The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

March 2013 Archives

Due to their powerful sense of smell and extensive training, drug-sniffing police dogs can smell narcotics from a mile away (figuratively speaking). The invasive nature of their use has raised interesting questions about the right to privacy.

So when and where can drug-sniffing dogs be used? A few recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have shed light on the subject. Below, you'll find an explanation of those decisions and how they apply to you.

What to Do If You Need to Lawyer Up

If you've been charged with a crime, it may seem like the end of the world. However, you should know that you are innocent until proven guilty and many people have been charged with crimes only to beat the charges with the help of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

There are many criminal defense attorneys to choose from. And in a major metropolitan area, you may literally be flooded with options.

Before jumping in and hiring an attorney, there are some steps you may want to take. These steps can help you understand your charges better and also give you an idea what to ask a prospective lawyer:

Can You Expunge Your Criminal Record?

A criminal record isn't exactly a hot accessory, especially when it comes to getting a job or an apartment. That record will follow you unless you can get rid of it. You know, by expunging it.

Expungement can clear your criminal record and in many ways, the conviction disappears. It allows you to put the past behind you and not have to keep dragging it around. While your court file remains public record, once it's expunged you don't have to disclose your conviction any longer.

But California is very specific about which crimes can be expunged and under what circumstances. To do it, you have to qualify.

What's the Felony Murder Rule All About?

The law punishes almost every incident in which one person kills another, whether it's intentional, reckless, or even unintended. Legally speaking, that means murder, manslaughter, and felony murder.

The first two get a lot of press but the last one doesn't, in part because many jurisdictions have gotten rid of felony murder. But not California.

Felony murder was originally a common law idea, but it's since been signed into official law. In the Golden State, it's a form of first-degree murder. But that doesn't explain what felony murder actually is.