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PASADENA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

Recent Case Results: Pasadena Criminal Defense Lawyer Ann Gottesman

[Please note: For confidentiality reasons, specific details of the cases must be omitted to protect the identity of the Clients. While attorney Ann Gottesman is dedicated to achieving the best possible results for her clients, there is no guarantee that your case will result in a dismissal, charge reduction, DMV set-aside, acquittal, probation or no incarceration. The facts of each case are different, and while Ann Gottesman has resolved many cases successfully, no attorney can guarantee a result in a particular case. Call Ann for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your unique case.]

February, 2017, East Los Angeles Court: DUI CASE DISMISSED AND SUSPENSION SET ASIDE

Client charged with first offense DUI with preliminary breath test (“PAS”) results of .13/.11 BAC, and a subsequent blood test result of .10/.10 BAC. The issue was that the arresting officer had no reasonable suspicion to pull client over. All evidence was subpoenaed and carefully analyzed. Luckily, there was a dashcam video that showed the truth. Officer was subpoenaed to testify at the DMV hearing, at which time he was impeached with the video. The DMV hearing officer set aside the suspension on the spot, which is highly unusual. In court, a motion to suppress evidence under PC section 1538.5 had been filed and a hearing was set. To the District Attorney’s credit, after reviewing the officer’s DMV testimony and the video, she agreed to fully dismiss the case. Client avoided any conviction on his record and he did not have to suffer through any suspension of his driving privileges.

July, 2016, Alhambra, California, DUI: SET ASIDE OF SUSPENSION

Client is facing a DUI involving a traffic collision with a .09/.10 Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (PAS) and a .08/.08 Breath test.  After presenting expert toxicologist’s testimony and credible testimony from client regarding his drinking pattern, the DMV hearing officer issued a set aside of the suspension. Since client is a real estate agent, a suspension would be devastating.  The Court case is still pending but whether case proceeds to trial or is resolved with a reduction of the charge, the DMV set aside means client will not have to experience any mandatory minimum license suspension.

June, 2016, Pasadena DUI and DMV:  DUI REDUCED TO EXHIBITION OF SPEED AND DMV SET ASIDE

Client was arrested for a DUI  in Pasadena, California and a breath test and preliminary test showed a BAC of .09 percent with a .08/.09 about an hour later.  She was required to drive far distances every day for work and school and a license suspension or DUI conviction would have resulted in the loss of her job. After presenting a toxicologist’s testimony, evidence of a credible drinking pattern, and revealing accuracy records for the breath test demonstrated the readings were about %5 high, the DMV set aside the suspension.  In court, we were prepared to go to trial but client was happy to accept an offer of exhibition of speed which is a non alcohol related traffic offense with no suspension, no class and no ignition interlock device required. Client’s court fines were also dropped from $1850 down to about $625.  This was a huge win and client's job and career was saved. 

June, 2016, Pasadena, California, FELONY ARSON: FELONY STRIKE ARSON CHARGE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR RECKLESS FIRE

Client charged and held to answer at preliminary hearing for committing an arson of a vehicle as an aider and abetter. After nearly 2 years of negotiating, client was finally offered what he deserved--a misdemeanor. Client was able to keep his job and will not lose his pension.

May, 2016, Glendale DUI: DUI CHARGE REDUCED AND FINE LOWERED BY 75%

Client was arrested for a DUI with a blood alcohol level of a .11 percent. Client was primarily concerned with an immigration issue and the effect an IID would have on his job.  Ultimately, the DA agreed to  reduce the charge to a wet reckless with a $100 fine. He did not have to install an ignition interlock device, did not have to suffer a court suspension on his license and his total court fines were reduced by about 75 percent.

April, 2016, Pasadena DUI and DMV: NOT GUILTY ON .08 BAC CHARGE and SET ASIDE

Client had a .08 blood alcohol level after she was pulled over for stopping over the limit line at a traffic light.  After presenting evidence and testimony at the DMV, we got a disappointing notice stating the suspension was issued. The hearing officer flat-out ignored the evidence we presented and the indisputable facts, and issued a ruling that appeared to be an abuse of discretion. However, that suspension was lifted and a set aside was promptly issued after securing a NOT GUILTY verdict in court by convincing the prosecutor that not only is there insufficient evidence of a DUI, but the evidence tends to show the accused was under a .08 BAC at the time of driving. Client was spared the financial expense of a typical jury trial since we were able to secure the verdict through a quick court trial.  This process reversed the suspension issued by the DMV and the client does not have a DUI on her record, does not have to do a DUI class or install an interlock device in her vehicle.

April, 2016, Inglewood DUI: DUI TO BE DISMISSED PER VETERAN’S DIVERSION

Client was charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .12 percent. He was weaving and failed to complete the field sobriety tests to the satisfaction of the officer. This client was a military veteran. After a lot of investigation and research, it became clear that he deserved to be given the chance to have his charges dismissed pursuant to a new statute, PC 1001.80. A motion was filed, the court considered the legal arguments and all the facts of the case, and agreed to grant the motion. Client is currently on diversion, and it is expected that in April of 2017, his DUI charges will be dismissed if he does not violate the law and continues to attend counseling.

