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Ronald Dinan and Associates

Ronald Dinan & Associates
Ronald Dinan and AssociatesDUI Lawyer – Criminal Attorney provides free consultation in Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Lakeport, Ukiah, or Eureka.

Arrested for a DUI or other crime? Get aggressive, professional, and successful help from a DUI lawyer or criminal attorney with the law firm that serves more clients in DUI and criminal cases than any other law firm North of the Golden Gate Bridge. An experienced criminal defense attorney will get the best result possible in your case by helping you generate the best defenses, avoid going to court, protecting your license and job, and acquiring, if necessary, alternatives to jail. Our Northern California law firm has over 150 years of combined experience in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt counties. If you have been arrested or are under investigation, call a DUI attorney or criminal lawyer at Ronald Dinan & Associates now. We welcome all questions or inquiries and will answer them in a pleasant, courteous, and helpful manner. To speak to an attorney, call us today!

Need quick help understanding DUI and DMV Law? Contact Our 24 Hour DUI Helpline!

If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. There are a number of steps that can be taken by both you and your attorney to substantially improve your situation. Most likely, you will have to deal with both the criminal court and DMV. Your attorney will explain this to you in detail. In most cases, we appear in criminal court on behalf of our clients to prevent a DUI matter from interfering with your work, personal obligations, etc. In addition, our representation includes speaking on your behalf and negotiating with DMV hearing officers, judges, and district attorneys.

To get immediate information regarding the new DUI and DMV laws, contact our 24 Hour DUI Helpline
for pre-recorded information about likely consequences of a DUI conviction, potential license restrictions/suspensions, and more.

Arrested for a DUI?

Get answers to important questions in your DUI case now from an expert DUI attorney:
1. I have been arrested for a DUI! What do I do now?
2. Now I have a DUI criminal case – what’s going on?
3. Can the DMV or the court really take my license?
4. DMV – beware of the 10 Day Rule!
5. Nine important issues to look for in your case
6. What can an expert DUI lawyer do for me?

1.I have been arrested for a DUI! What do I do now?

Being arrested for a DUI can be an extremely confusing situation. It is important to understand that, after an arrest, you have two completely separate departments of the government to deal with, to wit: (1) the Criminal Court as to all aspects of the criminal case which is about to be brought against you and (2) the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as to the suspension of your driver’s license. Having represented thousands of people arrested for a DUI, we understand how you are presently feeling and what you need to do immediately. In most cases, a person who has been arrested for a DUI has suffered the indignity of being taken to jail, being ‘booked’ including photographs and fingerprints, and has had to stay in jail at least four to six hours before being released. Although this situation may initially appear to be hopeless, it is extremely important for you to gain as much knowledge as you can about your present situation and to contact a lawyer who is a DUI expert. This will put you in the position of being able to acquire the most successful resolution of both your criminal and DMV cases. Generally, these cases are very technical and involve a wide variety of legal issues, encompassing not only the legal field, but also toxicology, pharmacology, etc. There are many things that can be done by you and your attorney to minimize, mitigate or outright eliminate a criminal conviction and/or a suspension of your license.

2. Now I Have a DUI Criminal Case – What’s Going On?

At the present time, there are a number of processes that are happening without your involvement. The police officer who arrested you is completing the arrest/investigation report and submitting it to a supervisor for review and approval. Soon thereafter, the report will be taken to the District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney assigned to incoming cases will review the police officer’s report to determine (1) whether the charges should be filed as suggested by the police officer, (2) whether certain charges should be added or deleted, and (3) whether or not certain charges will be filed as misdemeanors or felonies. Regardless of what is charged by the District Attorney, we may ultimately be able to negotiate your case from different points of view, including reducing felonies to misdemeanors, dismissal of various charges, etc.

FIRST APPEARANCE IN CRIMINAL COURT – ARRAIGNMENT. Shortly after you were arrested, you were either released on your own behalf (commonly referred to as being ‘released on your own recognizance’) or bail was set by the arresting officer. Bail at this level is set according to a predetermined schedule. If you were not able to arrange your release initially, you were probably brought to court within four days of the arrest date. At that particular court date, either arrangements were made for your release or a new date was probably set for bail review. As a result of the above, a court date eventually has been set for your arraignment.

The arraignment is generally the first required appearance in criminal court. The date for the arraignment is usually given to you by either jail personnel or a bondsman when you were released from jail. One of the most common mistakes made by those who do not have an attorney is their failure to accomplish a number of tasks prior to the arraignment. It is foolhardy to wait for the date of the arraignment to begin working on your case. A great deal can be accomplished by both you and your attorney prior to the arraignment date which can be extremely helpful in the defense of your case. Foremost of these tasks is having your attorney make contact immediately with DMV to satisfy the 10 Day Rule (discussed in the DMV section of this information). If all of the charges are misdemeanors (no felonies included whatsoever), the attorney may appear in court for you eliminating the necessity of your having to leave work or your family to go to court. At this hearing, the court is informed by your attorney that you are represented by a lawyer. Secondly, other decisions are made such as the issuance of time waivers, setting of future court dates, etc. The attorney will get the arrest/investigation report and the criminal complaint which states all of the charges that have been brought against you. The attorney will then begin the process of comparing factual recollections, acquiring further discovery, formulating strategy, ordering retests of alcohol samples, researching and drafting Motions to Suppress, Motions to Dismiss, etc., and negotiating with the District Attorney’s office, etc.

3. Can the DMV or the Court Really Take My License?

DMV & Court Suspensions.

If this is your first DUI in Court and DMV (at least in the last ten years), then, in most cases, regardless of what happens in court, the DMV will attempt to suspend your license for four months as soon as your pink 30-day temporary license expires (see below). We can convert most of this suspension into a restricted non-commercial license so you can drive to, from, and during your employment. The suspension increases to one year if you refused to take a blood or breath test, or if you were under 21 years old at the time of the arrest. If you were a commercial license holder, then you will lose your commercial privileges for one year.

In addition, a criminal court conviction will result in a separate suspension for six months. This separate suspension increases to ten months if (1) your blood alcohol concentration was at or above .20%, or (2) you refused to take a blood or breath test. The DMV and court suspensions run together, and the court suspension is avoidable if you have the information to properly accomplish the required tasks. The court suspension increases to one year if there were injuries caused by the DUI driving.

All court and DMV suspensions can be challenged. Contact your attorney as soon as possible so that he/she can begin the necessary process to restore your license and to eliminate or reduce the suspensions to the least amount of time possible.

If you have one or more prior suspensions for a DUI or alcohol-related ‘Wet’ reckless driving in the last ten years, then the DMV will attempt to suspend your license for one year with no possibility of a hardship exception. That suspension increases to two years if you have one prior and refused to take a blood or breath test during this latest arrest, or three years if you have two priors and refused the tests. In addition, a court conviction results in a two-year suspension if you have one prior, a three-year revocation if you have two priors, and a four-year revocation if you have three priors. The period of revocation is even greater if there were injuries caused by the DUI driving. If you have a commercial license then your commercial privileges would be revoked for life after your second DUI. These suspensions can and should be vigorously analyzed and litigated at a DMV hearing, if possible. Your attorney can show you how to cut most court suspensions in half and get a work license at the earliest opportunity.

4. DMV – Beware of the 10 Day Rule!

During your arrest, the police officer is supposed to take your California picture license (they are not allowed to take an out-of state license) and hand you a pink 8-1/2″ x 11″ temporary license from DMV which is entitled: “ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE SUSPENSION/REVOCATION ORDER AND TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE”.

Assuming you were validly licensed at the time of arrest, this license is a 30-day temporary license with full driving privileges. Once you hire an attorney, the very first thing he/she should do is contact DMV to schedule a hearing in order to preserve your opportunity to challenge the DMV suspensions outlined above. The actual contacting of DMV must occur within the first ten days following your receipt of the temporary license. In some cases, we will be able to get a hearing by contacting DMV even after the ten-day period.

