Arzili Criminal Defense Lawyers Blog

September 14, 2010

The ABC’s of IID’s. Ignition Interlock Device Basics for DUI’s.

Ignition Interlock DeviceIID is the new kid on the block when it comes to DUI’s.

In the year 2010, California lawmakers made it clear that they felt that the IID (Ignition Interlock Device) should be part of DUI punishment and rehabilitation. In a sweeping change, they now allow persons convicted of a DUI to install a IID device and significantly reduce the length of their license suspension. While IID devices have been used for years by the courts, their new implementation on a larger scale has left many to wonder: What is an IID?

Quite simply, its a device that is installed into the ignition of your vehicle to gauge if you have alcohol in your system. If the machine picks up a reading, then it can force your car to shut down and report it to the IID headquarters.

There are a number of providers in the Los Angeles area and I will provide the following link which provides basic info and names and contact information for them.

The costs vary, but there is traditionally a 75-100 dollar fee to install and there is a per day rate of 2 or 3 dollars. Some companies charge more for other services.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl31.htm

If you have questions regarding your DUI and its consequences on your license, feel free to email me or call us at 562 907-4448.

Thank you.

April 3, 2010

An Attorney must advise his client of all the possible consequences of his choices in court.

When you are facing Criminal Charges in Los Angeles, it is important to hire an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney who knows how to protect your rights and advise you of the consequences of what happens in court. I’ve represented clients in Los Angeles Criminal Courts for over a decade and firmly believe that every client needs to fully aware of their options and legal consequences before making decisions that may change their life. This recent U.S. Supreme Court decision further echoes my beliefs. If you are looking for a an experienced and aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles, please contact us for a free consultation.
Defense attorneys have a fundamental obligation to tell their immigrant clients they face possible deportation when pleading guilty to certain crimes, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The 7-2 ruling was closely watched by the Justice Department and a number of immigrant rights groups.

“The severity of deportation — the equivalent of banishment or exile — only underscores how critical it is for counsel to inform her noncitizen client that he faces a risk of deportation,” said Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the opinion for the court.

“It is our responsibility under the Constitution to ensure that no criminal defendant — whether a citizen or not — is left to the ‘mercies of incompetent counsel.’ To satisfy this responsibility, we now hold that counsel must inform her client whether his plea carries a risk of deportation,” he wrote.

The high court’s conclusions affirm that constitutional guarantees of “effective assistance of counsel” extend to legal advice for noncitizens.

The appeal involves Jose Padilla, a Vietnam-era veteran living in Kentucky but originally from Honduras. He had been a resident of the United States for more than 40 years, but never applied for citizenship. He was arrested in his tractor-trailer and charged with transporting and trafficking marijuana, an “aggravated felony” under federal law.

He pleaded guilty in 2001, and said his lawyer assured him he “did not have to worry about immigration status since he had been in the country so long,” according to court records.

But the fact that the crime was an aggravated felony meant he would automatically be sent back to Honduras after serving his jail sentence. A state court said he could not withdraw his guilty plea, and that lawyers have no obligation to inform defendants on immigration.

Padilla is not related to a convicted terrorist conspirator and “enemy combatant” with the same name, who was arrested after the 9/11 attacks. That defendant is now in a federal prison serving a life term.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already mandate that immigrant defendants be given the right extended by the high court. Stevens noted previous plea deals are not likely to be affected by the Supreme Court ruling.

Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts agreed in this case that Padilla’s lawyer misled her client on the consequences of a guilty plea. But they said that, in general, defense attorneys cannot be forced to have a “mastery of immigration law” in service to their clients.

“A criminal defense attorney should not be required to provide advice on immigration law, a complex specialty that generally lies outside the scope of a criminal defense attorney’s expertise,” Alito wrote.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas disagreed entirely with the majority, saying the Constitution does not guarantee “accurate advice” to criminal defendants, immigrants or citizens alike.

Immigrant rights groups hailed the ruling as one of fundamental fairness.

“Even though most immigrants’ primary concern is their ability to stay in the U.S., they often plead guilty unaware that the result would be permanent exile from their families and communities,” said Michelle Fei, co-director of the Immigrant Defense Project. “We’re thrilled that the Supreme Court has recognized that deportation is an extreme penalty and that noncitizens have a constitutional right to legal advice about the consequences of pleading guilty.”

The case is Padilla v. Kentucky (08-651).