December 2015, Covina DMV:  REFUSAL 2 YEAR REVOCATION SET ASIDE

Client was arrested for a DUI and had a prior alcohol related driver license suspension from when he was a juvenile.  He faced a 2 year mandatory "hard" revocation of his license.  After subpoenaing all the evidence including the audio belt recording, it became clear that the officer did not properly admonish client regarding the consequences of refusing or failing to complete a chemical test.  The Officer was frustrated at the driver's uncooperative demeanor and refusal to perform any field sobriety tests without an attorney. When placed under oath at the DMV hearing, the officer ultimately admitted he did not properly admonish the client; an admission he would have been foolish to deny considering he would have been badly impeached by the audio recording.  If client had not requested a DMV hearing or sought the assistance of an attorney within 10 days of the incident, he would have lost his hearing rights and the dmv would have issued the suspension based upon the police report.  This was a huge win and client's job and career was saved. 

September 2015, West Covina Superior Court: Drug DUI Dropped

Client was on numerous prescription medications including methadone. Clients stopped for traffic infractions and officer claimed he noticed objective symptoms of intoxication. Medication was found in the car without prescriptions. After contacting detective and providing valid prescriptions, District Attorney eventually rejected the case.

September 2015, Pasadena Superior Court: Domestic Violence Charge to be Dismissed through Diversion (DEJ)

Client is here on a student visa and got into a physical altercation with his girlfriend. Police arrested Client for domestic violence, a crime of moral turpitude that would result in the loss of his legal status if convicted. After negotiating with the prosecution, Client will be allowed to plead to a lesser offense that is not a crime of moral turpitude, and after 52 counseling sessions, he will be permitted to withdraw his plea, enter a not guilty plea, and the prosecutor will fully dismiss the case.

September 2015, Pasadena Superior Court: DUI Refusal with .19 BAC on PAS Reduced to Wet Reckless

Client is in school completing prerequisite classes for a nursing program. Client also is not a US citizen and under the specific type of immigration status she has, a DUI conviction was out of the question. She would lose her legal status and her entire future in this country would be jeopardized. Client blew a .19 BAC on the preliminary alcohol screening device and refused to provide a chemical test.  After setting case for trial, and providing a substantial amount of evidence to show the collateral consequences Client would suffer if convicted, the District Attorney agreed to reduce the charge to a wet reckless which will not result in her deportation or revocation of her Visa.

August 2015, Commerce DMV: DUI Suspension Set Aside on a .11 BAC

Client blew a .11 BAC and was looking at up to a 4 month suspension of her driving privileges. It was discovered that the wrong officer signed the DS367 Officer’s Statement and swore under penalty of perjury that all of the information in the statement was true. Well, the officer that affixed his signature, was not the officer who initially detained my client or arrested my client. Since the DMV did not subpoena the officer to the hearing, a set aside was granted.

August 2015, Pasadena Superior Court: After serious probation violation and 3 year old warrant, Probation terminated and Conviction Dismissed

Client had felony drug conviction and never completed his probation requirements. Warrant was outstanding for about 3 years. Client left the state but got clean and was on the right path. Court allowed counsel to appear without client. After filing motion and presenting documentation of client's rehabilitation, Judge terminated probation and agreed to dismiss the case pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4.

August 2015, Los Angeles Superior Court, multiple petty theft and possessing false I.D., Charges Dismissed!

About two years ago, client was a young student with a bright future, but sadly she used terrible judgment one night. She was at a club with a friend and while there, client stole two wallets and a purse from three different women. She also had a fake driver license in her possession. The amount of the theft exceeded $950 but was luckily filed as a misdemeanor. She was charged with several counts of petty theft and for possessing a fake I.D. After lengthy negotiations with the prosecutor, and after providing a lot of good character evidence, he agreed to offer diversion, where she could earn a dismissal if she completes community service and counseling.  (This offer was made prior to the new Prop 47 law which allows judges to offer diversion in most first offense theft cases.) Two years later (now it is August 2015), I presented proof of completion of client's terms and her plea was withdrawn and the charges dismissed. Now client can move forward with her life without a conviction on her record.

August, 2015, Pasadena Superior Court, Hit and Run, Charge dismissed

Client crashed car into a street sign, causing it to fall over and come out of the ground.  Client left the scene but evidence allowed a detective to identify Client as the driver. After presenting evidence in mitigation and demonstrating Client suffered from health issues, Charge was dismissed after Client's insurance paid the city for the cost of fixing the sign.