The DMV may not be able to give you an in-person hearing within the 30-day period following your arrest. By acting promptly, we are able to extend the thirty-day license for as long as it is necessary to acquire and litigate a DMV hearing designed to fight the taking of your license. This explanation is not clearly set forth in your temporary license although it is referred to under ‘HEARING INFORMATION’ on the front of your temporary license.

5. Nine Important Issues To Look For In your Case

Did the police officer actually see you driving? Did you consume alcohol after driving, but before the officer contacted you? Did the police officer have a good or valid reason to stop your car or make contact with you?
Did the police officer tell you why he/she was stopping you? Do you agree with his/her reasons?
When the police officer attempted to stop you i.e. using flashing lights, etc., did you respond immediately? Did you respond in a manner that is consistent with someone who is driving in a sober condition? Did you pull off the road in a safe manner, i.e. not striking any objects, no erratic movements, etc.?
Did the police officer tell you or ask you to do field sobriety tests (FST’s)? Did the police officer tell you that there is absolutely no legal requirement whatsoever for you to do field sobriety tests (with the exception of the PAS – Portable Alcohol Test for those under twenty-one). Did he tell you that you could refuse to take these tests? Did he/she tell you that if you did not perform these tests satisfactorily, he/she could later testify against you in a court or DMV hearing? Did the police officer tell you that if you refused to take any field sobriety tests that he/she may not have enough information to arrest you and may have to let you go on your way? Did he/she fully explain and demonstrate each test?
Did you pass your FST’s, e.g., recite the alphabet, walk the line, stand on one foot, finger count, finger to nose, hand slap, follow the pen with your eyes?
Did the police officer give you your Miranda Rights, e.g., ‘You have the right to remain silent. You have a right to speak to an attorney before answering any questions’ once you were in custody?
Did you take a portable alcohol test (commonly referred to as a P.A.S. test)? Did the police officer tell you that, unless you were under 21 years of age, you are under no legal requirement whatsoever to take a P.A.S. test? Did the police officer tell you that if the P.A.S. test was .08% or more that he/she could use that test against you in court and at a DMV hearing?
How much time occurred between (1) when you initially were pulled over by the police officer and (2) when you actually took a breath, blood or urine test at a police station/hospital? Did your alcohol level increase from the time of the driving to the time of the test?
If you took a breath test, did the police officer constantly observe you for 15 minutes immediately preceding the actual test (to insure that there was no burping, coughing etc.)? After taking the breath test, were you told that you also had a right to take a confirming blood test (because the breath test does not save a sample for later testing by your attorney)?

6. What can an expert DUI lawyer do for me?

Unfortunately, a person who has been arrested for a DUI often receives well intentioned but bad advice from friends and family. The advice generally goes something like this: ‘why get a lawyer, you know you must be guilty since you were arrested’, ‘my friend got a lawyer and he didn’t do much for her’, etc. It is crucial to get an expert DUI lawyer to handle your criminal and DMV case even though you may have been legally ‘drinking and driving’. In most cases, we can get all or some of the charges dismissed or reduced, acquire a reduction in various aspects of the final sentence and/ or often reduce or mitigate the length of the suspension of a driver’s license.

Whenever you are dealing with a charge which is more than an infraction (i.e. a speeding ticket, running a stop sign, etc.) there are severe consequences. A DUI is a criminal case – not a traffic case. If you are poor or unemployed you should seek the services of the public defender’s office. Even if you are represented by the public defender, you may still want to hire a private lawyer to handle your DMV matter (which cannot be handled by the public defender). Only an expert DUI lawyer is equipped to handle the variety of issues that are involved in the defense of a DUI case. These include proof problems involving establishing the driver’s identity, elimination of drinking subsequent to driving, search and seizure issues i.e., probable cause, articulable suspicion, etc.; pharmacology/chemistry defenses such as rising blood alcohol concentrations, retrograde extrapolation, chemical test errors and retesting of blood/urine samples.

An experienced DUI attorney can provide as successful and complete a defense as is possible under the circumstances of each case. Most defenses apply to both the criminal case and DMV and include some or all of the following work by a DUI expert:

  • Handling all aspects of your case with the District Attorney, Judges and DMV Hearing Officers;
  • Appear in court for you to eliminate interference with your job and normal daily routine;
  • Use state of the art computer software to analyze your blood alcohol concentration during every 10 minute period of the evening in question. Remember! It is not your blood alcohol level at the time of the test which is most important but rather your earlier blood alcohol level at the time of driving;
  • Utilize private forensic laboratories to retest blood samples to uncover errors in blood alcohol concentration tests, insufficient preservative or anti-coagulant levels, etc. ;
  • Provide expert analysis of all aspects of your case;
  • Consult and/or retain leading experts, to assist in your case, if necessary, e.g., toxicologists, pharmacologists, accident reconstruction experts;
  • Reduce the status of the charges i.e. felony reduced to misdemeanor, misdemeanor reduced to infraction;
  • Acquire a reduction or dismissal of one or more of the charges against you;
  • Formulate a plan to have you directly involved in your case, in a manner which will be helpful in generating the best possible resolution;
  • Negotiate a sentence which can include no time spent in jail whatsoever; preclude a jail sentence from interfering with your job/employment; acquire alternatives to jail sentences such as work release, work furlough, or electronic home confinement; reduce fines and other costs that are assessed by the court and acquire long payment schedules to minimize the amount paid monthly.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you need to speak to a DUI attorney immediately.
At Ronald Dinan & Associates, we have 6 centrally-located North Bay Area law offices.
Contact us now to speak to an experienced California DUI lawyer. We welcome all questions or inquiries
and will answer them in a pleasant, courteous, and helpful manner.

DMV Attorney Services

f you have been arrested for a DUI, it is important to understand that you have two completely separate departments of the government to deal with: 1) the Criminal Court and 2) the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The Attorneys at Ronald Dinan & Associates are able to help you with all aspects of your DUI/DMV case.
Get prompt answers to the most important DUI and DMV questions on our DUI Attorney Services page.

DMV FAQs

1. Should a DMV hearing be scheduled within 10 days of receiving my temporary license?
2. How is the 10 days calculated?
3. Which drivers qualify for receiving the 30 day APS temporary license?
4. Drivers who refuse a chemical test
5. The DMV hearing

Should a DMV hearing be scheduled within 10 days of receiving my temporary license?

In the overwhelming majority of California DUI arrests, police use what is known as the stop and snatch law which allows a police officer to take a person’s standard picture driver’s license and issue them a 30 day temporary license. This is known as the Administrative Per Se or APS suspension law. Issuing this 30 day APS license, to someone who is being charged with a DUI, initiates the process by DMV to suspend that person’s license.

Anyone who is issued a 30 day temporary license must contact DMV within ten days of receiving the temporary license and request a hearing. It is advisable for the request to be made by a DUI attorney because other processes can be dealt with at that time. Failure to request this hearing will result in an automatic suspension/restriction of that person’s license regardless of the potential merits of their case. In short, although a DMV hearing may not occur for months, the request for a DMV hearing must be made within ten days of receiving the notice. This request must be made to the Driver Safety Division of DMV and not your local DMV office.

As an experienced DUI lawyer will confirm, no negative consequences occur when DMV is contacted and a hearing is requested within ten days following the date of arrest. Similarly, a DUI attorney will be able to delineate a number of negative consequences that can and probably will occur if you do not request a DMV hearing within ten days and then at a later time determine that you actually have a defense that could have been raised at DMV. Do not allow a clerk at DMV to talk you out of scheduling a hearing. In many instances they are poorly informed and are unaware of the numerous defenses that can be raised successfully at a DMV hearing. Remember, a DMV hearing can always be canceled.

Even if the request for a DMV hearing is made beyond the ten day period, a DUI attorney may be able to get a the hearing at DMV even though there may not be a right to a postponement or a delay of the of the suspension.

How is the 10 days calculated?