March 2, 2010

Vital Tips for those arrested for Domestic Violence

If you are arrested for Domestic Violence,  you not only face the possiblity of losing your freedom, you also face the likelihood of being precluded from  your house and your family.    Those arrested for Domestic Violence face and incredible burden not usually handed out for misdemeanors.  Unlike many other crimes, If you are arrested for a Domestic Violence charge, you will likely be ordered to move out of your residence, (even if you have legal right to live there).   This Protective Order can also preclude you from having any contact with your girlfriend, wife or mother of your child. 

Once you appear in court, the prosecutors always request a “stay-away” protective order which will make it a crime for you to return back to your home.  It will also make it a separate crime to attempt to contact the alleged victim.  In 12 years, i’ve seen many people attempt to sidestep or ignore the court’s rules, only to be locked up and brought back to court.   Handling the protective order properly is not only key to keeping yourself out of jail, its also important to resolving your underlying domestic violence charge.

An experienced domestic violence attorney can arrange for the protective order to be lifted or modified to allow for safe and non-abusive contact.  Please be advised that your alleged victim is key in having the order lifted or modified, but you cannot contact the alleged victim yourself.  This would be directly against the court’s order.  Only your attorney can contact the alleged victim. 

In certain cases, I give my client’s an option of taking some voluntary anger management classes to assist in reducing tensions and showing the court that it is safe to let the parties stay together.  Some see this as a admission of guilt, but I disagree.  Most judges agree that to maintain a safe and hospitable environment while charges are pending, some counseling is necessary.

Finally, my advice to most people in this unfortunate circumstance is not try to handle any of this yourself, because emotions will likely make you overreact.   Leave this serious situation to a professional criminal defense attorney that handled domestic violence cases.

For a free consultation, feel free to contact me at anthonyarzili@gmail.com   562 907-4448

Best of Luck,

 

Anthony Arzili

January 12, 2010

Doctor sentenced to prison for road rage

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Anthony Arzili @ 12:40 am

A doctor convicted of assaulting two bicyclists by slamming on his car brakes after a confrontation on a narrow Brentwood road was sentenced today to five years in prison.

Christopher Thompson, wearing dark blue jail scrubs, wept as he apologized to the injured cyclists shortly before he was sentenced.

“I would like to apologize deeply, profoundly from the bottom of my heart,” he told them, his right hand cuffed to a court chair.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington called the case a “wake-up call” to motorists and cyclists and urged local government to provide riders with more bike lanes. He said he believed that Thompson had shown a lack of remorse during the case and that the victims were particularly vulnerable while riding their bicycles.

The case against Thompson, 60, has drawn close scrutiny from bicycle riders around the country, many of whom viewed the outcome as a test of the justice system’s commitment to protecting cyclists.

Millington said he did not take into account more than 270 e-mails and letters from cyclists that were filed with the court urging a tough sentence.

The July 4, 2008, crash also highlighted simmering tensions between cyclists and residents along Mandeville Canyon Road, the winding five-mile residential street where the crash took place.

One cyclist was flung face-first into the rear window of Thompson’s red Infiniti, breaking his front teeth and nose and cutting his face. The other cyclist slammed into the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.

At his sentencing hearing at the county’s airport branch court, Thompson cited the Bible in urging cyclists and residents of Mandeville Canyon to try to resolve their differences peacefully.

“If my incident shows anything it’s that confrontation leads to an escalation of hostilities,” Thompson said.

Thompson, a former emergency room physician who described the crash as a terrible accident, testified during his trial last year that he and other Mandeville Canyon residents were upset that some cyclists rode dangerously and acted disrespectfully toward residents and motorists along the street, a popular route for bike riders.

On the day of the crash, Thompson said he was driving down the road on his way to work when several cyclists swore at him and flipped him off as he called on them to ride single file. He said he stopped his car to take a photo to identify the riders and never intended to hurt anyone.
But the cyclists said the doctor was acting aggressively from the start. They said he honked loudly from behind them and passed by dangerously close as they moved to ride single file before he pulled in front and braked hard.

A police officer told jurors that shortly after the crash that Thompson said he slammed on his brakes in front of the riders to “teach them a lesson.”

Prosecutors said Thompson had a history of run-ins with bike riders, including a similar episode four months before the crash when two cyclists told police that the doctor tried to run them off the road and braked suddenly in front of them. Neither of the riders was injured.

Jurors convicted Thompson in November of mayhem; assault with a deadly weapon, his car; battery with serious injury; and reckless driving causing injury.

