Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Los Angeles Warrants

Posted on: November 25, 2009 at 11:30 p.m.

Nikola Dragovic, UCLA’s Serbian star forward, was arrested last Friday in connection with an incident that took place after a concert in Hollywood last month. Dragovic and a friend have been accused of pushing a man into a glass display case following an argument. Initially, Dragovic filed a report of the incident with UCLA’s campus police. But after the district attorney filed a felony assault charge against him and issued a Warrant for his arrest, Dragovic turned himself in after a game against Cal State Bakersfield. While Dragovic was booked and later released on bail, he has been suspended from playing basketball for the university. Dragovic plans to plead not guilty when he appears before a judge in late December.

Now is a great time to discuss the different types of Los Angeles Warrants that are issued in the city. Our nation’s Constitution protects us from being arrested or searched for no reason. Warrants essentially give a Los Angeles police officer the right to arrest, detain, or search you in connection with a crime. All Warrants issued in the city are court orders signed by a Los Angeles County judge. A warrant for arrest is issued in cases like Dragovic’s where a defendant is suspected of having committed a crime, but has not yet been arrested by law enforcement agents. A bench warrant is typically issued when a defendant has failed to show up at a scheduled court date. Bench warrants are then issued allowing law enforcement agents to hunt you down and bring you before the court. Search warrants give Los Angeles law enforcement agents permission to either search you or a particular location in connection with a crime that has been committed and that you are believed to be involved in.

Once you find out that either an arrest Warrant or a bench Warrant has been issued in your name, it is important that you contact the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP immediately. As experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys with decades of experience in dealing with all types of warrants, we know that ignoring warrants can lead to big problems. Call today for expert legal advice and help in dealing with any warrants issued against you.

Tagged as: arrest warrant, bench warrants, los angeles criminal defense attorney, los angeles warrant




Los Angeles Warrants and the Law

Posted on: August 19, 2009 at 7:37 a.m.

In Los Angeles, a warrant usually refers to a specific type of authorization issued by a judge or magistrate which gives law enforcement the ability to perform an otherwise illegal act, such as coming into a home without authorization. On television shows and movies, warrants are always a key item used to demonstrate how complex the criminal justice system can be, with lawyers, police and judges wrestling with legal issues.

The United States was founded on principles of individual liberty, and limiting the power of the federal, state and local governments from harassing citizens. Illegal search and seizure is a legitimate violation, something the courts and the citizenry should take very seriously. In Los Angeles, the legal system is structured to have checks and balances so that government power does not overstep its limits and violate both the state and federal Constitutions. When the police go to a judge to obtain a warrant, which is a clear symbol of the system of checks and balances designed to protect average citizens.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys work hard for clients to make sure that police, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials obey every limit placed upon them by the warrants they've obtained.

There are three types of warrants: search warrants; arrest warrants; and bench warrants. Qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will have experience with each of these types of warrants. In fact, at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, our criminal defense firm has "insider" experience with these warrants. Our team spent years in various Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, so our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys understand how warrants are issued and what their limits are.

  • Search warrants - Search warrant limits are set by the United States Constitution. Law enforcement must follow certain requirements before obtaining a search warrant, which include having probably cause which they must clearly demonstrate to the judge in question.

  • Arrest warrant - An arrest warrant is very similar to a search warrant. In Los Angeles, an arrest warrant must be obtained from a judge and gives police the authorization to arrest a specific person. Once the individual is in jail, he or she must be taken to court and appear in front of the judge.

  • Bench warrant - A bench warrant gives permission to arrest someone if they have failed to appear in court due to a pending criminal action. The goal of any bench warrant is to bring someone into court for their appearance. The show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" often deals with people who have failed court appearances and so have bench warrants issued.


Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, such as those at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin are skilled in dealing with all types of warrants, and can provide experienced advice, counsel and knowledge regarding them. If you, or someone you love, has a warrant out for their arrest, our criminal defense firm can help protect you, protect your rights and make sure that any law enforcement actions obey Los Angeles law and the Constitution. Contact us today at 877-781-1570.

Tagged as: bench warrants, california criminal laws




Arrest Warrants and Illegal Stops

Posted on: December 28, 2008 at 4:32 p.m.

Typically law enforcement must act within the purview of the U.S. Constitution to justify a search of a person, car, or home. Our firm's Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers frequently contest a client's search where we feel the police violated the constitutional requirements. A recent case, however, provides the police a broader basis for searching a car, even though the reason for the stop was illegal where the police are armed with an arrest warrant for the car's passenger.

The California Supreme Court recently concluded that evidence obtained by searching a vehicle after arresting a passenger pursuant to a valid warrant was admissible against the passenger even though the underlying traffic stop that led to discovery of the warrant was illegal.The judges upheld defendant's conviction and four-year sentence for possession and manufacture of methamphetamine.

Defendant was the passenger of a Buick that Sutter County Sheriffs Deputies stopped in 2001 on the basis of expired registration tabs. Although the deputy learned that there was a pending application for the registrations renewal,he directed the driver to pull over in order to investigate the validity of the temporary operating permit taped to the cars rear window. Testimony at a suppression hearing indicated that the deputy approached the cars driver side and asked for the drivers license, and upon recognizingdefendant as a possible parolee at large and verifying that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest, orderedhim out of the car at gunpoint and arrested him for parole violation.

During a search incident to the arrest,the deputyfound an orange syringe cap on defendant, along with drugs and drug paraphernalia on the driver and in the back seat of the car. Defendant moved to suppress the drug evidence, arguing thatthe detention of the Buick and its driver constituted an illegal seizure of his person that tainted all of the subsequently discovered evidence. In denying the motion to suppress,a Sutter Superior Court Judge held thatdefendant was seized not at the point of the traffic stop but rather whenthe deputycommanded him to get out of the car and placed him under arrest.The defendant then pled guilty, subject to his right of appeal, and was sentenced to four years in prison.

