Tag Archives: criminal defense attorney

How can you avoid county jail as a repeat DUI offender? You can Scram.

Over the last 17 years, I’ve represented many clients that find themselves facing jail time because their drinking has caused them to make bad choices.    Whether its a 2nd offense DUI or any other criminal offense that stems from issues with alcohol, I’ve been able to use Scram to help them avoid substantial jail time and also treat their underlying alcohol issues.

Scram is an electronic device that monitors your blood alcohol content through a skin sensor.   It is typically worn on your ankle and it communicates with a base station at your house.

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I’ve saved countless clients from having to go through the side door of the courtroom into jail by being proactive and having a scram device ready before we see the judge.    You see, most judges do not want repeat alcohol offenders on the road.   They want them in jail so that no one else gets harmed and the Judge gets blamed for allowing them out in the first place.

The voluntary installation of the Scram device on my clients has impressed judges in many ways.  First, most judges trust Scram to keep people from drinking.  No amount of AA classes or increased bail assures a judge that you will not drink the minute you are released.   On the other hand, a Scram anklet tells the judge you are taking responsibility for your actions and you are being proactive in helping get through them.

This past January I had a client that was facing 2 years in prison.   He not only had alcohol issues in the past but his present problems were caused by alcohol as well.    I met with my client’s family and had my Scram representative get the process started.   I then met with the Judge and the prosecutor where I extolled the virtues of this service coupled with counseling.  The Judge loved it and agreed to release my client from jail on the strict condition that he gets the Scram device installed immediately.      Needless to say, if it was not for our approach,  this young man would have been sitting in a jail cell right now.

If you’d like to know if Scram can help you in your case, please feel free to contact us at LABestDefense@gmail.com or 562 907 4448

 

Judge Throws out “Coerced” Confession in Murder Case in Los Angeles

Can the statement that you gave police be used against you in court?   Most likely yes.  But it does need to pass some requirements.

First, your statement must be voluntary, as in not “coerced.”  This means that law enforcement can not physically harm you to get a statment.  Furthermore, detectives  cannot give you false promises of leniency.   Detectives can and usually do lie to people about the evidence they have against them.  Unfortunately, this is not against the law and by itself will not make a statement coerced.

Your age and the circumstances of your detention will also play into whether your statement is considered coerced.  Young age and mental competence will be considered voluntary or coerced.  For example, if you were detained for a long time and not allowed any water or bathroom visits during the interrogation, this may be a factor to show  involuntariness.  

The final factor if you are in custody when you make your statement is if you were given your miranda advisements prior to agreeing to talk to the police. 

 

 

Los Angeles judge finds confession was coerced, frees murder defendant

The jurist says ‘it wasn’t even a close call’ whether LAPD detectives coerced the man, 19 at the time, into changing his story, his lawyer reports. The teen had denied involvement dozens of times.

A man on trial for murder was set free this week after a judge found that Los Angeles police had coerced him into confessing.

Edward Arch, who was 19 at the time of his 2007 arrest and spent more than three years in jail awaiting trial, would probably have been sentenced to life in prison had the jury in the case convicted him.

However, before jurors were to begin deliberations, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Harvey Giss took the rare step of granting a request by Arch’s attorney Wednesday to dismiss the case because of a lack of evidence.

“I’ve been a criminal defense attorney for over 35 years and handled well over a hundred murder cases, and I’ve never had a judge grant a motion like this,” said Arch’s attorney, James Goldstein. “I don’t believe it was the officers’ intent to extract a false confession, but the tactics they used greatly increased the risk of that occurring.”



 

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office refused to comment on the case, saying a co-defendant is still to stand trial in the case. Two of the detectives who interrogated Arch, Gene Parshall and Efren Gutierrez, did not respond to calls seeking comment. A third detective, John Macchiarella, declined to discuss the details of the case, saying only that he “disagreed with the judge’s decision.”

The trial stemmed from a shooting in May 2007 after a group of men in a North Hills neighborhood got into a verbal dispute with another man as he drove by. At least two men in the group allegedly gave chase and, when they tracked the man down, one of them shot him multiple times at close range.

Three weeks after the killing, detectives interrogated Arch at the LAPD‘s Mission Station. Arch, who had no serious criminal history, had allegedly been identified by residents in the neighborhood as one of the men in the group during the initial confrontation.

From the start of the roughly 90-minute interrogation, the detectives told Arch they had eyewitness accounts of him being in the car that chased down the victim. Two other suspects had also implicated him, the detectives told him.

“It’s not the question of whether you were in that car or not,” Parshall said, according to a transcript of the interview reviewed by The Times. “The question is, what led up to this guy getting shot?”

