Tuesday, December 18, 2012

7 tips for Stopping Cyber Bullies

7 Tips for Stopping Cyber Bullies

Today, online bullying is a reality for adults and teens alike. The personal nature of social networking, the ability to broadcast information to large groups of people in seconds and the bully’s feeling of anonymity can make this type of harassment particularly damaging and hurtful. These tips are suggested to help you prevent and/or stop cyber bullies.  

Talk to your children. Keep an open dialogue with your kids about their online social circle. Let them know if they are bullied they can talk to you. Also, make sure they understand the damage that bullying can cause others. Look for warning signs that your child is being bullied or bullying and step in right away.
Do not respond to a bully. Save or copy emails, messages or other evidence, but avoid engaging with a tormentor.
If the perpetrator is a minor you may try reaching out to a parent or guardian to intervene in the matter. Many parents are surprised to learn that their children are bullying and will help intervene.
If the bully attends your children’s school, discuss the matter with an administrator or counselor. Some schools have guidelines for dealing with cyber bullies and preventing escalation.  
File formal complaints with phone and internet providers to block the bully. Physical threats, stalking or harassment may constitute a criminal matter.
Contact the police to report the abuse right away. If you or your family is the victim of online bullying, call the Chastaine Law Office We can discuss with you approaches that you can take to try to stop this conduct.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What is a criminal lawyer going to cost?

What is a criminal lawyer going to cost? How much you will spend on a criminal defense attorney is dependent upon a lot of factors. The hourly rate, the complexity of the case, and whether the case will proceed to jury trial are just a few of the factors that will determine what a case will cost. Unlike purchasing an item (like a car) retaining an attorney is hiring a person to do a service. In most situations, the cost of that service depends on the amount of time it takes to perform the service times the hourly rate. The hourly rate is generally set based upon the experience of the attorney. In short, what you pay for is the attorneys time. How long the service - whether it is a court appearance, drafting a motion or negotiating with the prosecution- will depend upon the complexity of the case. While billing by the hour is the traditional method some attorneys will offer flat rate billing. Flat rate billing is a set amount for a certain type of case, regardless of how much time it takes. Driving under the influence cases, expungements and simple misdemeanor cases are examples of cases that a flat rate may be fair and appropriate. In some cases, a combination of an hourly rate and flat rate for certain events, such as a jury trial can be negotiated. For an hourly rate case, the attorney will require a retainer. I attempt to determine how much I think a case will cost in determining the amount of the retainer. For example, if it appears that the case will settle quickly, I would require a smaller retainer then a case that I expect to go to jury trial. The client deposits money in the attorneys trust fund and the attorney will pay him/her self periodically as the work is done. A flat rate is not deposited in trust and is earned as soon as the case is accepted. Thereafter the attorney performs his/her work without any additional compensation. I, personally, feel that it is important that any attorney see a case all the way through to conclusion. While some attorneys will take a case only through preliminary hearing or some other defined point in the process, I feel that it is wrong to take a clients money then quit them just because you reach a certain point in the process. It can often be difficult for a new attorney to pick up the case in the middle and sometimes information gets lost or misplaced. I work hard to avoid this situation by trying to have an honest conversation with the client to determine his/her goals and attempt to determine how much time will be needed to bring a case to conclusion. By laying out a tentative game plan regarding how to proceed, one can get a reasonable estimate regarding the type of resources necessary to properly defend the case. In addition to the attorney fees, it is not uncommon to require the services of experts and/or investigators. It is important to remember that these are just estimates. Attempting to guess how the opposing attorney or the court will react and respond is all ways tricky. Things that appear simple are often made complicated in unpredictable ways. Sometimes, how ever, everyone will be reasonable from the outset and a case will reach a quick resolution. This usually means that the client will receive a refund from their trust fund deposit. An important point to remember is that most attorneys will be willing to negotiate their fees. As for myself, the more a client is willing to place in trust upfront, the more I am willing to lower my hourly rate and/or endeavor to lower the the total fees. What I don't want to have to do is come after a client for past due legal fees. Unfortunately after a case is concluded, some clients will ignore or completely disregard such a bill. Hiring a good criminal defense attorney will be expensive. You, as the client should openly discuss what the case will cost and try to research some kind of agreement regarding what the client can expect to pay.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Legislative Update

