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California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Recently, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made those laws more strict.

The court declared that California counties have the right to deny applications for concealed carry permits if the applicant cannot show “good cause” for needing to carry a concealed firearm in public. The ruling gives each county the power to determine what good cause means.

A Significant Victory for Gun Control

In its ruling, the court stated that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of a gun owner to carry a concealed firearm in public. Judge William A. Fletcher, writing for a 7-4 majority, wrote, “The Second Amendment may or may not protect to some degree a right of a member of the general public to carry a firearm in public. If there is such a right, it is only a right to carry a firearm openly.”

The court reasoned that because the Second Amendment does not protect the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry – including a requirement of good cause – is legally permissible.

Gun-control advocates are praising this ruling, in which the court overruled a 2014 decision that stated California could not outlaw both the open carrying of guns in public and carrying concealed weapons at the same time. In place of that decision, the court now says that California can restrict concealed carry permits if the person applying for the permit cannot point to a specific and compelling reason why he or she needs to carry a gun in public. Continue reading →

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It is against the law to carry a loaded firearm on your person or in your vehicle while in public under California Penal Code Section 25850.1 But what exactly does “on your person” mean? The definition of “on your person” was questioned in a recent Supreme Court case involving a man who was carrying a loaded firearm in his backpack.

Is it illegal to carry a weapon in your backpack? How does a backpack factor into concealed carry laws?

California Gun Laws and Backpacks

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Every weekday, you send your children off to school, trusting that they will behave themselves, and if they misbehave, the school’s administration will notify you immediately.

What you may not know is that in many cases when a minor is accused of committing a crime, the questioning of the minor begins long before his or her parents are notified of their child’s alleged wrongdoing. Does this violate a minor’s rights?

Juveniles Have Constitutional Rights

The U.S. Constitution and California law provide many of the same protections to minors that adults have when they are accused of committing a crime. Among these are procedural rights, such as the right to have advance notices of charges and the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses.1 In addition, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizures also extends to minors.2

Most importantly, a minor has Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to the presence of an attorney during questioning.3 Continue reading →

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In California, prostitution is an act that many politicians and lawmakers are trying to better understand. As it stands, someone convicted of exchanging sex for money for a second time is punished with mandatory jail time. No matter the crime, jail time may greatly impact a person’s life and future in a negative way. But many lawmakers are seeking an alternative with a bill that could remove the mandatory sentencing for prostitution.

Bill Approved by Senate

Earlier this month, the California Senate voted to approve a bill that would end the state’s mandatory jail sentencing for repeat offenders who engage in prostitution. Under California’s current law, a second prostitution conviction is punishable by a minimum of 45 days in jail. A third or subsequent offense raises the time to 90 days.

It is also possible for the court to restrict the person’s driving privileges for up to six months if the act of prostitution occurs within 1,000 feet of private residences. Continue reading →

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Many people use social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends, provide updates on our lives, and keep in touch with the world. Sometimes we forget that the information we publish on social media can be found by strangers. While it may seem harmless, it’s possible for that information to be used against warrant Facebook

If recent news in New Mexico is anything to go by, social media attacks won’t just be for celebrities and public figures anymore. The state is using social media shame to target judges who give “lenient” sentences for DUIs.

Shaming Judges for DUI Sentencing

New Mexico is enacting a program to pay staff members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to attend court hearings of judges known to be more lenient in DUI cases. The staff will send sentencing information to state officials, who will in turn post on social media about the judges and the sentences.

MADD, who already offers the service in other states, was given a two-year, $800,000 contract by New Mexico to attend hearings in counties with the most DUI arrests and DUI-related deaths.

The goal of this program is to identify the judges who fail to crack down on those with multiple DUI convictions.

Could Social Media Shame Affect Your Case?

This isn’t necessarily an uncommon practice. Police departments across the country post booking photos of DUI suspects on Facebook. It has been extremely rare that judges are the targets of these programs, but the program in New Mexico hopes to put more pressure and blame on judges, and this could become common in many states.

The issue with social media is that the message is not easy to control. People may launch an attack behind anonymous Twitter handles and harass these judges, defense attorneys and defendants in the case. Public figures have often seen personal information leaked online after becoming the subject of negative internet attention.

