California Legal Articles

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White Collar Crime FAQs

The majority of my practice focuses on the defense of federal white collar crimes, which can be a confusing area of law for people who are unfamiliar with the system. In that vein, I've compiled some basic questions and answers regarding white collar criminal defense to help shed some light on the process.

Should I Appoint Co-Trustees?

For many people, a comprehensive estate plan includes one or more trusts. Trusts offer numerous advantages such as flexibility, control and both tax and probate avoidance in some cases. Although there are a wide variety of trusts that you can choose from when you decide to create a trust, all trusts require the same basic elements to start—a beneficiary, a trustee and funds.

How to Protect Against Identity Theft

In today’s digital age, identity theft is a serious concern for everyone. Not only is stealing an identity potentially easier in the electronic age, but once an identity has been stolen, a considerable amount of damage can be done in a relatively short period of time. Sometimes, the damage cannot be repaired, leaving victims without their life savings in their golden years.

Hidden Assets That Warrant an Estate Plan

One of the most common reasons people give for not creating a comprehensive estate plan is that they do not believe they have enough assets to warrant creating one. While there are reasons apart from assets why creating an estate plan is important, you might also be surprised at the hidden assets you have that do warrant creating an estate plan.

Are Patent Reforms Working? USPTO Says Yes

United States Patent Trademark Office - Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, David Kappos recently testified before a Congressional committee regarding the implementation of the America Invents Act. Kappos told lawmakers that innovators are "already seeing the benefits of this legislation."

Pedestrian Safety and Concerns

Failure to yield to pedestrians most often results in terrible injuries. In California, specifically Los Angeles, pedestrians are said to be in 3x more danger than the national average. If you are someone who walks the streets of Los Angeles, consider the following:

Can An Anonymous Cell Phone Call to Police Support a Traffic Stop for DUI?

With the proliferation of cell phone use, police often receive calls from motorists who claim to be witnessing a driver who appears to be intoxicated and a danger to other motorists. Sometimes, the driver is not willing to give his name for fear of being called to court as a witness. The witness may believe that he will be arrested on an outstanding warrant, overdue child support or for immigration issues.

Defenses Insurance Companies will Use in Bicycle Accident Cases

If you were injured in a bicycle accident you may think you have a clear case of driver negligence and don’t need to worry about hiring an attorney. Think again. Insurance companies can refuse to pay your claim based on the following defense, and unless you have an attorney to argue them you may be out of luck:

Gastric Bypass Surgery Complications from Medical Malpractice

People considering a gastric bypass procedure need to understand that gastric bypass surgery is major abdominal surgery and with all surgeries comes risk of serious injury or even death. Gastric bypass surgery modifies a patient’s digestive system reducing the amount of food a patient can eat.

Seeking Justice for Skechers Shape-Ups Arm and Wrist Injuries

Most of the injuries reportedly caused by the Skechers Shape-Ups involve the legs and other weight-bearing parts of the body. However, there have also been dozens of reports claiming arm and wrist injuries sustained after falling in an accident caused by the Skechers Shape-Ups.

Juvenile Commits First Degree Residential Burglary by Stealing Guns from Closet Near Home Entry

In San Diego County, a juvenile (“M.A.”) entered a house with the owner’s permission without any intent to commit a felony therein. While inside, he learned that there were guns in a closet and then decided to steal then. The closet was three feet by four feet and in the home’s entry way, but not in the home’s interior.

Digital Assets are Tangible Assets for Estate Planning

When you first meet with an estate planning attorney, you are asked to create a list of your assets. One of the biggest categories that people tend to leave off their lists is their digital assets In fact, recent surveys have shown that over half of individuals over the age of 45 neglect to include their digital assets in their estate plans.

Will Positive Train Control Save Lives?

After the horrific train accident of 2008 in Chatsworth, CA, Congress passed an act that would require all passenger trains to be outfitted with the Positive Train Control system (PTC) by 2015. The city of Los Angeles on the other hand has taken further initiative to make that requirement come true much earlier.

Challenge to Actor's Will Demonstrates Probate Pitfall

People sometimes choose to take steps to enable the future transfer of their assets to their loved ones outside of the probate process. When you use a last will your estate must be probated, and there are certain pitfalls that go along with this course of action.