Posted: October 3, 2012
Submitted by: Ignacio Hernandez

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice

Legislative Update

Just a few days ago Governor Jerry Brown closed the legislative session by signing and vetoing the remaining bills on his desk. Here is a list of key bills he acted on this weekend.
SIGNED
AB 593 (Ma D)   Domestic violence: battering: recall and resentencing.
This bill expands the cases in which a prisoner may bring a habeas corpus petition for situations in which the evidence of intimate partner battering that was used in trial was not competent or substantial and where such evidence may have changed the sentence, not just the conviction.  Click here for the full text.
AB 1593 (Ma D)   Parole: intimate partner battering.
This bill would require the Parole Board to give "great weight" to information about the prisoner being a victim of intimate partner battering at the time of the crime.  It would also prohibit the Board from using this information in support of a finding that the prisoner lacks insight into their crime. Click here for the full text.
AB 2015 (Mitchell D) Criminal procedure: telephone calls: arrested custodial parents.
This bill would require an arresting or booking officer to inquire, no later than 3 hours after the arrest, as to whether the arrested person is a custodial parent. The bill would require the officer to inform the person that he or she is entitled to make 2 additional telephone calls to arrange for care of a minor child. It would also require a sign describing this allowance to be posted in a conspicuous place. Click here for the full text of the bill.
AB 2127 (Carter D)   Work release.
This bill authorizes a sheriff or other official to permit a person in a work release program to receive work release credit for participation in educational, vocational, substance abuse, life skills or parenting programs. Current law only allows participants in a work release program to receive work release credit for performing manual labor. Click here for full text.
AB 2530 (Atkins D)   Inmates in labor.
This bill prohibits the shackling of inmates and wards incarcerated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) who are known to be pregnant, in labor, or in recovery after delivery, with leg irons, waist chains, or handcuffs behind the body. Click here for the full bill text.
SB 9 (Yee D)   Sentencing.
This bill authorizes a prisoner who was under 18 years of age at the time of committing an offense for which the prisoner was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) to submit a petition for recall and re-sentencing to the sentencing court, after serving 15 years of their sentence. Click here for full text.
SB 1462 (Leno D)   County sheriffs: release of prisoners: medical release.
This bill would authorize the sheriff to release a prisoner from a county jail on medical probation if the prisoner is deemed to have a life expectancy of 6 months or less, provided the sheriff determines that the prisoner would not reasonably pose a threat to public safety. Click here for the full bill text.
VETOED
AB 2527 (Swanson D)   Probation: mandatory termination of period of probation.
This bill would require the period of probation to be terminated at any time when the good conduct of the person held on probation warrants it. Good conduct can be demonstrated by the probationer through such actions as pursuing a GED or participating in community service. Click here for the full text.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Michael Chastaine selected by peer to BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA

MICHAEL CHASTAINE selected by his peers to BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA.  This recognition is reserved for the Top 1% of attorney's in his field.   Only 5 attorneys in the Sacramento area were awarded this honor in the Criminal Defense:Non-White-Collar practice area.  Mike was the only attorney from Folsom to be selected as one of the BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA.

The Chastaine Law Office provides the best criminal defense available because we care what happens to our clients.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mike Chastaine selected by peers to BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA

MICHAEL CHASTAINE selected by his peers to BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA.  This recognition is reserved for the Top 1% of attorney's in his field.   Only 5 attorneys in the Sacramento area were awarded this honor in the Criminal Defense:Non-White-Collar practice area.  Mike was the only attorney from Folsom to be selected as one of the BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA.

