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.

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted on | November 22, 2017 | Comments Off

Happy Thanksgiving

Expunging a Criminal Record in California

Posted on | November 21, 2017 | Comments Off

Expunging a Criminal Record in California

Did you know that most criminal convictions are a matter of public record? That means that anyone—an employer, a landlord or even an ex-girlfriend, can find out if you have been convicted of a criminal offense. That can make it difficult to get the job you want, live in the apartments of your choice, or even get student aid. You can, however, seal a conviction record, so that it can only be seen by a limited number of people. It’s called an expungement/expunction.

What Will an Expunction Do?

As a general rule, expunging a criminal record erases it completely. For all intents and purposes, it never happened. In California, a conviction record is treated a little differently. When you expunge a criminal record in California, your case will be reopened, the verdict or plea withdrawn, and all charges will be dropped. Anyone looking at your file will see the notation “dismissed in the interests of justice.”

If, however, you were not convicted, but only arrested and charged, you can have that record destroyed. If you successfully request the sealing of such a record, any police reports, fingerprints, mug shots and other information related to the arrest will be destroyed. As a general rule, sealing a criminal arrest record is almost always contested by the authorities. You’ll have a particularly high burden of proof—you must show that “no person of ordinary care and prudence would believe that [you] were guilty.

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 DUI. 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.

Happy Halloween!

Posted on | October 30, 2017 | Comments Off

Happy Halloween!

Challenging a DUI in California – Part Two

Posted on | October 5, 2017 | Comments Off

ThinkstockPhotos-177829425

Under California law, you can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence if you take a blood test and it shows that you had a blood alcohol content of .08 (8 percent) or higher. As a general rule, police must have probable cause to arrest you and require a warrant to take a blood sample. You have the right to refuse to provide a blood sample, but your driving privileges will be automatically suspended if you do. There are legitimate ways that you can challenge a DUI in California, even if you were drinking.

Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests

In most instances, the police officer will initially request that you submit to “field sobriety” tests, designed to provide probably cause for a breath or blood alcohol test. There may be good reasons, however, as to why you might “fail” a field sobriety test—you may have balance issues, problems with your knees or feet, or may simply have been tired. In addition, law enforcement officers often fail to provide any kind of baseline to which your performance on the field sobriety test can be compared. Simply saying that you “performed poorly” does not provide the necessary probable cause—the officer must show that your performance was abnormal. In fact, there are many good reasons why you might “perform poorly” on such a test:

  • You were wearing the wrong footwear—high heels or dress shoes
  • It was dark out, so you couldn’t see the terrain
  • There were potholes or other roadway defects
  • You were nervous or anxious

Challenging Police Observations of Inebriation

Often, police will claim that they “objectively observed” that you were intoxicated. This may include assertions that your speech was slurred, that your eyes were bloodshot, or that you were tentative in your movements. However, if you have allergies or have been on the road for a while, that can easily explain watery or bloodshot eyes. In addition, the embarrassment and anxiety that you can naturally feel when pulled over can cause you to stutter or stumble in your speech or may cause you to look flushed.

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 DUI or driving under the influence. 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.

Challenging a DUI in California – Part One

Posted on | September 28, 2017 | Comments Off

Shot glass with car keys and handcuffs

If you’ve had a few drinks and get behind the wheel, only to be pulled over for a broken tail light or a minor traffic infraction, you can still be charged with drinking and driving, even if it didn’t affect your ability to drive. If you blow .08 or higher, you can be charged under California’s drunk driving laws. But don’t think that, even if you’ve had a drink or two, that you’ll have no option but to plead guilty and accept the consequences. A DUI conviction can haunt you for a long time…and there are a number of ways to challenge such a charge. In this blog, we look at some of the common ways to fight a DUI.

Did the Officer Violate Your Constitutional Rights?

Under the U.S. Constitution, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause to pull you over, and must have probable cause to compel you to take a breath or blood test. Weaving within your lane may not be sufficient to warrant a traffic stop, unless the officer can testify to “pronounced weaving” for a length of time. In addition, before you are taken into custody, you must be told your Miranda rights—the right to have an attorney present before you make any statement, the right to remain silent, etc.

Did the Officer Monitor You Immediately Prior to the DUI Arrest?

According to California law, a police officer who administers a breath test must watch the suspect continuously for up to 15 minutes before the test is given. If you have heartburn, acid reflux or gastroesophageal disease, it can result in an inaccurate reading of your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you belched, burped, hiccupped, regurgitated or consumed something else immediately prior to the test, it can result in a false reading.

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 DUI. 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 is Robbery in California?

Posted on | August 5, 2017 | Comments Off

What is Robbery in CaliforniaThough robbery is similar to theft (it involves the wrongful taking of someone else’s property), there are a number of specific elements that differentiate it and make it a far more serious offense. Here are some of the key differences between theft and robbery.

Theft Defined

The traditional definition of theft, also called larceny, includes the following elements:

  • The wrongful taking (i.e., without permission) and carrying away of
  • The property of another person
  • With the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its use or possession

Larceny or theft does not require that the victim be present. In fact, more often than not, it’s done without the owner’s knowledge.

Theft can typically be a misdemeanor or a felony, usually based on the amount taken and the defendant’s prior criminal record.

Robbery Defined

While robbery also includes the taking of someone else’s property without permission or consent, it adds the requirement that the taking be conducted with or by the use of force or intimidation. It may involve the use of a firearm, knife or other weapon, or it may only involve threats of physical violence. However, because robbery requires the use of force or intimidation, it requires that the victim be present at the time of the theft.

Because of the imminent threat of physical violence that accompanies a robbery, it is almost always charged as a felony.

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 Different Types of Theft Crimes in California

Posted on | July 5, 2017 | No Comments

The Different Types of Theft Crimes in CaliforniaUnder California law, there are a number of theft-type crimes with which you can be charged, most of which are considered “crimes of moral turpitude.” Conviction of one of these offenses could jeopardize your ability to work in your chosen field, and may disqualify you for certain types of licenses. You can also run into problems with immigration or naturalization processes. Here are the most common types of theft offenses under California law.

  • Grand theft—Grand theft is defined as the taking of property with a value of more than $950, without permission and with intent to permanently deprive. Grand theft can be a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Petty theft—The intentional taking of property with a value of $950 or less is typically a misdemeanor, although a repeat offense can be charged as a felony.
  • Grand theft auto—California makes no distinction simply because the theft involves a motor vehicle. It’s still petty theft if the value is $950 or less and grand theft if it’s more.
  • Grand theft of a firearm—The theft of any gun is considered a grand theft, but will only be charged as a misdemeanor if the value is $950 or less.
  • Shoplifting—Taking or attempting to take merchandise from a commercial establishment during business hours is shoplifting, and will be charged as a misdemeanor, provided the value of the merchandise is $950 or less.
  • Burglary—Entering a structure (business or residential) with the intent to commit a theft or felony inside is burglary and is charged as a felony.
  • Robbery—The use of violence, force or threats to take property makes a theft crime a robbery, a felony in California.
  • Embezzlement—Taking property that is not yours, but that is entrusted to you by the owner is a felony.

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.

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.

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