Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Internet Crimes

Posted on: March 2, 2009 at 7:59 a.m.

Los Angeles Internet crimes attorneys have had their hands full for the last decade as the Internet continues to develop new functions and thus new laws. Internet crimes in Los Angeles are often prosecuted harshly because the entertainment industry is very protective and powerful, and because there are numerous high-profile individuals who do their best to protect their name.

The term "Internet Crime" is a sort of catchall phrase that can represent so many crimes. In its most basic meaning, a Los Angeles Internet crime is any crime committed while using the Internet. Some of the most frequently seen Internet crimes in Los Angeles include phishing, credit card fraud, illegal downloading, child pornography, illegal pornography, and illegal distribution of viruses or spam. Phishing, for those who may not know, is a type of fraud where an individual or group poses as an otherwise trustworthy entity such as a bank and asks for personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, social security information or account passwords.

With such information, they can then access a persons bank accounts or credit cards, or proceed to commit identity theft. Phishing scams are so common that I myself was approached twice in the last month with e-mails claiming to be from banks that I no longer have accounts with that needed to "update" my account information for security purposes. Credit card fraud is nearly interchangeable with online auction fraud. In these cases, the victim tries to purchase something online with their credit or debit card that is never delivered to them. Bank and credit card account numbers are often the information that is being sought after.

Illegal downloading is downloading information from the Internet (usually music, movies or television shows) that would generally incur a fee of some sort from websites that have basically pirated their merchandise. Child pornography is illegal in Los Angeles and the United States, as is viewing or displaying it online. Other forms of illegal pornography are somewhat vague by definition and are more often subject to local or state laws. For the illegal distribution of spam and viruses, since by nature they are often intended to corrupt or otherwise bring harm to the computer they enter, they have also been deemed illegal and are offenses punishable by law. Los Angeles Internet crimes attorneys, such as those at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, are quite knowledgeable about Internet laws in Los Angeles and how they differ from non-Internet crimes.

Punishment for Internet crimes varies widely depending on the facts of each case. Depending on the scale of the damage done, imprisonment, large monetary fines & restitution, community service, probation or parole may be handed down by a judge as punishment. As in most cases, a first-time offender will likely be given a less severe punishment while the opposite is true for repeat offenders. One important note here is that if the defendant committed a sex crime while using the Internet that involved a minor, he or she may be subjected to greater charges with correspondingly greater punishments. The complexity of Los Angeles Internet crimes requires the skilled hand of an attorney experienced in fighting Internet-related criminal charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with committing an Internet crime, call the Los Angeles Internet crimes attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP immediately to begin preparing your defense.

Tagged as: internet crimes defense

Warrants in Los Angeles

Posted on: February 26, 2009 at 10:03 a.m.

One legal area that many people in Los Angeles don't fully understand is how to deal with warrants. If people feel they have nothing to hide, then they won't consult a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer regarding warrants that have been issued against them. However, Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers know that warrants can create a slew of legal problems and should be treated quite seriously.

Warrants exist for the purpose of allowing law enforcement officials to do their jobs while still protecting the rights of freedom and privacy that Americans and Angelinoshold so dear. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees a citizens right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, which is a stark contrast to other forms of government where law enforcement officials can search and seize property or arrest citizens with no justification or legal process at all.

There are three basic types of warrants issued by Los Angeles law enforcement officials in the United States: search, arrest and execution. While government entities such as legislatures can also issue warrants, typically they are issued by a court or a judge.

Search warrants in Los Angeles are issued for the purpose of searching a criminal suspects home or belongings to look for evidence of wrongdoing. If you are a suspect in a criminal investigation, law enforcement officials must first demonstrate why they believe you are a suspect, then receive signed permission from either a judge or a court to go through your personal property. Otherwise, any evidence they have against you would have been illegally obtained and inadmissible in court proceedings. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will look for specific details such as this in order to defend you.