The Chastaine Law Office provides the best criminal defense available because we care what happens to our clients.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

CACJ Legislative Update

 

 

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Legislative Update

The "first house" deadline this past week marks a significant milestone in the legislative process.  Below are a few bills that CACJ is helping move through Legislature. CACJ has supported and assisted in the effort to garner enough votes for these bills to pass their "first house", or their house of origin. The bills will now move to the policy committees of their "second house" - Assembly bills will move to the Senate and Senate bills will move to the Assembly.
AB 1831 (Dickinson D)   Local government: hiring practices.
The bill would remove the criminal background check requirement from job applications for local government employees. The bill would exempt any agency required by law to conduct a criminal history background check and any criminal justice agency. Furthermore, the bill would not prohibit a background check provided if the employer has confirmed the applicant meets minimum application standards. Click here for the full bill language.
AB 1993 (Ma D)   Vehicles: towing and impoundment: unlicensed drivers.
This bill prohibits a peace officer from towing and impounding a vehicle driven by an unlicensed driver if the vehicle is turned over to a licensed driver who is with the driver at the time of the stop or who can appear at the scene within a reasonable amount of time. Click here for the full bill language.
AB 2040 (Swanson D)   Juvenile prostitution: human trafficking: expungement.
This bill allows a person who was adjudicated as a ward of the court, upon reaching 18 years of age, to petition the court to have his or her record sealed without having to show that he or she has not been convicted of a subsequent crime involving moral turpitude, or that rehabilitation has been attained. This bill applies retroactively. Click here for the full bill language.
AB 2312 (Ammiano D)   Controlled substances.
This bill authorizes local taxes on medical cannabis up to 5% and creates a nine-member Board of Medical Marijuana Enforcement (BMME) to regulate the medical cannabis industry and to collect fees from medical cannabis businesses to be deposited in a new Medical Marijuana Fund. Click here for the full bill language.
SB 1434 (Leno D)   Location information: warrants.
This bill would prohibit a government entity from obtaining the location information of an electronic device without a valid search warrant.  Click here for the full bill language.
SB 1462 (Leno D)   County sheriffs: release of prisoners: medical release.
This bill would authorize the sheriff to release a prisoner from a county jail if the prisoner is deemed to have a life expectancy of 6 months or less, provided the sheriff determines that the prisoner would not reasonably pose a threat to public safety and gives specified notice to the superior court. The bill would also require the county to continue paying the nonfederal share of a prisoner's or probationer's Medi-Cal costs. Click here for the full bill language.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cleaning up your record and the Art of moving forward

For many people, after they have gone through the legal process and completed their court-imposed sanctions, they just want to forget about the matter. But the reality is that a criminal record, even for minor offenses can continue to haunt you. Anyone with a less than spotless past must constantly answer questions regarding their criminal record, potentially impacting their job prospects, where they live and the ability to travel. For example, Canada has strict rules regarding admitting visitors with even minor criminal records. Fortunately, in most case, in California, there are several legal options to clear a persons criminal history. Cleaning up your record can allow you to move forward and put your past behind you. Here at the Chastaine Law Office we specialize in assisting persons clean up their criminal records.

Dismissal of an adult criminal charge
In California, Penal Code section 1203.4 allows a person, for most offenses, to petition the court to dismiss their case. This dismissal is available if:
1. You were granted probation and successfully complied with all the terms of your sentence (or, if your were not placed on probation, not sent to state prison and more then one year has past since your conviction.)
2. You are not currently charged with another offense and not currently on probation for another offense.
The court does have discretion to grant you a dismissal if you did not fulfill all of the conditions of your probation but these types of cases usually requires a very strong showing as to why the court should do so.

Most people call this type of dismissal an expungement. Technically an expungement does not exist under California law. In other words a dismissal under section 1203.4 does not completely erase your records. You will no longer be considered, under the law, to have a conviction. However, in most cases if you commit a new offense, even a dismissed case can be used as a prior. The big advantage of the dismissal in this form is that a prospective employer cannot ask about, or consider in making a hiring decision, any arrest or detention that did not end in a conviction. You are required to disclose the case, even with a dismissal, if you apply for a professional license such as a teaching credential or real estate license. But having the case dismissed is very important to the licensing agencies and greatly improves your chances of having the license granted.

Sealing Juvenile records
If you have a juvenile conviction, in most circumstances you can have your record sealed on or after your 18th birthday. This does not happen automatically, rather, you must file a petition with the juvenile court in the county where you were convicted. After your records are sealed, no one can gain access to them and they will be destroyed five (5) years after the date of the sealing.

