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Recent blog posts

San Jose domestic violence restraining order defense attorneyThe state of California takes domestic violence very seriously, and state laws allow someone who has been abused or is under the threat of harm to receive a restraining order to protect their safety. While it is important to protect the victims of abuse, false accusations against alleged abusers can result in a great deal of emotional distress, financial hardship, and damage to personal relationships. If you have been served with a domestic violence restraining order, you should understand your rights and the steps you can take to defend against the charges.

Restraining Orders in California

A person can seek a restraining order against a spouse, ex-spouse, domestic partner, close family member, or parent of their child who has abused or threatened to abuse them. When granted by a judge, restraining orders can require someone to stay away from the alleged victims and their children and relatives, move out of their house, pay child support and/or partner support, or follow certain other orders.

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San Jose prescription drugs DUI attorney, DUI charges, drunk driving, prescription drug DUI, impaired drivingWhile most people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving, they may not realize that charges of driving under the influence (DUI) can result from the use of prescription drugs. This issue has grown in prevalence in recent years, with California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reporting that 38 percent of the drivers who died in car accidents in 2014 tested positive for legal or illegal drugs. As a result, police officers are becoming more vigilant toward possible impairment, and drivers should be aware of their rights when facing potential DUI charges related to prescription drugs.

Prescription Drug DUI

Studies performed by the National Institute of Health have shown that the use of drugs that can potentially lead to impaired driving has increased in the past 15 years throughout the United States. These drugs include both over-the-counter and prescription medications such as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, sleep aids, stimulants, and allergy medications.

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DUI arrest, San Jose marijuana DUI attorney, DUI charges, legal marijuana, recreational marijuana As of the beginning of 2018, the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes is legal in the state of California. While many people are celebrating this change in the law and the freedoms it provides, they should be aware that marijuana is now treated much the same as alcohol, and driving while intoxicated by the drug can lead to a DUI arrest.

California’s Marijuana DUI Laws

California law states that it is unlawful to drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol or marijuana in a vehicle while driving.

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San Jose drug charges attorney, marijuana legalization, drug charges, marijuana DUI, recreational marijuanaAs of January 1, 2018, the sale of marijuana for recreational use will be legal in the state of California. While this represents a major change in state laws, there are still situations in which the possession or use of marijuana can lead to criminal charges. Users of recreational marijuana should be aware of how the law affects them and how they can avoid marijuana-related drug charges.

Marijuana Possession and Sale

Under California law, a person over the age of 21 can possess up to 28.5 grams (about one ounce) of marijuana, or up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis. It is also legal to grow up to six marijuana plants in one’s home, as long as they are kept in a locked area. Starting January 1, 2018, licensed businesses will be able to sell marijuana, as long as it is allowed in the county or city where they are located.

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San Jose domestic violence defense lawyerMore than 10 million people, including both women and men, are victims of domestic violence every year in the United States. In California, 33 percent of women and 27 percent of men will experience physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking from an intimate partner during their lifetimes.

These victims often struggle to put their lives back together after escaping from an abusive situation, and the state has been working to put measures in place to provide them with confidentiality and financial security. 

Protecting Victims’ Confidentiality

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San Jose DUI attorney, DUI accidents, DUI arrests, holiday DUI, drunk drivingThis past Thanksgiving weekend was an especially deadly time on roads in the Bay Area and throughout California. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that there were 76 fatalities in vehicle collisions throughout the state, and 1,057 people were arrested for DUI, which was a 17 percent increase from the previous year.

As the holiday season begins in earnest, drivers should be aware that the rate of drunk driving accidents increases significantly during the weeks surrounding the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Between two and three times more fatalities from alcohol-related crashes occur during this season than during other times of the year. As a result, law enforcement will be increasing their efforts to stop drunk driving and increase safety on the road during the holidays.

Avoiding a DUI Arrest

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sexual assault, San Jose sexual harassment defense lawyer,  Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment, workplace harassmentThe news has been filled with discussion of sexual assault and sexual harassment in recent months, due to a number of accusations against high-profile public figures. The allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have been especially influential, leading to scrutiny of sexual assault laws and charges of workplace harassment.

This increased interest has been dubbed the “Weinstein effect,” and it has not only led to the possibility of more people being accused of sexual assault, but it has also resulted in lawmakers making changes to sex crime laws.

A Possible End to Secret Settlements

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DUI arrest, drunk driving, San Jose DUI defense attorney, DUI defense, Uber and LyftWhen someone drinks alcohol, one of the first things that is affected is their judgment. This impairment to a person’s ability to make responsible decisions is why otherwise-sensible people may get behind the wheel after drinking, and thus endanger people on the road—actions that can potentially lead to a DUI arrest or a car accident.

In the ongoing campaign against drunk driving, safety advocates have encouraged drivers to use alternate methods of transportation after they have been drinking. In recent years, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become available, and these companies have claimed to have reduced the rates of drunk driving. But have they actually made an impact on public safety?