Arrest warrants in Los Angeles are similar in procedure to search warrants in that they, also, must be signed by a court or judge. They must also show probable cause that a crime has been committed and that the person named in the warrant has committed these crimes. In most legal jurisdictions, an arrest warrant is required for any misdemeanor not committed in sight of a law enforcement official. In the case of a felony charge, however, a warrant for arrest is usually not needed as long as law enforcement officials have the necessary probable cause before making an arrest. A bench warrant is a variant of an arrest warrant and is issued when someone charged with a criminal act fails to appear for a scheduled court appearance.

An execution warrant is really to protect a state or federally employed executioner from being charged with murder. In these cases, if someone is convicted of a severe enough crime and sentenced to death, and usually after all appeals have been exhausted, an execution warrant is issued and must be completed within a specified period of time. If it is not completed within that time frame, another warrant must be issued.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense in Los Angeles, having an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney by your side is the single greatest asset you can have. The attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP will meticulously go through the details of your case and fight for the best possible outcome for you.

Tagged as: california criminal laws

Domestic Violence in Los Angeles

Posted on: February 25, 2009 at 10:53 a.m.

Los Angeles domestic violence attorneys, such as those at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, regularly defend individuals charged with serious domestic violence charges. This crime carries with it serious jail time, fines, counseling, probation and more. Finding a qualified Los Angeles domestic violence attorney who knows how difficult it can be to navigate the law is important.

The term domestic violence covers all manner of violence or abuse that takes place in a home or domestic setting. Typically, domestic violence is most often thought of as spousal abuse. However, domestic violence also includes verbal, physical or sexual abuse of children in a domestic situation, or even between siblings. It is a common belief that the victim of domestic violence can decide to either not prosecute or drop charges in their respective cases. This is a misconception.

If law enforcement officials arrive at the scene and find evidence of abuse such as injury to the victim, then charges of domestic violence will be made by law enforcement officials and the suspected abuser arrested. Domestic violence charges can include: assault & battery, criminal trespassing, harassment, reckless endangerment, restraining order violations, sexual assault, spousal rape, stalking, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

While the home is considered a private place, charges of domestic abuse or violence bring actions into the very public arena of a court of law. Criminal convictions can and do stay on your permanent record to follow you around for the rest of your life. Hiring an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney right away is the smartest thing you can do for yourself if you have been charged with any kind of domestic violence.

Domestic violence offenses are typically tried as misdemeanors, but can, in some instances, be tried as a felony if the defendant sexually abused or assaulted a minor, or if substantial bodily injury was caused to the victim. If you are tried and, indeed, convicted on a charge of domestic violence, penalties can include: prison time, restitution, large monetary fines, community service, probation, parole and court-ordered counseling.

Los Angeles domestic violence cases can be very murky water for a defendant to wade through. Restraining orders may be filed limiting the defendants access to their own home, or contact with their spouse or children. Restraining orders or protection orders are strictly enforced and any violation of them can result in further criminal charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP right away. Their combined 50 years of criminal defense experience will be a great asset in maintaining your freedom and good reputation.

Tagged as: domestic violence pc 273_5

Drug Crimes In Los Angeles

Posted on: February 20, 2009 at 11:49 a.m.

Los Angeles drug crime lawyers regularly defend clients throughout Los Angeles county who are up against harsh consequences. Drug charges, including possession, distribution, manufacturing and transporting, bring heavy sentences in Los Angeles, including jail time, fines, probation, counseling and more.

Recently, two men were accused of making and distributing MDMA, popularly known as ecstasy. Ecstasy is known as a club drug in Los Angeles, and it's dangerous because if the person taking the drug gets too dehydrated, they could die.

The two suspects, who live inSanta Barbara, were taken into federal custody on Thursday by agents who served warrants in Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Venice, La Verne, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Investigators raided an MDMA lab in the Glassell Park area and confiscated about 500 MDMA tablets, along with a "substantial" amount of chemicals used to manufacture the drug. The suspects will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles.

These suspects could be facing serious drug penalty charges, and federal officials usually come down harder on drug offenses in Los Angeles than local prosecutors. Los Angeles drug defense lawyers who defend those accused in federal court understand that there are subtle differences between federal, state and city charges for drug crimes.

Due to the life-altering legal consequences that are involved, it is always in a persons best interest to obtain the services of a criminal defense attorney who has the legal background and knowledge it takes to successfully fight drug crime charges.

Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP is a criminal defense law firm that has been helping clients throughout Southern California contest their criminal charges and obtain superior results for years. Our skilled drug crimes attorneys have over 50 years of collective court room experience and we are fully prepared to undertake our clients cases. When we work with our clients, we do everything possible to make sure that they receive the attention, resources, and dedicated legal counsel that they deserve.

Tagged as: drug crimes defense

Petty Theft in Los Angeles

Posted on: February 18, 2009 at 9:20 a.m.

The city of Los Angeles is known for its shopping, and the city is covered in malls from Santa Monica to Riverside. As a result, there are numerous petty theft crimes every year, and Los Angeles theft crime attorneys often represent those accused of committing petty theft crimes.

Petty theft is a seemingly small crime with potentially serious consequences. In its most basic form, theft is, of course, stealing. Petty theft is generally defined as the stealing of goods whose monetary value is under $500 without the intention of returning them. As an example, if you were at a house party and decided to take a $200 watch from a bedroom without permission, this would be petty theft. If you were to take a more expensive item, say a nice camcorder or some expensive jewelry, this would constitute grand theft in that the goods stolen were worth more than $500.

This is contrasted to burglary, which is stealing something from a place that you were not lawfully allowed to enter such as entering a retail store after hours or breaking into someones home. The differences in the details here can be tricky, and if you have been accused of petty theft, the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between jail time or paying a fine.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will tell you that petty theft can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the value of the goods stolen. A first-time offender who stole less than $500-worth of goods will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor and be sentenced to pay fines and/or restitution. A deferred judgment or diversion is also a possibility. In this case, you are still required to pay fines, but if you are not arrested for another crime within a specified period of probation, the charge will come off your criminal record. A second offense is more likely to be tried as a felony and will carry the possibility of serving time in jail. Deferred judgment is also not usually an option and the theft will be a permanent mark on your criminal record.

The penalties of petty theft in Los Angeles vary considerably depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and having a solid criminal defense attorney fighting for you is a decision you will not regret. If you have been accused of committing petty theft, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today to begin preparing your defense.

Tagged as: california criminal laws

Armed Robbery in Los Angeles

Posted on: February 17, 2009 at 7:10 a.m.

Los Angeles theft crime lawyers will tell you that one of the most serious forms of theft crimes is armed robbery, because it usually involved either some form of violence and/or threats of violence that can add on years to a prison sentence. For example,a group of armed men raided a Harbor Gateway company and stole three shipping containers in a heist authorities suspect may be the latest in a string of cargo thefts by the same group in the Southland, police said Monday. At least five men subdued a security guard at a logistics company, leaving the guard tied and lying face down on the ground.

Two of the men, armed with handguns, entered the warehouse through a rear door and the rest drove in through the front with semitrailer trucks, officials said. When a security guard tried to stop the vehicles from entering, the two armed men attacked the guard. Robbery is the crime of seizing property through violence or intimidation, and armed robbery is the use of a weapon while in the course of robbery.

In Los Angeles, such a theft crime as grand theft is taking another persons property (valued at $400 or greater) without the persons consent. Many grand theft crimes are considered felonies; which means that the offender can be sentenced with over a year of jail time if convicted.

Once a person is convicted a theft crime, he/she may be punished with:

  • imprisonment

  • large fines

  • restitution

  • community service

  • probation

  • parole

If you have been charged with a serious criminal offense, do not hesitate to call Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP at (877) 781-1570. Our knowledgeable legal team can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options.

Tagged as: california criminal laws

Los Angeles Sex Crimes and Megan's Law

Posted on: February 13, 2009 at 9:46 a.m.

Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys regularly battle against laws that have penalties which far outweigh the crime. Sex crimes and sexual offenses in Los Angeles are highly emotional crimes when it comes to penalties, but as most qualified Los Angeles sex crimes defense lawyers will say, the overwhelming penalties involved are unconstitutional and overaggressive.