Certificate of Rehabilitation
Some times the remedy that a client wants can not be achieved simply through a dismissal. For example, if a person is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290, the only way to be relieved of that obligation may be through a certificate of rehabilitation. Such a certificate requires a lengthy passage of time (usually 5 to 10 years) and that the person has stayed out of trouble and lived a law abiding life. This is discretionary with the court but is achievable in the right circumstances. Seeing a knowledgable attorney to determine if you are eligible and to make this presentation is critical to having success.

Just because you got in trouble in the past does not mean that you have to live with it the rest of your life. Talk to a knowledgable attorney to determine what your options are and move forward.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another bad bill at the gate - makes it illegal to drive a car with ANY LEVEL of MJ in your system.

As I have reported previously, this time of year we see all kinds of crazy bills being proposed.  This latest from Assembly person Norma Torres (a Democrat no less) would make it illegal to drive a car with ANY LEVEL of cannabinoids in your system.  So if you were exposed to MJ two weeks previously and a blood test showed MJ in your system you would be guilty of a DUI - even if you were totally sober at the time.

Also, would this give police more reasons to pull you over in the car?  What it you have a Grateful Dead sticker on your car?  Is that probable cause under this law?

(Torres D) Driving under the influence.
Current Text: Introduced: 2/24/2012
Summary: Current law prohibits a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle. This bill would make it a crime for a person who has any level of cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid compound, as defined, in his or her blood or urine to drive a vehicle. This bill would establish a rebuttable presumption that a person had cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid compound in his or her blood or urine at the time he or she drove a vehicle if the substance is present in his or her blood or urine at the time of a chemical test performed within three hours after driving. This bill would impose a state-mandated local program by expanding the definition of a crime. This bill contains other related provisions and other current laws.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Legislative update for 3/23/12

Mike is a member of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and is actively involved with the legislative committee which monitors all of the criminal justice bills that come through the Capital each year. 2012 has, like most years, had some bad bills proposed. CACJ has been active in killing several of those bills. Mike was actively involved and wrote the opposition letter to a bill that would require all registered sex offenders to carry identification. This would have widened the discretion for law enforcement to stop citizens.

Below is the CACJ Legislative Update

A multitude of public safety bills are being deliberated on as we move into the height of the legislative session. CACJ Legislative Committee members have continued to volunteer their time to fight back against the flurry of bills to expand the criminal justice system. We have seen a number of key victories this past week including the voting down of a bill to require sex offenders to carry identification.  

Bills up next week:
AB 1709 (Mitchell) Jury Trials for Juveniles This bill would require that a minor be afforded the right to a jury trial if a juvenile adjudication can be used against them in the future.

 SB 968 (Wright) Electronic Monitoring This bill would allow a person to apply for reduced bail if they agree to begin an electronic monitoring program.

AB 1707 (Ammiano) CACI Listing Removal This bill would delete listings of minor perpetrators on the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) 10 years after the incident if there were no subsequent incidents.

SB 1060 (Hancock) Lifetime ban on CalWORKS This bill would end the lifetime ban on CalWORKs eligibility to people who have a past felony conviction provided they verify that they have participated in a recovery program and certify that they are participating in or have successfully completed a government recognized treatment program.  

Bills defeated or pulled by author this week:
AB 1695 (Cook) Sex Offender Identification This bill would make it a misdemeanor for any registered sex offender convicted of a crime committed against a minor under the age of 14 to be found without their state issued identification card while outside their home. Bill defeated. Mike wrote the opposition letter

AB 1682 (Portantino) Statute of Limitations for Rape This bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for the crime of rape in California. Hearing delayed.

AB 1528 (Donnelly) Penalty Increase This bill would make disorderly conduct, an invasion of privacy, from a felony to a misdemeanor. Hearing delayed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jake Stebner wins jury trial

Last week, Jake Stebner was in a jury trial in Yolo County. He represented a gentlemen accused of failing to register as a sex offender. These are always difficult cases. Using daring strategy and solid lawyering, Jake proved how confusing the law is and showed that his client did not willfully fail to register. On Monday morning the jury returned a NOT GUILTY verdict. Nice work Jake.