July 26, 2009

Do’s and Dont’s of appearing in court.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Anthony Arzili @ 5:00 pm

While most of us probably see these tips as common sense, too often I see people seal their fate but making bonehead mistakes in court.  Here are some important ones to remember:

 1) Dress for court:  Most judges will not say anything but will see inappropriate attire as a sign of disrespect for the court.    No shorts, no tank tops, no flip flops and definitely don’t show off your tattoos.  You don’t appear in court often (hopefully) so make an effort.  Dress shirt, tie and slacks says i respect this court and the law.  For women, a blouse and slacks and nothing low-cut or sleeveless.  If you choose to wear a skirt or dress, it should reach knee level.  A suit is optional but personally I think its a bit too much. 

2) Leave your kids at home: Theres a common misconception that judges will see those little faces looking at their daddy in cuffs and that will pull on their heart strings and somehow help you.  More often than not, its actually the opposite effect.  Most Judges or Prosecutors don’t believe that a court of law is a place for kids.  Also, they will see you as irresponsible for subjecting your kids to see their father/mother in handcuffs.   I empathize with people who may not have child care but there is no excuse for having your children sit through a hearing where they may hear things they soon wont forget.

3) Be on time.   Its common place for you to sit and wait for your attorney to call your case and talk to you.  But if your attorney is waiting for your to arrive, thats bad news.   Most judges have a radar that quickly picks up a client that is tardy.  Please take into consideration that most court have lines to enter and then metal detectors to go through.  Downtown courts have such long lines and parking issues that it may take you almost 45 mintues to get into your department after you arrive at the courthouse parking lot.

4) Be Courteous to all.  From the minute you get out of your car, be on your best behavior.  Too often I hear defendants in the elevator speaking in an inappropriate fashion about someone in court such as the prosecutor, defense attorney or judge.  You don’t know who else is in that elevator with you.   For the most part, people will treat you the way they are treated by you.  Noone wants to go the extra mile for someone who is being abusive or obnoxious. 

June 2, 2008

Bench Warrants (Question & Answer)

What is a Bench Warrant? 

Basically, it is a warrant for your arrest issued by the “Bench” which means the Judge.  Criminal Bench Warrants are issued when a defendant fails to appear in court or violates his probation.  If you have a court date and you are either late or do not appear, you can rest assured that you will have a bench warrant issued against you.

 When does the Bench Warrant go into effect?

In most cases, it takes a day to get the warrant into the system and have it active.  Some courts will take longer than other and felonies and misdemeanors also differ on how quickly they are put into effect. 

Will the police come looking for me right away?

For most misdemeanor charges, the answer is probably not.  Most misdemeanor warrants will go into the system and will wait for you to get pulled over or have police contact and the warrant pop up.   Although I have seen on occassion, police officers picking up a defendant immediately after a warrant was issued.   On felony matters, the likelihood of being arrested soon after the warrant is much higher.  Some of it depends on the seriousness of the charges and whether they believe you pose a threat to the community. 

What happens if i am arrested on the bench warrant?

If you have an active warrant, you will be held in custody until you are taken to court.   Once you are in front of the judge, you will face additional jail time/fines and/or other criminal sanctions.

Should I walk in and handle my warrant on my own?

If you like living dangerously, then this would be a good idea.  It is much more advisable to have an experienced criminal defense attorney explain your situation to the Judge and Prosecutor.  I’ve handled hundreds of bench warrant recalls and know what is a legitimate strategy for staying out of custody and what is not.   While in court, sometimes i’ll watch a poor soul attempting to talk his way out of being taken into custody.  Judges have heard all the excuses and lies, don’t think you can sweet talk your way out of the situation.  You are only making the Judge more upset by insulting his/her intelligence.

What can an attorney do to help with a Bench Warrant Recall?

What we customarily do with Bench Warrants, is to first research the case.  Interview the client and see what the situation is and are there any mitigating circumstances for the warrant (family illness/death, loss of job, etc.) Then we pull the file and read through what the case is about and what needs to be done.  Armed with this information, we calendar the case up to a courtroom and speak with the Judge.  Our priority is to keep our client out of custody. 

I am afraid to be taken into custody.

There is always a risk that you will be taken into custody when you attempt to recall a warrant.  But the risk is lessened considerably if you hire an attorney to handle your matter.  Furthermore, when you voluntarily handle the matter (rather than being picked up on the warrant) the chances  for you staying out get even better. 