The ten day calculation can be extended if the tenth day falls on a weekend or a holiday. In those cases, the request should be made on the very next business day following the weekend or holiday. An argument can also be made that the ten day period does not necessarily begin on the date of the arrest (which in many instances can be before midnight) but rather on the day the person physically receives the temporary license which is generally when they receive all of their property back from jail personnel on their exit from jail. In an abundance of caution, always have your DUI attorney contact DMV as soon as possible and never wait until the tenth day.

Which drivers qualify for receiving the 30 day APS temporary license?

There are four general categories of drivers who will qualify for the issuance of a 30 day temporary license. A DUI defense attorney can explain, in detail, the impact of the 30 day temporary license and the processes that occur immediately thereafter. First, drivers who exhibit some evidence that their blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) were .08% or higher at the time of driving. Second, for those under 21 years of age or over 21 of age, drivers who exhibit some evidence that they were at a .01% or higher BAC (zero tolerance). Third, drivers under 21 years of age who refused to take or fail to complete a portable alcohol sensor test (PAS). Fourth, drivers 21 years or older who refuse to take or fail to complete a mandatory chemical test (generally, a breath or blood test other than the portable breath test).

For those under 21, with a .01% BAC, and no prior conviction or adverse APS action within ten years of the current offense date, the DMV will attempt to suspend their license for one year. After the initial thirty days, this individual is eligible to apply for a critical need to drive license. An individual’s chances for receiving a critical need to drive license is substantially enhanced by having a DUI attorney participate in this process.

If the individual who is under 21 has one or more prior conviction or adverse administrative action within the past ten years, the suspension is also one year in length and this person is not eligible for a critical need to drive license.

For those 21 years or older that provide some evidence of having a BAC of .08% or higher, if the individual has no prior conviction or prior administrative action within ten years prior to the current offense date, the DMV will suspend their license for four months which can be reduced to 30 days followed by a five month period of restricted driving to, from and during work, as well as to and from a DUI program.

If a person 21 years or older has one or more prior convictions or adverse administrative actions within ten years prior to the current offense date, the DMV will suspend their license for one year. These individuals are eligible to apply for a restricted license with the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) after an initial ninety days suspension. A DUI lawyer can provide you with all of the details necessary to acquire an IID and provide you with all of the information as to local providers.

Drivers who refuse a chemical test

Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test, i.e., breath or blood, and have no prior convictions or adverse DMV actions, will incur a license suspension for one year and there is no eligibility for a restricted license during that year.

Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test and have one prior conviction or adverse DMV action within ten years of the current offense date, will have their license suspended for two years with no eligibility for a restricted license.

Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test and who have two or more convictions or adverse DMV administrative actions or a combination thereof, within ten years prior to the current offense, will have their license suspended for three years and there is no eligibility for a restricted license.

The DMV hearing

Although there are a myriad of sub-issues involved in a DMV hearing, the primary issues are:

(1) Did the police officer have reasonable cause to believe that you were driving in violation of the DUI law?

(2) Were you lawfully arrested?

(3) Were you driving with a .08% blood alcohol concentration or higher?

(4) If DMV alleges that you refused to take or failed to complete a required chemical test, then an alternative issue will be (a) whether you refused to submit to or did not complete, a required chemical test after being requested to do so by a police officer and (b) whether you were told that your driving privilege would be suspended or revoked if you refused to take or complete the mandatory test.

Theft Cases

Ronald Dinan and Associates offers expert legal counsel with the following theft-related charges and issues:

  • Commercial/Residential Burglary
  • Armed Robbery
  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Shoplifting
  • Bad Checks
  • Credit Cards
  • Identity Theft
  • White Collar
  • Cyber Crimes

THEFT

In general, theft can be divided into grand theft or petty theft. When money, labor, real or personal property is taken and has a value exceeding $950, it is considered grand theft. Less than that is considered petty theft. Some exceptions for characterizing theft as grand theft, when the items stolen may have a value below $950, are:
(1) Taking of domestic fowls, fruits, vegetables, farm crops, etc. with a value exceeding $250, or
(2) Fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, etc., or
(3) When any property it taken directly from a person, or
(4) When the property taken is an automobile, horse, mare, gelding, bovine animal, etc., or
(5) When the property is a firearm.

When the theft involves a firearm, regardless of value, it is a felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison for 16 months, two years or three years. Although most felony theft cases carry an imprisonment term of 16 months lower-term, two years mid-term and three years upper-term, there are a number of theft cases that carry a higher imprisonment range, such as two years, four years or six years in first-degree burglary cases or two years lower, three years middle and four years upper in counterfeiting and/or extortion cases. In misdemeanor cases, by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.

PETTY THEFT

Petty theft includes all thefts other than grand theft and generally includes property taken that has a value of less than $950 with certain exceptions. The value of the property stolen is generally estimated in U.S. dollars and the value is based on the reasonable and fair market value. The test for this analysis is what the property would bring in the open market, not its special value to the owner or its replacement cost.

EMBEZZLEMENT

Embezzlement is defined in Penal Code §503 as “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it was entrusted.” The acts constituting embezzlement are also within the general definition of Penal Code §484(a) and are punishable in the same manner as other thefts. A relationship of trust and confidence is essential to embezzlement and generally the alleged perpetrator of an embezzlement crime is an employee but can be a public officer, trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, conservator, attorney or a person who takes money in a voluntary trust.

BURGLARY

Burglary is a theft by a person who enters some type of building or structure, vehicle, vessel, etc. with the intent to commit grand theft or petty theft or any other felony. As an example, a person who simply goes into a store and makes the decision once they are in the store to steal something is guilty of either grand theft or petty theft depending on the value of the merchandise stolen. By the same token, if the same person enters the store with the intent to steal something, that person is then guilty of burglary.

Evidence of the intent is generally proven by virtue of the person’s possession of an instrument of theft such as a shopping bag, a pair of scissors or other cutting instrument, a marker-pen, other price tags, etc.

Penal Code §460 defines the degrees of burglary. A burglary of an inhabited dwelling-house or vessel designed for habitation or a trailer coach is burglary of the first degree. All other kinds of burglary are second degree. Burglary in the first degree is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for two, four or six years. Burglary charged as a misdemeanor in the second degree is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or otherwise pursuant to subdivision (h) of Penal Code §1170. Felony burglary in the second degree is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, two years or three years.

Generally, most state prison terms have a day for day credit meaning, as an example, if a person is sentenced to two years or 24 months of state prison, they serve half of that, or one year since 2010. However, there are some crimes that constitute a “strike” and therefore only 15% credit is given. Using our example, a person who is sentenced to 24 months in jail must serve 85% of the sentence.

There are also numerous statutes which reduce the ability to be sentenced to a disposition other than state prison i.e., Penal Code §462 which requires probation not to be granted in a first degree burglary case except in unusual cases where the interests of justice would be served if the person is granted probation. This is a much more restricted level of sentencing than is normally found in a grand theft case.

ROBBERY

Robbery is the (1) taking of personal property, (2) in the possession of another, (3) from his or her person or immediate presence, (4) against his/her will, and (5) accomplished by means of force or fear. The value of the item must exist but it is not at any particular dollar level.

There are two degrees of robbery. First degree robbery is (1) robbery from anyone who is an operator of a bus, taxicab, cable car, street car, trackless trolley or other vehicle including a train, or (2) robbery of a person who is in an inhabited dwelling house or on a boat. This level of first degree robbery is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for three, six or nine years.

First degree robbery can also consist of the robbery of a person (1) using an ATM, or (2) who has used an ATM, or (3) who is simply in the vicinity of an ATM. This type of robbery is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for three, four or six years.

All other kinds of robbery are second degree. Second degree robbery is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for two, three or five years. Additional prison time can be levied against an individual in a sentencing enhancement which can include a three to six year additional prison sentence or enhancement for the use of a firearm. As an example, using a firearm in a violent offense can constitute a ten year enhancement; discharging a firearm in a violent offense can cause a 20 year enhancement and discharging a firearm with great bodily injury in a violent offense can carry a 25 year to life sentence.