Friday, March 9, 2012

What is a criminal attorney going to cost??

What is a criminal lawyer going to cost? How much you will spend on a criminal defense attorney is dependent upon a lot of factors. The hourly rate, the complexity of the case, and whether the case will proceed to jury trial are just a few of the factors that will determine what a case will cost. Unlike purchasing an item (like a car) retaining an attorney is hiring a person to do a service.

In most situations, the cost of that service depends on the amount of time it takes to perform the service times the hourly rate. The hourly rate is generally set based upon the experience of the attorney. In short, what you pay for is the attorneys time. How long the service - whether it is a court appearance, drafting a motion or negotiating with the prosecution- will depend upon the complexity of the case. 

While billing by the hour is the traditional method of billing, some attorneys will offer flat rate billing. Flat rate billing is a set amount for a certain type of case, regardless of how much time it takes. Driving under the influence cases, expungements and simple misdemeanor cases are examples of cases that a flat rate may be fair and appropriate. In some cases, a combination of an hourly rate and flat rate for certain events, such as a jury trial can be negotiated. For an hourly rate, the attorney will require a retainer. I attempt to determine how much I think a case will cost in determining the amount of the retainer. For example, if it appears that the case will settle quickly, I would require a smaller retainer then a case that I expect to go to jury trial. The client deposits money in the attorneys trust fund and the attorney will pay him/her self periodically as the work is done. A flat rate is not deposited in trust and is earned as soon as the case is accepted. Thereafter the attorney performs his/her work without any additional compensation.

I, personally, feel that it is important that any attorney see a case all the way through. While some attorneys will take a case only through preliminary hearing or some other defined point in the process, I feel that it is wrong to take a clients money then quit them just because you reach a certain point in the process. It can often be difficult for a new attorney to pick up the case in the middle and sometimes information gets lost or misplaced. I work hard to avoid this situation by trying to have an honest conversation with the client to determine his/her goals and attempt to determine how much time will be needed to bring a case to conclusion. By laying out a tentative game plan regarding how to proceed, one can get a reasonable estimate regarding the type of resources necessary to properly defend the case.

In addition to the attorney fees, it is not uncommon to require the services of experts and/or investigators. It is important to remember that these are just estimates. Attempting to guess how the opposing attorney or the court will react and respond is all ways tricky. Things that appear simple are often made complicated in unpredictable ways. Sometimes, however, everyone will be reasonable from the outset and a case will reach a quick resolution. This usually means that the client will receive a refund from their trust fund deposit.

An important point to remember is that most attorneys will be willing to negotiate their fees. As for myself, the more a client is willing to place in trust upfront, the more I am willing to lower my hourly rate and/or endeavor to lower the the total fees. What I don't want to have to do, is come after a client for past due legal fees. Unfortunately after a case is concluded, some clients will ignore or completely disregard such a bill.

There is no getting around the fact that hiring a good criminal defense attorney will be expensive. But understanding how the fees are determined and attempting to negotate a fair fee is appropriate for any client.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Assembly rejects 3-tier plan for sex offenders

Assembly rejects 3-tier plan for sex offenders
Share
By Jim Sanders
jsanders@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 - 11:22 am

Legislation to create a tiered sex-offender registration system designed to focus attention on violent criminals was killed Monday by the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 625 died by a vote of 19-41. Its author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said he will propose a similar measure later this year.

California law currently requires people convicted of various sex offenses to register with the state for life.

AB 625 would have created three tiers of sex registration, with offenders in the first two tiers allowed to drop off into an inactive status after 10 or 20 years, respectively.

The most lenient tier would have applied to sex offenders who did not use violence, did not molest a minor, and maintained a clean record during the 10 years they were on the active registry.

Opponents of the bill claimed that allowing some sex registrants to be placed on an inactive status would weaken current law and make communities less safe.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/31/4226590/assembly-rejects-3-tier-plan-for.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Chastaine Law Office: Communication - the key to success

The Chastaine Law Office: Communication - the key to success: - Communication - the key to success. When I can I like to use Fridays to visit clients (whether in custody or out), return phone calls and...

