life when they are still a minor. That’s because kids, tweens and teens don’t have the necessary life experience to make the right choices when confronted with difficult decisions. This is why the juvenile court system is designed to reform more than it is to punish and this is also why records pertaining to crimes committed by juveniles can be sealed when the minor turns 18. If you or your child need help sealing a juvenile criminal record, a Vista criminal lawyer like Peter M. Liss can help.

If you or your child was convicted of a crime as a minor, that criminal record will be available publicly until you have your record sealed. Many people mistakenly believe that your record will automatically be sealed as soon as you turn 18, but you need to actually act to have the records expunged. A San Diego juvenile lawyer can help you file the proper paperwork to ensure your record is sealed.

Having your juvenile record expunged completely clears your record so when you apply for a job or housing and are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can truthfully answer “no.” The crime will not show up on background checks and will prevent your juvenile criminal history from being used against you. These sealed records can only be opened in rare specific situations and eventually, they will even be physically destroyed so there will be literally no record of your criminal background.

The sealing of records also includes arrest reports. Even if a child was not made a ward of the court or was diverted from prosecution, the records of those events may be sealed.

It is important to recognize that if there have been convictions of crimes involving moral turpitude after termination of juvenile probation, sealing is not allowed. Additionally, violent crimes and many sex offenses are not eligible for sealing. If a minor has been ordered to register as a sex offender, sealing will cause elimination of the registration requirement assuming the minor has a crime eligible to be sealed.

If you are interested in getting your or your child’s juvenile criminal record sealed, please call Vista criminal attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050  to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and how expungement may help.

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Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

Friday, January 11th, 2013

contributing to the delinquency of a minor lawyer Vista

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a rather broad charge that can cover all sorts of activities that involve aiding or encouraging someone under the age of 18 to commit a crime. While the most common actions that involve this charge are buying cigarettes or alcohol for someone underage, these are by no means the only things that can lead to such a charge. If you have been accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, please call a Vista defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Aside from buying alcohol or tobacco products for a minor, you could also be charged with this crime for doing anything that could contribute to a minor missing school for a long period of time or for becoming dependent on the juvenile court system. This means anything from convincing a minor to ditch school in order to go on a lengthy road trip to getting a minor to participate in an armed robbery could result in charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, along with any other charges directly related to the acts themselves. Some people think having a juvenile actually commit the crime creates a shield for the adult, but often prosecutors will offer the juvenile a deal if they testify against the adult instigator. The only way to fight these offenses is with the help of skilled Vista criminal defense attorneys.

Fortunately, because this crime is so vague, it is also difficult to prosecute, especially when the state is up against expert criminal attorneys in Vista. If you have been accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor or believe something you have done may be result in your being charged with this crime, please call Vista defense attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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The Rights of Juvenile Offenders in San Diego

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

While the juvenile court system operates in a vastly different manner than the adult system, that doesn’t mean that minors are without rights. In fact, when it comes to sentencing, minors are protected from many of the worst criminal penalties, for example, capital punishment, even if they are tried in adult court. If your child has been arrested and you have any questions about his or her rights, please call San Diego juvenile lawyer Peter M. Liss.

School officials and police on school grounds cannot search a child’s locker unless they have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. It is important to note that while this is a lesser standard of proof than probable cause, it does still require the officials to have a reasonable suspicion that the student has violated a school rule or law, so random locker searches are not permitted. If a child’s rights protecting him or her from unreasonable searches have been violated by the police or school officials, your San Diego juvenile attorney may be able to have evidence related to the search suppressed from the trial so it cannot be used against your child.

When police question a minor, the child should answer questions related to his or her identity, but like an adult being questioned by the police, he or she is not required to answer any questions related to criminal activities and may request to speak with a San Diego juvenile lawyer.