Being charged with a sexual offense is nothing to be cavalier about. Recent trends in legislation and law enforcement make sexual offense crimes that can follow people around for the rest of their lives. In Los Angeles, convicted sex offenders are required by law to list themselves on the state's Sex Offender Registry for indefinite periods of time. This registry, which includes the home address of a listed sex offender, is accessible by the public. Any landlord, potential boss, school or neighbor will be able to look up your information and know exactly which crime you were convicted of.

Sex crimes in Los Angeles can be much more difficult to prove than any other crime, and in some cases, consent is the determining factor. However, even if explicit consent is given, it is legally invalid in cases involving a minor, the mentally incapacitated and the unconscious or intoxicated. In cases of alleged child molestation, false accusations are actually fairly common as children can easily be influenced by adults to say things that are untrue. All of these factors can be difficult to prove or disprove, and a skilled Los Angeles sex crime attorney with experience in fighting sex crime charges is essential.

Some commonly committed Los Angeles sex crimes include: rape, statutory rape (sex with a person under 18), date rape, lewd conduct, indecent exposure, sexual abuse or assault, child pornography, child molestation, prostitution, pandering (procuring the services of a prostitute for a third party) and the distribution of illegal pornography. Punishments for these sex crimes include: prison time, heavy monetary fines, restitution, court-ordered counseling, community service, probation, parole and mandatory registration with the state's Sex Offender Registry.

Don't let your life be forever changed by a sex crime accusation. If you are being accused of a sex crime, contact the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin LLP immediately to begin preparing your defense.

Tagged as: sex crime accusations

Immigration and Crime

Posted on: February 6, 2009 at 9:09 a.m.

Recent studies have proven what Los Angeles criminal defense and Los Angeles immigration lawyers have long been saying, that there is no real link between immigration and crime. Lawyers know that throughout the city of Los Angeles the issue of immigration often complicates criminal matters. However, recent studies back up the claim of attorneys, and hopefully that will make an impact on policy.

There is widely-held belief that an influx of immigration brings a corresponding rise in crime as immigrants settle in poorer urban areas. This widely and long held belief is wrong.

A 2008 study published by Harvard University sociologist Robert Sampson looked at the correlation between immigration and crime in several cities around the United States. As an example, between 1995 and 2000, immigration illegal immigration surged while national homicide rates actually declined.

Los Angeles saw an especially high increase in immigration during this five year period and during this same period the overall crime rate actually declined 45%. Sampson believes that part of the reason for this is that new immigrants are strongly motivated to work and get ahead and obviously want to avoid deportation.

Based on his research, Sampson found that first-general immigrants in cities such as Chicago were 45% less likely to commit a violent act than third generation immigrants were. Sampson's work flies in the face of long-standing beliefs that immigrants, illegal immigrants in particular, bring crime with them to the U.S. Any number of stories in the media depict many immigrants as criminals who take away funding, services and jobs from American citizens while flouting local law enforcement to commit multiple crimes. Such prejudicial beliefs very often influence the treatment of immigrants who are accused of crimes, making a conviction for a criminal charge more likely. Such prejudicial beliefs very often influence the treatment of immigrants who are accused of crimes, making a conviction for a criminal charge more likely. Beyond the risk of being deported, immigrants convicted of crimes can and do serve time in prison in the United States and in some cases are deported once their prison time is served anyway. Criminal cases involving immigrants are doubly complicated because they require knowledge of both criminal law and immigration law.

Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin LLP is a criminal defense law firm that knows how intricate criminal cases related to immigrants can be. They frequently confer with immigration law specialists to achieve the best results possible for their clients. If you, or someone you know, has been accused of a crime and has questionable immigration status, call us today at 818-781-1570 or 877-781-1570 (toll free).

Tagged as: immigration consequences

Marijuana Crimes in Los Angeles

Posted on: February 5, 2009 at 7:54 a.m.

Marijuana can create a tangled legal web because while in Los Angeles it is legal to have medical marijuana, the federal government has not made it legal. In Los Angeles, there are medical marijuana dispensaries and individuals who grow marijuana illegally and smuggle it throughout the city. Los Angeles drug defense attorneys know that their clients could be bombarded by legal troubles from all sides when it comes to defending marijuana charges.