Legal Professors: Do-It Yourself Notions Not a Viable Substitute

Consumer Reports magazine tackled a subject that is near and dear to estate planning attorneys recently and we would like to pass along the results. You may be aware of the fact that there are some websites on the Internet that will provide visitors with do-it yourself estate planning documents.

Avoid Bodily Injuries by Staying Current on Auto Recalls

There’s been quite a few auto recalls recently in the news. From defective GM fuel pumps to potentially fire-hazardous power steering cords – you name it. Just recently Honda recalled 600,000 vehicles for a faulty power steering hose that has the potential of causing a fire with its leaking steering hose. To add to the list, Honda is recalling 820,000 Civic sedans to expand an earlier recall this year for a faulty headlight wiring system.

Scratch Below the Surface before Using Joint Accounts

There are times when you may hear someone make the case for a simple solution to a complex problem and find yourself buying into this self-styled notion. When it comes to estate planning, you would do well to scratch below the surface and think long and hard before adopting pseudo-solutions that may be too good to be true.

Kernicterus and Severe Jaundice in Newborns from Medical Malpractice

Kernicterus is a neurological condition that happens to a newborn with severe jaundice. It involves a high level of bilirubin, a substance created from the breakdown by the liver of old red blood cells that leaves the blood and builds up in the brain tissues. When the bilirubin enters the brain tissues, it causes permanent brain damage to the infant.

Three Felonies and You’re Out

Named for the penalty in baseball for hitting strikes, the three strikes law is state legislation that imposes a life penalty for individuals that are convicted of three or more serious charges. This is typically reserved for felony crimes but is left up to the state to determine the details.

A Bad Marriage is Not the Same as a Sham Marriage

Marriage to a U.S. citizen is the most common way of getting a legal permanent resident status in the United States especially when the alien has been out of status in the country. Fraud statistics show that between 1998-2007 more than 2 million people have reported marriage as a means to gain residency within the United States.

New Decision of the Appellate Court Regarding Advance Parole

An alien who applied for adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident of the United States should apply for advance parole in case he/she needs to leave the country while the adjustment of status is pending. Previously, an alien who leaves the United States after incurring at least one year of unlawful presence will not be allowed to re-enter the country even if he/she is in possession of an advance parole document. This new decision issued by the BIA changed that rule.

First Degree Burglary Conviction Upheld When Residential Home Uninhabited and Realtor’s Wallet is Stolen.

Under Penal Code § 460, every burglary of an inhabited dwelling is first degree burglary. Burglary of a structure that is not an “inhabited dwelling house” is second degree burglary. On June 27, 2010, realtor Janice Konkol was conducting an open house of a home in Irvine. Rodney Little and his girlfriend walked into the house.

Los Angeles County Traffic Accident Statistics

Every time a driver gets behind the wheel they are at risk for experiencing an accident. A car accident can affect people’s lives in several different ways. First of all, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths and injuries throughout the United States.

If I Am Arrested, Can Police Look at My Text Messages?

Erik Rangel allegedly beat and stabbed a man in a San Mateo park. The crime was believed to be gang related. Days later, a judge signed a warrant for Rangel’s arrest and a search warrant for Rangel’s home. The search warrant authorized the seizure of stabbing instruments, as well as items containing stains or traces of human blood. The search warrant further authorized the seizure of items commonly known as gang indicia.

The Police Took Your Money, So You Usually Get it Back, Plus Interest

Under Health and Safety Code § 11469(i), when a government agency seizes a person’s money, the agency has a duty to protect the money and preserve its value. The government does this by placing the money into an interest bearing account instead of allowing the money to lose value over time. Moreover, the person whose money was taken is often entitled to get his money back, plus the accrued interest.

California Labor Law: Checklist for Determining an Independent Contractor vs. an Employee

According to California labor law, the IRS has developed a checklist to distinguish between an independent contractor vs. full time. Understand this list to avoid any conflict between employee or contractor distinctions.