Communication - the key to success

- Communication - the key to success.

When I can I like to use Fridays to visit clients (whether in custody or out), return phone calls and answer emails. This often leads to a feeling that it's not very productive time. But the truth is, it is some of the most important time spent.

It is often easy to forget that clients are anxious, frightened and very nervous. These emotions adversely impact a person’s ability to understand complex legal issues and fully appreciate their legal predicament. Lawyers have spent years learning the language, studying the law and analyzing the various scenarios. We some times forget that our clients just don't know what we know. And that the only way they will understand what is going to happen to them is for us to take the time to explain it. In truth we often need to explain it more then once and in different ways. The fear and anxiety of the situation often prevent a person from comprehending the true nature of the problem on the first go around. Especially early in the process people may be going through denial and hampered with hearing what they want to hear. They will often grasp on to one piece of favorable information to the exclusion of all else.

It is my belief and the philosophy of the Chastaine Law Office to do everything we can to help a client understand their situation and to help them make informed decisions. I specifically did not say the "right" decision because what is "right" for them may be different then what I think they should do. More then once I have been wrong about a judgment call. As I often tell clients, I'm not their dad, I'm their lawyer and my job is to give them as much information as I can so they can make an informed decision. Of course, I will offer my opinion about what they should do, but I always make sure that they understand that while we are a team they have to make the final call and I will support that decision.

To this end we endeavor to take as much time as needed to explain the issues, the facts and the options. We strive to be patient and to be willing to explain the issues as often as necessary. To be understanding of the clients concerns and to do everything we can to address those concerns. While we can not guarantee that we will always obtain the outcome the client wants, we can promise that we will do our best to achieve the most favorable outcome possible and to do our best to understand the clients goals.

At the Chastaine Law Office is all about the client.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A great week

Good weeks can be rare when you run a criminal law practice. But last week was one of those weeks that reaffirms the importance of what we do. We, at the Chastaine Law Office saved a mans driver license which allowed him to continue to work and support his family. We got a clients case expunged. It made a big difference to him. And we successfully defended a client against a unwarranted restraining order. While some would say these were not big cases they were very important to the clients and will make a significant positive impact on their life's.

An added bonus was the fact that the clients were very appreciative.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

update on change to Penal Code section 290.46

Penal Code section 290.46 deals with whether or not a person has can be put on the Megan's law website. January 1, 2012 Penal Code section 290.46(e)(4) was modified to state "no person shall be excluded pursuant to this subdivision unless the offender has submitted to the department documentation sufficient for the department to determine that he or she has a SARATSO risk level of low or moderate-low.

I have spoken with the Attorney General's office. I have been informed that any one who has NOT been given a SARATSO score to date will NOT BE REVIEWED and does not have to submit anything. This means that most persons who have already been excluded and were got given a Static 99 score by probation or parole will remain excluded.

Anyone that has a score will be reviewed to determine if that score is low or moderate-low.

If you have any questions about this be sure to give me a call at (916)932-7150 to find out what, if anything, you need to do to remain excluded from the Megan's law website.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Changes to the 290 Law. - Those that have been excluded may be placed back on the web

Over the years California has excluded some folks from the public registry, by a procedure, court orders or operation of law. However, since Prop-83 California has made several subtle changes to its laws which have not been well publicized.

However, as of January 1, 2012ANY former California sex offender who HAS ALREADY BEEN REMOVED from the public registry, will be automatically RESTORED to the public registry unless they file for EXCLUSION following a new procedure that has been added to California registry law.

There is no doubt that this will come as a surprise to these folks, and likely they are not watching laws as changes are made, and they will be blind-sighted by this change. I can see they may even be harmed in some way, like lose a job or housing. This is why we need every Advocate to announce this to their memberships and get folks talking about this so those folks can do what is necessary to remain off the public registry.

Here is the change that lawmakers have tucked into registry law:

Penal Code 290.46(e)(4) Effective January 1, 2012, no person shall be excluded pursuant to this subdivision unless the offender has submitted to the department documentation sufficient for the department to determine that he or she has a SARATSO risk level of low or moderate-low.