July 2015, Pasadena Court and Commerce DMV, .12 BAC Breath, unlicensed driver: Suspension Set Aside, Reduced to wet reckless in court

This was a wonderful but unexpected win for this client. At first glance, everything looked in order. Breath machine was properly calibrated, reading accurately, officer had reasonable cause to pull client over, and her BAC was above a .08. After careful review however, I noticed that the arresting officer who filled out the DS367, and who appeared to have signed it under penalty of perjury, had written an incorrect badge number in one spot. That badge number, while only one digit different from the correct number, matched the badge number of the officer's partner. Everything then unraveled and the DMV failed to subpoena to officer to correct this defect. Suspension was set aside.  In court, the case was reduced to a wet reckless.

July 2015, Alhambra Superior Court: Domestic violence charge to be dropped after 26 counseling sessions

In a court where DV cases are prosecuted heavily and often have to go to trial, justice won out in this case without Client having to pay attorney fees for trial. Client accused of committing an unseamly violent act against his girlfriend. Months of investigation revealed evidence that contradicted much of what victim claimed, and showed that Client acted reasonably in the face of an emotionally disturbed, angry, violent and vengeful woman. Initially, District Attorney was too busy to look and consider the evidence which was presented to show the "real" story. After the setting of a trial date, DA finally took a hard look at the phone records, prior incident report, and video of alleged victim vandalizing Client's property. After several discussions, District Attorney ultimately agreed to dismiss all charges, in exchange for Client taking 26 anger management classes. This agreement is called an "informal" diversion where Client does not have to plead guilty. Rather, case is simply dismissed after counseling sessions are completed. 

July 2015, Alhambra Court: Domestic Violence case dropped

Client and his wife got into a fight and wife called police. Wife had some minor injuries but wife was the initial aggressor and she caused bruises on Client. Officer still arrested client, despite the fact that it was her word against client's word and client had bruising to corroborate his story. After investigation was complete, District Attorney rejected the case and no charges filed.

March 2015, Commerce DMV: 2nd DUI with .18 BAC, hit and run and injuries: Suspension set aside

This was a huge win for a client facing a second DUI suspension. Cop was subpoenaed and cross examined at the APS hearing. The high blood level, accident and impairment could not be disputed but there was not a valid arrest. DMV hearing officer set aside the suspension because the blood test did not follow a lawful arrest. This case is an example of why it’s so important to subpoena and cross examine the police officer in specific DUI cases. Officer testified that client was injured, so paramedics immediately transported him to the hospital. Blood was taken at the hospital. The officer testified that he never arrested the client. This technicality was fatal to the DMV’s case.  Court case is pending but winning at the DMV and having a transcript of the officer’s sworn testimony will likely help to obtain a better resolution in court.

March 2015, Metropolitan Courthouse: DUI Commercial Driver, one year suspension set aside and DUI charge reduced to Exhibition of Speed.

Client was a commercial driver. After being pulled over for weaving he was alleged to have a BAC of a .08 and .09 about 30 minutes after driving.  We had a toxicologist testify at the DMV hearing (APS hearing).  Evidence was presented to show client was in the absorption phase at the time of driving and the test, and therefore, his BAC was likely below a .08 at the time of the traffic stop.  After several DMV hearing dates and court appearances, DMV set aside the suspension (one year suspension on client’s commercial license!) and the city prosecutor agreed to dismiss the DUI and allow client to plead to a charge for exhibition of speed. (Client did not want to go to trial due to the offer.)  Client was able to keep his commercial license and his job, and suffered no suspension on his driving privileges.

February 2015, Pasadena Superior Court: Drunk in Public Charge Dismissed at Trial

Client charged with drunk in public. Client is a professional who argued with the officer when he was stopped without reasonable suspicion. He could not afford to have anything on his record due to his job and professional license. Case was set for trial and dismissed on day of trial.

February, 2015, Pasadena Superior Court: 2nd DUI with .12 BAC, Wet reckless, no jail and 9 month class

Client charged with a second DUI and driving with a .12 blood alcohol level. Resolved for a wet reckless with 9 month class and no jail after case was set for a motion to suppress the evidence.

December 2014, Los Angeles Superior Court ("CCB"): Drug Sting Felony Charge, Diversion with full dismissal if Drug program completed.

Client answered a Craigslist ad to buy methamphetamine. Client appeared with drugs and was arrested and charged with felony possession for sale.  After long negotiations with the DA, client, who lives out of county and had medical issues, was allowed to complete an out-patient drug program in his home county in exchange for a full dismissal. This will save his career.

December 2014, Pasadena Superior Court: Motion to Suppress Granted, Drug case dismissed

Client, a truck driver was accused by a 911 caller of driving drunk. He was stopped by a patrol officer and his vehicle searched. Officer never observed any bad driving or any vehicle code violations. Methamphetamine was found and client was charged with possession. Judge granted my motion to suppress the evidence due to their being a lack of reasonable suspicion to stop client because anonymous 911 caller did not provide sufficient details for an officer to independently determine if the driving was indicative of DUI.