As a final word from Criminal Defense Attorney Anthony Arzili, if you have a bench warrant keep the following in mind.   The sooner you deal with the warrant the better.  Its almost always better to get legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney than to go it alone.  Finally, its always better to voluntarily handle the warrant then to be escorted to see the Judge in cuffs.

 Best Regards,

Anthony A. Arzili

May 18, 2008

Why the DUI charge often defies all predictions and assumptions.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Anthony Arzili @ 12:19 am

It never fails.  About once a month, i hear the same thing.  Somebody’s cousin/uncle/mechanic told them that they should just show up to court/DMV and throw them selves at their mercy and tell them just how badly they need their license and how they would lose their job/school and how no one could drive little joey/grandma to school/doctor’s appointments.  It makes me laugh everytime because I know just how judges or dmv officers love to hear the same thing over and over. 

Truth is, if judges/dmv officers were to spare the license of every person who would lose their job or face a hardship if their license was taken away, no one would be punished for picking up the DUI.  Judges and DMV officers are nice people (for the most part) but they could care less whether you are going to lose your job or can’t go to school.   When it comes to DUI cases, you might as well scream your mercy request to an empty forrest.  

DUI cases are all about the technicalities and nothing else.  This is what makes them different than any other type of criminal case.  For example, if you are facing a theft charge and there happens to be 3 independent witnesses that saw you take that item from the store, place it in your car, the police chase you through the freeways and once your car crashes find the item in your hands, then they have an oral, written and videotaped confession, even your cousin “Slow Joe” can tell you that you are gonna eat that theft charge.

 When it comes to DUI’s its a totally different story.  The last DUI license i saved belonged to a man who had been convicted of a DUI 7 years prior, was speeding, crashed his car into a big rig and failed all Field Sobriety Tests.  When i first met him, he was resigned to losing his license but after a full hearing with the DMV, I was able to find some issues with the police’s investigation of the DUI.  The problems were glaring enough that the hearing officer dismissed the 18 month suspension that the DUI carried.   That’s the strange thing about DUI’s.  They operate on a totally technical standard and sometimes our common sense cannot predict how they are going to turn out.

 In another DUI case that I had, my client had been coming from a bar, had admitted to drinking, and crashing his car to a center median.  When he was found, he was intoxicated and unable to stand.   He failed every Field Sobriety Test and was arrested and booked.  At the hearing, I cross examined the police officer and exposed two minor issues that threw off the DUI charges completely.   The final result was a victory for us.  

My point is that your Cousin Slow Joe may tell you that your DUI sounds horrible and don’t waste your money on an attorney.  Truth is, DUI cases don’t work on Joe’s standard of common sense.  They may sound horrible but you’ll never know if yours can be beat or reduced unless you have a good attorney.

Best Regards,

Anthony

March 31, 2008

Client with 2nd time DUI arrest wins DMV hearing and keeps his license.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Anthony Arzili @ 11:47 am

 

When a client is facing a 2nd DUI, the consequences are very serious.  Clients face the very real possibility of losing their license for at least a year.   To make matters worse, you are not entitled to a restricted license during this period.  So basically, either you win your DUI DMV hearing or you cannot drive for an entire year.   The consequences are brutal.  For most people this means financial disaster.

 

Your choice is to either give up your license or to get an experienced DUI Attorney and fight for your license.   The DMV’s hearing process for a DUI is geared towards suspending your license.  Your only shot is to have an experienced Attorney that specializes in handling DUI cases attack the DMV’s evidence.

 

I’ve handled nearly 500 DUI hearings at the DMV.  This means I’ve seen all kinds of cases and all possible legal issues and defenses.  Most clients who are facing a 2nd Time DUI basically think they have no shot and it’s just a waste of time and money to fight their suspension.   The fact of the matter is that DUI hearings are extremely technical and police need to follow specific guidelines in their DUI investigation.  A thorough analysis of the police reports will give me the opportunity to find any legal issues or possible defenses that may be argued at your hearing to save your license.

 

My client had a DUI conviction 8 years ago and was now involved in a serious car accident on the freeway.  The police had arrested him for a 2nd time DUI charge and alleged that he caused the accident and had refused the chemical tests.   He was facing a 2 year flat suspension of his license.

 

At the DUI hearing, I presented the testimony of my client.  Then, I attacked the police’s handling of the investigation.  After the hearing, the hearing officer ruled that our argument was valid and found that my client’s license should not be suspended.

Interestingly enough, my client thought he had no shot at saving his license when I first met him in my office.  I was glad we were able to get him working again and supporting his family. 

 

-Anthony

  

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