CAR JACKING

Car jacking is a specific theft crime that involves the taking of a motor vehicle that someone else possesses or from another person with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive that person of the possession of the vehicle and is accomplished by force or fear. Car jacking is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of three, five or nine years.

RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY

Pursuant to Penal Code §496(a), receiving stolen property is a crime that does not apply necessarily to a person who steals something but rather to a person who buys or receives property that has been stolen or in some way has been acquired by theft or extortion and the person who receives it knows that the property is stolen. The three basic elements of the crime of receiving stolen property are: (1) knowledge of the theft or extortion that ultimately resulted in the acquisition of the property, (2) actually receiving, concealing, selling or withholding the property, and (3) property actually obtained by extortion or theft.

A defense to this particular crime is when a defendant receives stolen property and has the initial intention to restore the property to the rightful owner. This individual has no criminal intent and therefore is not guilty of receiving stolen property. Another defense is based on evidence produced by the defendant that there was no knowledge that the item(s) were stolen and that the stolen property was received in good faith or for a price that would not lead someone to believe it was stolen. Purchasing a $5,000 ring for $100 may very well be evidence of the receipt of stolen property. Purchasing the same ring for $2,500 may provide a defense.

If you have been charged in a theft case, one of the best decisions you can make is to speak to a theft attorney or theft lawyer. Our practice concentrates in the counties of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake. Our six Bay Area offices are centrally located in the cities in which the courthouses are located, including Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Lakeport, Ukiah, and Eureka. We welcome all questions and inquiries and will answer them in a pleasant, courteous and helpful manner. To speak with an attorney, call us today!

California Theft Lawyer FAQs

Arrested for theft in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino or Humboldt County? Call us today! Our experienced theft attorneys are ready to assist you with every step of the legal process and work towards a successful outcome in your case

Q. My best friend wanted me to cash a check for her. She told me that her sister was hurt in an accident and couldn’t leave her house to go to the bank and cash her check. She had an endorsed check from her sister and her sister’s license and asked me to help her. I refused because her story sounded a little strange. If I had gone to a bank to cash her sister’s check, could I have gotten in trouble?

A. Absolutely! Regardless of your good intentions to simply help your friend and her sister, you would have been in jeopardy of being charged and/or convicted of forgery, possession of a completed check with intent to defraud and/or second degree burglary. As to the burglary charge, the prosecution would have to prove that you entered a building either (1) with the specific intent to steal or (2) with the specific intent to commit forgery, or (3) to commit the crime of possession of a completed check with the specific intent to defraud or (4) to falsely impersonate another person.

Although the first three purposes for entering a building (bank) require the prosecutor to prove a specific intent to steal or defraud beyond every reasonable doubt, the fourth category (entering a building with the purpose of falsely impersonating another) does not require a specific intent.

This type of crime is referred to as a general intent crime. In a general intent crime, the law is intended to deter and punish all acts by an impersonator that could result in a liability to another person or benefit to the impersonator whether or not the liability or benefit was intended or even foreseeable. Your decision to refuse to be involved in this check cashing process was a wise one. It may very well have protected you from being arrested and charged with a crime. Under no circumstances, regardless of your good intentions, should you ever use another person’s license or identification.

Drug Cases

Ronald Dinan and Associates offers expert legal counsel with the following drug charges and issues:
Drug Possession/Sale
Drug Manufacturing/Cultivation
Paraphernalia
Proposition 215 Medical Marijuana and Compassionate Use
Drug DUI’s
Illegal Search and Seizures
Search Warrants
No-Jail Resolution
Drug Diversion
Rehabilitation

The severity of punishment for violation of drug laws varies depending on the intensity of an individual’s involvement and amount of drugs. Drug crimes can include possession for personal use, possession for sale, sales/transportation of drugs, manufacturing or cultivation of drugs, or simply being under the influence of drugs. Drugs covered by the California Health & Safety Code include prescription drugs such as Vicodin (Hydrocondone), Percocet (Oxycondone), Oxycontin, Methadone, etc., and illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin. Some drugs are legally possessed under certain circumstances such as smaller amounts of marijuana with a physician’s recommendation or a 215 medical card or a much larger amount, such as a marijuana grower who is a legitimate member of a collective.

There are a number of legal defenses available to those who are charged with drug crimes. These defenses are developed and utilized by our experienced and successful drug lawyers to anyone who is a client of our firm in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Napa, Lakeport, Ukiah and Eureka. Some of the more popular defenses include the affirmative defense of legal ownership (as in marijuana cases), a denial of ownership, entrapment and various search and seizure defenses, such as insufficient legal justification for the police to make contact with an individual, illegally issued search warrants, illegal detentions of individuals and/or their vehicles, etc.

Your drug lawyer at Ronald Dinan & Associates will often be in disagreement with the information provided by the police which they will use to attempt to justify your detention, either by stopping you on the street or pulling your vehicle over. Regarding search warrants, your drug defense attorney will explain to you that just because a search warrant is issued by a judge does not mean it is legal. Often, the information provided by the police and included in the search warrant application to a judge contains incorrect or insufficient information. Once these circumstances are brought to the attention of the court, search warrants can be suppressed. If our defense involves a search and seizure issue, a Motion to Suppress will be filed by our criminal defense attorneys and, if successful, the case will almost always be dismissed.

If we cannot acquire a dismissal of the criminal charges, our next step is to reduce the severity and/or number of charges. As to any remaining charges, an overriding philosophy in our law firm is to treat most drug crimes as a medical problem instead of a legal problem. If addiction or long-term use is involved, it is important to address the underlying issues which can often be addressed with drug treatment and/or rehabilitation that includes Proposition 36, California Drug Court or a Penal Code §1000 deferred entry of judgment. Many clients, if convicted, can spend their time in a drug treatment program either on an out-patient or in-patient basis, rather than in jail.

California Drug Lawyer FAQs
Arrested for drugs in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino or Humboldt County? Call us today! Our experienced drug attorneys are ready to assist you with every step of the legal process and work towards a successful outcome in your case.

Get Answers To Important Questions With These Drug FAQs:

1. Can I appeal a court’s denial of a motion for return of medical marijuana if my possession case is dismissed?
2. Can I be fired from my job if my boss finds out that I smoke medical marijuana?
3. Can someone who is accused of a crime get access to a police officer’s personnel file in order to challenge the officer’s conduct or credibility?
4. My wife was sentenced to jail recently and we think she’s pregnant. Does she have a right to see her own doctor while she’s in jail?
5. I was convicted of a crime and placed on probation. As a condition of probation, I was ordered to pay money to the victim as restitution. I then violated my probation and my probation was revoked. Do I still have to pay the restitution money?
6. In a trial, can the District Attorney tell the jury what a police officer’s testimony would be without having the police officer testify in court?

Q. Can I appeal a court’s denial of a motion for return of medical marijuana if my possession case is dismissed?

A. No, when medical related charges are dismissed by a court because the marijuana was legally possessed pursuant to Health and Safety Code § 11362.5 and defendant’s motion for return of the marijuana seized by the police is denied, the defendant can seek a review of the ruling through a petition for a writ of mandate but may not pursue his review by appeal as in a civil action for full recovery of his property.

This motion is a non-statutory motion to return property that would have been used as an exhibit in a trial had the charges not been dropped. Although the trial court has the authority to hear the motion, the right to appeal is completely statutory and a judgment or order is not appealable unless expressly made available by statute. An order denying a motion for return of property is not among the matters for which an appeal is permitted under Penal Code 1237. The proper avenue for appeal is through a petition for a writ of mandate or in a civil action for recovery of property with a right to appeal from any adverse civil judgment. (People v. Hopkins. 171 Cal.App.4th305; February 20, 2009)

Q. Can I be fired from my job if my boss finds out that I smoke medical marijuana?

A. Yes, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 does not appear to apply in the employment context. Under California Law, an employer may require pre-employment drug tests and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions. Medical marijuana remains illegal under Federal law and nothing in the Act applies to the employment context to give protection in that context. Rather, the Act’s provisions are limited to exempting medical marijuana users and their primary care-givers from California criminal liability. Thus the employee has no basis to claim an exception for the use of marijuana in his employment.

