What Happens if You Can’t Pay a Ticket



Suddenly seeing the flashing lights of law enforcement in your rear-view mirror can be alarming, and so can the cost of ensuing fines or tickets. A ticket for reckless driving, for example, could be as low as $100 or as high as $6,250 depending on the state and conviction.

What the Law Says
Thankfully, the U.S. has made progress since Colonial times when debtors’ prisons often housed those who couldn’t pay. In 1971, the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous ruling in response to Tate v. Short, stating that jailing citizens who can’t afford to pay fine-only tickets violates the 14th Amendment.

But even with that decision in place, some jurisdictions are still putting defendants who say they can’t pay the ticketing fees, fines and surcharges behind bars. A 2015 study found that over 4 million Californians have suspended driver’s licenses due to unpaid fines and missed court appearances. And similar cases are popping up in states from coast to coast, leading to federal lawsuits and the involvement of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

If You’re Unable to Pay
Concerned that you can’t make the fine’s due date or just can’t afford it? Experts suggest bringing it up in court yourself rather than waiting to see if the judge will ask. Let him or her know that you don’t have the money to pay your fines, and request an alternative to jail time. Options may include a continuance, payment plan or community service.

Some states, such as Texas, allow you to apply to have surcharges removed, leaving you with the responsibility of paying only the original fine.

Are you unable to afford a ticket or do you have questions about a related issue? Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney, Lauren Angelos, at Angelos Law Group today at (619) 727-6812 for your complimentary consultation.

What is Resisting Arrest?



The charge of resisting arrest has received increased attention in recent years due to multiple controversial encounters between police and citizens, such as the Freddie Gray case. But what exactly does “resisting arrest” mean, and are there ways to avoid the charges?

Defining Resisting Arrest
An individual can be criminally charged with resisting arrest for obstructing, delaying or resisting a public officer, peace officer or emergency medical personnel. This includes threatening an officer with physical violence, fleeing or attempting to flee, and using force against an officer to prevent an arrest. Providing false identification or struggling to free yourself from being restrained can also count against you under each state’s penal code.

Dangers and Controversial Statistics
From traffic accidents to life-threatening encounters, police officers face dangers on a daily basis; it’s the nature of the job. And each year, dozens of law enforcement officers lose their lives in the line of duty.

But law enforcement tactics are currently under scrutiny. In 2014, New York’s public radio station WNYC found that the New York Police Department (NYPD) had 51,503 cases that included resisting arrest charges from 2009 to 2014, and 5 percent of officers accounted for 40 percent of those cases.

If the Arrest Itself Is Illegal…
Even if an arrest may be unlawful, many legal experts advise citizens to follow the comply then complain strategy when dealing with law enforcement. First, peacefully obey the arresting officer or officers. Then hire an attorney and use the court system or the police department’s internal affairs division to fight your case if necessary.

Do you have questions about resisting arrest? Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney, Lauren Angelos, at Angelos Law Group today at (619) 727-6812 for your complimentary consultation.

What Are Restraining Orders and What Do They Mean?



A restraining order, also called a protection or protective order, is a legally binding order issued by a judge that restrains a person’s actions regarding another person. A domestic violence restraining order typically prohibits a person from contacting, attempting to contact, harassing, threatening or harming another person. Harm can refer to physical, emotional and psychological harm.

How long are restraining orders in effect?
In some states, emergency or temporary orders are issued in domestic violence situations when a person has been arrested. These short-term orders, which can be as brief as three days, can give the victim time to have a court hearing to request a longer protection order.

Permanent orders are usually considered final unless either party requests to have the order modified, and the judge concurs. Permanent orders typically remain in force for one year, but they can be modified, renewed or extended if the victim still feels threatened.

What if a restraining order has been filed against you?
Do not contact the person who filed the order against you, the protected person, and do not contact their friends or family. Keep in mind that electronic communication and even tagging them in Facebook posts can count as contact. Avoid places the protected person is likely to be.

If the protected person tries to contact you, do not respond. Stick to the order. And note that the protected person cannot cancel the order; only a judge has the authority to do so.

What happens if a person violates an order?
If you have a restraining order filed against you and you are caught violating it, you can face fines and jail time. The charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances.

Questions about restraining orders? We’re here to help! Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer, Lauren Angelos, at Angelos Law Group today at (619) 727-6812 for your complimentary consultation.

DUI and DWI – What the Law Says About Impaired Driving



The holiday season is upon us, which means an influx of parties and special events where alcohol is served. And though drunk driving is a problem throughout the year, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day sees a spike in alcohol-related highway deaths each year, with 40 percent of fatal accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver.

What does law enforcement do to reduce the dangers of drunk driving? Read on for more information about the laws surrounding driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI).

The Legal Limit
All 50 states enforce a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 grams per deciliter. A number of factors influence BAC, including weight and gender, the number and pace of drinks consumed, and how much food is in the stomach. With a BAC of 0.08, a driver can experience a range of dangerous side effects, including impaired perception, a reduced ability to process information and poor muscle coordination.