Differing Studies

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drunk driving fatalities, California drunk driving laws, San Jose drunk driving defense attorney, DUI prevention training, California barsDriving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or DUI, is a serious offense in California, and the state has a number of laws which aim to improve roadway safety and punish drivers who put others in danger. However, the prevalence of drunk driving continues to be a concern, with more than one-third of all car accident fatalities in the state involving drunk drivers. As a result, California is looking to implement additional laws in hopes of reducing drunk driving deaths.

Drunk Driving Prevention Training

Many advocates believe that drunk driving fatalities can be prevented if people intervene before someone who is impaired gets behind the wheel. Bartenders and servers of alcoholic beverages are particularly in a position to identify when people are too inebriated to drive and help ensure that they do not drive while drunk.

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campus sexual assault, San Jose criminal defense lawyer, sexual violence,  sexual harassment, sexual assault crimeOn September 7, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education would roll back guidelines which the Obama administration had put in place to fight sexual assault and harassment on school campuses. In response, the California Legislature has passed SB-169, which would codify these regulations into state law. The bill is currently awaiting signature by Governor Jerry Brown.

Taking Action Against Campus Sexual Assault

In 2011, the Obama administration put Title IX regulations into place to address the sexual harassment and sexual violence that occurs on school campuses across the country. These regulations required schools to adopt procedures to address complaints of sexual assault and take immediate action when any sexual violence is reported to address the effects of this violence and prevent it from recurring.

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San Jose sexual assault defense lawyerSexual violence is an ongoing concern in the United States, and even though the rate of sexual assault has decreased by more than 50 percent since 1993, over 300,000 people are victimized each year, with another person being sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. 

Sexual violence is incredibly damaging to victims; 94 percent of women who are raped experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 70 percent of sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, which is a higher percentage than for any other violent crime.

Due to these ongoing concerns, as well as some high profile sexual assault cases in the news, the state of California recently made some changes to its sexual assault laws.

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San Jose Green Card Marriage Domestic ViolenceFraudulent green card marriages are nothing new. With the advent of films like “The Proposal,” it is well-known that many marriages take place for the sole purpose of a green card or to avoid deportation. In 2009, about 506 of 241,154 green card petitions were denied for fraud. However, it is unknown how many fraudulent marriages have actually occurred. 

Unfortunately for many, a so-called “green card marriage” often leads to accusations of domestic violence. Immigrant victims of domestic violence do not have to wait for naturalization to divorce their spouse and stay in the U.S. Instead, they can apply for a U visa, which is a visa that provides nonimmigrant status to victims of certain qualifying crimes. U visa recipients can apply for a green card after a certain number of years. 

In order to be eligible for a U visa, the victim must agree to aid in the investigation or prosecution of the crime he or she was a victim of. 

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San Jose drug crimes attorneyThe United States is in the midst of a drug epidemic. President Donald Trump acknowledged this crisis when, on August 10, 2017, he declared the opioid epidemic as a national emergency.

Opioids, which refers to both prescription drugs and illegal drugs, are claiming lives throughout the country. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdose. But the number of fatalities in 2016 is even more staggering, with studies indicating that more than 59,000 people were killed from drug overdoses. Research shows that this year, the rate of overdose deaths are continuing to increase. 

What is Fueling the Epidemic, and Who Is Affected?

Research indicates that rural Americans under the age of 50 are most likely to overdose, particularly in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, and Maine. There are several factors that lead to rural areas being more susceptible to the drug epidemic. These areas tend to have few options for pain management like physical therapy or chiropractic treatments, so doctors in rural communities are more inclined to prescribe pain medication. When patients become addicted to painkillers, they may begin using heroin as an alternative after doctors stop prescribing the medications to them. 

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Domestic ViolenceIf you are going through a divorce, being accused of domestic violence can negatively impact your case. Many people incorrectly believe that domestic violence charges are only addressed in criminal court and will have no bearing on a family law case. However, that is far from the truth. A mere allegation of domestic violence can affect the amount you may be required to pay in spousal and child support and can restrict your child custody and visitation rights.

Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time)

If there is a domestic violence charge against you while you are going through divorce proceedings, you could lose custody of your children. Whether you are being accused of abusing either your spouse or your children is irrelevant. Any alleged abuse committed against family members may result in the court finding that there is a rebuttable presumption that you are an unfit parent. In addition, because the court is committed to protecting the best interests of children, you may not be awarded custody if the court believes it would be against your children’s best interests.  

If you are not granted child custody, you may share parenting time with the other parent. However, if you are accused or convicted of family violence, then the visits with your child could be significantly limited in length and frequency. In addition, you may be required to have your visits supervised by a neutral third party. 

