Domestic Violence Victims Have Special Rights In Rental Situations

Special  issues arise in Landlord tenant relations when the tenant is also a victim of domestic violence.  Depending on the circumstances involving domestic violence, elder abuse, or dependent adult abuse against a tenant, a landlord may or may not terminate or decline to renew a tenancy. California law has declared that domestic violence and stalking victims should not lose their housing because they are being abused and should not be forced to leave their homes to report abuse. It is critical for rental property owners to develop policies and procedures that balance the needs of tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of the property while considering the safety and fair housing rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. According to a Long Beach Domestic Violence Attorney, a landlord may not terminate a tenancy or fail to renew a tenancy based on acts against a tenant or a tenant’s household member that constitute domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult if both of the following apply:

(1) The acts of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult were documented as (i) a temporary restraining order, emergency protective order, or protective order lawfully issued within the last 180 days, or (ii) a copy of a written report, created within the last 180 days, by a state or local law enforcement agency peace officer, stating that the tenant or household member has filed a report alleging domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or elder or dependent adult abuse; and

(2) The person named in the criminal protective order or police report as the alleged criminal  perpetrator is not a tenant of the same dwelling unit as the tenant or household member. “Tenant” means tenant, subtenant, lessee, or sublessee.

A landlord may terminate a tenancy or not renew a tenancy if the tenant availed himself or herself of the above protections and:

(1) The tenant allows the person named in the protective order or police report to visit the property, or the landlord reasonably believes the same named person poses a physical threat to other tenants, guests, invitees, or licensees, or to the tenant’s right to quiet possession; and

(2) The landlord previously gave at least three days’ notice to the tenant to correct a violation of paragraph (1) immediately above.

The owner of a home or rental unit may not be held liable to any other tenants for any action that arises due to the landlord’s compliance with these provisions

I Was Given a Ticket in Long Beach, What Happens in Court?

Many folks who have been given a ticket have never been to Court to contest the violation.  In California, a person cited for a traffic ticket may challenge the violation by going to Court and pleading not guilty.  How do you do it?  First, show up in Court on time.  When your case is called be prepared, here is what the Judge must do:

Once a defendant has taken his or her place at the podium, the judge or commissioner informs the defendant of the charge, and asks the defendant how he or she wishes to plead.  The defendant may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.  A no-contest plea has the same legal effect as a guilty plea, except that it may not be used against the defendant as an admission in any civil suit based on the same act. A no-contest plea is subject to the court’s approval.  In Long Beach traffic court, defendants will sometimes plead guilty with an explanation, hoping to receive a reduced or suspended fine or lower penalty. Such a plea has the same effect as a guilty plea, in that it constitutes an admission to each element of the charged offense.

One seasoned Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorney states that when a defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the judge or commissioner imposes sentence, assuming that the defendant has waived the right to delay sentencing under the applicable law. The judge has a range of possible punishments he can impose. A defendant who pleads not guilty is given a trial date. Many judges generally try to discourage defendants from pleading not guilty to minor traffic violations, e.g., registration or equipment violations. They will often suggest to defendants charged with these offenses that they plead no contest, and that, depending on the explanation for the violation, they will consider waiving the fine or substantially reducing it.  Good luck in your case, this information should help you significantly.

Someone Else Using Your License? What You Can Do.

What if you receive notice that you had a failure to appear for a ticket that you never actually received?  It happens quite often that a person is a a victim of identity theft and that person using your identity racks up speeding tickets in your name.  So, what do you do?  How can you fight such a criminal charge in the Long Beach Court?

Under California law a person may contest a charge by claiming under penalty of perjury not to be the person to whom the notice to appear was issued when identification was made by thumbprint or fingerprint. The person must submit a thumbprint or fingerprint for comparison with the thumbprint or fingerprint on the notice. The judge hearing the case may refer the print submitted together with the print on the notice to the prosecuting attorney for comparison. If there is no print on the notice or a comparison of the prints is inconclusive, the court must refer the notice back to the issuing agency for further investigation, unless it determines that a referral is not in the interest of justice. A Court cannot convict someone of a ticket if the evidence fails to show that person is the perpetrator beyond a reasonable doubt.

This process will result in the postponement of the case and tolling of the speedy trial period for 45 days. Therefore, the person must waive their right to a speedy trial.  According to one Long Beach Criminal Attorney who has defended these types of matters, the court may make a finding of factual innocence under Pen C §530.6 if the court determines there is insufficient evidence that the person cited is the person charged or if the prosecuting attorney or agency does not respond within 45 days. Except in the latter case, the court may determine that a finding of factual innocence is not in the interest of justice

Can I Make Payments on My Fine?