“I wasn’t in no Nissan,” Arch responded, calling the witnesses “liars.”

The teenager acknowledged that he knew the two other men whom police suspected of being involved in the killing. Despite intense questioning by the detectives, Arch said dozens of times that he had had nothing to do with the killing and hadn’t been in the car. He remained insistent that he had been in his aunt’s house playing video games when the men drove off. He offered to take a lie detector test.

There are no legal or ethical rules prohibiting detectives from lying to suspects or exaggerating the evidence they have in an effort to extract a confession. They cannot, however, entice a suspect by promising he’ll receive leniency or will be let go if he admits his involvement in a crime. Detectives must also be careful not to lead a suspect along by telling him what they believe occurred, since the suspect might then simply repeat the story he was told in a false confession.

The detectives apparently crossed both these lines in the eyes of the judge, who commented in court that “it wasn’t even a close call” whether Arch had been coerced, according to Goldstein.

Parshall, for example, laid out in detail for Arch how he believed the chase and the shooting occurred as he tried to get the teen to admit he had been in the car.

And later, Gutierrez told Arch that he wouldn’t get a “free pass” if he admitted to being in the car but that he was “gambling with [his] freedom” if he continued to insist on his innocence.

“You’re either a witness or you’re a defendant,” Gutierrez told Arch. “You were either in the car when you saw the murder go down and you didn’t know anything about it or you were part of it. And if you were part of it … we’re all going to be able to prove premeditated murder.”

Goldstein said the detectives had gone too far.

“Basically, they were telling him he could walk out that door if he admitted he was involved,” Goldstein said.

As soon as Gutierrez gave Arch the choice of being a “witness” or a “defendant,” Arch changed his story dramatically, saying he had, in fact, been in the car with Michael Brown, one of the other suspects.

He said he had gotten into the car because he wanted a ride to the store to buy cigarettes. As they chased the victim, Arch said, he asked several times to return home but Brown refused. He said he hadn’t seen the gun until Brown, who is awaiting trial, got out of the car and shot the man.

After the shooting, Arch said, Brown handed him the gun and he tossed it out of the car’s window.

The detectives asked why he had lied earlier.

“I knew, like, if I was in the car with him when something happened, I’m going to get in trouble,” he said.

Arch’s whereabouts are unknown, and he could not be reached for comment.

joel.rubin@latimes.com

jack.leonard@latimes.com

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

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Rats! Say No to Drug Detectives!

If you’ve been arrested for Drug Sales or Transportation, there’s a chance that a detective will sit down with you and make promises he will never be able to deliver. Help him bust other sellers and he’ll make sure your case gets dropped or reduced. Say “NO Thank you.” Here’s why.

The Drug Detective has no power to get rid of your case!

No detective has the authority to sweep an arrest under the rug or tell the DA what to file. Detectives gather information on arrested individuals and have to pass it along to the D.A.’s office. They don’t have discretion to make decisions on your case. Only the DA can decide whether they will file or reject a case. So from your first conversation, the detective is already lying to you. He wants you to think that he has that power and get you to do whatever is necessary. Don’t fall for it.

It is a quick way to make deadly enemies.

Robert Deniro’s famous line to Ray Liotta in “Good fellas” is to remember these two rules, “always keep your mouth shut, and never rat on your friends” Being a confidential informant is basically setting your self up for a beatdown or worse. The people that you have to “turn on” or help bust are usually armed and on drugs. How do you think they will feel knowing you cost them their freedom and income?

The Drug Detective couldn’t care less about you.

I’ve seen many cases, where confidential informants have provided leads, helped make arrests and then find out that after they are all used up, the detective took the case over to the DA for a filing. So guess where you are now? You have a bunch of drug dealers/users waiting to get their hands on you and now youre facing county jail or prison time. And guess who is also in county jail? that’s right, the same guy you helped bust.

Running for 20 years. Client can finally stop and breathe.

Nearly 20 years ago, my client fled los angeles after finding out he had a felony warrant for his arrest.  He was young and foolish and had gotten himself into some bad company and some serious trouble.  His warrant was for the sale of narcotics and could have landed him some serious prison time.   So he ran.    He ran far away and started a new life. 

He changed his ways.  Got an education and a career.  Raised a family and became a productive member of society and his community.   But all along, in the back of his mind, he knew that he was still running and a  brush with the law would devastate his life and take it all away.   He  was wrong for getting caught up in the crime and also for running away but he couldnt run anymore.

He contacted my office to help him with this 20 year old felony warrant.  And just so you know, the people that tell you that warrants just get wiped out automatically after some years are lying to you.   I made some calls and the warrant was active and in the systems.  My client wanted to resolve all of this and knew there was a likelihood that he would go directly to jail and stay there. 