The Court of Appeal reversed, reasoning thatdefendant was illegally detained as a result of the traffic stop and the stop itself was unlawful. But the high court, split 4-3, ruled that a passenger is not seized as a constitutional matter following a traffic stop because he or she need not submit to the officers show of authority. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, agreed with the court of appeal, saying no reasonable passenger would have thought himself free to leave under the circumstances.

The case was sent back to the state high court to consider whether there the search was valid based on the existence of the warrant. In a subsequent opinion the court reasoned that Case law from other state and federal courts uniformly holds that the discovery of an outstanding arrest warrant prior to a search incident to arrest constitutes an intervening circumstance that mayand, in the absence of purposeful or flagrant police misconduct, willattenuate the taint of the antecedent unlawful traffic stop.

The Court rejected the contention that allowing the search under these circumstances would encourage the police to randomly stop cars to run warrant checks on the occupants. While a search will not be upheld if it is flagrantly or knowingly unconstitutional or is otherwise undertaken as a fishing expedition, he wrote, here the deputy did not act pretextually or in bad faith. The jurist also emphasized that the search did not take place until after the existence of the warrant had been confirmed.



Tagged as: bench warrants, probation and sentencing laws




Failing to Pursue a Fugitive: Serna Motion in Los Angeles Warrant Cases

Posted on: December 27, 2008 at 10:31 a.m.

Clearing a Los Angeles Bench Warrant always requires immediate action by a criminal lawyer and the client. The sooner the client is in court, the less likelihood the court will place him or her into custody.Our law firm has handled numerousmisdemeanor and felony warrant matters, where thewarrant was recalled and the client stayed out of jail. Wepresent the client's background, and mitigation evidence in court to justify the immediate release.


Another way our firmdefends a criminalwarrant is to attack its legal validity in court, through a Serna motion which allows the defense to argue that the police and prosecution failed to seek the client out, and serve the warrant on him. Further, because of this untimely action,the defense is prejudiced andunable to present evidence of mitigation in court.


A recent California decision dealt with what constitutes untimely police action warrantinga case dismissal.TheCourt held thatthe State of Californias failure to aggressively pursue disgraced politicallobbyist Norman Hsu after he fled from justice 16 years ago before sentencing on a plea to a grand theft charge did not violate his right to a speedy trial.


Upholdingdefendant's conviction and three-year prison sentence, the Court concluded that the former Democratic Party fundraiser was more to blame for the delay than the government, and rejected his contention that he should have been able to rescind his plea agreement because the judge who was required to sentence him under it retired eight years ago.


Defendant was charged in California in 1991 with 16 counts of grand theft after the collapse of an alleged pyramid or Ponzi scheme in which he solicited investments in a fictional latex glove business, but used money obtained from later investors to pay earlier investors.


Defendantentered a no contest plea in 1992in San Mateo Superior Court to one count of grant theft, with an admission that he took more than $100,000, under an agreement which called for a three-year sentence.


However,Defendant fled prior to sentencing, and spent a number of years in Asia before returning to the United States in the late 1990s.



In 2003, with no effort to hide his identity despite his fugitive status,he began contributing to, and collecting contributions for, political candidates and other causes. By 2007, he had raised over $100,000 in bundled funds for Hillary Rodham Clintons 2008 presidential campaign, even though he was neither a party member nor registered to vote.


WhenDefendant learned that year that he was about to be arrested on a bench warrant from the 1992 charge, he arranged for his surrender in August and appeared in court and posted $2 million cash bail. However, when he once again failed to report for sentencing, another bench warrant issued, and he was taken into custody by FBI agents and extradited to California after falling ill on an Amtrak train in Colorado bound for Denver.


Back in California,Defendant moved to dismiss the charges on the basis that the 15-year delay in sentencing violated his constitutional rights, claiming that authorities could easily have found and arrested him during those years.


The court reasoned that, While it is unclear how Hsu could have engaged in such prominent political activity without being detected, [his] flight to avoid being sentenced must be weighed more heavily than the ensuing failure of the government to apprehend him, the judge wrote.


Pointing to the prosecutions declaration that there are more than 100,000 arrest and bench warrants outstanding in California at any given time,thecourtopined that the government should have discretion concerning how to allocate its finite investigative resources andcannot be expected to pursue each of these 100,000 individuals with the effort it might expend to capture, for example, a serial killer.



Tagged as: bench warrants




If I fail to appear for a traffic ticket or other driving offenses, what are the consequences for my driver's license?

Posted on: June 24, 2007 at 10:12 p.m.

A failure appear reported to the DMV will result in your license being suspended, until this issue is cleared up with the court. Sometimes clients have numerous failures to appear, throughout Southern California. Each of these traffic warrants must be cleared up to have the DMV reissue the driving privilege. Court will notify the DMV once the failures to appear are cleared. So long as the driving privilege is not suspended for any other reason (ie. excessive points, DUI, no insurance), you can receive your license back when you show proof of insurance to the DMV, and pay a license reissuance fee.

Tagged as: bench warrants, faq




How can I clear a warrant for my arrest? Can I be arrested in another state for a California warrant?

Posted on: May 28, 2007 at 1:57 a.m.

Clearing up an arrest or bench warrant can be done one way: appearing in front of the court that issued the warrant. As long as the warrant is in the system, the person can be arrested for it in any state, in any contact with the police or government agency, and even coming into the United States at the airport. Immediate action to clear up the warrant is the best way to approach this problem. Voluntarily coming into the court may often prevent later jail or prison time if the person is actually arrested on the warrant.

Tagged as: bench warrants, faq









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