November 2014, Pasadena Superior Court: Multiple Felony strikes, received probation with rehab.

Client charged with 7 counts of residential burglary, all felony strike offenses. The offer was initially 4 years which would have to be served at 80 percent. When an additional burglary was discovered, the DA took 4 years off the table and client was facing even more prison time.  Client was young and a methamphetamine addict. After getting her evaluated by a drug counselor and a psychologist, and negotiating with the District Attorney supervisor, Client received probation with one year in a live in drug program.  This outcome was not only better for the client but for society as a whole.

October 2014, Pasadena Superior Court: Dui dropped to dry, DMV suspension set aside

Client charged with DUI and after all the evidence was subpoenaed it became obvious that client had a good "rising blood defense". After a real battle at the DMV and three hearings, DMV finally set aside the suspension. Client accepted a plea to a dry reckless with no class.

July 2013 | Metropolitan Court (Los Angeles): DUI CHARGES, SET ASIDE AT DMV, REDUCED TO EXHIBITION OF SPEED

Client did poorly on field sobriety tests due to medical issues with her hip, blew a .090 and .088 at the station about 50 minutes after driving in an allegedly erratic manner (slight weaving and speeding). Video/audio of stop showed client telling officer “I’ve driven drunk so many times and you are pulling me over now, when I only had a few drinks?” Presented evidence at the DMV hearing that her alcohol level was rising, and she was therefore under the legal limit at the time of driving. DMV set aside the suspension. Client did not want to go to trial due to the expense but I was able to negotiate a dismissal of the DUI charges and she only had to plead no contest to “exhibition of speed”. Since there was no suspension of her license, no interlock required and no priorability issues for an exhibition of speed conviction, Client was able to keep her job, her driver’s license and prevent her criminal record from showing a DUI related conviction.

July 2013 | Los Angeles Court (LAX ): Hit & Run w/ Injuries, 5 prior DUIs, NO JAIL

Client, a recovered alcoholic with 5 prior DUI conviction over the past 15 years and a prior hit and run committed while on probation for her last DUI, was arrested for committing another hit and run, this time causing the victim, a bycicalist, to suffer a fractured collar bone. Client was an older woman with health issues who was terrified of going to jail. Fought and won O.R. release by convincing judge to let client where a SCRAM bracelet. After a few months, I was able to convince the City Prosecutor to offer a misdemeanor sentence with informal probation, NO JAIL and just a few AA meetings.

July 2013 | Pasadena Court: DUI /DMV Refusal, SET ASIDE & NO SUSPENSION

Client was intoxicated and hit a parked car. Officer claimed he admonished her properly regarding the law that she must submit to a chemical test or else her license will be suspended for at least one year and failing or refusing to provide a test is a crime in itself. The truth is that the officer never told her these things. The officer was annoyed that client could not give a sufficient breath sample because her chest hurt from hitting the steering wheel. Cop accused her of “playing”. He threw her in jail and never advised her pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23612 that she must provide a blood test if she can’t give a breath test. At the DMV hearing client and officer testified. During cross examination of the officer, I was able to show he was lying in his report, he did not know what the proper admonishment was, he contradicted himself numerous times and appeared angry, and frustrated for having to appear at the hearing. The officer was rude and refused to answer some simple questions. The Hearing Officer determined the officer was lying, not credible and that my client was telling the truth. The suspension was “set aside” which means the DMV threw out the case. The court case is still pending but will likely resolve in a positive way.

June 2013 | Pasadena Court: Obstructing or Resisting Officer, CASE DISMISSED

Client, who was off his meds and was trying to get through a road block manned by several officers, blatently disobeyed an officer’s command to not pass through the street. Client did and was charged with a misdemeanor 148. After making an appointment with the supervising DA, the DA decided to dismiss the case. Client will now be able to continue with his dream of getting a job in the entertainment industry as an editor or production assistant.

April 2013 | Alhambra Superior Court: DUI w/accident Charges Dismissed, DMV Set-Aside

Client was in a solo vehicle accident, causing injury to herself and was alleged to have been driving with a blood alcohol level of .20. The District Attorney’s Office waited 10 months to file the charges and by that time I discovered the blood sample had been destroyed. I wrote a motion to dismiss for a violation of my client’s Due Process Rights and her Speedy Trial Rights. I also argued in the motion that the destruction of evidence that resulted from the District Attorney’s negligence, resulted in the loss of material and potentially exculpatory evidence that prejudiced my client’s defense (“Trombetta-Hitch” motion). In addition, I filed a motion arguing the type of blood test administered at the hospital was not the kind of test normally performed on a DUI suspect and that test was not shown to be scientifically reliable (“Kelly-Frye” motion). On the day of trial, after numerous hearings, the District Attorney announced they were unable to proceed and all charges were dismissed. The DMV suspension was set-aside as well so the client did not suffer any suspension on her driver’s license.

