Articles Posted in Alternative Sentencing

When you have been arrested for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence, you have only been charged. In order to convicted, and therefore sentenced, it first has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you meet all the elements required to be found guilty of a DUI.

If you have been convicted, and not merely charged, one of the components of your DUI sentence will be an alcohol program. Statutorily, the Court may sentence you to up to six months of an alcohol education program. However, the length of the program may be reduced under the proper negotiations.

The length of your program will greatly depends on the facts of your case and your prior criminal history. Let’s consider the example of Danny. Danny has had no previous criminal arrests, nor has he been convicted. His blood alcohol level at the time of arrest was about .09 and he was stopped for a broken headlight. Because Danny does not have any extreme enhancements that would cause the Judge to raise an eyebrow, including no prior criminal history, the Judge may sentence Danny to complete only 3 months of an alcohol education program.

Plea bargaining is simply a negotiation between your attorney and the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce the charges that may be pending against you. These type of negotiations can also be very effective at obtaining dismissals, reductions in penalties like eliminating jail time, in exchange for community service. For example, in a recent DUI case although the prosecutor was demanding jail time, we were able to persuade the Judge to allow our client to be placed on electronic monitoring in lieu of serving time in a jail cell.

In addition, when there are aggravating circumstances presence, the terms that the prosecutor, Judge or legislature dictates, can still be modified by the negotiation and skill of an experienced DUI lawyer to trade-off harsh consequences.

Many new clients, and those potential clients seeking advice on how our firm can assist them view DUI penalties as if they were a specific, set in stone formula, with no room for alteration or modification. People not familiar with this area of the law are very surprised to find out that every legal offense from a DUI case to a manslaughter offense are quoted in ranges, rather than specific finite penalties.

One of the biggest goals our firm fights hard to achieve for our clients, is to avoid any jail time and to receive the lowest possible sentence. However, if there is a complex criminal history, or the charge is a serious one, jail time may not always be avoided.

Even though jail time may be a part of a person’s eventual sentence, there are creative alternatives that will allow them to avoid serving the time in an actual county jail or state prison. These alternatives are granted as a result of well prepared negotiation and skill with the Judge and Prosecution by an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney.

The option of house arrest is available to many people in lieu of serving traditional county jail or state prison. House arrest comes in many forms, including electronic surveillance, house confinement, or home detention.sEach achieve the same goal; to allow a person to serve mandatory time in their own home.

California Penal Code 1000 creates a drug diversion program that allows certain offenders to avoid a criminal charge.

PC 1000 allows for a Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ). A DEJ requires that the person charged plead guilty to an offense. The sentencing, or the “judgment”, is then deferred for 18 months. The person charged must enroll and complete required drug education and awareness programs. They must provide proof to the courts that they have enrolled in classes.

They must then return on a later court date and show proof of completion to the court, negative drug test(s) and paid administrative court fees. If all has been completed successfully, and no other offenses have been committed the person is entitled to have their case dismissed. This means that they can legally deny having any convictions on their record. However, law enforcement will be able to view on your record that you have been charged with drug possession but have completed the program and have had your charges dropped. If the program is not completed successfully, the person will be sentenced and convicted.

A diversion program is a program instituted by the District Attorney’s office that allows a defendant who has been convicted of a Drug offense to avoid criminal charges and a criminal sentence. The program is designed to help rehabilitate offenders and to alleviate the overflow in time, cost and expense to courts and probation officers.

If someone who has been convicted of a drug offense qualifies for a drug diversion program, they may have the opportunity to avoid prosecution by completing certain requirements of the program. These requirements include completing certain education courses aimed at preventing future offenses, providing restitution to the victims of the offense, completion of community service hours, and avoiding certain situations that may lead to future offenses. This may involve no contact with certain persons, or visitation to certain places.

If a program is completed successfully it may prevent the charge from appearing on a person’s criminal record. This provides huge benefits for future employment opportunities, education and social achievements.

An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney has extensive knowledge of the defenses that may potentially apply to a marijuana possession charge. Consequently the case may be dismissed so that you have no conviction on your record.