Continue reading →

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You lost your wallet, and therefore your driver’s license. Not to worry though; you’ve secured a ride with your friend for the night. On the way home, your friend’s driving catches the eye of a police officer, who orders your friend to pull over. Are you in jeopardy of being arrested because you do not have your ID?

You Have the Right to Refuse to Show Your ID

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that so-called “stop and identify” statutes, which require that you show identification to law enforcement officers when they ask, do not violate Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, so long as the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in criminal activity.1

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In California, there are many laws in place to help prevent and punish drunk driving. Despite the efforts of lawmakers and police officers, drunk drivers get on the roads and cause accidents, property damage, injuries and deaths. What else can officials do to prevent people from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

A potential new method has been brought forward by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who recently introduced a bill that would get bartenders involved in intervening with drunk driving.

How Bartenders Will Be Involved

Assembly Bill 2121, titled the “Responsible Interventions for Beverage Servers Training Act of 2016,” has been introduced by Assemblywoman Gonzalez to serve as another way to combat the amount of drunk drivers in California.

If made into law, it would require bartenders and servers of establishments that serve alcohol to complete a Responsible Interventions for Beverage Servers training course. If a person has had too much to drink, the server would be able to intervene.

Employees would also be required to complete the course within three months of being hired and then take the course again every three years after as a means of re-education. Training courses would include information on state laws and regulations, and how alcohol affects the body.1

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control would be required to publish a list of approved training courses and requirements on its website on or before Jan. 1, 2019. Applicants would receive a certificate or card indicating they have completed the course. Additionally, the training course would not have to cost the participant more than $15.

Could Bartenders Face Criminal Charges?

The proposed law introduces a way to require bartenders and servers to be educated on alcohol and its consequences, but it doesn’t discuss what could happen to bartenders who refuse to take the course or do not comply with the law. So could a bartender face criminal charges for not taking the course? What happens if a bartender does not intervene when a patron is going to drive while under the influence of alcohol? Continue reading →

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If a proposed set of bills is signed into law in California, it could drastically affect how many people are allowed to smoke tobacco and use vaping devices. The proposed laws are meant to address the amount of teen smoking in the state by raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, including e-cigarettes and similar products.

What Does This Law Do?

The proposed laws would include e-cigarettes in the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act that keeps businesses from selling tobacco products to minors. In addition to raising the legal smoking age to 21 (active military members would be exempt), the law would not allow anyone to vape where smoking is prohibited, such as workplaces, schools and restaurants. It would also be possible for local governments to tax e-cigarettes like other tobacco products.

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Nyjah Huston is just 21 years old and already is at the top of his profession. Huston is one of the world’s top professional skaters. Armed with an income from competitions and a slew of corporate sponsors like Nike, Huston bought a $2.7-million mansion in San Juan Capistrano in 2013, as well as a skate park in San Clemente. He is young, successful, and invites his friends to share in his good fortune.

His neighbors have been less than thrilled.

Orange County Sheriffs have been called to his home more than 20 times since he moved in, responding to complaints about noise, traffic, and littering. Huston has turned his home into the premier party destination in South Orange County.1 He was repeatedly warned by local law enforcement to cease the partying or face criminal charges.

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When you have been driving for a while, it is easy to slip into some habits in the way you drive. Some of these may not be entirely within the law. You might consistently drive a few miles per hour over the speed limit. Maybe you roll through a stop sign at an intersection you have been through thousands of times. Perhaps you often pick up your cellphone to read texts while driving. Any one of these habits can be a reason for a police officer to pull you over and issue you a citation.

Overwhelmingly, the top reason that scores of Californians do not pay their traffic fines is that they simply cannot afford to pay. As a result, approximately 612,000 people in California have a suspended driver’s license for failure to appear in court or to pay their tickets.1

Gov. Jerry Brown recognized the disproportionate impact of traffic fines on California’s lowest income drivers, who often lose jobs for lack of transportation or face additional fines for driving on a suspended license. Calling the traffic court system “a hellhole of desperation,” Brown introduced an amnesty program for unpaid traffic tickets. Since this program began recently, 58,000 drivers have already had their fines reduced up to 80 percent from their original fine amount.

About Wallin & Klarich

Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.