Posts Tagged ‘san diego criminal lawyer’

More Common Questions Asked of A San Diego criminal Lawyer

Monday, September 8th, 2014


This blog has already covered a few of the most common questions people ask their San Diego DUI lawyers, but so far, it hasn’t covered general questions that apply to most defendants. Here are a few common questions asked by those accused of a crime.

The police asked me to come down to the station and explain my side of the story, should I do it?

Not without your San Diego criminal attorney  present. Police often rely on a suspect’s lack of knowledge about the law in order to get a confession. This is why you should always speak to your San Diego defense lawyer as soon as you are accused of this crime.

I wasn’t read my Miranda Rights when I spoke to the police. Doesn’t that mean what I said is inadmissible in court?

Miranda warnings only have to be read if a suspect is under arrest and questioned.  If the police do not question you after arrest, they do not need to Mirandize you.   During the police investigation, the police can ask you questions without a Miranda warning so long as you are free to leave.

I am innocent. Should I take a lie detector test to prove my case?

No. In most cases, evidence from lie detectors can only be admitted to the court as evidence if both parties agree to admit the results. Generally speaking, if it helps your defense, the prosecution will not admit it and if it helps the prosecution, your San Diego criminal lawyer will not admit it.

If you’re wondering why police even ask you to take a lie detector then, the answer is simple: it is yet again another way to get you to confess to something. Even if the test results aren’t admissible in court, what you say during the test is.

Should I just refuse to say anything to the police then?

Yes and no. You should not make any statements to the police without your lawyer present to advise you. That being said, the Supreme Court has determined that simply staying silent altogether can be used as a sign of guilt. Instead, you must state that you are invoking your right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. After stating that, ask for the name and phone number of the police officer you are speaking with and tell him your attorney will call him back. Then hang up and give your San Diego criminal lawyer the information.

I know I’m guilty and I plan to confess. Do I still need a San Diego defense lawyer?

Yes. A lawyer can do a lot more than just defend someone’s innocence. An attorney can ensure that your rights are not violated during the investigation or the trial. He or she can also ensure that if you work out a plea bargain that you get the best possible deal and, if the case still goes to trial, he or she can urge the judge to be lenient in sentencing.

If you are accused of any type of criminal act, San Diego defense lawyer Peter M. Liss can help. Call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 at any time of the day or night to schedule a free consultation.

Creative Commons Image by Andreanna Moya

Have You Been Accused of Torture in San Diego?

Sunday, July 6th, 2014


Everyone has a pretty basic understanding of what torture is, but like many criminal acts, the legal definition isn’t quite the same as the commonly accepted definition. If you have been accused of torture in San Diego, it is critical you contact a skilled San Diego criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

Under the law, torture involves inflicting great bodily harm on another person with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose. It’s important to note that the specifics of this crime are far more concerned with the intent of the defendant than the actual pain suffered by the victim, which is partly what distinguishes torture from aggravated battery. In fact, if the prosecution cannot prove you intended to cause cruel or extreme pain for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose, your San Diego criminal attorney should be able to get the charges reduced or dropped.

A few notable things about the law is that torture does not need to be premeditated, the pain does not need to be prolonged and the victim doesn’t even need to suffer pain at all as long as the defendant intended to inflict pain. Also, the injury does not have to be permanent, disabling or disfiguring although it does have to inflict substantial physical injury. This means that if someone broke into an apartment of someone they wanted to get revenge on, cut off their victim’s toe and then ran away before realizing the victim had no sensation in his foot, they could still be convicted of torture even though the act ended up being quick and painless.

Even worse, if the victim dies, then a defendant can face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Whereas aggravated battery is punishable by up to four years in prison and a strike on your record, torture is drastically more serious and can carry a life sentence. This is why the intent and motivation are so important to this crime and why it’s critical you speak with a San Diego criminal lawyer as soon as you are arrested so you do not say anything to the police that may later harm your case.

If you have been accused of any violent crime, particularly torture, please call(760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free consultation with top San Diego violent crimes defense attorney Peter M. Liss.