In short, under current California law, because medical marijuana use still remains illegal under the Federal law, a California employer may base a hiring or firing decision upon an employee’s medical marijuana use.

Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, Inc., California Supreme Court; January 24, 2008.

Q. Can someone who is accused of a crime get access to a police officer’s personnel file in order to challenge the officer’s conduct or credibility?

A. Yes, under certain circumstances. Criminal defendants have a right to discover information in a police officer’s personnel file that can assist in the preparation of a defense in a criminal case. Appropriate procedures for this process have been established by the legislature and appellate court decisions.

The discoverable information can include citizen’s complaints filed against a police officer regarding excessive force, assaultive conduct, illegal searches, disciplinary action imposed on a police officer, patterns of fabricating evidence, etc. In a recent case, a court reversed a conviction because the police department and a city attorney did not provide the police officer’s entire file to the defendant. The decision as to what will be provided to the defense is made by the trial court by reviewing the police officer’s personnel file and making a decision as to what is to be given to the defendant and what is to be withheld.

If you’ve been arrested for drugs, you need to speak to a drug attorney immediately.
At Ronald Dinan & Associates, we have 6 centrally-located North Bay Area law offices.
Contact us now to speak to an experienced California drug lawyer. We welcome all questions or inquiries
and will answer them in a pleasant, courteous, and helpful manner.

Q. My wife was sentenced to jail recently and we think she’s pregnant. Does she have a right to see her own doctor while she’s in jail?

A. Absolutely! First, any female prisoner in a local jail has the right to ask for and receive the services of any physician or surgeon of her choice to determine if she is pregnant. Although the Superintendent of the facility can adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding medical examinations, if a prisoner is found to be pregnant, she is entitled to a determination of the extent of medical services needed and to the receipt of these services from a physician or surgeon of her choice. The expense of a physician or surgeon provided and chosen by the jail will be paid by the jail. Any expenses of a physician or surgeon, chosen by a prisoner and whose services are not normally provided by the jail, have to be paid by the prisoner.

Q. I was convicted of a crime and placed on probation. As a condition of probation, I was ordered to pay money to the victim as restitution. I then violated my probation and my probation was revoked. Do I still have to pay the restitution money?

A. Yes! The California Constitution requires that restitution (money) be ordered in every case where a person is convicted and a victim suffers a loss unless compelling and extraordinary reasons exist to the contrary. Penal Code 1202.4 implements this constitutional requirement and also provides that if the amount of the loss cannot be determined at the time of sentencing, the restitution can be ordered at a later time at the direction of the court.

As long as the restitution was properly ordered as a condition of your probation, it survives the revocation (canceling) of your probation. Having voluntarily agreed to the terms of your probation, you cannot use your own breach of those terms as a basis for evading the restitution order of the court. In short, you are not entitled to be rewarded as a result of your violation of a probation condition.

Q. In a trial, can the District Attorney tell the jury what a police officer’s testimony would be without having the police officer testify in court?

A. No. A prosecutor commits misconduct during closing argument when she invites a jury to guess about evidence that was never presented at trial. By telling a jury that, for example, a second police officer would have testified exactly as the first police officer did, the effect is to deny the defendant his United States Constitutional Sixth Amendment Right to confront and cross-examine a witness.

Basic Definitions of Assault and Battery

An assault is an unlawful attempt coupled with a present ability to commit an injury to another person. A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence on another person. An assault can be characterized as an attempt to commit a battery and can actually occur without the battery. Every battery includes an assault.

Ronald Dinan and Associates offers expert legal counsel with the following assault-related charges and issues:

  • Spousal Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Assault
  • Violation of Probation
  • Failure to Appear in Court
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Child Abuse

There are many statutes (laws) created by the California Legislature that deal with different types of assault and battery. Basically, assaults and batteries are classified by:

(1) Specific means such as assaults with chemicals or drugs, assault with a deadly weapon or stun gun or taser,
(2)Specific people such as a police officer in the performance of his or her duties or assaults by convicts,
(3)Where they take place such as assaults on school grounds, park property or in a hospital,
(4)The victims that are affected such as a spouse, a cohabitant, or fellow parent in a domestic violence assault,
(5)Specific laws designed to prevent violence against public safety providers such as police officers, school security officers, firemen, jail personnel, EMTs, lifeguards, process servers, animal control officers, etc.

In California, criminal assault has been classified as an attempt to commit a battery by someone who has the present ability to actually commit the battery. There is no such offense known as an attempt to assault. Also, strictly speaking, battery does not have to be violent and can include the least touching. The force does not need to cause bodily harm or even leave a mark.

Domestic Violence

The most common assault and battery charge involves domestic violence. A domestic violence battery can be committed against a (1) spouse, or (2) a person with whom the defendant is cohabitating, or (3) a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, or (4) former spouse, or (5) a fiancee, or (6) a person who whom the defendant currently has or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship. (Penal Code ‘243(e)(1)).

This particular crime can be charged as a misdemeanor (imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year) or as a felony (imprisonment in state prison for two, three or four years). Penal Code ‘273.5(a), a domestic violence battery with injury, involves Aany person who willfully inflicts, upon a person who is his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father or his or her child, corporal injury resulting in traumatic condition (a condition of the body such as a wound or external or internal injury including but not limited to, injury as a result of strangulation or suffocation whether of a minor or serious nature. Any minor scratching or bruising can qualify as an injury. However, “redness” does not qualify.

Defenses to Assault and Battery

Defenses to an assault or battery charge are many and varied and, generally, depend upon the circumstances that existed at the time of the incident.

Involuntary intoxication (where someone=s drink is spiked with alcohol or drugs) may be a defense. Automatism or unconsciousness may also be a defense (which assault lawyers have recently been arguing is the state of mind that people may suffer by using Ambien).

Ignorance of the law is not a defense nor is, generally, a mistake of law. However, a mistake of fact can be a defense if it negates or cancels criminal intent or knowledge. These are detailed nuances in the law that generally requiring the assistance of a domestic violence lawyer.

Self-defense may also be a justification for acts that would otherwise be considered criminal. Generally, for a successful self-defense argument, there must be an apparent necessity for the action, the force must be reasonable under the prevailing circumstances and the threatened act against someone must be unlawful. Generally, there is no required need to retreat and an individual may stand their ground. This defense is not available to someone who seeks a quarrel or a fight with someone else in an effort to create a necessity to assault someone.

A defense to an assault may also arise in circumstances of defending property (such as a home), an attempt to prevent and preserve the peace or the apprehension of a criminal.

Regarding domestic violence charges, common defenses include denial of the alleged violence, self-defense, and, characterization of any violence as either accidental (as opposed to intentional) or as necessary to get away from someone who is using or threatening to use violence.

California Assault Lawyer FAQs

Arrested for assault in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino or Humboldt County? Call us today! Our experienced assault attorneys are ready to assist you with every step of the legal process and work towards a successful outcome in your case.

Get Answers To Important Questions With These Assault FAQs:
1. My friend was accused of assault and battery, went to trial and lost. The lawyer just seemed to sit there and the prosecutor was much more aggressive. If the lawyer’s representation was really bad, can my friend get a new trial?
2. Can a small piece of wood with a sharp end on it qualify as a ‘deadly weapon’ in an ‘assault with a deadly weapon’ criminal charge?

Q. My friend was accused of assault and battery, went to trial and lost. The lawyer just seemed to sit there and the prosecutor was much more aggressive. If the lawyer’s representation was really bad, can my friend get a new trial?

