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Archive for January, 2010

A Break For DUI Drivers?

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Second and third time DUI drivers in California have for several years been subjected to long term license suspension as a result of their convictions.  Effective this year the rules for obtaining restricted licenses for second and third time California DUI drivers are changing, and providing quite a break.

Now, second time DUI, alcohol only, offenders will be able to apply for a restricted license after ninety days into their otherwise two year license suspension.  Previously, they could only apply after twelve months into their two year suspension.  Third time DUI, alcohol only, offenders will now be able to apply for a restricted license after six months into their three year license suspension.  Previously, they could only apply for a restricted license after twelve months into their three year suspension.

The legislative history surrounding these changes state that their purpose is to encourage drunk drivers to obtain ignition interlock devices by permitting them to obtain restricted licenses sooner if they do.

Should you or a loved one have the misfortune of a DUI arrest and/or have questions concerning California DUI laws contact San Jose DUI lawyer Bernard P. Bray.

Accused of Domestic Violence?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Domestic Violence arrests are on the increase.  As any experienced police officer knows, the holidays bring a rise in family violence calls.  And, California law encourages an arrest of all suspected Domestic Violence offenders, and requires an arrest if probable cause exists to support an arrest.

Domestic Violence has the highest repeat rate of any crime.  Many victims, although willing to make a report of Domestic Violence, legitimately or otherwise, in a rage of anger, refuse to give evidence against a partner in a criminal prosecution.

Conviction for a Domestic Violence or a Domestic Violence related offense can have very serious consequences for even the first time offender including jail time, long term formal probation, long term anger management counseling, a presumption against custody in Family Court child custody proceedings, a criminal record, and other consequences. In order to minimize the consequences of a Domestic Violence arrest contact Bernard P. Bray (408) 292-9700.

Once filed, Domestic Violence cases are aggressively prosecuted in California and you should only be represented by an experienced attorney prepared to fight your case.  I have 26 years of experience handling Domestic Violence cases.  They are difficult cases oftentimes presenting many complex issues.  However, there is a lot that an attorney can do for a client and their family brought into court facing a Domestic Violence case.

Domestic Violence and Domestic Violence related charges can result from even the simple use of any type of force on the person of a spouse, significant other, child, or one with whom an accused has been involved in a dating relationship.  If you or a loved one have been arrested for Domestic Violence, protect yourself to the fullest extent possible, contact San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney Bernard P. Bray and learn your options before you go to court.  It can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

Do I need a Lawyer At My First Court Appearance?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

It is not unusual for persons still in denial following an arrest to proceed to court alone under the mistaken impression that they do not need a lawyer at their first court appearance, or that they can handle it themselves.  They could not be more mistaken.  Unaware of potential legal consequences and pitfalls, it is a 50-50 proposition, that appearing at a first court appearance in a criminal case without a lawyer is going to result in a bad decision, and that same may ultimately have an impact on the outcome of a case.

A first court appearance on a criminal charge is what is known as an arraignment.  At the time of an arraignment one accused of a crime is provided with notice of the charges, notice of their constitutional rights, and is usually expected to immediately make certain decisions as to how some logistical matters will be handled, such as if they intend to assert their right to a speedy trial, enter a plea or defer same, or make any special requests, such as a bail reduction or a release on their own recognizance.

The situation is extremely stressful, in particular for an in custody arrestee, and arrestees not represented by a lawyer.  People oftentimes go into court thinking they are going to be given the opportunity to explain what brought them to their current circumstances, only getting, at most, a brief one sided dialogue with a Judge, and then its over.  In Santa Clara County in custody arrestees on misdemeanor cases are often brought before a Superior Court Judge and offered the opportunity right at the gate, to plead guilty, and get out of jail.  Under such circumstances even factually innocent people, faced with the prospect of job loss, home loss, the further hardship to family members that incarceration entails, sometimes jump at the chance to immediately plead guilty, and get out of the horror of jail, not even realizing that they perhaps would have otherwise been entitled to a bail reduction or own recognizance release, that would have given them the opportunity to get out of jail pending trial, and adequately prepare an appropriate defense.

One has the right to be represented by an attorney at their arraignment in court, and one is best advised to take advantage of that right.  Everyone should agree that if you have been seriously injured in an accident, one is ill advised to refuse the ambulance ride to the hospital.  Similarly, if one is faced with something as potentially life compromising as the consequences of a criminal charge one should seek out the professional help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  The San Jose Mercury News recently reported that in a recent study of 246 random resisting arrest cases in Santa Clara County, at least 47% of the persons represented by an attorney were able to avoid conviction on the charged offense, as opposed to 10% of those without an attorney.

If you or a loved one have been arrested, protect yourself to the fullest extent possible, contact San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney Bernard P. Bray and learn your options before you go to court.  It can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

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