Pursuant to California law, a person who receives a traffic ticket or is convicted of any other misdemeanor offense such as DUI, public intoxication in Long Beach has the right to work off the fine by doing payments.  It is well settled that if an infraction violation of the Vehicle Code or an infraction violation of an ordinance adopted under the penal code does not require a court appearance, the court clerk may accept a payment and forfeiture of bail in installments.  An initial installment payment of at least 10 percent of the total bail amount for each infraction violation must be made to the court before the date on which the defendant promised to appear, or before to the expiration of any continuance, or on receipt of information that an action has been filed and before the scheduled court date. According to one Long Beach DUI Lawyer, as a condition of payment of bail installments, the defendant must sign an Agreement To Pay and Forfeit Bail in Installments using a court approved form, which sets out the terms of the installment payment schedule as agreed upon with the court. . The defendant must also submit proof of correction when such proof is mandatory for a correctable offense. When the clerk accepts the agreement for payment and forfeiture of bail installments, the clerk must continue the appearance date to the date scheduled for completion of payment and forfeiture of bail in the agreement.  For purposes of reporting violations to the DMV under Vehicle Code §1803, the date that the defendant signs an agreement to pay and forfeit in installments is reported as the date of conviction. Reference, Judicial Benchguide.

The defendant in any misdemeanor must pay to the clerk or collection agency a fee equal to the administrative and clerical costs of processing installment accounts as determined by the board of supervisors or the court, up to a maximum of $35. If the defendant fails to make an installment payment according to the agreement, the court may charge a failure to appear or pay under Veh C §40508 and impose a civil assessment as provided under Penal Code §1214.1, or issue an arrest warrant for a failure to appear. Vehicle Code §40512 provides that if the defendant does not make an installment payment as agreed and fails to appear at a compliance appearance, either in person or by counsel, the court may continue the arraignment to a date beyond the date of the last installment payment date, issue an arrest warrant, or impose a civil assessment as provided under Pen C §1214.1 for the failure to appear. Veh C §40512(b)(1). If the defendant has paid all the required bail funds and does not appear at a compliance hearing, the court may declare bail forfeited and order that no further proceedings take place in the case, with specified exceptions. f anyone has additional questions concerning how a Judge handles fine issues in the local Court, contact a Long Beach Criminal Lawyer and set up an appointment to discuss your options such as community service or Cal Trans work in lieu of any fines.

New Long Beach Court is Up and Running

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It has been a year since the project started but the construction of the new Courthouse is everything the builder’s promised.  The architecture is stunning, the interior is open and user-friendly with many of the features you would expect to find in a world-class hotel.  The exterior boasts a water feature with massive steps and huge glass doors with a foyer that is welcoming and not stuffy like the old building.  The courtrooms are all green and have wheelchair friendly witness stands.  Each courtroom has two attorney meeting rooms outside and the space is large and comfortable.

A Discussion of the use of Impeachment Evidence in Criminal Cases

Impeachment evidence in criminal cases can often mean the difference between a guilty and a not guilty verdict.  Juries attach great weight to impeachment evidnce when considering and evaluating how credible a person is.  So, what is the definition of “impeachment” for purposes of criminal trials in Long Beach.  First, let’s start with how the law defines it in California.  Evidence Code section 780 states, in part, that: Except as otherwise provided by statute, the court or jury may consider in determining the credibility of a witness any matter that has any tendency in reason to prove or disprove the truthfulness of his testimony at the hearing, including but not limited to, any of the following:

1. A witness’s character for honesty or veracity or their opposites.

2. The existence or nonexistence of a bias, interest or other motive.

3. A statement made by any witness that is inconsistent with any part of his testimony at the hearing or criminal trial.

CALJIC 2.20, which is the California Jury Instruction Book,  adds conviction of a felony and past criminal conduct of a witness amounting to a misdemeanor as considerations for determining witness credibility. CALCRIM No. 316  further explains that a conviction of a felony and criminal or other misconduct with or without a conviction as considerations. If impeachment evidence is based upon the prior commission of a crime, the crime must involve moral turpitude to be admissible. Additional examples of possible impeachment evidence of a material prosecution witness, according to the Los Angeles District Attorneys office,  include:

1.  False reports by a prosecution witness (People v. Hayes (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 1238, 1244); 2.  Pending criminal charges against a prosecution witness (People v. Coyer (1983) 142 Cal.App.3d 839, 842); 3.  Parole or probation status of the witness (Davis v. Alaska (1974) 415 U.S. 308, 319; People v. Price (1991) 1 Cal.4th 324, 486); 4.  Evidence contradicting a prosecution witness’ statements or reports (People v. Boyd (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d 541, 568-569); 5.  Evidence undermining a prosecution witness’ expertise (e.g., inaccurate statements) (People v. Garcia (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 1169, 1179); 6.  A finding of misconduct by a Board of Rights or Civil Service Commission that reflects on the witness’ truthfulness, bias or moral turpitude (cf. People v. Wheeler, supra, 4 Cal.4th at p. 293) (Note that the burden of proof in an administrative hearing is preponderance of the evidence.); 7.  Evidence that a witness has a reputation for untruthfulness (3 Witkin Cal. Evidence (4th ed. 2000) §§ 288-290); 8.  Evidence that a witness has a racial, religious or personal bias against the defendant individually or as a member of a group (In re Anthony P. (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 502, 507-510); or 9.  Promises, offers or inducements to the witness, including a grant of immunity (United States v. Bagley, supra, 473 U.S. at pp. 676-677; Giglio v. United States (1972) 405 U.S. 150, 153-155).

According to one Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorney, a thorough review of all other types of available information contained within a given case must be made before a determination is reached that evidence concerning the credibility of a material prosecution witness is impeachment evidence.  If you have further questions or concerns about this topic feel free to send a comment for discussion.