Law Office of Lance Dacre

For a free confidential consultation with an experienced American canyon criminal defense lawyer, please call attorney Lance Dacre at (707) 534-1854.

Assault and Battery in California

Posted on | June 2, 2017 | No Comments

Assault-and-Battery-in-CaliforniaIf you are like most people, you have the mistaken perception that “assault and battery” is a single crime, similar to “drinking and driving.” In fact, the crimes of assault and battery are two distinct violations in California, as in most other states.

Assault

Under California law, an assault is essentially an attempt to cause injury—often referred to as an attempted battery. There’s no requirement of any touching or contact between the parties. In fact, a threatening gesture may constitute an assault, provided the perpetrator had the “present ability” and the intent to cause injury. The concept of “transferred intent” may apply, such that an attempt to cause injury to one person that is perceived by a third party as an attempt to injure them may still be assault, even if the intended party was not aware of the assault. Simple assault is typically a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of six months and a fine of up to $1,000.

Battery

Battery requires that the defendant actually make contact with another person. As with assault, the doctrine of transferred intent may apply—an intent to injure one person that causes injury to another will still be battery, even if the intended victim is uninjured. Battery may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the violence.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

The Difference between Larceny and Robbery

Posted on | May 2, 2017 | No Comments

The Difference between Larceny and RobberyIf you’ve been arrested for or are under investigation for the theft of property, you may have heard the terms “larceny” and “robbery” bandied about, perhaps even used interchangeably. Under the law, though, they are not the same thing, though there are elements that are similar to both offenses.

What is Larceny?

Larceny is a more general term for certain theft crimes, and can include auto theft, as well as shoplifting. The typical elements of larceny are:

  • The taking and carrying away of someone else’s property (including money) or services
  • With the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession, use or ownership of the goods or money

There’s no requirement that the owner of the goods be present when you take them, but it’s still larceny if they are. Because larceny can apply to services, it can occur when a person obtains services (such as utilities, etc.) and doesn’t pay for them.

What is Robbery?

Similar to larceny, robbery is a taking without permission, and involves an intent to permanently deprive. The key element that differentiates robbery from larceny is that robbery includes the additional requirement that there be a use of force or intimidation. The use of a weapon—gun, knife or blunt object—will suffice, but a threat of physical force is sufficient to turn larceny into robbery. Because robbery requires the use of force or intimidation, the victim must be present at the time of the crime.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

Is Drunk Driving a Misdemeanor or a Felony in California?

Posted on | April 3, 2017 | No Comments

If you or someone you love has been stopped and arrested for drinking and driving, one of your first concerns will be about the severity and nature of the charge. How is drunk driving prosecuted in California? Is it a traffic offense, a misdemeanor or a felony?

In short answer, a DUI in California may be a misdemeanor or a felony, but it will never be treated as a mere traffic violation. Like most states, California has strengthened its DUI laws over the last 20 years. The specific type of charge will depend on a couple of factors—whether you’ve had prior DUI convictions, and whether there was injury or death in an accident caused by your drunk driving. Here’s an overview.

As a general rule, for your first three offenses, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. A lesser type of crime than a felony, a misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. However, you can expect incarceration for the first offense. The penalties for misdemeanor DUI include:

  • First offense — a minimum license suspension of four months, anywhere from three days to six months in jail and three months of mandatory driving classes
  • Second offense — a two year suspension of driving privileges, four days to one year in jail and up to 30 months of driving classes
  • Third offense — a three year license suspension, six months to a year in jail and two and a half years of driving classes

There are also substantial fines associated with a misdemeanor DUI. The penalties shown above only apply if no one was hurt as a result of your drunk driving. If you caused injury or death, or if you have been convicted of drinking and driving on three prior occasions in the last 10 years, you can be charged with felony DUI, which can result in the suspension of your license for four years, imprisonment for up to three years, fines of nearly $20,000, DUI classes for 30 months and the requirement that you have an ignition interlock installed on your car.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

Understanding California’s New Recreational Marijuana Law

Posted on | March 15, 2017 | No Comments

A man holding a marijuana cigarette

Proposition 64, making recreational use of marijuana legal in California, was approved in November, garnering nearly 60% of the popular vote. There’s still a lot of confusion about what the new law permits. Here are some guidelines.
First, you must be at 21 years of age to engage in recreational marijuana use. Anyone under that age can be charged with a minors in possession offense, similar to alcohol-related charges. You cannot possess more than one ounce, or 28.5 grams. Possession of larger quantities is not considered recreational.