A reasonable reading of that change tells us that, even after following the procedure, unless the former offender's SARATSO risk level low or moderate-low, they will be restored to the public registry.

To date - as of February 3, 2012, none of my clients, that I am aware of have been placed back on the website after having been excluded. We will monitor the situation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Law Update: DUI and Drug Paraphernalia

New Law Update: DUI and Drug Paraphernalia
The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice would like to keep members updated about new laws.

Assembly Bill 520 (Ammiano) - Wet reckless with DUI prior

This is California Attorneys for Criminal Justice's sponsored bill. AB 520 (Ammiano) went into effect January 1, 2012. This bill reduces the driver's license suspension period from 1 year to 90 days for anyone who has a DUI prior and is convicted of a "wet reckless". This reduction applies only if the person agrees to install an ignition interlock device (IID). With the IID, the person may drive without any other restriction. This bill is an extension of SB 895 (Huff) of 2010.

Each applicant for a restricted license must also meet the following requirements:

Be enrolled in a 9-month DUI program.
Have no more than two prior alcohol-related convictions within a ten year period.
Cannot "bypass" or fail an IID rolling retest 3 consecutive times or two times before turning the vehicle engine off.
Drivers who were operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the violation are prohibited.
For the full bill language click here:

http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0501-0550/ab_520_bill_20111009_chaptered.pdf

Senate Bill 41 (Yee) - Clean syringes

SB 41 is effective January 1, 2012. This bill eliminates the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia for any adult in possession of no more than 30 syringes (Health and Safety Code Section: 11364.1). SB 41 also permits physicians and pharmacists to sell or furnish up to 30 syringes without criminal prosecution.

For the full bill language click here:

http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sb_41_bill_20111009_chaptered.pdf

Monday, January 30, 2012

Possible changes in the law for 290.

In my opinion one of the biggest problems with the California sex offender registration laws if that it puts everyone, regardless of offense into the same pot. If you are required to register it's for life. California is one of the few states that currently has life time registration for all sex offenders no matter the nature of the crime or how long ago the crime occurred. The California Attorney's for Criminal Justice has been promoting a change to allow people to get off the sex offender roles after a period of time.

Finally there is a bill that would make this a reality. AB 625 is a tiered sex offender registration bill that is being supported by the California Attorney's for Criminal Justice as well as members of the Department of Justice. This is an important bill that will allow some people who have to register to get off the 290 roles. The details are still in flux, but for many this will be the ticket to a more productive life. Stay tune for more developments as this bill works it's way through the legislature.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Chastaine Law Office - Creative Solutions for Difficult Problems

Creative Solutions for Difficult Problems

With over 25 years of criminal law experience, attorney MICHAEL CHASTAINE -- founding member of The Chastaine Law Office -- has established a reputation as one of California's preeminent criminal defense attorneys. In recognition of his work, Mr. Chastaine was named by his peers as a SUPER LAWYER in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Based in Folsom, The Chastaine Law Office provides uncompromising, innovative legal advice and representation to people throughout Northern California who have been charged with criminal misconduct, including in the counties of Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, Solano, Amador, and San Joaquin. Our approach is simple: it's all about the client.

Being accused of criminal conduct is frightening. Even innocent people can be arrested, incur loss of income and reputation, and suffer the risk of lengthy incarceration. The criminal justice system is an adversarial system. If you are accused of a crime, you need a strong attorney who is not afraid to take on law enforcement. You need an aggressive advocate who knows how to protect your rights, fight the system, and present the evidence that is favorable to your position.

At The Chastaine Law Office, we truly care what happens to you. While our primary focus continues to be the representation of people accused of criminal misconduct, we also offer assistance in the areas of personal injury, family law, and administrative law. Our job is to help you resolve your legal problems so that you can get your life back on track. Contact us today to inquire about our free initial consultations. We offer evening and weekend office hours by appointment.

The Chastaine Law Office in Folsom provides criminal defense legal services in Sacramento and surrounding areas, including Auburn, Placerville, Woodland, Granite Bay, and Roseville.

www.chastainelaw.com
916 932-7150