Creative Commons Image by mendhak

Violating California’s Mayhem Law

Monday, June 30th, 2014


The crime of mayhem refers to maliciously disfiguring or disabling another person. There are a number of details that distinguish mayhem from the more serious offense of torture and the less serious crime of battery. With so many critical distinctions involved in this crime, it is critical you speak with a San Diego criminal lawyer as soon as someone accuses you of mayhem.

Whereas torture charges are largely based on the intent of the defendant rather than the injuries to the victim, mayhem cases are more focused on the nature of the victim’s injuries than the type of force used. That’s because mayhem charges require the prosecutor prove the defendant unlawfully and maliciously deprived, disabled or disfigured a part of the victim’s body, removed an eye, or slit the nose, ear or lip of the victim. If the victim is not disfigured or disabled, mayhem did not occur. As you can imagine, despite these terms having specific legal definitions, there is a lot of room for debate when it comes to many specific injuries. That is why San Diego criminal attorneys will often work to have the charges reduced to battery by arguing that the victims injuries are not disabling or disfiguring.

Other defenses against mayhem charges include self defense (in fact, many women’s self-defense classes go out of their way to show students how to dismember or disable someone in order to get away), and accidents. Since there are so many nuances involved in mayhem laws, you should not speak with the police or anyone else about the case until you first discuss your circumstances with a San Diego criminal lawyer.

If you are convicted of mayhem, you can face up to eight years in prison, a $10,000 fine and formal probation. Even worse, you could face additional penalties if the victim suffers great bodily injury or if he or she is under 14, over 65, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, a paraplegic or a quadriplegic.

Mayhem is a very serious crime. If you have been charged with any type of violent crime, including mayhem, torture, assault or battery, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with top San Diego defense attorney Peter M. Liss.

Creative Commons Image by Melinda

Peeping Tom Laws In California

Friday, May 23rd, 2014


California law has two specific penal code subsections to protect the public from those commonly called “peeping Toms.” The first covers peeking while loitering while the second involves using a device of some kind to violate someone’s privacy. If you have been accused of either of these crimes, a San Diego criminal lawyer can help you fight the charges and protect your reputation.

The first peeping Tom law outlaws peering through the window or door of an inhabited structure without having lawful business with the owner or occupant. For example, if you come to a job interview and are seated outside the interviewer’s office and see him or her walking around the office in the nude through a crack in the door or the office’s blinds, you aren’t violating the law. On the other hand if you were peering through that same person’s window from the street, solely for the purpose of looking through the window, you would be. A San Diego criminal attorney can help you show that you had a legal reason to be in the place where you were when the alleged spying took place.

The other subsection of the law prevents spying on someone with a device such as a telescope, binoculars, a camera or a video camera. This law is intended to protect people from those who might not be peeping from the same property. In order to allow business owners to operate security cameras, it is written in a very specific manner to only outlaw the secret filming of someone’s body or undergarments, these laws are also used to ban upskirt photography. Because this law features a lot more specific details, these cases are much more complex than the other type of peeping Tom law, which is why you should immediately contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with this crime.

Both forms of peeping Tom behavior are misdemeanors that fall under the umbrella of disorderly conduct. This means they are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,000 -with the strictest penalties used against those who are repeat offenders and those who spied on minors.

These crimes require a very specific set of circumstances to occur in order for a party to be found guilty, which means there are many defenses available in these types of cases. Even if you are undeniably guilty of the crime, it can still pay off to work with a top-quality San Diego criminal defense lawyer as he may be able to negotiate an alternative sentence that involves probation rather than jail time.

If you have been accused of peeping on someone illegally, Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with a top San Diego criminal attorney.

Creative Commons Image by Robert Meeks

Is Allowing the Powerpuff Girls to Fight Crime Child Endangerment?

Friday, May 16th, 2014


The Powerpuff Girls are pretty much the only thing that allows the City of Townsville to continue surviving, but is asking three kindergartners to save the city legal? Should Professor Unitonium or the Mayor be charged with child endangerment for their role in the girl’s activities? San Diego criminal attorney Peter M. Liss is here to clear up any confusion about Townville’s tiny heroes.