You are allowed to cultivate your own marijuana and may have up to six plants for your own personal use. However, you won’t be able to purchase cannabis in any type of shop or dispensary, at least not yet. The state of California has not established any guidelines or regulations yet with respect to how the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana will be regulated. Medical marijuana will still be available at state-approved dispensaries, but you must have a medical marijuana card to make any purchases at those facilities.

The new law only allows you to smoke pot in a private place. The law does not specifically outlaw driving after smoking marijuana, but you can be charged with a DUI if it can be established that your use has impaired your driving.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

California Prohibits Holding Cell Phone While Driving

Posted on | January 6, 2017 | No Comments

Cell Phone While Driving

Effective Sunday, January 1, 2017, it is against the law for motorists in California to hold a cell phone while on the road. The law is far-reaching, banning the holding of a cell phone for any purpose, from talking to texting to checking a map. Drivers may use cell phones when behind the wheel only if the phones are mounted on the dashboard of the car and are set up for hands-free operation. Motorists may also use factory installed phone systems.

The law is not the first limitation on the use of cell phones by drivers in California—the first such law was on the books 10 years ago. Prior laws, however, dealt specifically with talking, texting or using the internet while driving—the new statute seeks to prevent any use of a phone that may distract a driver from the road—playing music, taking pictures or using social media.

California officials say the increase in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers was the major incentive behind the new law. A study conducted before the 2006 law likened talking on a cell phone while driving to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

California Addresses All Aspects of “Driving Under the Influence”

Posted on | December 15, 2016 | No Comments

Driving-Under-Influence

When most people think of a DUI, they associate it only with drinking and driving. But California officials are out to educate the public and to enforce a broader interpretation of the law. A new campaign, recently launched by the California Office of Traffic Safety, focuses on what is known as DUI-D—driving while under the influence of drugs.

Officials say it’s not just the availability of medical marijuana that motivated the OTS to take action. Studies show that, over the past decade, the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, especially those that can impair driving ability, has skyrocketed. Representative pharmaceutical products include painkillers, allergy medication, anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids and muscle relaxers. And officials stress that, whether you have a prescription or not, it’s still against the law to drive if you are impaired by medication.

Now that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act has legalized the use of weed for personal use for persons 21 and older, officials say their concerns have escalated. They point to the increasingly larger doses of THC in marijuana, which slows down reaction times and causes drivers to be less cognizant of their surroundings.

Official provide these recommendations if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications:

  • Read the label—if it recommends that you don’t drive, don’t get behind the wheel
  • Don’t combine alcohol and any drug, including marijuana
  • If you aren’t certain if you are feeling any effects from medication, don’t drive

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

Drunk Driver Who Killed Boy Seeks to Withdraw Plea

Posted on | August 30, 2016 | No Comments

New-Maryland-Law-Seeks-to-Reduce-Number-of-Drunk-Driving-AccidentsA former high school basketball coach, sentenced to 12 years in prison after entering a no-contest plea in a manslaughter prosecution, has filed a request with the court to withdraw the plea, citing new evidence. Loren LeBeau, who coached at Central High in Los Angeles, entered the plea and was sentenced in 2013. He has been serving time for three years.

According to LeBeau’s attorney, a video introduced by the attorney for the family of the 7-year-old boy contains evidence that would make it impossible to convict him of vehicular manslaughter. LeBeau admitted that he had been drinking before the accident, which occurred shortly after 9 p.m., on July 25, 2012. Witnesses say that the victim, Donovan Maldonado, was legally in a crosswalk on Shepherd Avenue, walking with his father and younger sister, when LeBeau hit him and dragged him more than 250 yards.

LeBeau’s counsel alleges that a video introduced at the civil trial, settled for $1.15 million, makes it clear that no driver, drunk or not, could have seen the boy. Because LeBeau could not have been charged with manslaughter, he claims, LeBeau could not plead guilty to manslaughter. LeBeau’s attorney says the videotape was not available to defense counsel at the time LeBeau entered his plea. Lawyers for the Maldonado family say, however, that the video is not new evidence and that LeBeau’s attorneys had the evidence before he entered his plea.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

Defending against a Charge of Resisting Arrest

Posted on | May 1, 2016 | No Comments

In California, you can be charged with and prosecuted for resisting arrest even if you weren’t the target of police. The criminal statute commonly referred to as “resisting arrest” also criminalizes any activity that interferes with or obstructs a law enforcement officer attempting to make an arrest, or any action that delays any arrest. It’s important to understand, too, that resisting arrest is not limited to physical attempts to flee or to deny access to a suspect. You can also be charged with resisting arrest if you provide false information to an officer attempting to make an arrest.

