April 2011 Archives

Cell phone Apps Reveal Location of Drunk Driving Checkpoints in Santa Ana

Democrat senators are trying to stop cell phone apps from giving drivers the location of DUI checkpoints. Applications, such as "PhantomAlert", are available on various cell phones, including the iPhone, the Android and the Blackberry. Government officials are not happy as law enforcement continues to emphasize making DUI arrests in Orange County and elsewhere in the United States.
Our Santa Ana DUI lawyers urge you to contact an experienced attorney immediately if you're facing DUI charges as a result of a drunk driving checkpoint stop. Such traffic stops are strictly regulated. Consequently, more grounds exist upon which to challenge charges stemming from a checkpoint stop.

Four senators wrote the cell phone providers letters asking that they remove and discontinue the applications that reveal the locations of DUI checkpoints, according to The New York Times. Their letter included their belief that the application will just detour drunk drivers, "putting innocent families and children at risk,."

"These applications are nothing more than a how-to guide in avoiding law enforcement and they provide drunk drivers with the tools they need to go undetected," argued Senator Schumer of New York.

"PhantomAlert", one of the most popular of the of the checkpoint apps, possesses approximately 500,000 locations in its database. The database is added to every time a driver sends in real-time alert. Based on GPS data, the next smart phone that is running the app receives a warning. The application, that alerts drivers of speed traps as well, costs a mere $9.99 a month.

"With a person dying every 50 minutes in a drunk-driving crash, this technology should not be promoted to your customers," the letter continued. "In fact, it shouldn't even be available."

The companies argue that they're actually helping out drivers and other motorists; that knowing law enforcement is conducting sobriety checkpoints can discourage a driver from getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

After all, law enforcement has long claimed the sobriety checkpoints act as a deterrent.

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Man Sentenced on Vehicular Manslaughter Charge after Road Rage Incident in Santa Ana

A 31-year-old Santa Ana man has been sentenced to more than a decade behind bars after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter in Orange County in connection with a road rage incident, the Register reported.

A vehicular manslaughter defense lawyer in Santa Ana should always handle such cases. Voluntary manslaughter is about intent. Likewise, road rage cases are about intent. If the prosecutor cannot prove a driver intended to commit a crime (or acted with conscious disregard for human life), he or she cannot be convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
In other words, an accidental act is a defense to voluntary manslaughter. As such, it is important to speak to a defense lawyer before providing any statements to law enforcement. These cases often rely heavily on the statements of the parties involved and what you have to say could end up assisting prosecutors in securing your conviction. Penalties for conviction include 3 to 11 years behind bars.

Many people confuse aggressive driving with road rage. Aggressive driving involves driving behaviors of which most of us are guilty from time to time -- speeding, tailgating and failure to use a turn signal. Road rage involves a criminal act.

The defendant agreed to plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter; prosecutors had originally charged him with murder in the wake of the deadly April 2009 incident, which occurred on the 605 freeway in Long Beach. While it's unclear what started the argument, both the defendant and a 53-year-old driver stopped their cars and got out on the off-ramp.

Conflicting witness accounts have the two men striking each other. The defendant then reportedly got back into his car and rammed the victim's Ford Escort, pinning him against the door. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The defendant had faced life in prison on the murder charge. Under the current sentence, he will be eligible for parole in less than eight years.

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New Port Beach Elder Fraud Case Calls into Question Legitimacy of Power-of-Attorney

A 41-year-old Newport Beach man is facing a Santa Ana burglary charge, caretaker theft from an elder, fraudulently using an access card and three counts of forgery. Police say he swindled a deaf and blind 98-year-old woman suffering from dementia.

A Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer will also have to defend against several sentencing enhancements, including allegations for a non-accomplice present during a residential burglary, causing over $100,000 in loss, aggravated white-collar crime over $100,000, and property loss over $200,000. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison.

Theft crimes in Santa Ana are among the most common criminal charges. Statewide, there were 585,813 property crimes reported in 2009. In 202,639 cases, the value of the property was more than $4,000, according to the California Department of Justice.

Financial crimes, especially those dealing with fraudulent use of credit cards and bank accounts, can be complex cases that are difficult to prove. An experienced defense lawyer will conduct a thorough review of the case and may challenge the validity of some of the charges. If a negotiated deal is in a client's best interest, the attorney will likely be successful in significantly reducing the number and severity of charges the client faces.

Police accuse the defendant in this case of moving into the house without the victim's knowledge after his mother became the woman's live-in caretaker. He is accused of using the woman's credit card to charge items for his girlfriend, of taking out a loan against her house, and of having the woman sign over power of attorney.

Medical experts contend she was not competent to do so. Cases involved powers-of-attorney can be particularly complex. Such powers are often granted to care for an elderly person who is becoming incapable of remaining self-sufficient. Whether the woman is incompetent now -- and whether she was incompetent at the time such powers were granted -- is an issue for the court to decide, regardless of the opinion offered by law enforcement.

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Border Agent Charged with Sexual Assault in Santa Ana

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer has been charged with sexual assault in Santa Ana after a woman said he abused her inside his vehicle, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The defendant is suspected of assaulting the 20-year-old woman in November. He was arrested after his DNA was linked to a 2009 sexual assault in Long Beach. A Santa Ana criminal defense attorney should be called to handle these cases at the earliest possible stage -- even before criminal charges are filed. If a defendant has been approached by law enforcement, or has reason to believe he is under investigation, it's time to consult with an experienced defense attorney.
Felony convictions often require a defendant to submit a DNA sample to state and federal databases. The Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS) continues to spit out matches years and sometimes decades after a crime.

The Mercury News reports the 29-year-old Fountain Valley defendant allegedly picked the woman up on a Santa Ana street and drove her to a cul de sac in Garden Grove, where he is accused of sexually assaulting her.

He is being held on $1 million bail.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection said the officer has been placed on administrative leave. The media did not report whether the defendant was on duty at the time of the alleged crime. More serious charges can result in cases in which a person of authority -- whether a coach, police officer of teacher -- uses that authority in the commission of a sex crime.

Those facing sex crime allegations should make no statements to police until speaking with an experienced defense attorney. Often, these cases hinge on the testimony of the defendant and the alleged victim. Any statement made to law enforcement may be used against you and may conflict with your ultimate defense strategy.

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