For example,a raid by federal agents of several medical marijuana dispensaries on the west side of Los Angeles has generated outrage among advocates of the drug, some of whom had expressed hope that the federal government would halt such crackdowns once President Obama took office. At least three groups of officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration simultaneously served search warrants on dispensaries Tuesday.

In 1996, California and Los Angeles voters passed Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for seriously ill patients and reduced criminal penalties for possession. But that conflicts with federal law. Medical marijuana advocates were hopeful when Obama, while on the campaign trail, said he supported prescriptions for medical marijuana as long as the drug was regulated and that he didn't plan to use Justice Department resources to circumvent state laws. Tuesday's raids showed that, so far, things haven't changed.

On the flip side, at least 15 people have been arrested in connection with the scheme to ship 1,800 pounds of pot in 200 concrete burros, which were discovered last month in a shipping container at the Port of Long Beach. The donkey shipment was believed to have originated in Mexico and had been sent to a fictitious business in Fontana. U.S. customs officials acting on a tip discovered the contraband and alerted nearly a dozen agencies that make up the Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Task Force. Marijuana was found hidden inside the hollow lawn statues, which are 3 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

If you're facing drug charges, you could be dealing with state agencies or federal agencies, and you need a qualified drug defense lawyer who knows the difference between the laws and the penalties of those laws. The marijuana defense lawyers at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin have fifty years combined experience dealing with the various marijuana laws throughout the city of Los Angeles, the state of California and the United States federal laws.

Tagged as: drug crimes defense

Probation Violations in California

Posted on: February 4, 2009 at 8:13 a.m.

In the California legal system, probation violations are a serious matter that can carry severe penalties. In the wake of a criminal conviction, instead of time served in prison, a court may assess either formal or informal probation to a defendant depending on the crime that was committed. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys who have first hand experience with probation understand that even under the best conditions, probation is a challenging situation.

Formal Probation, or Supervised Probation, requires that a defendant meet with an assigned probation officer at regularly scheduled meetings for the duration of the probationary period. Informal Probation, or Summary Probation, doesnt require regular meetings with an assigned probation officer, but it does require that the defendant complete certain terms of sentence and to stay out of further trouble for a specified period of time. Both Formal and Informal Probation generally require either community service, drug testing, counseling, physical labor or any combination of the four. The length of the probationary period generally varies depending on the offense committed as well as the ability of the Los Angeles probation attorney to properly negotiate and work with the judge and prosecutor.

Any number things can count as a probation violation but some of the most common are failure to pay, comply, report or appear, violation of terms, possession of illegal substances, committing another crime and, finally, being arrested. A failure to pay violation is assessed when the defendant does not pay either fines or restitution required by the court. Failure to comply occurs when a defendant fails to complete their terms of probation such as rehabilitation or community service. Failure to report or appear occurs when a defendant does not show up for a scheduled meeting either with the court or their probation officer. In terms of probation violations, if a defendant is found in possession of illegal substances such as drugs or weapons, then the defendant has incurred a probation violation. Since probation is issued in lieu of prison time in a criminal conviction, the goal is obviously for the defendant to be on their best behavior during their probation; hence, being arrested and committing crimes are also considered serious probation violations.

If you are found to have violated the terms of your probation, a number of penalties can be assessed depending on the severity of the violation. This is when having a skilled criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles who is experienced with probation comes in handy. When a violation occurs, the defendant on probation is usually arrested and brought to court for a probation violation hearing. The Judge and prosecutor will take several factors into account when determining what the penalty of the violation should be including the nature and seriousness of the violation, whether or not there is a history of previous probation violations, any new criminal activity stemming from the violation, whether the violation occurred at the beginning or end of the probationary period, the probation officers view of the violation and any mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation. Penalties for probation violation include, but are not limited to: an extension of the probationary period, an amendment of probation terms, revocation of probation and possible time in prison. In such a serious matter, finding a knowledgeable, competent attorney to aggressively represent you is of utmost importance. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will help you avoid an extension of the probationary period or the possibility of prison time.

Tagged as: vandalism pc 594

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