It is important to note that you are not required to be there if the police interrogate your child, so you should teach your children to always ask to speak with a lawyer if the police try to interrogate them. You should also know that if you and your child are left alone in an interrogation room, your conversation may be recorded and could be used against your child as evidence. Do not discuss anything about the crime your child has been accused of until you have a lawyer present or until you leave the police station after your child is released back into your custody.

Like adults who get arrested, minors who are placed under arrest have the right to make a phone call so they can contact a San Diego juvenile crimes lawyer. They are also granted one additional phone call so they can notify their parents they have been arrested. Once the child is placed under arrest, the prosecution has 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays to file charges or else the minor must be released from custody.

There are some ways that minors have fewer rights than adults though. For example, they cannot be granted bail and they have no right to trial by jury. If you have any questions about your child’s rights after he or she has been accused of a crime, please contact San Diego juvenile crimes attorney Peter M. Liss at (858) 486-3024.

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Detention Hearings For Minors In San Diego

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

If your child has been arrested, you may not know what to expect. After all, juvenile criminal matters are different in a number of ways. For one thing, there is only one juvenile court in San Diego, so children from South to North County all have their cases heard at the San Diego Juvenile Court near Children’s Hospital on Meadowlark Dr.

Another big difference from standard criminal procedures is that minors are usually detained in one of two locations, Juvenile Hall -next to the Juvenile Court or in East Mesa near the Mexican border. Unlike adult prisoners, they will not be detained in a county jail.

When they are brought in for their detention hearing, the juvenile court equivalent of an arraignment, they cannot receive bail. The hearing must occur within 48 hours, excluding non-court days, of the minor being  detained.  If the prosecution fails to file a petition charging the minor within  48 hours of detention, then the minor is automatically released to his parents.

Before the detention hearing, the probation department will prepare a report making recommendations to the judge whether to release or detain a minor.  The judge ultimately has the final say in the matter and his opinion will be based on both the defendant and the crime in question.

Juvenile hall is a scary place for a minor to stay and no parent wants their child locked away, especially before their guilt has even been determined. Aside from being comforting to both you and your child, having your son or daughter released will help your San Diego juvenile lawyer further investigate the case and better prepare your child for the actual trial. That is why it is so important to contact a skilled San Diego juvenile attorney as soon as your son or daughter has been arrested so you can get him or her out of detention as soon as possible for everyone’s benefit.

It is essential you contact a San Diego juvenile crime lawyer with ample experience in this court system as so many rules are different from the adult courts. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free initial consultation with San Diego juvenile crimes attorney Peter M. Liss at either of his two San Diego locations, please call (760) 643-4050.

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Gang Affiliation Crimes In California

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

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If you have been accused of a crime and the police and prosecutors determine that you are affiliated to a gang, they may then seek gang enhancements to be applied to the charges you are facing. If you have committed a misdemeanor, it will become a felony. If the crime was a felony, you may receive a strike on your record and have an additional four years of prison time added to your sentence. In cases involving very serious crimes, you could even have up to ten years added to your sentence. It is important to know that even if you are not a member of a gang, you can still be convicted of a gang crime if you committed a crime in order to help a gang.

Even if you are granted probation for your actions, your probation will be subject to gang conditions, which means you cannot associate with gang members or wear gang-affiliated clothing. In some cases, you may even be restricted from entering certain parts of the city.

If you are convicted of a gang crime, you will be added to a gang registry that may be accessed by any police officer at any time in the future.

When you have been accused of a gang crime, it is critical that you speak with a Vista gang crimes attorney as soon as possible and refuse to speak to the police or prosecutors until you do so. Remember, anything you say may be used against you later on.

If you have been accused of any crime that could be tied in with gang activities, please call San Diego juvenile crimes attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050  to schedule your free initial consultation.

California’s Zero Tolerance Minor DUI Laws

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

When it comes to juvenile drunk driving laws, California has some of the strictest laws in the country. Minors can be arrested and charged with drunk driving with even the slightest trace of alcohol in their system. This is known as a Zero Tolerance policy.

