Criminal Defense in Orange County

Recent Criminal Law Cases

Each year a few cases are decided that affect the criminal defense attorney. It is important for a criminal attorney to keep abreast of these cases.

One such case is People v. Bates . People are often confused with the search condition of probation. This essentially means that because a person has been convicted of a criminal offense and is now on probation, they are subject to search and seizure. The bates case held that even though a person has agreed to a search and seizure condition, the police still need valid reasonable cause to stop the person. In other words, just because a person has a search and seizure term, it does not allow law enforcement to conduct illegal stops/detentions. This is important because to allow otherwise would let police conduct random stops in order to find people on probation. This would encourage fishing expeditions.

Another important case is People v. Burkett . All criminal offenses consist of certain elements (e.g., dui requires driving and being under the influence). This sounds obvious, but not all cases have obvious elements. An example is residential burglary. Most people think a residential burglary occurs when someone enters a house. Burkett, however, clearly states the residence must currently be used for dwelling purposes. In this case, a renter moved out on May 1 st and the owner intended to move back in on May 4 th. When the burglary occurred on May 2 nd, the location was not a residence because it was not currently being used as a dwelling.

Many attorneys take for granted that when the prosecution files a case, the facts actually prove the crime alleged. The more time spent reviewing facts and law, the less chance a person has of being convicted. I personally try to review the facts of every case 5 or more times. My associate and I also try to review each other's' fact patterns as well. Two sets of eyes are better than one.