April 2013 | Van Nuys Court, Assault Charges Dropped

My senior citizen client was in a minor altercation with a man at a party. The alleged victim’s friend, who never liked my client, called police and claimed my client pushed the victim, causing him to fall into a chair. My client claimed he did no such thing and that it was the victim who pushed my client, causing the client to push back in self defense. I spoke to an unbiased third party who was present at the time of the incident who corroborated client’s claims. I contacted the City Attorney’s Office and requested an “office hearing” prior to the arraignment date. After discussing the case with the City Prosecutor, the Prosecutor decided to not pursue charges.

March 2013 | Pasadena Court: Felony Vehicle Theft Case Dismissed

Client had an old felony warrant for a charge of unlawful possession of a vehicle without the owner’s consent. (Grand theft auto) My client had been living with a heavy burden for several years, knowing she had an outstanding warrant but no way to deal with it. She did not currently live in the area, had little finances, and was in poor health. I was granted permission by the Judge to appear in court without Client despite the charge being a felony. The warrant was recalled and held for about one month. During that time, I was able to obtain some case information from archives with the help of the court clerk and spoke to the District Attorney. I explained the unusual and mitigating circumstances of my client’s predicament, the implausibility that the charges could be proved so many years after the incident, and the constitutional issues that arose due to the lack of notice of the warrant (i.e., Speedy Trial and Due Process). After considering all this, the District Attorney did the right thing and dismissed the case. 

March 2013 | West Covina Court: Vandalism Charged Dismissed on Eve of Trial

Client charged with vandalizing another person’s vehicle. The evidence strongly corroborated my client’s version of events which indicated he was factually innocent and did not commit this offense. This case was set for a jury trial and we were ready to proceed. After numerous discussions with the prosecutor, the case was dismissed a day before trial was to begin.

September 2012 | Torrance Court, NOT GUILTY of Attempted Murder & NOT GUILTY of Attempt Voluntary Manslaughter

Client was charged with committing a willful and deliberate attempted murder and faced a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life if convicted. We showed the jury that Client was followed and severely beaten by the alleged victim and his brother just prior to alleged crime. With a broken jaw, Client managed to escape from the victim and victim’s brother and ran to his vehicle. When client attempted to leave the gas station where the beating had just occurred, he ran into the alleged victim, causing the victim’s right leg to be severed upon impact with a gas station pump pole. The incident was captured on the gas station’s security video camera. Victim claimed Client yelled out of his window that he would kill him, as he drove towards the victim. The victim and his brother were impeached and their credibility damaged during cross examination. The jury acquitted Client of attempted murder and also found client not guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter. Client was convicted of a much less serious charge of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem, and was sentenced to 6 years in prison with credits for time served, resulting in only 3 more years of custody. There was no reasonable offer made by the District Attorney prior to trial despite the obvious weaknesses in their case. Instead of facing a life term, client will be back with his family in approximately 3 years.

May, 2012 | Pasadena Court: DUI Charges Dismissed & DMV Set Aside

Client was arrested for a first offense DUI misdemeanor and his breath test results indicated a BAC of a .09/.09 with a preliminary test result of .11/.11. After submitting subpoenas to obtain the video of the stop, accuracy checks and calibration records of the breath machine and other documents, I carefully analyzed the evidence. I discovered a discrepancy in an official document that the officer signed under penalty of perjury. (The document is called the DS367.) This discrepancy resulted in four (4) DMV hearings during which time three officers were cross examined by me. I uncovered some unethical behavior by the arresting officer which called into question the accuracy of key pieces of information, including the time of the stop. The time of the stop is crucial information in a DUI case because it is evidence of the time of driving, for which there must be some evidence, in order for the DMV to suspend the driver’s license. The time of driving is also important in the court case. After months of hearings and debate, the DMV finally “set aside” the case. (A “set aside” by the DMV means, in effect, that the DMV is dismissing the case and will not issue a suspension.) Then, based upon the officers’ testimony at the DMV hearings, which included the arresting officer’s admission that he signed falsely under penalty of perjury, the Pasadena City Prosecutor also agreed to do the right thing—dismiss all DUI charges against my client. Since my client won his case at the DMV as well as in court, he is no longer at risk of losing his license or having a DUI misdemeanor conviction on his record. This saved his job.