We were able to secure a bail for his warrant and posted it and then came the day in court.   Our client had flown in expecting to go into jail and full of jittery nerves but still willing to take responsibility for the actions.

Fortunately we were able to have his felony case dismissed entirely on that court date.  He flew back to his life and family and finally had a chance to stop and breathe as he is no longer running from the law.    I wish him the best of luck.

Best Regards,

Anthony A. Arzili

Vital Tips for those arrested for Domestic Violence

If you are arrested for Domestic Violence,  you not only face the possiblity of losing your freedom, you also face the likelihood of being precluded from  your house and your family.    Those arrested for Domestic Violence face and incredible burden not usually handed out for misdemeanors.  Unlike many other crimes, If you are arrested for a Domestic Violence charge, you will likely be ordered to move out of your residence, (even if you have legal right to live there).   This Protective Order can also preclude you from having any contact with your girlfriend, wife or mother of your child. 

Once you appear in court, the prosecutors always request a “stay-away” protective order which will make it a crime for you to return back to your home.  It will also make it a separate crime to attempt to contact the alleged victim.  In 12 years, i’ve seen many people attempt to sidestep or ignore the court’s rules, only to be locked up and brought back to court.   Handling the protective order properly is not only key to keeping yourself out of jail, its also important to resolving your underlying domestic violence charge.

An experienced domestic violence attorney can arrange for the protective order to be lifted or modified to allow for safe and non-abusive contact.  Please be advised that your alleged victim is key in having the order lifted or modified, but you cannot contact the alleged victim yourself.  This would be directly against the court’s order.  Only your attorney can contact the alleged victim. 

In certain cases, I give my client’s an option of taking some voluntary anger management classes to assist in reducing tensions and showing the court that it is safe to let the parties stay together.  Some see this as a admission of guilt, but I disagree.  Most judges agree that to maintain a safe and hospitable environment while charges are pending, some counseling is necessary.

Finally, my advice to most people in this unfortunate circumstance is not try to handle any of this yourself, because emotions will likely make you overreact.   Leave this serious situation to a professional criminal defense attorney that handled domestic violence cases.

For a free consultation, feel free to contact me at anthonyarzili@gmail.com   562 907-4448

Best of Luck,

 

Anthony Arzili

Before you accept that plea bargain, Find out what it will do to your driving privilege.

Most of us understand that pleading guilty to a DUI will likely have some effect on your driving privilege.  But what is not common knowledge is that people can lose their license for crimes other than DUI’s.  It is imperative that your Criminal Defense Attorney explain to you ALL the consequences of your Guilty or No Contest Plea in court.

Since the suspensions are not ordered by the court or the Judge, most people don’t know about their driver license being suspended until they receive a letter from the DMV.  By that point, you’ve already been sentenced and its too late to really do anything about it.

One recent example involved a young man who reached out to me because he had received a letter suspending his license after he plead guilty to Vandalism.  Apparently, what he didn’t know was that any guilty plea to a vandalism charge in california will result in a one year revocation of your driving privilege from the DMV.  No restricted license, no “to and from work,” no excuses.  Its a harsh consequence that had this young man losing his job.  He was convicted of “keying “a 6 inch mark on the side of a man’s car who he found at his girlfriends house. 

Another crime that carries a 1 year suspension of your driving privilege is “Hit and Run Driving,” a violation of Vehicle Code 20002.  If you plead guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor charge of hit and run, your license will be revoked for a year by the DMV.  The key to handling these Hit and Run Charges is to attempt to secure a “Civil Compromise” and have the court dismiss the charges.   A civil compromise is essentially an agreement between the victim and the defendant that he has been fully compensated for his damages and does not wish the defendant to be prosecuted further.  If the Judge allows the civil compromise, then the charges are dismissed.  The L.A. District Attorneys’ Office opposes civil compromises as a policy but if the Judge allows the compromise, the case will nevertheless go away.   Hiring a criminal defense attorney with a lot of experience in these charges is key to saving your license.

Finally, if you are convicted of using your car to assault someone (Penal Code Section 245) you will lose your license forever.  If you use your vehicle to ram into another vehicle or even drive into someone’s vicinity (even if you did not hit them) you could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, the weapon being your vehicle.  This charge carries the death penalty of driver licenses, with the DMV imposing the ultimate punishment. 

Some years ago, I had a client who was a truck driver whose truck was cut off by another truck.  The truck that cut him off then had some pebbles fall out of its bed and smash my client’s windshield.  My client followed the truck and attempted to get the vehicle to pull over to no avail.  Finally, he lost his cool and got next to the other truck and tried to pull him over.  He was arrested for assault with his truck and arrested.  We were able to get the charges dropped and he was given his license back but not after a long fight. 