If you have been charged with resisting arrest, what are your best strategies for mounting a defense or obtaining an acquittal? First, let’s look at what the state must prove to obtain a guilty verdict:

  • There must have been a law enforcement officer or an EMT who was lawfully attempting to do his/her job
  • There must be willful resistance, obstruction or delaying tactics that actually prevented the officer or EMT from performing his or her job
  • You must have known that the person was an officer or EMT (you can also be found guilty if it can be shown that you should reasonably have known, based on the circumstances)

Defending a Charge of Resisting Arrest

There are a number of approaches your attorney can take to challenge a charge of resisting arrest:

  • Was the Officer/EMT Lawfully Performing His or Her Duties?—This is typically the first line of defense. Did the police officer have a warrant? In the absence of a warrant, did the officer have probable cause to attempt to make an arrest? Did your actions constitute a violation of the law? For example, if you were discourteous with a police officer, but did not use “fighting words,” you cannot be charged with resisting arrest or with being disorderly.
  • Were your actions reasonable?—Was the officer using excessive force in the attempt to detain you? Were you reasonably in fear for your personal safety? Might your actions reasonably be construed to be in self-defense?
  • Did you know that the person was a law enforcement officer? Were you ever shown a badge? If the person was undercover, did you have reason to know that he/she was a police officer? Did the officer ever identify himself/herself as a law enforcement officer?

Contact Us

Located in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre offers more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with drug crimes, including possession or sale of prescription drugs. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

What to Know If You Are Arrested

Posted on | April 1, 2016 | No Comments

When you are detained or arrested by law enforcement officers, it’s critical that you know your rights. Even though police officers should read you your Miranda rights when taking you into custody, you want to know ahead of time what is happening and what your rights are.

What is an Arrest?

There’s a difference between being arrested and being detained. A police officer may detain you—keep you from leaving the scene for a short period of time—for questioning. However, the officer must notify you if you are placed under arrest. Until such point, you are free to leave the scene. It’s best to simply ask the police officer, “Am I under arrest?” If the officer says no, you are free to leave. Once you are placed under arrest, though, you are in the legal custody of the officer and cannot leave the scene.

What Are Your Rights When Arrested?

Your constitutional rights, set forth in the Miranda opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • You have the right to have a lawyer present anytime you are questioned
  • You have the right to have a lawyer appointed for you, if you cannot afford one

You cannot be questioned until you have been given your Miranda rights. Even then, you cannot be questioned without a lawyer present unless you voluntarily give up your rights. If you change your mind in the middle of an interrogation, the questioning must stop until your lawyer is present.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

At the Law Office of Lance Dacre, in American Canyon, California, we provide more than 12 years of practice experience to people charged with misdemeanors or felonies. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

The Most Common Police Mistakes in DUI Investigations

Posted on | March 29, 2016 | No Comments

So you’ve been arrested and charged with drunk driving…you don’t want to just plead guilty and take your punishment. Why? Because police officers regularly make mistakes in DUI cases. Here are the most common:

The Officer Makes a Traffic Stop without Probable Cause

A police officer doesn’t have to suspect that you are drinking and driving, but the officer must have some reasonable basis for pulling you over. Any violation of the law will do—speeding, failing to obey traffic signals, even an equipment failure, such as a broken tail light. If you can show that there was no reasonable basis to pull you over, any evidence obtained in the traffic stop may be excluded at trial.

The Officer Did Not Properly Conduct the Field Sobriety Test

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has strict guidelines for conducting field sobriety tests. Such tests must take mitigating factors into consideration, such as medical conditions, fatigue, weather conditions or defects in pavement or roadway. Often, police officers will subjectively identify even the slightest misstep as an indication of intoxication.

The Officer Makes an Arrest without Probable Cause

Before you can be arrested for drinking and driving, the officer must have probable cause to believe that your blood alcohol content is in excess of the legal limit. This may be based on your failure of the field sobriety test, on your general conduct or on a breathalyzer test administered at the scene. However, if there is no reasonable basis to believe that you are drinking and driving, any evidence subsequently obtained may be thrown out.

The Officer Improperly Administers the Blood Alcohol Test

Under California law, a police officer must continually observe you for a minimum of 15 minutes before administering a blood alcohol content test. Far too often, this is not done. As a result, tests can be inaccurate—for example, you may burp, causing a higher level of alcohol to be in your mouth or on your breath.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

We offer more than 12 years of practice experience to people in American Canyon and the surrounding communities. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

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