Most defenses will only be helpful in cases where the amount of marijuana found in possession was less than an ounce. When it is such a small amount, there is a higher chance to persuade the Judge and Prosecution to dismiss or reduce the charges with a powerful and strategic argument. Hoffman and Associates has handled thousands of cases concerned with drug possession over our thirty years of practice. Many have led to dismissal due to the successful and zealous advocacy of our skilled attorneys.

Our attorneys immediately get to work preparing a defense that will most benefit our clients. We begin negotiations with the prosecutor right away and discuss the opportunity for informal diversion. Informal diversion is an agreement that the defendant will attend Narcotics Anonymous or similar meetings in exchange for the charges being dropped. It is far better than court ordered, formal Judgment because it avoids lots of time, and costs as well as the charge itself.

Hoffman and Associates is a Los Angeles and San Diego based law firm specializing in protecting our clients facing drunk driving charges, as well as all criminal charges.

The scope of this blog is not to discuss the pros or cons of pleading guilty or no contest in any particular clients case, since the merits and facts of each case would need to be evaluated to determine the strength or weakness of a criminal prosecution, and whether or not a plea is in the best interest of the client. A careful analysis of any factual evidence, any blood or alcohol test indicating the presence of alcohol and/or drugs, and any witness testimonysfavorable to our clients.

There are three ways a person in a DUI or Criminal Case can be found guilty. At a court trial a judge after hearing all facts of the case presented by the prosecutor and the defense attorney find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or even drugs Is the most commonly committedscriminal offense in the United States. That being said, it is easier to understand why many courtrooms throughout California are filled with drunk driving cases each day. There in lies the problem. In these high-volume courtrooms, especially in major cities like Los Angeles, prosecutors have very little time to read and review the details of each case .This can be a benefit to clients.

The benefit is that in these very busy Courts, prosecutors and judges are forced to spend increasingly less and less time in reading and reviewing as well as evaluating each case on its individual merits. In my over 30 years of courtroom experience as a drunk driving defense lawyer, that actually benefits my clients each day.

Generally in police arrest reports, there is only negativity, rarely are police officers writing about the positive elements of the person they’re arresting. Their focus is to build a case to prosecute, rarely to assist the defendant in minimizing the appearance of their conduct.

Nicole Richie, former reality star and daughter of famous musical artist Lionel Richie, was granted an extension on her probation resulting from a 2006 DUI.sIn December of 2006, Richie was arrested and charged with a DUI after she was caught driving the wrong way on a Los Angeles freeway. After pleading guilty, she was sentenced to 4 days in jail and 38 alcohol education classes.

Richie’s probation was set to end in July 2010, however the actress has been unable to complete all the court requirements due to the birth of her two children with rocker Joel Madden. Richie’s attorney requested a court approved leave from her alcohol education classes, which was granted by the Judge and extended to March 2011.s

You do not need to be a celebrity to get highly skilled Criminal Defense help. A Los Angeles DUI Attorney who has been practicing for over thirty years can provide you with affordable professional representation and the zealous advocacy you need to successfully fight your case.sAt Hoffman and Associates we have helped thousands of clients with DUIS and have established a solid reputation with the many Judges and Prosecutors in Southern California courts.

The purpose of this article is solely to discuss effective techniques and alternatives to anyone having to be incarcerated for any length of time, if at all possible to avoid. This article offers a number of practical tips for those people in legal trouble and is certainly not designed or intended to discuss the facts or circumstances of a DUI or Criminal case, or any defenses that may prevent a client from being guilty or convicted of any charge.

It is not uncommon in DUI or Criminal cases for a prosecutor to seek a range of different consequences including summary or formal probation, fines, community service, alcohol programs, and jail time. For over 30 years our law firm has represented clients facing these potential consequence. Without a doubt the biggest concern for all our clients is staying out of jail. Therefore, our biggest concern is fighting to protect our clients freedom from jail by the use of alternatives like Caltrans, community service,selectronic surveillance, and even private city jail facilities.

Once retained, it is critical that your attorney carefully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the facts the prosecutor plans on using against you, versus any defenses including witnesses, you have which would establish a strong defense of your innocence.