The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

January 2013 Archives

What to Do After You've Been Arrested

There is so much advice out there: Wear clean underwear; follow the golden rule; don't get arrested. But what about advice for after an arrest?

We'll skip the easy stuff like "don't yell at the officer" and "keep your hands to yourself." And you'll have to ask your attorney about how to get the jury on your side. We can't help with specifics like that.

What we can do is prepare you for some of the more common issues people run into when dealing with police after an arrest. Here are a few things to consider:

The Difference Between Felonies and Misdemeanors in California

The difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge can be significant because California, like other states, divides the categories based on length of imprisonment.

Under state law certain crimes are always felonies, others are always misdemeanors, and some are known as "wobblers." Those wobbler crimes can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor at the discretion of prosecutors. What they choose will limit the maximum punishment.

So what exactly is the dividing line between a misdemeanor and a felony?

What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over by Police?

You know the drill: flashing lights, whooping siren, amplified sound. It's not a new techno dance party; you're being pulled over by the police.

This is certainly not anyone's daydream, but it also shouldn't be your worst nightmare. After all, it happens; Jay-Z even rapped about it. Whether you're speeding, swerving, or just plain unlucky, there's a good chance you'll get pulled over at least once in your lifetime.

So don't lose your cool. When LAPD's finest are telling you to pull over the vehicle, remember that while they may seem tough, you still have rights.

Southland Crime: LA's Top 10 Stories of 2012 (Part II of II)

As promised, we are back to finish recapping the year's biggest Los Angeles crime stories of 2012, as determined by you, our readers.

What's on tap? Much like the Top 5 stories, we've got the Hollywood usual, meaning celebrities, sex scandals, and murder mysteries.

Southland Crime: LA's Top 10 Stories of 2012

City of Angels? Suppress your laughter. For those of us who have resided in the Los Angeles area, we know that this town is anything but a collection of heavenly creatures.

One need look no further than this blog to read about some of the city's biggest screw-ups, from a McProstitute to vigilante pimp-murdering parents. Here's the first installment of our Top 10 posts from 2012:

Recent Marijuana Cases Illustrate Issues With Federal-State Legal Conflict

Have you ever tried that trick where after being shot down by one parent, you go to the other and ask for permission to, for example, go out on a school night? That's a perfect analogy for marijuana laws in this country. California allows medical marijuana use. Other states have legalized recreational use. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to spend resources fighting marijuana production in states where it is completely legal.

Maybe you think marijuana ought to be banned. It is a drug, after all. And we all know what marijuana use leads to: Justin Bieber fans committing acts of self-mutilation. Or perhaps you are on the other side, and see it as a harmless drug, no different from alcohol.

Mom Who Tossed Baby Off Parking Garage Pleads Postpartum Insanity

A mother accused of doing the unthinkable is now pleading the predictable. Sonia Hermosillo, 32, of La Habra, is accused of tossing her 7-month-old son off of a parking garage in August 2011. Her attorney argues that the entire incident was caused by postpartum psychosis, and as a result, her client is not guilty by reason of insanity, reports the Orange County Register.

Before you completely dismiss the argument, note that it took three psychologists’ evaluations to determine that she was competent to stand trial - a much lower bar than sanity. The first two evaluators disagreed with each other, necessitating a tiebreaker. Competency is described as having the ability to understand the proceedings and assist with one’s defense. Her attorney previously described her condition as “marginally coherent.”