April, 2012 | W. Covina Superior Court: NOT GUILTY: Domestic Violence

My client was falsely accused of punching his ex girlfriend (mother of his 2 year old child) during a custody exchange. Just prior to the incident, the alleged victim had been fighting in family court to take away my client’s custody and visitation rights by claiming my client was a bad father, and verbally abusive. But the Judge was not buying this woman’s lies. So one day, during the exchange of the child, the alleged victim called police after she and my client had engaged in an argument. My client claimed he never struck or physically touched this woman. Although the alleged victim’s mother was present at the scene, she admitted she never saw my client punch her daughter. The police arrested my client and he was charged with a misdemeanor battery. If convicted of this offense, he would be at risk of losing all the visitation rights he had fought so hard to obtain in the family court. The alleged victim was known to be volatile, untruthful and had a history of making false accusations of violence against my client. I obtained transcripts from the family court which indicated that the alleged victim had a motive to lie and was angry that the judge in family court was not ruling in her favor. Also, there were no injuries to support the accusation that my client punched the alleged victim in her face above her eye. The prosecutor refused to drop the charges, however on the day trial was to begin, the prosecutor did offer to reduce the charge to an infraction. Adamant that he was innocent, my client refused to plead guilty to ANYTHING and exercised his constitutional rights to a trial. During trial, the alleged victim did not testify consistently and appeared arrogant. After only 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict of NOT GUILTY. My client and his family were elated. Now he will be able to focus on being a good father for his son instead of defending himself against false accusations made by his ex-girlfriend.

July, 2011 | L.A. Superior Court: Felony Charge Amended: Probation

My client, who recently lost her job and had no prior criminal record, sadly turned to prostitution to support her two children who just began college. She rented an apartment and hired another woman to split the profits with her. The other woman was also working as a prostitute and would give my client some of the money she earned to pay the apartment bills and paid “referral” fees for the “Johns” that my client brought to the apartment. After a sting operation in which a police officer pretended to be a potential “John”, my client was charged with felony pimping under Penal Code section 266h(a). She confessed to the crime and the other woman also confessed and made incriminating statements against my client. Unfortunately, pimping carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years and probation is not allowed. Throughout the arraignment, pretrial hearing and preliminary hearing, the DA’s offer was 3 years in state prison. After several weeks of gathering character letters and evidence to show the extreme mitigating factors surrounding my client’s life, and researching alternative charges that would allow probation, the District Attorney eventually agreed to amend the charge to conspiracy, which does allow probation. My client was able to avoid a mandatory minimum prison sentence and will serve approximately 30 days more in county jail, at which time she will be released.

June, 2011 | Pasadena Court: Misdemeanor Hit & Run Charges Dropped

My client was an older gentleman who had a prior misdemeanor hit and run from a year ago. He was charged with a second offense this year. The victim alleged my client side-swiped him and that my client left the scene without stopping to exchange his insurance information. A conviction for this offense would have resulted in the loss of my client’s driver’s license and a loss of his independence. The investigating officer did not handle the case in a professional manner and never took any photos of the victim’s vehicle. My client denied hitting the victim’s vehicle and not stopping. My client and I were ready to go to trial. However, after discussing the case with the city prosecutor, she decided to dismiss the misdemeanor hit and run charges and allow my client to plead to a regular infraction for improper lane change.

June, 2011 | Alhambra Court: DUI Dismissed: Factual Innocence Found

My unfortunate client was very intoxicated when he unknowingly confessed to a crime he did not commit. My client’s friend , who had a suspended license and 2 prior DUI convictions was driving my client’s car when he was involved in a minor collision. Although my client was the passenger, he was told by his “friend” that he, my client, was the one driving. The friend told the arriving officers that my client had been driving out of fear that he would end up with a 3rd DUI if he told the truth and admitted to being the real driver. Well, once my client agreed that he had been driving, the officer naturally believed my client was the driver and did not even suspect the friend. After my client sobered up and learned that he was wrongfully arrested and charged with a DUI when he was not even the driver, no one believed him. Luckily, text messages, phone records and witness statements all corroborated my client’s cries of innocence. The Supervising District Attorney was very fair and once she saw all the exculpatory evidence I had collected, she agreed to dismiss all the charges via a court finding of not guilty and stipulate that my client was factually innocent. Factual innocence is needed to seal an arrest record because a dismissal by itself will not get an arrest of a person’s criminal record. A not guilty finding or acquittal is needed to reverse a DMV suspension. The DMV was contacted and the DUI suspension that my client had received months earlier will soon be reversed.

April, 2011 | Pasadena Court: Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed

My client was alleged to have gotten in an argument with his girlfriend while under the influence of alcohol. The argument led to my client allegedly choking the victim, throwing her on the bed and hitting her. A conviction for this offense would have resulted in him losing his job and would have caused an obstacle to his ultimate goal of becoming an attorney. After negotiating with the city prosecutor I was able to obtain an offer that allowed my client to go to domestic battery classes for one year, after which time his plea would be withdrawn and the case dismissed. This is called “diversion”. Diversion is a great option (if the prosecutor agrees to it) in cases where the evidence against a defendant is strong and trial is not recommended, because it results in a full dismissal. The Defendant avoids a conviction and the arrest record gets permanently sealed.