DUI and DWI Laws and Consequences
While the laws and penalties vary considerably from state to state, currently all but eight states have some form of license suspension for a first drunk-driving offense. And judges in all states can require convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders, to use an ignition lock to analyze their breath and determine if alcohol is present before the engine will start.

No-Refusal Periods
During no-refusal initiatives, drivers suspected of impairment can be court ordered to submit to a blood test if they initially refuse a breath test. Law enforcement must first obtain a warrant from an on-call judge or magistrate, who can authorize warrants over the phone to streamline the process.

Do you have questions about DWI or DUI? Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney, Lauren Angelos, at Angelos Law Group today at (619) 727-6812 for your complimentary consultation.

How Well do You Know Your Miranda Rights?



There are many misunderstandings about the Miranda rights: what they are, what they protect against, when they must be stated and when they can be evoked. Experts estimate about 80 percent of suspects unintentionally waive their Miranda rights. It’s often due to a lack of understanding, the stress of the moment or a combination of the two. Make sure you know the facts and how the law protects you.

Myth: “You have the right to remain silent” comprises the entirety of the Miranda warning.
Fact: Your Miranda rights include more than just remaining silent. You must also be told that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. And finally, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.

Myth: Police have to read your Miranda rights when they arrest you.
Fact: Officers only have to read you your rights before you are interrogated while in custody. The courts have often sided with law enforcement when it was argued that a confession happened before a suspect was in custody; therefore, the Miranda rights did not have to be read.

Myth: Police can’t lie to you.
Fact: Officers can use deception, such as saying they have evidence against you, to encourage a confession. What they cannot do, however, is manufacture false evidence to get you to confess.

Myth: Once you waive your Miranda rights, you cannot evoke them again.
Fact: You can change your mind at any time during an interrogation and ask for an attorney.

Do you have questions about your rights? Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer, Lauren Angelos, at Angelos Law Group today at (619) 727-6812 for your complimentary consultation.

San Diego DUI Checkpoint – Santee – 1/22/16

San Diego DUI checkpoint.

DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint Planned this Friday (1/22/16) in Santee, CA.

 The San Diego County Sheriffs Department will be conducting a DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint on 1/22/16, 2016 at an undisclosed location in the area of Santee between the hours of 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely. DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests, affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.

In California, this deadly crime led to 867 deaths and over 23,000 serious injuries in 2013 because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Nationally, the latest data shows over 10,000 were killed by an impaired driver.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking drivers for proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.

Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects.

Drunk driving is preventable and all it takes is a little planning ahead. Be safe; designate a sober driver or call a cab.

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000, or worse, causing injury to yourself or others.

San Diego DUI Defense

If you’re in San Diego and have been accused of DUI, please give me a call at (619) 727-6812 to schedule a consultation.
Citizen Complaints Against Officers Down After Use of Body Cameras

Citizen Complaints Against Officers Down After Use of Body Cameras

Complaints against officers are down after the implementation of body worn cameras around the county.

600 officers, about one-third of the San Diego Police Department, are equipped with body worn cameras, and they appear to be working. Data analyzed by SDPD for 2014 show a 40.54 percent reduction in total complaints and a 59.76 reduction in total allegations against the force. Specifically, the number of complaints regarding use of force, personal body weapon use, and the use of chemical agents, such as pepper spray, are down. The department plans to have 1,000 officers with body cameras by the end of the year. http://www.10news.com/news/investigations/complaints-against-sdpd-down-after-use-of-body-cameras

The Chula Vista Police Department, along with two other agencies in the county, have also implemented use of body worn cameras. 60 Chula Vista officers added the cameras to their uniforms in January, with the remaining 57 to get them in phases over several weeks. Officers download their day’s video, usually about two hours’ worth, at the end of each shift. They don’t have access to edit the videos. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/feb/05/body-camera-police-chula-vista-taser-axon/

San Diego, Escondido, Chula Vista, and Coronado police departments all use body-worn cameras, while the Sheriff’s Department, Carlsbad, El Cajon and La Mesa police are considering or exploring options. Oceanside police don’t have camera purchases on their radar now, but a spokesman said it likely will be one day. National City police don’t use them.

These camera can be attached securely to sunglasses, a cap, a shirt collar, or a head mount. When recording, the camera captures a wide-angle, full-color view of what an officer is facing.

Senate Bill Would Have Major Impact on Medical Marijuana Laws

Senate Bill Would Have Major Impact on Medical Marijuana Laws

On Tuesday, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation that would radically impact current laws regarding medical marijuana. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would work to legalize marijuana for medical use and is the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress. The CARERS Act would allow states to legalize marijuana for medical use without federal interference, permit interstate commerce in cannabidiol (CBD) oils, reschedule marijuana to schedule II drug, allow banks to provide checking accounts and other financial services to marijuana dispensaries, eliminate barriers to medical marijuana research, and allow Veterans Administration physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans.

Read more about the Senate Bill here or watch the Senators speak about their bill below (begins at approximately 35:00 minutes).