Obese Employees are Less Likely to Prevail Against an Employer in California State Court

Private employers may generally terminate or deny employment unless they discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, alienage, age, sex, or disability. The FEHA is the California law that prohibits such employment discrimination. Federal laws define protected disability differently than the FEHA. In a California state court, an obese employee who files a disability claim must prove that their obesity resulted from a physiological condition.

High Risk Pregnancy Causing a Birth Defect or Birth Injury

High risk pregnancies include premature delivery, multiple births, pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH), preeclampsia, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), older women who are pregnant, a large infant, and other factors. Even though a woman may be in a high risk category, this does not excuse a doctor or medical professional for negligence.

Federal Conviction Reversed for Assault Because Federal Officer Not Aware Defendant Threw Rock at Him

On June 18, 2009, Enrique Acosta-Sierra threw a baseball-size piece of concrete at U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer Abram Lopez. Acosta-Sierra missed, although he was only seven or eight feet away. Officer Lopez only became aware of the attempted battery (assault) when the concrete hit the metal gate behind him and made a loud noise.

Seven Years to Life Sentence for Dissuading a Witness for Benefit of a Gang Reversed Because Force Threatened

Michael Valles was fatally shot at a tattoo parlor in Stanislaus County in 2004. Felix Lopez was charged with violating Penal Code § 187, murder, as well as four other counts associated with the crime, including attempting to dissuade a witness from testifying (Penal Code § 136.31(a)(2) and active participation in a street gang (Penal Code § 186.22(a)).

How the Tort Law Protects Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Victims

Every Los Angeles motorcyclist should know how the tort law gives them protection from unnecessary expenses in case they get involved in an accident. Under the said law, motorcycle accident victims may be entitled to damages in case they get involved in an accident that was caused by another party. Definition of Torts: In order for riders to fully appreciate and understand the tort law, it is essential to define “torts.”

Securities Fraud in California - Understanding Securities Fraud

Investing always involves a degree of risk taking and not all investment losses are due to investment fraud. There are cases however, where investors have lost substantial amounts of money because of brokerage firms, stockbrokers, or financial advisors violating the securities laws.

Wartime Veterans May Face Look-Back Period

There are certain benefit programs that senior citizens often rely on such as Medi-Cal that have upper resource limits. You cannot qualify for the program as a way to pay for long-term care if you have countable assets that exceed a certain amount. As a result, Medi-Cal planning can include giving away resources to your children and/or grandchildren as a way to stay within the limits. After all, they would be inheriting these resources anyway after you pass away.

Filing a Wrongful Death Suit Has Strict Guidelines

Although you may have lost your favorite niece or nephew in a car crash or other accident in California, you can't file even file an amicus brief in a wrongful-death suit because you are a second-level relative, unless you can prove that you were the primary caregiver of the victim. The way the the system works in California. Not only is the time limit short in filing wrongful-death actions, but the degree of relationship to the deceased is the key.

Medical Malpractice Responsible for Birth Injuries, Including Cerebral Palsy

Two major types of birth injuries can occur as a result of medical malpractice, these include a traumatic brain injury and a lack of oxygen to the brain of the infant. If a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit. A birth injury or birth defect can be one of the most difficult and stressful situations a family may encounter.

Filing Car Accident Case Caused by Defective Product

Los Angeles car accidents are not all caused by drivers’ negligence as there are times wherein the car manufacturers are at fault. There are many causes of traffic crashes in Los Angeles and they include defective car parts. Under the tort law, a person who gets injured as a result of using defective product may be entitled to personal injury damages.

Does the Law Against Carrying a Dirk or Dagger Violate My Constitutional Right to Bear Arms for Self Defense?

On September 28, 2010, a security guard removed Kenyatta Quinn Mitchell from the San Diego trolley because Mitchell did not have a ticket to ride the trolley. Another guard came to assist and noticed that Mitchell had a concealed knife sticking out from under his sweat shirt. The police were then summoned to the scene. They arrived and found Mitchell with an eleven inch knife.

The Police Asked Me to Be an Informant- Should I?

The activities of an informant are glamorized in movies and on television as dangerous, exciting, and dramatic. The informant can be the key witness everyone relies upon, so they are respected as powerful. Police appreciate this image of an informant, so it is not uncommon for police to appeal to this sense of adventure in saying, “Give us three and we’ll set you free.”