A. A new trial will only be granted when either the trial court or an appeals court decides that your friend received ineffective assistance of counsel from his lawyer. To win this argument, your friend must show that his representation fell short (1) when measure against a reasonably competent lawyer and (2) when the poor performance resulted in prejudice (seriously contributed to his conviction). This prejudice must be so significant that the adversarial process of the trial could not be relied upon for producing a fair result.

When making this decision, the court is reluctant to second guess the tactical decisions made by the trial lawyer. The final question is whether or not the decisions that were made by the lawyer were so bad, considering all of the surrounding circumstances of the trial, that the trial did not produce a fair fight or just result. A trial is an adversarial process by nature and if one side’s representation is so poor that it wasn’t a fair fight, a new trial can be granted. Your friend should contact an attorney who specializes in criminal appeals to determine whether his right to a competent attorney and a fair trial have been violated to the extent that he is entitled to get a new trial.

Q. Can a small piece of wood with a sharp end on it qualify as a ‘deadly weapon’ in an ‘assault with a deadly weapon’ criminal charge?

A. Probably. Certain items such as firearms, dirks, blackjacks, etc. have been held by the courts to be deadly weapons as a matter of law. Other objects, while not deadly in everyday use, may be used, under certain circumstances, in a manner that is likely to produce death or great bodily injury and, as such, can be considered to be deadly weapons. Factors that are considered to determine whether an object is inherently deadly or dangerous as used include the nature of the object, the manner in which it is used in all of the surrounding circumstances of its use.

In various cases, the courts have considered deadly weapons to include, screwdrivers, knives, ice picks, three pronged forks, bow and arrow, etc.

In a recent southern California case, the Court of Appeals upheld a defendant’s conviction for assault with a deadly weapon when his female accomplice, either before or after the robbery, she held the victims sharp pencil up to his neck and warned him not to come back with the police.

Clean up your criminal record! Questions regarding expungement, Certificate of Rehabilitation or Governors Pardon answered by experienced and successful criminal defense attorney. Free consultation in Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Lakeport, Ukiah or Eureka.

EXPUNGEMENT

Expungement or dismissal of a criminal conviction can be extremely helpful in many cases concerning issues involved with immigration status, employment, etc. Our expungement attorneys are always ready to explain the exception to the rule which exists when applying for a government license or government job and, even in those cases, the acquisition of a dismissal of your conviction can be helpful.

EXPUNGEMENT OR DISMISSAL OF CONVICTION

Can I get my conviction dismissed?

An expungement is, in essence, a dismissal of a criminal conviction which is authorized by Penal Code §1203.4. An expungement does not seal your criminal record but rather dismisses your conviction. The conviction which is expunged or dismissed remains on your criminal record for most purposes, but the Order of Dismissal from the Superior Court is prominently displayed on your criminal record. Once your conviction is expunged or dismissed, you are released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense but, as expected, there are some limitations to this release.

Are you eligible for an expungement or dismissal of your conviction?

If you were granted probation in a criminal case and have completed all of the requirements of your probation, as well as the length of probation, you are eligible for a dismissal. You cannot currently be on probation for any case, or serving a sentence for any other case, in California or any other state.

If, as a result of your criminal case, you were denied probation, you may still obtain a dismissal. Again, you cannot be on probation or serving a sentence and you must wait for at least one year to pass after your conviction occurred to apply for the expungement.

It is important to apply for an expungement at the earliest possible moment, which would generally be as soon as you complete probation, or immediately upon the expiration of one year from your conviction if no probation was imposed. Misdemeanor cases older than five years can be destroyed by any particular court at any particular time. Some courts have policies to destroy records after five years, ten years, etc. Our expungement attorneys may need to get a copy of your criminal history record from the Department of Justice in Sacramento but your expungement can still occur.

What an expungement will not do for you!

1. An expungement or dismissal will not remove the conviction from your criminal record. Both FBI criminal history records and California Department of Justice records will show both your conviction and your expungement pursuant to Penal Code §1203.4.

2. Your expungement will not seal or remove your criminal conviction from public inspection. Those who are sophisticated in this area will be able to find your old court case. However, the dismissal of the conviction will be apparent in your criminal record.

3. As your expungement lawyer will explain to you, obtaining an expungement will not prevent your conviction which has been dismissed or expunged from being used as a ‘prior conviction’ to increase punishment if you incur a subsequent conviction and it will not preclude the older conviction from being used for impeachment purposes in a new criminal case.

4. Generally, obtaining an expungement will not preclude your prior conviction from being considered by governmental agencies to refuse or revoke a government license or permit. However, your expungement is often viewed favorably when reviewed by a licensing agency.

5. Your expungement will not remove the requirement to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code §290 if you have been convicted of certain sex offenses. If an expungement is granted and you are required to register, you may then file paperwork requesting a Certificate of Rehabilitation when you become eligible. This Certificate of Rehabilitation will release certain sex offenders from further registration under certain circumstances.

6. Your expungement will not reinstate your right to possess firearms if a preclusion of possessing firearms resulted from the conviction. It may, however, pave the way to reinstating the right to possess firearms, if a felony conviction is reduced to a misdemeanor and the original offense was not one of violence.

7. Regarding immigration, acquisition of an expungement will not necessarily prevent your conviction from being used by the INS for removal or exclusion purposes. This is an area of law that is constantly changing. The Board of Immigration Appeals has held in the past that an expungement is not effective for eliminating the conviction for immigration purposes. However, the Ninth Circuit has reversed the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision and held that “persons whose offenses would qualify for treatment under the First Offender Act” and who acquire an expungement under state law may not be removed for those offenses. This would generally apply to immigrants with convictions for simple possession of a controlled substance. Our attorneys will always counsel you to confirm this information with an immigration attorney before we begin work on an expungement case.

What will an expungement do for me?

There are a number of advantages to be gained by acquiring an expungement or dismissal of your conviction.

1. It will result in an addition to your criminal record indicating that your case has been dismissed. The dismissal is the result of an order of the court which your expungement lawyer will acquire from the same court in which the conviction occurred. As part of this process, you will be withdrawing your previously entered plea of ‘guilty’ and entering a new and different plea of ‘not guilty’ and the court will dismiss your conviction and set it aside.

2. The expungement or dismissal of your conviction will prevent the conviction from being used against you for impeachment if you testify in someone else’s case. The conviction can, however, still be used against you if you are accused of another crime.

3. The acquisition of a dismissal or expungement will allow you to answer ‘no’ to questions on most job applications regarding whether or not you have been convicted. There are certain exceptions to this. If you are applying for a government job or a job that requires a government license, certificate, permit or security clearance, the conviction will probably be discovered and you should note on any government job application that the conviction occurred and was followed by an expungement or dismissal.

An employer cannot legally ask you when you apply for a job for information for about an arrest that did not end in a conviction. An employer may not also ask you about any involvement in a diversion program. An employer is not supposed to consider any record of arrest that did not end in a conviction. Theoretically, if the employer discovers this information, they are not supposed to consider that information when hiring, promoting or firing a person. California Labor Code §432.7.

4. If your conviction was for a felony, the expungement or dismissal is the first step in obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation and/or a Governor§s Pardon.

If you need an expungement or dismissal of your criminal conviction, one of the best decisions you can make is to speak to an expungement lawyer or expungement attorney. Ronald Dinan & Associates serves in the counties of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake. Our six Bay Area offices are centrally located in the cities in which the courthouses are located, including Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Lakeport, Ukiah, and Eureka. We welcome all questions and inquiries and will answer them in a pleasant, courteous and helpful manner. To speak with an attorney, call us today!

CERTIFICATE OF REHABILITATION

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a document issued by the Superior Court of California indicating that the person who was previously convicted of a felony has good moral character and has been living an upright life for a substantial period of time. The Court Order is certified and basically asserts to the world that the individual previously convicted has now been completely rehabilitated. A Certificate of Rehabilitation attorney will explain that the acquisition of a rehabilitation certificate can end an obligation to register as a sex offender in certain circumstances and, in all cases, once acquired will be forwarded to the Governor of California as an automatic application for a pardon.