When you are under 21 and suspected of drunk driving, an officer can make you take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS). If the you refuse, you will face a mandatory license suspension. If your BAC is .01% or higher, you will lose your driving privileges for one year and your case will be sent to traffic court, where you could face hefty fines.

If your BAC is .05% or greater, then your case will be handled in the criminal court, where you could face serious fines, be forced to enroll in a DUI course and lose your license for one year. If your BAC was above 0.08%, then you may be charged with an adult DUI and you will face all the penalties that this serious crime entails.

A DUI conviction could hamper your chances of being accepted into the college  or job of your choice as this offense can appear on your DMV or criminal record. If you, or your juvenile child, has been accused of driving under the influence, please call a skilled Vista drunk driving attorney as soon as possible.

The results from a PAS device are always worth fighting because the officer who arrested you will have to show that their device was working properly at the time you were arrested and that they had the qualification to administer such a test. If they cannot prove both of these things, then the evidence will not be admitted into court. This is quite different from the regular breathalyzer test, which is generally presumed to be valid. This is why it is so critical that anyone under the age of 21 always work  with an experienced Vista DUI lawyer.

If you are ready to speak with San Diego juvenile defense attorney Peter M. Liss, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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California Vandalism Laws

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Vandalism isn’t limited to graffiti, although that’s one of the most common types of vandalism, any destruction to another person’s property falls under the scope of this law. That means keying someone’s car, breaking a store window, knocking over a gravestone, or defacing a movie theater poster are all considered acts of vandalism.

If you have not been convicted of vandalism and the damage will cost under $400 to repair, you will only be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, fines, community service and up to 3 years of probation. If the damage will cost more than that to fix, or if you have a prior conviction, you will be facing felony charges. Felony vandalism convictions may result in jail or prison time, up to $10,000 in fines and  community service. No matter how serious the charge, you may be subject to make restitution to the victim and a one year suspension of your driver’s license.

In some cases, the prosecution may push for a misdemeanor charge to be elevated to a felony if they believe it was a hate crime or was a gang-related activity. It is critical that anyone who has been arrested for vandalism should immediately contact an experienced Vista vandalism attorney like Peter M. Liss.

If you are the parent of a minor who has been charged with this crime, it is important to realize that you could be held liable for the fines incurred by your child’s actions. That is why you need a San Diego juvenile crime lawyer to help defend your son or daughter from the accusations against them. Please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to discuss your case.

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The California Juvenile Court System

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Like many states, California tries minors separately from adults. Anyone under the age of 18 at the time of the offense will be tried in this court system, although the crimes and penalties are largely the same as those faced by adults. It is important to realize that juveniles can be sentenced to the maximum sentence just as easily as an adult can, meaning even a misdemeanor crime can result in up to a year of confinement in a juvenile detention facility. A juvenile convicted of a felony can be confined up until the age of 25.

In serious felony cases, minors over the age of 14 can be tried in adult courts, meaning sentences can go all the way up to life imprisonment for homicide.

While many people think police need the permission of a parent before questioning a minor, that is not the case in California. Police can visit a school and question a minor without a parent’s permission, but the juvenile has the right to refuse to talk to the officers and to decline a search of their possessions.

While the crimes and punishments may be the same in both juvenile and adult courts, there are a few differences between the two systems. Juvenile courts do not perform trial by jury or offer bail. Although bail is not offered, a San Diego juvenile lawyer can argue for a child’s release into parental custody. At the end of the trial, the judge will make his verdict about the minor’s guilt, not a jury.

Unlike adult court systems, which are intended to serve as punishment for crimes, juvenile court systems are intended as a means for rehabilitation. For this reason, juvenile courts offer many options to preventing the minor from having a criminal charge on his or her record and a number of options to help the minor avoid prosecution altogether. An experienced San Diego juvenile attorney can opt for a diversion program, a case dismissal and the sealing of criminal records based on a specific client’s needs. If your child has been accused of a crime, please call experienced Vista criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss today at (760) 643-4050.

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