February, 2011 | Los Angeles Superior Court: Acquitted of DUI Charges

My client was driving home with a friend from a restaurant where he admitted to consuming four beers over a three hour period. His preliminary alcohol screening test (“PAS) indicated a .09 BAC about 20 minutes after driving and an evidentiary breath test about 50 minutes after driving indicated a .10 BAC. The City Prosecutor refused to reduce or dismiss the DUI charges even though I was able to show the breath test machine was reading almost 10 percent high during the days surrounding the time my client took the breath test and that strong evidence supported a rising blood alcohol defense. We set the case for trial and presented a Toxicologist and eye witness testimony from the friend. The officer testified that my client exhibited physical signs of being intoxicated and that he did not perform the field sobriety tests satisfactorily. The jury came back with a unanimous verdict of NOT GUILTY on both DUI counts (VC 23152(a) and 23152(b). As a result of the acquittal, I was able to get the DMV to reverse a suspension that was unfairly imposed months earlier.

February, 2011 | Fontana Court: Felony Drugs (a LOT of drugs): Probation & No Jail

My client was stopped while driving a truck that was found to contain 1200 pounds of marijuana. This was a very serious charge due to the large amount of drugs. After a thorough investigation of the case and multiple discovery requests, I finally obtained the taped recording of my client’s alleged confession. It turned out the tape showed my client never said the incriminating statements that the officers claimed in the police report that they heard him say! The DA just assumed officers would not lie about such a thing, especially since the interview was recorded. After getting a transcript of the interview, the DA realized their case had serious problems. There was some other incriminating evidence against my client, but without the confession, the DA’s case was greatly weakened. My client did not want to go to trial and risk prison time, so I was able to get him NO JAIL offer with 3 years of probation. Since he was in the United States without any legal status, we knew that if he served any time in custody he would be at risk of immediate deportation and would be taken away from his wife and 6 year old daughter. He avoided deportation and did not do any time in jail. This case is an example of how important it is to obtain ALL of the discovery in a case and not assume anything that the police say is true without confirming it.

January, 2011 | West Covina Court: 5 Prior Strikes Dropped After DA Refused to Acknowledge Error

This was an interesting case. It is an example of how negligent the District Attorney’s Office can be. My client had a long criminal history spanning almost 30 years. Most of the convictions involved petty thefts and minor drug offenses. He also had some serious mental health issues. He was currently charged with resisting arrest and possession of methamphetamine for sale. He was initially represented by the public defender who told him he had FIVE prior strikes and the offer was 6 years (high term on count 2 doubled) and that the offer was “very fair” because the DA is willing to strike 4 of his prior strikes. The first day I visited my new client in jail he told me that there is some mistake and that he does not have 5 strikes. He complained that the public defender did not seem to believe him or listen to him. No one listened to this man because he was mentally ill and had a long criminal record. I decided to investigate his prior alleged strike convictions and as it turned out, the client was correct---he had only one prior strike and it was from 1993, NOT five! I was only able to prove the error by obtaining the plea transcripts in most of the old cases. In one of the cases where the DA alleged in the complaint as a strike prior, I learned that it was actually a co-defendant in that case who plead guilty to robbery, a strike, while my client ended up pleading to a reduced charge of petty theft. Unbelievably, there were three other cases in which the DA alleged strikes against my client in error. After several court appearances and a psychiatric evaluation, the errors were finally corrected and my client was offered a truly reasonable offer of 1 year in the county jail with 3 years probation.

March, 2010 Los Angeles .DUI with .08 BAC or Higher, NOT GUILTY on (b) Count

Acquittal on the "b" count resulting in Client's Driving Privileges Being Restored. Although Client was convicted on the "a" count, the DMV could not issue a "hard" suspension so Client did not lose his job or his ability to drive. 

November, 2010 | Burbank Court: Grand Theft Auto Charges Dismissed

My client (who was in the U.S. on an expired VISA) was driving her husband’s vehicle with her husband in the passenger seat. The car was recently stolen from a dealership and officers stopped the vehicle to investigate. The husband had a long criminal record and was being investigated for stealing numerous other vehicles, several of which my client had been observed driving. When questioned by officers about what she knew about the vehicle, my client allegedly contradicted herself, causing the investigator to suspect my client knew the car she was driving was stolen. The case was filed as a felony and the DA would not drop or even reduce the charge to a misdemeanor. I set the case for a preliminary hearing, at which time the Judge granted my motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence. It was not refilled by the DA. Because of the complete dismissal, my client will not have a criminal record and will have a chance to become legal resident.

October, 2009 | Torrance Court : Jail Time Eliminated

My client embezzled over $60,000 during a 3 year period while working as an accountant in a position of trust for more than 3 years. The District Attorney initially wanted prison time because my client had no money to pay back the restitution. After 2 months of negotiating and providing proof of good character and mitigating factors, I was able to obtain a sentence of no jail time. My client is a mother of a 7 year old girl who can now stay home to raise her child instead of going to prison.