What exactly is a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order establishing that a person who has been convicted of a felony in the past is now completely rehabilitated under the law.

When a Certificate of Rehabilitation attorney at Ronald Dinan & Associates is successful in the acquisition of a Certificate of Rehabilitation for you, our office will automatically have it forwarded to the Governor’s Office by the issuing Court. This will then constitute an automatic application for a pardon. Penal Code §4852.01 through Penal Code §4852.21 establish the laws pertaining to a Certificate of Rehabilitation. There is no guaranty that upon the Governor’s receipt of a Certificate of Rehabilitation that a pardon will be granted, but this is the primary method of application for such a pardon.

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime pursuant to Penal Code §290, you may also apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation but only after your conviction has been dismissed by acquiring an expungement or dismissal pursuant to Penal Code §1203.4. If you were convicted of felony offense pursuant to Penal Code §§286c, 288, 288(a)(c), 288.5 or 289(j), you may be ineligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Some individuals may be relieved from having to register as a sex offender under Penal Code §290 by acquiring a Certificate of Rehabilitation. These sometimes confusing laws can be clarified by your Certificate of Rehabilitation lawyer at Ronald Dinan & Associates.

Can I apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

There are three types of individuals who can apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

1. If you were convicted of a felony and spent time serving your sentence in a California prison and were discharged or released on parole prior to May 13, 1943, and have not been incarcerated since your release in a state penal institution and have resided for three years in California immediately prior to filing the Petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you may apply.

2. If you were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor sex offense pursuant to Penal Code §290 that has been expunged or dismissed per Penal Code §1203.4 and have been completely discharged from probation, parole or custody and have not spent any time in a state penal institution, jail or state agency since your release and are not on probation for the commission of any other felony and have resided for five years in California immediately prior to the filing of the Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation, you may apply.

3. If you were convicted of a felony after May 13, 1943, and were sentenced to state prison and have been discharged from custody or released on parole and have resided for five years in California immediately prior to filing your Petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you may apply.

Am I not eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

People who are not eligible include:

1. Those who do not meet the requirements as set forth above, or
2. Those who are in the military, or
3. Those who are committed to prison under a death sentence, or
4. Those who are serving mandatory life parole or those who are convicted of sex offenses under Penal Code §§286c, 288, 288(a)(c), 288.5, 289(j), or
5. Those who are simply convicted of misdemeanors because their avenue of approach would be through acquiring an expungement or dismissal of their conviction (except certain misdemeanor sex offenses as previously discussed).

Your period of rehabilitation begins to run from the date of your discharge from incarceration, upon your release from probation or your release from parole. The period of rehabilitation requires a minimum of five years residence in the State of California plus any additional years ordered by the court if you served consecutive sentences; two additional years if you were convicted of an offense not listed in this section (and that does not carry a life sentence) or five years if you were convicted of an offense that requires registration pursuant to Penal Code §290, with an exception for conviction of violations of Penal Code §311.2(b), §311.2(c) and §311.2(d), or and §311.3, or and §311.10 or and §314 which require an additional two years or four years for persons convicted of Penal Code §187, or §209, or §219, or §4500 or §12310 or Military and Veterans Code §167(a) or any other offense carrying a life sentence.

Your Certificate of Rehabilitation attorney will file paperwork in the Superior Court of your current county of residence, regardless of where the conviction occurred. See Penal Code §4852.06. This Petition is designed to notify the District Attorney in the county of your residence and the District Attorney in each county in which you were convicted of a felony offense. Once a Petition is filed, the Court will schedule a hearing on the Certificate of Rehabilitation and the Court may require an investigation by the District Attorney’s office. Testimony and various records may be produced at the hearing focusing primarily on your conduct and your behavior since being released from prison. If a successful Petition is acquired, a certified copy of your Certificate of Rehabilitation will be ordered by the Court to be automatically transmitted to the Governor’s Office and becomes an automatic application for pardon.

What does my Certificate of Rehabilitation not do?

As your Certificate of Rehabilitation lawyer will describe, a Certificate of Rehabilitation:

1. Does not give an ex-felon the right to vote because this right is automatically restored to you after termination from probation or discharge from parole.

2. Does not allow an ex-felon to answer on employment applications that he/she has no record of conviction. These issues are addressed in an expungement or dismissal of conviction process. See Expungement.

3. Does not prevent your felony offense from being considered as a prior conviction if you are later convicted of a new offense.

4. Does not erase your felony conviction or seal the criminal record. Penal Code §4852.17. Reductions of a felony to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code §17(b) are generally accomplished in an expungement process.

What will a Certificate of Rehabilitation do for me?

Successful acquisition of a Certificate of Rehabilitation will:

1. Relieve certain specified sex offenders of a duty to register.

2. Will serve as your automatic application for a pardon.

3. Serve as an official document to demonstrate your rehabilitation which could substantially enhance employment applications.

4. Enhance your potential for becoming licensed by various state agencies. Penal Code §4853.

If you need a Certificate of Rehabilitation, one of the best decisions you can make is to speak to a Certificate of Rehabilitation attorney or lawyer. Our practice serves the counties of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake. Our six Bay Area offices are centrally located in the cities in which the courthouses are located, including Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Lakeport, Ukiah, and Eureka. We welcome all questions and inquiries and will answer them in a pleasant, courteous and helpful manner. To speak with an attorney, call us today!

GOVERNOR’S PARDON

A pardon is an attempt to restore all civil and political rights to someone who was convicted of a felony. It does not eliminate the criminal record but rather substantially improves it. In cases where the prior felony conviction did not involve the use of a dangerous weapon, the acquisition of a pardon can restore an individual’s rights to own, keep and possess a firearm in California.

Can I get my conviction dismissed?

A pardon from the California Governor’s Office will be granted to you only if you have led an exemplary life for approximately ten years following your felony conviction. A pardon is a privilege, not a right, and is definitely not granted to every person who applies. The Governor has 100% complete discretion in deciding who gets a pardon and who does not.

Generally, acquiring a pardon is a product of having lived an exemplary, law-abiding life for a substantial period of time. What is generally considered to be a minimum period is ten years, and this time will be shortened only in extraordinary circumstances. If your pardon application is based on the ability to establish factual innocence, a period of less than ten years will be considered.

Typically, the first step of a pardon attorney in representing someone applying for a pardon is to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the Superior Court in your county of residence. All other pardons are by way of what is referred to as a ‘direct pardon’ or traditional pardon. All pardons are referred to the Board of Prison Terms for investigation and this Board may contact the District Attorney, investigating law agency or any other person and provide information favorable or unfavorable regarding your application.

A pardon will not seal your criminal record but will change it. The pardon becomes a public record and both the FBI and California Department of Justice will generally update their records to reflect your acquisition of a pardon. Pardons are generally reported to the Secretary of State, the California State Legislature and become a matter of public record.

What a Governor’s Pardon will not do for you:

If your pardon attorney is successful in obtaining a Governor’s Pardon, the issuance of a Governor’s Pardon:

1. Will not pardon any conviction from another state or from a federal jurisdiction.

2. Will not restore your ability to own a firearm if you were convicted of an offense involving the use of a dangerous weapon. Penal Code §4854.

3. Will not allow you to answer ‘no’ on an employment application to a question of whether or not you have a record of conviction. If you have been pardoned, you cannot say you have no record of arrest or conviction, but you can say that you have been convicted and pardoned.

4. Will not prevent the offense for which you were pardoned from being considered as a prior conviction if you are charged with a new offense.

5. Will not seal, erase or expunge the record of conviction. Penal Code §4852.17.

What a Governor’s Pardon will do for you!

The key reasons our clients hire a pardon attorney to request a pardon are (1) for personal satisfaction, (2) applying for a job, and (3) for bonding or state licensing.

If you receive a pardon, you may serve on a jury. California Code of Civil Procedure §203(a)(5) and Penal Code §4852.17.