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What to do if you are pulled over for DUIBeing stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence can be a frightening experience, because the penalties for DUI in California are severe. However, if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the last thing you should do is panic. Instead, you should remember your rights and take certain actions that can later help you in court if you are arrested.

After you are stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that the DUI charges against you have a weak basis in court:

  1. Remember that you are not free to leave. While you are not in custody, you are considered detained when stopped by the police. Therefore, you are not free to leave even if you have not been arrested yet.
  2. Decline to answer questions. You are permitted to refuse to answer any incriminating questions. Keep in mind, however, that you must provide the police with your vehicle registration, driver’s license, and auto insurance.
  3. Refuse participation in field sobriety tests. You can refuse to participate in any field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are physical tests that may require you to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. These tests do not accurately determine whether the participant is intoxicated. In addition, if a suspected person is nervous or is confused by the officer’s questions, he or she may perform poorly on the test, which may result in the officer deeming the suspected person intoxicated.
  4. Do not refuse a chemical test. Although you may refuse to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, you cannot refuse required chemical tests that determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC). If you do refuse to take a chemical test, you may be fined, imprisoned if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, and your driving privileges will be suspended for up to one year if it is your first offense. 
  5. You can choose which type of test to take. If you do agree to submit to a chemical test, you will be given the choice of either a breath or blood test. A breath test can be easily challenged in court; however, a breath sample cannot be retested, while a blood test can. You may be required to submit to a blood test if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of a drug or both a drug and alcohol.

Contact Our San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being charged with DUI, contact the San Jose DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson. There are many possible defenses to a drunk driving test refusal or DUI charge. An experienced attorney can challenge the chemical tests used to determine whether a driver is under the influence. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 408-246-3004.

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DUI

California has some of the most restrictive DUI laws in the country. If you are an out-of-state driver, it is important that you understand these laws and what will happen if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI.

California DUI laws are applied to both in and out-of-state drivers. If you are from a state that is party to the Interstate Driver's License Compact, you may face consequences back home.

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Tagged in: dui

DUI

After a long and harsh winter, people get ready for Spring break. Indeed. Spring break symbols the return of warm weather. This is the time where young people come together to plan fun events. Unfortunately, many of these young people end up getting arrested during Spring break. As a result, they are charged with criminal offenses and some end up in jail. Being arrested during Spring break is definitely a party “pooper.” This can ruin anyone’s Spring break plans.

What was meant to be a time of fun, freedom and leisure, could lead to jail time. The last thing you want to happen is to get arrested during Spring break. Instead, you want to rejoice with friends and have fun. The Bay Area is notorious for young people sometimes getting out of hand and getting arrested during Spring break. For every one thousand households, there are 70 crime incidents in the Bay area. In fact, the Bay area’s crime index is among the worst in the nation. Most of the crimes are attributed crime incidences such as theft.

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This past November, California voters approved Proposition 64 by a margin of about 56% to 44%. This makes California the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana. So what does California's new marijuana law mean for you?

What's Legal

California was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for medical use. It's been legal since 1996 and is still legal today.

The new law means anyone 21 and over can transport, use, possess, and share up to an ounce of marijuana. In addition, each household can grow up to six plants.

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Drones are useful tools in the areas search and rescue, increased mapping and scientific research, not to mention personal recreation and photography. But we have to be careful and concerned about government use of drones that have the tempting invitation for abuse. Aerial drones are the new investigative devices being employed by police departments across the country and so far have minimal regulation and oversight. Drones are increasingly getting smaller, but equipped with more sophisticated and powerful technologies to capture video images and audio recordings in traditionally “private spaces,” where search warrants would or should be required.

Because the threat of abuse is dangerous to constitutional and privacy rights, government use of drones should be regulated and limited. Some reasonable regulations include: 1) police may only deploy a drone upon receipt of a warrant or in the case of an articulable emergency where obtaining warrant is not possible; 2) The City or State government should set forth the policies for the use of drones and those policies made public; 3) Images and information collected may only be retained if there is a criminal investigation.

The Law Office of Erik Steven Johnson defends clients against criminal charges from Palo Alto to San Jose and throughout surrounding California communities. When the government obtains evidence in contradiction of constitutional rights, the evidence will be excluded from trial. If you have been charged with a crime in California, contact us today online or by telephone at 408-246-3004 to schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Posted on in DUI

Many people enjoy ringing in the new year with a celebratory drink, but this can also lead to more arrests for driving under the influence over the holidays.

The LA Times reported that DUI arrests on New Year's Eve more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. Statewide, the California Highway Patrol made 1,072 arrests, up from 457 the previous year. While there were more officers on patrol than previous years, the huge increase was still surprising.

This year, California drivers may see even more officers on the road. The CHP recently announced the launch of a new Statewide Impaired Driving Enforcement program that runs from October 2016 through September 2017. CHP also participates in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement initiative. This year, drivers can expect lots of officers on patrol on New Year's Eve looking for violators.

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