There’s no arguing that the Powerpuff Girls are, in fact, five years old or that they have been repeatedly asked by the Mayor to jump in and save the day. While their father and teachers may not actively encourage the girls to fight villains like Mojo Jojo, they certainly don’t try to prevent it either. If this was the end of the discussion, there would be no question as to whether the girls were put into danger and the Mayor, Ms. Keane and Professor Unitonium could all be charged with child endangerment.

But, of course, the Powerpuff Girls aren’t just ordinary children, and that’s where the defendants would have a chance to fight the charges with the help of their San Diego defense lawyers. Child endangerment occurs when someone “willfully causes or permits a child to be placed in a dangerous situation.” The Mayor certainly caused the girls to fight to protect the city, while Ms. Keane and the Professor both permit the girls to go to battle.

But are the Powerpuff Girls really children under the current legal definitions? That is where a good San Diego criminal lawyer should start his defense. After all, the girls may look like human children, but they were created in a laboratory after the professor combined sugar, spice, everything nice and Chemical X. Even if they were clones, the prosecution could argue that they had the same genetic markers of a human, but these girls weren’t made from human genetic materials of any type -making it really difficult to argue that the three are actually humans. This conclusion is further backed up by the girls’ superhuman strength, ability to fly and other powers, all of which are not traits of the human race.

While it still might seem ethically questionable to send three five-year-old humanoid creatures to fight evil, the bottom line is that we don’t currently have any laws protecting non-human children from such activities as there has so far been no real need for them. The fact that the trio does so well and stays relatively safe during their adventures would probably mean that legislators wouldn’t be in a big hurry to outlaw such behavior either, so ultimately, the Powerpuff Girls would likely be allowed to continue their efforts to keep the City of Townsville safe.

Of course, if you are accused of child endangerment, chances are you won’t be able to argue that it’s OK because the children in question aren’t actually human. That’s why it’s critical you always work with a top San Diego defense attorney -like Peter M. Liss who can help build the best defense for your specific situation. If you have been accused of any criminal act in San Diego, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Creative Commons Image by Michael Miller

Understanding California’s Lynching Laws

Monday, April 14th, 2014

2163691046_ca21f66155_o When you hear the word lynching, you probably think of a horrific scene where someone takes the life of an innocent person merely due to his or her race or religion, but under California state law, the term actually refers to rioters working to take a person under police custody. Here’s what you should know about the crime, courtesy of San Diego criminal defense attorney Peter M. Liss. The reason for the confusing name goes back to the other historical definition of lynching, wherein an angry mob seizes a criminal from the local jail and hangs him before he has a chance to defend himself in court. But while historical lynchings were almost never beneficial for the person being taken from police custody, that’s not the case in modern times. In fact, a person can even be arrested and charged in their own lynching if they intentionally tried to get the public to help set them free. Because these arrests occur in a riot-like situation, it is critical anyone charged with this crime seek the help of a San Diego criminal defense lawyer. Even if the attempt to free the person in police custody fails or if an attempt to riot falls flat, those responsible can still be charged with attempted lynching. You may be curious how this crime is any different than the crime of “rescuing a prisoner,” which involves freeing someone from prison, jail or police custody and the main difference here is that lynching requires a riot to occur. Because a riot is considered much more dangerous to the public than a standard prisoner rescue, the crime is more serious and carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison. With such serious penalties at stake, it is easy to see how important it is to work with a top San Diego defense lawyer if you have been charged with lynching. In many cases like these, it is easy for a person just walking by to be swept up in the riot and arrested as part of the mob. Similarly, someone could be protesting an arrest of someone they believe to be innocent, but not trying to physically release the suspect and still get arrested and charged with lynching in the chaotic mess of this type of riot. If you have been accused of rioting, lynching or rescuing a prisoner, San Diego criminal lawyer Peter Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Defending Bucky For His Role As The Winter Soldier