August, 2009 | CCB Los Angeles Superior Court : Sex Crime Charges: Received Probation

Client was charged with committing a lewd and lascivious act on a girl under the age of 14 and the Defendant was more than 10 years older than the victim (PC 288(a)). This was a very serious case with the potential of serious prison time. The evidence against my client was very strong but I knew there was a sympathetic side I could bring out in the Defendant's case. After thoroughly investigating the case and hiring a psychiatrist to evaluate my client, I was able to present mitigating factors to the prosecutor. Without having to go to trial, I was able to convince the prosecutor to allow my client to plead guilty to one count (other 3 counts were dismissed), get credit for the 60 days he was in jail, and 5 years probation with registration requirements. Although my client was charged and convicted of a serious sex offense on an 11 year old child, he only did 60 days in county jail and was then released on probation.

May, 2009 | Los Angeles Superior Court : Domestic Violence Case Dismissed

Client was on parole for domestic violence and was arrested for a new domestic violence charge on the same victim. New case alleged Client scratched victim during an argument in which Client was trying to leave the relationship against Victim's wishes. Client was offered by the Parole Officer a one year sentence for his parole violation unless the case was dropped. The prosecutor would not dismiss or reduce the charge even though Victim did not want prosecution and stated that the scratch was an accident and Client did not scratch her intentionally. Victim did not show up to the trial date. I argued a "Crawford" motion to exclude all statements made by the Victim to the police on the basis that it violated my Client's Sixth Amendment right to cross examine his accuser. My "Crawford" motion was granted, and the prosecutor had to dismiss the case because without the officer's testimony they had too little evidence to proceed to trial. The parole board will now revisit my Client's case in two weeks and will likely lift his parole hold because the case was dismissed.

February, 2009 | Riverside Superior Court : DUI Case Dismissed

Client was charged with a DUI, driving with a .14 blood alcohol level, and a “refusal”. A conviction for this offense results in a mandatory 1 year suspension for a first time offender. Client claimed that she was followed from a bar and stopped by officers with no probable cause and that she never refused to take a blood alcohol test. My research showed that this particular bar had been a target for local law enforcement because of rowdy behavior, and that officers were harassing patrons leaving the bar.

At the DMV hearing I argued that the case should be dismissed because officers had no probable cause to stop my client. To win the case, I subpoenaed and cross examined the arresting officers. Through my cross examination, I shredded their credibility by impeaching their testimony and catching them in lies. The DMV hearing officer declared the officers’ police report to be “untrustworthy and unreliable” and found the officers had unlawfully arrested my client because they lacked any probable cause to stop her. The DMV hearing Officer dismissed (“set-aside”) the suspension and my client got her license back. The criminal court case is still pending, but as a result of the DMV set-aside, Client will have a very good chance of winning her court case or having the charges dismissed upon a motion to suppress.

February, 2009 | Alhambra Court : Reduced Jail Time

Client was charged with a misdemeanor second DUI and but had over 20 prior criminal convictions, including two strikes. After carefully examining the discovery, I discovered that the police officers failed to give my client a breath or blood test within the proper time frame. I also noticed other sloppy mistakes by the police during their investigation. After pointing out the problems I uncovered in the DA's case, I was able to convince the DA to offer my client a 96 hour jail sentence (the statutory minimum sentence for a second time DUI), with the statutory minimum fine. Even though my client had a long criminal history with numerous felony convictions and two prior strikes, he only ended up having to do 96 hours in a city jail of his choice. Prior to being retained, my client was told by his Public Defender that he should be prepared to do at least 6 months to one year in county jail because of the seriousness of his prior criminal history.

December, 2008 | Long Beach Superior Court : Released From Jail

Client was on felony probation for receiving stolen property. He was originally ordered to complete 60 days Caltrans as part of his plea. For two years, Client failed to report to probation and failed to complete his community service. After numerous probation violations, the judge imposed a three year suspended prison sentence on Client, warning him that if he violates probation one more time, he will immediately go to prison for the maximum sentence of 3 years. [Normally if a Probationer violates his probation after the court imposed suspended prison sentence, a judge has no discretion to recall the sentence and must impose the full prison sentence.]

After the suspended prison sentence was imposed, Client was arrested on a probation violation for driving on a suspended license and for still failing to complete his community service. The Public Defender who initially represented Client coldly stated that there was nothing she could do for him because the law mandated he now serve the 3 year prison sentence that was previously imposed but suspended. Client was advised to notify his employer and family that he would soon be transferred from the local jail to the prison to serve out his 3 year sentence. As a full time employee and sole financial supporter of his 2 young children, wife and mother, Client could not afford to go to prison.

In desperation, the family retained me as Client’s attorney. I immediately took charge of the case, compiled character references, work history and other documents to show the court that Client’s case had mitigating factors and the Court should make the unusual steps of reinstating probation and releasing client from jail. After lengthy negotiations with the court, and over the District Attorney’s persistent objections, the Judge agreed to give Client one more chance, releasing him back on probation. Instead of going to prison for 3 years, Client was immediately released from jail, placed back on probation, and ordered to complete 60 dates of community service.

 

Law Office of Ann Gottesman
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Pasadena, CA 91101

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