The moral of the story is to be fully aware of all the consequences of what you are agreeing to.  Most people are so happy that they will not do jail time that they don’t fully acknowledge what else can happen to them.  Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney whom you trust and make sure you know what you are agreeing to.  

Best Regards,

Anthony A. Arzili

do we bail him out?

It’s probably one of the most common questions I hear when i first speak to families that are faced with a loved one in custody.  Their initial response is to rush to bail him out.   Whether this is a good idea or not, depends on two factors.  If your loved one is facing criminal charges, he will appear in court within 48 hours, not including weekends or holidays.  At that hearing the Judge or magistrate will decide to either release him from custody on his own recognizance (commonly called an O.R. Release) or to set a bail amount.   At that first hearing, we can move to get our client out on an O.R. release (which means that his promise to appear is sufficient and he need not put up any money or collateral).  We can also request that his bail amount be lowered.  One a couple of recent cases, we were able to reduce bail from 8 million to 1 million and from $120,000 to &20,0000.   On a 10 percent premium, that could save you at least $10,000 on bail.

The ultimate question remains, can you afford to bail him and AND get him proper representation.  If you can afford both an attorney and bail, then by all means get him bailed out.  You may still want to talk to us to see if we can lower the bail further or if we can guide you towards trustworthy bailbonds company. 

But if your finances don’t allow for both, then you are putting yourself in a very precarious position by bailing him out and then facing the criminal justice system without an attorney.  I have seen people bail out and appear in court without an attorney just in time for the bail to be increased and they go right back (obviously without an attorney to argue for them to stay out)

So the final word on the question of to bail or not to bail:  If you have the resources to bail and get strong representation, by all means bail them out (first consult us to see if we can save you money).   If you have to choose between bail and an attorney, remember that posting bail only gets him out that day and the criminal charges are still waiting for him.  

Best of luck,

Hiring a criminal defense attorney at the earliest stage is key.

The easiest thing anyone facing criminal charges can do to help themselves is to get expert help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer and most importantly, get it as soon as possible.

Being arrested and charged with a crime is a process and it takes time for the process to play out.  The one thing you want to do is to have an advocate at the earliest part of that process.  Waiting “to see what happens” is by far one of the costliest things people do.  Once you are arrested and now are facing a court date, an experienced criminal defense attorney can contact the District Attorney’s Office and talk to them about the pending charges.  The prosecutors are the ones that make decisions on what charges to file, felony or misdemeanor or whether to file charges at all.

In my experience, a client has been arrested and is given a court date.  The district attorney then goes to work to figure out what charges to file.  If you don’t have an attorney at this stage, no one will be your advocate during this critical “Pre-filing” period.  if a case is somewhat weak, any information we can give the D.A. that he or she may not have could push it into a possible “DA reject” as opposed to formal charges being filed.

 The other huge mistake some people make is to go to the first court appearance by themsleves and see what happens.  What will happen 10 times out of 10 is a worse result than if you would have had a local attorney who knows that court come with you. Sometimes, irreversible damage happens when clients show up and attempt to “talk their way out of the charges.”  First of all, the D.A. will not talk to you about the facts of the case.  So save your breath on trying to explain your way out of things.  secondly, the District Attorney might make you a plead guilty offer.  You are not an attorney and hence cannot negotiate that offer.  Take it or leave it.  Worse part about all this is that most times the DA will then write down than bad offer on her files and we are stuck with that offer even if you later try to get an attorney to come in and fix things.

So, its important to hire a good criminal defense attorney but also to hire them early.  It’s like trying to do an engine overhaul on your car and realizing you need a mechanic when the engine is on the garage floor in a 100 pieces.

Charges dismissed against client charged with Vehicular Manslaughter

 

A tragic car accident that claimed the life of a passenger in one vehicle became even more tragic when our client was charged with Vehicular Manslaughter for causing the accident and the death of the passenger in the other vehicle.

 

Our client was an elderly driver with no record and the unfortunate chance of being involved in this horrible car accident.  After the police did a short investigation, they decided to file our client with criminal charges for causing the death of the victim through his negligent driving.  The accident could have been caused by anyone under the circumstances, but the criminal charges were devastating to our client. 

 

Before hiring us to represent him, our client was frightened of losing his license and the very real possibility of going to jail.  His case was filed out of the Whittier Criminal Court. 

 

Criminal Defense Attorney Anthony Arzili negotiated with the prosecutors in Whittier court for nearly 4 months.  The final result was a great success.

 On the Eve of our Jury Trial, the District Attorney agreed to dismiss the Vehicular Manslaughter against our client.  Our client pled no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless driving and community service and was able to save his license.