Friday, April 4th, 2014


Captain America: The Winter Soldier might not be out yet, but fans of the comics already know some of the key plot points. That’s why without releasing any spoilers, we can sagely assume that Captain America’s sidekick and best friend, Bucky, didn’t really die in the first movie, but instead lost an arm and was kept in suspended animation by the Soviets, who also provided Bucky with a bionic arm. When the Soviets wake him up periodically over the next 60 years, Bucky’s severe memory loss allows the Russians to reprogram him to become an assassin with the code name: Winter Soldier. As the Winter Soldier, Bucky kills a number of important political targets. Captain America must stop his friend, but he also feels he must rescue him from his brainwashed state. You’ll have to watch the movie to know the outcome, but assuming Captain America is successful, Bucky could likely be charged with espionage and treason. That’s where San Diego criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss comes in.

While the Winter Soldier undoubtedly would be guilty of espionage and treason, Bucky would have a strong insanity defense against the charges given that his higher brain function was destroyed in the accident that led everyone to believe he had died.

In order for a San Diego criminal attorney to prove that a person was legally insane, the person must have a mental disease or defect that resulted in him or her being incapable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of his or her act and of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the offense. Suffering brain damage severe enough that someone can reprogram you to become an assassin who is completely unaware of your past undoubtedly falls under this definition of legal insanity, which means Bucky should be able to escape these charges.

In a major case like this that involved treason and espionage, it might be more difficult for a San Diego criminal lawyer to prove their defendant was suffering from insanity at the time of his or her crimes, especially if his or her mental faculties were restored by the time of the trial. But Bucky would have two distinct advantages on his side when it comes to swaying a jury. First, he was a decorated WWII veteran known for his heroic acts at the side of one of America’s greatest and most trusted heroes. Second, that hero, Captain America, would likely be there to testify for his friend at the trial in order to corroborate Bucky’s tale of brainwashing and recovery.

Obviously, Bucky’s situation is a particularly unique one, but it does show how versatile the insanity defense is for all types of crimes and mental illnesses. If you aren’t sure if you can use the insanity defense in a case you have been accused of, San Diego criminal attorney Peter M. Liss can evaluate your case to help you work out the best defense for your specific situation. If you are ready to schedule a free initial consultation, please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024.

Creative Commons Image by Pat Loika

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.

Creative Commons Image by surprise truck

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.

What Is Reasonable Doubt?

Friday, January 4th, 2013

reasonable doubt Vista defense attorney You’ve almost certainly heard the phrase “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” but have you ever given thought to what that actually means? As an American, you should because this phrase is a corner stone of our national justice system. Rather than some countries that consider you guilty until you are proven innocent, the American legal system allows criminal suspects the privilege of being innocent until proven guilty and that guilt needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This means your Vista criminal defense attorney must only show the jury that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to undoubtedly prove your guilt. The concept of reasonable doubt is one of the most powerful weapons on the side of all Vista defense lawyers because it means that the simple fact that charges have been filed against someone does not serve as evidence against them. So what is a reasonable doubt? Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves jury members with an abiding conviction that the charge against the defendant is true no matter what evidence was presented on their behalf by their Vista criminal defense lawyers. Although some people believe that the standard of reasonable doubt means there cannot be a question in the mind of the members of the jury, that is not true. After all, few things in this world are totally black and white and many people who serve in a jury will question their ultimate decision at some point or another, no mater how convincing the evidence that led them to make their decision. The evidence need not eliminate all possible doubt because everything is life is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. However, if they based their decision on the standard of a reasonable doubt, then they will not have found the defendant guilty unless they were utterly convinced, meaning they will not have to look back on their decision and regret sending an innocent person to prison. Even if the prosecution proves the defendant to be mostly guilty, but their Vista criminal defense attorneys have left a good seed of doubt in the juror’s minds, the defendant should still be found innocent because the evidence is not enough to quell all reasonable questions of the jurors. If you have any question about the true meaning of reasonable doubt and how it could play into any charges you are facing, please call Vista defense lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation. Creative Commons Image by Pauho