Estate Tax: How Much is too Much

Taxes are a controversial subject, but most people would probably agree that a tax that takes more of the assets in question than it leaves behind to the rightful owners is questionable. However, this is the situation those in the estate planning community are faced with in 2013 with regard to the federal estate tax.

7 Common Violations of the Americans with Disabilities

Statistics show that more than 4 million people in the State of California have disability. This means that a relatively large number of workers in the state are suffering from certain types of medical condition. According to, an independent health and disability news source, about 856,000 workers in the state are disabled. Hence, it could be said that disabled people in California play a vital role in the development of the state’s workforce.

Orange County Woman Dies After Six Car Pileup Accident

A Placentia woman has succumbed to injuries sustained in a massive six-car pileup car accident on Interstate 15 in Yermo on Friday, September, 1, 2012 according to the Desert Dispatch. Grace Imai, 74, was traveling northbound on I-15 Friday with her husband when they were rear-ended by another vehicle. The ensuing collision led to a multi-car pileup in which six vehicles were eventually involved.

What Is Mayhem (Penal Code § 203) and Aggravated Mayhem (Penal Code § 205)?

If one is charged with mayhem, or aggravated mayhem, it is not unusual for the rhetorical question of, “what is mayhem?” to be asked. After all, “mayhem” is not a word often used nowadays.

Some Observers Decry Estate Tax Rate

Where do you draw the line when it comes to a tax rate? This is an ongoing question that is always being debated among lawmakers. However, even the most zealous pro-tax advocates may have to concede that a tax that consumes the majority of the resources in question is a bit excessive. This will be the case with the federal estate tax in 2013, assuming the laws that are in place as of this writing remain in effect.

Right to a Fair Trial

In recent decades, the likelihood of an arrest leading to a conviction has generally risen. Some defendants think that they can "beat the system" on their own. Those who have been through the criminal court system know better: having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to prevent becoming another statistic and to avert the impact of a criminal conviction.

What to do After a DUI Arrest

Drunk drivers account for a large number of accidents that cause injuries and deaths in the U.S. Vehicle operators have a duty of care to drive in such a manner as to not cause harm to other vehicle occupants. It is always best to refrain from mixing drinking and driving, AND have a designated driver take over, take a taxi, or some other solution.

What Is Penal Code § 647(b), Prostitution and Solicitation for Prostitution?

California Penal Code § 647(b) prohibits one from willfully engaging in a sexual act in exchange for money or other goods or services (typically drugs). This seemingly broad definition does not include pimping and pandering, which are separately addressed (Penal Code § 266 and 266i) or indecent exposure (Penal Code § 314). The scope of § 647(b) includes both the prostitute and the customer, also known as a “john.”

Simple Medical and Legal Background on Slip and Fall Accidents in Los Angeles

Slip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of injuries in the United States, just behind road accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of Americans get involved and injured in slip and fall accidents. Because of the frequency of such accidents, it is necessary for all Los Angeles citizens to know the medical and legal rudiments involved in slip and fall incidents.

Shareholder Buy-Sell Agreements for Veterinary Corporations

In this article I explain shareholder buy-sell agreements for veterinarians and veterinary corporations. A buy-sell agreement (also called a shareholders agreement) protects the corporation from the veterinarian / shareholders, specifically their death, loss of license, disability and dispute.

Veterinarian Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements

In this article, I first discuss when a veterinarian is a contractor as opposed to an employee. Second, I look at the essential terms of a veterinarian employment contract and a veterinarian independent contractor agreement. Is you is, or is you ain’t, a contractor? From time to time, to generate revenue, the IRS and CA EDD will audit your veterinary practice.

Legal Compliance Checklist for a Veterinary Corporation

In my last article, I ask the threshold question, Should you incorporate your veterinary practice? In this Article #2, I give you a legal compliance checklist for your veterinary corporation. Incorporating a veterinary practice can feel overwhelming. There are so many unknowns to cause you anxiety. I write this checklist to fill in the unknown. This checklist gives you a bird’s eye view of legal compliance for your start-up veterinary corporation.