In addition, if you receive a full and unconditional pardon, you may apply for a position as a county probation officer or state parole officer, but you cannot generally be employed as a peace officer. Government Code §1029.

Regarding firearms, if you receive a Governor’s Pardon, you may own or possess any type of firearm that can be lawfully possessed by other California citizens with the exception that if you were convicted of an offense that involved the use of a dangerous weapon, the right to possess firearms will not be granted to you. In addition, a California Governor’s Pardon does not permit possession of weapons in another state, nor does a pardon resolve any federal firearm restriction or prohibition. Generally, the right to own or possess firearms is governed by Penal Code §4854.

Licensing by a state agency can be enhanced for you through the acquisition of a Governor’s Pardon. A licensing agency may still reject your application or revoke your license, but generally a Governor’s Pardon is considered favorably in determining whether a license should be granted to you to practice certain professions. Penal Code §4853.

If you are seeking a Governor’s Pardon, one of the best decisions you can make is to speak to a criminal defense attorney. Our practice concentrates in the counties of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake. Our six Bay Area offices are centrally located in the cities in which the courthouses are located, including Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Lakeport, Ukiah, and Eureka. We welcome all questions and inquiries and will answer them in a pleasant, courteous and helpful manner. To speak with an attorney, call us today!

If you need an expungement or dismissal of your criminal conviction, Certificate of Rehabilitation or Governor’s Pardon, one of the best decisions you can make is to speak to an expungement lawyer, Certificate of Rehabilitation attorney or Governor’s Pardon lawyer. Our practiceconcentrates in the counties of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake. To speak with an attorney, call us today!

Criminal Attorney Services

In addition to our work as criminal and DUI attorneys throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, the lawyers at Ronald Dinan and Associates offer the services you need in a variety of legal matterns. Call us today! Our experienced attorneys are ready to assist you with every step of the legal process and work towards a successful outcome in your case.

Ronald Dinan and Associates offers expert legal counsel with the following issues:

  • Firearms/Weapons
  • VOP’s
  • Pre-arrest Investigations
  • Warrants
  • Failures to Appear
  • Fish & Game Violations
  • Traffic Ticket

California Criminal Lawyer FAQs

Arrested for a crime in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino or Humboldt County? Call us today! Our experienced criminal attorneys are ready to assist you with every step of the legal process and work towards a successful outcome in your case.

Get Answers To Important Questions With These Criminal FAQs:
1. Last month I was arrested for something I did not do. I was trying to explain this to the police officer and I refused to let him handcuff me. He then threw me to the ground, handcuffed me and also charged me with resisting arrest. Can’t I refuse to be arrested if the police are wrong?
2. Because I have been convicted of a felony, I am not allowed to possess or use any firearms (guns, rifles, etc.) If I have my conviction expunged (Penal Code 1203.4), can I possess firearms again?

Q. Last month I was arrested for something I did not do. I was trying to explain this to the police officer and I refused to let him handcuff me. He then threw me to the ground, handcuffed me and also charged me with resisting arrest. Can’t I refuse to be arrested if the police are wrong?

A. No. Before 1957, the general rule was that if an arrest was unlawful, a police officer was not properly doing their duty, and therefore no crime was committed by a person who resisted with reasonable force. Also, no crime was committed by anybody who helped that person resist. That is not the rule now!

In 1957, the legislature passed Penal Code §834a which provides that if a person knows or reasonably should know that they are being arrested, that person cannot use force to resist that arrest even if the arrest is unlawful. Under the old rule, the courts determined that people were finding a ready excuse to resist or escape and this refusal to be arrested inevitably led to violence, riots, etc. Further, recent court decisions have established that there is also no right to use force to resist an unlawful detention by a police officer. A detention generally occurs when a police officer makes contact with a person and by the officer’s behavior, positioning or words leads a person to believe that they are not free to leave. The courts have concluded that since an arrest is a greater infringement on your freedom than a detention, if there is no right to resist an arrest then there is no right to resist a detention as well.
Q. Because I have been convicted of a felony, I am not allowed to possess or use any firearms (guns, rifles, etc.) If I have my conviction expunged (Penal Code 1203.4), can I possess firearms again?

A. No. It is illegal for any person convicted of a felony to possess or use a firearm for the rest of their life. An expungement or a dismissal of conviction does not restore the right to possess a firearm or ammunition to someone who has a felony conviction. Although some language of the applicable statute (PC 1203.4) refers only to concealable firearms (handguns, pistols, revolvers, etc.) the First District Court of Appeals has recently ruled that the statute’s language does not allow an expungement to restore a convicted felon’s right to possess any firearms (concealable or not). The only way to restore this right is to receive a pardon from the Governor’s Office. A pardon is not available to someone who has been convicted of a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon.

Other circumstances which can cause a lifetime firearm prohibition, include a conviction of an assault with a firearm, discharge of a weapon at an inhabited dwelling or brandishing a firearm. In addition, anyone who has suffered two or more misdemeanor convictions for brandishing a firearm is precluded from owning a firearm for life.
A 10-year firearm prohibition can result from a conviction of a misdemeanor crime (a crime whose maximum jail sentence is one year). These crimes include, but are not limited to, threatening to injure a school or public employee, state official or judge; carrying a deadly weapon to prevent a witness from testifying; threatening force or violence because of assistance to the prosecution; taking a firearm from a police officer engaged in lawful duties; bringing a firearm or weapon into any State or public building, State office or on public school grounds; various assault crimes, etc.

Testimonials for Ronald Dinan & Associates

“Ronald Dinan & Associates were terrific because they knew exactly what my case was about and thought out every action extremely well. They made each situation comfortable and reassuring. I really appreciated the fact that they worked so hard to make my DUI disappear and it really taught me a lesson. Not only did they help in winning my case, but they gave great advice!” – E.M.

“Our attorneys were professional, thorough, and attentive. I felt they were incredibly well prepared. Their brief account of the facts were indisputable and their ability to convey this to the court unmistakable. Our most sincere thanks.” – M.J.

“Ronald Dinan and Associates is a great company and I would refer anyone who is in trouble to use their services. They are thoughtful and work hard to make sure that what you want is what you get. THANKS GUYS!!!!!!” – M.E.

“I am so glad we switched from our first lawyer to your firm, Mr. Dinan. My other lawyer had me on the road to jail and you got my case thrown out of court. Could I be any happier? I doubt it. This firm is the absolute best and we will send anybody we meet who has a criminal problem to you. Thanks again.” – D.N.

“Ronald Dinan & Associates was terrific because they were the first people… [who] were interested and cared about my legal problem. They were happy to talk to me and took the time to hear my story. They made a plan of action that would work for me. CB was assigned to be my attorney. Her research and communication with me was excellent. We won my case. Not guilty!” – P.D.

Contact Us

Contact Ronald Dinan & Associates At Our Six SF Bay Area Locations
Our law offices in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties are close to the courthouse and convenient to you. If you have been arrested on DUI or criminal charges or require other legal counsel, you can expect a courteous and helpful response from our attorneys and staff. We can be reached evenings and weekends, as well as during normal business hours. To speak to an attorney, please phone your location, below:

In Sonoma County:
Ronald Dinan and Associates
411 Russell Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA, 95403
707-571-5550

In Napa County:
Ronald Dinan and Associates
1034 Walnut St.
Napa, CA, 94559
707-252-0102

In Marin County:
Ronald Dinan and Associates
4040 Civic Center Dr., Ste. 200
San Rafael, CA, 94903
415-491-0223

In Lake County:
Ronald Dinan and Associates
390 North Forbes St.
Lakeport, CA, 95453
707-262-0503

In Mendocino County:
Ronald Dinan and Associates
705 N. State St., Ste. #136
Ukiah, CA, 95482
707-462-5950

In Humboldt County:
Ronald Dinan and Associates
917 3rd St.
Eureka, CA, 95501
707-445-1348

http://www.dinanlaw.com/

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